Spling reviews his top 10 favourite films of all-time as broadcast on Talking Movies, Fine Music Radio. Listen to podcast.
Good morning – welcome to Talking Movies, I’m Spling…
This week, as it’s the 500th episode of Talking Movies, we’re talking about ten of my all-time favourite films ranging from 1950-2015…
Starting at number 10… Mad Max: Fury Road
A woman rebels against a tyrannical ruler in search of her homeland in a post-apocalyptic wasteland with the help of a drifter named Max.
Director: George Miller
Stars: Charlize Theron, Tom Hardy and Hugh Keays-Byrne
Mad Max: Fury Road sinks its metal teeth into you like a rabid scrapyard dog as Miller overpowers our senses with loud, primal action and surreal visuals that thrust us into an epic piston-pumping action adventure extravaganza… a spellbinding road movie without any roads… it’s a film I feel compelled to buy whenever I see it.
At number 9…. Army of Darkness
A sardonic hardware store clerk is accidentally transported to 1300 A.D., where he must retrieve an artefact and battle an army of the dead to return home.
Director: Sam Raimi
Stars: Bruce Campbell
While the grotesque cabin horror, The Evil Dead, won critical acclaim and cult notoriety, it was Part 3 that literally took the series into hyperdrive, transporting our comic hero Ash back in time with his “boomstick” and beat up Oldsmobile – an instant favourite after watching it with my father at the Odeon in Grahamstown.
Moving to number 8… Departures
A newly unemployed cellist takes a job preparing the dead for funerals.
Director: Yôjirô Takita
Stars: Masahiro Motoki, Ryôko Hirosue and Tsutomu Yamazaki
Japanese tradition and honour abound in funeral ceremonies as this dark comedy drama grapples with life, death and everything in between. It’s heartwarming, heartbreaking and at times hilarious… delivering a full spectrum of contemplative entertainment that inspires awe, humility and gratitude.
Onto number 7… The Intouchables
An aristocrat hires a young man from the projects to be his caregiver.
Directors: Olivier Nakache, Éric Toledano
Stars: François Cluzet and Omar Sy
This entertaining feel good French buddy comedy brims with life and love! It’s an absolute winner, from the infectious Earth, Wind and Fire opening sequence to the tender, unreserved odd couple bromance. Best of all, it’s based on a true story.
Moving to number 6… Into the Wild
A top university student and athlete abandons his possessions, donates his savings to charity, and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness.
Director: Sean Penn
Stars: Emile Hirsch, Vince Vaughn, Catherine Keener and Hal Holbrook
This is the story of Christopher McCandless, a tragic, nostalgic and haunting tale of ideals and survival. Who can forget the enigmatic Hirsch, heartfelt Holbrook and Eddie Vedder’s soulful on-the-road soundtrack?
At number 5… As It Is In Heaven
A well-known international conductor retires early to his small childhood town in Sweden, where he’s asked to assist with the church choir.
Director: Kay Pollak
Stars: Michael Nyqvist and Frida Hallgren
This powerful, heartbreaking and deeply human Swedish drama is the only film I’ve attended, which received a full house standing ovation. I was speechless when I left the cinema and all I can say is… seek it, watch it.
Moving onto number 4… Excalibur
Merlin the magician helps Arthur Pendragon unite the the Round Table of Camelot as dark forces conspire to tear it apart.
Writer-Director: John Boorman
Stars: Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Patrick Stewart and Liam Neeson
Boorman originally wanted to direct Lord of the Rings, but decided it was too ambitious for the time, and set his sights on Camelot instead. This iconic tale has an epic mythological feel and conjures up visions of the boy with the golden mask and the lady in the water, which all fit perfectly to the overriding sound of Carl Orff’s O Fortuna.
Sitting at number 3… Chinatown
In 1930s Los Angeles, a private detective hired to expose an adulterer becomes entangled in a web of deception, corruption, and murder.
Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway and John Huston
Polanski’s sprawling film noir crime epic, based on Robert Towne’s novel, stars Jack Nicholson as a gumshoe. From the street smart detective tricks to the scandalous crime drama, Chinatown swathes you in an engrossing mystery that dangles our would-be hero over a chasm of conspiracy and heartache.
A runner up at number 2… Sunset Blvd.
A screenwriter develops a dangerous relationship with a faded film star determined to make a triumphant return.
Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: William Holden, Gloria Swanson and Erich von Stroheim
Surely, this old Hollywood meets new Hollywood masterpiece is what inspired David Lynch’s career. The haunting, surreal and decaying atmosphere, the bold directorial choices and the delusional smoke-and-mirrors Hollywood story…just talking about it makes me want to see it again.
Finally at number 1… and be warned, this may shock you…
Monty Python & The Holy Grail
King Arthur and his Knights embark on a surreal, low-budget search for the Holy Grail, encountering many, very silly obstacles.
Directors: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones
Stars: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones and Michael Palin
This ridiculous medieval comedy misadventure is essentially a series of silly sketches under the banner of an Arthurian spoof. It’s a passionate love letter to comedy from Monty Python with quotable quotes, hilarious animated sequences and infinite silliness. I recall watching it three times over in one sitting… the third successive time in Romanian.
Special thanks to Mawande, Ewan, Wesley, JP, Vanessa and everyone who’s played a part in Talking Movies reaching you each and every one of the last 500 weeks. It’s been a joy to share my passion for film on Fine Music Radio and I hope that by doing so I’ve inspired you to appreciate the multi-faceted art and language that is film or just simply to watch more movies. Heartfelt thanks to my wife Lara for all her support, to FMR for continuing to be a bastion for arts and culture and to you my listeners for tuning into Talking Movies.
To celebrate this milestone, I’ve donated 500 DVDs to TEARS Animal Welfare, who are doing some amazing rescue work, have several wonderful charity stores and are worthy of your support.
For more movie reviews and features visit splingmovies.com.
And remember, Don’t WING it, SPL!NG it!