Partly due to not having worked for the last few weeks and partly because I've just finished Uni, and the period after finishing University makes one open to introspective thoughts, I've spent the last day or so marvelling at how many films I've seen in the last three years. I'd estimate the number would be in the quadruple-figures and I'm really surprised by how much my understanding of film has improved during that time. As such, I've decided to list my top ten films at this point in my life. I'm hoping that this will be the start of a bigger experiment whereby I will list my top 10 every three years to see how much my favourite films, and myself as a person, have changed over that time.
Firstly, here's a rough approximation of what my Top Ten films of all time would have been in September 2004, when I was 18 and preparing to go to University:
1. The Empire Strikes Back (1981)
2. Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
3. Die Hard (1988)
4. Monty Python and the The Holy Grail (1975)
5. Wayne's World (1992)
6. The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers (2002)
7. Toy Story (1995)
8. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
9. City of God (2002)
10. X-Men 2 (2000)
As we can see, the list is dominated by fantasy films, action films and comedies. The only really ''arty'' film on their is City of God, which is also the only foreign language film their as well. The list is also largely devoid of animated films since I really went off them after I turned 13, which also coincided with the severe decline in the quality of Disney's movies. This is all very much in keeping with my geeky aesthetic at the age of 18, as well as my fairly limited cinematic upbringing and my tendency to dismiss any film that wasn't funny, action-packed or with a strong fantasy aspect.
Now, let us flash forward 3 years to 26th September, 2007:
1. Boogie Nights (1997)
2. The Empire Strikes Back (1981)
3. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
4. My Neighbour Totoro (1988)
5. A Matter of Life and Death (1946)
6. John Carpenter's The Thing (1982)
7. Network (1976)
8. City of God (2002)
9. Rear Window (1954)
10. Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
As we can see, a considerable bit of change has occurred. Though Empire remains, primarily because of nostalgia but also because it is an amazing film, it has been displaced by P.T. Anderson's multi-stranded look at the world of 70s porn, a film which I can watch again and again and just marvel at. And it's not just the tits, either, the story is pretty good. Elsewhere, my love of Kubrick shines through in A Clockwork Orange's high placing, as does my love for Studio Ghibli, and animation in general, as well as more 'serious' fare like Network, and the sublime fantasy of Powell and Pressburger's A Matter of Life and Death.
I still very much love all the films in my old top ten, and prefer a film packed with explosions to most Oscar-bait released in any given year, but these are the films that I can watch forever never tire of, that make me laugh, cry and want to do something worthwhile. Die Hard's still fucking great, but it'll have to settle for a top 20, rather than a top 10 placing for me nowadays.
So, this is me aged 21, and these are the films I love. We'll check back in 3 years and see if anything has changed.