After writing about my top 5 favourite books, I thought I would do the same for my favourite films. Choosing my favourite books was hard, but I think choosing my favourite films might actually have been even harder. I’m much more likely to watch films multiple times whereas I’ll only read a book more than once if it’s my absolute favourite, so narrowing down my actual favourite films took quite a bit of thought! I absolutely love watching films (although recently I seem to have been favouring TV show marathons) and could quite happily spend an entire day watching back-to-back movies. When I was a teenager I used to keep a diary of all the films I’d watched, with little ratings and colour coded categories. Yeah, I know, I’m the coolest. So, in no particular order, here goes…
Say Anything (1989):
I know I just said this wasn’t in order, but I think this is probably my favourite film of all time. It’s an 80s teen romance/drama/comedy which often gets overlooked in favour of the more popular brat-pack movies like The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo’s Fire. But I think more people need to watch Say Anything, it’s cute without being sickly sweet, a little bit angsty and it has some genuinely funny bits too. It centres around Lloyd (John Cusack), good-intentioned if a little rough around the edges, and Diane (Ione Skye), prim and proper and about to start a university scholarship overseas, who only have a few months together after high school ends. They spend the summer falling in love, overcoming the obstacle that is her disapproving dad, breaking up, getting back together and doing all the things first loves are supposed to do. In all honesty I find Diane kind of annoying, but Lloyd Dobler is basically the most perfect human being ever and I LOVE HIM. This is definitely what started off my mild John Cusack obsession!
The Rules of Attraction (2002):
You might remember this one from my top 5 books post, and I love the film version just as much, if not more. (Side note: I would probably count High Fidelity as one of my favourite films too, but didn’t want the books/films lists to massively overlap!). Set in an American university, the film follows Lauren (Shannyn Sossamon), Sean (James Van Der Beek) and Paul (Ian Somerhalder) and their bizarre love triangle as they self-destructively party their way through college. Just like the book, the film also captures the dark side of human emotions in a strangely comic way. I also love how the film has been shot, with time being somewhat fluid and split screens following the actions of different characters. Another film which I feel is quite underrated, I definitely think it’s worth a watch.
Ghost World (2001):
Based on a graphic novel, Ghost World follows two teenage friends, Enid (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson), during the summer after they graduate from high school. The girls are social outsiders with a wicked sense of humour who enjoy making fun of just about everyone. The two pull a prank on an older man, Seymour (Steve Buscemi), but Enid inadvertently begins to feel sorry for him and an unlikely friendship forms; Rebecca, meanwhile, gets herself a job and begins to accept that growing up is something that everyone has to do. The film very accurately portrays teenage angst and the difficulties of adolescence, especially for those unwilling or unable to become “normal”. The contrast between the two main characters is especially interesting; Rebecca seems to realise the inevitable and “sells out” to join the rest of modern society, whereas Enid remains cynical and refuses to conform, forcing their friendship to steadily break down. Although some parts of the film are quite sad, it never loses its sense of humour and remains witty and sarky throughout.
Donnie Darko (2001):
After reading the short blurb at the top of the IMDB page just now, Donnie Darko sounds like an absolutely crazy and terrible film. But I promise it’s not. Although it deals with sci-fi themes like time travel, it’s really a film about human emotions and troubles. Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a teenager who narrowly escapes death after part of an aeroplane crashes into his bedroom. Already suffering from mental health problems, Donnie begins seeing visions of a giant rabbit who tells him the world is going to end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds. Throughout the film, this mysterious “Frank” influences Donnie to commit acts of destruction, which causes problems for several of the characters. Meanwhile, Donnie is becoming increasingly interested in time travel and believes that it is possible thanks to information gathered from a book written by an old science teacher at his school. During a Halloween party it becomes evident that it is his girlfriend Gretchen (Jena Malone) who Frank is going to kill and in order to save her (along with other characters who would either die or have their lives destroyed by Donnie’s actions) he attempts to travel back to 28 days ago and sacrifice himself. Still sounds a bit insane after my description, but it’s a brilliant film which is beautifully shot and has an excellent 1980s soundtrack.
10 Things I Hate About You (1999):
As much as I’d like to pretend I’m an intellectual sort of gal, I have a rather big soft spot for teen comedies. 10 Things I Hate About You is one of the best, plus it’s based on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew so that makes it a little bit intellectual, right? The two Stratford sisters are polar opposites; Kat (Julia Stiles) is intelligent, college-bound and couldn’t care less what people thought about her, whereas Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) is only interested in clothes, boys and parties. Thanks to their father’s strict rules, Bianca can only start dating once Kat does but with no interest in boys, loveable geek Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) hatches a plan to set Kat up so he can ask out Bianca. He settles on Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger) as the perfect candidate and Cameron pays him to take Kat on a date. After much protesting Kat eventually agrees to go out with him and, whaddayaknow, she inevitably ends up falling for bad-boy Patrick. Meanwhile, Cameron has to compete with the moronic Joey Donner for Bianca’s affections, but when Kat finds out it was all a set up everything is in danger of failing miserably. If you’re after a light-hearterd, funny and entertaining film that’s not completely vacuous, 10 Things is definitely a good bet. Plus it has probably my favourite movie soundtrack ever, lots of “angry girl music of the indie-rock persuasion”.
Garden State // I Love You Man // Walk The Line // Big Fish // The Wedding Singer // Grosse Pointe Blank // Brick // The Good Girl // Napoleon Dynamite // Fight Club // Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas // High Fidelity // Die Hard
What are your favourite films?