EDITORS PICK #6 - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) by Steven Ross
Dir: George Roy Hill
Runtime: 1hr 50min
The leaders of an outlaw gang, Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman) and the Sundance Kid (Robert Redford) try to evade a posse after a failed bank robbery. They are chased across Wyoming and out of the country. Along the way they rob a few banks too, like an early Bonnie and Clyde.
Why should I watch this? -
It is one of the greatest and most fun westerns ever made, and came at a time when the western was a dying genre. Now it is recognised as one of the most iconic movies of the genre.
The movie has a great mix of adventure, comedy, action and emotion.
The relationship between the two male leads provides one of the best bromances in cinema
If you watch this film after Five Swans reopens (RIP) and assuming they keep the framed picture of the Sundance Kid on the wall, you will be able to tell your friends all about the antics that this rogue got up to back in the day.
The film stars two of America's greatest actors. They also starred in The Sting together. Katharine Ross is also fantastic as the female lead and also starred in The Graduate.
The film was a huge success, making $100 million on a budget of $6 million.
This is one of those films that does not diminish the more you watch it. Similar to The Great Escape, the fun is in how the story unravels rather than where the film ends. Although, the ending is also spectacular and one of my favourite scenes in any film.
EDITORS PICK #7 - Ingrid Goes West (2017)by Elisabetta Pulcini
Dir: Matt Spicer
Genre: Dark comedy, satire, drama
Runtime: 1h 38min
Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation, The Little Hours) stars as Ingrid, a young woman dealing with mental illness who, after the death of her mother, finds herself extremely isolated. Desperately seeking comfort in the perfection of social media, Ingrid moves to Los Angeles to befriend Taylor, played by Elizabeth Olsen (Avengers: Infinity War, Godzilla), an Instagram influencer.
Why should I watch this? -
Movies about social media can often feel preachy and superficial. This is far from it: it portrays addiction realistically, observing the world of social media without necessarily condemning it.
It explores relatable themes by taking them to the extreme. The need to connect socially is intensely human: everybody deserves to experience empathy. This fundamental element of our nature is taken to the extreme of desperation, allowing the viewer to safely observe the process.
Despite the dark premise, this movie is incredibly funny.
Aubrey Plaza is an underused actress. Her performance will bring you to tears, make you laugh and concern you, sometimes all at once. In the first 10 minutes alone, she displays range that many actors fail to display in their entire career.
After many films romanticizing life in LA, this movie is a stark reminder of how deeply disappointing the reality of it can be.
It has a compact runtime. It is refreshing to watch a movie which concisely delivers its message in less than 2 hours.
It is a great looking film, which is unusual for a comedy. Light and colours are often used to mirror the impact social media has on Ingrid’s view of the world.
There is no clear villain. The dangers of loss of authenticity, caused by the false perfection of social media, are seen on both Ingrid and Taylor: on Ingrid, in the form of obsession and insecurity; and on Taylor in the form of lack of empathy and egocentrism.
It is a directorial debut, as it is Matt Spicer’s first feature film. He already shows incredible control and awareness, making him a director to watch for in the future.
The film didn’t receive the deserved award buzz. Like many other genres, comedies are often snubbed at awards, as many don’t see them as deserving of proper recognition. However, the balance this movie achieves, paired with an incredibly layered performance, makes this film deserving of a larger following.
EDITORS PICK #8 - Way Out West (1937) by Joe Holloran
Dir: James W. Horne
Genre: Comedy / Western
Runtime: 1hr 5min
Best friends Stan (Stan Laurel) and Ollie (Oliver Hardy) have been entrusted with the job of delivering the rights to a gold mine to the estranged daughter of a recently passed prospector. With only a name to go by the pare find themselves in a game of cat and mouse with local saloon owner and his wife. Will they be able to carry out their task.
Why should I watch this? -
It should go without saying that all the films we include for our editors picks are those we like a great deal. But when it comes to the movies of Laurel & Hardy there is more too it than mere aesthetic or cinamatographic appeal. The films these two made across their 30 + years together have an important place in my heart and, although they were made some 60 years before I was born, they are a key part of my childhood.
While the pair made some 127 movies only a couple of them stand out as masterful pieces of cinema in their own right and that is certainly the case with Way Out West.
It features great comedic slap-stick humour (Chaplin himself stated his love of the film)
It has some really memorable songs.
It is the first movie to combine elements of drama alongside the comedy and this is thanks to the writing of Stan Laurel, who was a far better screenwriter than he is given credit for.
While you could easily enjoy any of the many 10-30 minute long shorts for what they are, this movie (alongside Sons of the Desert (1933)) give the pair the space to showcase their skills as actors in a complete narrative.
It shows perhaps better than any other that at the heart of the films of Laurel & Hardy is kindness and doing the right thing. I certainly took those lessons to heart as a kid and it is something you rarely see these days.
I know that maybe 80% of you might not laugh even once while watching this. It is over 80 years old. But I bet you will smile and it is a film that will brighten your day. What more could you ask for.