Ah, I take great joy in welcoming my best friend in the world today to share her top ten movies with us. Natasha runs Life of this City Girl, and her blog deals with movies, books, ramblings and everyday things, a lifestyle blog mixed up with some reviews, too. Now, I know she and I don’t always see eye to eye when it comes to movies (meh, you and that romance stuff), but it does not change the fact that she is my bestie! 😉 Aside from that, she will be arriving in town early this afternoon, and I simply cannot wait anymore! Without further ado, I give you Natasha!
Should you be interested in submitting a Top Ten list, draw up a list of either your top ten personal favourite movies or a top ten list by a specific genre/theme and send it along to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope to see a few more lists!
Hi there! I’m guest posting here on the Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger today. I am situated over at Life of this City Girl, and was super excited when my longtime friend and fellow blogger Zoë asked me to do a guest post for her. She asked that I prepare my ten favorite films for her, and that immediately got me thinking. For my list I really wanted to mention those movies I truly loved and would watch over and over again. I really wanted to include more than one type of movie – I am known for enjoying a lot of rom coms (not ashamed), but I also love some serious kick-ass ones too.
1. Crazy, Stupid Love (2011)
I will mention immediately that this may be my favorite movie of all time. I am extremely fond of some of the cast members, and even those I don’t usually enjoy gave surprisingly good performances here. Emily Weaver (Julianne Moore) tells her husband Cal (Steve Carrell) that she cheated on him and wants a divorce. He is devastated, and takes his heartache to a bar frequented by Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling). Jacob, who is an excellent smooth talker and popular with the ladies, takes pity on Cal and takes it upon himself to educate his new friend on the dating techniques of the 21st century.
CSL is a particularly good romantic comedy. It hopefully signifies the change in the genre. It is fun and lighthearted while dealing with other issues too. It keeps the mush to a low level; something I know irritates plenty of people. There is no overly ridiculous declaration of love, no weeping tears. I enjoyed seeing Steve Carrell in something more than just the cheap humour that made him famous. I have to say he did excellent as Cal Weaver. I also really enjoyed Ryan Gosling (really, who doesn’t?) and thought he was a good choice for the suave Jacob. What I really enjoyed is how this womanizing man did a complete 180 when he met the right woman, and became a seriously upstanding boyfriend. Emma Stone is simply her hilarious self as Hannah. I have always thought she is a good actress – never seen her in a movie I didn’t enjoy – and this time around she did really well. I also thought that Josh Groban plays a perfect ass.
Fun fact: All this time I thought it was named Stupid, Crazy Love. The things we learn.
2. The Avengers (2012)
Loki (Tom Hiddleston), God of Mischief, is on his way to earth to cause havoc (pretty much because he is pissed at his brother, Thor (Chris Hemsworth)). Thor heads to earth as well to team up with the Avengers, a S.H.I.E.L.D initiative. The Avengers is made up of Thor, Captain America (Chris Evans), The Hulk/Dr. Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johannssn), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr). They initially have trouble working together, but tragedy strikes and they find that they are able to stand each other in great danger.
I enjoy Marvel. They sometimes have essentials missing from their movies, but it is generally spectacular fun to watch. I was ridiculously excited for The Avengers to be released, and I headed in all my fan glory to the cinema to go view it. I wasn’t disappointed. I was on my seat and was entertained solidly for it’s’ duration. I got the DVD when it was released and have watched it again and again. I understand that there has been some bitching about the plot line, and I have to admit it is nothing ground breaking, but I enjoyed seeing all the superheroes grouped together fighting the dastardly Loki. I laughed a lot too – there are some funny moments that offset the drama really well.
3. Moulin Rouge (2001)
Moulin Rouge is the story of young writer/poet Christian (Ewan MacGregor) who heads to Paris to become famous and find love. He meets the beautiful Satine (Nicole Kidman), a high-end courtesan. He immediately falls in love with her, and because she thinks he is a Duke interested investing in the club she works at, she sets out to seduce him. When the actual Duke shows up, she is horrified, but manages to save the situation. Later on, Christian returns to her room, declaring his love for her. They start up a clandestine affair, complicated by the Duke’s affections. When the Duke learns that he is being deceived, he is furious and things start to turn ugly. Will their love survive and at what cost?
The greatest thing, you’ll ever learn, is just to love, and be loved in return.
Let’s ignore for a moment that Christian and Satine fell in love in her boudoir in five minutes while she was convinced that he was someone else. It is a musical, and a love story, so some things are allowed to not make sense. Baz Luhrman did a fantastic job. Moulin Rouge is a feast on the eyes. The music is grand. The cast – Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor are charismatic together and both can sing relatively well. The sadness of the story rips out your heart. It is so well done that for a second you forget you are supporting a prostitute who is deceiving a (albeit horrible) Duke. Even if you don’t enjoy musicals per se, I would recommend that you watch this masterpiece at least once.
4. The Hunger Games (2012)
Based on the worldwide successful Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, the Hunger Games is about Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), who lives in Panem, dystopian America. To remind its citizens of the Capitol’s power over them, the Hunger Games takes place each year. From every district (there are twelve excluding the Capitol) a male and female tribute is chosen annually to compete in the Hunger Games, which is literally a fight to death in an enclosed arena.
Katniss volunteers as a tribute for District 12 when her younger sister’s name gets pulled. She leaves her family and best friend Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) behind and heads to the Capitol with her district’s male tribute, Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson). To help them prepare, Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson) is there. As the only other victor of the Hunger Games ever from District Twelve, he is supposed to train them in combat. The rest of their team is: Capitol special and frivolous Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks), designer Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) and a silly prep team gets them ready for the Games. Peeta drops a bombshell the night before the Games by telling the entire nation that he is in love with Katniss – immediately making them star-crossed lovers. Together they head into the deadly Hunger Games, and the hunt immediately begins. Who will leave the arena alive?
Book to movie adoptions are extremely dangerous endeavours. There will always be fans who are upset with casting choices; directors and the script writer have the insane responsibility to produce a script that follows the book while still being watchable and short enough to not be exhausting. I am so thankful that the Hunger Games was exceptionally transitioned into a movie franchise. I actually watched the movie before reading the books, a rare occurrence, and I can say that for once the movie is on the same level as the books. I think it is largely a success because of the great cast. Jennifer Lawrence deserves an Oscar for her portrayal as Katniss. She brings this abrasive ad sometimes unlovable character to life, making her a much more endearing character than in the books. I wouldn’t have cast Josh Hutcherson as Peeta, but that doesn’t mean in any way that he is bad in here. He did a really good job as well. The movie really did well in capturing the horror of the Hunger Games. I have always maintained that the Hunger Games is so successful because it isn’t that impossible to happen. I can say that the movie really shows how evil governments are and how they can control people.
5. Catching Fire (2013)
Catching Fire is the second installment of the Hunger Games trilogy, and picks up a few months after Katniss and Peeta managed to both become victors. The Capitol, led by President Snow (Donald Sutherland) is furious with both of them. Snow visits Katniss at her home and tells her that her small act of defiance in the arena caused people to believe that they too could start defying the Capitol. He “gently” points out that her loved ones, including Gale (Liam Hemsworth), the third part of the Peeta and Katniss Love triangle, can accidentally die if she doesn’t manage to convince Panem that she was simply a girl who was deeply in love and willing to do anything to save her boyfriend. It is difficult, because she and Peeta have been avoiding each other since the Games, mostly because Katniss isn’t sure of her feelings. Eventually they make peace and move towards friendship, but their best efforts aren’t enough to stop the uprisings in the Districts. Katniss knows that Snow will find a way to eliminate her, but when she finally learns of his plans, she is dumbstruck with fear. Snow sends her alongside other victors, including Peeta back into the Arena, and she knows she has no way to get them both out a second time.
Pardon my language, but this is a fucking excellent film. It is better than its predecessor. It is on a whole new level of awesome. The acting is superb. Even though I knew it would happen, I was in tears when Katniss learned that she was being sent back into the Games. The poison scene was disgusting, those apes were terrifying and Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin) was cool, although not what I thought he would be. I’ve heard a few comments where people don’t get why Katniss goes into the Arena twice, and why the second and third movies are even necessary, so here is my explanation: The Hunger Games is about bravery and courage, about rising against brutality and corrupt governments. It is not just about a death hunt and who kills who, morons.
Nonetheless, go rent/buy/steal it, but give it a go.
6. The Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King (2003)
Firstly, let it be known that all the movies in this franchise are worthy of mentioning. I have always been a huge fan of the books (which I started reading at eleven), and can honestly say that although it the movies weren’t 100% true to them, Peter Jackson did a magnificent job of capturing the essence of Middle Earth (we shall not discuss the Hobbit movies please)
The Return of the King is my favorite of the three (which includes Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers) because it brings the entire epic tale to an end. The beautiful scenery and great cast makes three hours’ worth of movie feel like nothing at all. My favourite scene of all time is in this movie – The Ride of the Rohirrim. It never fails to give me goosebumps. The movie shows that friendship and love and courage will always beat cruelty, malice and evil.
7. About Time (2013)
About Time is an English romantic comedy about Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) and what he does when he realizes he can go back in time. Tim’s greatest need is to be loved, and eventually he ends up with Mary (Rachel McAdams).
I went into this movie with reservations. I honestly expected some crap about people loving each other in different times and not being able to reach one another. This was not it AT ALL. It is delightfully British, and there are some truly cute moments in the film. I loved Rachel MacAdams as the quirky and insecure girl she was in here.
Fun fact(s): Domhnall Gleeson and Bill Nighy, who plays Tom’s father, are both Hogwarts alumni. Domhnall Gleeson played Bill Weasley and Bill Nighy played Rufus Scrimgeour. Cool!
8. Silver Linings Playbook (2013)
Patrick Solitano (Bradley Cooper) is released from the psychiatric facility he was in after he nearly beat his wife’s mistress to death. He is diagnosed as bipolar and is sent back to his parents to recover. He is obsessed with getting his wife back, even though she has a restraining order against him.
He meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), the only person in town who might be crazier than him. After her husband’s death, she was fired from her job for sleeping with everyone in the office. She is abrasive and rude, and they bump heads frequently.
Tiffany promises to help Patrick get a letter to his wife if he is her partner in a dancing competition. As they practice together, they start understanding and accepting each other’s problems and quirks.
Will Patrick get the letter to his wife and how will she respond? Is there any chance for him and Tiffany?
SLP is about drama and tempers and messed up people. I love the fact that both lead characters just have absolutely no filters when saying something. They are hilariously uncomfortable.
Jennifer Lawrence won an Oscar for her portrayal as Tiffany. She was very entertaining and it was fun to see her in something other than the Hunger Games. She has an incredible amount of talent. It will be great to see her in other stuff as well.
9. Eat Pray Love (2010)
Eat Pray Love is based on the book by Elizabeth Gilbert of the same name. Personally, I think the book does a much better job than the movie in terms of packing emotional punches, but the movie adaption is really well done. Julia Roberts is main protagonist Elizabeth Gilbert. Her life falls apart when she divorces her husband and has another disastrous relationship with David (James Franco). Elizabeth has the financial means to take a year long hiatus from reality, and decides to do so. First, she heads to Italy to appreciate good food and life, then to India to explore her spiritual side and then finally to Bali to find a balance between the two.
The movie (and book) is so good because it has a great sense of adventure and discovery. It has some emotional business too – Julia Roberts does depression really well on screen. The movie isn’t 100% loyal to the book but I didn’t find the changes too offensive.
I won’t claim that the film made me want to pack my bags and head to India, but Bali and Italy certainly looked enticing enough!
10. Perks Of Being A Wallflower (2012)
My younger sister’s insistence led me to watching this movie and I am so grateful that I did. It is fantastically done and the cast was amazing. I heard it was pretty loyal to the book, and am excited to read it soon.
Charlie (Logan Lerman) heads to high school after a horrible year where his best friend committed suicide. He is an extreme introvert who struggles to make friends. He eventually makes friends with a bunch of misfits from the senior class, and falls in love with Sam (Emma Watson), a quirky and damaged girl. She however routinely dates jerks and doesn’t notice her feelings for Charlie until she moves to university. As all his friends leave, Charlie has to start dealing with his demons again and ends up in hospital.
This coming of age film was fresh and entertaining. I fell in love with all the characters. Everything sharply reminded me of how difficult it is for teenagers out there. They have so much emotion and pressure to deal with, and older people routinely think they have it easy.
I have to stress again that this cast was perfect for the story it told. Hell, Logan Lerman actually looked young enough to be Charlie and Emma Watson’s fresh face is young enough to play 18 year old Sam. I don’t watch coming of age stuff often, because I don’t like stuff where the people are younger than I am for whatever reason. This, however, had a good mix of drama, love, funny and surprises in it.
If you haven’t seen this film yet, I would recommend watching it.