A Life in Movies

Here is my contribution to Andy from Fandango Groover‘s A Life in Movies blogathon, first published in May 2011 and updated since. With the help of IMDb these are the films I have come up. I’ve chosen them for the simple reason that I enjoy them.

Andy’s rules? “What is your favourite movie from last year? You probably know the answer, but what about your favourite movie from every year? That’s a bit tougher, but that’s the challenge I set a group of bloggers. Name your favourite movie from every year since you were born.”

2021 Free Guy

Runners up: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, The Green Knight

I had such a blast with Free Guy. I saw it at the cinema, accompanied by my mum who got some (but not all) of the gaming references, and thoroughly enjoyed the humour, Easter Eggs and music. It’s pure entertainment and has the feel-good factor in buckets, which is sometimes all you want from a film.

2020 Underwater

Runners up: Soul, Promising Young Woman, Da 5 Bloods

Underwater was the first (of only two) film that I saw on screen in 2020 before the world tipped on its head. Films like Underwater need to be seen on the big screen. It is way more than a ‘creature feature’: it looks stunning and at times has you on the edge of your seat.

2019 Parasite

Runners up: Knives Out, Avengers: Endgame, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Parasite was such a triumph. It deserves all the accolades it has received: the writing, the casting, the direction. It was the first film in quite a while that my boyfriend and I continued to talk about after we’d gone to bed. A sign of a good film, in my opinion.

NB: There are still a lot of films that were released in 2019 that I haven’t seen yet (including Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood, Joker and Jojo Rabbit) so my favourite and the runners up may change.

2018 A Quiet Place

Runners up: Green Book, BlacKkKlansman 

I was captivated by Green Book after just a few minutes – Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali are outstanding – but my favourite has to be A Quiet Place for its originality, drama and attention to detail.

2017 Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Runners up: Blade Runner 2049, Wonder Woman, The Shape of Water

Wow: what a diverse line up from 2017. The Shape of Water was beautiful and haunting while Blade Runner 2049 utterly cool. Wonder Woman kicked ass but the film that I have watched more times than all of those – Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. It is completely charming and fun, and something I will undoubtedly keep watching.

2016 Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Runners up: Moana, Deadpool, Doctor Strange

HFTW secured its place in my favourite films just a few minutes into my first watch. The humour, the scenery, the offbeat characters – it is one of Taika Waititi’s finest and an absolute gem.

2015 Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Runners up: Mad Max: Fury Road and Jurassic World

Two highly anticipated films were released in 2015 that revisited old favourites. While Jurassic World did hold my attention right from the first scene, my favourite film of 2015 has to be The Force Awakens because it was such an adrenaline rush, returning to a galaxy far, far away in style.

2014 Guardians of the Galaxy

Runners up: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Gone Girl and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Sadly, only six films were seen at the cinema this year. Happily, though, they were all very strong and it’s difficult for me to choose between them. I’m going to choose Guardians of the Galaxy for the simple reason that I enjoyed it immensely and it will definitely be a film I revisit on a fairly regular basis.

The Hobbit: TBOTFA was a suitable conclusion to the trilogy while Gone Girl was one of the best thrillers I have seen for a long time. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was magnificent; a true masterpiece in combining ‘traditional’ acting and motion capture.

2013 Django Unchained

Runners up: Man of SteelWorld War Z and The Impossible

Of the 16 films I saw in 2013, I gave 11 of them four out of five stars, and it is hard to choose my runners up for the year from there. However, there is an overall winner, but only by an extra half a star, Django Unchained. Undeniably Tarantino through and through, Django Unchained boasts a first class cast, a tight script and an intriguing plot.

2012 Skyfall

Runners up: The Hunger Games and The Dark Knight Rises

Bond was back in style, ably supported by his MI6 colleagues and expertly taunted by the mysterious Silva. Daniel Craig slipped back into character seamlessly, with expert direction from Sam Mendes, revealing that Bond was very much back in business.

2011 Drive

Runners up: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, X-Men: First Class, Thor and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

2011 was another great year for film. It brought with it the grand finale of the Harry Potter series and the rebirth of my favourite superheroes, the X-Men. Since its release in September 2011, I’ve lost count of the times I’ve seen my top film, Drive. It is a masterpiece.

2010 The King’s Speech

Runners up: RED and True Grit

Technically, The King’s Speech wasn’t released in the UK until January 2011, but it’s getting classed as a 2010 release. I adored this film; Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush have great chemistry and it is a truly endearing film.

2009 District 9

Runners up: Up, Watchmen, A Single Man, An Education and Moon

Looking back, 2009 was a great year for film. District 9 just takes the lead but it was against some pretty tough competition. In my opinion, District 9 brings something new to the sci-fi drama, asking a very interesting question: what happens post-invasion when society has to carry on?

2008 The Dark Knight

Runners up: Taken, The Wrestler and Burn After Reading

If it weren’t for Heath Ledger’s spectacular Joker, Taken would have taken (pun intended) the top spot. Heath Ledger owns The Dark Knight, giving a memorable and haunting performance that was worthy of his posthumous Oscar.

2007 Stardust

Runners up: Knocked Up and Hot Fuzz

Stardust is a wonderful, inventive fairy story. The casting is spot-on and the characters themselves are brilliant – Robert De Niro’s Captain Shakespeare is fabulous, darling.

2006 300

Runners up: Blood Diamond, Little Miss Sunshine and Pan’s Labyrinth

Seeing 300 on the big screen was a great experience. It’s the kind of film that begs to be seen at the cinema: it’s loud, full of action and the effects are brilliant.

2005 Sin City

Runners up: Brokeback Mountain, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Constantine

Adapted from Frank Miller’s comic, Sin City is seriously cool. While the stories aren’t very pretty, the film certainly is.

2004 Crash

Runners up: The Motorcycle Diaries, Closer and The Terminal

I saw Crash at the cinema and thought that it was very, very clever. The cast are brilliant – Matt Dillon, Don Cheadle and Thandie Newton shine. It’s certainly a film that keeps you thinking long after the credits finish rolling.

2003 The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Runners up: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Finding Nemo, Love Actually and Kill Bill: Vol 1

I feel like I’m betraying LOTR… But, it is a deserving No 1. I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since it’s release! The Curse of the Black Pearl is no ordinary pirate movie; this is the pirate movie that brought you one of the best movie character’s ever, Captain Jack Sparrow.

2002 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Runners up: The Bourne Identity, 28 Days Later, Ice Age and Panic Room

And the prize for best movie battle goes to… The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers! The battle of Helms Deep is epic. As with all the LOTR films, this film is a feast for the eyes, with Howard Shore’s soundtrack making it a delight for the ears too.

2001 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Runners up: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Donnie Darko, Shrek, Moulin Rouge! and Bridget Jones’s Diary

This is my absolute favourite film. Ever. If you’re a good friend of mine then I’m sure this will come as no surprise.

2000 Cast Away

Runners up: Gladiator and X-Men

This was an extremely tough decision to make but, for me, Cast Away just clinched it. Tom Hanks is a fine actor and Cast Away shows him off at his best. It is a brilliant, touching story. Gladiator, though, is an epic and a worthy runner up while X-Men made me want to be an X-Men. Enough said.

1999 Fight Club

Runners up: The Matrix, The Green Mile, Notting Hill, Sleepy Hollow and Girl, Interrupted

What a strange mix of genres I have chosen for my 1999 films! From romcom to sci-fi, most of the genres are covered. Fight Club is brilliant; highly controversial and definitely a cult classic, it brought Brad Pitt and Edward Norton together to great effect.

1998 The Truman Show

Runner up: Armageddon

The Truman Show is a brilliantly simple concept but wonderfully effect. Jim Carrey is great in the title role, and it is definitely one of my all-time favourites.

1997 My Best Friend’s Wedding

Runners up: Titanic and The Fifth Element 

Are My Best Friend’s Wedding and Pretty Woman classed as romcoms? I guess they are but, to me, they are simply classics. Apart from the lovely Julia, the thing I love most about My Best Friend’s Wedding is the music; it’s basically a homage to Burt Bacharach – wonderful!

1996 Romeo + Juliet

Runners up: Independence Day and Jerry Maguire

Good old William Shakespeare. Romeo and Juliet is a story loved by many, myself included, and I think that Baz Luhrmann did a great job with this film. The casting was spot on and visually it looks superb.

1995 Toy Story

As I wrote in my Favourites Friday post about it, Toy Story (and the following two) is a wonderful film that appeals to viewers of all  ages. It doesn’t matter if you’re 5 or 75, you’ll still enjoy it. It’s an uplifting story about friendship.

1994 The Lion King

Runners up: Leon and Forrest Gump

The only Disney film to take a top spot, The Lion King is a beautiful film. As with many Disney films, it deals with some pretty big topics; betrayal, murder, the death of a parent – these aren’t your average themes for a children’s film! The Lion King is a wonderful story and features some highly catchy (and memorable) songs.

1993 Jurassic Park

Runners up: The Nightmare Before ChristmasSleepless in Seattle and True Romance

Well, was I ever going to pick anything else? Jurassic Park is one of my all-time favourites. As explained in my Favourites Friday post and indeed in the film, while there are many reasons why cloning dinosaur DNA is wrong, I do still wish there was a Jurassic Park. Well, as long as life didn’t imitate art!

1992 Sister Act 

Runners up: Wayne’s World, Death Becomes HerThe Last of the Mohicans and Universal Soldier

Okay, so it’s a bit out there – a singer witnesses a mob crime and the police hide her in a convent – but I love it. Whoopi Goldberg shines and Maggie Smith is brilliant as Mother Superior.

1991 Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Runners up: Beauty and the Beast and Hook

Alan Rickman is fantastic. Kevin Costner? Not so much. That aside, it is still a very enjoyable film. It’s got a killer power ballad on its soundtrack plus a terrifying witch who still makes me hide behind a pillow…

1990 Pretty Woman

Runner up: Edward Scissorhands

In my opinion, Pretty Woman is a timeless classic. It’s a fantastic, romantic story and Julia Roberts and Richard Gere have sizzling on-screen chemistry.

1989 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Oh, Indy. You are definitely in my top 5 greatest movie characters. You’re an adventurer, know your history plus you have a great hat. Shame you’re afraid of snakes, though.

1988 Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Runner up: Die Hard

This film combines live action and animation to great effect. It produced some brilliant characters, but which is the most notable? Jessica Rabbit, of course.

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