So we’ve covered books and music in my previous A-Z posts – this around, we’re looking at films! These are films I’ve seen at one point or another, but I don’t necessarily own copies of them, so I didn’t have a proper collection to look through to make this, like I did with my book shelves and my iPod, so it’s possible I’ve forgotten about some things. As with those lists though, it’s interesting to see what I did come up with for each letter, as some films I love had to be sacrificed because they shared a letter with something else, while others are only on here to fill a letter, but certainly wouldn’t normally be considered one of my favourites. (Amazon links in the titles).
A – Across the Universe
I absolutely adore this film – a romantic drama set to the music of The Beatles? Wonderful. The story blends with the chosen songs well, and there’s plenty of drama and thought-provoking plot lines, in beside some lighter, funny scenes, and a totally wacky dream-like sequence.
B – (The) Breakfast Club
If you haven’t seen this, shame on you. So many teen films err on the side of corny and clichéd, but The Breakfast Club is far more honest and real. It carries important messages for teens, and was just done so well, in so many ways. In general, most 80s teen films are far better than more modern ones, and this film is the best of the bunch.
C – Captain America
I’ve seen every Marvel Studios film to date, and enjoyed them all for the most part, but the Cap films, The First Avenger and The Winter Solider, stand out from the bunch for me. Cap is my favourite superhero, largely for his integrity, humbleness and kindness, and these films are also very well-written, with stories that feel a bit more unique compared to some of the others (like the Hydra thing in TWS, like who saw that one coming?!). I just hope Civil War won’t overshadow Cap with its rather large cast…
D – Definitely, Maybe
It sounds so girly, but sometimes I’m just in the mood for a light, easy rom-com. There are plenty of other better, more critically acclaimed films out there, but these are often more complex and intellectually demanding, so when I want to unwind, I like light films. And Definitely, Maybe is certainly one of the better rom-coms, since it at least kept me guessing for a while, rather than being too predictable.
E – Easy A
Emma Stone is great in any film, in my opinion, but her wit and sass in Easy A make it my favourite of hers so far. Again, a film about a high school that feels a little more real and not too clichéd, and on that I would continue to watch as an adult (unlike many other teen films I liked when I was younger). I also like the references to the 80s teen films I like so much, and it’s utterly hilarious throughout.
F – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Don’t we all want a day off like Ferris’s? It’s been too long since I’ve seen this one. As I’ve said already, I love a good 80s teen film, and this one is just so much fun. The comedy has aged well too, continuing to be funny and relevant even 30 years later. Films don’t have to have complex plots or expensive special effects to be great either.
G – Good Will Hunting
What a great film, and that Oscar for the screenplay was so well deserved. I never got the hype around Damon and Affleck before, until I saw this film, which I honestly don’t think they’ve topped since. We all love an underdog story, and watching the character of Will grow throughout the film is such an important thing for people to witness. And of course, Robin Williams is just wonderful, as always.
H – Harry Potter
Childhood books I enjoyed, and while I don’t think the films are quite as good as the original stories, they are still something quite special. Harry Potter will always be reminiscent of my childhood, and it was very fitting that the final film was released the same summer I finished high school. While I don’t agree with every adaptation the films make compared to the books, they are still great films, and seeing that magic brought to life is amazing. More about the films here.
I – If I Stay
Probably the soppiest film on this list. I tend to only watch really romantic films (think Nicholas Sparks) when I’m in certain moods, since I’m not really an emotional, soppy person, and can find such films ridiculous when I’m in a more cynical mood. This is one of a very small number of films to make me cry though (go on, I dare you to not when you watch it)! Music is also important to the film’s plot, and I really like some of the songs in it, which made me enjoy it though.
J – Juno
I feel like this is pretty iconic film that a lot of people will have seen and heard of. In all honesty, I liked it fine, but it’s been so long since I watched it that I don’t remember having strong feelings for it one way or the other (I was struggling for this letter though). Ellen Page is great in the lead role though, and it’s definitely a different take on the topic of teen pregnancy.
K – Kingsman: The Secret Service
I wasn’t sure if I was going to be that interested in this at first, but this film had me in stitches! Good old British comedy, and an unlikely underdog of a hero makes for a winning combination, and famous faces like Colin Firth and Samuel L. Jackson don’t hurt either. There’s a couple of scenes that are verging on completely ridiculous, yet they totally work somehow! Brilliant.
L – Love, Rosie
I wasn’t 100% sold at first on a story lasting over a decade, with a will they/won’t they story that nearly had me tearing my hair out after a while. However, I ended up enjoying this film quite a lot, since there was enough good character development to justify so many years, and a satisfactory ending, in more than one way, since it helps explain the long wait. Again, a little soppy, but a nice watch when I want to unwind.
M – Magic Mike XXL
Come on, we’ve all seen it, right? Ok, so the plot of the first film is terrible, and near non-existent, and the stripping is really the only redeeming factor. However, the sequel has a better storyline, and actually shows a really good and important understanding of female sexuality and desire, in that we are not all the same, and sometimes it’s best to just ask what we want – yes, thank you! Oh and more nearly naked men doesn’t hurt either!
N – Now You See Me
I love magic and I love con stories – there was a British TV show called Hustle that I used to watch, because I enjoyed seeing how the cons unfolded, and it was so clever. So the trickery in this film is even better, and I find it fascinating to watch how they pulled off each heist. I’m hoping the sequel won’t be a let down either.
O – On the Road
This is one of my favourite books, and I was nervous about the film adaptation, as classic books like this are often ruined. I was also very skeptical about Kristen Stewart’s casting, and although she still wouldn’t be my first choice for that role, the film as a whole came out pretty well, and Garrett Hedlund made a perfect Dean! The film captures the same reckless hedonism that is fundamental to the book, so I was happy with it overall.
P – Pitch Perfect
One of my friends just doesn’t get the hype about this, but I think it’s genius. I adore Anna Kendrick, and her portrayal of Beca is just the perfect amount of sarky and cool, yet still a bit of an outsider. The music isn’t my usual style, but I somehow love it, and will sing along to the whole thing. And the comedy is outstanding of course. The sequel I liked, but doesn’t stand up to the original, in my opinion.
Q – Quartet
I was struggling to fill the letter ‘Q’ until I remembered I’d seen this. It was a while ago, so I don’t remember all that much about it, but anything with Maggie Smith in it is bound to be pretty good, right? And music is key to the story, which generally makes me enjoy a film even more.
R – (The) Rocky Horror Picture Show
It’s wacky and weird and wonderful and I love it. While I often like to look at character development and themes and messages in films, the same way I do in books, I don’t bother trying to pick this apart – I simply go along for the strange, strange ride. Dressing up to see this is also a fun custom, which I tried for the first time recently.
S – Stardust
A rare exception to the “book is always better than the film” rule – having read the book and seen the film, I have to admit, I like the film better. I can’t explain it, it just works so well. I’ve always enjoyed fantasy, but it is typically given over to big, epic stories, so this is nice as a simpler quest, with a good balance of action, comedy and romance. I like the Victorian-era setting and style too. There’s very little I can fault with this!
T – (The) Theory Of Everything
I bawled my eyes out at this one, possible the most I’ve cried at any film. I’ve adored Eddie Redmayne for years, and he was just fantastic in this film. I never quite knew Stephen Hawking’s whole story and it’s both so sad and so incredible at the same time, and this captures what a remarkable man he really is. It’s filmed beautifully too, with a lovely soundtrack to match. Perfect.
U – Upside Down
Another fantasy romance film (no supernatural creatures in this one though!). I was intrigued by the setting of two worlds with opposing gravities so close to each other, and even connected, and the economic disparity between the two. It’s a star-crossed lovers kind of tale, which feels a bit over played, but it’s quite sweet, and another nice watch for when feeling tired and soppy.
V – Veronica Mars
I loved the character of Veronica in the TV show, with her sharp intelligence, masses of confidence, and biting wit. I was very disappointed with the ending, so like most fans, I was thrilled to get a film to better resolve everything. I like that they found a way to bring back so many characters, without it feeling too forced, and the storyline is great. But best of all, it was another dose of everything that makes Veronica great, and gave her a proper ending this time. My full review is here.
W – What If
I watch a lot of films that are like lower-budget dramas or rom-coms, with something about them that makes them a little quirky, and this fits the bill. Many of these films have been disappointments after their trailers, ending up being a bit boring, but this one was funny and sweet and managed to keep me interested until the end.
X – X-Men
I’m really not a fan of the original X-Men trilogy, but I didn’t have anything else for ‘X’! Although I like superhero films in general, these ones just didn’t do it for me. However, First Class was a very good film, though Days of Future Past was a bit too complicated for my liking, and felt like it was forcing the other characters in. I’ll wait and see what Apocalypse is like, but I’m not super excited about it for now.
Y – You Instead
I’ll forgive you if you’ve never heard of this – I certainly hadn’t for a long time! It’s also sometimes called Tonight You’re Mine, which I don’t like as a title as much. Anyway, it features two arguing musicians handcuffed together at a music festival, so there’s a typical love/hate storyline there. But what makes this film good is that it feels very real, given that the whole thing was filmed in a weekend at an actual festival. I love the idea, and of course, I like the importance of music throughout.
Z – Zombieland
More Emma Stone to finish us off, though the film has a pretty great cast overall. I hate zombie films that are all doom and gloom and horror and no one will survive – actually, I don’t like most horror films, because of their lack of depth and character development. However, using zombies to create a comedy is fantastic, and I thoroughly enjoyed this from start to finish. There’s just more to it than endless zombie killing, and it’s very, very funny.
So there we go. What do you think of these films? What would be in your A-Z of favourites? Any more recommendations for me?