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Each question has taken a lot of thought, but I finally have my assembled (again, not too definitive) list of films which affected me emotionally, in some shape or form.
So hang up your cape, put up your feet as I draw you attention to my chosen ones...
1. Best Moment – “I love you!’ ‘I know.” & “No, I am your father!”–Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
I couldn’t decide between these two moments from the latter part of this classic movie. Really, it is the end that impacted me the most, but they are both iconic and form the basis of the movie’s end, so my decision still stands.
As cliché as it is, this movie had a profound effect on me as a child; it wasn’t that I found out Vader is Luke’s (Mark Hamill) father (it seems that somehow, to borrow Carrie Fisher/Leia’s phrase, “I’ve always known.”) but the fact that the bad guys actually triumphed. Han (Harrison Ford) was trapped and our heroes defeated!
To my younger self, this was unheard of, and it greatly distressed me; so much so that when I re-watched the trilogy with my family time and time again, I ensured that we skipped Empire so as not to relive the anguish. Naturally, I grew out of this a long time ago, and I love the movie for its complexities and its brilliant characters; few movies can achieve or match such brilliantly executed moments.
Worthy of Mention: The Avengers Assemble, Marvel's Avengers (2012)
2. Best Plot/Story – Monsters Inc (2001)
This choice isn’t as culturally recognised throughout cinema, but its following online is substantial. Monsters Incorporated is the largest scare factory in the monster world which harvests children’s screams for energy; the movie follows two monsters who work there, who must deal with a human child which has entered their world, for the first time in their history.
It’s such a simple inversion and exploration of our childish fears, but the movie is rich in inventiveness, heart and so well realised that I spot something new every time I watch it. It also helps that it’s bloody hilarious.
Worthy of Mention: Treasure Planet (2002) & Children of Men (2006).
3. Best Dialogue- Sherlock Holmes (2009)
I was sorely tempted to put Aaron Sorkin’s work on The Social Network (2011) for this, but in the end I opted for a less mainstream option. As a great lover of the original stories, as well as the BBC’s stellar series Sherlock, I still feel that this series of movies gets a tad too much hostility.
It’s simply a different adaptation with an action based steam-punk feel... but each to their own I suppose. Whilst the action can be a bit overblown sometimes, what makes these films work is the stellar acting on show, and the chemistry/interplay between Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr) and John Watson (Jude Law).
The bickering bromance feels highly genuine, and the witty remarks that they exchange with each other (and everyone else) rarely fails to elicit a smile or laugh from some of the most critical of audiences. Plus the scripting behind Holmes’s face-offs with baddie Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) is suitably strong. Fabulous stuff.
Worthy of Mention: Hot Fuzz (2007) & Deadpool (2016)
4. Intelligent Flick – Her (2013)
Again, I had several candidates for this, but Spike Jonze’s brilliant film came out on top. The story is set in the near future, when a man (Joaquin Phoenix) develops a relationship with his intelligent operating system Samantha (Scarlett Johansson).
Not only is it beautifully shot and superbly acted, but it is ever-so relevant and thought provoking, through its tackling of large themes, such as modern human interaction and our relationships with artificial intelligence, as well as its future. With awkward moments and heartfelt revelations, this movie had me thinking back to it for days afterwards, such is its intelligence and subtlety.
Worthy of Mention: Pleasantville (1998) & The Truman Show (1998).
5. Best Movie- The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003)
Don’t ask me to pick which one! I simply can’t! Technically I could argue that they could be classed as one movie because they are the same story...oh who am I kidding?!
At the tender age of ten, I watched The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) engrossed and open mouthed, because I hadn’t seen anything on quite the same scale before. Scary yet funny; action packed, but containing thoughtful and stimulating moments. Tense, thrilling yet soulful and heartfelt, these films expertly balance a range of plots, loveable characters, themes and emotions on such a scale and intricacy that few movies can, and will ever, match.
I could watch them again and again, at any time.
Accompanied by perhaps the best soundtracks of the century thus far, these films, to paraphrase the words of Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin) tell a story that stays with you.
Worthy of Mention: Back to the Future (1985) & The Dark Knight (2008).