Alright, so i’m confused already - say I just want to repost this little tiny bit here:
“On that note: What’s your favourite film of all time!? OF ALL TIME?! (Mine’s Taxi Driver, wooo)”
Sod it - I’ll just cut n’ paste…
Now that is a toughy. Favourite film OF ALL TIME. That’s the big question right there. I have a stock answer: Fight Club.
Why? Fight Club has it all. Violence, nihilism, some Brad Pitt/Edward Norton homo-eroticism, Meat Loaf with tits, Jared Leto getting his face kicked in, a great plot twist, amazing visual effects, a fantastically quotable script based on a bitchin’ book AND a huge subliminal cock slipped in right at the end (woah, that sounds wrong!). All this and more: you can watch it again and again and enjoy the craft a little more each time, instead of worrying that you already know the way it ends. So yeah, Fight Club.
But it’s tough because Fight Club ticks a lot of boxes, but it kind of lacks subtlety - It’s a bit like being hit with a brick (which you might argue is kind of the point) - and I tend to think a good film should be a little bit like being knifed in the stomach during a tender affectionate hug (i.e. you don’t expect it and you don’t feel the blade slip in until the damage is done, at which point you’re struck with a searing hot pain and the sight of your own guts). So what fits that criteria? Yeah, you may well ask…
For sheer emotional punch, Festen, a Dogme film by Thomas Vinterberg might be the one. It builds slowly and surely, and each time a new event pushes the storyline forward you become more and more enchanted. It’s gritty, with well-drawn characters and a twisting, turning plot which is completely unpredictable… Mostly improvised, completely insane and more than a little shocking. Seriously worth a watch, especially if you have any interest in Noah Baumbach’s films about dysfunctional families (The Squid and the Whale and Margot at the Wedding). Forget Baumbach’s affected New York hipster cool, this is the real deal, and Baumbach, a writer, director, actor and a sometime Wes Anderson collaborator, seems to owe a great deal to Dogme and Festen in particular, both in terms of style and subject matter.
On the subject of dysfunctional families, maybe Little Miss Sunshine could be my favourite film OF ALL TIME. It has some depth to it and a good universal appeal, as well as enough edge to add a smidgeon of cool. Again, well written, beautifully played and with an amazing depth to each and every character. Greg Kinnear, the flippin’ fantastic Alan Arkin (who has been in more than you realise - Catch 22 and Edward Scissorhands amongst his achievements), Toni Colette, Steve Carell, Abigail Breslin and Paul Dano paint their characters with a fine brush, and for some members of the cast (Dano and Carell in particular) this is, in my opinion, the pinnacle of their careers. Its one downfall is the tinge of American cheese in the story - the little girl didn’t win the pageant, but she brought her family together… puke-tastic, but cute and forgiveable none the less. It’s worth bearing in mind that whilst there is a cutesy side to this film, nobody really gets what they want at the end of the film and everything isn’t alright - marriages are on the rocks, careers are over, dreams are shattered - and this is unusual for an American film, because even indies can tend to drift into sentimental schmaltz (see Garden State for a particularly grotesque example of how American indie can go hideously wrong). I’ve seen this film a few times, and it manages to tug at the heart strings each time - in a really good way.
But I think that’s enough now. This question is too big for an easy and quick blog-tastic answer. Every time I’ve considered it, I’ve come up with a new film… I’ll just have to leave it here.
Love to your mothers.