It’s because of this that we at HeyUGuys (and in this case we is myself and Barry) have decided to set ourselves a project. To watch and review all 250 movies on the list. We’ve frozen the list as of January 1st of this year. It’s not as simple as it sounds, we are watching them all in one year, 125 each.
This is our 30th update, my next five films watched for the project. You can find all our previous week’s updates here.
This week I watched five absolutely brilliant films for the project, all very different but all highly entertaining in their own way. Chaplin provides some silent movie laughs, Bruce Willis puts on one of the greatest every action movie performances, A shark terrorises a small beach town, the Python’s put on one of the funniest films and Johnny Depp goes for an Oscar as a rum drinking Pirate. I could barely find a fault with any of them.
No.170 – The Gold Rush (1925) – Rating 8.1
The story of Gold Rush has the iconic character Tramp (Charlie Chaplin) travelling to Alaska to take part in the Klondike Gold Rush. Bad weather strands him in a cabin in the middle of nowhere with fellow prospector Big Jim Mckay (Mack Swain) who has found a large gold deposit. An escaped fugitive called Black Larsen (Tom Murray) joins them and after reaching a point of starvation they part ways with the Big Jim and the Larsen fighting over the claim ending with Big Jim getting a blow to the head causing amnesia and Larsen falling off a cliff to his death.
The Tramp eventually returns to town where he gives up prospecting, falls in love with a girl Georgina (Georgia Hale) and lives in a run down cabin planning to spend his life with Georgina but when Big Jim arrives and recognises the Tramp he also remembers the claim and so recruits the Tramp to help him find his claim by leading to the place they shared for a split of his gold.
The story is typical Chaplin with equal measures of comedy brilliance and touching moments. The stand out scenes are Chaplin doing the iconic bread roll dance to impress Georgina that will always put a smile on my face, the shear simplicity of the scene just adds to the magic of Chaplin and his natural comic ability. Another scene where Chaplin and Big Al struggle to find food so they cook up and attentively eat a stewed shoe or where the cabin hangs over the edge of a cliff and Chaplin does his fantastic physical comedy to add laughs to a dangerous situation. All add so many memories for me from the film and add fuel to the fact that Chaplin is easily one of the greatest ever comedy directors/actors there will ever be.
If you haven’t seen a Chaplin film before the Gold Rush is a fine place to start. The story is a joy to watch and Chaplin’s performance is as ever perfect. Another film that will no doubt be placed in the IMDb 250 list for a long time to come.
No. 114 – Die Hard (1988) – Rating 8.2
Die hard, the greatest action movie ever made? in a lot of peoples eyes absolutely, for me it’s definitely up there with the best.
The story is classic action movie popcorn. Police officer John McClane arrives from New York to attend his wife’s office party in a huge office tower at the same time as some terrorist robbers arrive who proceed to hold the party hostage. McClane avoids capture and for the rest of the film torments head terrorist Hans Gruber and his goons by killing them off one by one until it’s just him and Hans who takes the express elevator to his death.
Die Hard has everything you could possibly want from an Action Movie. The plot is wonderfully creative and the characters are just perfection with our hero John McClane full of charisma who carries the film so well, his partner over the walkie talkie, Sgt Al Powel (Reginald VelJohnson), gives McClane someone to bounce banter with and is his voice to the outside world and the villain of the film, Hans Gruber played majestically with intelligence and brains by Alan Rickman in his first film role is equally as strong and memorable as Bruce Willis is as John McClane. Top this all off with some excellent cliched bad guys then you have everything in place for a great film.
The entire cast provide us with a film that’s so full of wonderful scenes, whether it’s the roof top explosion scene as McClane escapes gun fire and explosions or when McClane dispatches a number of baddies with humour and agility like the Ho Ho Ho now I’ve got a machine gun part. It’s eternally memorable, it’s completely cool and it’s just pure energetic action movie perfection from start to finish.
I can’t fault it as an action movie and as always I had such a blast watching it, despite being roughly the twentieth time of watching it, I can never get bored of watching John McClane kicking arse.
Another bunny recreation below.
No. 106 – Jaws (1975) – Rating 8.3
One of the greatest films of all time, but only placed at 106. Come on.
I remember seeing Jaws for the first time as a kid and the music just completely scared me, the scene was set and after watching the film I never wanted to enter the sea again. That’s an impact you never forget.
From the opening John Williams score you know the film is going to be something special as the camera speeds through the sea with the Tuba blasting the unforgettable theme. The kill of the girl straight afterwards is just suspenseful genius, you know whats coming, you know she’s going to die and when she does it’s just horrible to watch as you can feel the bites pulling her under the water from the unseen killer.
The film goes on to follow Chief Brody and the town of Amity island dealing with a collection of deaths from what seems like a shark attack. Through bad judgement from the mayor of the town due to it being the peak season, they keep the beaches open for the tourists but another death sparks further panic and so Brody recruits marine biologist and shark specialist Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfus) and boat owning shark hunter Quint (Robert Shaw) to capture the great white shark. One thing’s for sure, they will need a bigger boat.
The story is so well paced with plenty of character development to make the film less of a horror/monster movie than you would expect and throughout the tension is built to create a genuine fear of the water. You barely see the shark throughout the movie as its fin breaking the water or the floating yellow barrels that have been harpooned to the shark that are trailing after Brody’s boat is enough to create panic and fear. But when you do finally come face to face with the shark it’s an incredible moment that reminds me of The Third Man and Orson Welles appearance, it’s what you have been waiting for the whole film and when it comes it’s a wonderful unforgettable movie sequence.
Spielberg has made one of the finest films of the 70’s and of all time and what really sets it apart from the average creature movie are the strong characters, the faultless acting and excellent dialogue delivered from every single person in the film. There are also some really memorable scenes littered throughout, like the really charming moment where Brody and his son are sitting at the table and he mimics everything his dad does or when Quint introduces himself to the panic stricken town folk with nails down the chalk board and especially the scene when Quint, Brody and Hooper compare stories, scares and booze on the boat and eventually singing us out with “Im Tired and I want to go home”, I can’t help but love the film and every time I watch Jaws I fall in love with it again, there is no better movie of its type and I doubt there ever will be.
No. 67 – Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) – Rating 8.4
I believe that The Holy Grail was my first introduction into the world of Monty Python when I was a young chap, I never really got the jokes first time round and as I grew older my love of The Holy Grail grew too as I understood the genius of the comedy. It’s a film I really really enjoy with a passion.
The story of the film is a Monty Python retelling of the legendary tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table seeking the Holy Grail. It is of course typically hilarious, bonkers, surreal and highly entertaining.
We follow King Arthur (Graham Chapman) as he trots (trusted aide clapping two coconut halves together) across England trying to recruit Knights for his Round Table. Arthur enlists the Knights Sir Bedevere (Terry Jones) Sir Galahad the Pure (Michael Palin), Sir Lancelot the Brave (John Cleese) and Sir Robin the not quite so brave as Sir Launcelot (Eric Idle) as they take on different sub quests and venture to find the Holy Grail.
There is not much else to say on the plot as the film takes on the form of short sketches involving the Knights and their misadventures to find the Grail, they come across killer rabbits, horny nuns, insulting French Knights, animated multi-eyed monsters, Tim the Enchanter, a psychotic Black Knight, The Knights that say ‘Ni’, Shrubbery’s, three headed Knight, the Police and many more. There are just so many funny laugh out loud scenes to pick from as they start coming right from the beginning of the film with probably the funniest ever opening credits ever made and each little sketch is full of quotable lines and really original comical situations.
It’s so good to see a collection of comedic actors in such fine form performing in such a natural and enjoyable way and with Terry Gilliam co-directing with Terry Jones it has a real feel of pure Monty Python madness. Michael Palin always stands out when I watch it and his multiple performances always have me laughing the most but Cleese comes very close with a truly memorable turn as Lancelot, especially his raid on the castle, and as Tim the Enchanter. It’s a very consistent comedy and lacks the realy surreal moments which I know puts a lot of people off Python comedy and the story, despite being crazy, it’s so enjoyable you can return to it time and time again and almost quote every scene with a big smile on your face.
I recently had a chat at work about the film and we both ended up laughing out loud a lot when recalling our favourite moments, you cant beat that effect a film has on you.
Regarded as being better than The Life of Brian by 81 places, The Holy Grail is definitely a more accessible comedy film, but better? I don’t think so. It has spawned a very successful musical production and is definitely one of the most loved comedy films ever made, if I ever need cheering up I would probably stick it on for an instant pick me up.
My favourite scene below.
No. 221 – Pirates of the Caribbean (2003) – Rating 8.0
Pirates of the Caribbean is a surprise inclusion in the IMDb250 list, it won’t be there for much longer as it will no doubt drop out of the list by the end of the year, but what it is is one of the finest swashbuckling action adventure movies to have come out in many many years and a film that created one of the most loved movie characters in Captain Jack Sparrow played effortlessly and with perfection by Johnny Depp.
The plot is of Jack Sparrow sailing the seas in a small dilapidated boat and arriving in Port Royal to steal a better ship. He mistakenly saves a drowning woman called Elizabeth (it would have been a better film if she drowned) who is the governor’s daughter and because he’s a pirate he’s put in jail and condemned to hang. An evil pirate called Barbossa attacks Port Royal and searches for a gold coin, held by Elizabeth, that’s needed to end an ancient Aztec curse that’s been cast on himself and his crew of the Black Pearl. Barbossa kidnaps Elizabeth believing she’s the child of old shipmate Bootstrap Bill and her blood is whats needed to lift the curse.
A blacksmith called Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), who loves Elizabeth, enlists Jack’s help to rescue her. Jack agrees and the pair hijack a British naval ship, recruit a motley crew of scabs, and chase the Black Pearl to the Isla de la Muerta for Jack to reclaim his ship ‘The Black Pearl’ and for Turner to rescue Elizabeth. Yo Ho Ho.
There is something truly enjoyable about Pirates of the Caribbean, It has a perfect combination of Johnny Depp stealing the film with his memorable Oscar nominated role as Jack Sparrow, a plot that’s from the books of Pirate mythical lore with walking the planks, parrot’s, caves, buried treasure etc, a wonderful musical score from the legend of Hans Zimmer and the resurrection of a genre not seen for many years so it felt really fresh and original. Add to this some awesome action set pieces with a fair dose of comedy then you have one of the most enjoyable summer blockbuster of 2003.
Unfortunately the film had to build on its success and it produced two pointless sequels with a forth film with a new story in the work. It’s become a rather disappointing franchise, although I am quite hopeful about the forth film as it doesn’t star the minimal acting ranges of Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom who just annoy the hell out of me.
You can find Barry’s next update next week, catch you in two.
Don’t forget, you can follow our progress on Twitter at http://twitter.com/baz_mannand http://twitter.com/Gary_Phillips