Lina Lamont

"What do you think I am, dumb or something?"

Films that are too good to miss

A friend has asked me to compile a list of films he “simply must see”.   And he’s a filmmaker, too! he ought to know already…

Well, there’s nothing like being asked for a list to get a FanGirl going, but I admit to feeling quite knackered just thinking about it. The perils of list-making are manifold: You don’t want the list to be taken as a ranking – how could you possibly say that Singin’ In The Rain is better (or worse) than Heat?? What if you forget to include your absolute favourite? Will the list make you look like a pleb? (or worse, a film-snob??) What if it’s too contemporary?

To that end, we thought I should try and categorise some great movies according to what a viewer might be wanting in any given video store visit.  So – try this on for size…

Films to watch when you wish you lived in another life

The Talented Mr Ripley – Italy! The 1950s! Scooters, yachts and cute swimsuits! Intriguing characters with more money than morals! and several of the best performances you’ll get out of Matt Damon, Jude Law, Cate Blanchett, Gwyneth Paltrow, Philip Seymour Hoffman et al.

Amelie – France! (more precisely, Montmarte in Paris); living in a beautiful apartment on a paltry wage;  having the cutest darn haircut and clompy black lace-ups you ever saw on a beautiful girl; romantic yet quirky – and good deeds are done along the way. Formidable!

Goodfellas – wanna be rich? successful? intimidating and powerful? Actually, I’d recommend Casino for the same reasons. It’s all going so well, until it isn’t… still, I enjoy the life this film evokes until it (the life) unravels. Needless to say Goodfellas pops up on several lists, it’s just that good.

Sense and Sensibility – just because life seemed simpler back then (OK, so it was harder too, but the men were so much more chivalrous!) and the frocks are all empire-line, and they drank a lot of tea and did peaceful recreational activities like needlework while gossiping. I’m sure the novelty would wear off eventually, but…

Atonement – despite its showing the good and bad sides of 1930s/1940s Britain (well, WWII for starters), this film is a wonderful evocation of a time gone by, perfect for losing yourself in for a couple of hours. And some of the scenes (including the lengthy steadi-cam shot on the beach at Dunkirk) are literally breathtaking.


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