My Favourite Film

My Favourite Film

So I Can’t Have My Favorite?

“I can’t do this, Sam.”

“I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.”

“What are we holding onto, Sam?”

“That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.”!

There is no need for me to tell you who is speaking or what they are talking about. The trilogy is so rich in dialogue that there are numerous websites dedicated to Lord of The Rings quotes. And rightfully so. 

Frodo: “Go back, Sam. I’m going to Mordor alone.”

Sam: “Of course you are. And I’m coming with you.”

A quote from Lord of The RingsLayer upon layer of ever deeper meanings. The scripts & movies are masterpieces. By the end of the second film I’m completely exhausted, you cannot binge watch these.

However, the subject isn’t what do I consider the best trilogy, but what is my favourite movie (singular). Wow, that’s really hard. Think about it, you probably have several movies that you love; now name only one as the best. 

In general I go to movies to escape the reality of angry Twitter feeds. I don’t need Atticus Finch, I have CNN. So my favourites list is cluttered with the likes of Captain Jack Sparrow and Hans Solo. All cheap escapism; two hours away from this hell we have made for ourselves. So which fluffy, ball of cotton candy will I proffer as the best classless romp? Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.Photograph of Dean Lewis

Don’t ask why, I can’t defend it. Let’s just go with Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, and River Phoenix. It’s a fun, smartly written caper through Steven Spielberg’s playground for a mind.

 

 

The Hollywood backyard.   

“The last time I’ve seen the world government in action was Luc Besson’s famous movie, ‘The Fifth Element’. One of my TOP-30 films, by the way.”

This is how I started my previous blog about World Government. 

Now we’re to explore my favourite film. Yes, a while ago I’ve done my TOP-30 movies list made up mostly of Hollywood and some Russian (Soviet) movies, too. By the way, the Soviet Union had a good film industry. But it is a challenging task to cut down my 30 movies just to one!

After so many years, it is not ‘The Fifth Element’ anymore though it used to be for some time with Besson’s adventurous universe with its curious characters. 

Finally, I managed to cut it down to just one. I’ve taken out such precious-to-me things as the 2001 ‘Spy Game’ action movie with the brilliant Robert Redford and Brad Pitt starring, and the virtually unknown to Western audiences Soviet fantasy movie ‘Charodeyi’ (‘The Magicians’) from 1982. 

And the winner is… ‘The Big Lebowsky’!

Let’s see what the IMBD says about it: 

When the Dude” Lebowski is mistaken for a millionaire Lebowski, two thugs urinate on his rug to coerce him into paying a debt he knows nothing about. While attempting to gain recompense for the ruined rug from his wealthy counterpart, he accepts a one-time job with high pay-off. He enlists the help of his bowling buddy, Walter, a gun-toting Jewish-convert with anger issues. Deception leads to more trouble, and it soon seems that everyone from porn empire tycoons to nihilists want something from The Dude.

Kind of, but much more than this. In fact, the plot is weird, just like the characters. 

The Big Lebowsky castIt is probably the most iconic of the Coen Brothers movies; among those are ‘Fargo’ (with a later TV series inspired by it) and ‘Blood Simple’. It is so iconic that there’s a Facebook community, live and kicking, and lots of merchandise, too, still very popular among the fans. 

There are three leading bright characters. ‘The Dude’ himself (Jeff Bridges), Walter Sobchak (John Goodman), his friend and a Vietnam veteran with his personal life in ashes, and Donny, (Steve Buscemi), the weakest of them anyway. What they doing is just living their lives in 1991 California, exactly at the time of the first Gulf War. ‘This aggression will not stand’ – these words by George H.W. Bush on TV are just another memorable phrase, among many others, that come out of this movie. 

The Coen brothers managed to create a very memorable black comedy depicting the relaxed and sometimes useless life of ‘small people’ among the typical Los Angeles urban set.

‘The Dude’, a former hippie, is a leftover of the 70s suddenly finding himself in a different, alien epoch. His heyday is gone a long time ago. He’s a typical loser by American standards – he’s got a rubbish car (stolen and burned down later anyway), he’s unemployed but doesn’t actually want to get any job anytime soon. He’s a philosopher at the same time and has got some good friends (namely, Walter and Donny). He’s wearing his iconic cardigan (now sold all over the world as merchandise) and is known to like his ‘White Russian’ cocktail, too. The Dude is surfing his life just like his friend Donny is known to surf the Californian waters. 

The plot, though curious by itself, is not that important. It’s the characters that matter. It seems that the only real passion for them is bowling. The trio makes up a team that struggles to get into the semifinal in the local bar tournament. 

Sure, they didn’t succeed in their goals and were left almost ruined with Donny dead (in a funny way) in the end.

And yes, their motto, reckless and maybe optimistic, declared by Walter Sobchak in the very Our Rusuk Blog writer Sergeyfinale of the movie, is the essence of their lifestyle when everything (again) goes wrong: 

F*CK IT DUDE, LET’S GO BOWLING!

 

 

My favourite film.

I’m not an ardent film-watcher, in fact I may just be the only person in the civilised world that has never yet watched “ET”. I can’t remember the last time I actually attended a cinema. I become easily bored watching a film on TV, and so the amount of those that have satisfied my curiosity, from beginning to end, are rather limited to say the least. That makes this blog somewhat easier for me than for either of my writing companions, due to my relative lack of choice.

I was already in my teens when I first saw “The Titfield Thunderbolt”, which was released in 1953. It was one of a long and successful line of comedies made in Ealing Studios in London, and the first one to be filmed in Technicolor. It featured many of Britain’s top actors of the day, including Stanley Holloway, John Gregson and a young Sid James.

Titfield Thunderbolt
“Lion” which was the actual locomotive used to represent the “Titfield Thunderbolt” in the film

It tells the story of a fight by some residents of the fictional village of Titfield to save a short stretch of railway line threatened with closure. The local bus company uses all sorts of nefarious means to try and sabotage the railway, but in the end, the good guys win. Like they should in all good films……

I was enthralled by this 84-minute film when I first came across it, and I am just as enthralled with it today. Why? Well, it shows an England that simply does not exist anymore. When I first saw it in the 1960s, railway lines in Britain were being systematically decimated, except for the major trunk routes, and this film always reminds me of how things used to be. 

Apart from Britain’s wonderful private preserved railways, there are now very few working branch lines where everybody along the line knows everybody else, where the gardens at each country station are beautifully kept, and where the trains may be decrepit but always seem to run on time.

One great irony of all this was the film’s director, T.E.B. Clarke. He happened to be a neighbour of a Dr. Richard Beeching. So what, you may ask. Well, just a decade after the film was made, as the Chairman of British Rail, Dr. Beeching recommended huge cuts (a whopping third, or 6,000km!) in Britain’s railway system, meaning the instant closure of most branch lines, exactly like the one portrayed in this movie.

So even the mention of the film brings back to me the old post-war England – steam trains of course, (who cares that they were smoky and dirty); most villages having access to a railway Roger Baraclose by, even though they probably already running at a loss; few cars on the roads, and an altogether simpler, friendlier, more relaxed pace of life. And no mobile phones – absolute bliss.