Who doesn’t love the king of action movies, Bruce Willis? Die Hard is arguably his most iconic film, with some excellent thriller elements, the perfect baddie – thank you, Alan Rickman – and the one liner to destroy all other one liners. Yippee Ki Yay Motherfuckers.
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
It’s always tough picking out a favourite Tarantino, but I tend to go with Reservoir Dogs because of the simplicity, which really allows you to appreciate the wacky and witty dialogue, delivered with panache by Steve Buscemi in particular, and the round table one takes that Tarantino is so fond of. Forget Harvey Keitel doing the car insurance ads and remind yourself of just how good a gangster he was. Plus, I love the ear severing scene, I can remember it in all its gory detail but of course, if you look back at it, the camera pans away and doesn’t show us a thing. It’s just our imagination. THE POWER OF CINEMA!!
La Haine (1995)
This is a gorgeous and disturbing film, perfectly encapsulating the disenfranchised youths in the Parisian urban underworld. Directed by Matthieu Kassovitz, star of Amelie, it’s both a love letter to Paris and a furious comment on society, shot in black and white with near perfect acting from all three stars but in particular, then relatively unknown Vincent Cassel.
Adaptations are two a penny but only a handful stay the course – Clueless has managed to hang on for 20 years as being one of the most popular teen films and one of the most successful Jane Austen adaptations of all times. A beautiful, well meaning protagonist who doesn’t always live up to her full cerebral potential, gets entangled in the love lives of her friends, only to fall for her ex-step brother in an twist that is much less creepy than it sounds.
The Fifth Element (1997)
‘A second Bruce Willis film?!’ I hear you cry. Yes, because not only can the man do action films, he also straddles the comedy sci-fi. More diverse than you think. Perhaps not, but the wonderful thing about The Fifth Element isn’t Milla Jocovitch’s white bandage costume, you pervs, it’s the lack of self-consciousness, the refusal to take itself seriously, the ridiculous outfits and outrageous inventions. I want a pill that turns into a roast chicken!!!! Also, look out for a cameo from La Haine director, Matthieu Kassovitz.
10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
This list wouldn’t be complete without a Heath Ledger film and I feel like you wouldn’t take me seriously if I said A Knight’s Tale. Which I also love. 10 Things is loosely based on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, and it’s safe to say that although the original hasn’t exactly stood the test of time, this fab adaptation has. Julia Stiles plays said shrew but is actually just an angry teenager, angry with men in particular and even more specifically, the fucktards at her school. Enter the wonderful Heath who woos her for a bet but inevitably ends up falling for her, while a nation of women fell for him, mainly for that Can’t Take My Eyes Off You rendition…
Billy Elliot (2000)
My favourite ‘genre’ is the British feel-good movie and Billy Elliot does it better than most. The comedy and the tragedy are so closely paired in this so that it has you laughing with sad tears running down your face. It doesn’t shy away from social issues – I’m not just talking about Thatcherism and the miners, remember Billy’s trans friend? And it’s such a charming performance from Jamie Bell (who peaked early, let’s be honest) and it becomes less about the dancing and more about cheering for the unlikely underdog.
The underdogness of the British comedy is also what’s so undeniably appealing about Simon Pegg and Nick Frost – men not supposed to be Hollywood stars but their comedy timing, enhanced by Edgar Wright’s unique directing has led them to star in a couple of iconic movies, most notably, Shaun of the Dead. Best friends, a romance gone wrong and a city full of the walking dead, Shaun downplays the terror and ups the comedy – random bouts of Queen on a jukebox, the long standing debate of whether or not dogs can look up – but when it really matters, it’s not afraid to get a bit tearful amid the shambles.
Pitch Perfect (2012)
This aca-awesome film had me shaking my booty at the very first screening (as did the free margaritas) and I defy you not to feel cheered by this story. I know, a film about singers who make music with just their mouths isn’t necessarily everyone’s bag but Anna Kendrick’s Becca is reluctantly persuaded to fall in love with the ridiculous activity and with Pitch Perfect’s cracking soundtrack, so will you.
The protagonist is an arrogant jazz drummer, desperate to be at the top of his game and delighted when he is picked out by a conductor at his school. What he doesn’t bank on is the conductor being the most villainous of all villains and best of all, we don’t see it coming either. It’s rare to see a truly unique film nowadays but Whiplash fits the bill. Considering it’s hard to actually like any of the characters, it rips all emotion out of you, there’s a spectacular finale and you won’t regret listening to the jazzy, urgent soundtrack on repeat.