I was challenged on Facebook the other day to list 15 films that have made an impact on me and will always stay with me. The idea was to list these quickly, off the top of my head, without thinking about it… but you know me. I can’t do quick, concise lists, as I mentioned just the other day! So, as I know my challenger is also a regular reader of my blog, I’m writing about those memorable films here, instead. I’ve cut it down to ten in the name of brevity – be proud of me!
Hails’ Top Ten Unforgettable Films
(in no particular order)
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
The first time I saw this film was with Mum and The Sister on one of those cosy girlie evenings we’d have on occasion. This was a particularly happy night because it was somewhere between Christmas and New Year, so we were on holidays and enjoying playing with the toys Santa had brought. I think I was about 8 or 9. We had chicken and chips for dinner that night, and got to eat it in front of the TV from trays on our knees while we watched E.T. and laughed together at him drinking the beer and wearing the wig and saying “phooooone hoooooome!”. However, the part that sticks in my mind the most is when all the people with white suits and helmets and breathing apparatus came and made a big tunnel up to the house, and Elliot was crying, and poor sick E.T. got taken away. Honestly, that traumatised me. To this day, I can’t watch that film without feeling all anxious and troubled when it gets to that part.
V for Vendetta
Love this one. Since I first saw this, I’ve gotten quite into books and films depicting future dystopian societies or post-apocalyptic times. In terms of novels, my favourites at the moment include “Alas, Babylon” and “1984”, but this one is among the best when it comes to film.
This scared the crap out of me. Seriously. I have watched violent slasher movies that have terrified me much less than Gremlins. Little cute and cuddly critters that morph into horrible monsters if they get wet?! That’s a terrible, terrible nightmare. I really don’t like Gremlins. I always end up feeling so sorry for poor little Gizmo, and just want to rescue him from all the horror and chaos. The only time I watched it, when I was a child, I went up to bed before it was over because it was all too much for me.
To Kill A Mockingbird
I first watched this in school when I was studying the book for my English Literature GCSE. I think it was the first black and white film I ever watched, and I loved it. It was my teacher’s enthusiasm that sucked me into the story, and it was the first time I’d ever learned much about racial and class division. I bought the movie when I was older, and found that I still enjoyed it – although, of course I’ll always prefer the book.
Another favourite. And not just because of Brad Pitt, although he’s a definite bonus! ;) And this is one of his best performances, in my opinion. I love the story and the suspense, and I really like how it all gets tied up in the end.
Tarka the Otter
I actually have very little memory of the plot of this film – I’ll just never forget it for how deeply it touched me. I was 9 years old at the time, and my teacher lent me the video – maybe we were reading the book in school, I can’t remember. What I do remember is crying my heart out as I watched it, and being genuinely upset, almost heartbroken, afterwards. Sorry for the spoiler, kids, but I guess that means the otter dies in the end.
The Truman Show
This film was a great source of philosophical discussion and debate for 17-year-old me and my friends. What if your life was all a big sham? How do you know it’s not? Would it have been better for Truman to never find out and just go on thinking it was all real? Would he be incapable of functioning in the real world, like a captive bird released into the wild? If it was you, would you rather find out or remain unaware? (Oh, but also, I just really really love Jim Carrey. It is an attraction I cannot explain, and it has always just been there.)
I cannot emphasize this strongly enough: do NOT watch this film. I’m not kidding. Now, if you’re anything like me, that statement will immediately make you want to see the film, and I apologise for that, because you really, really should not watch it. I ended up seeing it out of curiosity because it was described as controversial and gruesome, there were rumours that it was a snuff film, and I basically couldn’t understand what could be so bad about a film that it could be banned in so many countries and cause so much uproar. Well, I understand now. It contains the most horrific sights I have ever seen in my life. Murder, rape, violent and bloody torture. And not all of them are faked. Several animals, for example, are tortured and killed on camera – I couldn’t watch, but by the time I’d snapped my eyes shut there were already a few disturbing images imprinted on my mind. The film itself is just horrific, the whole approach is nasty and ignorant and repulsive. (The only possible – and very tiny – saving grace is that I think this may be the point). I didn’t manage to watch it all; I couldn’t stomach the gore. It honestly took me days to get over it, so that the images weren’t constantly flashing in front of my eyes. I repeat: don’t watch it. It’s the only movie I’ve ever genuinely regretted seeing.
The Shawshank Redemption
This is one of my favourite films, and I can watch it again and again. I love the character of Andy Dufresne – he’s so determined, and so patient. I actually quite enjoy prison movies in general, and the idea of an innocent man being locked away with criminals for most of his life is a horrifying one – but I particularly like how this film shows the humanity, friendship, and kindness amongst the inmates, and also how many of them no longer want to be released, fearing that they won’t be able to survive outside the secure familiarity of the prison.
The Sixth Sense
I know people criticise this film and say that the ending was obvious from quite near the beginning, but I’m not the sort of person who can ever work out how a film will end. I’m always caught up with what’s happening right now, and not thinking about how it’s going to end – and I honestly didn’t catch on until the moment that it was revealed on screen. I loved this film, because for me, the ending was a major twist and a huge surprise, and that made it brilliant. I realise that not many other people can say that. What can I say? Sometimes not thinking pays off!