At 40 weeks pregnant I went for acupuncture in the hopes to get things moving with labour. A friend had recommended it and the only question I asked was where they put the needles so that I knew what to wear, so I didn’t really know what to expect otherwise.
It turns out, they have you lie down – if you’re pregnant that means lying on your side – pop a bunch of needles in various places on your body (I had one in the top of my head, one in my ear, one in either hand, one in either ankle, and one near either knee) and then leave you to relax for about half an hour until they come and remove the needles and let you go home.
I wasn’t expecting this half an hour just lying on a bed and I quickly became aware that I don’t ever sit (or lie down) for periods of time without a device in my hand or the TV on. I didn’t know what to do with myself. So I thought about TV. Ha. I decided to compile my definitive top 5 list of movies.
I figured I might as well share the list here, now that I have it…
- Jurassic Park, 1993
Best movie of all time. Great childhood memories of it. Still holds up, even with the CGI and animatronics of 1993. Fantastic plot, storytelling, intrigue, direction, actors, dinosaurs. It’s epic. You’ve seen it, I don’t need to tell you more. (If you haven’t seen it, I don’t know why.)
2. You’ve Got Mail, 1998
This is another one with nostalgia attached… my mum and I used to watch this together and I think it was what really got me into romantic films. It’s such a lovely and fun storyline, without being cheesy, the actors just do a stellar job, and it’s got some twists and turns along the way.
3. Hot Fuzz, 2007
I didn’t see this when it first came out, and was gutted I missed it at the cinema. My family and I were on holiday near Wells and we went to visit the cathedral one day, and I think we even went into the pub – but I had no idea of their significance! Once I saw the film I was even more gutted as I would have thoroughly nerded out the whole day and taken SO many pictures. I love the general Britishness of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s movies, and this one is by far my favourite of their trilogy. I love the humour, the idioms, the random but familiar locations, the music and the star studded line up. I think Edgar Wright is a masterful director – every scene has so much going on in details. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost – well, nothing really needs to be said, they’re just excellent together. When I got the DVD as a 15 year old obsessive, I watched it on repeat for weeks.
4. La La Land, 2016
I freaked out when I saw this movie. I am pretty sure I saw it in the cinema. And I raved about it, to everyone that would listen. I love that it’s not a straight forward Rom Com as you might expect. It’s more real. But at the same time it’s kind of a musical so quite removed from reality. It’s a lovely, romantic, funny, heartbreaking, coming-of-age, bright, sing-a-long film that takes you from highs to lows and leaves you feeling… well that would be telling. One friend cursed me for raving about it because of its ending – she was not impressed.
5. Moana, 2016
You have to have a favourite Disney movie. Everyone does. Whether yours makes it onto your top movies of all time list though is another thing. Mine does. Moana dove ahead of all other Disney films the first time I saw it. This was another film I didn’t instantly see at the cinema – I didn’t think there was a huge amount of appeal. I like Disney movies a lot, but I don’t rush to the cinema to see them. I saw Toy Story 3 in the cinema, but I can’t think of another one I saw as an adult, and I’ve never really regretted it. Moana though, was just amazing and I would’ve loved to have seen it on the big screen. I love everything about this movie. It made me convince my husband and whole family to go to Hawaii. Ha I kid. Kind of… I love the blend of Polynesian cultures, the importance of family and recognising where you’re from, but also the need to figure out what you are about. I know it’s what everyone talks about, but it is genuinely great to have a Disney princess movie that doesn’t have a love interest element to it. The songs are excellent (Lin Manuel Miranda… no surprise there!), and the storyline is great – and pretty much all Polynesian folklore, which helps to keep it more authentic. I love how proud of the movie everyone involved with it was too. Native islanders felt they had some level of ownership in it too which is great to see as well. Overall, it’s just a great movie, with great messages, and everyone should see it.
In conclusion, it seems – to me – that what is important in a film is great chemistry between actors, and a director who really considers every single shot, as well as the authenticity of the story being told.
The partnerships of Hanks and Ryan; Pegg and Frost; Neill and Dern; Goldblum and Attenborough; Stone and Gosling; and The Rock and Cravalho.
From Spielberg never revealing too much of the dinosaurs keeping the suspense alive (did you know that in the 2 hours 7 minutes of the film, dinosaurs are only on screen for 15 minutes?); to the way Edgar Wright tells the whole plot of the movie within a short back and forth between characters before it all unravels; to the way Damien Chazelle uses colour to emphasise the pop of Hollywood and the moods progressing through the movie. Wright and Chazelle also use wonderful camerawork in their direction – Chazelle has the ongoing scenes that seem unthinkable, while Wright uses dramatic scene cuts and zooms.
Unique and authentic stories are pretty rare in Hollywood these days, so stumbling across something that stands out is significant to me. I like movies that don’t feel like a carbon copy of a dozen (or bajillion) other things, and I feel like all the ones on the list here are just that (though some have caused a bunch of spin-offs/similar movies to be made).
I love Moana for the fact that it is a Polynesian story, and that Polynesian people were given a voice in it – it’s neither a rehashed princess story or a culturally appropriated one. I love that La La Land doesn’t follow the predicted storyline. Like I said above, the Britishness of Hot Fuzz makes it unlike many other movies and you can tell from the gumption of the cast that they’re familiar with all the quirks that people not from the UK think are exaggerated! Jurassic Park was an instant classic because there literally hadn’t been a movie made like that before. And You’ve Got Mail, although it follows a typical romantic film pattern, still feels like it stands apart – there’s depth to story and great character development.
So there we have it. My ultimate top 5 movies of all time.
Just as a sneaky PS where I’m going to share a couple bonuses that ALMOST made the list… There are three silly comedies that are guaranteed to make me smile – Bad Neighbours, Step Brothers and the new Jumanji. They’re not good films, but they’re great. A few films from my childhood that are worthy of mention are The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Singing in the Rain and Grease.