The Courier: 30 days of film - day 7

For today's challenge our writers celebrate those films they find themselves re-visiting time & time again.

multiple writers
21st April 2020

Films come at us thick & fast these days. With streaming services releasing brand new exclusive content all the time we can now enjoy all the latest releases from home. You know, for those times when you don't want to spend £30 on popcorn at the cinema. These services also house an archive of classic films (& the Twilight series) so we can search for and watch any type of film our hearts desire. However, despite all this choice, we all have those few films we find ourselves re-watching time and time again, years after their release. Today we pay tribute to those films that we know line by line &shot by shot. Who says familiarity breeds contempt?!

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)

I’m in lesbians with this film. Edgar Wright is one of the best directors working at the moment and Scott Pilgrim vs the World (2010) is definitely one of his best. Like with any of his films you need multiple viewings to be even in with a chance at catching all the jokes. Re-watching it just makes it better and better as you catch up on all those little details. It’s quotable beyond belief so chances are if you haven’t seen the film, you will have heard a few lines from it. The cast is fantastic with several great actors before they got super big like Chris Evans and Brie Larson.

One of the bests aspects of the film is the editing. Unique transitions keep the film fresh and exciting from start to finish with the scene changes being seamless and clever. A bright and vibrant colour pallet help define the film’s brilliant cinematography and the only way to do such a weird story justice. If you haven’t seen it, please do, especially if you’re a fan of any of Edgar’s other work. See it twice. See it three times. Heck, if you ask me, chances are I will watch it with you (please I need an excuse for a re-watch).

George Bell

Stand By Me (1986)

I had so many contenders for movies I'll never get tired of. I have far too many favourites, but one of them is undoubtedly Stand By Me, directed by Rob Reiner. The coming of age adventure story was based on the novella The Body by Stephen King. It follows kids Gordie (Wil Wheaton), Chris (River Phoenix), Teddy (Corey Feldman) and Vern (Jerry O'Connell) as they embark on a mission to find the body of a missing boy. I finished the novella before I watched the film, which I was grateful for.

It is a great adaptation, and River Phoenix captured the character of Chris Chambers brilliantly. And at only 15 years old! Phoenix was a powerhouse, and a big reason why this is one of my favourite films. It's emotional and wise while still being funny, and captures the perfect nostalgia of being a kid. Stand By Me definitely has a certain charm to it, truly one of the best movies of the eighties. It manages to stay relevant to every generation, even in a most basic way. It's also beautifully written and well shot. I know that any time I'm in the mood to re-watch an old favourite, Stand By Me is always there. It's one of those movies that feels like home.

Amy Brown

Gifted (2017)

I’m not even embarrassed to say that I can quote most of this film or that it still makes me cry despite knowing the ending. This underrated film hasn’t been watched enough people but fortunately I’ve made up for those lost views.

Mary (Mckenna Grace) a child genius lives with her Uncle (Chris Evans) who is fighting for her to have a normal life despite her erudite nature. Evans delivers a mature performance miles from the Captain America that we expect of him. The fight he has for his Niece is touching and makes for a very well rounded film with lovable characters. This film has all of the ingredients of an easy watching drama with an irresistible intelligence that makes you want to watch it again and again. It is not a film that will change your life but it might lift your spirits. And then when you undoubtably want to watch it again it will lift your spirits again.

Eve Ducker

Mamma Mia (2008)

Mamma Mia, here we go again. And again. And again. I really cannot tell you the amount of times that I have watched both the first and second Mamma Mia films. Am I feeling sad and need a pick me up? Watch Mamma Mia. Am I in need of a dance? Watch Mamma Mia. Am I in a good mood and want to share my day with some characters who know only how to have a good time and break into some of the most catchy tunes whenever they feel any emotion at all? Watch Mamma Mia. Both films are overflowing with feel-good music: 'Dancing Queen', 'Why Did it Have To Be Me', 'Super Trouper'.. the list goes on.

Donna, the single mother who has brought up her child on a sunny island, is suddenly reacquainted with the three potential fathers of her daughter: a true nightmare! When there is no chance of finding out which one is the father, the hilarious repercussions of gathering them all together creates great entertainment. In the second film, the young Donna reveals how she got mixed up with these three men, and why she became so confused about Sophie’s real father.

I really could not tell you which film I enjoyed more. The first film featured Tanya and Rosie singing with Donna as a girl group. When Donna is upset, they peer over toilet doors to get to her, and they incessantly sing in her face until she gives in and speaks to them; this is all before they all parade down the stairs in their outlandish clothing. They are truly hilarious! But in the second film, the highlight is when Donna meets Bill and they sing romantic songs on his boat. Where my favourite part of the first film was generated by humour, this scene is quite the opposite. 

But either way, both films are a perfect pick for when you want something entertaining to watch. In a time when lockdown can seem so depressing, we should look to Donna for inspiration. She thought that she hated the three fathers coming back to see her, and yet the summer of great entertainment ensued because of it. The situation really is what you make of it, I guess.

Sophie Wilson

Shrek 2 (2004)

No matter how many times I have seen this film, it will never not be funny and will always be the go-to film when I'm bored. I have seen this film way too many times to recall and love to annoy all my friends when reciting lines every time we watch it (which is a lot!). The characters have to be the greatest element of the Shrek films.

Without characters like Donkey, Puss in Boots, Fairy Godmother, Prince Charming, Mongo, and even Kyle, the driver of Fairy Godmother's flying chariot, the film would not be half as funny or successful as it has been. The first movie is already a top tier film but with the second film, there is more humour, many more loveable characters and a pretty great soundtrack (if you don't have 'Holding Out for a Hero' by Jennifer Saunders on your Spotify playlist you are missing out!). And you can't forget the amazing bonus feature they added to the DVD - Far Far Away Idol. The parody of Pop Idol, where Prince Charming sings "I'm Too Sexy", the Three Blind Mice sing "I Can See Clearly Now" and Donkey sings a rendition of "Disco Inferno". How can you not laugh every time you watch the dinner table scene with King Harold and Shrek, or when Puss in Boots is introduced in the woods or even when they visit the Fairy Godmother's potions factory ("They Don't Even Have Dental").

Amy Harris

About Time (2013)

About Time is one of the most heart-warming, beautiful films ever and no-one can convince me otherwise – not even if Domhnall Gleeson travelled back in time to the first time I saw it and told me it was shit. Not even then. I love the concept, the music (if I ever get married, I want Jimmy Fontana’s ‘Il Mondo’ played, no questions asked), the costumes, even Tom Hollander’s character, who spends half his screen-time being pissed off with Domhnall Gleeson (I’ll admit I know that whole scene by heart; ‘your mum still look like Andy Warhol?’).

I will never, ever, get tired of this film - or the soundtrack for that matter. And after some research, turns out you can even book the house in Cornwall. Anyone fancy a road-trip after this is all over?

Harriet Metcalfe

Enchanted (2007)

If you've never seen Enchanted (2007), the plot follows Giselle (Amy Adams) as she falls for Prince Edward (James Marsden) and on her wedding day, the prince's stepmother pushes Giselle down a magical fountain, to a place where "there can be no happily ever after"- New York.

This then becomes a story of Giselle trying to adjust to New York, and a lot of the comedy comes from typical Disney mannerisms becoming juxtaposed with reality. She meets Robert (Patrick Dempsey), who is a lawyer and is very against fairytales as he doesn't want to fill his daughter with unrealistic visions of life, especially after his failed relationships. Fair to say, Giselle brings some magic into their lives.

However- the plot doesn't stop there. Prince Edward goes down the magical fountain to find Giselle, alongside the Evil Queen's right-hand man, Nathaniel (Timothy Spall). It becomes a cat-and-mouse game of trying to find their loves in the middle of New York, whilst Nathaniel tries to stop them so the Queen can retain her throne.The film is wonderful. I love everything about it. I love the stellar cast, I love the songs, I love the costumes, I love the plot. I appreciate that it's so self-aware of its nonsense, such as showing Robert's confusion when Giselle sings 'How Does She Know?' and everyone suddenly knows the lyrics and joins in. Plus, it has a lot of homages to the original Disney Princesses (can anyone find Jodi Benson in the film?).

I could go on but I'm already way past the word count, but if anyone wants some Enchanted fun facts then I'm the go-to. In the meantime, I'll just sit and wait patiently for the sequel which they keep saying is in production, yet never happens.

Sophie Hicks

10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

When it comes to films that I never tire of and can watch repeatedly, no matter how many times I've seen it, there's a wide variety I can choose from. Love, Simon (2018), Mamma Mia (2008), The Hunger Games (2012) but my favourite has to be 10 Things I Hate About You. To highlight my love for this film, here's 10 things that make 10 Things I Hate About You a film I will ALWAYS come back to, never mind my age, mood or new films that attempt to surpass its beauty.

1.) Heath Ledger and his original hair and shiny trousers. My god, he is a blessing to the film industry and I miss him so much.

2.) "I know you can be overwhelmed and you can be underwhelmed, but you can ever just be whelmed?" - Why is this something Sophie Hicks has probably said to me at one point. Anyway, this film has the BEST dialogue ever. Truly. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, it will destroy you. That speech at the end? Truly amazing.

3.) Allison Janney and her erotic novel. Allison Janney is a character that steals the scenes with her brilliant humour and the film wouldn't be the same without her.

4.) Letters To Cleo! On a roof!

5.) "I've got a dick on my face, don't I?"

6.) The moral of the story is that all men are evil except Heath Ledger and Joseph Gordon-Levitt and that is amazing.

7.) An absolutely amazing 90s soundtrack - trust me, every single song in this film rocks.

8.) Julia Stiles. That's it. That's the movie.

9.) "That's for making my date bleed, that's for my sister and for me." Man, women kick ass in this film and I love that in every single way.

10.) Heath Ledger, again. (I mean, just look at the picture below)

I could go on - this film is truly tremendous in every single way and I recommend watching because once you watch for the first time, there's no going back and this film will become a well-watched favourite you will return to no matter how many times you've seen it. I'm pretty sure I can quote it off by heart at some points.

Lucy Lillystone

Bend It Like Beckham (2002)

Lesbian?? I thought she was a Pisces!” made me laugh just writing it. This absolute classic can in my eyes be forgiven for its mostly unnecessary straight romantic subplot between Jess and her football coach, because Gurinder Chadha explores the developing ‘friendship’ between the football team and the many facets of being a British Indian family so truthfully as well as humorously. A testament to the fact that directors who understand their subjects from their own lived experience can produce the most vivid, complex, and honest characters. I could and have watched this on repeat, and it never ceases to make me laugh and cry. And honestly? Kiera Knightley’s best performance.

Leonie Bellini

Casino (1995)

This should come as no surprise to anyone that's spent more than 10 minutes with me, but I never get tired of Scorsese mob classics. Especially Casino (1995) and Goodfellas (1990). I watch Casino religiously, usually almost every month at the very least. It's gotten to the point where I can rattle off the entire script and often do launch into bad Joe Pesci impersonations from the script, much to the chagrin of those around me.

Casino is a masterpiece, much like almost every Scorsese film made. If you haven't seen it, do yourself a favor and watch it immediately. I'd say I won't spoil anything, but there really isn't much to spoil. Like most Scorsese films, it's really a character study. A character study of Ace Rothstein, a scarily talented handicapper who is assigned to oversee operations in a mob casino in Vegas, Nicky Santoro, his short-tempered and erratic (like most Pesci characters) friend and Ginger McKenna, a hustler Ace falls in love with and marries. De Niro, Pesci, and Sharon Stone deliver stunning performances, as usual, fully embodying their characters. Then you've got Scorsese's masterful direction and a soundtrack stuffed with bangers.

All this adds up to a movie that really doesn't have much wrong with it. It's a perfectly written story that never gets old, no matter how you revisit it. From Ace's impeccable wardrobe of suits throughout the film to Nicky's explosive outbursts, there's always something neat to fixate on during each viewing. The narration by the main cast is also a neat hallmark of Scorcese crime epics, and furthers the feeling of being told a nice bedtime story. It's just a perfect telling of the rise and fall of one man and one city. And it's based on a true story!

Muslim Taseer

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