I don't mean favourites necessarily. You will not see any Goodfellas or Godfathers here. No blockbusters. Avengers: Endgame may have been excellent but it is largely absurd. This is for those films that were just right. Those films that we love and that do not get the plaudits that we would like them to, but are still magnificent and a pleasure to watch.
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Soundtrack, story, cool, vampires. Has it all. Keifer Sutherland before the mumbling and Jason Patric before the mediocrity. The tragic Corey Haim is at his career best. If it was remade I would ignore it. Eighties cool at its utter finest.
Heather Graham is the sexiest woman in history, Matt Dillon even makes being a junkie look cool. So revered even the police respect him. His monologue in the drug counsellors office is one of the best in movie history. Bill Burroughs plays a fictionalised version of himself.
In the Name of the Father
Completely fictional from the events of the real Maguire 7 and Guildford 4 but the underlying facts are the same. Pete Postlethwaite and Emma Thompson shine but it is Daniel Day-Lewis as troubled Gerry Conlon who steals the show and proved himself the world’s greatest
Good Will Hunting
Just a perfect little film. As someone who detested Robin Williams as a so-called comedian, I found him fantastic as a straight man. As underlined later in One-Hour Photo.
Angry brilliant genius comes of age and is forced to confront his demons. Minnie Drivers drags it down with her somewhat unnecessary presence, but it’s a winner all over. It was before Matt Damon and Ben Affleck decided to stick to the same facial expressions for the rest of their careers.
Living in Oblivion
Low budget parody of low budget movies. Steve Buscemi stars in a surreal non-linear film focusing on an independent flick. It is both hilarious and touching. Steve's rant at the mystery sound is the man at his bug-eyed best. Dermot Mulroney is hilarious as the pretentious head cameraman, Wolf.
Many fans of this cult classic focus on who the character of Chad Palamino, the spoilt a-list actor, is really based on. If it really was supposed to be anyone, it is rather obvious who it is.
To see this, and then see Jay and Silent Bob Rebooted and realise it’s by the same person is sad. The main characters are wonderful. Randall is a gen X hero, angry and astute. Dante is insecure and an emotional doofus, Jay and Silent Bob (before they got all cuddly) are an absolute treat playing the philospohical, and polar opposite, drug-dealing super-duo.
The highlight is Randall’s interactions with the customers including a finickity video-renter and a headline quoting bore.
Infinitely superior to the clumsy Do the Right Thing. Ignored and misrepresented by the studios, Mekhi Phifer stars as top crack-dealer Strike. Delroy Lindo is terrifying as kingpin Rodney, and Harvey Keitel schemes as ethical yet unorthodox cop Rocco.
Sopranos star Michael Imperioli makes a memorable entry as crooked detective JoJo. A late night treat.
Football hooligan behemoth from the times before it was cool to make films about it. Reece Dinsdale is John. A deep cover policeman in a fictional East-End London football firm, Shadwell. He starts to alienate his wife and colleagues while the toxic and intoxicating life of a respected thug starts to win him over. Nothing particularly original but it is crafted and clearly made as a labour of love. The effort put in makes it brutally entertaining. Dinsdale overacts at times, but to no real detriment
All-child cast playing a spoof of prohibition-era Chicago. A boatload of future stars firing Tommy Guns filled with cream instead of bullets. Hilarious and with a great soundtrack and awesome songs. If you haven't seen it, it is never too late.
Dead Man's Shoes
You spend the film feeling sorry for them. Until you don't. A gang of small time pushers encounter Paddy Considine and his brother floating around a small Derbyshire town. Richard (Considine), a special forces soldier exacts brutal revenge on the bullies who tormented his autistic brother, Anthony.
The Breakfast Club
Imagine being told you are going to watch a film about some kids in all day detention. I often wonder how it was ever sold to he studio. The premise is not particularly thrilling. Hilarious dialogue, and gut-wrenching monologues that expose the pressures of teen life with no condescension or agenda. All aspects and prejudices are tactfully explored. The twenty-seven-year-old Judd Nelson plays John Bender; one of the most memorable characters of all time.
Kubrick’s non-linear crime heist with Sterling Hayden was a direct influence on Reservoir Dogs. It is clear to see how, and why. One of the all-time best endings to any crime film. Full of memorable characters and stiff masculine dialogue. Plus maybe the most evil female character you have ever seen in feeble track-teller Georges wife, Sherrie.
Things to do in Denver When You're Dead
Critical Bill, Jimmy the Saint, The Man with the Plan and Mr Shush. Four of the more memorable members of the colourful cast of characters in this nineties gangster epic. It does not get the exposure and celebration it deserves. Supreme editing, spellbinding soundtrack, and a passionate storyline means this should rank alongside Carlito’s Way and above Donnie Brasco but for some reason it does not.
Lorenzo Carcaterra's autobiographical tale is one of true terror. Repeated long-term gang rape along with systematic physical and psychological abuse of four small boys by a group of crooked reform-school guards. The protracted yet brilliant revenge is a masterful adventure in the classic tale of good over evil. It has a stellar cast but possibly due to the fact it was a true story it was perhaps a little too dark for mass consumption and has been largely forgotten and rarely re-shown.
The dazzling soundtrack and camerawork and the character-led sledgehammer storyline was a first outing for the gang of Boyle, Hodge, and Macdonald. It was followed by the uber successful Trainspotting. Ewan Macgregor, Christopher Eccleston, and Kerry Fox play the endlessly unlikable flatmates presented with a Pandoras Box that when opened leads to violence, death, betrayal, intrigue, and the greatest shock end of its time and perhaps any other. The violence is sudden and intense and the shocks are unexpected and befuddling.
With a soundtrack that sold more than the bible, a memorable turn of Irish charm and wit, blistering performances from the band, and the most swearwords of any film ever at the time. The hilarious ragtag of plucky working-class South-Side Dublin musicians have the chemistry and intrigue to bring Roddy Doyle’s novella to life. Converted seamlessly by the masterful stroke of late great directorial behemoth Alan Parker.