Listography: Top 5 films

Kate’s listography this week is a toughy! Top 5 films. Like everyone, I’m finding it pretty hard to whittle down, but I shall give it a try . . .

1 – Down By Law. The fabulous Tom Waits proves he’s a compelling actor as well as musician. The story of three different men in a Louisiana prison; a pimp and  a radio DJ both framed for crimes they didn’t commit, and an infuriatingly optimistic Italian who barely speaks english and talks a lot about ice cream. He also has an escape plan. This film has a slow pace (which I like) but it’s an epic journey –  on a small geographical scale. You can’t help but get sucked in as the three lives become entwined and unlikely friendships form. I just love it.

Down by Law Poster

2 – Freaks.

Where do I start? This film was made in 1932 and banned almost immediately due to the audiences screaming and leaving cinema’s on mass at the revulsion of it. Tom Browning, who made the film, was way ahead of his time. He had been a member of a circus in his early years, and much of the film was drawn from his personal experiences. A beautiful trapeze artists marries a besotted midget when she learns of his large inheritance. The “Freaks” decide to accept her as one of them, only to realise her true intents, and they exact a terrible revenge. What shocked the audiences of the time was the fact that all the actors used were genuine. Browning questions who the real monsters of the story are, and the world just wasn’t ready. An awesome film, even now its nearly 80 years old!

3 – Abigail’s Party.

 “Another Gin and Tonic Ange?” Brilliant! I am a big fan of Mike Leigh and it was a toss-up between this and Nuts in May. The whole film takes place in one room. A social satire of the 1970’s middle classes striving to be so much more well to do than they really are, when the WONDERFUL Alison Steadman hosts a cocktail party. So cringy I literally watch it through my fingers – and yet I never tire of it. So, so funny, superb acting and writing – just brilliant. Slap on some Demis Roussos, pour yourself a Gin and Tonic, and enjoy!

4 – Oh Brother Where Art Thou.

I’m a big fan of the Coen brothers but this has to be my favourite. It’s the only film I can think of where once it had finished, I pressed play again straight away and re-watched! Based on Homer’s “The Odyssey”  it follows three escaped convicts in the deep south America of the 1930’s, pursued by a sinister lawman. They escape to find buried treasure – they end up finding their fortune in a very different way. Funny, quirky, weird and a soundtrack to die for.

“Well, there are all manner of lesser imps and demons, Pete, but the great Satan hisself is red and scaly with a bifurcated tail, and he carries a hay fork. ”

5 – Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon 

 This started a re-surge in the popularity of kung fu films. I am a big fan, and had to stop myself putting in a load of old school HI-YAAAAA in this list. I didn’t like the way modern kung fu was going. Less and less martial arts, more and more guns, chicks and Hollywood. This film brought it back to the beautiful skill of the artists with expert choreography and wire work and a traditional story line. Not only this – it’s just beautiful to look at. It’s the nearest thing, I think, to watching a dream and I could see it a hundred times more and not get bored.

 It also has wonderfully strong female leads that DON’T need rescuing and are stunning martial artists.

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9 responses to “Listography: Top 5 films

  1. What a fabulous list!

    I haven’t seen 3 of these films… I’ll definitely have to check them out!

    I’ve loved this weeks list thing for exactly that – uncovering hidden gems I didn’t know existed.

    Hopefully my new movie meme will help uncover some more! x

  2. Fab list and three I hadn’t seen too (wonders if they’re the same as Hannah’s…), I love Abigail’s Party, Mike Leigh is a genius. And I’m with you on Crouching Tiger, it’s just stunning.

  3. Brilliant list. Love all Mike Leigh films and Coen Brothers are genius. No. 2 sounds interesting…never heard of it before. Thanks. x

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  5. Wow! Yours are so – cultural! Mine would be weepy trash: Pretty Woman, Love Actually, The Railway Children (I start to cry the moment I hear the music!), Casablanca, Mama Mia…….anything that isnt violent. I was scared of the witch in Snow White! X

  6. I am so happy to see Tod Browning’s Freaks in your List! I wanted to include it in mine but went for the more mainstream choices. I love the beautiful con-joined twins Violet and Daisy Hilton, the inspirational half boy Johnny Eck and the incredible Human Torso with his mind boggling demonstration of rolling his own cigarette without limbs!! Simply an amazing film that EVERYBODY should watch.

  7. squirrelfist

    Down By Law is a tremendous film. My girlfriend nodded off halfway through it mind so I think it’s one for a particular kind of audience. Seeing as you’ve started on a Roberto Benigni theme, Life is Beautiful is gorgeous and heartbreakingly brilliant at the same time so that would have to be in my five.

  8. V.E.G.

    Violet and Daisy Hilton’s nephew is Joseph Haestier. According to http://www.jsonline.com/entertainment/arts/29173424.html. No joke. It seems possible at the deaths of the Hilton twins, it seems possible they overlooked Violet and Daisy Hilton’s relatives in the United Kingdom.

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