Welcome to my movie blog, containing reviews and articles. I've been writing since 2004 - with a short break during 2009.

In defence of my top 12 - part one

OK, so I thought I'd do one on my favourite films...started in an attempt to get them ordered satisfactorily for the empire poll, now an attempt to justify my decisions.

This isn't the list I submitted to the poll - this is just a list I'm comfortable with, where films come where they've always come because they always have. It's almost right, but not quite.
I worked the final out by considering pairs and working out what beat what. The easiest split was getting the top 7 or so in place. Any film that still felt vibrant and real compared came above RD, everything else went below.

The only really dirty fight still continuing is down between it and R+G (they’ve always been on the same level in my mind, and for more than the obvious reason. It’s the aimless script, the unimportant location, the way they all talk but never reach any definite course of action, the blend between the very very funny and what should be very very sad, and one or two other things which would act as spoilers for both). Eventually, I decided to just put R+G first as I've liked it for longer, and I'd feel veeery guilty admitting to liking RD more. Which I don't. Obviously. Oh dammit, I feel really bad about this...And as always, FOTR was clamouring for my attention – it’s so much more than just a film, it deserves special status.

I was going to do, like, five at a time, but they're big enough to be posts in their own right.

1 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Two out of luck bank robbers try to stay ahead of the law.

Romantic, glowy, wuvvy morning ride...between Butch and Sundance's girlfriend?!All I can say, it's my favourite film because it's the best film ever, not the other way around. I can't imagine a more perfect movie. The cinematography is lovely, it's very very brown, and the blend between lightheartedness and more serious stuff is perfecto.
The script is stuffed to the brim with wry asides and amusing moments, in this fantastic revisionist western. Whenever you think you’ve got a hold on things (the sherrif’s trying to raise a posse in the town square!), you really couldn’t be more wrong (…only the crowd aren’t stirred by the stirring speech and their attention gets stolen by a bicycle salesman). The Wild Bunch walk out to meet their fate; High Noon’s Sherrif stays to face enemies even when he doesn’t have to, because they feel it is their duty. Butch and Sundance get a whiff of trouble, and they bolt. It’s these delightful contradictions which make it no more than harmless good fun – Butch’s motto could be the line “just so long as we come out on top”. Or possibly, like the tagline, “just for the hell of it!”

The other factor in making it a merry watch is the 60s-ness. Etta’s makeup. The cheerily anachronistic script. THE MUSIC! Everyone always remembers Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head, but what’s up with the random bomp-di-domp tune from Bolivia?
All in all, it’s got it all. It manages to be amusing and arty, proving those attributes are not mutually exclusive (Hollywood take note!), while dealing with a plot that in other hands, could have been a lot less fun.

Sum up the film in a moment: "Is that what you call giving cover?" "Is that what you call running?" Those two lines cover the rest perfectly...
Best scene: Butch being challenged for the leadership of the Hole in the Wall gang. "I don't mean to be a sore loser, but when we're done if I'm dead...kill him."
Best line: There are lots - the script's fantastic. So for now I'll go for this exchange. "Who's the best lawman?" The best, how? You mean toughest? Or easiest to bribe?".
Favourite character: Sundance is all gorgeous...mmmmmmmm. And his delivery is note perfect – half of my nominees for best line just wouldn’t work on paper, because it’s all in the way he says it. I think also, because I see myself in Butch (hare-brained schemes and talking ones way out? Hell yeah.), I always see Sundance as a friend.
Nerdy observation: After blowing the door off the train, the first thing Butch does is go and check if Woodcock is ok. They really are nice guys. If I remember correctly, they are only ever shown killing in self defense.
Special mention: I wanted to say the brownness, but it wouldn't have worked without the phenomenal chemistry between the leads. They don't exchange a kind word for the entire film; you just know they really care. Squeee!
Best watched: if you truly understand what Paul Newman meant when he called it “a love story between two men”, or what Robert Redford meant when he said “there are some friendships too great and strong to talk about.”


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