Dan Heaton from Public Transportation Snob has kindly submitted his Desert Island Films. Read on for his choices and reasons, and be sure to check out his site.
Desert Island Films is about choosing 8 films you would take if you were going to be stranded on a desert island and explaining your choices. They don’t necessarily have to be your favourites, just 8 films, no more or no less! You are also permitted to take one book and one novelty item which must be inanimate and of no use in escaping the island or allowing communication from outside.
Desert Island Films #75 – Public Transportation Snob
Narrowing this list down to only eight films was extremely difficult. I settled on movies that are favorites and should be easily re-watchable while I’m stranded on the island. They’re entertaining yet still pack enough of a punch to stay exciting on the hundredth viewing. This is my definitive list, but I’m sure it would be different if you asked me a month from now. There are many other options that would also make great choices. Let’s get to it!
1) City Lights
Charlie Chaplin is one of the all-time screen greats, and this is his warmest film. It’s more than a series of gags because we feel for the Tramp. He pines for the love of a blind girl and will do anything to help her. This is also a very funny movie and includes some of Chaplin’s best comic sequences. The boxing match is a simple gag but works so well because of the deft choreography. This is one of my favorite movies and endlessly re-watchable.
2) His Girl Friday
Screwball comedy is a delicate art that can go way out of control if the wacky behavior feels forced. We have to love the characters and accept outlandish situations because we’re having a great time. The best example is Howard Hawks’ His Girl Friday, which wonderfully uses the fast-paced world of newspaper journalism as the perfect setting for great comedy. Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant are perfect as the separated couple who don’t get along but aren’t good for anyone else. Hawks sits back and lets these actors shine along with some colorful supporting players. Russell is brilliant and brings such life to the lead role.
Whit Stillman is one of favorite directors even though he’s only completed four films. My favorite is still his debut Metropolitan, which depicts a group that we rarely see on the big screen. The characters are rich, self-centered young intellectuals who attend parties in suits and talk about high-minded issues. This may not sound thrilling, but it succeeds because Stillman has such a clear voice. Supported by the dry wit of Chris Eigeman and the earnest work of Taylor Nichols, he delivers a fun and smart comedy.
4) L.A. Story
Steve Martin does his finest work in this charming look at Los Angeles and its quirky residents. It satirizes the culture without being nasty and provides a great love story as a bonus. Martin’s script has plenty of laughs as his “wacky weatherman” Harris K. Telemacher receives a strange message from a highway traffic sign. There are plenty of fun cameos along the way, including Patrick Stuart as a strict restaurant manager. It’s tough for me to name a favorite film, but L.A. Story would probably be the choice.
5) Kicking and Screaming
I’m still amazed that we don’t hear more acclaim for this 1995 debut from Noah Baumbach. Not to be confused with the Will Ferrell soccer movie, this story about college graduates struggling to find their way is filled with clever humor. Its superstar is again Chris Eigeman, who brings such a biting tone to even the most generic lines. Unlike some of his more recent work, Baumbach still makes the characters likable. It’s that connection with these guys that makes this still his strongest work. I graduated from college in 1998, and the challenges of these guys definitely spoke to me. Eighteen years later, it still provides great fun and many quotable lines right to the end.
Paul Thomas Anderson’s recent films show his growth as a filmmaker, but they don’t resonate with me like Magnolia. His very ambitious look at the lives of characters struggling to stay afloat is brilliant and moves with a brisk energy that’s missing from his latest movies. Anderson gets remarkable performances from Tom Cruise, John C. Reilly, and so many others while using every trick in his arsenal. He takes huge chances and nails each attempt, and I never grow tired of the experience. This is the most “serious” film of my group, yet we don’t feel the weight of the material because of the amazing filmmaking.
7) Almost Famous
This list is full of movies that connect with me on a personal level, and few have a stronger pull than Almost Famous. It’s easy for movie bloggers to identify with a young guy obsessed with music. I can see a lot of myself in William Miller and love taking the ride with him. Cameron Crowe’s warm direction is the right approach to this material, especially since it takes a lot from his own experiences. This movie reminds me what it’s like to love a band, a book, or a movie. It never gets old and would be a perfect choice to watch repeatedly.
What more can be said about this wonderful sci-fi adventure? Joss Whedon got the rare chance to resurrect his beloved TV series Firefly on the big screen and didn’t waste the opportunity. This movie is a treat for fans of the show but also works for novices. I expect that it’s driven many to go back and experience the series. I rarely see new movies a second time in the theaters, but I made an exception for Serenity. Each character gets a moment to shine, and the high stakes make for a thrilling adventure.
Book: A Man on the Moon by Andrew Chaikin
I’ve read a good amount of books on the space program, but there’s only one that I’ve read a bunch of times. Chaikin’s writing is down to earth without making the material too simple. The stories are fascinating, and it would be perfect for reading on an island. It’s a pretty lengthy book and wouldn’t get old because there are so many different people being covered.
The obvious answer here is pictures of my wife and two daughters. However, I’m going to set that aside since it’s the easy response. Instead, I’d bring a full regiment of swimming equipment. I’d be able to fish and grab food to stay alive. Plus, you can’t spend the whole day watching movies!
Thanks again to Dan for taking the time to join the prestigious castaway list. If you would like to submit your choices and add your name to THIS LIST, please drop me an email to - email@example.com