My Top Ten Movies or, Why People Who Watch Films Can’t Count

22 Nov
Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator

Image by xrrr via Flickr

Okay, I’d better start by admitting that there are actually fourteen on the list.  I did manage to rate them but I couldn’t leave out the last four; I can’t hurt their feelings, I’m afraid.  And yes, I know celluloid/digital things don’t have feelings…I suppose my anthropomorphism* of them comes from the same logic that led me to never say in my mind the code of the padlock to the outside bin cupboard in case identity thieves or secret government agencies read my mind** and accessed my shredded documents and potato peelings.  I only stopped doing it when it occurred to me that if the government has the power to read minds then they could probably get past a three-for-a-pound padlock without too much difficulty.  It was about that time I also decided to stop wearing the foil hat.

The List:

  • Terminator & Terminator 2 – T1 because it’s the greatest love story ever told (don’t scoff – Kyle came across time for Sarah: how many of you men out there can say you’ve done that for the missus?) and T2 because it’s the story of a mother’s love and redemption.  The fact that there’s loads of violence is simply a fortunate coincidence.  I never watched a violent movie until I saw T1: we were newlyweds living in a flat in Jo’burg and my brother and his girlfriend came to stay, bringing movies that had blood and guts but no romance, I thought, including Mad Max (if ever there was a prescient name for Mr Gibson, that’s it) and The Terminator.  I didn’t want to watch any of them but I was a new hostess and soppy in love with the Hub back then, and allowed myself to be persuaded.  I’m so glad I did.  I was glued to the screen (my brother’s a great practical joker) and I have loved T1 ever since.
  • Love Actually – what’s not to love, actually?  Great ensemble cast, interwoven characters, humour, pathos, the best wedding scene in the history of film, and Hugh Grant calling Margaret Thatcher ‘a saucy minx’. 
  • It’s A Wonderful Life – the best Christmas film ever made.  We made the boys watch it with us one Christmas Day.  Tory Boy protested loudly right up to the first five minutes in (particularly that it was in black & white), and then became engrossed in the film and outraged at George Bailey’s rotten luck and unfair shake at the world.  I’ve only ever seen him that indignant over a scratched dvd, so it was quite a conversion.
  • Forrest Gump & Field Of Dreams – I’ve read both of the books on which the films were based and much prefer the movies.  Forrest, Forrest Gump is an ‘idiot savant’*** and gets to hump a lot and Shoeless Joe Jackson is no Ray Liotta.  Mind you, neither is Ray Liotta these days: have you seen his face?  Euggh.  Why people have plastic surgery thinking it will fix growing old is beyond me.   
  • The Muppet Christmas Carol – the best Christmas film ever made: ‘Light the lamp, not the rat!  Light the lamp, not the rat!’  Brilliant!
  • Signs – M. Night Shyamalammmmm is a genius and I hope one day to be able to shake his hand and ask him, ‘How do you pronounce your surname?’  This film is the most scared I like to be, and it terrifies me every time I watch it even though I know the ending.  Which makes me about as bright as that dog who attacks his own leg:
  • The Last of the Mohicans – the one with Daniel Day Lewis.  It’s the only film in which I ever thought he was attractive; I guess I must like my men with long hair and wearing smelly moccasins.  We drove 100kms to watch this on our tenth wedding anniversary.  Mum babysat Tory Boy and we went for a meal and a movie.  I didn’t want to see it but the Hub was desperate, it was on its last week in cinemas, and I was still somewhat in love.  Of course, it was Terminator 1 all over again, but without the annoying sibling.  I once watched it on M-Net three times in one week.
  • You’ve Got Mail – the best three little words ever (I’ve been married a long time).
  • The Sound of Music – singing nuns and singing Nazis?  You’d have to be daft not to love it.
  • Moulin Rouge – any film that contains an Elephant Love Medley and an unconscious Argentinian gets my vote.
  • The Santa Clause – the best Christmas film ever made.  I love it.  Are you sensing a pattern?  All of these Christmas movies bang on about the spirit of Christmas and the true meaning of Christmas without once mentioning the story of Christmas.  But hey, that’s Christmas for you.
  • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat – Donny Osmond.  Sigh.
  • The Untouchables – Kevin Costner in a mac and Sean Connery in the worst Irish accent ever, plus a fabulous soundtrack.  I love it.

And there you have it.****  Now, what does my list say about me?  It says that I have an obsession with Christmas, I love musicals and violence is fun.  It says I like Kevin Costner, Tom Hanks, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rizzo the Rat i.e. I don’t have a type.  Therefore, my favourite all-time film would be a violent musical about Christmas, starring the thinking woman’s beefcake rodent.

*a word used deliberately to dispel the recent rumour that my readers are all better read than I am

**not as nutty as it sounds; there’s not much in there

***I use inverted commas because I’m quoting from the book.  I’m not sure in this pc world of ours if this term is still in use; though I have to say this is one time I’m in favour of political correctness because it’s a horrible way to describe someone.  If anyone knows another term, I’d appreciate you leaving a comment letting me know, and I’ll change it.

****Not quite: I desperately wanted to include Scrooged but a Top Ten stretched to sixteen and starring four Christmas films was a step too far, I’m afraid.  Carol Kane’s kicking fairy will have to go on another list: Mythical Film Creatures or, Why I Don’t Have Any Friends.

Now tell me about your favourite movies, please.  I’d love to know*****.

*****In case I missed a good ‘un.

19 Responses to “My Top Ten Movies or, Why People Who Watch Films Can’t Count”

  1. vivinfrance November 22, 2010 at 11:55 #

    You’re a sucker for punishment, Tilly. From the period when we went to the cinema twice a week (the war years) to the virtual desert, cinematographically, of my current life, there are an awful lot of films that I remember with affection. I can’t list them in order – my mind doesn’t work like that when I ask it to!

    I agree about Wonderful World – and anything with Jimmy Stewart in. And I’ll re-watch Mary Poppins, My Fair Lady, Carousel etc any time they’re on TV at Christmas, also Finding Nemo and Ice Story….

    Before your time: The Glass Menagerie, The Way to the Stars, Mrs Miniver (better than the books), and more wartime films than I can shake a stick at. A Song to Remember (Chopin), Ill Met by Moonlight…….

    You may have seen: Sleepless in Seattle, Educaing Rita,
    Calendar Girls, Brassed Off. Amadeus, Love Actually, About a Boy, You have Mail, and that lovely one with Judi Dench and Maggie Smith: Ladies in Lavender. Anything by Rogers and Hammerstein….

    And that’s just for starters.


    • Tilly Bud November 22, 2010 at 12:03 #

      Mrs Miniver – a weepy from my childhood Saturday afternoons!
      Sleepless in Seattle – I love it so much I forgot to add it to my list. And An Affair To Remember, which SiS introduced me to.
      Educating Rita – inspired me to take up with the OU – though I was disappointed to not get two weeks of summer school and I couldn’t find a bicycle anywhere in Manchester. I saw it at Liverpool Playhouse in my teens, starring the less good looking one from The Champions.
      Love Actually and You Have Mail – I’ll gloss over the fact that you are clearly not paying attention.
      What’s for mains?


      • vivinfrance November 22, 2010 at 12:11 #

        “I’ll gloss over the fact that you are clearly not paying attention.” I am, I am, I’m hanging on your every word. Main course will take a little longer – you must have read my poem about the hole in my head where my memory was?


  2. slpmartin November 22, 2010 at 12:13 #

    Love the list…we had several in common.


    • Tilly Bud November 22, 2010 at 12:29 #

      I’d be interested to hear what we don’t have in common…


  3. Alison November 22, 2010 at 14:48 #

    I’m a sucker for a Christmas romance – I love Movies 24 and Movies 24 + because they show wall-to-wall Christmas films every weekend in November and December (even if they do show the same films over and over again).

    Otherwise any school geek wins over school heart-throb (espeically if there’s a dance number involved) – I htink it must be a symptom of wtaching too many John Houston films as a teen (Pretty in Pink, 16 Candles, the Breakfast Club …)


    • Tilly Bud November 22, 2010 at 19:27 #

      I’m not one for teenage movies but I did like The Breakfast Club. Having said that, I’ve watched all the ones you mention.


  4. flo November 22, 2010 at 19:16 #

    I’m going to Viv’s to watch her films.
    Mine too include It’s a wonderful life, Houseboat, The bishop’s wife, Some like it hot, Psycho, Blade Runner, The wizard of Oz, About a boy, Tootsie, Hannah and her sisters, Stand by me, Amelie, Cinema Paradiso, The railway children,Dan in real life, Elf, Zoolander……I could go on all day.
    Recently I’ve been buying all my favourites on Amazon, all the old ones are only £3! Viv, pop round but bring the popcorn


    • Tilly Bud November 22, 2010 at 19:25 #

      The Bishop’s Wife! Love it. Did you see the dreadful re-make with Whitney Houston? Blade Runner is another of mine that I forgot. And The Railway Children – I remember watching it in school every Christmas. Elf is a cracker.

      I’ll bring the chocolates.


  5. flo November 22, 2010 at 19:33 #

    Oh, and Napoleon Dynamite, To kill a mockingbird, The African Queen….no I didn’t see the Whitney version but I can imagine how marvellous it wasn’t. Have you seen the original Mr and Mrs Smith. Alfred Hitchcock comedy, black and white, Robert Montgomery,wonderful film, and not a Brad Pitt in sight.


    • Tilly Bud November 22, 2010 at 21:19 #

      Talking of Brad Pitt – Meet Joe Black, Twelve Monkeys. Bruce Willis – Die Hards…You know, I think I may have an idea as to why my house is never clean…


      • DC November 22, 2010 at 22:27 #

        As ever: witty and informative. Your blog is my guilty pleasure.

        The Muppet Christmas Carol is an absolute joy and laugh-out-loud funny.

        Some of my favourites may be just be off your list (as they continue somewhat along your themes). The ‘Wizard of Oz’ is top of my list (can’t remember how many times I’ve seen that but the family now has it on DVD as I present I bought Karen a couple of years ago – just in case it is left off the Xmas schedules one year!). That is followed a close second by ‘Oliver’ (the classic version with Mark Lester, Ollie Reed, …): such a great story and all in brilliant technicolour. One from left field is the David Lean version of ‘Great Expectations’; black and white but really suits the mood of the film (and the era). Seeing such a young Alec Guinness is a bit off-putting but with a wonderful climax that sadly sees off the glorious Miss Haversham. I first saw that on New Years afternoon many moons ago whilst recoving from alcohol poisoning the evening before (you were probably at that party – up in the Schoolhouse were Debbie ? lived, 1980 I think). And finally in my opinion, the best ever animated film, ‘The Iron Giant’. Not very well known but a cartoon with a real moral. It should be compulsory in all schools. Well worth a watch.

        Must now have another sip of wine to celebrate my first comment on your blog.


        • Tilly Bud November 23, 2010 at 10:36 #

          Thanks, DC. Being a natural-born good girl, I’ve never been anyone’s guilty pleasure before. How exciting 🙂

          TWOZ – it was in my top ten – as it was on tv every Christmas in the Seventies, how could it not be? – until Tory Boy was three or four and I put it on for him and he was terrified by it.

          Oliver…yerrrsss, it’s okay but the line ‘It’s cheap at half the price’ always irritates me because of course it’s cheap at half the price: everything is! ‘Cheap at twice the price’ is what Mr Bart should have written, and the internal rhyme would have been satisfying as well.

          I don’t like that version of GE because I didn’t like Dickens when I first saw it and I’ve never gotten over my antipathy to the film (no-one ever accused me of being logical).

          I do remember that party: I arrived in my fringed lilac ankle boots and left dripping in beer, thrown over me by a friend who had fallen out with me. I’m pretty sure it was 1981, though.

          Do you remember the party held by Joy and Tracey, when they had a fist fight over Colin Lloyd? It was held at a flat belonging to one of their sisters. You made me my first ever hot toddy, using port. The Hub makes a mean hot toddy, but my ingredient of choice these days is rum.

          I’ve never seen TIG. Ted Hughes?

          Thank you so much for commenting, and congratulations on it being your first one 🙂 I’m just delighted to know that anyone visits more than once.


  6. vivinfrance November 24, 2010 at 10:14 #

    I agree with you about Oliver, Tilly. Mostly OK, but I loathed the singing of that little Oliver in Where is Love, and it always put me off. I’ve never seen TIG either – why would it be Ted Hughes? (Not my favourite poet, as you know)


  7. vivinfrance November 24, 2010 at 10:18 #

    Aha: Just Googled the film and found the answer to my own question. Not to Viv: think before you comment!


  8. vivinfrance November 24, 2010 at 10:19 #



  9. DC November 24, 2010 at 11:08 #

    I always learn something when I read your blog. Yes Ted Hughes did write TIG (I checked on wiki-probablyrightmostofthetime-pedia) but those Hollywood moguls decided to change the title (for legal reasons) and base it in the US (because they could). Yes Oliver is Cheesy and cringeworthy at times but I still love it (mainly though for Doger and Fagin).

    I was a bit loose in mentioning a date for that NYE party but I think we are both right: it started in 1980 and ended in 1981 – some party eh!! I also (very) vaguely remember the other one you are talking about; I do remember a fight but maybe that happenned more than once!!

    I will keep visiting.



  1. Wakela's World » Post Topic » Tis the Season - November 28, 2010

    […] My Top Ten Movies or, Why People Who Watch Films Can’t Count ( […]


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