31 March 2017

Movie night

Turn down the lights, grab the popcorn and snuggle up with a cosy blanket - it’s movie night!

I love watching films. There’s nothing quite like transporting yourself somewhere else, meeting new characters and watching an exciting plot slowly unfold. Maybe there’s a toe-tappingly good soundtrack, an awe-inspiring colour palette (looking at you, Wes Anderson), or perhaps a mystery to solve? Maybe you understand or appreciate something you didn't before.

It recently occurred to me that I watch a film almost every day. That really adds up after a while, huh? So I thought I’d put my screen-gazing to good use and write a post about a few of my favourites. Here it is!

When Harry Met Sally 

I start getting a little bit twitchy when someone tells me they’ve never seen When Harry Met Sally. It makes me want to grab my well-watched DVD, march them to the nearest TV and show them what they've been missing all these years.

At the start of the film, Billy Crystal's character announces: 'Men and women can't be friends' . That's kind of the premise of the whole movie. Boy meets girl, boy acts like an arsehole, girl dislikes boy. They meet again years later and form an unlikely friendship. But can they just be friends? Well, you'll have to find out.

If I possessed enough talent to write a screenplay, I’d want it to be something like this. It’s charming, funny and warm - but it’s also got the sharp wit and pithy observations that come courtesy of the genius Nora Ephron. It’s stylish and it’s clever - sort of like a good Woody Allen flick but with only half the neuroticism. Oh, and it has a great soundtrack.


The Fundamentals of Caring 

Two words: Paul Rudd. Not enough? Well, that usually does it for me.

The Fundamentals of Caring is about a sarcastic, downbeat ex-writer (because that’s what Paul does best) who’s just started working as a caregiver. He's assigned to a wheelchair-bound teenager called Trevor, who's quite bitter, dark and has a beautifully twisted sense of humour. Trevor is kind of a douchebag at first, but he's ultimately really likeable. The two become friends and decide to take a road trip. A feel good narrative ensues. It’s one of those movies that’s sweet and happy but without being all bubble-gum and fluffy clouds. It’s sort of sharp and sardonic too. Yep, that’s why I like it.

I think it's still on Netflix, so catch it while you can.


A Hard Day's Night 

Confession: I don't generally find 'classic' comedy that funny. A joke cracked on screen before 1984 isn't likely to raise more than a grimace from me. I don't know why - maybe it's just that I've seen those same jokes repeated a million times since.

And yet, for some reason, A Hard Days Night is an exception to that rule. It's more than 50 years old and it's still hilarious. The premise might not sound too alluring unless you're a die-hard Beatles fan - John, George, Paul and Ringo cause havoc in a 'day in the life' style mockumentary - but trust me on this one, it's really worth a watch.

The best bit is, you get the feeling the Fab Four's funniest quips were genuine off-the-cuff comments rather than scripted lines. And who doesn't want to watch 90 minutes of band banter*?

*everyone taking the piss out of Ringo.


'Are you a mod or a rocker?
'Erm, no, I'm a mocker'


Roman Holiday 

Ann is a princess who wants to experience life outside of the castle walls. She escapes while sedated, meets an american journalist, cuts her hair off, rides a Vespa and smashes a guitar over someone's head (my personal highlight). It's a charming adventure from start to finish.

I love a feisty leading lady and Audrey Hepburn is absolutely dazzling as Princess Ann. This was her first starring role, and it won her an Oscar. Gregory Peck is just as wonderful and he makes a nice change from Audrey's future geriatric leading men (with the exception of Darling Fred in Breakfast at Tiffany's, of course).

Peck was an absolute babe in real life too - he told the producers to give Audrey top billing because he just knew she'd win an Oscar for the role. That, and his gorgeous face, was enough for him to earn a place in my heart forever.

Sorry about the bizarre trailer (although the voice-over is hilarious) - they do not do an excellent job of selling a film by today's standards.


Inside Out 

There had to be an animated movie here somewhere, right? Inside Out is probably my favourite Pixar movie. In case you missed it, it's about a girl called Riley and the five personified emotions that live in her head and control everything she does. It's not creepy, I swear.

There's joy, sadness, panic, anger and disgust. There's also Amy Poehler and Mindy Kaling. There were plenty of moments that made me laugh out loud (the parents! The dog! The cats!) and I very nearly cried twice. Obviously I didn't - there was just something in my eye.


Beauty and the Beast 

The 1991 version was pretty bloody brilliant, I'm not denying that. But there's something about this latest incarnation that has me utterly under its spell. Maybe it's Emma Watson? Maybe it's the hilarious dynamic of Josh Gad and Luke Evans as Gaston and Le Fou? Either way, I watched it with giant heart eyes, like a real-life emoji.

I had high hopes before seeing it - and I feel emotionally invested in the career of Emma Watson. I didn't want them to ruin one of my favourite Disney movies. Yep, I was a dash worried. But I needn't have been. This version brought my favourite scenes to life in the most spectacular fashion. It patched up a couple of holes in the original's storyline. And it gave me a much more palatable update on Belle's character - now she is precisely who you want your daughter to aspire to be: kind, brave and smart.

My inner child loved it as much as my outter twenty-something. And that's saying something.


HONOURABLE MENTION

I'd like to quickly tell you how much I've enjoyed Drive, Nightcrawler, An Education, Legally Blonde, Mrs Doubtfire, The Nice Guys, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Hook, My Best Friend's Wedding, The Duff, La La Land, Sleepless in Seattle, The Graduate, Big, Amelie, Midnight in Paris, You've Got Mail and pretty much any other film starring Tom Hanks. Or Bill Murray. Or Robin Williams. All excellent films, but I couldn't write that many bios.

I'd like to know what your favourite films are! Maybe there's something I haven't seen yet. Drop me a message in the comments and give me your top 5 or tell me what you'll be watching next. 
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