My August 1985 Charts

6th August 1985

Following Live Aid and the heartbreaking video accompanying the news footage played along to the Cars’ Drive, the record was given a new boost with proceeds for charity. Already spine-tinglingly sad and poignant with it’s original video, it now became enormously powerful and duly enters on top of my chart 9 months after getting a week on top in 1984. That’s bad news for Madonna, as she becomes a post-Live-Aid-obsession with teens and older, and her 1984 top 10 debut is kept off the top by another 1984 oldie. Just to rub it in, her non-American single (what!?) Into The Groove peaks almost as high as Holiday did first time round (so far).

Another oldie also hits 7 – yes, the year of reactivated non-hits is 1985 – for Billy Idol, the fabulous White Wedding taking advantage of his chart-topper in, yes, 1984 to chart 2 or 3 years late. Tina Turner gets a first solo top 5 hit, with the Mad Max sequel theme song, as Brit-soul band Cool Notes go top 10. OMD, UB40 and Chrissie Hynde go top 20, and in at 28, the highest new song is Kate Bush and her classic Running Up That Hill, returning her to the top 40 for the first time in over 4 years with a bang and a big comeback album, The Hounds Of Love.

D. Train enter at 38 (later to be a hit all over in remixed form), Five Star and Nik Kershaw go top 40, and chart returns for Katrina & The Waves, Go West, Tracie, Belouis Some, a chart reissue for Elvis Presley’s 1972 top 10 Always On My Mind at 76 (expanded for one week), a chart debut for cool indie band Prefab Sprout at 71, and their fab song based around referencing Faron Young’s 1972 top 10 chart hit It’s Four In The Morning, and inconspicuously in at 74 it’s Bryan Adams and his future rock anthem, Summer Of ’69, a song that regularly pops back into the 21st century charts, being as it’s a regular seller. Not unrelated to his performance of it at Live Aid, actually, but it never charted highly in the UK singles chart (nor mine), being as it’s nowhere near as great as Run To You and most of his other hits. hey ho!

1 ( NEW ) DRIVE The Cars
2 ( 19 ) HOLIDAY Madonna
3 ( 1 ) THERE MUST BE AN ANGEL (PLAYING WITH MY HEART) Eurythmics
4 ( 2 ) IN BETWEEN DAYS The Cure
5 ( 9 ) WE DON’T NEED ANOTHER HERO (THUNDERDOME) Tina Turner
6 ( 16 ) INTO THE GROOVE Madonna
7 ( 15 ) WHITE WEDDING Billy Idol
8 ( 6 ) ROUND AND ROUND Jaki Graham
9 ( 5 ) SHE SELLS SANCTUARY The Cult
10 ( 13 ) IN YOUR CAR The Cool Notes

11 ( 3 ) IN TOO DEEP Dead Or Alive
12 ( 8 ) GETCHA BACK The Beach Boys
13 ( 7 ) CHANGE Sparks
14 ( 4 ) YOU’RE MY HEART YOU’RE MY SOUL Modern Talking
15 ( 24 ) LIVE IS LIFE Opus
16 ( 18 ) RASPBERRY BERET Prince
17 ( 25 ) SECRET OMD
18 ( 10 ) HELP! The Beatles
19 ( 30 ) I GOT YOU BABE UB40 and Chrissie Hynde
20 ( 12 ) HISTORY Mai Tai

21 ( 11 ) MONEY’S TOO TIGHT (TO MENTION) Simply Red
22 ( 14 ) YOU AND YOUR HEART SO BLUE Bucks Fizz
23 ( 20 ) LOVING YOU Feargal Sharkey
24 ( 17 ) SHADOW OF LOVE The Damned
25 ( 26 ) LIVING ON VIDEO Trans X
26 ( 37 ) TAKE ME HOME Phil Collins
27 ( 32 ) EXCITABLE Amazulu
28 ( NEW ) RUNNING UP THAT HILL Kate Bush
29 ( 34 ) DARE ME The Pointer Sisters
30 ( 22 ) AXEL F Harold Faltemeyer

31 ( 52 ) LET ME BE THE ONE Five Star
32 ( 21 ) DUEL Propaganda
33 ( 33 ) 5 MINUTES (ONE DAY – LIES LIES..) Mainframe
34 ( 59 ) LONG TIME Arrow
35 ( 23 ) MY TOOT TOOT Denise La Salle
36 ( 39 ) THE GOONIES ‘R’ GOOD ENOUGH Cyndi Lauper
37 ( 27 ) BORN IN THE USA/ I’M ON FIRE Bruce Springsteen
38 ( NEW ) YOU’RE THE ONE FOR ME D. Train
39 ( 35 ) “19” Paul Hardcastle
40 ( 60 ) DON QUIXOTE Nik Kershaw

41 ( 28 ) TOMB OF MEMORIES Paul Young
42 ( 36 ) SO IN LOVE OMD
43 ( 29 ) LIFE IN ONE DAY Howard Jones
44 ( 69 ) GLORY DAYS Bruce Springsteen
45 ( 45 ) CRY Godley And Creme
46 ( 44 ) EVERYBODY WANTS TO RULE THE WORLD Tears For Fears
47 ( 42 ) OBSESSION Animotion
48 ( 48 ) THE LAST KISS David Cassidy
49 ( 49 ) GOLDEN YEARS Loose Ends
50 ( 38 ) HEAD OVER HEELS Tears For Fears

51 ( 31 ) VIVE LE ROCK Adam Ant
52 ( 40 ) OUT OF TOUCH Daryl Hall and John Oates
53 ( 50 ) MEGAREX T.Rex
54 ( 47 ) KAYLEIGH Marillion
55 ( 58 ) MONEY FOR NOTHING Dire Straits
56 ( 41 ) FRANKIE Sister Sledge
57 ( 55 ) DON’T FALL IN LOVE (I SAID) Toyah
58 ( NEW ) SOME PEOPLE Belouis Some
59 ( 43 ) TURN IT UP The Conway Brothers
60 ( NEW ) GOODBYE GIRL Go West

61 ( 46 ) DANCING IN THE KEY OF LIFE Steve Arrington
62 ( 53 ) CRAZY FOR YOU Madonna
63 ( 57 ) PAISLEY PARK Prince
64 ( 73 ) EMPTY ROOMS Gary Moore
65 ( 61 ) JOHNNY COME HOME Fine Young Cannibals
66 ( NEW ) CAN’T LEAVE YOU ALONE Tracie Young
67 ( 67 ) NOW THAT WE’VE FOUND LOVE Third World
68 ( 66 ) WELCOME TO THE PLEASURE DOME Frankie Goes To Hollywood
69 ( 62 ) ROMANCE (LET YOUR HEART GO) David Cassidy
70 ( NEW ) DO YOU WANT CRYING Katrina And The Waves

71 ( NEW ) FARON YOUNG Prefab Sprout
72 ( 71 ) CALL ME Go West
73 ( 68 ) THE WORD GIRL Scritti Politti
74 ( NEW ) SUMMER OF ’69 Bryan Adams
75 ( 65 ) LOVING THE ALIEN David Bowie
76 ( NEW ) ALWAYS ON MY MIND Elvis Presley

TV Aug 3rd-9th
1 Hill Street Blues
2 Cheers
3 Top Of The Pops
4 The Phil Silvers Show
5 Batman

13th August 1985

2 weeks for the heartbreaking Cars classic on top, as Kate Bush runs up that hill to 6 and her biggest track since Sat In Your Lap 4 years earlier. That obscure Mainframe track remains unavailable in 2017, but it’s jolly enough technopop up to 16 for 5 minutes, and Amazulu get all excitable at grabbing a top 20. Dire Straits take their classic Money For Nothing up a whopping 32 spots, with an assist from Sting, who also enters at 43 with his own single – Love Is The Seventh Wave. Elvis’ 1972 oldie, meanwhile, is back in the 40 some 12 years after dropping out, Always On My Mind was one of his better ballad-years songs. In at 36, we have Princess joining Prince inside the 40, new with Say I’m Your Number One, just ahead of Baltimora’s fun (if cheesy) Tarzan Boy.

Other newies: Marc Almond and his good Stories Of Johnny in at 57, Mai Tai get a follow-up hit to History, the late Glen Frey is new at 62 with Sexy Girl, 60’s legend Aretha Franklin returns back on form (of sorts, not exactly SOUL form, but pleasant enough) and Freeway Of Love, giving her a then-impressive 17 years of chart entries. Finally, in at 75, it’s Tequila from No Way Jose and their version of The Champs classic 1958 Spanish-language hit, done 80’s stylee. Suggs eventually borrowed it for his hit No More Alcohol, and not to be confused with the unrealted Terrorvision track of the same Tequila name which is just as fab.

1 ( 1 ) DRIVE The Cars
2 ( 2 ) HOLIDAY Madonna
3 ( 3 ) THERE MUST BE AN ANGEL (PLAYING WITH MY HEART) Eurythmics
4 ( 5 ) WE DON’T NEED ANOTHER HERO (THUNDERDOME) Tina Turner
5 ( 6 ) INTO THE GROOVE Madonna
6 ( 28 ) RUNNING UP THAT HILL Kate Bush
7 ( 7 ) WHITE WEDDING Billy Idol
8 ( 4 ) IN BETWEEN DAYS The Cure
9 ( 10 ) IN YOUR CAR The Cool Notes
10 ( 13 ) CHANGE Sparks

11 ( 8 ) ROUND AND ROUND Jaki Graham
12 ( 9 ) SHE SELLS SANCTUARY The Cult
13 ( 16 ) RASPBERRY BERET Prince
14 ( 17 ) SECRET OMD
15 ( 19 ) I GOT YOU BABE UB40 and Chrissie Hynde
16 ( 33 ) 5 MINUTES (ONE DAY – LIES LIES..) Mainframe
17 ( 27 ) EXCITABLE Amazulu
18 ( 18 ) HELP! The Beatles
19 ( 12 ) GETCHA BACK The Beach Boys
20 ( 11 ) IN TOO DEEP Dead Or Alive

21 ( 26 ) TAKE ME HOME Phil Collins
22 ( 14 ) YOU’RE MY HEART YOU’RE MY SOUL Modern Talking
23 ( 55 ) MONEY FOR NOTHING Dire Straits
24 ( 38 ) YOU’RE THE ONE FOR ME D. Train
25 ( 15 ) LIVE IS LIFE Opus
26 ( 29 ) DARE ME The Pointer Sisters
27 ( 31 ) LET ME BE THE ONE Five Star
28 ( 40 ) DON QUIXOTE Nik Kershaw
29 ( 34 ) LONG TIME Arrow
30 ( 20 ) HISTORY Mai Tai

31 ( 21 ) MONEY’S TOO TIGHT (TO MENTION) Simply Red
32 ( 76 ) ALWAYS ON MY MIND Elvis Presley
33 ( 22 ) YOU AND YOUR HEART SO BLUE Bucks Fizz
34 ( 23 ) LOVING YOU Feargal Sharkey
35 ( 30 ) AXEL F Harold Faltemeyer
36 ( NEW ) SAY I’M YOUR NUMBER ONE Princess
37 ( 44 ) GLORY DAYS Bruce Springsteen
38 ( 24 ) SHADOW OF LOVE The Damned
39 ( NEW ) TARZAN BOY Baltimora
40 ( 35 ) MY TOOT TOOT Denise La Salle

41 ( 32 ) DUEL Propaganda
42 ( 39 ) “19” Paul Hardcastle
43 ( NEW ) LOVE IS THE SEVENTH WAVE Sting
44 ( 37 ) BORN IN THE USA/ I’M ON FIRE Bruce Springsteen
45 ( 42 ) SO IN LOVE OMD
46 ( 25 ) LIVING ON VIDEO Trans X
47 ( 60 ) GOODBYE GIRL Go West
48 ( 45 ) CRY Godley And Creme
49 ( 48 ) THE LAST KISS David Cassidy
50 ( 46 ) EVERYBODY WANTS TO RULE THE WORLD Tears For Fears

51 ( 58 ) SOME PEOPLE Belouis Some
52 ( 36 ) THE GOONIES ‘R’ GOOD ENOUGH Cyndi Lauper
53 ( 47 ) OBSESSION Animotion
54 ( 53 ) MEGAREX T.Rex
55 ( 41 ) TOMB OF MEMORIES Paul Young
56 ( 66 ) CAN’T LEAVE YOU ALONE Tracie Young
57 ( NEW ) STORIES OF JOHNNY Marc Almond
58 ( 43 ) LIFE IN ONE DAY Howard Jones
59 ( 74 ) SUMMER OF ’69 Bryan Adams
60 ( NEW ) BODY AND SOUL Mai Tai

61 ( 70 ) DO YOU WANT CRYING Katrina And The Waves
62 ( NEW ) SEXY GIRL Glenn Frey
63 ( 64 ) EMPTY ROOMS Gary Moore
64 ( 57 ) DON’T FALL IN LOVE (I SAID) Toyah
65 ( 54 ) KAYLEIGH Marillion
66 ( 67 ) NOW THAT WE’VE FOUND LOVE Third World
67 ( 52 ) OUT OF TOUCH Daryl Hall and John Oates
68 ( NEW ) FREEWAY OF LOVE Aretha Franklin
69 ( 56 ) FRANKIE Sister Sledge
70 ( 68 ) WELCOME TO THE PLEASURE DOME Frankie Goes To Hollywood

71 ( 63 ) PAISLEY PARK Prince
72 ( 50 ) HEAD OVER HEELS Tears For Fears
73 ( 62 ) CRAZY FOR YOU Madonna
74 ( 69 ) ROMANCE (LET YOUR HEART GO) David Cassidy
75 ( NEW ) TEQUILA No Way Jose

In which a classic Comic Strip episode almost tops a classic Star Trek episode. The Latter has the late under-rated Don Marshall as a cynical scientist who has it in for Spock, just before he took on Land Of The Giants I think. Rik Mayall is awesome in Comic Strip as a Clint Eastwood-ish cowboy-themed wannabe: “I think….I’m getting..a suntan” Beatles on a jukebox: “John Paul George and Gringo, hah ha hah”. Betty White, now legendary Golden Girl, was also popping up in my faves immediately before she started with the other Gals.

TV 10th-16th Aug
1 Star Trek: Galileo Seven
2 Comic Strip Presents: A Fistful Of Travellers Cheques
3 Hill Street Blues
4 Top Of The Pops
5 The Betty White Show
6 Gun Shy
7 Batman
8 Bewitched
9 The Making Of Supergirl
10 The Rock ‘n’ Roll Years

20th August 1985

3 weeks for the Cars, as Kate Bush gets her first number 2 since Wuthering Heights 7 years earlier. Tarzan Boy and Money For Nothing leap bigly into the 10. These days it would be Dire Straits featuring Sting, who goes top 40 elsewhere. Phil Collins under-rated Take Me Home makes the 20, and Princess leaps into the 20 as Prince falls out, but King enter at 30 with Alone Without You. Where’s Queen when you want the complete Royal set?!

Highest new entry is Madness – Yesterday’s Men at 28 being a somewhat subdued version of Madness – with hip hop dance making inroads at 29 for Lisa Lisa & co. It sounded a bit different in song structure style at the time, though I havent heard it in decades so not sure how it holds up. Hang on while I check…..well, the beats are a bit dated, and the lack of a big-hook is still somewhat charming. At 37, Bryan Ferry is back with his last great single, Don’t Stop The Dance – it was all downhill after this sadly, after a good 13 years of Roxy and solo stuff.

Marc Almond & Belouis Some get another top 40 as new entries lower down include, Amii Stewart’s 1979 disco banger Knock On Wood back again, a brilliant new pop goodie from Red Box, Lean On Me (Ah Li-Ayo) at 63, soooo catchy and chanty. At 67, Propaganda get a third hit with Trevor-Horn-produced P-Machinery, The Stylistics are back after a gap of 8 years with Love Is Not The Answer at 71, some 13 years after debuting, and Canadian pop star Corey Hart pops in again. Think Justin Bieber of the 80’s….only a better singer, and not dance.

1 ( 1 ) DRIVE The Cars
2 ( 6 ) RUNNING UP THAT HILL Kate Bush
3 ( 5 ) INTO THE GROOVE Madonna
4 ( 2 ) HOLIDAY Madonna
5 ( 3 ) THERE MUST BE AN ANGEL (PLAYING WITH MY HEART) Eurythmics
6 ( 4 ) WE DON’T NEED ANOTHER HERO (THUNDERDOME) Tina Turner
7 ( 39 ) TARZAN BOY Baltimora
8 ( 23 ) MONEY FOR NOTHING Dire Straits
9 ( 7 ) WHITE WEDDING Billy Idol
10 ( 15 ) I GOT YOU BABE UB40 and Chrissie Hynde

11 ( 8 ) IN BETWEEN DAYS The Cure
12 ( 17 ) EXCITABLE Amazulu
13 ( 9 ) IN YOUR CAR The Cool Notes
14 ( 21 ) TAKE ME HOME Phil Collins
15 ( 36 ) SAY I’M YOUR NUMBER ONE Princess
16 ( 16 ) 5 MINUTES (ONE DAY – LIES LIES..) Mainframe
17 ( 10 ) CHANGE Sparks
18 ( 12 ) SHE SELLS SANCTUARY The Cult
19 ( 11 ) ROUND AND ROUND Jaki Graham
20 ( 28 ) DON QUIXOTE Nik Kershaw

21 ( 13 ) RASPBERRY BERET Prince
22 ( 24 ) YOU’RE THE ONE FOR ME D. Train
23 ( 19 ) GETCHA BACK The Beach Boys
24 ( 27 ) LET ME BE THE ONE Five Star
25 ( 14 ) SECRET OMD
26 ( 20 ) IN TOO DEEP Dead Or Alive
27 ( 32 ) ALWAYS ON MY MIND Elvis Presley
28 ( NEW ) YESTERDAY’S MEN Madness
29 ( NEW ) I WONDER IF I TAKE YOU HOME Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam with Full Force
30 ( NEW ) ALONE WITHOUT YOU King

31 ( 22 ) YOU’RE MY HEART YOU’RE MY SOUL Modern Talking
32 ( 18 ) HELP! The Beatles
33 ( 25 ) LIVE IS LIFE Opus
34 ( 26 ) DARE ME The Pointer Sisters
35 ( 51 ) SOME PEOPLE Belouis Some
36 ( 37 ) GLORY DAYS Bruce Springsteen
37 ( NEW ) DON’T STOP THE DANCE Bryan Ferry
38 ( 30 ) HISTORY Mai Tai
39 ( 56 ) STORIES OF JOHNNY Marc Almond
40 ( 43 ) LOVE IS THE SEVENTH WAVE Sting

41 ( 31 ) MONEY’S TOO TIGHT (TO MENTION) Simply Red
42 ( 42 ) “19” Paul Hardcastle
43 ( 29 ) LONG TIME Arrow
44 ( 33 ) YOU AND YOUR HEART SO BLUE Bucks Fizz
45 ( 35 ) AXEL F Harold Faltemeyer
46 ( 59 ) SUMMER OF ’69 Bryan Adams
47 ( 63 ) EMPTY ROOMS Gary Moore
48 ( 45 ) SO IN LOVE OMD
49 ( 49 ) THE LAST KISS David Cassidy
50 ( 48 ) CRY Godley And Creme

51 ( 44 ) BORN IN THE USA/ I’M ON FIRE Bruce Springsteen
52 ( 50 ) EVERYBODY WANTS TO RULE THE WORLD Tears For Fears
53 ( 38 ) SHADOW OF LOVE The Damned
54 ( 60 ) BODY AND SOUL Mai Tai
55 ( 40 ) MY TOOT TOOT Denise La Salle
56 ( 54 ) MEGAREX T.Rex
57 ( 41 ) DUEL Propaganda
58 ( RE ) DON’T YOU (FORGET ABOUT ME) Simple Minds
59 ( NEW ) KNOCK ON WOOD Amii Stewart
60 ( 47 ) GOODBYE GIRL Go West

61 ( 61 ) DO YOU WANT CRYING Katrina And The Waves
62 ( 62 ) SEXY GIRL Glen Frey
63 ( NEW ) LEAN ON ME (AH-LI-AYO) Red Box
64 ( 34 ) LOVING YOU Feargal Sharkey
65 ( 53 ) OBSESSION Animotion
66 ( 55 ) TOMB OF MEMORIES Paul Young
67 ( NEW ) P-MACHINERY Propaganda
68 ( 56 ) CAN’T LEAVE YOU ALONE Tracie Young
69 ( 66 ) NOW THAT WE’VE FOUND LOVE Third World
70 ( 75 ) TEQUILA No Way Jose

71 ( NEW ) LOVE IS NOT THE ANSWER The Stylistics
72 ( 46 ) LIVING ON VIDEO Trans X
73 ( NEW ) TAKES A LITTLE TIME Total Contrast
74 ( 64 ) DON’T FALL IN LOVE (I SAID) Toyah
75 ( NEW ) NEVER SURRENDER Corey Hart

A future movie franchise pops up (The Naked Gun) and a future court case (Bill Cosby) and 2 MTM productions at 2 and 3 from the 70’s, a drama spin-off from a sitcom. Both starred the future voice of “Up” Ed Asner.

TV 17th-23rd Aug
1 Star Trek: Court Martial
2 The Mary Tyler Moore Show
3 Lou Grant
4 Comic Strip Presents: Gino
5 Hill Street Blues
6 Batman
7 Police Squad
8 Top Of The Pops
9 I Dream Of Jeannie
10 The Bill Cosby Show

27th August 1985

It’s Kate Bush getting her first chart-topper with the classic Running Up That Hill, so good it did it all over again for the London Olympics in 2012. That means Madonna’s UK chart-topper (and biggest UK hit) Into The Groove is in runners-up.

Phil Collins gets another top 10, his 4th or so, with a minor UK hit, Dan Hartman is reactivated and I Can Dream About You is back at 13, a good single and 7 years on from his debut Instant Replay. Just behind is the Live Aid charity single (the main reason I bought it, though the video was fun, and it was good to see Bowie and Jagger together), the pedestrian cover of the Martha & The Vandellas classic Dancing In The Street which went top 10 in my charts in 1969. Bryan Ferry goes top 20, Amii Stewart is back in the 40 6 years on with Knock On Wood, also a cover of a 60’s soul classic, and John Parr’s movie theme tune megahit is in at 36, and Stevie Wonder’s last UK big hit is at 40, Part Time Lover borrowing a Supremes 60’s rhythm track (as did Hall & Oates) for a pop goodie.

That leaves follow-up hits for the Thompson Twins, Kim Carnes back after a gap, and 5 years after debut 60’s soul cover More Love went top 20 in my charts (60’s covers bit of a theme!), David Cassidy, Bananarama, and Odyssey (who get a span of 7 years).

1 ( 2 ) RUNNING UP THAT HILL Kate Bush
2 ( 3 ) INTO THE GROOVE Madonna
3 ( 1 ) DRIVE The Cars
4 ( 7 ) TARZAN BOY Baltimora
5 ( 8 ) MONEY FOR NOTHING Dire Straits
6 ( 4 ) HOLIDAY Madonna
7 ( 5 ) THERE MUST BE AN ANGEL (PLAYING WITH MY HEART) Eurythmics
8 ( 9 ) WHITE WEDDING Billy Idol
9 ( 6 ) WE DON’T NEED ANOTHER HERO (THUNDERDOME) Tina Turner
10 ( 14 ) TAKE ME HOME Phil Collins

11 ( 31 ) YOU’RE MY HEART YOU’RE MY SOUL Modern Talking
12 ( 15 ) SAY I’M YOUR NUMBER ONE Princess
13 ( NEW ) I CAN DREAM ABOUT YOU Dan Hartman
14 ( NEW ) DANCING IN THE STREET David Bowie & Mick Jagger
15 ( 11 ) IN BETWEEN DAYS The Cure
16 ( 12 ) EXCITABLE Amazulu
17 ( 30 ) ALONE WITHOUT YOU King
18 ( 29 ) I WONDER IF I TAKE YOU HOME Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam with Full Force
19 ( 37 ) DON’T STOP THE DANCE Bryan Ferry
20 ( 10 ) I GOT YOU BABE UB40 and Chrissie Hynde

21 ( 13 ) IN YOUR CAR The Cool Notes
22 ( 22 ) YOU’RE THE ONE FOR ME D. Train
23 ( 28 ) YESTERDAY’S MEN Madness
24 ( 39 ) STORIES OF JOHNNY Marc Almond
25 ( 20 ) DON QUIXOTE Nik Kershaw
26 ( 18 ) SHE SELLS SANCTUARY The Cult
27 ( 27 ) ALWAYS ON MY MIND Elvis Presley
28 ( 17 ) CHANGE Sparks
29 ( 23 ) GETCHA BACK The Beach Boys
30 ( 19 ) ROUND AND ROUND Jaki Graham

31 ( 25 ) SECRET OMD
32 ( 16 ) 5 MINUTES (ONE DAY – LIES LIES..) Mainframe
33 ( 44 ) YOU AND YOUR HEART SO BLUE Bucks Fizz
34 ( 59 ) KNOCK ON WOOD Amii Stewart
35 ( 35 ) SOME PEOPLE Belouis Some
36 ( NEW ) ST. ELMO’S FIRE (MAN IN MOTION) John Farr
37 ( 26 ) IN TOO DEEP Dead Or Alive
38 ( 40 ) LOVE IS THE SEVENTH WAVE Sting
39 ( 47 ) EMPTY ROOMS Gary Moore
40 ( NEW ) PART TIME LOVER Stevie Wonder

41 ( 21 ) RASPBERRY BERET Prince
42 ( 46 ) SUMMER OF ’69 Bryan Adams
43 ( 42 ) “19” Paul Hardcastle
44 ( 24 ) LET ME BE THE ONE Five Star
45 ( NEW ) DON’T MESS WITH DR. DREAM The Thompson Twins
46 ( 33 ) LIVE IS LIFE Opus
47 ( 73 ) TAKES A LITTLE TIME Total Contrast
48 ( 49 ) THE LAST KISS David Cassidy
49 ( 38 ) HISTORY Mai Tai
50 ( 54 ) BODY AND SOUL Mai Tai

51 ( 48 ) SO IN LOVE OMD
52 ( 50 ) CRY Godley And Creme
53 ( 52 ) EVERYBODY WANTS TO RULE THE WORLD Tears For Fears
54 ( 34 ) DARE ME The Pointer Sisters
55 ( 45 ) AXEL F Harold Faltemeyer
56 ( NEW ) CRAZY IN THE NIGHT Kim Carnes
57 ( 56 ) MEGAREX T.Rex
58 ( 60 ) GOODBYE GIRL Go West
59 ( 36 ) GLORY DAYS Bruce Springsteen
60 ( 43 ) LONG TIME Arrow

61 ( 63 ) LEAN ON ME (AH-LI-AYO) Red Box
62 ( 41 ) MONEY’S TOO TIGHT (TO MENTION) Simply Red
63 ( 75 ) NEVER SURRENDER Corey Hart
64 ( 67 ) P-MACHINERY Propaganda
65 ( 57 ) DUEL Propaganda
66 ( NEW ) POWER OF LOVE Huey Lewis & The News
67 ( 51 ) BORN IN THE USA/ I’M ON FIRE Bruce Springsteen
68 ( 58 ) DON’T YOU (FORGET ABOUT ME) Simple Minds
69 ( 69 ) NOW THAT WE’VE FOUND LOVE Third World
70 ( NEW ) SOMEONE David Cassidy

71 ( NEW ) BODY ROCK Maria Vidal
72 ( 61 ) DO YOU WANT CRYING Katrina And The Waves
73 ( NEW ) DO NOT DISTURB Bananarama
74 ( 53 ) SHADOW OF LOVE The Damned
75 ( NEW ) (JOY) I KNOW IT Odyssey

Everything coming up Star Trek, MTM shows, and the Comic Strip/Young Ones comics for me on TV, as Back To The Future gets some early promo with the Huey Lewis Power Of Love entering the chart.

TV 24th-30th Aug
1 Star Trek: Menagerie Pt 2
2 Star Trek: Menagerie Pt 1
3 Hill Street Blues
4 The Young Ones
5 Cheers
6 Comic Strip Presents: 5 Go Mad On Mescalin
7 The Munsters
8 Lou Grant
9 Top Of The Pops
10 Leonard Nimoy: Memories Of Star Trek
11 Police Squad
12 Bob Monkhouse Meets Joan Rivers
13 Doctor Who: Resurrection Of The Daleks
14 Comic Strip Presents: Slags
15 Bewitched

 

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My 1980 Charts – August

5th August 1980

Abba stay on top with the classic classy The Winner Takes It All, as Nile Rodgers goes up to 2 with Diana Ross. That’s Upside Down isn’t it? ELO go top 5, and highest new entry is Olivia Newton-John’s fab moody ballad Magic – that’s just greedy, cos Xanadu from both of ‘em is still top 3! Such a shame the film wasn’t as good as the music. The Undertones tunefully marvellous Wednesday Week goes top 10, and Leo Sayer gets a top 20 for the first time in 3 years, Billy Joel his third, and Sheena Easton her first.

Roxy Music hit the top 30, Oh Yeah they do, while duetting Johnny Bristol and Amii Stewart take the old Motown classics into the 40 for a final chart time for Johnny and the last for a while for Amii. Ultravox sleepwalk into a debut top 40 entry, Racey get the last of their 4 or 5, and the Piranhas fun 50’s cover steams jollily up to 36, ooh hark at them! New in, well, 10 years late, Deep Purple’s Black Night overshadows other newer tracks, such as George Benson demanding the Night, his return after a couple of goodies in 1977 and another in 1975. Ray Gomez covers Lovin’ Spoonful’s 60‘s classic Summer In The City to lesser effect, at 50, and Don McLean covers the 50’s doowop classic Since I Don’t Have You a year after Art Garfunkel did the same, both versions sweet enough for me. Sue Wilkinson hustles in at 64, Nick Straker walks in at 69, and everything works for Cheap Trick’s 2nd hit at 72. It’s another old-sounding track, sort of punk surfer, and a spot of Summer Fun for the Barracudas, totally endearing at 73 while The Manhattans are smoothly back with Shining Star, 4 years on from Kiss And Say Goodbye.

1 ( 1 ) THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL Abba
2 ( 3 ) UPSIDE DOWN Diana Ross
3 ( 2 ) XANADU Olivia Newton-John & The Electric Light Orchestra
4 ( 4 ) BABOOSHKA Kate Bush
5 ( 6 ) ALL OVER THE WORLD E.L.O.
6 ( NEW ) MAGIC Olivia Newton-John
7 ( 9 ) A LOVER’S HOLIDAY Change
8 ( 5 ) THERE THERE MY DEAR Dexy’s Midnight Runners
9 ( 10 ) ME MYSELF I Joan Armatrading
10 ( 18 ) WEDNESDAY WEEK The Undertones

11 ( 13 ) SANCTUARY New Musik
12 ( 7 ) COULD YOU BE LOVED Bob Marley And The Wailers
13 ( 11 ) WATERFALLS Paul McCartney
14 ( 12 ) THEME FROM INVADERS Yellow Magic Orchestra
15 ( 15 ) MARIANA The Gibson Brothers
16 ( 20 ) SANTA ANA WINDS The Beach Boys
17 ( 22 ) MORE THAN I CAN SAY Leo Sayer
18 ( 8 ) 747 (STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT) Saxon
19 ( 23 ) IT’S STILL ROCK ‘N’ ROLL TO ME Billy Joel
20 ( 36 ) 9 TO 5 (MY BABY TAKES THE MORNING TRAIN) Sheena Easton

21 ( 35 ) PRIVATE LIFE Grace Jones
22 ( 16 ) EMOTIONAL RESCUE The Rolling Stones
23 ( 17 ) JUMP TO THE BEAT Stacey Lattisaw
24 ( 25 ) LIP UP FATTY Bad Manners
25 ( 24 ) LOVE WILL TEAR US APART Joy Division
26 ( 14 ) MESSAGES Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
27 ( 28 ) OOPS UPSIDE YOUR HEAD The Gap Band
28 ( 21 ) USE IT UP AND WEAR IT OUT Odyssey
29 ( 29 ) ARE YOU GETTING ENOUGH HAPPINESS Hot Chocolate
30 ( 63 ) OH YEAH Roxy Music

31 ( 33 ) NEON KNIGHTS Black Sabbath
32 ( 68 ) MY GUY/MY GIRL Amii Stewart and Johnny Bristol
33 ( 19 ) RUNNING FROM PARADISE Daryl Hall & John Oates
34 ( 46 ) SLEEPWALKING Ultravox
35 ( 47 ) REST OF YOUR LIFE Racey
36 ( 64 ) TOM HARK The Piranhas
37 ( 37 ) MY GIRL The Whispers
38 ( 40 ) DOES SHE HAVE A FRIEND Gene Chandler
39 ( 42 ) LET’S HANG ON Darts
40 ( 27 ) CRYING Don McLean

41 ( 26 ) WHOLE LOTTA ROSIE AC/DC
42 ( 31 ) CHRISTINE Siouxsie And The Banshees
43 ( 54 ) FUNKIN’ FOR JAMAICA Tom Browne
44 ( 34 ) BACK TOGETHER AGAIN Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway
45 ( 32 ) BEHIND THE GROOVE Teena Marie
46 ( 43 ) NO DOUBT ABOUT IT Hot Chocolate
47 ( NEW ) BLACK NIGHT Deep Purple
48 ( 30 ) I’M ALIVE Electric Light Orchestra
49 ( NEW ) GIVE ME THE NIGHT George Benson
50 ( NEW ) SUMMER IN THE CITY Ray Gomez

51 ( 44 ) BED’S TOO BIG WITHOUT YOU (6 PACK) The Police
52 ( 66 ) GIRLFRIEND Michael Jackson
53 ( 38 ) TWO PINTS OF LAGER AND A PACKET OF CRISPS Splodgenessabounds
54 ( 41 ) MY WAY OF THINKING UB40
55 ( 55 ) MONKEES EP (LAST TRAIN TO CLARKSVILLE/ I’M A BELIEVER/ A LITTLE BIT ME A LITTLE BIT YOU/ DAYDREAM BELIEVER) The Monkees
56 ( 51 ) SOLDIER’S SONG The Hollies
57 ( NEW ) SINCE I DON’T HAVE YOU Don McLean
58 ( 39 ) MORE LOVE Kim Carnes
59 ( 71 ) BURNING CAR John Foxx
60 ( 52 ) THEME FROM M*A*S*H The MASH

61 ( 62 ) DON’T BRING ME DOWN E.L.O.
62 ( 61 ) GET IT RIGHT NEXT TIME Gerry Rafferty
63 ( 48 ) CUPID – I’VE LOVED YOU FOR A LONG TIME The Detroit Spinners
64 ( NEW ) YOU GOTTA BE A HUSTLER Sue Wilkinson
65 ( 45 ) DIDDY WAH DIDDY (BLUES BAND EP) The Blues Band
66 ( 57 ) STEAL AWAY Robbie Dupree
67 ( 50 ) FUNKY TOWN Lipps Inc
68 ( 49 ) I DON’T WANT YOU ANYMORE Tavares
69 ( NEW ) A WALK IN THE PARK Nick Straker Band
70 ( 59 ) YOU GAVE ME LOVE Crown Heights Affair

71 ( 60 ) EASY LIFE The Bodysnatchers
72 ( NEW ) EVERYTHING WORKS Cheap Trick
73 ( NEW ) SUMMER FUN The Barracudas
74 ( 69 ) GENO Dexy’s Midnight Runners
75 ( NEW ) SHINING STAR The Manhattans

TV 26th Jul-2nd Aug

1 Olympics
2 Parkinson
3 The Phil Silvers Show
4 Soap
5 Rhoda
6 Guyana Tragedy
7 Des O’Connor
8 Taxi
9 Superstar Profile
10 The Banana Splits

12th August 1980
It’s a 3rd week at 1 for the Abba classic, and a Xanadu movie 3,4,5, as The Gibson Brothers get a 4th top 10 in a row, and New Musik make it 3 in a row. Billy Joel still thinks it Rock ‘n’ Roll to him, and grabs his first actual top 10 after 5 years of chart entries with his US chart-topper. Leaping into the 20 50’s oldie Tom Hark is revived by a fishy band, while Lip Up fatty displays Bad Manners in the top 20 for the 2nd time. Roxy, though, make it 8 years of top 20 entries, which is all of their singles to date, and most of Bryan Ferry’s solo singles. Oh Yeah!

George Benson gets his biggest chart peak since 1977, and highest new entry is veteran 60’s Brit pop star Mike Berry, starring then in sitcom Are You Being Served, in at 27 with oldie Sunshine Of Your Smile. He had previously covered a Billy Swan cover of an Elvis classic which had hit my top 10 in 1972 for The Berries (formerly Rockin’ Berries) – Don’t Be Cruel made my top 20 in 1975, and you will never ever hear the Berries cover, as it was a novelty cover featuring an impression of paedophile DJ Jimmy Savile. Not that they knew that then, as it wouldn’t have been that amusing. This song, though, was positively archaic, published in 1913 in the UK of British songwriters, covered by many from 1914 onwards, though not covered by anyone still-well-known until Frank Sinatra did it in 1941, almost 30 years later. So, this version was an amazing 67 years old, which was historical to me at that time, and I rather took to the sweet old-fashioned-ness of it.

At 28, Ray Dorset of Mungo Jerry returns a decade after In The Summertime and many others – well, at least his song returns him, as he donates it to Kelly Marie, Feels Like I’m In Love pure disco cheese, and a bit of fluff fun. Tom Browne funks into the 40, and Sheena Easton gets a 2nd top 40 with previous flop single Modern Girl entering at 35 as 9 to 5 goes up to 19. Modern Girl is better. Sue Wilkinson hustles into the 40, too, and Don McLean gets his 5th – Since I Don’t Have You does what Art Garfunkel’s did the year before. Finally Bowie is back with a bang, a hot new single and video and image, the Steve Strange-featuring New Romantic masterpiece that is Ashes To Ashes at 40.

Other new entries: The Clash at 50 with Bankrobber, all moody and dub reggae, and for me their best single to date – I was very much in the minority though, at the time, to think that. Another oldie song, Just Like Eddie, a tribute 60’s song from Heinz referencing Eddie Cochran, is covered synth-style by the Silicon Teens in a decent version at 63. Jermaine Jackson returns and he’s Burning Hot at 65 – well at least he was quite warm – and Elton is showing off his Sartorial Eloquence at 67, a decent ballad. Roger Daltrey gets his first solo entry in 3 years, and 7 years since his first outside of The Who, a song from a prison drama movie McVicar which he starred in, Free Me at 70. Girlschool debut at 73 with a cover of 60’s rock classic Race With The Devil, The Village People are back for the 4th time at 74, and a new lead singer, also from a movie of the same name: Can’t Stop The Music. I didn’t rate the record much, and the somewhat camp film (to understate the case) was directed by comic actor Nancy Walker, who I was a huge fan of in her roles in Rhoda (see my TV list she appears at 2) and McMillan & Wife. Finally, Late In The Evening, and sneaking in at 75, Paul Simon extends his run to 11 years of many classics with a jazzy mellow upbeat US hit.

1 ( 1 ) THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL Abba
2 ( 2 ) UPSIDE DOWN Diana Ross
3 ( 3 ) XANADU Olivia Newton-John & The Electric Light Orchestra
4 ( 5 ) ALL OVER THE WORLD E.L.O.
5 ( 6 ) MAGIC Olivia Newton-John
6 ( 15 ) MARIANA The Gibson Brothers
7 ( 4 ) BABOOSHKA Kate Bush
8 ( 11 ) SANCTUARY New Musik
9 ( 8 ) THERE THERE MY DEAR Dexy’s Midnight Runners
10 ( 19 ) IT’S STILL ROCK ‘N’ ROLL TO ME Billy Joel

11 ( 7 ) A LOVER’S HOLIDAY Change
12 ( 36 ) TOM HARK The Piranhas
13 ( 9 ) ME MYSELF I Joan Armatrading
14 ( 16 ) SANTA ANA WINDS The Beach Boys
15 ( 24 ) LIP UP FATTY Bad Manners
16 ( 30 ) OH YEAH Roxy Music
17 ( 10 ) WEDNESDAY WEEK The Undertones
18 ( 12 ) COULD YOU BE LOVED Bob Marley And The Wailers
19 ( 20 ) 9 TO 5 (MY BABY TAKES THE MORNING TRAIN) Sheena Easton
20 ( 21 ) PRIVATE LIFE Grace Jones

21 ( 49 ) GIVE ME THE NIGHT George Benson
22 ( 13 ) WATERFALLS Paul McCartney
23 ( 27 ) OOPS UPSIDE YOUR HEAD The Gap Band
24 ( 17 ) MORE THAN I CAN SAY Leo Sayer
25 ( 29 ) ARE YOU GETTING ENOUGH HAPPINESS Hot Chocolate
26 ( 32 ) MY GUY/MY GIRL Amii Stewart and Johnny Bristol
27 ( NEW ) SUNSHINE OF YOUR SMILE Mike Berry
28 ( NEW ) FEELS LIKE I’M IN LOVE Kelly Marie
29 ( 14 ) THEME FROM INVADERS Yellow Magic Orchestra
30 ( 18 ) 747 (STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT) Saxon

31 ( 43 ) FUNKIN’ FOR JAMAICA Tom Browne
32 ( 28 ) USE IT UP AND WEAR IT OUT Odyssey
33 ( 26 ) MESSAGES Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
34 ( 34 ) SLEEPWALKING Ultravox
35 ( NEW ) MODERN GIRL Sheena Easton
36 ( 23 ) JUMP TO THE BEAT Stacey Lattisaw
37 ( 22 ) EMOTIONAL RESCUE The Rolling Stones
38 ( 64 ) YOU GOTTA BE A HUSTLER Sue Wilkinson
39 ( 57 ) SINCE I DON’T HAVE YOU Don McLean
40 ( NEW ) ASHES TO ASHES David Bowie

41 ( 35 ) REST OF YOUR LIFE Racey
42 ( 33 ) RUNNING FROM PARADISE Daryl Hall & John Oates
43 ( 40 ) CRYING Don McLean
44 ( 25 ) LOVE WILL TEAR US APART Joy Division
45 ( 39 ) LET’S HANG ON Darts
46 ( 50 ) SUMMER IN THE CITY Ray Gomez
47 ( 47 ) BLACK NIGHT Deep Purple
48 ( 31 ) NEON KNIGHTS Black Sabbath
49 ( 46 ) NO DOUBT ABOUT IT Hot Chocolate
50 ( NEW ) BANKROBBER The Clash

51 ( 38 ) DOES SHE HAVE A FRIEND Gene Chandler
52 ( 73 ) SUMMER FUN The Barracudas
53 ( 42 ) CHRISTINE Siouxsie And The Banshees
54 ( 44 ) BACK TOGETHER AGAIN Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway
55 ( 55 ) MONKEES EP (LAST TRAIN TO CLARKSVILLE/ I’M A BELIEVER/ A LITTLE BIT ME A LITTLE BIT YOU/ DAYDREAM BELIEVER) The Monkees
56 ( 41 ) WHOLE LOTTA ROSIE AC/DC
57 ( 69 ) A WALK IN THE PARK Nick Straker Band
58 ( 51 ) BED’S TOO BIG WITHOUT YOU (6 PACK) The Police
59 ( 45 ) BEHIND THE GROOVE Teena Marie
60 ( 61 ) DON’T BRING ME DOWN E.L.O.

61 ( 62 ) GET IT RIGHT NEXT TIME Gerry Rafferty
62 ( 48 ) I’M ALIVE Electric Light Orchestra
63 ( NEW ) JUST LIKE EDDIE Silicon Teens
64 ( 56 ) SOLDIER’S SONG The Hollies
65 ( NEW ) BURNING HOT Jermaine Jackson
66 ( 53 ) TWO PINTS OF LAGER AND A PACKET OF CRISPS Splodgenessabounds
67 ( NEW ) SARTORIAL ELOQUENCE Elton John
68 ( 60 ) THEME FROM M*A*S*H The MASH
69 ( 37 ) MY GIRL The Whispers
70 ( NEW ) FREE ME Roger Daltrey

71 ( 52 ) GIRLFRIEND Michael Jackson
72 ( 72 ) EVERYTHING WORKS Cheap Trick
73 ( NEW ) RACE WITH THE DEVIL Girlschool
74 ( NEW ) CAN’T STOP THE MUSIC The Village People
75 ( NEW ) LATE IN THE EVENING Paul Simon

MY TV CHART
Aug 3- Aug 9
1 Soap
2 Rhoda
3 The Mary Tyler Moore Show
4 The New Avengers
5 Top Of The Pops
6 Doctor Who (Tues)
7 The Rockford Files
8 Taxi
9 Doctor Who (Fri)
10 The Kelly Monteith Show
11 Laverne & Shirley
12 Doctor Who (Thurs)
13 Newsnight (Fri)
14 Jupiter
15 Film Greats


On TV American sitcom heaven for me, plus some old episodes of Doctor Who featuring Lallah Ward’s debut. In my life I was getting stressed about getting nowhere in terms of deciding about career decisions, mum was improving in hospital, which was a relief, and granddad & grandma were round helping dad with a new loft-ladder, then we took them back and had tea. At the cinema to see The Black Hole, Disney’s attempt to cash-in on sci-fi blockbuster action. My review: “the good points: Roddy McDowell & the humour of the robot; some of the effects; a theoretically good cast. The bad points: the rest of it!!!” I ranted on for a while about it, but essentially concluded it was garbage. It’s not repeated much on TV these days…

I passed my time with Record Mirror, Smash Hits, and buying a load of cheap-ex-chart singles (as usual) and the new-look much-improved Top Of The Pops, and TV special on planet Jupiter, being as Voyager had amazing photos from the last year which had actually focused attention on the planet-sized Galilean moons, they were far more interesting than Jupiter, not least the tantalising ice-world Europa and it’s potential sub-surface ocean which was mind-bogglingly exciting. I also spent a whopping £19 (huge amount in those days) on a blank video to record Star Trek and The Martian Chronicles (the TV series based on my absolutely adored Ray Bradbury collection of short stories which I first read in 1970), both about to air on TV: that also meant I got to start my selective recording of pop music videos and TV clips from this day on, and re-watch fave TV shows many times. This was pure science-fiction joy!

 

19th August 1980

4 weeks on top for Abba’s classic, with ELO as so often in support at 2, from Xanadu and All Over The World. Shooting up to 3, though it’s Bowie’s Ashes To Ashes, his first top 3 since Sound And Vision in 1977, while Billy Joel hits a new peak of 7, and Tom Hark slips into the top 10. Highest new entry is an absolute stormer from New Zealand band Split-Enz, who featured among the line-up future members of Crowded House, brothers Tim Finn and Neil Finn. Split-Enz were sort of New Wave sounding and rockabilly looking, and were consistently good. I Got You remains their best record, and it’s epic and very under-rated.

Up into the 20 it’s Kelly Marie doing Mungo Jerry, and it feels like I’m in love in the summertime, George Benson demands the night, and Racey wish to be with someone for the rest of their life, a pretty decent song by Racey standards. New at 30, Cliff is back with a good Dreaming pop song that sounded like an old standard Cliff song done new-stylee, but wasn’t, while The Clash are robbin’ banks at 33 a couple of years on from fighting the law and calling London. There’s big climbs for both Roger Daltrey and Elton John into the 40, 7 years on from Giving It All Away for Rog (or 11 years on from Pinball Wizard if you count The Who records), and 9 years on for Elton from Your Song.

A measly 2 other new entries at 44, Hazel O’Connor debuting with the New Wave movie Breaking Glass soundtrack hit Eighth Day, and at 71 it’s Bow Wow Wow, fronted by 13-year-old Annabella Lwin and managed by Malcolm McLaren. Rather naughtily Malcolm nicked Adam & The Ants, minus Adam, and their drumbeat burundi sound, and took the rather young Annabella into the charts with a song pushing the latest teenage music format, the cassette, C-30 C-60 C-90 Go. Happily Adam re-grouped with new musicians and wasn’t far behind….

1 ( 1 ) THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL Abba
2 ( 4 ) ALL OVER THE WORLD E.L.O.
3 ( 40 ) ASHES TO ASHES David Bowie
4 ( 5 ) MAGIC Olivia Newton-John
5 ( 2 ) UPSIDE DOWN Diana Ross
6 ( 3 ) XANADU Olivia Newton-John & The Electric Light Orchestra
7 ( 10 ) IT’S STILL ROCK ‘N’ ROLL TO ME Billy Joel
8 ( 12 ) TOM HARK The Piranhas
9 ( 6 ) MARIANA The Gibson Brothers
10 ( 27 ) SUNSHINE OF YOUR SMILE Mike Berry

11 ( 8 ) SANCTUARY New Musik
12 ( NEW ) I GOT YOU Split-Enz
13 ( 7 ) BABOOSHKA Kate Bush
14 ( 9 ) THERE THERE MY DEAR Dexy’s Midnight Runners
15 ( 28 ) FEELS LIKE I’M IN LOVE Kelly Marie
16 ( 16 ) OH YEAH Roxy Music
17 ( 21 ) GIVE ME THE NIGHT George Benson
18 ( 15 ) LIP UP FATTY Bad Manners
19 ( 41 ) REST OF YOUR LIFE Racey
20 ( 20 ) PRIVATE LIFE Grace Jones

21 ( 35 ) MODERN GIRL Sheena Easton
22 ( 13 ) ME MYSELF I Joan Armatrading
23 ( 11 ) A LOVER’S HOLIDAY Change
24 ( 18 ) COULD YOU BE LOVED Bob Marley And The Wailers
25 ( 31 ) FUNKIN’ FOR JAMAICA Tom Browne
26 ( 38 ) YOU GOTTA BE A HUSTLER Sue Wilkinson
27 ( 17 ) WEDNESDAY WEEK The Undertones
28 ( 34 ) SLEEPWALKING Ultravox
29 ( 23 ) OOPS UPSIDE YOUR HEAD The Gap Band
30 ( NEW ) DREAMING Cliff Richard

31 ( 24 ) MORE THAN I CAN SAY Leo Sayer
32 ( 14 ) SANTA ANA WINDS The Beach Boys
33 ( 50 ) BANKROBBER The Clash
34 ( 22 ) WATERFALLS Paul McCartney
35 ( 32 ) USE IT UP AND WEAR IT OUT Odyssey
36 ( 25 ) ARE YOU GETTING ENOUGH HAPPINESS Hot Chocolate
37 ( 39 ) SINCE I DON’T HAVE YOU Don McLean
38 ( 19 ) 9 TO 5 (MY BABY TAKES THE MORNING TRAIN) Sheena Easton
39 ( 70 ) FREE ME Roger Daltrey
40 ( 67 ) SARTORIAL ELOQUENCE Elton John

41 ( 33 ) MESSAGES Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
42 ( 30 ) 747 (STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT) Saxon
43 ( 48 ) NEON KNIGHTS Black Sabbath
44 ( NEW ) EIGHTH DAY Hazel O’Connor
45 ( 29 ) THEME FROM INVADERS Yellow Magic Orchestra
46 ( 52 ) SUMMER FUN The Barracudas
47 ( 43 ) CRYING Don McLean
48 ( 63 ) JUST LIKE EDDIE Silicon Teens
49 ( 36 ) JUMP TO THE BEAT Stacey Lattisaw
50 ( 57 ) A WALK IN THE PARK Nick Straker Band

51 ( 42 ) RUNNING FROM PARADISE Daryl Hall & John Oates
52 ( 26 ) MY GUY/MY GIRL Amii Stewart and Johnny Bristol
53 ( 46 ) SUMMER IN THE CITY Ray Gomez
54 ( 49 ) NO DOUBT ABOUT IT Hot Chocolate
55 ( 55 ) MONKEES EP (LAST TRAIN TO CLARKSVILLE/ I’M A BELIEVER/ A LITTLE BIT ME A LITTLE BIT YOU/ DAYDREAM BELIEVER) The Monkees
56 ( 37 ) EMOTIONAL RESCUE The Rolling Stones
57 ( 45 ) LET’S HANG ON Darts
58 ( 75 ) LATE IN THE EVENING Paul Simon
59 ( 74 ) CAN’T STOP THE MUSIC The Village People
60 ( 44 ) LOVE WILL TEAR US APART Joy Division

61 ( 60 ) DON’T BRING ME DOWN E.L.O.
62 ( 61 ) GET IT RIGHT NEXT TIME Gerry Rafferty
63 ( 53 ) CHRISTINE Siouxsie And The Banshees
64 ( 54 ) BACK TOGETHER AGAIN Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway
65 ( 47 ) BLACK NIGHT Deep Purple
66 ( 58 ) BED’S TOO BIG WITHOUT YOU (6 PACK) The Police
67 ( 51 ) DOES SHE HAVE A FRIEND Gene Chandler
68 ( 64 ) SOLDIER’S SONG The Hollies
69 ( 59 ) BEHIND THE GROOVE Teena Marie
70 ( 62 ) I’M ALIVE Electric Light Orchestra

71 ( NEW ) C30 C60 C90 GO Bow Wow Wow
72 ( 56 ) WHOLE LOTTA ROSIE AC/DC
73 ( 73 ) RACE WITH THE DEVIL Girlschool
74 ( 68 ) THEME FROM M*A*S*H The MASH
75 ( 65 ) BURNING HOT Jermaine Jackson

MY Top TV 10th-15th Aug 1980
1 Star Trek: By Any Other Name
2 Soap
3 Top Of The Pops
4 The Martian Chronicles
5 Rhoda
6 Laverne & Shirley
7 The Mary Tyler Moore Show
8 The Outer Limits
9 The Awakening Land
10 Taxi
11 Carry On Up The Jungle
12 The Phil Silvers Show
13 Superstar Profile
14 CHIPS
15 Summer Holiday

 

26th August 1980

It’s a new number as David Bowie’s groundbreaking video for Ashes To Ashes takes him to the top of my charts for the 3rd time, 5 years since he last topped with Space Oddity. UK chart-topper Kelly Marie sneaks her Ray Dorset way into my top 10, The Clash rob da bank at 12, a new chart peak for them, for me, and Modern Girl outdoes 9 to 5 for Sheena.

Highest new entry is The Jam, and Start, in at 14 and off the back of a chart-topper, Going Underground, a great single following a fab single. Cliff is into the 20 for the umpteenth time in the week he appears on Rosko’s Roundtable to review new singles, and Bow Wow Wow’s cassette-single, a sign of the times, rockets up to 25. In at 32, Gary Numan makes it 5 top 40‘s in a row, as I Die You Die keeps him hot, a great single. In at 40, it’s the decade-old Paranoid: I’d missed the original run, out of the country, so this was like a new old gem and only the second chart hit for Black Sabbath, 2 years on from Neon Knights. Ozzy Osbourne’s biggest days, of course, still lay 25 years into the future. Who woulda thought!

New at 42, it’s Shaky’ second hit, Marie Marie, very singalongaElvis, as the Korgis lovely third hit, If It’s Alright With You Baby, pops in. At 53, The Selecter keep the short run of singles cracking out, this one The Whisper, shhhh don’t tell anyone! Best Friend, another ska hit, also keeps The Beat’s profile going at 59, and a good 4th single for Secret Affair is in at 65, Sound Of Confusion. The Skids run of hits is nearing an end as Circus Games scrapes in at 74, and Peter Gabriel’s song for South African activist Stephen Biko takes up the last new spot.

1 ( 3 ) ASHES TO ASHES David Bowie
2 ( 1 ) THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL Abba
3 ( 4 ) MAGIC Olivia Newton-John
4 ( 2 ) ALL OVER THE WORLD E.L.O.
5 ( 8 ) TOM HARK The Piranhas
6 ( 7 ) IT’S STILL ROCK ‘N’ ROLL TO ME Billy Joel
7 ( 15 ) FEELS LIKE I’M IN LOVE Kelly Marie
8 ( 6 ) XANADU Olivia Newton-John & The Electric Light Orchestra
9 ( 10 ) SUNSHINE OF YOUR SMILE Mike Berry
10 ( 5 ) UPSIDE DOWN Diana Ross

11 ( 12 ) I GOT YOU Split-Enz
12 ( 33 ) BANKROBBER The Clash
13 ( 21 ) MODERN GIRL Sheena Easton
14 ( NEW ) START The Jam
15 ( 9 ) MARIANA The Gibson Brothers
16 ( 16 ) OH YEAH Roxy Music
17 ( 20 ) PRIVATE LIFE Grace Jones
18 ( 30 ) DREAMING Cliff Richard
19 ( 14 ) THERE THERE MY DEAR Dexy’s Midnight Runners
20 ( 17 ) GIVE ME THE NIGHT George Benson

21 ( 11 ) SANCTUARY New Musik
22 ( 13 ) BABOOSHKA Kate Bush
23 ( 25 ) FUNKIN’ FOR JAMAICA Tom Browne
24 ( 28 ) SLEEPWALKING Ultravox
25 ( 71 ) C30 C60 C90 GO Bow Wow Wow
26 ( 26 ) YOU GOTTA BE A HUSTLER Sue Wilkinson
27 ( 50 ) A WALK IN THE PARK Nick Straker Band
28 ( 18 ) LIP UP FATTY Bad Manners
29 ( 22 ) ME MYSELF I Joan Armatrading
30 ( 46 ) SUMMER FUN The Barracudas

31 ( 24 ) COULD YOU BE LOVED Bob Marley And The Wailers
32 ( NEW ) I DIE YOU DIE Gary Numan
33 ( 44 ) EIGHTH DAY Hazel O’Connor
34 ( 23 ) A LOVER’S HOLIDAY Change
35 ( 29 ) OOPS UPSIDE YOUR HEAD The Gap Band
36 ( 40 ) SARTORIAL ELOQUENCE Elton John
37 ( 31 ) MORE THAN I CAN SAY Leo Sayer
38 ( 34 ) WATERFALLS Paul McCartney
39 ( 19 ) REST OF YOUR LIFE Racey
40 ( NEW ) PARANOID Black Sabbath

41 ( 32 ) SANTA ANA WINDS The Beach Boys
42 ( NEW ) MARIE MARIE Shakin’ Stevens
43 ( 41 ) MESSAGES Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
44 ( 37 ) SINCE I DON’T HAVE YOU Don McLean
45 ( 35 ) USE IT UP AND WEAR IT OUT Odyssey
46 ( 42 ) 747 (STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT) Saxon
47 ( 38 ) 9 TO 5 (MY BABY TAKES THE MORNING TRAIN) Sheena Easton
48 ( 47 ) CRYING Don McLean
49 ( 59 ) CAN’T STOP THE MUSIC The Village People
50 ( 39 ) FREE ME Roger Daltrey

51 ( NEW ) IF IT’S ALRIGHT WITH YOU BABY The Korgis
52 ( 27 ) WEDNESDAY WEEK The Undertones
53 ( NEW ) THE WHISPER The Selecter
54 ( 54 ) NO DOUBT ABOUT IT Hot Chocolate
55 ( 55 ) MONKEES EP (LAST TRAIN TO CLARKSVILLE/ I’M A BELIEVER/ A LITTLE BIT ME A LITTLE BIT YOU/ DAYDREAM BELIEVER) The Monkees
56 ( 49 ) JUMP TO THE BEAT Stacey Lattisaw
57 ( 58 ) LATE IN THE EVENING Paul Simon
58 ( 45 ) THEME FROM INVADERS Yellow Magic Orchestra
59 ( NEW ) BEST FRIEND The Beat
60 ( 51 ) RUNNING FROM PARADISE Daryl Hall & John Oates

61 ( 61 ) DON’T BRING ME DOWN E.L.O.
62 ( 62 ) GET IT RIGHT NEXT TIME Gerry Rafferty
63 ( 43 ) NEON KNIGHTS Black Sabbath
64 ( 57 ) LET’S HANG ON Darts
65 ( NEW ) SOUND OF CONFUSION Secret Affair
66 ( 48 ) JUST LIKE EDDIE Silicon Teens
67 ( 66 ) BED’S TOO BIG WITHOUT YOU (6 PACK) The Police
68 ( 63 ) CHRISTINE Siouxsie And The Banshees
69 ( 64 ) BACK TOGETHER AGAIN Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway
70 ( 56 ) EMOTIONAL RESCUE The Rolling Stones

71 ( 60 ) LOVE WILL TEAR US APART Joy Division
72 ( 53 ) SUMMER IN THE CITY Ray Gomez
73 ( 68 ) SOLDIER’S SONG The Hollies
74 ( NEW ) CIRCUS GAMES The Skids
75 ( NEW ) BIKO Peter Gabriel

TV 16th-22nd Aug

1 Star Trek: Return To Tomorrow
2 The Martian Chronicles
3 Top Of The Pops
4 Laverne & Shirley
5 The Awakening Land
6 Rhoda
7 Doctor Who (Tues)
8 The New Avengers
9 Taxi
10 Kelly Monteith
11 The Time Of Their Lives
12 The Outer Limits
13 WKRP In Cincinatti
14 Ray Bradbury Profile
15 Doctor Who (Mon)

On TV, The Martian Chronicles and Star Trek kept my sci-fi fixes going, while the writer of the brilliant sci-fi book of connected short stories The Martian Chronicles (or The Silver Locusts as I knew it), the poetic, dark, inventive, wistful and admirable Ray Bradbury gets a TV profile. There’s a great Top Of The Pops episode, and I’m into TV sitcom cheese as Laverne & Shirley get my chuckles.

Top 100 fave Movies Of All-Time: Part 2: Top 50

Image

Popcorn transfers 1970 Singapore…

 

50. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)

I had to have a classic Trek movie in the Top 50, and this is the most entertaining of the series. Leonard “Spock” Nimoy directs and it’s a wonderful fan friendly, wide-appealing fun movie. It has a socially-motivated film (Save The Whales cos it’ll save the planet) and no real baddie, just a threat. This allowed the cast to have fun, and they gave it a good ol’ go, amusing dialogue and scenes, and room for lots of laughs at the expense of the 1980’s (where they had been sent to gather up now-extinct humpbacks). The screen play was a Nimoy-insisted rewrite, by Star Trek II screenwriter (Wrath Of Khan being the best of the Trek’s to that date) Nick Meyer, and it all worked beautifully, by far the biggest box-office of the Trek movies after the relative yawnfest of the first one. Lots of Trek cameos from the original cast, and all the regulars on board and each getting their moment. I love ’em all, and I’ve sadly only ever caught Nichelle Nichols and George Takei at Trek conventions, but I have to state: up to 1986 Star Trek the TV series was my number one show of all time. These days it’s Star Trek: Deep Space 9, and Brock Peters from that show is in this film so it’s beautifully circular. A fun movie.

49. Toy Story 2 (1999)

Destined (like many part 2’s of trilogies) to be the filling in between the structures, but I actually love this one too. Pixar is always good, this is a great film, full of charm, action and like many older blockbuster movie comedies, chock-a-block with great character actors (albeit voice-only). The plot: Woody gets stolen by perennial tubby villain the fab Wayne Knight (of Third Rock and Seinfeld fame) to complete a collector’s set, and Buzz and the gang save him. New characters pop in, including the fabulously ruthless Kelsey Grammar (Frasier, Cheers, not to mention Sideshow Bob and a Star Trek captain) and Jonathan Harris (Dr Smith of Lost In Space “oh the pain the pain” fame). Pixar make movies for all ages, the old-fashioned way, but cool and modern with it. Fabulous.

48. The Naked Gun: From The Files Of Police Squad (1988)

Daft, slapstick, corny, filled with visual gags and one-liners and a fabulous follow-up to the wonderful (and tragically short-lived) TV series Police Squad, this was a welcome bit of cinema fun, and the spiritual sequel to the Airplane movies. That’ll be the Zuckers & Jim Abrahams then! The TV show played with the format a lot, and lead Leslie Nielsen was a treasure as the straight-faced bungling cop. He’s shown what he could do with comedy in Airplane and this movie gave him a whole new career late in life as a comic actor, better reflecting his light-hearted real-life character than po-faced straight men. The supporting cast is great too, Priscilla Presley post-Dallas happy to debunk her image, the reliable George Kennedy, the brilliant Ricardo “Khan!” Montalban, and Nancy Marchand. They even bung the Queen in there. The 2 sequels were much the same, but just a bit less good, but it’s the one-liners that are the genius. I can’t resist a good one-liner:

“I promise you – whatever scum did this, not one man on this force will rest one minute until he’s behind bars. Now, let’s grab a bite to eat.”

47. Red (2010)

As a comic book fan, I’d somehow missed this comic book, but no matter, I LOVED the 2 films, the second one, frankly, is just as good but not quite as fresh as the first gemtastic senior-actor ensemble comic-action spy thriller. Violent (in a comic fashion), ruthless, funny, amusing, endearing, both the script and cast carry it off beautifully. Bruce Willis could feature in so many movies (but almost all of them have just missed the Top 100) he’s been so consistently good since leaving the brilliant and banter-ful Moonlighting TV series, so it’s great that he joined the quirky and fab John Malkovich, the unexpectedly wonderful Helen Mirren as a hitman spy, and Morgan Freeman who’s in everything over the last 10 years, uniformly playing himself and uniformly marvellous everytime, goodie, baddie, President or God. Karl Urban is a great goodie-baddie, following on from Dr McCoy in the JJ Abrams Star Trek’s, and the plotting is great fun, the film is great fun, and seeing a veteran cast having a ball is infectious great fun. Fab!

46. The Iron Giant (1999)

A Brad Bird animated movie version of Ted Hughes story, and a box office flop. Sometimes the world is mad. This movie is brilliant, one of the greatest animated features ever made, and has since won critical acclaim, I loved it from day one. I loved the style, classy and very fifties, the widescreen beauty. I loved the characters and cast: Vin Diesel, Jennifer Aniston and Harry Connick Jnr were never better in a movie (well, in Aniston’s case not until We’re The Millers, which is a comedy destined to feature in my top 100 revisited in a few years, cos it’s fab). I loved the 50’s Cold War theme, the sci-fi elements, the heartwarming story of love between a boy and giant robot, and a beatnik and the boy’s mom. The military are pigheaded, and love conquers all, not war. Probably the last classic family film of the 20th century, but Brad Bird went on the almost-as-good Pixar The Incredibles, having served on The Simpsons during it’s classic period. Pretty damn good credentials.

45. Carry On Up The Khyber (1968)

How can I rate a piece of British innuendo-laden, pun-tastic, bad-gag-fest 60’s period-piece ahead of a classic animated feature…err because! This is the greatest of the Carry-On’s, a self-mickeying irreverent take on the days of the British Empire and their self-important-England-rules-the-world attitude. That’s not the primary aim, of course, but it doesn’t hurt to see us portray ourselves (or rather the British upper classes) as mad as a hatter, having afternoon tiffin while being bombed by the “natives”. The cast is perfect, the caricatures (as opposed to characters) brilliant, the one-liners hilarious. Utterly non-PC these days, but to be fair, the citizens of the Empire aren’t shown in a bad light, though they are played by the regulars, very much a no-no these days. Who’s brilliant? Kenneth Williams and Sid James sparring, Joan Sims letching, Peter Butterworth’s Brother Belcher nervy and seeing everyone as mad as they are. With character names like Private Ginger Hale, lines like “Fakir Off!” (after a Fakir has performed badly), and just general good-natured having-a-laughness, it’s a film I never tire of re-watching. Low-brow, yes, fun, definitely.

44. Kung Fu Panda (2008)

Dreamworks’ Jack Black-starring vehicle, and Far-Eastern-appealing, animated comedy-adventure of a heroic Panda, is funny and charming. The China setting appeals to me, reminding me of my boyhood in Singapore when Chinese fables and adventures were often on TV, animated or live-action. The cast is great: Jack Black never better, Dustin Hoffman never more likeable, Jackie Chan, Angelina Jolie, Lucy Liu, Seth Rogen, Ian McShane all animals of different types, heroes vs villain (McShane of course). Master Ping is my fave, though, Po’s dad (a duck, played by the fab James Hong, a staple of movies like Blade Runner and many a TV show of the 70’s onwards), the scenes between Po and his dad are the funniest and also the most touching. The sequel was also a great movie, and in both I love the martial arts setting, the journey to becoming a hero against the odds plots, and the fabulously beautiful animation, the style is deliberately inspired by Chinese artworks and looks just gorgeous throughout. A modern classic.

43. Calamity Jane (1953)

Doris Day: Secret Love. Just Blew In From The Windy City. The Black Hills Of Dakota. The Deadwood Stage (Whip Crack A Way). Fabulous songs, performed marvellously reason enough to love this film? No? How about Doris Day never better, all Tomboy-ish, but still charming. She has the mannerisms, the attitude and secretly is still a little girlie waiting for a man. Well, that bit’s less believable, but hey ho. A great cast, heartwarming, Howard Keel is a perfect antagonist-cum-lover, and certainly much livelier than Clayton Farlow in Dallas! Secret Love was a huge number one, spine-tingling still in the movie, but The Black Hills Of Dakota is just as affecting. Calamity jane was a real-life figure, though I doubt much of this has anything to do with historical accuracy, but it doesn’t matter, it’s all about the comedy, really, and especially Doris Day the movie personality. Her best film by far, and 60 years on it was great to have another album from her.

42. Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981)

Stephen Spielberg, George Lucas, Harrison Ford. A triumvirate that could no wrong for me, Spielberg is still my fave Director, and George Lucas is best as an ideas man. This nazi-chasing, Ark Of The Covenant-chasing, fantasy set in 1936 has the bonus of being filmed in the UK, and making use of some familiar UK TV character actors, the advantage of Spielberg’s stylish approach to resurrecting old-time serial adventures, and the supreme advantage of Harrison Ford as the lead. Star Wars made him big, but this made him a Star, the leading action man hero of the 80’s and beyond. Always cool, manly, cynical, wise-cracking, and yet loveable, I’m a bit of a fan of his films and the attitude-free man who sort of became embarrassed to be a superstar. It’s a great action romp (my fave word) and did for the family action movie what Star Wars did for sci-fi: made it fun again! Karen Allen is also great in this, and it was good to have her back in the most recent of the sequels, but all of them are at least great fun, and sometimes very great fun. The original is the best though….

41. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999)

Another sequel not a million miles away from the oriiginal, but Mike Myers was getting into his stride and there some obvious new bonuses and plot threads to make up for the familiarity of some characters. Plot? Austin is sent back in time to the 60’s, a major plus for me as it’s all childhood nostalgia through rose-tinted whimsical spectacles (and false British teeth). Rob Lowe does a great Robert Wagner impression, as the younger version of Number Two, and Verne Troyer as Mini-me is naughty and funny. Heather Graham is a good new romantic lead, and the guest spots fabulous, what’s not to like about Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello, Woody Harrelson, and of course Clint Howard in yet another cameo. It’s all very silly, the Madonna theme tune (Beautiful Stranger) is one of her best singles and heads a pot pourri of great music (such as REM’s version of Tommy james Draggin’ The LIne), and Will Ferrell as Mustafa is still funny, Frau Barbissina, Scott Evil, Dr Evil are all still fabulous. Groovy Baby, Bondtastic.

40. Airplane! (1980)

From one daft comedy to another. This time it’s the disaster movie cliches that are the main target, but it’s pops into other recent movie and cultural mild-knocking. It’s all very good-natured, and The Zucker’s and Abraham introduce the double whammy of verbal gags and visual gags in the background to actors playing it straight to the camera. A large cast of established actors add to the delight, but newcomers Robert Hays and Julie Hagerty are also great. This was the movie that let Leslie Nielsen show his comic side (“and don’t call me Shirley”), Mission: Impossible’s Peter Graves airplane Captain take an unusual line of questioning to a little boy, Ethel Merman as a psychiatric patient who thinks he’s Ethel Merman, James Hong popping up again in my list as a Japanese General, and other assorted very non-PC one-liners and caricatures. It’s never mean-spirited though, so it carries well. If anything I’ve seen the film too often for it to have the same affect on me it used to, but there are so many hilarious moments (topped by the singing nun Airport 1975 piss-take – maureen McGovern of Poseidon Adventure theme tune fame – repeatedly knocking out the life-support drip to the child she’s singing to) that this and the space-based identikit sequel continue to give joy.

39. The Fugitive (1993)

Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones, a great thriller remake of a favourite David Janssen 1960’s TV series of mine, how could it fail? It didn’t, phew! Ford & Jones are great combatants even though the scenes together are minimal, and the plotting is tight, the script punchy and involving, the set piece action sequences thrilling. In short, one of my all-time fave thrillers with two of my all-time fave leading men at their best. The basic plot: Dr Richard Kimble is framed for the murder of his wife, but escapes and searches for the truth (the one-armed man, essentially, played by the great Andreas Katsulas, soon to be the best thing in Babylon 5) while evading justice. That’s the whole series condensed into one movie, but the pacing is perfect, regardless. Tommy Lee won a best-supporting actor Oscar, quite deservedly, Jane Lynch puts in a showing almost 20-years ahead of her Glee-tastic bitchy award-winning Sue Sylvester, and the film was deservedly nominated for Best Picture. Should have won, too.
38. Cat Ballou (1965)

One of the great westerns, incidentally a comedy/drama, and Jane Fonda’s most endearing (title) role at a time when she was also stunningly beautiful and yet to be American public political enemy number one. The real star, of course, is oscar-winning double-roled Lee Marvin, capable of switching from menace to side-splittingly funny wisecracks or visual gags. It’s not all about him, though, Fonda is great, and the young cast-members match her, headed by TV favourite Dwayne Hickman (clean-cut Dobie Gillis, here a likeable rogue). Throw in the Greek-chorus duet singing of the cancer-stricken great Nat King Cole and Stubby Kaye throughout the film, and it’s a very re-watchable treat. Reviews were apparently mixed at the time, according to Wikipedia, but I only ever remember word-of-mouth love for the film, and it did Top 10 box office. It’s recently been voted 10th best western by the AFI, and referenced by hot-actor of the moment Bryan Cranston as the film in his life that had the most impact. It was a childhood fave to me too. So “critics miss the point” shocker headlines, eh, who would have thought it….

37. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Spielberg’s follow-up, spiritually, to Close Encounters was a money-making sensation for such a small-budget kids movie, essentially. As always, plenty of people love to brag that they don’t fall for hype and have never seen the film, as if it’s something to be proud of. I call them “people with no imagination and no sense of wonder” co it’s a treasure of a film. There’s enough hard-times/cynicism/laughs in the film to avoid over-sentimentality, but at it’s heartlight it’s a film about love and survival against the odds. There are no baddies, only threat that isn’t what it seems, no-one gets killed, the directing and cinematography is stunning, an extension of Spielberg’s previous David Lean-ist movie style, and should have got him Best Picture, Director and Cinematography at the Oscars, as generously suggested, more or less, by winner Richard Attenborough. Child-star Drew Barrymore was amusing, and a future force in movies, but really it’s a cast of unknowns portraying the Family, and doing it well, especially Elliot (Henry Thomas) and of course ET. The John Williams soundtrack is gorgeous, the now-famous classic scenes in the film retain their charm, and all-in-all it’s just wonderful to re-live on a semi-regular basis, preferably after hopping on Universal Studios ET Ride for a boost to get in the mood. The film, of course, is destined to charm new generations of kids and kids-at-heart in a good way….Hooray!

36. Young Frankenstein (1974)

A Mel Brooks/ Gene Wilder script and movie, a loving parody of 30’s horror movies, complete with black and white cinematography and editing to match the target. It uses the cliches of horror to affectionate affect, the script is witty and packed with great lines, and the cast is top-notch. Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder were at the top of their games in this, hot off the back of Blazing Saddles, whatever they did afterwards might have been amusing, but it wasn’t quite as classic as this one. The cast? Oh, that cast! Gene Wilder is perfect as Dr. “FRONKensteen” trying to live down his ancestor’s mad inventions, Marty Feldman transferred from UK TV comic to memorable movie comedian and seemed to be having a ball, and the brilliant and under-rated Madeline Kahn shows herself to be one the great women film comic actors of all-time, her delivery is always spot-on. But there’s more! Terri Garr, of Star Trek, Close Encounters, Tootsie fame, shows she can do broad comedy too, I’d been a big fan of hers since coming across her Shirley Maclaine-esque role in Star Trek, and was very happy to sit in the audience of a 90’s TV pilot show with Burt Reynolds (a movie quiz) after she’d suffered a stroke and en-route to being Phoebe’s mom on Friends. Cloris Leachman, the fabulously bitchy Phyllis of Mary Tyler Moore Show and psycho-grandma from Malcolm In The Middle, has worked consistently brilliantly in character roles over the decades, this one might even be her best (Frau Blucher! – cue horses whinneying). Peter Boyle as the Monster is also great, and he went on to late-life fame and success on TV, his best role was in the X Files and this one though. Then there’s Kenneth Mars, a Mel Brooks regular, also of Malcolm In The Middle, and a great cameo from Gene Hackman, and the musical number (Puttig Ong De Ritzz) and townspeople burning frenzy, Wilder’s wide-eyed on-the-edge calmness, and just so many quotable lines. Fab. U. Lous.

35. Toy Story (1995)

The first entirely computer-animated movie, and the birth of Pixar as movie-makers. It’s also a return to mega-success family friendly, but contemporary, animated films that appeal to adults as much as kids, thanks to the great scripts, characters and cast. How about a list of great things? Randy Newman’s songs. Tom Hanks as Woody, he’s pure Mr Everyman and Mr Nice, even when he’s being envious and selfish. Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen’s first incarnation as spaceman) in tribute to the great Buzz Aldrin. Cowboys vs Spacemen, the two great kids genres of the 20th century, as a fantasy adventure, the other great genre, as the toys have a life of their own when humans aren’t around. Joss Whedon honing the script and adding Rex (Wallace “Grand Negus DS9” Shawn). Cheers’ John Ratzenberger (natch, it’s a Pixar film!), Don Rickles veteran comedian as Mr Potato Head. A great cast of characters/toys. Toy story wasn’t the first of the Toy Story’s I saw (that was 2, which in some ways is funnier), but it’s still a great entertaining film, and gets bonus points for being influential and ground-breaking.

34. Jurassic Park (1993)

Stephen Spielberg. CGI dinosaurs bringing the extinct big reptiles to life in a way that stop-motion movies never quite could, Ray Harryhausen apart, now that science had uncovered so much more about them. It’s very Spielberg-ian as films go, a cast of kids and adults, drama, excitement, human folly, beautifully shot and directed, great John Williams music, and a great cast: Richard Attenborough in his last real memorable acting role, Sam Neil and Laura Dern great leads, Jeff Goldblum being Mr Cynical, as always, Wayne Knight in my list again (Seinfeld/Third Rock From The Sun) as the baddie, and Samuel L Jackson popping up for the first time in a great big-budget movie. Of course no blockbuster is complete without him in the 21st Century (he claims his list of movies have made more money than any body of work by any other actor – and I’m sure he’s right!). There are so many great scenes in the film, the appearance of the T.Rex trapped in cars in the rain, the toilet block, the hunting packs of velociraptors (artistic licence here I think!) and the climactic ending. Florida’s brilliant theme park Islands Of Adventure (Universal Studios) is the best in the world, for me, not hurt by having a whole section devoted to Jurassic Park themes, wet dinosaur rides, and an interactive/dining centre designed to look like the Jurassic Park centre and loads to do for kids, with the theme music constantly chiming out as a backdrop amongst the sprays of cooling mists and foliage. The film is iconic and for a while was top money-maker of all-time. Spielberg at his commercial best, and significantly better than either of the sequels. Hopefully the 4th will be great again…

33. Alien (1979)

Ridley Scott’s tense, brilliant sci-fi horror movie. Design-wise it’s stunning (H.R.Giger’s alien and sets are beautifully frightening), and the Direction is genius, setting and building the tenseness and the horror cliche of victims being picked off one-by-one was never better than in Alien. Done to perfection, and genuinely shocking when it came out. Sigourney Weaver was a revelation in this, a tough, no-nonsense leading “man” role who happened to be a woman (the script had been written for a man), which set her up for a whole career as a goddess of sci-fi. The cast is uniformly brilliant, John Hurt and his chest-burster scene, Veronica Cartwright’s nervousness (later of X Files, earlier of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers), Tom Skerritt’s shock leading-man early departure, Harry Dean Stanton’s “here kitty kitty”, Yaphet Kotto’s lashing out, and Ian Holm’s emotionless android. Not to mention the ultimate cunning monster to beat all monsters, the semi-indestructible and adaptable alien itself. The grim n gritty vision of the mining spaceships was a million miles from glossy Star Trek, but Jerry Goldsmith’s score was the equal of the movie, and Dan O’Bannon’s script. The sequels were variable (see Aliens lower down the list, but none of the others came close), but the memory lingers. In 1979 one of my all-time fave films, I know it too well to watch as often these days, but the recent Ridley Scott prequel Prometheus improves on repeat viewing and may well join the 100 at some stage…

32. The Sound Of Music (1965)

Robert Wise may not have Star Trek The Motion Picture in the list (even though it would have rated higher than this for many years) but the childhood monster musical has legs. The reason it became the biggest musical of all-time (and biggest money-making film for a decade) was because it was so bloody brilliant. Julie Andrews was taken for granted at the time, she was such a huge star, the album topped the charts on and off for years, and songs from the film (and clips on TV) were still going strong well into the 70’s. And what songs, a mix of the catchy and family-friendly (The Lonely Goatherd, Do Re Me – we sang it at school – My Favourite Things) and the dramatic (the spine-tingling Climb Every Mountain as sung by Margery McKay (not Peggy Wood) Edelweiss, as sung by Bill Lee (not Christopher Plummer) and The Sound Of Music (as sung by Julie Andrews, thankfully!). It’s not just the songs though, nor the great dance routines, nor even the great cast – well so many sci-fi links to me! – it’s the script, it’s a proper musical with drama, threat (Nazis and fleeing) and ultimately a love story as the governess marries the Captain. Julie Andrews and icy Christopher Plummer are great. Sci-fi link 1: Star Trek IV movie Klingon = Plummer. The kids are cute: sci fi links: Nicholas Hammond was TV’s Spiderman; Heather Menzies was TV’s Jessica 6 in Logan’s Run; Angela Cartwright was Penny Robinson in Lost In Space (and just pips older sister Veronica in Alien!); Marni Nixon doesn’t have a sci fi connection (she’s a nun here) but her singing was prominent in many musicals dubbed over actors, most famously Natalie Wood in the other great dramatic musical 60’s Robert Wise film, West Side Story. End of the day, though, it’s a feel-good movie, timeless, a bonafide classic and anyone who dismisses it on grounds of “saccharin Julie Andrews wholesomeness”, which it was bombarded with for decades, is missing the point. Just give in and enjoy!

31. Notting Hill (1999)

Highest-rated traditional Rom-com on the list is this one, Richard Curtis’ follow-up to the hugely successful Four Weddings And A Funeral. That’s not to ignore everyone else’s contribution, but it’s all about the script with Richard Curtis TV and movies, and after Blackadder (my own fave Curtis co-scripts) this is far and away my favourite. Hugh Grant is at his most bumbling and charming, Julia Roberts was never more sensitive and likeable, and the supporting cast of British actors is great:
Rhys Ifans comical, Tim “Blackadder’s Percy” McInnerny and other TV Curtis or Ben Elton regulars all great support. It’s had it’s critics (twee middle-class Brit view of the world that isn’t based in reality) but it’s charm over-rides quibbles, and the plot is joyous: famous beautiful actress finds true love with a bookish nerd. Oh please that’s bound to appeal to every bookish nerd. Hello! Nerd here! It’s amusing, clever dialogue, whimsical largely-bitterness-free attitude, and tear-jerking (with happiness) finale is a guaranteed rainy-day-feeling-low boost for me. Its’ optimism and good-will is infectious, and it’s appeal grows with the years. Terrific.

and so to the top 30 fave movies of all-time, starting with a bang:

30. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

It’s James Cameron again, back with yet another sequel that’s bigger than the original – this time an action-packed, time-twisting, apocalyptic, relentlessly pursuing robot-with-a-twist thriller. Arnie said he’d be back…and here he is, this time as the protector of John Connor, future saviour of the human race in the battle against machines. Turning Schwarzenegger into a heroic figure was a stroke of genius, and it suited his acting ability brilliantly, he’s very, very likeable in a ruthlessly macho way. Linda Hamilton is also back, as Sarah Connor, John’s mother, trying to warn of the forthcoming catastrophe and locked up in a mental institution, now tough and utterly single-minded in her mission to look after her son. Still working in sci-fi (great in “Chuck” TV series) Hamilton’s performance is sooo different from the cowering character of the first film. That’s a good thing! Robert Patrick, later of the final X Files seasons, also a revelation here, as a morphing ruthless shapeshifter sent from the future to kill John Connor. CGI state of the art at the time, some of the scenes, like the car chase have since been parodied beautifully by the likes of The Simpsons. There are several different edits of the movie, all are great, and there’s also the little matter of Terminator 2: 3D: Battle Across Time, a mini movie sequel featuring Arnie and Edward Furlong, Linda Hamilton and Robert Patrick, which has been showing at Universal Studios florida for 18 years, to millions of visitors each year. Now that’s what I call an exciting movie (shame about the sequels).

29. Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977)

The follow-up to blockbuster Jaws, which shocked and startled and became instantly iconic, Steven Spielberg opted for a very different film, and which jointly (with Star Wars) turned around an ailing film industry, sci-fi suddenly meant cash not box-office poison. Special Effects were now advanced enough for aliens and spaceships to look convincing, not laughable, and Spielberg put forward an alternate viewpoint that advanced species would be intent on destroying humanity. There was something magical about the philosophy to me, and the small-town suburban America, and the cast: Richard Dreyfuss was great as the mysteriously-obsessed Roy Neary (he’d talked Spielberg into giving him the role over superstar actors, who frankly wouldn’t have had the right liberal intellectual hippie mood), Francois Truffaut was a bonus, and Terri Garr was terrific as always. The special effects and cinematography, though, were as much the real stars of the film as anything: I had posters on the wall of that breath-taking moment when the giant spaceship dwarfs Wyoming’s Devil Tower, and so many scenes in the movie are magical, the little boy standing shadowed in bright light, the mix of John Williams brilliant theme music with the spaceship communication, and the many false starts and jumps leading up to the climax. For many years it was my all-time fave film, from early 1978 well into the 80’s, and I bought all the booklets, photonovels and eventually DVD’s of the various released versions (Spielberg felt the original needed extra scenes and editing, especially as ILM took off – see George Lucas!). I can see now I was dazzled a bit by the pretty lights a bit, or else I just watched it too often, I know it by heart almost – it’s still the film I’ve paid to see most times at the cinema – but it’s not one I put on as regularly these days. I still love it though, and it kick-started my Spielberg-worship. I “heart” it, smiley face, in short

28. Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl (2003)

Jerry Bruckheimer reinvented the mega-Disney family movie with this series of films. Pirates had been decidedly out-of-fashion since Disney’s Blackbeard’s Ghost delighted kids of the 60’s, but decades of kids and grown-ups had been on the theme ride at the various Disney parks so it wasn’t THAT much of a stretch really to imagine a film doing well. What sent it mega, though, was the update for the new century in attitude and CGI effects, and most of all Johnny Depp doing an impression of the Rolling Stones Keith Richard and playing it for laughs. He’d always done cult movies, especially for Tim Burton’s most interesting movies, but he’d not really gone comic. Turns out he was a natural. The first in the series is still the best (though all have their moments) and the cast is great – what’s not to like about Orlando Bloom, Geoffrey Rush, Keira Knightley, Mackenzie Crook, and Zoe Saldana and others swashbuckling, dashing, falling, swimming, getting captured by the undead, skeletons, and nods here and there to scenes on the Disney ride? It’s a lark, and most of all it’s Johnny Depp having a lark. Fantasy, of course, but pure fun.

 

27. What’s Up Doc? (1972)

A 1930’s pastiche tribute to screwball comedies from Peter Bogdanovich and a script co-written by Buck Henry, co-creator and co-writer of the wonderful Get Smart TV series with Mel Brooks. Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal are marvellous as the unpredictable force of destruction meeting the nerdy professor and causing chaos. Visual gags aplenty, many of them tributes and variations on cliched trusty or famous movie moments, and the characters and actors are delicious. Streisand was never more likeable, ditto O’Neal (so much so that a rematch was set up for them, but The Main Event didn’t have the same magic), and any film that introduces the fantastic Madeline Kahn on the world as the uptight fiancee has won me over already. Kenneth Mars is also, as ever, pompous and amusing, and Liam Dunn got a great late career out of his judge/father role, in Mel Brooks movies and many a TV show fave, for the next 4 years of his life. How big was the film in 1972? Just behind The Godfather and The Poseidon Adventure. Why? Cos they’re great! The Poseidon Adventure was my all-time fave film till Close Encounters, and this one has sort of overtaken them both as it’s still a feel-good film with a great witty script and a film for movie lovers looking for references. It’s also very very funny.

26. Donnie Darko (2001)

A low-budget marginally profitable fantasy drama that sort of owes it’s success to Drew Barrymore backing it (and being in it), it’s a bit of a stunner. Dramatic, haunting and macabre, it made a star of Jake Gyllenhaal (and sister Maggie who’s also in it), and gave Patrick Swayze a post-movie-idol meaty role. Part of the appeal of the film is the brilliant use of 80’s British indie poprock, most notably the awesome Echo & The Bunnymen track, “The Killing Moon” at the start of the movie, part is also down to the building cult following of the very dark and disturbing subject matter and imagery, and working out what is mysteriously going on. It’s a clever movie, tragic but also heroic, and Gyllenhaal is a sensation in the central role. He’s had a few great roles since, such as award winning Brokeback Mountain and the very good Source Code, but this remains my fave, one that grows with time. Just to show how much it grew, 3 years after release Mad World, a cover track featured in the film, topped the UK charts. I caught the buzz, bought the DVD and have never regretted taking a pop. Wonderful. The hardest thing to believe though is writer/director Richard Kelly having no subsequent success. Astonishing!

25. Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery (1997)

From the sublime to…the ridiculous? Ridiculously funny, anyway! Mike Myers has British Liverpudlian parents and his upbringing (despite being Canadian) is so obviously rooted in UK pop culture in this film, the love for James Bond, 60’s music and assorted sundry 60’s references is pure delight for anyone sharing them. That’ll be me then. It’s a Mike Myers film, script and most of the great characters from Austin Powers and Doctor Evil to the supporting cast of Carry On innuendo named characters like Alotta Fagina (I still laugh), Scott Evil (the fab Seth Green, and here Doctor Evil’s son with Frau Farbissina, Mindy Sterling doing a sterling job, arf), and Vanessa Kensington obviously based on Mrs Peel from the Avengers (Elizabeth Hurley in this case). Toss in Michael York, Robert Wagner, Rob Lowe, Christian Slater, Carrie Fisher and especially Will Ferrell as the not-quite-dead-yet Mustafa and hilarity ensues. I’m guessing if the references pass you by it may be a bit Whoosh-over-the-head, but Myers and co give it more than enough gusto to be funny anyway. Goodnatured, a large proportion ad-libbed, daft, engaging and knowing, the plot holds it all together enough to flow well without getting any dull bits on repeat viewing. Plot? Brit Superspy with teeth Austin is frozen and reawakened into the 90’s and a new world where he’s a bit anachronistic. Fortunately the world comes to see things his way. Quite rightly too, it’s a very lovable movie!

24. Finding Nemo (2003)

Talking of lovable. A clown fish. Pixar. Parental love. An adventure saga. Whacky aquatic fish characters. The Coral Reef. What’s not to love?! As always with Pixar, the real story is over-protective fathers (following mama Clown fish getting eaten along with all of their offspring bar one partly disabled son). An unfortunate side-effect is the raiding of reefs for the adorable fish after the movie became a huge success. Somehow the other message of the movie (capturing fish from the wild not a good thing) got lost on many selfish child-pandering moronic individuals. Anyhoo, it’s got Ellen DeGeneres as Dory, the fish with the literal short memory, and what a terrific creation she is, utterly utterly free from malice, non-judgmental, funny, and heart-on-sleeve warm-as-toast personality. OK so she can’t remember anything or anyone for long, a real-life trauma for millions and millions, but she has a heart of gold and love to give. The film would be much much less effective without her. Throw in some great supporting actor-fish/birds/whatever, from Barry “Dame Edna” Humphries, Geoffrey “Pirates of the Caribbean” Rush, and of course John Ratzenberger as a shoal of fish. The seagulls are hilarious: “mine”. “mine”. I declare several biases in favour of the film: I kept fresh-water tropical fish (bred not from the wild) from age 12 to ooh, 26 or so; One of the great experiences of my life is snorkeling around Australia’s reefs cos I love coral reefs (I was careful); the movie is gorgeous to look at, beautifully designed; the plot is wonderful (kudos to Andrew Stanton co-writer and Director); did I mention its just so lovable a film? It is.

23. Blazing Saddles (1974)

Mel Brooks first foray into movies (The Producers) is great, but this comedy western was a sensation, and is still critically revered (though as ever sniffed at by some supposed-high-brow critics of the time). I was the right age for the first movie fart gags in a hollywood movie, and the Very-1974 hip and cool dialogue superimposed on an 1874-set cowboy film cliches mickey-take was a blast, as we might have said at the time, man. The Richard Pryor script is hilarious, which comes as a relief as many of the gags would be considered no-no’s in these overly-politically-correct days, and let’s be clear, it was the first not-pro-white film comedy (the whitefolk are largely inbred idiots – the whole town is populated by hilariously named famous people all named Johnson – or villains). The black cast are the heroes, along with the Indians. Mel Brooks is brilliant here, the theme tune alone (sung by Frankie Laine) is genius Brooks, the timing is perfect, Gene Wilder memorable, Cleavon Little as Bart the first black sheriff is enaging, and the supporting cast are pure genius. I’ve waxed lyrical about them already, so here they are again: Madeline Kahn (Best Supporting Actress nominated) as a short-tongued teutonic Dietrich rip-off Lili Von Shtupp; Harvey Korman talking direct to the audience with great one-liners; Alex Karras as Mongo part-man part-monster; Slim Pickens as the ultra-redneck cowboy and his various cronies as dumb as dishwater; Don DeLuise as the film director in the musical sequence when the big fight finale spills-out into Warner Bros studios lots. So many great gags.

Waco Kid: [to Bart, after the old woman insults him] “What did you expect? ‘Welcome, sonny?’ “Make yourself at home?” ‘Marry my daughter?’ You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the New West. You know…morons.”

The final scenes show the actors watching themselves at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, still dressed in Blazing Saddles gear, then it all goes back to the film again. Manic, inventive, irreverent, brilliant. I mention the Chinese Theatre as 5 years later I sat in the same cinema theatre in real life watching a similarly manic, inventive, irreverent, brilliant British comedy (see Number 19, coming soon).
22. Shrek (2001)

Dreamworks Shrek franchise has been a delight. I’ve nominally nominated the original (well, it IS the best of the bunch, still) but they all have their individual charms. Mike Myers has popped up before in my list, so why not again, Shrek’s grumpy, antisocial anti-hero was a breath of fresh air in animated movies. They took the Disney fairytale characters and turned them on their head. Suddenly the ogre was the goodie and the Prince Charming’s, Fairy Godmother’s and the like the baddies. Mike Myers is perfect for the role, it’s impossible to see anyone else being able to do it so convincingly (even though Chris Farley had already recorded most of it before he died, Shrek would have been less cool and knowing if Myers hadn’t stepped in). Eddie Murphy is equally terrific as Donkey, after years being a bit irritating, suddenly Murphy was a bit endearing and very funny. Cameron Diaz also shows off her funny side, ready to give anything a go with the lads, and John Lithgow is just his brilliant Third Rock persona, vain and arrogant and very very funny. The Universal Studios 3D version is set just after the end of the movie, and the ghost of Lord Farquaad (Lithgow) is hilarious in it (along with the rest of the gang). A final treat also, with the voice of Kathleen Freeman in her last movie. Who? Oh just wikipedia her, she’s been in every single movie released between 1948 and 2001, the world’s premier battleaxe (and she’ll pop up again in my Top 20). Just a brief list of films and TV? Singin’ In The Rain, The Fly, Innerspace, Naked Gun 33 and a third, Blues Brothers, I Dream Of Jeannie, Married With Children and many many more. She never stopped working. Shrek, though, fab script, ad-libbed and re-written by Myers, great choice of oldies, Smashmouth’s version of I’m A Believer is fun, the plot is perfect and unusual, and the ending is the real twist: love yourself for who you are, not what people want you to be. Throw in (as so many of my fave films do) references to previous movies and characters and cliches, especially Disney, and it’s icing on the cake. Or Gingerbread Man, at least. Funneeee!

As we move into the 21 most favouritist (made up word) movies of all time, as viewed by me, I see Empire Magazine just HAD to steal my thunder and publish 303 of the readers “Greatest” movies of all-time. I take consolation that to fairly large extent, they’ve just taken my list and shuffled them about a bit, bunged in some Tarantino and a few other darker movies and then gone and ruined the whole credibility of the list by having the Lord Of The Rings movies way high. How high? Way! No way? Way! I remain mystified by their charm, and I’ve sat through them all. This is my train of thought condensing those hours into a few lines…

Hmm good cast. Nice effects, cinema really has come a long way. Lovely landscapes. Love to go to New Zealand one day. Bit slow though.

Hmm not that keen on the characters actually, don’t they go on a bit without saying anything remotely interesting, all pomp and bluster! I’m sure it’ll pick up in the action sequences. Sometime soon. Anytime now. Still dull.

Oh god this dull. Is it nearly finished yet? You’re kidding? Half-way! Oh god this is tedious. I hate them all. Boooooring. So wooden. No personality. I wish they’d all die!

Oh. My. God. I’m going to explode with boredom. Help Me!!! Please!!! Oh kill me now!!! Is it never going to end. Please End!!! Give me a rifle I hate the world!!!!!

That was just the first film:) I’m sure they’ll grown on me one day.

Just missing the Top 20?

21. The Truman Show (1998)

The film that stopped me hating Jim Carrey. Quite an achievement, and to be fair, he gives a great performance in the title role. It’s a unique film, fantasy social-commentary, amusing, dramatic, involving and stylishly clever, with edits and camera angles all brilliantly taking the michael of TV in particular, adverts, reality TV and the dubious morality of those in control of it. Ed Harris, as ever, is great as the manipulative Christoff, and the supporting cast of unknowns (to me) were just perfect, especially Truman’s histrionic “wife” Laura Linney. Oh, plus Harry “Simpsons” Shearer in a cameo. I love the 50‘s look of the film, and Truman’s gradual awareness of how he seems to be the centre of the universe (he is) is engrossing and delicious. There’s no fat in the film, it’s exactly as long as it needs to be, taut, perfectly-formed and self-contained in it’s own little world. Just like a great TV show. There are no other Carrey films on my list, but he’s grown on me over the years since Truman Show with movies like Yes Man, Bruce Almighty and Kick Ass 2, and he’s a bloody good interviewee and a bit of a hero these days. The film was highly regarded on release and nominated for Oscars, but won none, which is shame, at the least the screenplay (Andrew Niccol) and Director (Peter Weir) should have won. I say that knowing my fave Director (Spielberg) got the Oscar for Director that year, and Shakespeare In Love best script. Saw them both, preferred Truman Show to both.

Next up…Top 20!!!

 

20. Planet Of The Apes (1968)

The debut of a film TV and comics franchise that’s still going strong, but the original is still far and away the best. Charlton Heston giving the role of his life, as astronaut crash survivor Taylor and reinventing himself as a cynical hero for modern (and frequently future) times, as opposed to a biblical hero for olden times. His other films don’t quite make the list, though there is a biblical “epic” coming up next. Of sorts. The recent movies use CGI rather than men in ape masks, but they lack the depth of character and appeal of Roddy McDowell, Kim Hunter and Maurice Evans as Cornelius, Zira and Dr Zaius, and the social commentary on their society and the shock ending where it turns out to be not a Planet of Apes, but a future Earth devastated by mankind. Heston is majestic throughout, but it’s that final scene of the Statue Of Liberty in the sand that is iconic. You know you’ve made it when you become iconic and parodied, and Maurice Evans brilliant performance as the main antagonist even had a song dedicated to him (to the tune of Rock Me Amadeus) inThe Simpsons. Prosthetic make-up was advanced seriously by this film, and the script (by the brilliant Twilight Zone genius Rod Serling) notches up the drama and surprises despite rewrites (his TV scripts needed no rewrites). Budgets got cheaper and scripts less good with later sequels, until the reboots by Tim Burton and the 2011 second reboot boosted budgets, cast and effects, but failed to capture the magic of the original. The film made me a fan of all the cast, except oddly enough Charlton Heston who absolutely dominates the film. A movie classic. The second highest-positioned film of the 60’s.
19. The Life Of Brian (1979)

One of the most controversial films of all-time, as religious groups gathered to get it banned from cinemas across the lands. It’s not surprising really, not because it’s mocking Christianity (Jesus is never mocked) but because it mocks fanatics, be they religious, political or stereotypical. Beatle George Harrison rescued the film financially (and cameos along with Marty Feldman and Spike Milligan), and I saw the film the week it opened in the most unlikely place you could imagine to see a typically British, madcap, shouty, irreverent comedy: Hollywood’s Chinese Theatre, the one with the megastar signatures and handprints in the sidewalk. A student of 21 and having the adventure of a lifetime, but I certainly never saw that one coming. My two Christian friends (of the 5 of us) also saw the film and weren’t offended, it’s too intent on a being a group of comics having a laugh for the accuracy of the material’s targets to have venom behind it. The script cleverly lampoons how quick to follow, and how obtuse to reality, people can be. It’s not a proper film, really, as it’s the same Python team of 6 in multiple ridiculous (and politically incorrect) caricatures (and controlling everything in the film), it’s not remotely heartwarming, though the Bassey-esque theme song and Eric Idles anthemic Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life are needed to lighten the ending a bit. Plenty of gags, and the most rounded of the Python movies, it’s probably one to split opinion – Python were a cult 70’s TV show, but they had a very large male bias in appeal, women and girls not so fussed, and the abstract and bizarre nature of much of the material left many blinking rather than laughing. Me, anyone that can imagine John Cleese dressed as a woman selling ice-creams at the cinema, but with a giant albatross in the tray (shouting “albatross! albatross!”) is going to have me in stitches. To be honest this is not as good a film as the 20 or 30 below, but, hey I saw it in Hollywood and it’s Python! Best bit: the crowd shouting “Yes, I’m an individual” in unison. Oh, and another reason to push it into the top 20: my motto is, if a film’s got aliens and spaceships it gets extra points. This biblical epic has them in it (taking the piss out of Star Wars) and confirms it’s a good motto….

18. Support Your Local Sheriff! (1969)

A comedy western towards the tail-end of the era of the mega-popular cowboy movies, but a warm-hearted, slightly cynical, adorable anti-hero type of western. The hero of this film (James Garner) is very much based on his TV western series Maverick persona – gambler, cowardly, selfish, blunt but so, so charming. He’s also a bit OCD when it comes to disorder and unregulated baddies who think they can do as they like by using fear and the gun. He prefers brains and deceit. James Garner, as I’ve said before, is one of my fave movie stars, he can have any number of bad characteristics to his screen personas and still make them charming and likable. It worked so well here that they did a quick copycat Support Your Local Gunfighter! follow-up, which was nearly as good, and then a couple of years later came the eternal Jim Rockford on the Rockford Files, the best TV detective of all-time. What makes Sheriff! genius though is the supporting cast of familiar movie faces, like the wonderful Jack Elam as his Deputy (previously town drunk), Harry Morgan of MASH & Dragnet TV fame, the fab Joan Hackett as the tomboy love interest, Bruce Dern as baddie spoilt-son, and Walter Brennan, veteran of westerns for 30 years, as the head of the clan battling against law and order. Bung in Kathleen Freeman (again) and it’s my favourite 100% western and my highest-placed film from the 60’s. You won’t find it in many All-Time lists, but it’s good-natured amusing cynicism and playful messing with western cliches just ticks all the right boxes for me. Did I mention James Garner is in it?

17. The Mummy (1999)

Fond memories of seeing this in a fab International Drive, Orlando, Florida multiplex the week of release, and of bits and bobs from the movie being on display at Universal Studios to promote the movie, might have pushed it further up my list. But not that much further up, it’s still a great adventure romp in the old-fashioned sense, swashbuckling, horror, fantasy, bickering hero and spunky heroine, and Brits in the cast to give a touch of class. The CGI is amazing, the cast impeccable, the dialogue snappy and tight, the characterisation spot-on, and Brendan Fraser in the lead was just perfect. Written and Directed by Stephen Sommers, it’s technically a remake, but is actually more a modern re-imagining. Rachel Weisz and John Hannah are great as heroine and sidekick (brother), Arnold Vosloo is perfectly cast as Imhotep/The Mummy, a striking and memorable villain, and Patricia Velasquez a great baddie-ess (a short role, but much more from her in the sequel). Oded Fehr is great, Bernard Fox is great (Welsh actor of many an American TV and film playing stiff-upper-lip Brits types in Titanic, Bewitched, Monkees, MASH and many more), and Omid Djalili takes a break from stand-up comedy and goes all character actor comedy. The various swarms of scarab beetles, sandstorms, life-sucking mummies and more are terrific fun, and the film cracks along at a great pace. Fraser and Weisz are great together too. Love it.

16. Return Of The Jedi (1983)

The 3rd and least of the original Star wars trilogy, it has one main flaw: Ewoks. Cute cuddly diminutive warrior aliens were more to do with merchandise than drama. An edit without would produce a much better and more dramatic, darker finale. The recent CGI additions don’t make a great deal of difference to the original, so I’ll just stick with ratings for all the Star Wars films as the original versions. In a way, Return is Part 2 of The Empire Strikes Back and the cliffhanger that finished on (Han frozen into a giant brick sculpture) is resolved after an iconic battle with Jabba The Hutt, Leia in skimpy outfit and all. The original cast is happily back to gladden the heart-strings, Mark Hamill, Carrie (daughter of Debbie Reynolds) Fisher, Harrison Ford (by now a superstar), Dave Prowse (Darth Vader’s physical being, caught him at Disney MGM studios nearly 15 years ago now in a Star Wars parade), and the evil baddie to beat all evil baddies, Ian McDiarmid as the Emperor, gives a brilliantly sinister performance. R2D2 and C3P0 are still amusing, the in-family soap scenes are good (Luke/Leia the son & daughter of daddy Darth Vader), and the special effects were on a galactic scale at the time. Not any more, of course, CGI has changed movie-making beyond recognition, and all the model-work and alien-suit techniques in use then have moved on to a virtual computer-driven experience. In a way Jedi was almost the end of an era (bar one other trilogy), but that sort of gives it a period charm these days (which is why I’m not keen on CGI tinkering round the edges). I haven’t mentioned George Lucas, yet, head of an Empire of his own, thanks to keeping the merchandising rights. The prequel trilogy started badly (Even seeing The Phantom Menace in Florida with media megahype couldn’t stop it being a) boring b) convoluted plotwise c) Liam Neeson being in it d) Jar Jar Binks ruining it) but the next two were both good, the last one still has a shot of making my Top 100 if I see it some more. I’m looking very much forward to seeing the reunited cast, another trilogy and best of all J J Abrams being in control after his recent Star Trek re-energizing. I wonder if we’ll hear from Lucas and Abrahams higher up the list….Hmmm. Guess!

15. Men In Black (1997)

Barry Sonnenfeld’s best movie, and my favourite Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones roles, and yet another Stephen Spielberg production. Stevie certainly knows how to appeal to me! In this case, it’s another comic-based rollicking, funny, engaging, fast-paced roller-coaster ride, aliens galore, good and bad, hi-tech, brilliant special effects, and a good supporting cast in Rip Torn, Tony Shalhoub, and many others. The plotting is fun (the Earth about to blown-up unless a galaxy hanging round a cat’s collar is kept away from a rampaging cockroach. Yes, that old ploy!), the large cast of colourful aliens is hilarious, Will Smith not only had a chart-topper with the theme tune, he cornered the market in blockbuster sci-fi heroes for a decade and beyond. Smith & Jones are a brilliant double-act, and this extends into the sequels – they might not be quite up to the originality of the first, but they are still well worth watching in their own right. The mass appeal of Will Smith is partly down the Fresh Prince TV show and friendly teen rapper background (having hits in the UK from 1986 on), partly down to a winning personality and family-friendly attitude, and not least down to being a great movie star. Box Office megabucks were also now possible for black actors too, worldwide, as lead hero, as opposed to support or comedians, so I see Will as a Sigourney Weaver-type of new role model in movies. I love this film, never get bored with it, cheers me up when I watch it, and is one of that rare breed: perfectly-formed, exactly as long as it needs to be, and no more. The curse of the modern movie (excess padding) not on view here! Actually, now I talk about it, I feel like watching it again – and I only saw it a month ago! Classic!

14. Some Like It Hot (1959)

This is a perfect film, and it’s difficult to imagine a Best, Favourite or Greatest list of films without it in – exceptions granted for those too young to have seen it yet! Billy Wilder’s comedy is regularly acclaimed critically and popularity-wise as the best comedy of all-time, and it’s just brilliant. The script is terrific, but the performances lift it up a notch further, especially Tony Curtis in his light-leading-man prime (doing a fantastic impotent Cary Grant impression on top of his Tony Curtis Brooklyn-charmer), and Jack Lemmon going way over the top in drag. Plot: a historical setting (well, all of 30 years at the time at any rate) as two musicians witness the St Valentine’s Day Massacre and go on the run in drag with a band of female musicians, especially Marilyn Monroe at her breathy iconic best: I Wanna Be Loved By You (poop poop bi do). The Mob (with many a great gangster actor) are out to get them. The gender-confusing cross-dressing plot is a lark (and quite daring for the time) and the sparring between Curtis & Lemmon for Monroe’s affections is great fun. Throw in Joe E. Ross and that perfect throwaway last line to Jack Lemmon’s wig-removing “Aww I’m A Man” after he got swept away being romanced (as a woman) by millionaire Ross: Nobody’s Perfect. But some films are. Top-rated film from the 50’s, top black and white movie, top notch.

13. Gravity (2013)

An Alfonso Cuaron film, screenplay (with son Jonas), Director (oscar winner), Producer, and amazingly a British-American film, filmed in the UK, this film is nothing short of stunning. The most realistic sci-fi film space drama ever, the plot is more a “might have been” than fantasy. OK it stretches quite a few coincidences to breaking point, but life is full of billion-to-one unlikely series of events (marooned in orbit following space catastrophe and the battle for survival against the clock). Even more incredible, there are basically two actors on screen in the whole film, George Clooney who is total hero, in the real sense of the word, ready to risk and sacrifice his life for others, and with a sense of positive optimism in the face of adversity, who wouldn’t just fall in love with him! The centre-piece though is Sandra Bullock, who is simply stunning. Given that for most of the movie she is acting with no-one but herself, and against screens for special effects (stunning Oscar-winning cinematography 3D special effects) it’s criminal she wasn’t the winner of the Best Actress Oscar. Star of a host of pleasing comedies, most recently the fab The Proposal with the marvellous Ryan Reynolds and Betty White, and occasional great dramas like The Net, she conclusively proved she can do drama as well as any actress, and do it brilliantly. Ed Harris, in a nice touch, is there on voice Mission Control reprising that other great space drama Apollo 13. The film has no flab, it’s perfectly-formed and perfectly-edited, inspiring, involving, and for once 3D is totally justified (as opposed to a gimmicky profit-increasing incidental). I’ve only seen the film 3 times in 12 months, but I see this film only going higher in my chart with the years. I. Love. It.

12. Wall-E (2008)

Another Pixar heartwarming tale with a difference – this time the last miniature robot left working on an abandoned planet Earth, environmental catastrophe appearing to have wiped out most life, bar a superfast mutated smart cockroach. It’s a film of 2 halves, the first half almost free of dialogue, full of mystery and engaging the viewer on a tiny l’il robot, still beavering away on his rubbish collecting and saving of souvenirs. Self-aware and curious, and above all lonely, a recurring Pixar theme is loneliness and finding love, and Wall-E finds it in a mysterious visiting probe and a rescued plant, a plant that is the saviour of a space-bound obese dumbed-down race of idiots under the thrall of super-computer in the second-half action-packed space-bound part of the film. There’s a lot of social commentary going on, and it’s certainly ambitious and critically-acclaimed, but that doesn’t mean the film isn’t charming in the extreme. It so is. One of the ultimate feel-good films, and just for bonus I’ll mention two names that just keep on cropping up in my list. Sigourney Weaver. John Ratzenberger. Voices. Nuff said. Me, I love the mood change in the film, I don’t think the entire film could have worked focused on one location or the other, it needed both to give it a sense of scale, and the scale is grand. The future of the human race and the planet? Can’t really get more important than that… Brilliant!

11. Galaxy Quest (1999)

I couldn’t quite bring myself to put a daft film into the Top 10, and it DOES parody Star Trek and it’s fandom – but it’s so without malice, and accurate, and funny, and engaging it almost comes over as a mix of Star Trek and the Star Trek actors lifestyles. Alan Rickman is hilarious (as he often is) as the Spock-Nimoy character, Sigourney Weaver is wonderful (yes her again, I wonder if she’s in my Top 10. I wonder if Star Trek is…) as the computer-repeating Uhura-role, and Tim “Buzz Lightyear” Allen as Shatner-Kirk is marvellous. The rest of the cast is equally delightful, including the unknowns, and including the better-knowns such as Tony Shalhoub (see Men In Black) and Sam Rockwell (see Cowboys & Aliens). The script is funny, both for kids and adults, the aliens that turn a sci-fi show into reality are a great invention for the purposes of the laughs, and it’s not afraid to turn geeks into heroes. So I’m bound to love it. It’s fairly well-regarded as a great movie but not a Great movie, but there are few films that just give you a massive warm fuzzy feeling inside after watching it. It’s so damn lovable. It became my mum’s all-time favourite film when it came out on DVD, age 61, one watched with regularity, so that’s good enough for me. She still watches it, and still loves it, even though she has memory problems now (we watched it last week). Anyone mistakenly thinking it’s low-brow can just go and re-assess themselves, cos it’s an under-rated gem. So there!

 

10. Back To The Future Part III (1990)

The conclusion to the Robert Zemeckis trilogy, it’s part sci-fi Time Travel, part western-romp and re-unites the cast, notably Michael J. Fox in multiple roles, and Christopher Lloyd having a ball as old Doc Brown living in the past with new flame Mary Steenburgen and Thomas F. Wilson, the unsung great baddie of the three movies (Biff), here playing his descendant Mad Dog with nasty gusto, he’s great to watch. Fox is a great hero-with-flaws in these films, his TV days long behind him, till illness cut short his movie career, and Christopher Lloyd had been a major fave of mine since he debuted as Reverend Jim in Taxi. His Doc Brown is one of the great cinema eccentric scientists. As a western movie fan, it was great to have this final box-office hit for the genre (more or less) and having Pat Buttram in a saloon cameo didn’t hurt, star in many a western I was a huge fan of the Simpsons-influencing 60’s sitcom Green Acres, where he played wheeler-dealer Mr. Haney, complete with “has to be heard to be believed” nasal whiney voice. The plot of this film is more coherent than part II (which it quickly followed, as both were filmed simultaneously) and has a much lighter tone to it. Try not to think too hard about all of the time-travel paradoxes that each film creates, I count two past history changes, three 1980’s-present alternates (at least) and two future-possibilities (at least), so it’s better to just enjoy the romp, cos it’s the ultimate feel-good trilogy.

 

9. Back To The Future Part II (1989)

Sprawling sequel, this was in a way Back To The Future revisited, with it’s revisit of 1950’s small-town america, had most of the original cast return (bar 2), and took things further by going into the far future of 2015, where a lighthearted romp ensues showcasing such ridiculous far-fetched fantasy devices as wall-TV’s, skype, computer-controlled houses, 1980’s nostalgia, real-life celebrities recreated by computers and other stuff. OK, the fax is still about in 2015 (as if!) and the hoverboard and flying car better get going as they’ve only got 6 months now to sort themselves out, not to mention the ending of oil as a fuel. 2115 maybe….! For a long while this was my favourite part of the trilogy cos I loved the future setting followed by the time-travel-caused alternate dystopian future where Biff seems to have single-handedly caused the hope to be replaced with worldwide misery (or at least American). Michael J. Fox as his own daughter looked good, but was probably inadvised after the initial laugh, and Christopher Lloyd playing young and old Doc Brown got over the problem thanks to that rejuvenation treatment that I could do with next year. Looking forward to that coming onto the market! I also love time travel films, and paradoxes, though if you look too closely at it poor old Jennifer and Einstein end up left in an alternate universe 1985 present-day which has always bugged me. My nostalgia for the fifties (to be more accurate, nostalgia for 70’s versions of the 50’s) was still going strong, and I enjoyed the double-take revisit of the events of the original movie. Thomas F. Wilson again gives several great performances as various versions of Biff, the Bob Gale-Robert Zemeckis script is sharp and entertaining, I love hearing Mr Sandman in the film, and there’s a great cliffhanger at the end. In 2014, the 2015 sequences look a bit overly-ambitious technology-wise but they insisted they had to have flying cars, just because. And why not!? Fab.

8. Paul (2011)

OK I said there weren’t any daft films in the Top 10. I lied. This one ticks all the right boxes for me: sci-fi? Tick. Great cast? Tick. Funny script? Tick. References to past movies? Tick. Aliens? Tick. Affectionate pastiche of fandom? Tick. In a way, it does for Close Encounters (even to the same locations), E.T. and X-Files what Galaxy Quest did for Star Trek – takes the piss in a knowing and lovable way. To be honest, I’d not been a huge fan of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost up to this point – I mean, I liked them, but hadn’t been totally convinced till Pegg popped up in Doctor Who and Star Trek (as Scotty) – but their performances, their script, and their obvious love of the fandom/sci-fi stuff won me over. Seth Rogen as smart-assed alien Paul was a good modern-cynical take on the cliche, Jason Bateman is great as CIA baddie (sort of), Kristin Wiig is hilarious as the religious fundamentalist daughter (and opened up a career for her as romcom star of good movies like Bridesmaids), and of course, no sci-fi blockbuster is complete without Sigourney Weaver as a bad-ass bitch these days. Tick! Chuck in great character actors like Joe Lo Truglio (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Jeffrey Tambor (Hill Street Blues among a million TV series, and fabulous The Invention Of Lying among a million movies), Jane “Glee” Lynch, and Bill “Men In Black 3” Hader and it’s one of the most joyous road movies ever made. It should have been a huge hit, but maybe it’s most appreciated by sci-fi geeks like me who juuuuust feel the love in it rather than the mainstream. Plus it has a great oldies soundtrack, notably the brilliant Todd Rundgren’s Hello It’s Me. Classic!

7. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Just voted the greatest movie of all-time in Empire magazine, the second-part (or fifth) of the Star Wars saga is a bonafide classic. Darker than the original (part IV), it has a few advantages over it (special effects are better, it’s on a bigger scale even than the universe-crossing original, most of the cast reprise their roles) but it also has some disadvantages to me (the Yoda scenes are over-long, Lando’s a bit bland) and one major flaw that will always stop it being top-rated: it just ends. OK, Luke gets his hand chopped off and Darth Vader announces he’s his dad, but it’s very much part 1 of 2 parts with Han Solo freeze-dried and the goodies in turmoil licking their wounds. That said, it was of course a joy to have the sequel after the cinema-changing sensation that was Star Wars 1977, and there’s many a cinema memorable moment, the ice-planet, the battle between Luke and Darth, and of course there’s many a great tribute to it, not least the funny Family Guy trilogy. George Lucas had a less-hands-on role in this one, but you wouldn’t notice too much, if anything the actors are better – guiding actors has never been one of Lucas’ strong points, nor has dialogue, here carried out by Irvin Kershner (Director), Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan (writers). I should also mention Pixar-regular  John Ratzenberger is in it. I haven’t checked who gets more mentions in my Top 100 films, but it must be Ratzenberger, Ford, or Weaver, just ahead of Will Smith. Ratzenberger though, wins as top supporting/cameo actor. I do enjoy trivia. Great film.

6. Star Trek (2009)

Highest-placed Star Trek film, it’s more of a surprise that it’s been forced out of my Top 5, cos, simply-put, I immediately fell in love with Star Trek the TV series when I was 11, it became my all-time fave TV series – until subsequent Star Trek series, notably Deep Space 9, overhauled it in my affections. I’ve been to conventions, met the stars of the various shows (briefly) and my mum has been a fan throughout too. After all the TV overdose, the franchise needed a rest until it got revitalised. J.J. Abrams did exactly that. He took the original characters, legendary and world-famous, got a perfect new cast of actors to reprise and keep the flavour of the original cast, and then rewrote the premise (time-travel tragedy changes everything that originally happened and this is now a new Star Trek universe where anything can happen and does. It’s obviously geared for modern action-oriented blockbuster-savvy audiences but it stays reverential to the original for the fans, even to the point of having Leonard Nimoy back meeting his new younger self (Zachary Quinto), and Majel Barrett as the voice of the computer two weeks before she died. Chris Pine is brilliant as Kirk, Karl Urban is great as McCoy, Simon Pegg is perfect as Scotty, and all the others actors are equally great in their roles. I love that it has brought classic Trek back to me, and JJ Abrams handling of the forth-coming Star Wars films also promises much (in comparison to the prequel trilogy that never really captured the zest of the original trilogy). OK, it’s not as ideas-based as the TV series, but movies have to appeal across-the-board, and this one bought in the dosh without dumbing down anything, keeping the heart of the show alive – that’s the character-interplay between Kirk and Spock, and all of the rest of the loyal characters – while adding in a new early-life trauma for this Spock (his mother’s death) and Kirk (his father’s death before he was born) to punch up the drama. That I rate it higher than any of the other Star Trek films is a joy!
5. Marvels’ The Avengers (2012)

Outside the UK just drop “Marvel’s” but oldtime TV fantasy fans still love the 60’s TV show of the same name. OK, the most recent of the top 5 is at 5, but it could easily be at 1 in a few years as the film is genius. That’ll be Joss Whedon then, a man who can do no wrong in my book, his scripts are always perfect combinations of humour, drama, invention, character-development, pathos and structure. If he wasn’t working in fantasy (with its sniffy-nosed critics looking down their noses) he would be considered a great, purely because he deals with the eternal human lot of life and death and love – just, in this case, with super-heroes. Whedon dialogue is amazingly concise, beautifully phrased, and the pace is always perfect. From 7 years on Buffy, 5 years on Angel, half-a-year on the gorgeous Firefly and on into the movies he’s never let me down. I’m a fanboy! So…this film hitched up the super-hero movie to a new level, and as a former huge DC Comics fan it’s through gritted teeth that I admit Marvel is the one to do the super-hero team movie right. Near-perfect, in fact, as the large cast is juggled beautifully, the inter-action is engaging, and the villains are an equal part of the appeal (here, Tom Hiddleston is every bit as important to the movie as the heroes – something other films often forget: the better the villain, the better the heroes look and the better the movie). Humour is vital to my enjoyment of any fiction-project, and there’s plenty here. Not to say it will always be appropriate to have humour in a tragedy, but I avoid mega-depressing films like the plague generally-speaking, there’s more than enough trauma in real life to deal with, films are an escape from it, for me.

The cast? Brilliant. The great thing is it’s genuinely an ensemble effort, there is no single star, though the organiser, if you like, is Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, who has popped up (as a character) in so many Marvel blockbusters, and (as an actor) in so many other blockbuster movies, that he lays claim to be the world’s biggest money-spinner star. Might well be too. Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Gwyneth Paltrow and many others (not least Whedon’s fab Agents of SHIELD TV show set-up) shine beautifully and link in to the various franchise spin-off movies for their characters before and following-on, such as the terrific 2nd Captain America movie, which came out too late to feature in my list – but would have! The plot is exciting, the effects fabulous, the pace non-stop: in short a perfect super-hero movie. Happily, the world seemed to agree with me, currently 3rd in box-office gross. Marvel-lous!

4. Up (2009)

After a lot of anguish, and rewatching it last week, I couldn’t quite put this into my top 3 as it’s too soon (at 5 years old!) to rate it properly – but it’s very much on the way Up. Top-rated film of the noughties, top-rated Pixar, top-rated animation, this heart-warming and sentimental film is equally funny, adventurous and gorgeous to watch. The animation is pure Art, by any standard, the fantasy charming in an Oz-fashion, the characters going against stereotypical kids movies and heroes, starring as it does a 78-year-old widower and a semi-abandoned Japanese-American boy, both with dreams of being explorers. The first 15 minutes of the film are both yearningly beautiful and heart-breaking. This grown-man weeps at the sequence where we see childhood sweethearts live out their life through short scenes and photos, until Carl is left a widower, bereft and empty. It speaks to me at my time of life, because I had to watch my grandma learn to live alone and lonely after my granddad died, but it also speaks to the optimistic boy wannabe adventurer in me who lost himself in exciting fantasy worlds created by others, be it books, films, TV or comics. As this film proves, that little boy is still there, live and kicking, just looking a bit more wrinkly these days!

The cast? Perfection: they chose Ed Asner, character actor of many a classic sitcom and drama (Lou Grant, Mary Tyler Moore Show, Roots) of the 70’s, where he played grumpy, lovable heart-in-the-right-place types, there’s no one of that age I can think of better suited to be Carl. The debut movie voice actor Jordan Nagai as Russell is charming, and the film is really about Russell dragging Carl back into the world while on their balloon-inspired house-flight to Peru, both of them finding love and a reason to live life to the max in each other, where a huge lonely gap had been before they met. Baddies: Talking dogs? Hilarious! Christopher Plummer (yet again) in my list, just before showing life can still be full at 82 (winning an academy award for Beginners), is terrific at the paranoid ruthless lost famous adventurer. Of course, there’s John Ratzenberger too. I love the 1930’s styled visuals to much of the film, accurate and charming. Above all though, I love the script/story – kudos to Pete Docter, co-writer of both as well as Director. As a film it’s unique, no Hollywood cliched rom-com adventure here, no brainless kiddie-flick, it deals (as ever with Pixar) with universal human lot issues like loss, living, loneliness, friendship. And it’s got a whacky bird too! What’s not to love. One of the greatest movies ever made, by any standard. Epic.

3. Star Wars (1977)

Shock! The film I generally mention as my fave film of all-time, if asked, and often see listed at 1 on many film polls, is only 3. I just watched it for the umpteenth time (it’s the film I’ve seen more times than any other, by far) and that’s part of the problem – I know it backwards. When it first came out I went to see it 5 times, in itself unprecedented for me, and it became my new fave film till Close Encounters came out weeks later and usurped it. Gradually it pulled back, though and reigned for 30 years because in a way it was the first modern movie and didn’t date quite like most movies. Since it occupied a brand new world of it’s own, it didn’t have a period to sit and be charming in. Is it a great film? Yes and no. If you want to have a laugh at the plot and characterization, and dialogue, and even the stilted acting, I suggest watching Family Guy’s Blue Harvest, which amiably and accurately re-does the whole movie brilliantly, but never loses it’s admiration and love for it. In any case, being Citizen Kane never was the point of George Lucas’ magic creation, the aim was to take the 30’s Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers serials and gift that pace and imagination, that galactic adventure melodrama and one-liners, with a modern-budget special effects setting. Job done, and then some!

When Star Wars was about to be released in the UK, the hype and word of mouth was intense, I was 19 and at College sharing a bedroom digs with 2 mates who asked me if it lived up to the hype (I went to see it immediately). Easily one of the Top 3 best films ever-made, I opined, thus setting up expectations which is not the best thing to do ahead of viewing! Well, here we are, 37 years on, and I still hold the view that I was spot on, all in all, because the elements of modern action cinema (especially sci-fi fantasy blockbusters) lead back to Star Wars. The editing, manic pace, special-effects led galactic-scale goodies and baddies was pretty influential to put it mildly. I don’t think it’s an over-stating the case that before Star Wars films were more leisurely (to the point of boredom sometimes) and sci-fi was well-known as box-office poison – not least because by it’s nature it needs special effects to not look silly. Everything changed immediately, sci-fi fantasy blockbusters became (and stayed) big business. Star Wars was like a glittering, sparkly, rollercoaster ride for the senses, and ordinary films seemed quite dull in comparison, even the big budget disaster movies, Bond films and the like. Star Wars may not have saved cinema, which was declining disastrously during the 70’s, but it didn’t hurt to have the new biggest-money-maker-film-of-all-time being one you could happily repeat view.

Cast? Do I need to list Alec Guinness, Harrison Ford’s highest-rated of many Top 100 films, Mark Hamill’s energetic Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher’s spunky bun-wearing Princess, the double-act C3PO and R2D2, the whinging butler robot and his short rebellious companion? Then there’s Darth Vader, James Earl Jones hissing evilly, and Peter Cushing (best performance in the movie). Add in John Williams music (and disco spin-off hit covers) which dominated the film and changed movie soundtracks back to the epic full-on strings-heavy drama that they need to be in blockbusters. MGM’s Star Tours ride upped the excitement after the sequels had been and gone (and eventually prequels), and Star Wars was copied and aped on TV and in the movies, none of them managing to kick the film from it’s revered pedestal (by fanboys such as me and Seth MacFarlane), cos George Lucas did it first. The Empire Strikes Back is most-likely a better film, but this one is a complete story, right to the bows and clapping at the end, stating quite clearly it’s old-fashioned roots. Ignore the annoying revamped digital versions though, they look even more dated than the original these days and add nothing much, save the bonus Jabba The Hut scene. I’ll prob give it a rest for a few years now though and let newer films shine through! Hopefully the next installment with Han, Leia, Luke, Chewie, C3PO, R2D2 clanking about with rusty aging bits….

 

2. Back To The Future (1985)

I love this movie, and the entire trilogy. It’s crept up on me over the years, I mean I thought it was great when it came out, but there’s just something special, heartening, warm and endearing about it that lets me watch it over and over without ever getting bored with it. For a start it’s got time travel and it’s effects, a concept I love, it’s got fifties nostalgia, it’s got 80’s music and 50’s music, it’s got Michael J. Fox as the perfect all-American-Boy (slightly-flawed, but enthusiastic and loyal), it’s got the brilliant Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown in dual roles, without doubt the greatest mad (lovable) scientist ever, shortly after spending a few years as hilarious stoned Reverend Jim on Taxi, and the ruthless Klingon that kills Captain Kirk’s son. The plot is great (Marty Mcfly’s mum falls in love with her own son instead of Marty’s dad, which causes a loop stopping himself from existing unless he changes events back).

The time-travel paradoxes are an appeal of the films, though you have to accept things happen the way they do, cos it’s sort of fated, as opposed to the likely consequences where in the real world, change behaviour of people and you change events in life, change events in life and key moments change, people aren’t born, other people are born who weren’t originally (for instance if George McFly became a famous writer rather than failed insurance salesmen, it’s most likely the kids wouldn’t have been conceived the nights they were supposed to be, events would just change too much), so for the purposes of the film best forget and just enjoy the various different Marty McFly universes, cos they’re all great.

Ultimately, it’s a feel-good family-friendly sci-fi romp, but everything about it just seems to gel perfectly, especially Biff actor Thomas F. Wilson who is everyman school-bully, a type we all know from school, and on behalf of geeks world-wide there’s deliciousness seeing him get his come-uppence. It’s a sweet film, beautifully-imagined by Robert Zemeckis, produced by Stephen Spielberg (outdoing all of his own greats), and it’s now got the added bonus of being it’s own 80‘s nostalgia period-film charm to add to the original 50’s nostalgia period-charm – it was always an idealistic small-town version of both, but that’s not to say it’s fake, it’s just less…horrible than real life. A version I’d like to think existed in some small American communities. Top rated film of the 80‘s. Love it.

So, what’s Number One….? It’s a 90’s movie.

Ready for it? Want to know which is my Top Of The Film Pops..

 

 

 

 

 

 
It’s…..

 

 

 
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1. Groundhog Day (1993)

This film is miraculous. It takes what sounds like a boring idea (living the same day over and over for what must be centuries) and turns it into magic. The variations in the possible outcomes of the day are funny, touching, disturbing, and in the end, heart-warming and an affirmation that there is always hope, there is always love, and a selfish person can learn to love and be loved. It’s possibly the most-optimistic film ever, and it’s had such an impact on the world that the title has entered into the English language in it’s own right. What started out as a seemingly inoffensive Bill Murray-vehicle semi-rom-com from his Ghostbusters-mate Harold Ramis had more to it than it appeared. As time passed, the joy of the film became clear and critical opinion changed and re-evaluated it properly, belatedly having greatness bestowed on it. It has the ability to move, gladden the heart and reward familiarity that It’s A Wonderful Life has – it never gets tiring, there’s always something extra there that pops up.

Credit goes mostly to the script, which is almost perfectly-formed, original, chock-full of great one-liners (many of them based on the repeat-themes), but the cast also need applause too. Bill Murray is always Bill Murray, snide, cynical, arrogant, but he’s always managed to get away with it cos the charm and wit pulls through and wins. In this case, his unredeemable weatherman is redeemed when he gives up thinking about himself and genuinely learns to love the small-town cast of many. Andie MacDowell is also vital to the film, she is the moral compass, can spot bull a mile off, and nothing Murray ever does convinces her that he’s sincere – until he is, and the perfect day is the perfect ending. We’re never sure how long he’s been living the same day eternally, but he is accomplished in so many things, and knows everything about everyone in town, and spent so long trying to kill himself in inventive endless way, that it must be centuries at least. It was his own personal hell and it became his own personal heaven. Overstating the case? Nah!

I still love “I Got You Babe”, I love the German-festival-music and the whole groundhog event, I love the sci-fi/fantasy concept of the film, and I love a great rom-com. I love Larry and Ned Ryerson among the rest of the characters in the film, and I love that the Writers Guild Of America voted it the 27th best screenplay of all-time – except that it should have been higher! Not bad for a Bill Murray throwaway rom-com…..

So there you have it. That’s the film I go back to more than any other these days, it lifts me up when I’m down, and gives an optimism boost when I’m feeling jaded and cynical. Thanks for reading and putting up with the looooong wait between reviews!