In fact, I’ve failed the challenge, because I’ve only managed to get as far as the first 5, and now I have to go make dinner. I’ll do the other half tomorrow, promise. Although the following are numbered 1 – 5 it doesn’t mean that I like number 1 more than number 5. I like them all, for different reasons, as you are about to see. As usual, if you’re just here for the music, I refer you to the bottom of the page.
Elaine’s Top Ten Favourite Films (Part One)
1. Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
Nicolas Cage plays an alcoholic who drinks himself to death. Elisabeth Shue is the hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold who tries and fails to save him. It has the same effect on me as Dumbo (when he is separated from his mother), and The Elephant Man (all of it). Both Cage and Shue put in totally believable performances and the end result is unbearably sad, and very very real.
2. Top Gun (1986)
Ah man. My go-to movie when I’m feeling down. Tom Cruise plays the young and ambitious top-gunner. Kelly McGillis is the older-woman-trainer who becomes his lover. Then Tom’s best mate dies and Kelly helps him to get over it. More than twenty years on and I still want to be Charlie (Kelly).
3. 12 Angry Men (1957)
No, the date isn’t a typo. This a very rare thing. A classic movie that stands the test of time. The 12 angry men in question (Henry Fonda is probably the only name you’ll recognise from the cast) are a jury who have to decide whether a murder was committed. It’s all shot in one room, in black-and-white, and a masterclass in film-making. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
4. Ordinary People (1980)
This won four well-deserved Oscars, including best picture, in 1981. Beth, Calvin and their son Conrad try to come to terms with the death of their other son (Conrad’s brother). This is definitely not an action movie. Not much happens except that Conrad goes to see his psychiatrist, but a more subtle, perceptive and compassionate family drama has never made. It’s directed by Robert Redford, with Mary Tyler Moore and Donald Sutherland as the parents. What more do you need to know?
5. Life of Brian (1979)
Do I need to explain? It’s more than thirty years old now. I still watch it every so often and it still makes me laugh. If you haven’t seen it, ask your dad to rent the DVD.
And this is the perfect place to stop. What else could today’s tune be? When you’re chewing on life’s gristle, don’t grumble, give a whistle… It is of course, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, from the fantastic, Life of Brian.