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Friday, 22 December 2017

Top 40 Favourite Films

I really had to narrow this down from about 150 movies (I love movies...obviously). So here are my top 40 to-die-for films, all of which I have seen multiple times. (Note: this is going to be a very long post.)

4321. This action-packed thriller is the story of four friends who get caught up in a mysterious case of stolen diamonds. What I love about this movie is the way it jumps between time frames to show each woman’s story, and how their lives intertwine over the course of three days. It showcases friendship, female empowerment, crime, drama, tension, cliffhangers...Noel Clark done us proud.

A Cinderella Story. Beautiful, funny, romantic and light-hearted, this is a Disney film come to life. It’s about a girl who struggles under the whim of her mean stepmother and stepsisters, and stands up for herself and her goals. One of my favourite teen films.

American Beauty. If I had to name my top five favourite films, I would pick Titanic, Mean Girls, Slumdog Millionaire, Shrek and American Beauty. This film is perfect to me. It’s a satire of a seemingly perfect American middle-class family. The characters are all so real and flawed. The musical score is beautiful. I love all the symbolism – the roses, the themes of class, what beauty really means to everyone.

American History X. This film is dark and showcases the problem with extremism. A neo-Nazi goes to prison and reforms his white supremacist thinking thanks to a black man he befriends and his History teacher. However, his younger brother idolizes him and wants to follow in his footsteps. It’s an incredible movie, breathtaking to watch, and has some horrific violent scenes and makes you want to cry at times. Family, class, race, drama – it’s a film everyone should watch.

Aquamarine. I love this because it’s fun and sweet, and has the message that love can be found through friendship. Two girls who are best friends are going to be separated now that one of them is moving to Australia. They pray for a miracle, and it comes in the form of the mermaid Aquamarine. A lovely teen film without being too ‘sickly sweet’ and cliché.

Bend it like Beckham. AWESOME movie. An Indian girl breaks tradition and follows her dreams of becoming a footballer. It’s a film about cultural divide, following your dreams, breaking gender barriers and being yourself.

Blended. Has got to be one of the funniest films ever. Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore play two people set up on a (really bad) blind date, who end up going away on holiday together to an African five star hotel with their children. It’s a really fun feel-good film.

The Breakfast Club. CLASSIC. Five teenagers who seem totally different – a brain, a criminal, a basket case, a princess and an athlete – spend a Saturday in detention. But by the end of the day they realise they’re not all that different. It’s funny, coming-of-age and heart warming. One location, a small cast of characters. And a great musical score of course ‘don’t youuu forget about me.’

Bride and Prejudice. MARRIAGE HAS COME TO TOWN....The stunning Aishwarya Rai plays Lalita Bakshi, a young Indian woman whose mum is intent on marrying her and her sisters off. It’s a fun, charming, funny film about love and life, complete with songs. Was one of my childhood/teen favourites.

Catch Me If You Can. This is a GREAT movie. It’s based on Frank William Abagnale (played by Di Caprio), who ran away from home as a teenager after his parent’s divorce and created fake cheques imposing as a doctor, lawyer and airline pilot. This film has the best opening credits and score ever. Naturally Frank becomes pursued by a CIA agent (Tom Hanks) who ‘chases’ him around the world, finally catching him at 21 and getting him to work for the CIA.

City of God. A Brazilian masterpiece about the slums of Rio, with all the actors from the place it’s set. Rocket, the protagonist, captures the gangs and criminal goings on through his camera. Packed with intriguing characters and messages of class distinction, gang warfare and poverty, this film is a must-see.

Coming to America. I think this is my favourite Eddie Murphy film. It’s very funny, and is about an African prince who goes to America in order to search for a bride. Apparently Murphy said he was tired of women only liking him for his fame, hence this movie; the prince wants to marry for love, rather than just marry some princess who has been trained to follow his every command.

Confessions of a Shopaholic. Soooo funny. I’m a bit annoyed actually because the books are set in London, but the film is set in America. Typical. Still, it’s a great movie about Becky Bloomwood, a journalist who has a serious shopping addiction. And she goes to work at a magazine that’s all about saving money! The irony...

The Clique. Sort of like Mean Girls, except the girls are younger. Four popular girls exclude new girl Claire from being part of their group, so she tries to get in through more unethical means. But there’s more depth to it than just ‘mean popular girls vs nice girl’.

Easy A. A funny and smart movie about a girl who because of one stupid lie becomes rumoured to have had sex with someone, and then starts pretending to have sex with guys for coupons in order to make a point. The film is a flashback from a few weeks later from her making a video about the ludicrousness of it all. It’s about how rumours and drama can spread so fast in teen high school, and that some things really are nobody’s business.

Fight Club. What can I say? I’ve read the book too. It’s just fucking incredible. If you ain’t seen it, you need to. It’s about a depressed man who starts up ‘fight clubs’ where men can get their testosterone out, with the help of his ‘friend’ Tyler Durden. Comments on masculinity, capitalism, loneliness, anarchism – great film.

Frida. This is the biopic of Frida Khalo, the late Mexican painter. It’s a beautiful film, showcasing her passion for painting, the accident which haunted her entire life, and her complex romance with Diego Rivera.

Freaky Friday. One of the ‘teen films’ on my list. I’ve seen the original too, but this is about the modern version with Lindsay Lohan. It’s a fun and warm film about understanding your loved ones, having empathy for others, and realising that the grass ain’t always greener on the other side.

The Godfather. A beautiful cinematic masterpiece. The first time I saw this film I wasn’t hot on it. I’ve seen it several times since and it’s not hard to see why it’s considered the greatest film of all time. The cinematography, the story, the character development, the musical score. The Godfather is the tale of one man’s efforts to stay away from his family’s murderess business, and his inevitable ties with them. Michael’s character is brilliant – he is intelligent and brave, and also a cold sociopath. There was no way Sonny could be Don due to his hot temper, but Michael never loses his cool. He remains level-headed throughout in Pacino’s class act performance. His daddy is just as brilliant. (Note: I’d just watched this film before writing this hence why it’s a bit more detailed than my other summaries).

Goodfellas. Funnier and more ‘slick’ than the Godfather, this is based on the life of Henry Hill. It’s about life in the mafia, exploring modern day mafia problems like drugs and RICO (which Don Vito tried to avoid). An entertaining film, less ‘serious’ than its predecessor, with great acting.

Gone Girl. This list is making my mouth water; all these films are delicious. I would recommend reading the book before watching the film, as the film glosses over some details. But both are amazing, and the film stays close to the book as the author wrote the screenplay. On their 5th wedding anniversary, Amy Dunne goes missing, and her husband Nick is suspected to have murdered her. But things ain’t what they seem...

Grease. Who doesn’t love this movie? The songs, the dancing, the songs, Danny and Sandy, the songs, the Pink Ladies, the T-birds, the songs....GREASE IS THE WORD!

Harry Potter series. Not much to say, except...EXPELLIARMUS! (Did I even spell that right lol). My favourite book and movie is the Goblet of Fire.

Inception. A lot of people find this film confusing and overrated. I’ve seen it (along with all the movies here) several times. It’s just about a guy that enters people’s dreams, and creates a dream within a dream world inside a man’s subconscious in order to convince him of something to do with his father’s company. Pretty messed up and manipulative, but the cinematography and acting is flawless. Wonderful film.

Jungle Fever. This movie is incredible, raw and sad as it highlights the racial prejudice in 1990s America (not even that long ago!). It’s about a black man that has an affair with a white woman. Nearly every character – be they Italian, WASP or black – poses or is accused of posing some sort of racial prejudice at some point.

Lagaan. It’s been years since I’ve seen this. It’s an Indian epic my mum used to rent from the library, set in the time of India being under British Colonial Rule. In a village, the British Captain imposes a horrific tax on the people. A young man stands up to the tax, challenging the British to a cricket match, stating that if they win the tax will be taken off. It’s a truly breathtaking, captivating, sad, funny, dramatic, romantic, cross-cultural, historical movie.

Legally Blonde. A young stereotypical looking ‘bimbo’ applies to Harvard Law School to win back her pretentious ex-boyfriend. Instead she finds a new man and a passion for law, and ends up being pretty damn intelligent.

Malcolm X. Biopic of Malcolm X, made by the brilliant Spike Lee. A true masterpiece; Denzel Washington is incredible. Great for anyone interested in the man and his troubled life, and the black political unrest happening during the 50s-60s.

Mean Girls. I love this movie because of what it says about teen life, high school drama and friendship. It’s clever and has some clear messages about treating others right and staying true to yourself and not trying to be someone you’re not.

The Prince of Egypt. A breathtaking tale based on the Exodus story of Moses and his brother Rameses. The soundtrack is amazing, composed by Hans Zimmer. It's a movie that leaves me breathless and filled with joy. 

Pulp Fiction. Classic Tarantino. I love how all the storylines intertwine; the robbers, the hitmen, the gangster, his wife, a boxer. Difficult to summarise, but if you’ve seen it you know how good it is.

Ray. Biopic of Ray Charles. Jamie Foxx gives a brilliant performance. All musicians should see this beautiful and sad film. Ray had a tough life; came from poverty, was blind, developed a heroin addiction, but managed to kick it and died in his 70s with a fantastic musical legacy.

Shark Tale. Mm, such a laugh. I’m running out of things to say LOL as I love these movies all so much it’s hard not to get hyperbolic! But yeah, this is an animated movie about a fish who dreams big who crosses paths with a vegetarian mobster shark’s son. Yay, so cute.

The Shawshank Redemption. Did you knooow...the novella of this movie was written by Stephen King? Both are fabulous. It’s the tale of a young man imprisoned for killing his wife...except he’s innocent. He befriends a kindly man in prison, and using his spirit and willpower manages to get through prison on his terms. Andy Dufresne is a highly inspiring character; some scenes of this film can bring tears of joy and relief to my eyes.

Shrek. I LOOOVE Shrek. How can you not? It’s funny, adventurous, messing around with Disney clichés; it’s just great. Love the second movie too. The third and, they’re alright. The 'Shrek is love, Shrek is life' videos did NOT spoil this movie for me.

Slumdog Millionaire. I think this is one of those ‘perfect’ movies that combines romance, drama, crime, cross-culture, humour, excitement, thrills, sadness and loss and a happy ending. On my 16th birthday I literally sat at my own at home eating junk watching this movie. A true rags-to-riches story about a young Indian boy who goes on ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’ to see if his mean brother or lost-love will be there. If you haven’t seen it, fricken watch it.

Think Like a Man. This is one of the few rom-coms that I enjoy, I guess because it’s pretty hilarious and has Kevin Hart in it. And a great soundtrack. (Jennifer Hudson does the lead song with Neyo and she looks gorgeous; such a beautiful voice. Rick Ross kills it though). I like what this movie says about men and women and relationships, and the friendships between the characters. Mainly it’s just a fun movie.

Titanic. Ah, finally. I first watched this when I was seven, and I guess it’s always resonated with me. There are several films on this list I could class as ‘all time favourites’, but I usually say Titanic because it’s a well-known film, a cinematic masterpiece, based on a tragic historical event. I’m not a fan of romance, but I like it when it’s embedded in a movie without being the main plot of the movie. Rose and Jack’s romance is a large part of this movie, but it’s also about the tragedy and fragility of humanity, the unfairness of class distinction at the time, and that we don’t always get what we want and the ones we love pass away.

Trainspotting. Nearly there, whew! This is a movie about Scottish heroin addicts. It’s a great dark comedy with epic dialogue and characters and some infamous scenes (going down the toilet, baby on the ceiling). The second one is good too, but nothing beats the original. It’s not a ‘heavy’ film like some of the others on this list, but has its moments. Go watch it if you ain’t seen it. NOW!

Whiplash. This film is about a young man at music college studying to become a Jazz drummer who has an emotionally abusive sadistic teacher who nearly kills his love of drumming with his authoritative teaching. Has been compared to Full Metal Jacket a lot. An incredible and sad movie with a brilliant soundtrack and memorable ending. Mmm.

God, that was exhausting. I hammered most of these out in one sitting. But I’m still not done; here are the honourable mentions including Disney films:

2012,  The-40-Year-Old Virgin, A Clockwork Orange, American Psycho, Aladdin, Anchorman: The legend of Ron Burgundy, Anuvahood, Back to the Future, Bad Neighbours, The Bad Seed, Beauty and the Beast, Beverly Hills Cop, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, Bruce Almighty, Clueless, Daddy Day Care, Dirty Pretty Things, Django Unchained, Do the Right Thing, Dreamgirls, Eat Pray Love, Elite Squad, Enter the Dragon, Fame (1980), Finding Nemo, Forrest Gump, Frozen, Get him to the Greek, Gone with the wind, The Graduate, The Green Hornet, Hancock, The Help, Hercules, Home Alone, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Hunger Games, I'm through with white girls, The Inbetweeners Movie, The Incredibles, Inside Man, The Karate Kid, Kidulthood, Kill Bill, Kingsman: Secret Service, Legally Blonde 2, Leon, Lolita (both versions), The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Magic beyond words: The JK Rowling Story, Marley and Me, Matilda, Men in Black 3, Moonwalker, Mulan, Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Pink Panther Movie, Pocahontas, Pocahontas 2, The Princess and the Frog, Purple Rain, Psycho, Romeo and Juliet, School of Rock, Sex and the City, Sex and the City 2, Sharkboy and Lavagirl, Shrek 2, The Simpsons Movie, The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, Spiderman, Spiderman 2, Spiderman 3, The Spongebob Squarepants Movie (2004), Ted, This is England, This Means War, Trading Places, White Chicks, The Wizard of Oz, Wildchild, The Wolf of Wall Street.

And what are some of your favourites...hehe

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I'm Zarina Macha, an author, blogger, and musician from London. I write about stuff on the internet 'cos having opinions is fun -- if you want to join the games, please note your thoughts below. All thoughts welcome, even if they're mean (just no spam links please -- can't tell you what a liability those are to remove).
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