This is a reply to Northernfool’s posts from a while back, where you work through a 30 day challenge answering various questions about films. Why there are 30 rather than 31 when there are more months with 31 days rather than 30 I’m not sure so I might add an extra bonus question for myself on the end so I can show off even more about how many films I’ve seen. So, here are the first four:
Day 1 – Your favourite film
My favourite film is probably The Shining, and not because I think it holds the answers to conspiracy theories about the moon landing, as exhaustive as the arguments may well be, but because so much atmosphere is generated with little more than a typewriter and a set of twin girls. The film’s driving force is obviously Jack Nicholson in what I think is his finest role as the unhinged Jack Torrance; a man plagued with past demons who is desperately trying to improve life for his family, but who ended up choosing the worst possible place to be.
The Shining is also one of those films where the direction and cinematography is just as key as the acting, and Kubric’s quite minimalist style I think fits the art deco surroundings of the hotel and its faded grandeur. It has been many years since the Overlook Hotel was in its heyday and it has been left to fester, with strange things lurking and drawing Jack in. The book focuses more heavily on the supernatural, with topiary animals from the maze chasing Danny for example, but this is cut back by Kubric, so you’re never sure whether it’s all in Jack’s mind – his alcoholism, calling him back.
Finally, it’s the kind of film where you can watch it again and again and always get creeped out by the sound of the tricycle rolling across the carpet, or the blood pouring out of the elevator, or even the most famous scene where Jack’s smashing his way through the door with the axe. An absolute must see.
Day 2 – Your least favourite film
I’ve seen so many terrible B movies that it’s difficult to come up with an all out winner, though Basket Case is something that was so incomprehensible it defied belief and I managed ten minutes before deciding I’d rather go and clean the fridge with a toothbrush than watch it. So, I’m going to choose the worst film I saw in the cinema. Nope, not Catwoman, and not even Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life, it’s a far more obscure film called The Dark where a dead girl takes over the body of Sean Bean’s daughter on a Welsh beach and her mother tries to get her daughter back. It’s pretty much the same plot as Silent Hill, which also has Sean Bean as the father of a girl who goes missing. It was just one of those situations that appear now and again where you’re sat there thinking ‘why am I watching people run off a cliff, and why have those sheep got red eyes?’
Day 3 – A film you watch to make you feel good
Errr. I’ve had a look over my shelves to see if there’s anything that pops out as a feel-good film and after passing over Snakes On A Plane, Alien 4 and Barbarella I had to come to terms with the fact that I rarely do normal ‘feel good’ films, and aim more for the ‘so shit it’s hilarious’ genre. However, saying that, I’m going to choose The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which if you’re amenable to basically a musical about alien transvestism is pretty brilliant. It’s peculiar and gory, but it does have some good lines and men running around in fishnets. It’s the kind of film that you watch in college with a group of friends or dress up and go to the theatre to watch it live and join in shouting things at the stage, and it’s definitely the kind of film that people get obsessed about. I know one girl with four different box sets of the thing. Why? Tim Curry’s camp as Christmas Dr Frank-N-Furter is mostly it I imagine, there’s nobody quite like him in film.
Day 4 – A film you watch to feel down
I hate films that make me feel depressed so I never watch them, and I certainly would never watch a miserable film on purpose unless it’s got Viggo Mortensen in it so this is a difficult one. I suppose The Pianist was pretty miserable, but it’s been a good few years since I saw it and that’s the kind of unavoidable misery because it’s one of those films that you’re supposed to watch and appreciate how miserable it all was. How about angry? I love shouting at the TV so if I wanted an evening of getting a bit pissed on Pinot Gregio and shouting ‘what the fuck are you doing you complete moron?! Yeah, definitely go down there, that’s exactly what I’d do, no, no need for a torch, love, just go and have a wander. Yep, by yourself, you’ll be fine, definitely no maniacs down there, just go and have a look to see if you can find the generator though if you know what to do with it once you find it I’ll eat my wine glass’, I’d choose House on a Haunted Hill. The remake.
Day 5 – A film that reminds you of someone
I’m going to lump together the LOTR films here because my friend and I way back at the beginning of the 2000s were massive LOTR fan girls. I’ve probably still got scrapbooks of cuttings of LOTR I took from newspapers and magazines somewhere, and we wrote LOTR fanfiction before Fifty Shades of Grey made it mainstream. Yes, we were that cool. So, Louise Langton, these films remind me of you. Specifically us on Wednesday afternoons when we had free periods in college going down to Prestwich’s Warner Brothers cinema, always completely deserted, and having palpitations over Aragorn. Whilst eating a blue slushy.
Day 6 – A film that reminds you of somewhere
Jurassic Park always reminds me of eating mint Matchmakers at what must have been my friend’s 10th birthday party and being scared when the velociraptors chase the kids around the kitchen.
Day 7 – A film that reminds you of your past
The films I grew up watching on tape were mostly Disney classics so I’m going to go with the double bill of 1959’s Sleeping Beauty and 1973’s Robin Hood, both by Disney. My parents had recorded them on one tape so they always went together and are really good films that I should watch again. Beauty and the Beast was always my favourite Disney film though.
Day 8 – The film you can quote best
I’m going with Northernfool with this one and saying Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It’s a never ending smorgasbord of absurd comedy, blatantly ridiculous situations and crazy animation. Favourite bits? Far too many to choose from – the Knights Who Say Nee who demand a shrubbery is built before they allow passage, the song of the Knights of the Round Table who dance when e’re they’re able, the black knight who is still up for a fights despite having his arms and legs removed, the holy hand grenade – the list is endless. I’ve always been disappointed by the ending though, it just looks like they ran out of ideas.
Day 9 – A film with your favourite actor (male)
Have I mentioned LOTR? Because they’ve got the double whammy (partly at least) of Viggo Mortensen and Sean Bean looking grubby, hairy and ready to do some damage with a broadsword. A lot of people think a guitar works wonders for sex appeal, but trust me, try armour and twelve days of stubble. I’m going to have to go with Mortensen as my favourite male actor but rather than Eastern Promises which is what Northernfool chose, I’m going with A History of Violence, because of one scene (SPOILER!) where Mortensen’s character has to shoot a past acquaintance and without saying a word or even moving he changes completely from being a nice small town bloke with a family who works in the diner to a cold blooded killer. It’s incredible, all in one look with his son.
Day 10 – A film with your favourite actor (female)
Without a shadow of a doubt it has to be Aliens. And I think it’s more that Ripley is my favourite female character in film rather than I particularly like Sigourney Weaver. If I had to choose a hero, it’d be Ripley. She isn’t particularly attractive, she doesn’t wear great clothes, she doesn’t have super powers, she’s pretty low key in many respects, but she still manages to get herself off the planet, dragging the macho marine and a kid in tow, and then blow the entire place to shit. She’s my kind of woman.