What's your favourite movie?

2011-12-06 10:27

David Moseley

A British newspaper has been running a series of columns lately, with their journalists all getting a chance to write about their favourite movies. While reading a recent entry two things came to mind. One is that "what's your favourite movie?" must be the greatest, most succinct, most conversation-enabling question of all time, while the other was that I discovered I had never really given "my favourite movie" much thought.

I'm a fan of all things film, equally happy watching Norwegian fisherman ponderously discussing the meaning of sturgeon in subtitles and Bruce Willis blowing up asteroids with his unique combination of sass and drilling skills. But if you'd asked me a few days ago to name my favourite movie I would have been stumped - momentarily, of course.

Eventually I would have offered something like Die Hard or Terminator 2. Perhaps I would have said True Romance, or maybe that perennial pleaser The Shawshank Redemption. I like Dirty Dancing, too (admit it, so do you. Everyone does). And even the Muppets' Christmas Carol. Or how about Groundhog Day, Ghostbusters and Scrooged (the ultimate Bill Murray trilogy)?

Matt Damon's Bourne movies also get plenty of airtime in my house, for who doesn’t love an angelic-looking amnesiac spy kicking ass with books and rolled up magazines every now and again? For sheer freak-me-out-in-the-dead-of-night value Event Horizon is right up there too, while the musical numbers of Disney's Aladdin, The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast add a happy (and less unsettling) counterweight.

While writing this I decided that Back to the Future was my favourite movie – it's fun, funny and, surprisingly for a movie filmed in 1985, not radically outdated if you watch it now. Coming a close second would be Die Hard (it's an undeniable fact of the movies that once you add Alan Rickman to a scene - not even a whole movie, just a scene - said scene is instantly catapulted to classic status).

However, as soon as I decided that Back to the Future was my favourite movie, I quickly realised it wasn't my favourite movie-watching experience. For the absolute formative viewing of my youth, and I can't believe I almost forgot this, the awesomely atrocious kung fu movies of the 1980s get my thumbs up. In the words of Barry Ronge, they’re all an Exhilarating Eight.

Everybody was kung fu fighting

My parents often left my brother and me to our own devices on the weekends or during school holidays. To pass the time we’d raid the nearest video store for every questionable action movie ever made. We’d spend hours in front of the TV watching classics like American Ninja (white kung fu master, Samurai swords!) and Jackie Chan's early Chinese classics: Drunken Master, Wheels on Meals and Police Story. Movies with titles like Pray for Death (Sho Kosugi - who? Exactly!) and China O’Brien (featuring female martial artist Cynthia Rothrock kicking redneck butt) were staples for the Moseley boys. Not to mention late 80s gems like Black Eagle, Bloodsport and Jean Claude van Damme's attempt at dystopian depression in Cyborg (and I think Angelina Jolie was even in that - let me just double check - nope, but she was in the sequel).

Often, my mom would come home to find Steven bleeding profusely from the head. "Why is your brother bleeding!" she would screech (not unreasonably, I guess). Uh, well, it's actually quite obvious, mom. He was the evil ninja, and the evil ninja always gets round-housed in the head by the good ninja (me. Always. I am the older brother after all...)

Of course, as the 80s drew to a close my tastes became more refined, and I moved away from the slapstick buffoonery of Jackie Chan towards the more sophisticated, not to mention po-faced, stylings of Steven Seagal. He’s given us Above the Law and Hard to Kill (baddies blew him up, shot him and burnt his house down - and he lived! No way!) and, in fact, in a roundabout manner, he's also given us the best movie ever. In the world. Forget what I said about Back to the Future.

Under Siege. That's it. The ultimate kick-ass kung fu movie, the culmination of 80s machismo and cinematic silliness. Gary Busy! Tommy Lee Jones! Nuclear weapons. Erika Eleniak jumping out of a cake! A chef! But that ain't no ordinary chef, that’s Casey Fucking Ryback. And Under Siege ain't no ordinary movie. It’s fan-fucking-tastic.

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  • deon.fourie - 2011-12-06 11:04

    You seem to enjoy your sci-fi sessions. Begin my favorite genre I do suggest that you check out some of the following movies if you haven't seen them yet: The Abyss (arguably one of the best cinematic experiences I had as a kid in the 80's) The Thing (watch the new 2011 version first. It serves as the prequel to the old 80's Kurt Russel one and I must admit they did keep some of the original splender) Jurassic Park (yes, of course you've seen this one, who hasn't!?! Still a masterpiece) Sunshine (a 2007 movie, totally underrated and a feast for the eyes for anyone that enjoys the 2001: Space Odyssey pacing with the creepiness that was Event Horizon) Red Planet (2000, I have no idea why some people didn't enjoy this, fantastically entertaining) Tremors (oooh come on, who doesn't love this awesomely entertaining sci-fi horror comedy)

      David - 2011-12-06 11:22

      Ha. Tremors is awesome. Kevin Bacon at his best.

      Penny-wise - 2011-12-06 12:29

      Shawshank Redemption Lord of the Rings - Trilogy T2 Aliens Frequency The Abyss Platoon The Perfect Storm to name a few classics ...

      Penny-wise - 2011-12-06 12:38

      And how on earth could I forget this one ??? Natural Born Killers !!! Classic !!!

      deon.fourie - 2011-12-06 12:50

      oooh oooh! And Contact (Carl Sagan, 'nuff said)

      MelvernYoung - 2011-12-06 13:06

      Forest Gump maybe?

      mbossenger - 2011-12-06 13:32

      Deon - good call on Contact - my single all time favourite.

      Win - 2011-12-06 13:33

      Wow! No-one mentions my favourite of all times: JUNGLE BOOK ! I must have seen it about 37 times (often together with the kids). And what's wrong with Saturday Night Fever? And: Diamonds are forever! But my personal second best is DR.ZHIVAGO.

      Joanne - 2011-12-06 13:48

      Did you ever see "Point Break"?

      Penny-wise - 2011-12-06 13:56

      Yes Joanne, another goodie!

  • Clay - 2011-12-06 11:06

    Wayne's World 1 and 2! Bang!

      sagrenm1 - 2011-12-06 12:11


      Joanne - 2011-12-06 13:49

      "If you build it, they will come...." :)

  • Fredster69 - 2011-12-06 11:25

    Terminator 2, when Harry met Sally, Die hard series, Titanic...the list goes on...

      Penny-wise - 2011-12-06 12:34

      Titanic is still worth a look, but for me it's one of those 'classics' that you can probably do two, maybe three times, like Avatar, then it goes onto the shelf to collect dust for all eternity. For me, the true classics are the one's that are always entertaining when you have nothing else to do. You never get 'tired' of them ...

      Joanne - 2011-12-06 13:49


      Rajesh - 2011-12-06 14:04

      @ Penny-wise - Titanic is being re-released in cinemas next year, to mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the ship. Oh, and it is going to be in 3D noggamal, the conversion of which was overseen by James Cameron himself...

      Penny-wise - 2011-12-06 14:48

      @Rajesh, fair enough, if Cameron's involved it's bound to be pretty good. So this time I get to watch the ship sink and Leo drown in 3D ??? Awesome!

  • Maai - 2011-12-06 11:35

    Debbie Does Dallas. A classic.

      Dirk - 2011-12-06 12:27

      Maai, I think you are looking for the Porn article.

      Maai - 2011-12-06 13:02

      @Dirk Huh? No, this article is about favourite movies...

  • Robin - 2011-12-06 11:49

    It has to be Top Gun

  • Dirk - 2011-12-06 12:17

    Maybe the right way to identify your favourite movie is to define how to choose it. There are many great actions, comedies and dramas out there, and with such a wide range of movies, it is difficult to choose just one. So maybe it should be the first movie that pops in your head when you think of your favourite? The problem is that we are beings that change our minds regularly. What is our favourite today might not be tomorrow as tomorrow is a different day with different emotions. So maybe we should make it a daily/monthly/yearly approach. So today, my favourite movie is........Happy Gilmore!

      David - 2011-12-06 12:35

      Happy Gilmore is quality. I concur. Up there with Billy Madison and Wedding Singer.

  • Antoinette - 2011-12-06 12:18

    The legend of Baggar Vance. Unbelievable. Totally outclasses anything else I have ever seen.

  • sandy.hammond - 2011-12-06 12:29

    Fargo, Big Fish, Finding Nemo, Pushing Tin, Avatar, Toy Story, The Matrix, Silence of the Lambs, Inception, The Life of Brian, Rocky, Mystic River, Steel Magnolias, Eyes Wide Shut ... wow so MANY!!! Makes me want to go and see them all again.

      David - 2011-12-06 12:34

      Aargh. Can't believe I didn't mention one of my other faves... The Big Lebowski.

      Penny-wise - 2011-12-06 12:36

      Oh yes! How could I forget, The Silence of the Lambs. All the Thomas Harris (Hannibal) flicks were pretty good, didn't care much for 'Hannibal Rising' though. But Silence of the Lambs was the best of the lot!

      Hadaya - 2011-12-06 13:25

      The Life of Brian is my ALL TIME favourite movie!!!

      Joanne - 2011-12-06 13:50

      LOVED FArgo - what a crazy film... yaa-uhhh.

      Joanne - 2011-12-06 13:51

      AND the Big Lebowski - "I just want my rug back, man..."

  • Chrono - 2011-12-06 12:30

    Something's gotta give, Ben-Hur, Rambo: First Blood.

      Penny-wise - 2011-12-06 12:34

      Yes, that first Rambo was very cool. Pity the body-count wasn't a little higher though ... :)

      deon.fourie - 2011-12-06 14:07

      aaaah good old Ben-Hur, will never forget the nostalgic moments watching it with my Dad. Thing is though, that movie was so long you could plant seeds, watch them grow, harvest the popcorn and eat it before you even get close to the end :)

  • Erin - 2011-12-06 12:35

    Pulp Fiction

      Joanne - 2011-12-06 13:51

      That brilliant dance scene.

      Penny-wise - 2011-12-06 14:49

      Actually there were so many good scenes in that movie it's hard to start listing them. Who can ever forget Zed and the Gimp?

      Erin - 2011-12-06 14:51

      "Zed's dead baby. Zed's dead."

      Penny-wise - 2011-12-06 15:01

      @Erin, I still would have loved for Bruce Willis to walk into that dungeon and slice everyone and everything up into lots of little pieces. Tarantino actually let me down there ... Ok so I'm a sicko, whatever.

      Heidi - 2011-12-07 06:32

      Pulp fiction was awesome!!! quinton tarrantino is a mad genius. Death proof???

  • danalexsmith - 2011-12-06 12:58

    The Goonies. I'm still waiting to make out with a chick wearing orthodontic braces.

  • Win - 2011-12-06 13:36

    Has anyone ever seen "In the sign of Taurus"? It's a Swedish porn movie, but wow, what a story and execution and hilarity.

  • Charles - 2011-12-06 13:55

    The Castle (the Australian one) - tell him he's dreamin!

  • Gavin - 2011-12-06 14:04

    Blood in Blood Out, Scarface, Carlitos Way, Cinderella Man, Troy

      Joanne - 2011-12-07 11:31

      That opening parole scene in Carlito's Way: "I've been cured; born again, like the Watergaters. I know you've heard this rap before, your honor, I've changed. I've changed, and it didn't take no thirty years like your honor thought, but only five..."

  • Gavin - 2011-12-06 14:05

    Godfather, The Last Don,

      Penny-wise - 2011-12-06 14:50

      You're a hardcore for gangster movies I see. In that case you missed a real classic - Goodfellas

      Joanne - 2011-12-07 11:32

      Goodfellas was brilliant! Pesci was a disturbing little freak in that film.

      Mlungisi - 2011-12-12 11:57

      On that list you have to also include Casino

  • miacloete - 2011-12-06 14:41

    It's got to be "The Empire Strikes Back". Actually quite shocked by the lack of Lucas love here today.

  • mbossenger - 2011-12-06 14:52

    Sci Fi - Contact Fantasy - Lord of the Rings trilogy, Lion Witch and Wardrobe Comedy - Dodgeball, Lock Stock and 2 Smoking Barrels, Snatch Drama - Into the Wild Spy - Bourne trilogy, Casino Royale Animation - Shrek, Monsters Inc Underrated / Under the Radar - Secondhand Lions

      Joanne - 2011-12-07 11:33

      SECONDHAND LIONS!! I thought I was the only person who'd ever seen that, so good.

      mbossenger - 2011-12-07 21:39

      Joanne - Robert Duvall and Michael Caine - how can you go wrong? Seriously, though - I think the problem with Secondhand Lions was that it was marketed as a comedy, where in actual fact there was a much more poignant story to be told.

  • Stephen - 2011-12-06 14:53

    Pretty Women, for pure acting ability and Star Wars for dramatic effects.

  • mbossenger - 2011-12-06 14:54

    Life of Brian and Shutter Island

  • Stephen - 2011-12-06 15:05

    are you people forgetting BLADE RUNNER??!!!!! It is almost always at the top of every list of best sci fi movies ever made! it has everything from a fantastic, fututistic concept, amazing story and great effects and was the basis for many, many many movies that followed in the subsequent 3o years since it was made! BLADE RUNNER!!

      Penny-wise - 2011-12-06 15:09

      Yes, classic for sure. When you actually sit and think about it, there's so many good one's to choose from.

  • Win - 2011-12-06 17:05

    Well, perhaps ATAVAR was truly the best one ever, what do you think??

  • Susan - 2011-12-07 04:42

    DIRTY DANCING! This classic has heart and will live on forever! Sue Tabashnik

  • Susan - 2011-12-07 04:45

    DIRTY DANCING! This classic has heart and will live on forever! Sue Tabashnik

  • Susan - 2011-12-07 04:47

    DIRTY DANCING! This classic has heart and soul and will live on forever! Sue Tabashnik

  • Heidi - 2011-12-07 06:30

    ooo the perfect storm! Pennywise i see you're a King fan aswell? that mini series (olr what was it? like, installments of a movie??) freaked me out BIG time when i was oung. So naturally i loved it:) hm Armaggedeon ( i cry everytime) Donnie Darkop was prety awesome. Has anyone watched the cell with Jennifer Lopez?! and of course...the fifth element. which i am currently searching for desperately on dvd before christmas. HELP???!

      Joanne - 2011-12-07 11:34

      The Perfect Storm is so good, but the ending makes me damned mad! Has anyone here ever seen "Snatch"?

      Stephen - 2011-12-07 19:27

      download the Fifth element! Here in Canada, blockbuster has literally gone bankrupt because no-one rents anymore. Good thing if you ask me- movie stores everywhere have been ripping us off for decades.

      mbossenger - 2011-12-07 21:34

      Snatch and Lock Stock... 2 brilliant movies

  • Chop - 2011-12-07 09:27

    Definitely FightClub. And Hot Fuzz. Yeah, I think if I had to choose, those would be it, and then The Lion King. No, actually, now I think of it, you really can't choose... The Incredibles, Aladdin and then maybe Signs. Ooh and Jurassic Park and , off course Pulp Fiction.

  • ElKapino - 2011-12-07 10:39

    you must see ityala lamawele lol

  • Bob - 2011-12-07 16:03

    Shawshank Redeption - with Morgan Freeman & Tim Robbins. I do of course love Lord of The Rings, Star Wars, etc. but nothing beats Shawshank.

  • Kasiboy55 - 2011-12-08 07:40

    American Gangster Scarface MegaMind Red Mapona Volume 1

  • leonard.vlok - 2011-12-08 12:30

    What about My Cousin Vinny...

  • Kallie - 2011-12-09 16:53

    Mainstream movies: - Name of the Rose - With Sean Connery and a very young Christian Slater (based on Umberto Eco's classic novel) - Gone in 60 Seconds - The Rock - Goodfellas - Scarface - Napolean Dynamite - Blood in Blood Out - Back to th Future trilogy - Snatch - The Boondock Saints - Christopher Reeve's Superman - Christian Bale's Batman movies - Lord of the Rings - The Hangover ....and the list goes on and on and on........ Classic Porno's - Debbie does Dallas (the original version) - Sex Boat - Inside Seka

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