(In the hopes that the deserted island has a TV. And a DVD-player. And electricity. And possibly a bar with lemon-y drinks. And ice. And small umbrellas. And beach chairs. And luaus. And I may move there. So I would so pack these.)
1. Fight Club
Because it is the quintessential of the quientessentials. In every respect. It contains all you could ever want out of a movie: thought-provoking plot line, dramatic plot twists, amazing and complex characters and relationships, slamming dialogue, action-thriller-comedy-romance flavours and a basic Fuck You to product placement signed David Fincher. Not that I’m against product placement. Movies get made that way. I just don’t like labels shoved in my face. Who does? It kinda sorta works against the product rather than for it. Based on the best selling novel by Chuch Pahlaniuk – which I also recommend you read, if you haven’t already.
2. Breakfast at Tiffany’s
This is, without a doubt, one of my absolute favourite films. As a romantic comedy (of sorts) it gives a hint of how the genre should always be handled, with its deep emotional core built through characters that are real rather than stereotypical. Holly Golightly remains one of my all-time most adored characters and oh, how I wish I could’ve thought of her first. The film is based on the acclaimed novel by Truman Capote – which I admit I have not gotten around to reading yet.
3. Queen Victoria
This is the perfect costume drama with a beautifully true love story at its heart. As a fan of everything British I am a little surprised that this is the only British title making it onto this list (though But Inside I’m Dancing came very close). Leaving this astonishing lapse of Brit-adoration on this list aside, Queen Victoria offers up a marvellously well-crafted character portrait and time document, giving you a glimpse of what it must have been like to be very young and charged with the responsibility of an entire nation’s future and well-being.
4. The Matrix
To this very day, whenever I watch this movie I am in awe of its simple and yet extremely complex vision that is purveyed effortlessly through its then groundbreaking special effects that still make my jaw drop, remembering how it dropped way-back-when. It is one of those science fiction films that stands out in its originality and will continue to do so because no matter how you may want to emulate it, all you will end up creating are sloppy seconds.
5. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
I love Andy Serkis. I loved him as Gollum and I love him as the main character in this film, the ape Ceasar, who truly does justice to his name. I love how this film feels like an actual, plausible prequel, one that adheres to the rules of the original Planet of the Apes and doesn’t try to trample all over them, instead it rises to the occasion (sorry) and offers up a heartfelt, believable world where the divide between man and ape are beginning to blur.
6. All About Eve
It’s all about ambition and fading glory in this spectacularly well-crafted tale of the ageing diva forced to come to terms with her fading career. It is inspiring to listen to a dialogue that is crisp, witty and well-paced, delivered by characters that are well-rounded and intriguing. Starring Bette Davis and Anne Baxter, among others, it’s one of those 1950’s classics that you simply must see. Truly.
7. Ensemble, C’est Tout
In truth I could have put ten French titles on this list. Audrey Tatou would have been in at least five of them. She has a knack for choosing projects that appeal to me. Okay, to everyone. (Except that weird Da Vinci Code flick. What the hell was that all about?) But Ensemble, C’est Tout was my final pick because it really is a wonderful piece of cinema, with three main characters whose destinies entwine in a lovely, moving and honest way that makes the story feel like one you would want to take with you. Everywhere.
8. Stranger Than Fiction
In a perfect mix of comedy and possible tragedy, with a tendency more toward the comedy, but carrying with it a hint of tragedy, this film is a delight. It has a serious undertone that merely elevates the comedy and provides the heart of the film. The journey of an avarage man with an avarage job and an avarage life having something extraordinary happen to him that inevitably pushes him into situations that are extraordinary to him by forcing him out of his comfort zone. Perhaps we should all have a narrator appear once in a while. Hearing voices might not be all bad.
(Spolier: I may be making a list consisting of movies I can watch three times in a row, and this title will undoubtedly appear on that list also.) I cannot get over how well-crafted this film is, how extremely well-balanced the story elements are, how perfectly voiced the characters are, how hilarous Maximus and Eugene are, how the songs fit into the context of the movie, and each time I watch it I feel like I’m getting a free lesson in structure, character motivation, dialogue, the beats of a scene and all those things I find so thrilling about great films in general. Thank you, Disney.
10. I Rymden Finns Inga Känslor
Huh? What the…? Wuuuuuut? Swedish, peeps. Swedish. My only Swedish title and, by George (or Karl), it’s not Bergman. The title directly translated reads In Space There Are No Feelings and it tells the story of how Simon – who suffers from Asperger’s – goes to live with his brother Sam, who is the only person who properly knows how to deal with him. Simon moving in, however, puts a strain on Sam’s relationship and when his girlfriend decides to leave Sam’s whole world is shattered, which means Simon’s whole world is shattered. Simon wants things back to normal and the simple sollution to him is: find a girlfriend for Sam. This sets off the movie’s humorous and heart-warming plot and his actions will teach Simon a thing or two about ”normal”.