I have been thinking recently about why I love film so much. Well, it has a lot to do with moments like these…
I have been a film fan since I was first taken to the cinema to see Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs (1937) at the old Hamilton Odeon in 1983. Film has gone from being an diversion to an interest to a passion, I studied it and University and for nearly 15 years of my life whether directly or indirectly, it was part of my career.
I love how a specific film can conjour a specific time in my life. Take Young Guns (Christopher Cain, 1988) this film reminds me in crystal clarity of how I watched it on repeat instead of studying for my Highers (A-levels to you English folks) or seeing an advert for Beverly Hills Cop (Martin Brest, 1984) reminds me of being ill, as it was and remains my go to film when I am poorly. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (James G. Robinson, 1994), is the film we always watched after a Saturday night out and Remember The Titans (Boaz Yakin, 2000) recalls an amazing holiday across America and there are many, many more examples like this.
I then started thinking about my favourite movie moments, those bits in a film that bring you out in goosebumps, make you laugh or even cry. With all that in in mind, I have compiled a list of 10 of my favourites. These aren’t necessarily from my favourite films, but they are all memorable to me in some way. So with out further ado and in no particular order, here is my list.
1. “Rohirrim! To The King!” The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers (Peter Jackson, 2002)
The Lord of the Rings trilogy is full of wonderful, jaw dropping moments, but this is the best of the lot. The King of Rohan and his people, along with our heroes Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli are defending Helm’s Deep and have been battered by an unstoppable army. Morning has come, the fortress has been breached and hope is lost.
Then from nowhere, Gandlaf arrives with Eomer and the riders of Rohan. The image of the army of horsemen charging down the hill and routing the orcs is stunning and brings me out in goosebumps every single time I watch it, which has been a fair few. Rousing stuff!
2. “It’s The Resistance” Star Wars: The Force Awakens (J J Abrahams, 2015)
Rey and Finn have enlisted the help of smugglers and Rebellion legends Han Solo and Chewbacca in order to get BB-8 back to The Resistance. Han takes them to Takadona, to meet with the Maz Kanata, who can help get them where they need to go. They are attacked by The First Order. They are hopelessly out-numbered, until Han, hearing the sound of engines, looks up to see a squadron of X-Wing fighters, led by Poe Dameron flying to the rescue. “It’s The Resistance”. The image of those X-Wings skimming the water S-Foils in attack position, cemented this as a real Star Wars film and banished the bad memories of the prequels. I was quite literally out of my chair with excitement.
3. The Dole Queue Dance The Full Monty (Peter Cattaneo, 1997)
Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, this glorious little British film is still as entertaining as it was in 1997. This comedy took the world by storm and while it is light hearted for the most part, it actually looks and deals (if only slightly in some cases) with some pretty serious issue. Unemployment, impotence, homosexuality, father’s rights and even suicide.
Set in Sheffield, following the closure of the once vibrant steel mills, the film focuses on a group of unemployed guys who decide to make a bit of extra money by forming the most unlikely group of strippers ever assembled.
While the film crescendos with the full monty performance of the title, the films best sequence is when the lads are in the dole queue and Hot Stuff by Donna Summer comes on the radio. They all find themselves breaking into their routine culminating in Tom Wilkinson’s amazing pirouette. Brings a smile to my face every time and furthermore, every time I hear Hot Stuff, I cant help but breaking into the dance myself.
4. “And you’ll never have to” Batman Begins (Christopher Nolan, 2005)
As the film draws to a close, Lt Gordon uses the new Bat Symbol to summon The Dark Knight and they discuss the changes in Gotham. Gordon tells him about a new threat, someone with the flair for the theatrical and hands Batman a Joker playing card. “I’ll look into it”. You could almost sense every single Batman fan shriek with excitement at the same time.
What come next is even better and is a wonderful moment between Batman and Gordon that feels like it has been taking right out of the pages on a comic book. As Batman gets ready to depart Gordon says… “I never said thank you”.
“and you’ll never have to” is the response. Brilliant
5. “it’s, it’s a dinosaur…” Jurassic Park (Steven Spielberg, 1993)
Pulled from his dig site by an eccentric billionaire, Paleontologist Alan Grant and his paleobotanist girlfriend are whisked to a remote island off the coast of Costa Rica to witness and sign off on what they think is an exotic theme park. However, when they see what the old man has discovered they look on in wonder and as the camera pans out and John Williams iconic score kicks in, we the viewers can only do the same thing.
Steven Spielberg invented the blockbuster with Jaws and has re-invigorated it so many times across the years and Jurassic Park was no exception. This moment set the tone for the thrill ride that was to come. Simply stunning, even 24 years on.
6. Savin’ The Day Ghostbusters (Ivan Reitman, 1984)
I couldn’t let a list like this go without a moment from my all time favourite film. Following interference from CDC pencil pusher Walter Peck, the Ghostbusters’ ecto-containment unit has been destroyed and the boys are locked up. With the entire city in the grips of ghostly chaos, the mayor has no choice but to turn to the Ghostbusters for help. “what do you need from me…” The synth sound track kicks in and The Ghostbusters are escorted by the police to to the scene to the adoration of cheering crowds. “Ghostbusters! Ghostbusters! Ghostbusters!” To this day, I have to check that I am not shouting along. Even watching it now as I put this list together, it brings the same smile of joy and happiness to my face when I watch now, as it did when I first saw it aged 8.
7. “Call it Captain” Avengers Assemble (Joss Whedon, 2012)
The film that would never, could never work. Surely you can not build a universe over 5 5 years and have it all come together in one epic action spectacular? Well, Marvel did it, and it was glorious.
Earth is under attack by an alien horde and a group of superheroes have banded together to fight back. Having spent most of the film fighting among themselves, they unite against a common enemy. When Hulk joins the fight, the heroes find themselves surrounded. Iron Man defers to Captain America “Call it Captain”, Cap brings the team together and The Avengers were born, what follows in probably the most exhilarating and excitingly crowd pleasing 30 minutes in the last 10 years. “Hulk, smash!”
8. La Marseillaise, Casablanca (Micheal Curitz, 1942)
Rick Blaine is an America ex-soldier and freedom fighter running a bar in Casablanca, Morocco during the second world war. Morocco is part of France and remains free from German rule. Rick’s place is a neutral venue, where German soldiers, French resistance fighters and everyone in between come together. On this particular night Victor Lazlo, head of the resistance is in the bar, when he hears a group of rowdy Germans singing, he leads the largely French crowd in a rousing version of La Marseillaise, sending the soldiers back to their table with there tails between their legs. Now, I think the French national anthem is amazing anyway, but in the context of the film it is simply stunning and brings a tear to my eye every time. Vive La France!
9. “K-Billy Super sounds of the 70s just keeps on truckin'” Reservoir Dogs (Quentin Tarantino, 1993)
There are so many iconic moments in Tarantino’s debut film, but none more so than the slo mo walking scene. The entire film is underpinned by the sound of a local radio station celebrating a 70s weekend. The voice over leads us in to the credit sequence that shows The Dogs kitted out in their black suits and it sets the tone for everything that is to follow.
Reservoir Dogs not only kick started Quentin Tarantino’s career, but relaunched an entire genre. The suits, the script, the soundtrack, the sunglasses, all memorable, all amazing.
10. “Okay, Let’s Ride” Gone In 60 Seconds (Dominic Sena, 2000)
You didn’t think I would let a list like this go by without a Nicolas Cage moment. I have chosen the Low Rider scene from Gone In 60 Seconds. Having to come back out of retirement to save his brother from a vicious gangster, car thief Randall “Memphis” Raines and his team get ready to steal 50 cars in one night.
Before they get started, Memphis gets his old jacket out of storage and insists on quiet as he plays his favourite song to set the tone. Nothing more to say. Just listen and enjoy….
Thanks for reading. Hope you folks enjoyed yourselves, catch ya later on down the trail.