My Movie Alphabet is a blogathon started, as it says in the above graphic, by Mettel Ray and really encapsulates the true meaning of the word ‘blogathon’. In others words, it’s taken me bloody ages to put this together. Not that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed it, of course! This is a pretty changeable post, to be honest, and if you were to ask me to do it again in a couple of months, it may well change, but for now, this is how it is. For more info on how to get involved, have a gander here. So, without further ado, here are my entries.
Yes, numbers technically aren’t part of the alphabet but it just wouldn’t be fair to leave out some great films, just because they they’re different. I’m not a numberist. This is the first of several Stanley Kubrick entries and where better to start than 2001? It’s one of the finest sci-fi films ever made and contains some of the most recognisable shots in cinema. It’s a film that amazes and intrigues and if you claim you completely understand it, well, you’re lying.
In contention: 28 Days Later, 21 Grams
Alfred Hitchcock. Hitch. The Master of Suspense. Alfredo. Arguably one of the most influential filmmakers of all time, Hitchcock has produced some stonecold classics – Psycho, Rear Window, Vertigo, to name but three. I’ve enjoyed virtually every Hitchcock film I’ve seen and there are still a few I’ve not had chance to see. Few directors have produced so many top notch films and the man has since gone down in legend. Most of the stuff told about Hitch is probably utter tripe, but it makes for an interesting story nonetheless.
In contention: Amelie, Alien, A Clockwork Orange
Kubrick entry numero two. Barry Lyndon is arguably Kubrick’s most overlooked major release and often gets lost behind the praise of The Shining, A Clockwork Orange, etc. However, it’s an excellent piece of filmmaking and is stunningly filmed throughout. It’s also one of the few period dramas I can stomach, which is high praise indeed.
In contention: Batman Begins, Brad Pitt, Bill Murray, (The) Big Lebowski
Yep, that’s right, chocolate raisins: my cinema snack of choice. They are just discreet enough not to make too much noise and disturb others, whilst satisfying my annoyingly sweet tooth. No trip to the cinema is complete without them. Usually demolished before the film starts.
In contention: Clerks, Casino Royale, Citizen Kane
Drive is one of my favourite films of recent years. It’s such a simple story yet is told with verve and style, with an ice cool performance from Ryan Gosling. It also has an absolutely killer soundtrack and a nice little cameo by Christina Hendrix. Always welcome.
In contention: (The) Dark Knight, Die Hard, Dr Strangelove
Another letter, another Kubrick film. This was Kubrick’s last work before his death and is one of his most complex. It seems a relatively normal-ish look at a slightly strained marriage before going off-the-wall crazy about half way through, full of cults, sex and cults having sex. Beautifully shot as always, this is one of my favourite Kubrick films and one, like The Shining, that is so ripe for interpretation if that’s your bag.
In contention: ET, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Surprise! Another film from Mr Kubrick. Guess what the letter S is going to be?! Full Metal Jacket is one of my favourite films of all time, not just of Kubrick’s. Split into two halves, the first half shows the removal of the future soldier’s identities and the breakdown of one particular solider at the hands of the infamous Gny. Sgt. Hartman, whilst the second half shows said soldiers out in the field. Superbly showing the media and consumerism aspects of war, Full Metal Jacket is one of the greatest war films ever made.
In contention: Fight Club
A hark back to my childhood, as explained here. Both Ghostbusters films are ones that I watched a hell of a lot of when I was younger and I still find them entertaining. Bill Murray is at his dry, witty best and there’s a skyscraper sized marshmallow man roaming the streets of New York. What more could you ask for?
In contention: Girl Interrupted, Goodfellas, (The) Godfather
Again, another one that reminds me of being younger, and also my all time favourite Christmas film. When this hits TV, I know it’s time to break out the mince pies. I think this appeals to me as an adult as I see my life mirroring that of Macaulay Culkin. Well, except for the fame, fortune and drug-fuelled parties. Replace those with an unfulfilling job and a liking for an early night, and we’re practically the same.
In contention: Halloween, Hot Fuzz
Into the Wild is a film that managed to make me want to go off and travel the world and stay at home and not go anywhere both at the same time. It’s wonderfully shot and has an amazing original soundtrack by Pearl Jam’s Eddier Vedder.
In contention: Indiana Jones, Inglorious Basterds
This is the first film I remember seeing that made me feel like a grown up. Apparently when I saw it with my parents, a boy much older than me had to be taken out by his parents because he was too scared. Wimp. Despite being nearly 20 years old, this still holds up superbly and does kind of make me wish the place was real.
In contention: Jaws, James Bond
Sure, she may have the charisma of a desk and the acting ability of a crippled raccoon, but just look at her. LOOK AT HER! Moving on…
In contention: Kill Bill
Now we’ve finished fawning over Kristen Stewart, let’s move on to Liv Tyler. LOOK AT HER! It’s unbelievable that she shares half her genes with Steve Tyler.
In contention: Leon, Lord of the Rings, Lost in Translation,
Enough of the misogyny and back to the more credible stuff. Marty has made so many good films, it’s unbelievable, from the classics of Taxi Driver and Raging Bull to the underrated gems like King of Comedy. He’s still making great films and long may he do so.
In contention: Memento, Magnolia, Michael Fassbender
In No Country for Old Men, Javier Bardem turns in one of the creepiest performances I can think of as cold hearted killer Anton Chigurh. That alone is enough for it to take its place on this list, never mind the presence of Josh Brolin and Tommy Lee Jones and the superb cinematography.
In contention: Natural Born Killers, North by Northwest
An absolute classic and the reason my blog is named as it is – not because I’m called Terry or like pigeons. Brando is at his unbelievable best, and there are some excellent supporting performances from the likes of Karl Malden and Rod Steiger.
In contention: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, O Brother Where Art Thou, Oceans 11
This was one of the toughest decisions on the list. It was either this or Pan’s Labyrinth but this just about made the cut. One of Hitchcock’s finest, this is filmmaking at its best, even now. I remember in high school being asked to compose a piece of music to accompany that famous reveal of Mrs Bates. Erm, you try replacing a Bernard Herrman score when you’re only 13.
In contention: Pan’s Labyrinth, Pulp Fiction, Paths of Glory
Tarantino has made some of the most fun films in recent memory. Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction have gone down as all-time classics, whilst the Kill Bill movies are also incredibly entertaining. Tarantino rarely hits a bum note, filling his films with memorable scenes, great characters and reams of superb dialogue.
In contention: None
This was another very difficult choice. Rosemary’s Baby is a horror film but at the same time not. It won’t scare you and have you hiding behind your cushion but it will chill you with an overwhelming sense of unease. A real classic.
In contention: Raging Bull, Reservoir Dogs
Well I bet no-one saw this coming, providing you’ve made it down this far without getting bored. I could have chosen The Shining, but why not go for the great man himself? I studied all of his major films at university and love every single one of them. Most films can be ruined by analysing them to death but Kubrick’s just become even more interesting for it. My favourite filmmaker and such a shame he’s no longer around sharing his genius.
In contention: The Shining, Shame, Star Wars, Se7en, Shaun of the Dead
Not the most glamorous film on the list but without a doubt one of the best. Featuring scenes that’ll make you laugh, cry, wince and want to throw up, Danny Boyle’s masterful adaptation of the novel is one of the best British films of all time. Also, Robert Carlyle’s Begbie is a truly phenomenal performance.
In contention: Taxi Driver, There Will Be Blood, Tom Hardy
One of the greatest reveals in movie history. Virtually every moment builds up to the big moment at the end and when it comes it’s like a slap round the face. Everyone, especially Spacey, is great and even when you know what’s coming on a second viewing, it still has quite the impact.
In contention: Up, The Untouchables
Another Hitchcock classic and, although not my choice, I can see why it was controversially voted as Sight and Sound’s ‘Best Film of all Time’. For me, this is one of Jimmy Stewart’s best roles and Kim Novak helps to further deepen the whole ‘Hitchcock’s obsession with blondes’ thing. Also, that reverse-zoom down the stairwell has now become legendary and copied more times than I’d care to imagine.
In contention: Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Volver
Hands down one of the funniest films ever made and I never get tired of banging on about it. I still fail to find an unfunny moment in it, from Wayne’s masterful grasp of Cantonese to Garth’s description of the movie Scanners. I can watch this over and over again and never get bored. One of the easiest inclusions on the list.
In contention: What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?, Watchmen, The Wrestler, Wall-E
This is more based on an obsession I had with the TV show more than the actual films but seeing as the films are part of the whole X Files universe, I couldn’t ignore them. Whilst the TV show does look dated now, it’s still pretty creepy at times and also very funny in places too. The films didn’t live up to the TV show, particularly the second film but I still enjoyed them enough.
In contention: X-Men: First Class,
Wait, wait, WAIT! Come back. I know what you’re thinking, but there really aren’t many films that begin with the letter ‘Y’. In fact, I think this is the only one I’ve seen. The fact that I’ve actually seen this is depressing enough. However, one good thing did come from this film, which is highlighted in the bottom-middle picture above. It spawned an excellent episode of South Park entitled ‘You got F’d in the A’. Honestly, that’s why it’s on here. Please believe me.
In contention: If there were any other contenders, do you really think I’d have chosen You Got Served?
Again, not a slew of options for ‘Z’ but I feel Zombieland is a worthy inclusion. Like a US Shaun of the Dead, it has plenty of laugh out loud moments and some great performances from everyone involved. Another example of just how brilliantly diverse Woody Harrelson can be and the ‘rules’ of survival are a neat touch.
In contention: Zoolander
So there we have it, that’s my movie alphabet. Hope you all enjoyed that; feel free to leave your comments, suggestions and vitriol. I’m off for a lie down in a darkened room.