I know that I say this far too often but it’s not been a great week so far. Work has been horribly busy and I just haven’t been able to get through anything that I needed to. Thankfully, I’ve used my remaining holiday for the year to take shorter weeks leading up to Christmas. It seemed like a better idea than taking a full week’s holiday and being left with no time off until December 25th. Of course, having Friday off does mean that today is going to drag. No day is quite as long as the one before your day off.
I used to listen to Brett Goldstein’s Films To Be Buried With podcast when I was working. For those who haven’t listened to it, each episode was based around a series of film question that Brett put to his guest. It included the question “what is the funniest film ever?” Comedy is one of those genres that is so subjective, which is perhaps the reason why comedy films don’t have the same lasting appeal as dramas. Some comedies do have staying power but funny films tend to age quicker than straight films. There are only a handful of really important classic comedy films, so most people answering this question would pick more contemporary ones. Of course, the one major exception is This Is Spinal Tap. It was the film that was picked most often in this category. So, is Spinal Tap really the funniest film ever made?
This is one of those books that everyone seems to have read when they were younger but it passed me by. I don’t know why but I just never read it. I mean it is often referred to as one of the greatest pieces of English literature of recent years. In 2019, BBC News included it in their list of 100 most influential novels. So, there must be plenty of people out there who think it was worth reading. I just never did. Maybe I just didn’t like the idea of reading a boy’s diary? As much as I don’t want to perpetuate the idea of gender stereotypes, I wasn’t exactly interested in what a 13/14-year-old boy had to say. Or maybe it was something about diaries in general? I never wrote a diary when I was younger. I think I was always a bit too embarrassed. It seemed too self-indulgent and pathetic. Why did I think my life was so worthy that it deserved being immortalised in a diary? Part of me is quite sad I never did, especially as my memory is o bad these days. Of course, every time one of my friends tells me about reading their old diaries, I am overjoyed that I never tried. Remembering what I was like as a teenager, I can be assured that it wouldn’t make for an easy read.
During my TBT review of Sixteen Candles, I suggested that having the film as your favourite John Hughes movie probably said a lot about you as a person. The film is great, as I say in my review, and was a solid debut for him as a director. It was also a great breakout role of Molly Ringwald. The problem is, it’s quite rapey and kind of racist. I know it’s an 80s thing but watching it now makes me uncomfortable. To be fair though, most of them do. But I decided that it would be fun to decide which my favourite movies were by him as either a writer, director or both. So, here are mine. What is your favourite John Hughes film?
It’s my birthday today so I decided that my throwback Thursday film this week should be birthday themed. I was so close to watching the awful Jennifer Garner film 13 Going on 30 but I couldn’t face it. Instead, I went with this John Hughes classic. Although now I’m in my 30s, I think I should stop watching these films. They’re so dodgy. You know that thing where the older you get the more you side with the parents in children’s films? That doesn’t happen with John Hughes. You just realise that everyone is kind of awful. I mean the most positive character in Sixteen Candles is Joan Cusack’s character and she doesn’t say anything. But I’m always up for spending the night with Molly Ringwald. She’s such an icon. Her hair, her dress sense, the fact that she never closes her damn lips. Perfection.
Do you ever get a craving to watch a film? I’m not sure why but this week I’ve been desperate to watch Splash. I think it’s because I’ve been listening to old episodes of the Ricky Gervais XFM podcast. I think it was mentioned in one of the earlier episodes when Karl was talking about Mermaids. It’s been years since I watched this film and, because I reviewed Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood on Tuesday, I decided it was the perfect time to watch it. I’m a fan of Tom Hanks but I don’t like many of his films. We all know what I think about Big. So many people think Forrest Gump is a masterpiece but I hate it. His romantic-comedies with Meg Ryan? Forgettable. The Polar Express? It still gives me nightmares. The Terminal? Not even worth mentioning. I think it’s fair to say that, between all of his great roles, he’s made some dodgy choices. Was Splash going to be as wonderful as I remember it being or was I just a stupid kid who still liked mermaids?
I always wonder what’s wrong with the people who wish they’d been born in another year. Like all of those Tumblr teenagers who wish they’d been born in the 80s. It doesn’t make any sense. Yeah, I love John Hughes movies and glam rock as much as the next person. But living in the 80s? I don’t think so. The only people who ever say things like that are the people who only know that era through a microcosm. Ask the people who lived in the 80s, they’d probably tell a different story. Certainly in England, the 80s weren’t the magical place so many young people want to believe it to be. The economy had gone to shit, people were out of work, there was so much violence and hatred on the streets. Kinda like now but with even bigger shoulder pads and double denim. It wasn’t a great time overall. I’m sure people made the best of it but it will have been so difficult for so many. To romanticise any era of the past solely based on your pop culture/fashion tastes is to trivialise the reality of that time. And, as you can tell, it annoys the fuck out of me.
One of my best friends works for Vintage books so she is constantly offering to pick up cheap books for me. I know I know. I’m making it sound like a bad thing when it’s not. The only problem is that I never remember to ask her. I buy the book myself and then have to put up her with telling me she could have got it for me. So, when I heard about Ian McEwan’s latest book dealing with AI, I knew this was one of the times I should take her up on it. I was a massive fan of Ian McEwan as a teenager but I’ve lost my way over the last few years. Basically, everything after On Chesil Beach has remained unread on my shelf. And I’ve been okay with that. Sweet Tooth and Solar I wasn’t that interested in but I did really want to read The Children Act and Nutshell. Honestly, I did. I just never got round to it. But this one sounded interesting. An alternate reality 1980s where AI technology exists. Part of me was worried, though. AI has become a bit of a thing in literature recently and I wasn’t sure that McEwan was the best to add to the conversation. But, I couldn’t let my friend down again.
What were your favourite TBT films in 2018?
You may have noticed that I didn’t post a Sunday Rundown yesterday. That was mostly because, after a bad night’s sleep, I fell asleep before writing it. But it was also a tactical choice. After all, it’s that time of year when I need to start posting my Top 10 lists of the year. So, instead of wasting your time with a rundown of the week, I’m going to waste your time with a rundown of the year. Yep, what a 12 months it’s been. I’ve turned 30… not sure I mentioned it. To celebrate I decided to only watch films that came out in 1988 for my TBR series. It would mean I could watch some old favourites and see some new films. I was looking forward to it but the results were dicey. Thankfully, there were still some amazing films also turning 30 this year. Here are my top 10.
This may seem like history repeating itself because I’ve already reviewed Die Hard on this blog. But, considering it was the inspiration for the title of my blog, there was no real alternative to end my Throwback Thirty series. Not only is it one of the best films of 1988 but it is one of the most loved films of all time. Seriously, you mention Die Hard to pretty much everyone and they’ll respond positively. Plus, it’s kind of timely considering this year the whole “is Die Hard a Christmas film?” debate started raging again. “And is it?” I hear you cry? I don’t really care. Officially, I did put it on my list of ‘Essential Christmas films’ but I’d watch this film at any time of year and be happy. That’s not something I could say about the majority of other films on that list. In my heart, it doesn’t really feel like Christmas until I’ve watched Bruce Willis run around in a dirty tank top but it’s only real link to Christmas is the setting. But, I say again, who gives a shit?