Let's face it, having a favourite film of all time is a complete crock, isn't it? And there's nothing more tedious than reading one person's highly personalised idea of what The Films You Have To Have Seen Are... I know for a fact that my 'all time favourite' fillum changes on a weekly basis. So here, then, are TEN of my choice movies, in no particular order.


Griffin Dunne is a lonely computer programmer who arranges to meet up with a girl he met in a diner, and eventually finds himself stranded in the roughest part of downtown New York, with no money to get home, being purused by a vigilante mob who are convinced that he has been robbing apartments. The ultimate 'yuppie bachelor hell' film (eg "Something Wild", "Blind Date"), and a nail-biting Kafka-esque black comedy about a man spiralling deeper into a chaotic nightmare of misunderstandings and misfortune that he is unable to control. At once both hilarious and nail-bitingly agonizing, this is a real oddity in director Martin Scorcese's canon, but worth seeing for Griffin "American Werewolf In London" Dunne's central performance, and Teri Garr's star turn as a waitress stuck in a 1960s timewarp!


A hilarious, non-stop farce in which mild-mannered, absent-minded archeologist David (Cary Grant) gets mixed up with the free-spirited society girl Susan Vance in a series of misadventures involving a rare dinosaur bone, a pet leopard (the 'Baby' of the title) and much more; all this on the eve of his wedding to his serious-minded fiancee! The original screwball comedy, "Bringing Up Baby" is one of the greatest comedies ever made, and was the basis for the film "What's Up, Doc?".


From the team that brought you "Some Like It Hot" - actor Jack Lemmon, scriptwriter I.A.L. Diamond and director Billy Wilder - "The Apartment" is as close to cinema perfection as one can come. Lemmon is C.C. Baxter, a clerk caught up in the rat race, moving up in business by letting his apartment to his seniors for them to entertain their mistresses; all the while he harbours a crush on the smart and sassy elevator lady in his office (A sparkling Shirley Maclaine). Baxter's boss gets wind of Baxter's arrangement and gets in on the deal, giving Baxter his own office in return. When Baxter discovers that the young woman his boss is entertaining is Maclaine, he is put in a difficult position - and has to, in his Jewish neighbour's words, "be a Mensch". A classic romantic comedy, but being a Billy Wilder film, is as bitter-sweet as a Frank Sinatra ballads album, full of cynical, satirical humour; Lemmon is so great as the 'everyman' figure of C.C. Baxter, that you really empthasize with him, really rooting for him to come out on top, and feel completely justified when the underdog has his day.

MARTIN (1976)

A modern-day vampire story with no cloak, fangs and garlic. Here the vampire is an lonely teenage boy, who has been sent to live with his elderly cousin Cuda, a priest, who intends to relieve him of his possession. Or is it a vampire film? It's left to the viewer to guess if Martin really is a vampire, or just a psychopath suffering from delusional fantasies.

"Martin", made by George Romero ("Night of the Living Dead"), is a really unique film; not only for its break from tradition, but its sympathetic portrayal of Martin as an alienated, emotionally detached individual, and portrayal of Martin's vampiric urges as furtive and desperate and lonely. Indeed it's not hard to see Martin's plight as a metaphor for the torments of adolescence. I won't spoil the film for you, but be warned, the ending is a real bummer.


The definitive '80s film...yet impossible to dislike. Maybe it's because everyone would like to be Ferris for a day - skip school, pull a fast one on all the teachers, be the most popular guy in school, and have all the answers. It's also one of those great coming of age films, and it has a brilliant double act in the form of Jeffrey Jones's Principal Rooney and his kooky secretary. It was all downhill for John Hughes after this.


A pre-"Carrie" Brian De Palma presents a rock-era update of Gaston Laroux's "The Phantom Of The Opera", with elements of "Faust" , "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame" and "The Picture of Dorian Gray" thrown in. If you thought "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" was the beginning and end of '70s rock musicals, think again. "Phantom" is a clever, funny film, with some great pastiches of then-current rock legends - the machiavellian Swan seems to be based on Phil Spector, his groups The Juicy Fruits and The Undead are parodies of Sha Na Na and Kiss respectively, whilst the camp glam rocker Beef is a send-up of the infamous Jobriath - which never takes itself too seriously, such as in the very silly send-up of "Psycho"'s famous 'shower scene'. Interesting facts: Swan is played by Paul Williams, writer of some of the Carpenters' most famous songs; and Sissy Spacek was the set dresser.

WITHNAIL & I (1986)

What can one say about this film that hasn't been said before? A brilliant, touching, outrageous, hilarious and sad film about the end of an era, the inevitable parting of ways between friends, alcohol, and actors 'between jobs'. Excellent performances all round and some unforgettable comic set pieces, and a truly poignant ending. Great use of rock music from the period (King Curtis, Jimi Hendrix, Beatles) This film is perfect!


This has to go in because there has never been anything remotely like this in the history of films. I'm a pretty big fan of wierd films, but this one freaked me out for at least a week. The initial conceit of a man finding a portal that leads into the actor John Malkovich's head is crazy enough, but the direction that this film goes in once the story gets going take your own head to some pretty strange places. It starts out as a surreal comedy, but moves into something a lot darker, disturbing and depressing; John Cusack can do no wrong ("Grosse Point Blank" nearly made this list), and Cameron Diaz is a revelation, whilst John Malkovich himself must have had an amazing sense of humour to participate in this film. To sum this film up in three words, "Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich..."

O LUCKY MAN! (1972)

The sequel to Lindsay Anderson's celebrated film "If...", this sees Malcolm McDowell's character Mick Travis moving up the career ladder as a coffee salesman. As he travels around the country, he finds himself embarking on a symbolic journey through Britain in all its guises. Because of the scale of this film's themes, and its massive cast - which features simply everyone, including much of the cast of "If...", many of them in multiple roles - I would say that this is one of British cinema's greatest moments. It's certainly one of its most original! It also features a great soundtrack by the Animals' Alan Price which is frequently woven into the story.


All of Kevin Smith's films are great, especially his debut "Clerks", but "Chasing Amy" stands out from all his other films by retaining the offensiveness and slick pop culture references ("Jaws" and "Star Wars" as usual, plus too many more to mention) of its predecessors, but also managing to say some really deep things about the complex workings of modern relationships...especially when the woman that you are in love with is a lesbian! The scenes are so well-observed that the characters all seem like people you might know or realistically meet, and there is some fantastic swearing and outrageous jokes.
Best viewed as part of a triple bill with "Clerks" and "Mallrats" so that you can fully appreciate some of the in-jokes, although it's perfectly watchable as a stand-alone film.