Throw away the remote: Films you always watch

There is a loose collection of films that fall that I call my always watch films. They are easily recognised as they all have the same effect. I always sit down and watch them no matter how many times I have seen them. They are almost comfort films. They hold no surprises as they are very familiar. In a lot of cases they may not even the best examples of their particular genre. It’s just that they make you identify with them in some way. You don’ even need to watch the whole thing. They are so familiar that you can tune in at any time and know exactly what is going on. The ending is unimportant. enjoy the trip.

Listed below in no particular order are some of the films that when they appear on the screen I can throw away the remote. They are in no particular order but I must warn you that romantic comedies make more than one appearance.You have been warned. What their inclusion says about me is something I would rather not think about, thank you very much.

Notting Hill (1999)
The classic tale of boy meets girl. Girl happens to be an internationally famous movie star. A bit of a misunderstanding, a falling out and hilarity ensues. The strength of the ensemble performances from the mostly British actors and the quality of the writing lift this above the usual Rom-Com fayre. Julia Roberts fits in very well and considering that She was arguably the biggest film star in the world at the time she does not hog the screen. There is a sense of real chemistry between her and Hugh Grant. A perfect afternoon film and one you can dip in and out of without missing too much.

Jaws (1975)
First of the modern blockbusters. The story of a killer shark terrorising the Island of Amity during the peak of the summer season. A masterclass in suspense as the shark is not seen until over half way through the film. This was due in part to the fact that the shark, nicknamed Bruce, was being temperamental during the shoot. The sequences on the boat between Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss and Roy Scheider are simply brilliant. This is the film that first alerted the possibility of the summer tent-pole release. In a way we have this to thanks for Transformers 3.

Die Hard (1989)

The quintessential action film. It made a major star of its lead actor, Bruce Willis. It is easy to forget that this set the tone for action films in decade that followed in the same way that The Jason Bourne films has informed the action films today.  Alan Rickman’s turn as Hans Gruber ensured British actors being cast as the sinister baddie right up to the present. There are two facts that are almost always overlooked. Die hard is a Christmas film, set on Christmas Eve with Let it Snow playing over the nd credits. The other fact is that the film was classified with an 18 certificate. A few F-bombs and killings aplenty marks this out from the action films of the day. A box office of over 100 million dollars showed there was a market waiting to be tapped.

Legally Blonde (2001)

A seemingly dumb rich blonde girl, Elle Woods, is dumped by her boyfriend as he plans to be come a top lawyer and wants a smart professional partner at his side. Elle decides to follow him to Law school and along the way finds out about her boyfriend, what is really important and discovers who she really is. The plot of this will never trouble you intellectually. That isn’t the point. It’s a hugely entertaining film with a real star tun from its lead Reese Witherspoon.  The success of this film ensured sequel and currently a very successful musical.  remember girls, Bend and Snap!
Event Horizon (1997)

Mixing two of my favourite genres, Horror and Sci-Fi,  This is one of the best haunted house style films I have seen. The spaceship Event Horizon departs on a mission to the Edge of the galaxy. It disappears  Seven years later it returns. The ship is drifting in space with no sign of the crew. A team are sent out to investigate including the designer of the ship and its unique gravity drive. Featuring Laurence Fishburne,  Same Neill and  Jason Isaacs. The film is atmospheric (sorry about that!) and genuinely creepy.

Airplane (1980)

Quite possibly the funniest film ever made. I never tire of watching this. There are so many jokes in this film it demands repeat viewing. It has aged very well probably because of the nature of the jokes and the quality of the acting. It gave Leslie Neilsen a second career as a comedic actor after a long resume of serious roles. This is the film that launched a thousand catch phrases. Surely you cannot be serious …

The Transporter (2002)

Written and produced by Luc Besson, The Transporter and it’s sequels are everything that are good about action films. The set pieces are inventive, fast moving and very entertaining. Jason Statham is ideal in the lead role and easily carries the films. Yes the films are not overly complicated but they deliver on the action front. The best scene in the film involves Statham fighting a bunch of guys on a large oil slick.

Singin’ in the Rain  (1952)

Easily the best musical ever committed to film. Singin’ in the Rain charts a film company’s move from the silent era to the film studios introducing talkies. Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds are all superb in this all singing all dancing extravaganza. The film features one of the most iconic scenes ever. Often copied but never bettered, this is the ultimate in feel good films.

Obviously this a very personal list and I am sure that you dear reader has your own films that would be on your list. If you agree or disagree let us know by leaving a comment at the foot of the page.

John McArthur
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