Part six in our Films Films and Me series and it’s our own editor David T from Kent revealing his movie choices.
1. The First Film I Saw At The Cinema
Peter Pan (1953) the classic Disney animation got a re-release in the mid-eighties and my parents took my sister and me to see it. I have vague recollections of sitting in a big dark room with lots of people, but very little memory of the movie itself. I do recall Dad falling asleep and my Mum giving him a nudge for snoring. Not long after this I got taken to see Care Bears: The Movie (1985) and even at five years old I knew it was rubbish. Sadly, I didn’t get taken to see Transformers: The Movie (1986) to even the score when it arrived a little while later.
2. The Funniest Film I’ve Seen
Airplane! (1980). I was around twelve when I saw it and it was the first time I’d seen a Zucker Abrahams Zucker film. It was almost too much; I was nearly on the floor by the end I was laughing so much. Our colour television was broken so we’d brought a black and white portable in to the living room until it could be fixed, but the small screen didn’t limit the film’s impact. I got most of the jokes, but even the ones I didn’t understand were funny because I was laughing at my parents. They were in fits of laughter to, and my Dad had tears by the end he was laughing so much. I’ve never seen a film since that had so many proper belly laughs, just joke after joke. I felt physically worn out by the end.
3. The Scariest Film I’ve Seen
When I was growing up in the eighties the Irwin Allen disaster films of the previous decade were often on television. My parents had fond memories of these films as many of them had been date movies for them when they were “courting”. Thus they thought it was a good idea to sit my sister and me in front of The Towering Inferno (1974) one Saturday afternoon. I really wasn’t mentally prepared to see people burning to death and clawing at each other in sheer terror infused desperation to get out of the Glass Tower. I thus had genuine nightmares for a couple of nights. I wasn’t brave enough to revisit the film until I was in my mid-teens, and even then I approached with caution.
Around the time I re-watched The Towering Inferno our religious studies teacher decided to show our class the nuclear war film Threads (1984). I think it was to teach us about the social impact of the Cold War. Inferno paled in comparison; it was the most grim, depressing, and realistically graphic film I’d ever seen. It was also utterly terrifying because there was a chance that it could all actually happen. To date no film has come close to Threads for scares and I doubt anything ever will.
4. The Last Film To Make Me Cry
Hopefully it doesn’t mean I’m dead inside, but I’ve never cried at a film. I remember watching Platoon (1986) in my early teens and it was the first time I realised that war wasn’t daring-do and ‘boys own’ adventures like we’d been sold in all those John Wayne war movies. That affected me a bit, as I realised just what all those men went through during World War One and Two, Korea, Vietnam, etc. I might be getting softer as I approach my forties though; I had to fight a few lumps in the throat at the end of Avengers: Endgame, but then didn’t we all?
5. The Film You Haven’t Seen That You Really Should Have By Now
Doing what I do writing wise I’ve seen many of the “big” films. A little while ago I found the Empire Magazine 300 greatest films list from 2014 and worked my way through it, watching those films on the list I hadn’t seen. There are still some gaps though. Despite my wife being a big fan of musicals I’ve not seen many movie musicals. There are also a few important westerns I’ve yet to see. My biggest not-seen-yet films though are Citizen Kane (1941), Gone With The Wind (1939), and Lawrence of Arabia (1962). Pretty big titles, so I need to get to these sooner rather than later, though if I’m honest the plots for all three aren’t enticing me much.
6. The Worst Film You’ve Sat Through
As a fan of the scary movie I’ve sat through more dodgy films than most people have. I don’t mind bad films as long as they aren’t dull. The Nail Gun Massacre (1985), for example, is so shoddy it’s unintentionally hilarious. That makes it a fun watch. The Disco Exorcist (2012) was a low point though. I was hoping it would be a ‘so bad its good’ film, but it was just bad and boring.
City of Angels (1998) was also terrible. My wife and I watched it when we had just started dating. I don’t think either of us were that interested in it, but it looked like a typical lovey-dovey date film. It was a painful watch.
The closest I’ve come to walking out of the cinema was Ghostbusters (2016). No offence to the cast as they got a lot of stick during pre-production, all of it unjustified, but it was an awful script, unfunny, predictable, and bland. We only stuck it out because we were hoping it might get better, but it just got worse as the film went on, right up to the terrible CGI dirge that was the final showdown with un-scary villain Rowan.
7. The One Film I’ve Seen More Times Than Any Other
For a while it was Ghostbusters (1984). I had it on a double VHS with Ghostbusters II (1989) and I watched it a lot when I was growing up. It’s since been overtaken by Halloween (1978) as I watch that every 31st October and have done for some years. I could probably watch it every month and it wouldn’t get old.
8. My Most Underrated Film
There are so many, where to start. The scary movie genre alone has loads. Horror movies always get short shrift in awards ceremonies so lots of them have fallen through the cracks. A movie we’ve championed here that really deserves a much bigger audience is The Guest (2014). It’s tough to call it underrated as the reviews for it at the time were very good, but it’s been forgotten already and that’s a shame. Another great film that got excellent reviews but disappeared almost immediately is Lake Mungo (2009). It’s well worth tracking down if you can find it.
If we’re talking about films that got average or poor reviews that I think are much better than that, I’ll go for the sequels Jaws 2 (1978), Beverly Hills Cop 2 (1987), Crocodile Dundee 2 (1988), and Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981), and the horror films The House On Sorority Row (1982) and The Final Girls (2015).
9. My Favourite Film
No debate here, Aliens (1986). I was twelve when I saw it and I knew immediately I had seen my favourite film and it wouldn’t ever be topped. And it never has. If it wasn’t for Aliens though I’m not sure I would be able to choose a single favourite. There would be twenty or so movies all vying for the top spot and it would probably change month to month depending on what I was in the mood for.
10. My One Movie Wish
I wish people wouldn’t talk in the cinema. If you could guarantee me that I wouldn’t have to suffer any inconsiderate, rude people in cinemas I’d go a lot more frequently. My patience for suffering these sorts of idiots lessens the older I get, which is a shame as I do love a trip to the cinema.
If not this, then a proper sequel to Aliens (1986), a new part three which wipes the slate clean and brings back Hicks, Bishop, Newt, and Ripley. We came close with Neill Blomkamp’s proposed script but sadly that’s dead in the water now. Twentieth Century Fox thought they were better of funding Ridley Scott’s dour Alien prequels instead; those idiots.