Saturday, April 17, 2010

I Love Lists


I haven’t done one of these in a while, a big super long post of pointless ramblings (my favourite kind). Today I’m nattering on about films, of the fantasy/sci-fi genre to be precise. I’ve had to update my favourites list following last night’s viewing, you see. Having missed out on it at the cinema, which I now very much regret, I rented Terry Gillingham’s The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus. And, oh, but it was excellent.

Granted, it could’ve been so much better if Heath Ledger’s death hadn’t forced a script rewrite towards the end. This prior knowledge combined with the fact that I’d heard only mediocre reviews of the movie, and that I find Gillingham’s stuff to be a bit hit or miss, meant that I wasn’t expecting too much. But considering the circumstances I think they did an admirable job. I was both awed and entertained in equal measure.

So I suppose maybe the pleasantly surprised factor may be playing a wee part in it’s ranking, but my Top 10 which had already grown to a Top 17 is now a Top 18. Still with me? Well you can find said list below.

I want to point out that this is only a tally of my fantasy/sci-fi faves and in no way covers my top films of all time. That is one list that can never be finished because I can never decide what goes at the top. Kind of the opposite to the novel I’ll never write because I can’t settle on an ending. At least that’s the excuse I tell myself.

There are notable absences on it too; some flicks I simply didn’t find worthy, some I haven’t seen yet. Others aren’t there because I feel the fantasy/sci-fi tag doesn’t quite cover them. Like The Shining or Dr Strangelove, both of which would make my top 10 films of all time (although I have deliberately omitted A Space Odyssey- me thinks the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes). Night of the Living Dead, Hero, X-Men, Harvey, Superman, Sleepy Hollow, Pi- all of these and more I toyed with but decided to leave out in the end.

Anyway, here you go. My top fantasy/sci-fi films as of April 2010.



1- The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Obvious but worthy.

2- Star Wars
Originally trilogy only, naturally.

3-Pan’s Labyrinth
I always find it interesting to hear how the ending of this amazing film made people feel. I watched it with my fiance and at the end I was almost moved to tears while he found it quite uplifting. Still, beautiful either way.

4- Princess Mononoke
It’s tough choosing between Hayao Miyasaki and Studio Ghibli’s many wonderful animations, but I think this is my favourite.

5- Alien
My pick of the only two good films in the franchise.

**New Entry** 6- The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Such a pity that Mr Ledger passed on towards the end of production, it could’ve been a masterpiece.

7- Sunshine
Surprisingly brilliant sci-fi from Danny Boyle. Almost as good as Alien and so much better than 2001.

8- Howl’s Moving Castle
More Miyasaki mastery.

9- Big Fish
Burton’s best, in my insignificant opinion.

10- Delicatessen
This may shock a lot of people, but I wasn’t a big fan of Amelie. The ending gave me a toothache. I rather enjoyed this though. And The City of Lost Children, although I watched that after the pub one night and my memories of it are rather dreamlike.

11- First Contact
I had to include a Trek film here somewhere and, while most of such a persuasion would opt for The Wrath of Khan, I grew up with The Next Generation and have to swing in that direction.

12- Edward Scissorhands
I really will watch absolutely anything with good ole Mr Depp in the lead but this proves that it’s not just for that pretty little face of his.

13- The Brothers Grimm
Gillingham again. I can’t believe it, a film with Matt Damon I actually love!

14- Stardust
British fantasy action for the whole family (god, I sound like one of their publicity blurbs).

15- The Fall
Lesser known fantasy flick from 2008 set in 1920s LA.

16- The Fisher King
More Gillingham, this time with The Dude and Mrs Doubtfire searching for the Holy Grail- in New York City. How could it not be great?

17- Total Recall
More than muscles and action, this is actually a really decent sci-fi movie. As are the TWO Terminators, but I’m a girl who likes fairies and could hardly put three Arnie films in the one list!

18- Labyrinth
Yes, I am a child of the 80s and this is just a random pick of the cheesy fantasy films that shaped my childhood. Other options included Willow, The Never Ending Story, Bill and Ted, or The Last Unicorn.


p.s Just a thought, wouldn’t the latest Alice movie have been so much better if Gillingham had directed it? Don’t get me wrong, I love Tim Burton, but I think the former Python could’ve given it that darkly absurd quality it was lacking.

19 comments:

JJ Beazley said...

Your opinion isn't insignificant. I even agree with some of it. Wow! The ending of Pan's Labyrinth is the big 'if.' I found it uplifting, too. Women must be pessimists.

Megan said...

I've never seen The Imaginarius of Dr Parnassus, but perhaps I shall watch it now :)
I'm not a huge sci-fi fan but I do enjoy them when I'm on the mood.
I've only seen a few of your top films and but I loved them. Oh I was OBSESSED with Lord of the Rings...
I loved Stardust and The Brothers Grimm (the fairytale-y ones)
And I got Labyrinth on DVD for my Birthday and loved it. Soooooo very cheesy but I love David Bowie x

TheAmazingFoxworthBlog said...

It's a very good list Róisín but i must question your Lord of the Rings, Star Wars & Alien placements - surely that should count as 8 entry's and not 3 ??? I'm afraid i have to call shenanigans on that.

Also the thing is about doing lists is that there's so many that you forget about. I'd have John Carpenter's The Thing in there and probably Blade Runner in my top 5 too, maybe even as number 1, but yeah - overall very good list :-)

Róisín said...

JJ- Yup, women must be because any other men I know who’ve seen it find it uplifting too.

Megan- I was the same with LOTR! And about sci-fi, there’s so much really bad stuff out there that it can be hard to find the good stuff, but when you to it’s worth it. I’m glad you enjoyed Labyrinth, good to know people are still watching it! If you haven’t seen Willow then try and catch that sometime too. More cheesy 80s fantasy.

Declan- I knew you’d have something to say about Blade Runner! You know, this might be a bit controversial, but I didn’t forget to put it there. I know it’s brilliant and all but, I dunno, I just didn’t enjoy it enough, if that makes any sense. Anyway, re Star Wars etc, I just couldn’t decide between them. It would take too long and I’d change my mind too much to rank them. And oh, just for the record ‘Alien’ was my pick, I wasn’t counting Aliens though it does deserve to be on there somewhere too.

JJ Beazley said...

Must mean that men find magic easier to believe in. Ho, ho. What a turn up.

I think Alien is one of the best films ever, but I didn't get on at all with Aliens - too much 'let's kick ass' stuff from the marines. I think the scriptwriter must have fallen asleep - frequently.

Róisín said...

JJ- I think that's cause James Cameron is an eternal teenager. Have you seen Avatar?

Declan- you couldn’t take a wee look at the comments in the post above and see if you can help JJ out. He’s wondering about a film he seen once and can’t remember the title of. I thought you’d be more help than me.

Róisín said...

Oh, and when I say 'an eternal teenager' I mean a teenage boy, of course. It's an important distinction. :)

JJ Beazley said...

No, I haven't seen Avatar. That's because it hasn't been free-to-air yet. I daresay I'll probably see it at Christmas. Tell you what, though, Johnny Depp's version of Sleepy Hollow would definitely be near the top of my best fantasy films. And what was the one that starred Tim Curry as the Devil with big red horns - and the fairy who was ten times as sexy as the heroine? I'm hopeless with names.

TheAmazingFoxworthBlog said...

The Tim Curry one is Legend:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOxViR7eCuM

Sloan as the Princess = awesome!
Mmmmmm, Sloan......

as for the French film, only one i an think of is: The Triplets of Belleville or properly titled "Les Triplettes de Belleville"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Npro9kjyaJk

and may i add i am disgusted at your lack of appreciation of Blade Runner Róisín!!!!!! if it wasnt 11pm i'd watch the four hour version now - thats how amazing it is.

Finally for a future post let's have your top 10 comedies of all time :-)

JJ Beazley said...

Legend. That's it. Thanks. 'Belleville' sounds familiar, but 'Les Triplettes' doesn't. Ill try puttin Belleville into Google.

ruthie said...

I see we have in common the love of similar films too, but would have to add "Legend". i just saw the brothers grimm & loved it! x

TheAmazingFoxworthBlog said...

There's something about Gilliam & Burton that rags me these last few years. Dunno what exactly - like they're content to be "wacky" for wacky's sake. Maybe i'm just turning bitter but i.m.o. Burton hasn't made a good film in 7 years and Gilliam in 12. Over-hyped by the self-righteous masses. But then again i like Nic Cage films so what do i know....

Róisín said...

Legend you all say. I’ve never actually seen it but I’m really going to have make a point of it now. I don’t have time tonight but I must make a point of hunting it down in the next couple of days. There are actually a good few films that I suspect may be added to that list whenever I get round to seeing them.

Ruthie, haven’t watched The Brother’s Grimm since that one time when it came out and I think the time has come to give it another wee outing. Might stick it on after Legend some night. Have you seen Dr Parnassus? It’s even better again. And Stardust too, have you seen that? That one’s by a different director but it really reminded me of The Brothers Grimm for some reason.

JJ, I loved Sleepy Hollow too but I left it out and kept it for my ‘creepy/horror’ list instead.

Which is incidentally, Declan, the list I’d rather do next. The film that I’d put top may bring back some fond (or not so fond) memories for you. I’ll give you a clue- Galway, a certain Parish man, and dodgy video players. I think you should do a list too, by the way, one of the top 80s kids movies. I already know what you’d have at number one but I’d love to see what else you’d come up with. Oh, and may I add, I remember a time when you were content with being wacky for wacky’s sake. I doubt you’re getting old mister!

TheAmazingFoxworthBlog said...

Good idea with the new list :-)

I remember that weekend only too well, I've never been more terrified of mirrors than the one's in that house!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Top 80s kids movies eh??? There's a good lot of them that in today's climate wouldn't be suitable for kids at all - and I think I'd know what'd be number one too Róisín ;-)

ruthie said...

Roisin, i havent seen Dr Parnassus or Stardust yet, but they are on my list of to sees. Do let us know what you think of Legend! have a fab weekend x x

Róisín said...

Ruthie, I watched Legend and realised I had seen it before! Not for many years though and I had forgotten all about it and it's magical wonderfulness. Yes, it certainly should've been on that list somewhere.
p.s I hope you don't mind about my latest post. I just loved Ms Squirrel's work so much I couldn't resist...

ruthie said...

Roisin, it is one of my top faves! ps i dont mind at all, red squirrel's work is so beautiful it sure needs to be shared x

KY Warrior Librarian said...

Haven't seen Imaginarium, but from your comments and those of some other folks it's on my "to watch" list. I love the sci-fi/fantasy genre in books and movies. It's an interesting list. I agree with much of it. Being a diehard Neil Gaiman fan I would add Mirrormask to the list.

Róisín said...

Mirrormask, well that's just another one for my one to watch list! I've said it somewhere on this blog before but Gaiman is a writer who I've not read much of, something I've really need to rectify. I already have a few, but feel free to add some suggestions as to where to start!

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