There’s recently been a Twitter hashtag called #Thisisyourfilm. It’s another list hashtag. For this list you have to name your favourite film for each year of your life. Of course, the older you are, the more films you have to consider. I threw my list into the vast Twitter ring. Here, I thought I’d elaborate on my choices in a blog of two parts.
Here’s Part One, which covers 1985 to 2001…
1985: Day of the Dead
I was torn between Back To The Future and Day of the Dead. ‘Back To The Future’ is a classic, no doubt, but I always think that ‘Day of the Dead’ is the forgotten zombie film by George Romero. As a social satire, it’s unmatched. Compared to its two predecessors, ‘Day of the Dead’ may be a little bit too talky, but Romero’s vision of humanity has never been bleaker here.
Click here for my review!
1986: The Fly
Now, this was a tough one. ‘The Fly’ or ‘Aliens’? Both science fiction classics, one a remake that improves on the original and one a sequel that expands on the original. It was an impossible choice, but ‘The Fly’ just edges out over ‘Aliens.’ The central tragic relationship between Brundle and Ronnie is heartbreaking. The gore and special effects are brilliant, but the story and the characters hold everything together. Remakes should look more like ‘The Fly.’
Click here for my review!
Robocop works on plenty of levels, from social satire to action thriller. A great concept is developed with great heroes and villains and lots of gore. I did consider ‘Predator’ or Spielberg’s underrated ‘Empire of the Sun,’ but I can always go back to ‘Robocop’ and enjoy every second of it (it’s my go-to film from I’ve come in after a heavy night’s drinking!).
1988: Die Hard
There was little competition for ‘Die Hard’ in 1988. Sure, there was ‘They Live,’ but even that pales in comparison to ‘Die Hard.’ It’s the perfect action film, and perfect on Christmas Day. Yippie kay yay indeed.
1989: The Little Mermaid
I do love a good Disney film, and ‘The Little Mermaid’ is one of the best. There was ‘Batman’ and ‘Born On The Fourth of July’ to consider, but there’s a timeless quality to ‘The Little Mermaid’ that elevates it above its contemporaries.
1990: Total Recall
Another Verhoeven classic, this time with the mighty Arnie involved. It’s another film I could watch over and over again, for the Arnie one liners, for the gore, for the story and twists, and for the action. Get your ass to Amazon and buy it if you don’t own it!
1991: Terminator 2: Judgment Day
‘JFK’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast’ were competitors for my favourite film of 1991, but there wasn’t much competition. I could watch ‘T2’ on repeat from now until the end of time and not get bored of it. It may be nothing more than a big budget remake of ‘Terminator,’ but it’s a cracking action science fiction flick with memorable one liners from Arnie.
Click here for my review!
1992: Hard Boiled
‘The Killer’ introduced me to the Chinese films of John Woo, but ‘Hard Boiled’ is surely his best film. It’s an action film to rival ‘Die Hard,’ with even more impressive shoot outs. The last shoot-out, complete with a lift and a baby, is something to behold. There wasn’t much competition, to be honest (I’ve never been a fan of ‘Reservoir Dogs’).
1993: Jurassic Park
I was torn between ‘Schindler’s List’ and ‘Jurassic Park,’ but ‘Jurassic Park’ is Spielberg at his spectacle-creating and blockbusting best. ‘Schindler’s List’ may be the more important film, but ‘Jurassic Park’ is the better film. ‘Schindler’s List’ is a little too long for my taste. ‘Jurassic Park’ fascinates me now as much as it did when I saw it in the cinema in 1993.
Click here for my review!
1994: The Lion King
‘The Lion King’ is Disney’s greatest film. A tale of betrayal, family ties, and royalty, it goes darker than many Disney films while still retaining the lightness and fun that make Disney Disney. It’s a Disney film that you appreciate more and more as you grow older. Of course, ‘Pulp Fiction’ and ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ were close contenders, but I couldn’t leave my favourite Disney film out of a film list!
1995: Toy Story
Pixar exploded onto the scene with ‘Toy Story’ and immediately stood as equals to Disney. A film that appeals to both children and adults alike, ‘Toy Story’ is touching, funny, and thrilling. Its sequels were great, and Pixar may have gone on to make even better films, but ‘Toy Story’ is their ultimate classic.
The best adaptation of a JG Ballard film? I think so. Ballard is a favourite author of mine, and this stays faithful to the source material…almost. It’s provocative, controversial, disgusting (in the best way) and beautifully filmed. Yes, it’s ostensibly about people getting aroused from car crashes. But dig deeper and you’ll find much more meaning.
1997: Starship Troopers
Another Verhoeven film? You’d better believe it! His take on the classic science fiction novel takes the central concept and turns it into a brutal satire on the military. The film is often critiqued for its two-dimensional characters, but they are meant to be that way. They are parodies of the gung-ho soldiers you see in classic war films. There was ‘Gattaca,’ ‘Event Horizon,’ and ‘Men in Black’ to consider, but ‘Starship Troopers’ is another science fiction classic from Verhoeven.
1998: The Wedding Singer
Please don’t judge me for having an Adam Sandler film on my list, but this is without a doubt his best and most heartfelt film. There’s ‘The Truman Show’ and ‘The Big Lebowski,’ but ‘The Wedding Singer’ is a film I could pick up and watch any time. It’s very funny, very moving, and pivots around a convincing relationship between Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. I always have a tear in my eye at the end…
1999: The Matrix
Come on, is there any other choice here? ‘The Green Mile’ is a little too long for my taste, and ‘Existenz’ is Cronenberg’s last ‘body horror’ science fiction film, but ‘The Matrix’ redefined action cinema in the West as ‘Die Hard’ did over a decade earlier. The fight scenes look better than 90% of the stuff that we see in the cinema today, the college level philosophy is just enough to whet our appetites, and Keanu Reeves has never been better. Well, okay, he rocked as John Wick, but he’s great in ‘The Matrix.’ Another classic in the action genre.
One of my all-time favourite films. The story of a solider reduced to a slave turning into a gladiator defying an empire is unbelievably rousing. Russell Crowe as Maximus is the hero you want to be and want to win. Joaquin Phoenix as the evil Emperor is the villain you love to hate. It’s the modern epic that looked back to the sword and sandals films of old Hollywood and built on their scope and grandeur. It also set the bar so high for modern sword and sandals films that no other film has even touched ‘Gladiator.’ From acting, to plot, to characters, to cinematography, ‘Gladiator’ has it all. There was no competition (well, okay, there was ‘Requiem for a Dream’ and ‘Memento,’ but ‘Gladiator’ blows everything away.)
2001: Donnie Darko
What can I say about Donnie Darko? It tapped into the nostalgia of the 1980s that is very popular right now (see ‘Strangers Things’, for example). It gave us a mind-bending story to follow about a human sized rabbit and time travel. It works as a high school drama, as a science fiction film, as a thriller, and as a film to watch over and over again to pick out clues and reconsider the ending. There’s ‘Monsters Inc.,’ another great Pixar film, but ‘Donnie Darko’ is a film that gives you several reasons to watch it repeatedly.
Click here for This Is Your Film: Part Two 2002-2017