I’m going to start in a cheesy way by saying a huge thank you to all the support I’ve had from the launch of fivethreeninety on Tuesday! So many people have reached out to say they’re excited to see what I do with this project and it’s so reassuring to see that I haven’t made a huge mistake by saying goodbye to a regular income.
As this blog will be mainly focused around film and my love for it, I feel like I can’t really start this whole thing without first discussing my favourite films and why I love them. These are in no way in any order because it would be far too difficult to decide on any order, so I’m just giving the shortlist instead.
( note: this list does not include Disney films, because that would make it ten times as long)
Singin’ in the Rain
I first saw this film aged… six or seven? I’ve adored it ever since. It was this film that made me fall in love with old Hollywood classic cinema and introduced me to films from the Golden Era that absolutely stand the test of time. It follows the story of Hollywood’s transition from silent to spoken films – and it’s brilliant. Gene Kelly, Donald O’Conner and Debbie Reynolds are the three leads who get wound up in the shooting of a Hollywood studios first ever musical motion picture.
It’s hard to only include one Audrey Hepburn film in this list, but I class Roman Holiday as not only my favourite film of hers, but definitely one of my favourite films of all time.
It is in black and white, but is utterly timeless in it’s story, cinematography and performance. It’s completely shot on location with Rome as a stunning backdrop to the story of a runaway princess who explores the city under disguise accompanied by a journalist and a photography. This was Audrey’s major film debut and she won an oscar for her role as Princess Ann.
The Boat That Rocked
This is honestly the best film that’s EVER been made. I’ve seen it about fifty times and it makes me laugh and cry every single time. Really amazing British film about British pirate radio stations in the sixties with a brilliant cast and really clever writing. Also the best film soundtrack ever.
Spirited Away should seem silly: a ten year old girl stumbles across a magical land with her parents, said parents get turned into pigs and she gets saved by a spirit who gets her a job in a bathhouse in order to survive in the spirit world. But it’s beautiful. Studio Ghibli produce such beautiful films but to me this is the most magical. It has a gorgeously unpredictable story arc with stunning animation, and was also the first anime to ever win an Academy Award. Also Haku is hot.
Dallas Buyers Club
Honestly one of the most stunning films I’ve ever seen. Every performance is oscar worthy – as goes without saying as both best actor and best supporting actor were awarded to Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto respectfully. Holy shit the emotion that goes into this film is overwhelming and you can’t help but watch this film in complete silence from being caught up in the story. It’s based on the true story of Ron Woodroof (who’s played by Matthew McConaughey), an AIDS patient diagnosed in the mid 1980s when HIV/AIDS treatments were under-researched, while the disease was not understood and highly stigmatized. As part of the experimental AIDS treatment movement, Ron smuggled unapproved pharmaceutical drugs into Texas for treating his symptoms, and distributed them to fellow people with AIDS by starting the “Dallas Buyers Club” while the American FDA was trying to shut him down . It’s a stunningly moving piece of cinema, and McConaughey’s portrayal of the dying, homophobic, drug user rodeo rider is heartbreaking.
This film BROKE me. I sobbed for a half hour after the film ended. Honestly the most moving piece of cinema I’ve ever experienced, and so influential & groundbreaking for the LGBTQ+ community by winning the oscar for best picture.
I know I said no Disney films were included in this list but there’s no way I could leave this out. I still remember seeing the trailer for this in the cinema & even though I’d had no prior interest in dinosaurs, I was desperate to see it. It’s such a riveting story for people of all ages, the score is amazing & the animation is STUNNING. It’s unbelievable that this computer animation is over 16 years old, as the cgi dinosaurs & everything are placed over real life shots of beautiful scenery from California and Arizona. It’s hard to explain how much this film means to me still to this day but really, you have to see it.
Another childhood favourite. Obviously partly due to the name (though I’m spelt MADELEINE & pronouced DIFFERENTLY), Madeline was very special to me as I was given the original books and cartoons (and dolls) growing up. This live action incorporates some of Madeline’s best stories with a talented load of kids – Hatty Jones is the most adorably perfect Madeline.
Not only is this a BRILLIANT film, but it hold a very dear place in my heart as it was shot in Wells, Somerset – where my Aunt & Uncle live, and where I class as my second home. I know Wells better than I know most of Oxford, and having spent every Christmas, Summer, Easter and monthly weekend visits there since I was five it is one of my favourite cities in the world. So seeing Simon Pegg hide behind the fountain where I threw pennies in to make wishes during a huge gun fight is a pretty surreal sight. My aunt even makes a cameo in it, as the guide leader running a stall in the fete scene – look out for her stood right in front of the ‘yarp’ man in the tombola scene.
Little Miss Sunshine
I used to watch this all the time when I was around seven or eight, which was probably too young to see it. It’s about a young girl’s family, in the midst of crisis and each facing their own problems, who all (reluctantly) pack up and go on a road trip in their yellow VW Camper Van so that she can perform in the ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ beauty pageant. This is the film that introduced me to Paul Dano, Abigail Breslin, Toni Colette and probably most importantly, Steve Carell – who’s performance is absolutely nothing short of sensational. He looks so utterly heartbroken in the very first shot of him that I’ve been known to cry from his face alone. It’s a clever, heartwarming, heartbreaking film that I will adore forever.
Some Like it Hot
Honestly one of the best comedies of all time, genius from start to finish. The three leads of Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe are all brilliant, the storyline is both silly and clever, the costumes stunning – and that ending line kills me.
Night at the Museum
This film is mine and my sister’s favourite, and we can quote every single line from it. It’s just SUCH A GOOD FILM. Really is one of those films that makes both kids and adults believe in magic. It has a brilliant cast of legends from Dick Van Dyke to Micky Rooney to Robin Williams to Ben Stiller, and is also actually decent in it’s casting – as in they actually cast an Egyptian actor (Rami Malek) to play an Egyptian pharaoh and not a white guy in eyeliner. Me & my sister saw this in the cinema aged eight and ten and we now own five copies of the first film (I keep one in the back of my car).
Cabin in the Woods
GENIUS. I’m surprised I haven’t ventured into my love for Joss Whedon yet on this blog, though it know this is only my second post. It’s a horror, but also a comedy, a teen movie and a thriller? And it works? Joss Whedon and Drew Goldberg are the dream team in writing, directing and producing. This is Chris Hemsworth pre-Thor, and Fran Kranz will always be one of my all time favourite actors. Look out for Buffyverse actor cameos from Tom Lenk and Amy Acker too…
We Bought a Zoo
This is one of those unexpected films that just tears you apart and makes you feel every emotion under the sun. One of the few films I will say is far better than the book as it injects so much emotion into the true story by Benjamin Mee. I also had the pleasure of meeting Colin Ford, who plays Matt Damon’s son in the film last May and got a hug from him after admitting my love for the film. Was very giddy after.
I’m sure I’m forgetting like fifty other films but this list will go on forever if I don’t make myself stop. If you haven’t seen any of these films change that immediately, and I’ll be back with more blog posts soon.
Published on Tumblr on Saturday 16th January 2016