the-pursuit-of-happyness

Top Ten Favourite Films - Part 2

Mad Max: Before Mad Max, I never really gave action films the time of day, believing that there’d be nothing in them that would appeal to me. I remember seeing it in the cinema, and just being blown away by the sheer spectacle of the movie. The visuals were some of the greatest I’d ever seen put to screen, the action thrilling, and the story emotionally engaging. It’s simply exhilarating to watch, with action scenes so complex yet so easy to watch, and an array of disgusting villains and amazing heroes. Mad Max converted me to the action genre as a whole, yet it remains my favourite of them all.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: Still one of the most fun movies I’ve ever seen, Ferris Buellers Day Off is for me the ultimate teen movie. This is one film I could just watch on repeat forever and never get tired of, finding a new line to laugh at with each viewing. Matthew Broderick brings such joy and vivacity to the character of Ferris¸ and was an ideal casting decision. The film is just infectious in its sheer love of life, and it’s this unending exuberance that means even thirty years on it doesn’t feel even slightly dated. If you’ve yet to see this film, you’re doing yourself a disservice; this is John Hughes at his best.

Mary and MaxMary and Max is an unusual film, one which on paper I should find unappealing, and yet whenever I watch it, I find myself utterly transfixed. From the storyline, to the animation, to the colour palette, everything about this movie is grey and depressing. Yet still, there is something very touching about this film, something very funny, and just very human. You watch in amused despair as the two go about their lives, encountering misfortunes that seem far too numerous for such sweet people. This film is just a unique watch, and I’m never quite sure how to convince people to watch it, but watch it you should.

Toy Story 2 – This is the first time I ever remember crying at a film. Jessie’s song hit 5-year-old Shannon like nothing had before, and meant I held on to my toys years after I had outgrown them just in case. My bias for the film is such that I’m not even sure if it’s the best in the franchise, but it’s definitely the most emotionally resonant for me. Even apart from Jessie’s character, the film had several really standout scenes (such as the Cheetos scene – the height of cinematic tension for me as a kid – and the fixing Woody scene, which just had me mesmerised every time). Toy Story 2 bucks the curse of the sequel trend, and overall is just a really sharply animated, fun movie.

The Pursuit of HappynessThe Pursuit of Happyness is the first time I remember being aware of acting in a film, and just being completely emotionally overwhelmed by Will Smith’s performance. It’s a very raw film; heavy and upsetting, but overall optimistic. Even when the film seems like it’s too depressing to continue with, the strength of the protagonist and his bond with his son will pull you through. While my opinion on its message has changed as I’ve aged, it remains for me a testament to what true skill in an actor can achieve.