- Taxi Driver (1976)
‘Taxi Driver’ has, since its release, been regarded by many as one of cinema’s greatest. But why? Well, simply, It’s Robert De Niro’s fault – because he made protagonist Travis Barker so charismatic and unpredictable. He’s everything you want to be and more. He’s free, aloof and almost untouchable, but there are moments in the film where you’re glad that you aren’t Travis Barker because where we’d walk on by, he stops. The characterisation that Scorsese and De Niro forge is your answer, the reason as to why ‘Taxi Driver’ is such an enthralling piece of cinema.
- Fish Tank (2009)
‘Fish Tank‘, an independent movie from British director Andrea Arnold, centres on protagonist Mia who is encouraged by her mother’s boyfriend, Connor, to follow her dreams of becoming a dancer. As Mia’s relationship with Connor develops into a sexual one, audiences lose hope in the reality of her dream. And although dark and pessimistic at times, the narrative is likeable because it is completely feasible. Audiences are able to draw parallels between Mia’s life and their own as it is the case for many that hurdles have also halted their dreams too. But Fish Tank boasts more. It serves as a social comment, it renders the message that with hard work, success is achievable. And it’s that message that makes the film so universal and so god damn important.
- Some Like It Hot (1959)
“A perfect American comedy” was how The Guardian’s John Patterson described Billy Wilder’s ‘Some Like It Hot’ – and he’s not wrong. At the expense of Curtis and Lemmon, Wilder delivers a laugh a minute, and still continues to do so because the film is timeless. Unlike Frankie Boyle, who I know your Grandma despises, ‘Some Like It Hot’ will have your Grandma in stitches and possibly even intensive care. Trust me, it’s that funny. Wilder took risks – he put two of America’s most treasured actors in heels. It could have ruined careers, but it didn’t because Curtis and Lemmon give tasteful performances. From slapstick to double entendre, hyperbole to satire, the film flows in an unforeseeable direction and I just can’t get enough of it.
- Death Proof (2007)
This list would not be complete without my favourite movie, ‘Death Proof’ – Tarantino’s most underrated. As a huge fan of road movies like ‘The Cannonball Run’ and ‘Duel’ and acting extraordinaire Kurt Russell, ‘Death Proof’ and I are a match made in heaven. ‘Death Proof’ is daring, it’s an adrenaline rush. In just under two hours, Tarantino revises a genre and revives a career (sorry Kurt). And for me, that’s remarkable. But what’s even more remarkable is that he places women in front of the steering wheel – and no, we didn’t crash the car. Tarantino deserves all the Blue Peter badges because he gets it. He knows that women can fight their own battles and that Kurt Russell is still relevant. Long live QT.
Words, Charlotte Leedham, @lottleed
All other pics, IMDb