Today is Valentine’s Day and, to get in the mood, I was planning on finding some ridiculous romantic-comedy to review. I’ve been getting into the spirit on my Instagram so I might as well do the same here. My plan was to get home from work and watching something disgusting. Probably a Richard Curtis film or something. Instead, I had a dreadful day and really lost my romantic spirit. There’s nothing like your manager unnecessarily calling you a liar to really ruin your entire day. So, I decided I wanted to watch something a little less conventionally romantic this evening. As I was going through my film collection and found this beauty. It seemed to tick every box: romance, mindless violence, humour, Gary Oldman, Patricia Arquette’s boobs… it was all there. I don’t think I’ve ever really made a definitive list of my favourite films ever because it would be too long and ever-changing but, if I did one day, I’m sure this film would be on there somewhere. And I’ve never really talked about it on here before. I think it’s time.
When I looked back on my blog to find out what today’s TBT film was I audibly groaned. I’ve never wanted to see this film again. Especially now I’ve seen the amazing stage production. That was genuinely an emotional triumph and a beautiful adaptation of a (frankly) stupid story. Stupid because, for me, the story of an animal’s journey through World War 1 is never going to compare to that of a human’s in terms of emotional resonance. 2018 was the centenary of the end of World War 1 and Peter Jackson’s They Shall Not Grow Old was a film experience I’ll never forget. During the run-up to the actual centenary I got annoyed by the knowledge that an animal charity had designed their own purple poppy badge in memory of the animals who died in warfare. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love animals and think remembering their sacrifice is a good thing. BUT I don’t think it’s right to focus on them over the human sacrifice and you know there are people out there who will have only worn a purple poppy. As another example, I was recently witness to someone compare having to have their dog put down to having a child on life-support. As a former dog owner who went through the experience of having to do that, I know how much it hurts but you can’t compare the situations at all. Animals are great but, surely, we can all agree it’s not the same, right?
Just over 7 years ago, I posted my 5th review on this blog. It was the first film I’d reviewed that I was genuinely full of praise for and, as was my style at the time, my post was way too long and rambling. I’d like to think that over the last 7 years I’ve got quite a bit better at writing these things but who actually knows? At the very least, I hope I’ve become a little less hyperbolic and pretentious over time. There are bits of my review that feel a little cringey but it was only due to the fact that I really bloody loved this film. A fact that makes it all the weirder that I haven’t watched it again since. I think I’ve caught bits of it when it’s been on TV but I’ve never actually sat down and watched it from start to finish. And I think it’s because you really need to be invested in the viewing. It’s not as if you can watch it whilst doing something else or if you’re in danger of nodding off. I had to set aside some time today when I had nothing else to do so I could watch it with the focus it deserved. And by “it” I, of course, mean Jean Dujardin’s face.
I wasn’t sure whether to include this film in my new TBT series of revisiting old reviews. It’s one of the few films I’ve rewatched recently so it isn’t exactly a reintroduction to it. It was around the time that Baby Driver had been released when I was on a massive Edgar Wright high. Such is my obsessive love for him, I’d been watching interviews he’d given and, because that’s what you do on YouTube, I got stuck in an endless stream of videos. During this late night binge, I came across an interview he’d given with Steven Moffat and Joe Cornish whilst promoting The Adventures of Tintin in 2011. This interview left me even less keen on Steven Moffat than I was and reminded me of Wright’s involvement with the film. To be honest, I’d kind of forgotten about it since the first time I’d watched it. Well, I always spoke very highly of it cause I remembered enjoying it. But I’d never really had the urge to go back. But I did. And I was fairly disappointed. So, the question remained, how would it fair a third time?
So it had taken me a month between posting my first review to posting the next. Apparently, in order to make up for the deficit, I posted two film reviews on one day. I don’t know what it was about the 25th October 2011 but clearly I was feeling quite motivated that day. Right after I uploaded my review of Fantastic Mr Fox, I also posted a review of that year’s The Three Musketeers remake. I vividly remember going to see that film with some friends because I almost got into an argument with one of them on the way home. I had criticised the film for being bad whilst she tried to give it a positive spin. I had no time for her suggestion that it didn’t matter how good it was if it was fun. Especially as, years later, she took the opposite stance by proclaiming Now You See Me was utterly terrible because it was too stupid. But, we know how bitter and petty I am so let’s leave that for another time. Back to the film in hand. I can’t say I was desperate to see this film but went along to try it out. It turned out to be such a mistake that I couldn’t wait to rant about it online. I would have been happy to never watch this film again but, at the same time, was interested to see if I’d mellowed over the years. After all, I’ve watched some absolutely shocking films last year. Surely, my bar has moved a little lower?
We’re already on our second Thursday of the month and, in keeping with my nostalgic film, I’m rewatching the second film that I reviewed on this blog. It was nearly a month after I posted the first one so, it’s safe to say, I had a pretty relaxed start to this whole thing. I’m so invested in my schedule these days that it’s hard to cope with the fact that I used to just post whenever I had something to write about. It could be weeks or months between writing. I’m not saying that these days I write to gain any kind of response but, back then, I definitely wasn’t writing with the belief that anyone was going to read it. To be honest, I probably only went through with it because I didn’t believe anyone was going to read it. I’d have been mortified to think anyone I knew would see what I was doing. I’m still a little mortified that so many people in my life know about this now but I my love for doing this outweighs all of my natural instincts to hide away. I wish I had more confidence. The kind of confidence it takes for a fox to steal food and drink from under the noses of three angry farmers. Oh, look at that. Brought right back round to topic in hand. It’s almost like I’ve done this blogging malarky before.
I want to start this TBT post by saying that, no matter how much fun it was discovering films from 1988, I’m so fucking happy that my Throwback Thirty series is over. The problem with watching films for this blog is that, more often than not, I don’t get to watch the films that I want to. It can be a bit of pain having a craving to watch something but having to put it permanently on hold to watch a shitty film from 1988. However, there was a part of my that really liked having a themed TBT series. So, I was all ready to start a new series in which I go back a re-review films that I’ve already written about on the blog. (Which, as it turns out, is something of a fuckload.) I thought it might be interesting to compare my feelings then and now. But, I’m not sure if it’s actually a thing worth doing so, disclaimer, I might very well abandon it in the next few weeks and just review films I haven’t done before. But for now, and partly because the New Year is about reflecting as much as it about looking forwards (thank you Janus), I’m going to get all nostalgic and go back to the start.
What were your least 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 New Years Eve so it’s time I started doing my rundown of the year. And what a year it’s been. I’ve already posted my Top 10 Books, Top 10 Films, and Top 10 TBT Films lists. But, let’s not forget that 2018 wasn’t a completely positive year. The political situation of the UK is pretty shitty moving into the new year so it seems only fair I add my least favourite TBT films to the pile. It really seems that for every great 1988 movie there is at least 5 terrible ones. I really had my eyes opened this year about what people were willing to watch 30 years ago.
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?