I’ve always been a film guy, ever since I was old enough to understand them. I tend to watch films most days, they can differ from great to good to bad and to exceedingly dire, but it doesn’t matter because either way I’m interested. It took me a while to think this list through but the upcoming 5 films are the ones that have influenced me the most in my life, whether it’s developing a potentially unhealthy obsession or just simply something about them really made me tick.
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Dir: George Lucas
Probably my earliest film memory, watching this with my Dad, and since then The Empire Strikes Back has been one of my favourite films, certainly the best of the Star Wars franchise in my opinion. The battle of Hoth, where Luke Skywalker takes down the AT-AT (or big camel as I used to call it) with his snow-speeder used to always excite me, and the memorable lightsaber battle between Luke and Darth Vader where Vader claims: “Luke, I am your father.”, still shocked me every time, how could the evil man who killed Obi-Wan Kenobi be Luke’s father? Everything about this film was amazing for me as a little kid, I loved the battles, Han Solo’s witty charm, and I always wanted to fly in a snow-speeder and an X-Wing. What makes it more special is that it really kicked off my obsession with Star Wars, since watching The Empire Strikes Back, I was hooked on all things Star Wars, which is what probably lead to my impressive lightsaber and action figure collection when I was younger. A truly great film that I fell in love with immediately.
Dir: Nicolas Winding Refn
This film more than any has had an impact on my life; ever since I first heard Nightcall in the title sequence, I was hooked. I have watched Drive more than any other film because there is not one aspect of it that I don’t find perfect. The casting was wonderful, Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston and the rest of this great ensemble were amazing. I felt Gosling in particular was so perfect at capturing The Driver as a character, despite mainly being known for his role in The Notebook. Like Star Wars, I developed an instant obsession with everything about Drive, the clothes, the cast but most importantly, Cliff Martinez’s amazing soundtrack. There isn’t a single day that passes where I don’t listen to at least one of the songs from Drive, as the soundtrack really moved me in a way that most don’t with the exception of Hans Zimmer’s score for Interstellar. Martinez really encapsulated everything about the film into the soundtrack perfectly. There is no doubt that this is my favourite film, for everything about it left such a lasting impact on me that I can honestly same I’m truly obsessed with it, I mean I even bought toothpicks to be just like Gosling.
American Psycho (2000)
Dir: Mary Harron
Already being aware of many of Christian Bale’s films of course, The Dark Knight Trilogy, The Prestige and The Machinist. I was recommended American Psycho by a friend, and I was not disappointed. Not only was I already a fan of Bale, I really loved his dark, comedic role playing total psychopath Patrick Bateman, I loved his demeanour, his smile, but most of all, his great taste in 70’s and 80’s music. My favourite scene starting with his question to Paul Allen: “Do you like Huey Lewis and The News?” which of course leads to the infamous moon walking/axe murder scene, which for me combined all the great elements of this film together, the dark humour, the brutality and Patrick’s psychopathic nature.This film certainly made me want to be rich so I could own a ‘Valentino suit’ and have my own business card which is “bone” with “silian rail” font. This was just such a loveable movie, despite much outcry about the violence and the objectification of women, it’s all just part of what makes American Psycho so unique.
Jurassic Park (1993)
Dir: Steven Spielberg
Much like The Empire Strikes Back, this was a love that stemmed from my early childhood, due to my absolute obsession with all things dinosaur. Looking back, this is a pretty brutal film, but when I was a little kid, none of that mattered, all I cared about was the T-Rex, the velociraptors and whether Dr. Grant was going to survive. Sam Neill’s Dr. Alan Grant was a real figurehead for me in my early years, because I wanted to grow up to be just like him, a palaeontologist and I really wanted to meet a real life dinosaur (as long as it didn’t try and eat me of course). When I was young, I could honestly sit there all day just watching this on repeat, because I loved it so much, even the rest of the trilogy, which of course aren’t as good, they still fascinated me because of the dinosaurs, especially the Spinosaurus in Jurassic Park III. Now I can say I don’t really watch it as often, but I can certainly say it left a huge lasting impact on me and still remains today as one of my favourites. I cant wait for Jurassic World.
Happy Gilmore (1996)
Dir: Denis Dugan
I honestly don’t know why I love Adam Sandler so much, but it was Happy Gilmore that really kicked off my love for his films. Since seeing Happy Gilmore when I was around 9 at a friends house, I’ve watched all of Sandler’s movies, even the truly bad ones (Jack and Jill), but in every single film I’ve watched, I just have to laugh because Sandler to quote Zombieland: “Has a direct link to my funny bone.” Happy Gilmore remains the films that started it all for me and is still my favourite Sandler film to date, the ridiculous humour (Chubbs and the Alligator) and his rivalry with Shooter McGavin (Chris McDonald), honestly made this film for me totally hilarious. I actually found it to have one of the better stories featuring in Sandler’s films, especially it’s theme of golf and a man’s love for his Grandma. A classic 90’s comedy that has always provided laughs whenever I’ve watched it.
HONOURABLE MENTIONS: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-03), Back To The Future (1985), Donnie Darko (2001), Interstellar (2014), Casino Royale (2006), The Godfather (1972), Fight Club (1999) and The Green Mile (1999).
Words by Elliott Jones