Okay, so i know if i’m in fact stranded on a desert island the chance that there would be a way to watch any sort of films would be about approximate to my chances of being elected to the Scottish Parliament this year. And were i to make a new home in Edinburgh, tottering about with piles of legislation to enact, the likelihood that i’d remain deserted on an island with plasma TVs would be, well, next to nil. Unless, of course, that desert island had parties where goodie bags were filled with 50-inch plasma screen TVs.
The point of such questions – what five movies would you take with you on a desert island and the like – are meant to uncover one’s comfort movies, favorite-for-all-time movies, and (most important of all) employed on first dates to see if you’re future daddy/mammy material. Let’s just be real, okay?
So when i consider my Desert Island Movies, i have to be very clear: this is not an exclusive, “favorite movie” list. In fact, i find the “favorite movie” question to be (no surprise here) really hard to answer. I mean, there are the movies that make me think and stay with me in ways reflective in the every day – but aren’t necessarily movies i want to watch more than two or three times (like Children of Men or For Colored Girls). Then, there are movies that i just find comforting; movies i want to watch when i’m sick or feeling miserable, like Mary Poppins or The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Disney version, obviously). And how could i neglect the movies that i love for their political and social connotations – the kind of titles i like to drop at fancy academic cocktail parties to glean approving nods for my brainpower, like Iron Jawed Angels or Cry, the Beloved Country. Naturally, how could i exclude films that make me laugh? Pirate Radio and Bridesmaids have earned their places on my shelf-of-favorites.
Yet desert island movies rest in a special category: they are the movies that are, simultaneously, ones i can watch over and over again without growing tired of the plot twists and character developments. There are movies for sickness, movies that will never leave you, movies that cover the breadth and depth of your cinematic tastes and personality. It’s a well-honed list; one subject to change, but unlikely to.
Thus, with no further ado, i give you:
The Eleven Films Lizzie Would Take to the
Dharma Initiative Desert Island
(And, yeah, i know. Eleven. I’m bad at cutting things out! SORRY GEEZ).
#1. The Princess Bride: I feel as though this goes without saying. If ever there were one singular film that i think everyone who has an abounding love for a good story should see, it would be this one; there’s a dashing hero, a bewildered princess, conniving villains, revenge, and sweepingly fantastic comedic lines worthy of being quoted and re-quoted for generations. As you wish!
#2. V for Vendetta: When asked for a favorite film of all-time, this ties with The Princess Bride, despite the enormous and obvious genre and stylistic gap between the two. I will say, though, both films are abrim with brilliant one-liners (my favorite from this film: “Because behind this mask there is more than a man; there is an idea. And ideas are bulletproof!”). I first discovered this film at Governor’s School (2008) and have since been filled with an inexplicable zeal that the whole of the world will never be right until we all sit down and watch this film, after which we engage in a radical conversation about violence in our societies. Also, the references to Twelfth Night peppering the dialogue is enough to make my Bard heart swoon with delight.
#3. Sense and Sensibility: The Emma Thompson/Kate Winslet/Alan Rickman version from 1995, naturally. To satiate my hapless romantic sensibilities with the beautiful and dashing words of Jane Austen. Also, to look at Alan Rickman. Yeah, that too.
#4. The Sound of Music: On a rainy day in the third grade, my teacher decided to keep us inside during recess, putting on a movie to keep us entertained in the absence of dirt-eating and monkey-bars-playing merriment. It was love at first sight; within a week, my hair was bobbed and the soundtrack at home in my CD-player, where is was spun no less than twelve hours a day. I sought out hills to spin in circles on the top of and wrote fan letters to Julie Andrews like it was my job. Nothing could ever come between me and this film; it taught me to love to sing, comforts me when i’m down, and such true love lasts a lifetime.
#5. Breakfast at Tiffany’s: For the mean reds. Also, to prance around pining to be as classic as Audrey Hepburn. And the kiss with the cat in the rain. Those are the best kind.
#6. Stardust: Pirates in a dirigible boat, Neil Gaiman-written adventures, and a good-old-fashioned adventurous love story. It’s simple escapism with a dash of whimsy added in for good measure!
#7. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King: Okay, choosing just ONE from the trilogy was nigh-on impossible, but i could not pass up the most epic Eowyn moment of all time in the battle for Gondor (even if it meant losing some of my favorite Merry-Pippin sequences). And, you know, that heartbreaking song Billy Boyd wrote for when Faramir is leading the charge on Osgiliath. Makes me cry every time. While i may not profess my love for Lord of the Rings quite as much online (perhaps because it is a little older (but i imagine once The Hobbit comes out, this will change)) i can, quite literally, quote the entirety of The Fellowship of the Ring verbatim along to the film. I had “one ring to rule them all” that i never took off my finger for about three years in a row, and stashed in the back of my closet are two of my favorite full-length posters of Legolas. No judging. He was hot stuff when i was thirteen.
#8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II: I feel like this needs no explanation; i saw it in Africa, sobbing like a baby the whole way through. Harry is forever for me.
#9. Moulin Rouge!: In the vein of epic romances comes in this film, overflowing with beautiful appropriated music and the lavish, brilliant direction of Baz Luhrman. I love everything about this film; its weirdness, the quirky cult following it has acquired over the last ten years, and its bohemian praise of truth, beauty, freedom, and love.
#10. Into the Wild: It seems in cinema, as in literature, i am endless looking for my Alaska. Few movies moved me the way this artistic interpretation of Chris McCandless’ journey did – and, as a grown-up-Haulden-Caulfield, i need to keep what’s not phony nearby.
#11. Up: Unquestionably my favorite Pixar film in every element – the dog, the curmudgeonly old man, and, most of all, the redefinition of adventure. I’ve never made it through this film without sobbing like a baby (perhaps to the unnerving of all around me…alas. I swear i don’t cry at any other film except the ones mentioned here).
And there you have it! The desert island collection, or whatever. It seems, as i reflect on the eleven films chosen, i have an affinity for terribly sad or moving epic adventure stories with love being the central lesson. Call me a sap. Or in the wrong universe/time period.
Comment Question: What are YOUR desert island films? Or at least one or two of them! (Rules for the giveaway are here if you need a refresher!)
Yesterday’s Winner: Kate Farley, for following the blog! Congrats, Kate!
current jam: “my favourite things” from the sound of music (obviously).
best thing in my life right now: i’ve just been cast in the 25th annual putnam county spelling bee as “vice principal panch” at mount holyoke!