Hopefully by now, you are aware that our site will be operational by the First of January. Alongside that launch will be the debut of a series of self-promotional interview videos. In mine, I briefly talk about the influence my Mother had on my film taste via our regular trips to the video store (lost, but not forgotten). Here; I’m going to delve into a few of the films that shaped me and my tastes in those early years;
The Silence Of The Lambs
What can be said about this one that hasn’t already been said? One of the shortest appearances to ever have won an Oscar (seventeen minutes)? Check. Winning “the big five” Oscars (Best; Actor, Actress, Screenplay, Director, Picture)? Check. The most iconic dick-tucking dance sequence of all time? Check.
It’s genius through and through, a murder mystery that’s engaging on the first watch or the twentieth. Jodie Foster and Antony Hopkins earn their Oscars with aplomb, making every second eminently watchable. It’s a film that never rests on the horror of it’s visuals but always manages to reach you more viscerally, it has command over every facet of it’s atmosphere.
And that’s what Silence gave me, an insight into how a perfectly controlled film has power most where you can’t see, how a film can be larger than it’s running time, larger than a two dimensional screen. That’s something I always strive to achieve on paper and something than brings us neatly onto the next film;
Everything I uttered about Silence is true tenfold for The Shining. Jack Nicholson’s deranged Jack Torrance makes Hannibal Lecter look so civil, so friendly. Stanley Kubrick’s command of atmosphere is sub-human. The man was a magician and no-one since has met him on the battlefield and matched his mastery of this thing we call cinema.
When we’re talking about films with lives larger than their material confines, The Shining has more stories surrounding it than any other film in history. Does it cheekily hint at Kubrick’s supposed staging of the Moon landing for NASA? Is the whole film possessed by the inhabitants of a Native Indian burial ground?
Who knows? All I know is that everything I work towards is in the hope of one day being able to put to paper something as brilliantly dreamlike yet unceremoniously evil and narratively unfuckwithable as The Shining.
Lost Boys is a brilliantly of it’s time Vampire film. It’s guilty of being almost unabashedly style over substance but it’s just too entertaining to be criticised. It manages to eschew Twilight-esque camp despite it’s youthful, handsome cast and is instead, just bloody cool.
It’s heroes, a gang of naive, pre-teen Vampire slayers balance hijinks and hilarity with sheer Vampire hunting ingenuity that makes the climatic showdown almost Home Alone-like in all it’s gleeful, innovative Vampire slaying glory.
Whether I’ve figured it out or not yet, Lost Boys taught me that there’s a way to be so whole-heartedly cool that you’re above criticism. And that’s another thing I strive to achieve in my own cinematic pursuits, although for some reason I feel the ’80’s may get more of a “cool” pass than the ’10’s. Only time will tell.
The Rocky Saga
Barring the first, Oscar winning instalment, Sylvester Stallone’s boxing sextuplet (four classics followed by two not so classics by my count) are usually critically derided. According to IMDB, they exist on a sliding scale from a solid 8 (enough to get it in at 203 in the top 250) down to 6.9 to 6.5 to 6.4 to 4.8 and inexplicably back up to 7.2 for 2006’s final, non-sensical Rocky Balboa (the one where a 60 year old man goes toe-to-toe with the current world champion and lasts all fifteen rounds to lose by judges decision).
This is obviously wrong, despite the originals Oscar pedigree and it’s real life parallels to Stallone’s rags to riches story as a writer/actor/director, it’s the fourth instalment that’s the strongest. Boasting, for my money, one of cinemas greatest villains in Ivan Drago (a sort-of breakout role for for not-quite action star/Expendable Dolph Lundgren) it somewhat heavy-handedly deals with Cold War hysteria and through Balboa’s dogged determination shows that deep down, we’re all the same and that if he can overcome the Russian menace, we all can. It’s a touching speech.
What I pulled from this one was Blockbuster films could be exciting and huge with just two men in a ring and that film could be a harbinger of messages of love and acceptance. And also that a dope montage can sometimes be more triumphant than an entire movie.
Hopefully, one day you’ll be sat at the cinema watching something I’ve written. Hopefully whoever buys said script does it justice. And hopefully all the things I’ve discussed above culminate into my work and end up in the back of your brain, an unbelievably cool, deftly atmospheric, triumphant romp of a film. Impressive in every perceivable way, larger than life, edge-of-your-seat exciting and influential beyond it’s cinematic confines.
– Oliver Drew