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The Lost Boys (1987)
Death by Stereo!
The Lost Boys has got to rate as one of the classics of the 80's. It's got to have one of the best soundtracks ever and Echo & The Bunnymen's cover of People are Strange, played over scenes of street life in Santa Carla, make for one of the coolest Intro's to a film I've ever seen.
If you haven't seen this film yet, then what the hell have you been doing with your lives? If you have: Watch it again!
The Patriot (2000)
It's a film - that's all...
At the end of the day, it's a film starring Mel Gibson, who has a record of disliking English (Not British - as that includes Scotland, Wales, and depending upon your point of view, Northern Ireland).
If Hollywood wants to recreate events in this way, so be it. I'm sure what goes around comes around in tinseltown, so I can only imagine that in a couple of years another nation will get a dig or two.
Don't lose any sleep over it, either watch it or don't.
The Bill (1984)
Long running, quality drama (Spoiler alert)
If you watch The Bill outside the UK, I won't give too much away about a very recent storyline which we've just seen here, but DS Beech has a major part to play. Internal Corruption, Prostitution and murder are just smaller elements of perhaps the most dramatic situation Sun Hill have ever encountered.
I've been watching it on & off since it started, and never could count it as one of my favourites, particularly since UK Gold seem to devote 12 hours of its Saturday schedule showing re-runs. However, the recent story hooked me straight back in and now it's unmissable.
My Summer with Des (1998)
Football's coming home
This rates as one of my favourite sporting programmes ever. Neil Morrissey plays Martin, a massive soccer fan, who we focus on during the 1996 European Championships (Euro '96) which was being played in England.
His boss insists that he attend a social event on a Saturday afternoon to prove his commitment to the firm, unfortunately, this clashes with the opening match of the tournament, England versus Switzerland, so Martin promptly quits, insulting his boss in the process.
Free to enjoy the football at his leisure, Martin bumps into the mysterious Rosie (Rachel Weisz) who never seems to stick around for very long. During England's victories over Scotland and Holland, Martin's passion for Rosie increases.
The tournament progresses to the knock out stages, and England move from the quarter finals where they beat Spain (watched by Martin in a tapas bar) into the semi finals where they meet arch-nemesis' Germany, and crash out during a penalty shoot-out.
The recreation of the enthusiasm and fervour of Euro '96 is brilliantly recreated to full effect, and aside from the obvious painful conclusion (for England fans, at least) this gets 5 out of 5 for entertainment.
Dead Poets Society (1989)
A wonderful film
I watched this when I was flat sharing with a load of other blokes. We watched it, then went down the pub.
It takes a very good film to stop a group of young men from their favourite alcohol related stories ("The best goal ever scored by an England Player", "The best night out I ever had" and "The best sh*g I ever had") but this was the conversation of the night, right up to the curry after the pub had shut.
A magic evening.
The Black Adder (1982)
History re-written as it should've been
If only History lessons had told of this wily character, maybe I'd have done better at school.
Edmund, surely the most despicable man that ever donned a codpiece ducks and dives his way throughout the centuries. Related directly to royalty, until the twentieth century kicks in, where we find the Blackadder bloodline has been removed to officer class of the army.
Edmunds finest hours were obviously when he became King of England for ten seconds, and Prince Regent after seeing the true one killed in a fit of pique by the Duke of Wellington.
Ben Elton, after taking over the writing of the series, showed his sharp wit to the full by turning the characters around. Edmund, from a slimy incompetent, turns into a devious, self absorbed cynic, whereas Baldrick, although slightly dense but with moments of inspired genius, has the "Intellectual capacity of a boiled Potato."
The Young Ones (1982)
This series led me through my Teens
The YOUNG ONES still rates as one of my favourites.
I have to watch them occasionally just for a top up of "Toxteth O'Grady's" two world records, the interrupted episode of "Bastard Squad!" or to hear the "People's Poet" banging his drum....
Since these were made, most the actors have gone on to bigger and better things, however, a few beers and an evening of Scumbag College sends you straight back to '82, Thatcher's Britain (Thatcher's Bloody Britain), Oliver Twist! Geoffrey Dickens! Back to Victorian Values... ...Now are you going to let us in, or am I going to have to go and open the medicine cabinet, an' all that?
The Monkees (1966)
The original Nutty Boys
Every now and then, on TV, they repeat The Monkees, and when they do, you know you're in for half an hour of lunacy.
I've been to a few staff parties at the places I've worked over the years, and when "Here we come..." blasts out, the dance floor's always packed in seconds.
LONG LIVE THE MONKEES!
The Italian Job (1969)
On Days Like This....
Starts and end in the Italian Mountains.
Charlie Croker, Mr Bridger, Camp Freddie, Professor Peach and other memorable characters help this film remain watchable over 30 years since it was made.
A classic, one of those which is usually shown at Christmas, and even though I own a copy of the film, like ZULU, is still worth watching time and time again.
Good in Places
It IS a funny sitcom, but not from start to finish. I started watching because my wife said it was worth a look. Yes, Joey & Chandler continually make me laugh, but the others? Not really worth the money I think.
And some of the storylines are very weak. Playing catch all night? Sorry, I must've missed the Joke.
For Queen & Country (1988)
A Heroes Welcome?
The first time I saw this film was back in the early Nineties, and I hadn't really heard of Denzel Washington either, therefore I presumed I was watching a low budget film about a Falklands Veteran returning to life in Civvy Street.
What I actually got was an eye opener about Life within Her Majesty's Armed Forces versus Life on the outside. Reuben, having been discharged from 2 Para, returns to London after a tour of duty in Northern Ireland and the Falklands, where he was decorated as a war Hero. However, given his vocation to his country, he finds interviews for jobs surprisingly difficult to arrange, even though they were sorted out by his careers officers in the army. Within time, he realises his illustrious army record holds no sway in everyday life.
This film makes you realise how easy it is to fall into the criminal side of life as Reuben becomes a body guard to a drug dealer. The ending is as grim as his life has become, therefore don't expect a smart, streetwise, cocky character to race through the film avoiding trouble. This is a Gritty urban Drama. I felt that as you watch Reuben's hopes for the future fade away, there truly is no justice for the little man.
Washington's British accent is impeccable, you would believe he was born, and lived his life in Milwall or Bermondsey. I read an interview that he learnt the native accent by getting drunk for a fortnight in London.
This Life (1996)
Top Quality TV
There could have been no duller a subject to touch than young Solicitors and their shared house in Southwark. However, the reality was a unique snapshot of two years in the life of drug-taking, hyper-sexed twenty-somethings.
The only downside to the two series', was that they never made a third.
You can't do better than ZULU
A stirring, inspiring film about ordinary British soldiers, caught off-guard and forced to fight for their lives.
During the Victorian period, discipline within the British Army was at its very peak, and the Officers were well versed in standard military manoeuvres. However, Lord Chelmsford, leading the colony out of ISLANDWANA, effectively sealed the fate of the 1000 or so Soldiers encamped on the slopes of the mountain at Islandwana, and in turn forced the Mission station at Rourkes Drift into a seemingly impossible situation; Beat off the attack.
Luckily, Lt John Chard of the Royal Engineers had been assigned to Rourkes Drift to "Build a Bridge", thus saving him from massacre and lending his wisdom and sharp military mind to the ragged bunch of soldiers at the station.
Lt Gonville Bromhead, superbly played by Michael Caine, epitomised the "Military Families" that had been commanding regiments for Decades during the 18th and 19th Centuries.
The film speaks for itself, culminating in the final, mesmerising, breath-taking, desperate battle to hold fast against a disciplined attack from the ZULU impi.
Strangely, the film makes no mention of Cetsewayo's order that no force should attack any entrenched British position. The Rourkes Drift attack was spearheaded by one of his headstrong sons, eager to prove his courage and leadership skills to his respected warrior father.
With narration from none other than Richard Burton, stirring music, the pre-battle singing at dawn, and the three level firing lines on a "mealy-bag" redoubt, you can't do better than "ZULU".