Fun Fridays – Director’s Favourite Films – Richard Curtis

Hello Film Doctor friends,

With About Time” out in cinemas since this Wednesday, 04th Sept, we turn to one of Britain’s most prolific rom-com & sit-com screenwriters and directors, Richard Curtis (“Four Weddings and a Funeral”, “Love Actually”, “Pirate Radio”)

Film Doctor - Richard Curtis

What films can you find on Richard Curtis’s list? “What I’ve decided is to choose recent films,” he has explained in an interview for Rotten Tomatoes (J. Utichi, 2009), “I do think that often people get stuck in always picking the five greatest films of all time, films they saw between the ages of 17 and 22, because that’s when you’re forming your opinions. I think I’ll talk about modern films, which aren’t necessarily the greatest films ever made, but are five great films.”

  • “Let The Right One In” (2008, dir. Tomas Alfredson) – “I’m scared of horror films, and hardly ever see them, but I was just so haunted by the scene at the end at the swimming pool, about which I will say no more because my brain is still trying to work out what happened there. It just shows how, if you’ve got a really low budget, and a really serious intent, you can make people feel uncomfortable. It’s a weird, spooky, melancholy Swedish love story about vampires, which is a big subject at the moment, but it’s hard to imagine a better vampire film. So that would be my number one choice – delightful, strange and disjointing.”
  • “Lost In Translation” (2003, dir. Sofia Coppola) – “It seems to me that Sofia Coppola is incapable of producing an ugly frame; it’s just completely beautiful, from astonishing first shot to the final whisper. I think that Scarlett Johansson can be just fabulous, and in that she’s just fabulous, plainly beautiful all the way through. She was great in Match Point too, so very good. She gives that dreadful feeling of somebody that will weigh you down forever. And on top of that it’s a genuinely funny film, its got those fantastic bits, particularly the bit where [Bill Murray] is recording the ads, and it really is a comedy. And yet Bill Murray is so melancholy; so sad. After spending all my life in comedy, where you’re aware of all the grief and melancholy that accompanies being thought of as a charming and amusing person, I think it’s an almost perfect film, I think I’d put that in my top ten favourite films of all time. 
  • “Knocked Up” (2007, dir. Judd Apatow) – “I don’t know why because I’m almost never in Los Angeles, but I went to the premiere of Knocked Up. Some cousin of Judd Apatow’s was going to propose to his girlfriend, but was shy, so what Judd did was brought up the cousin and his girlfriend onto stage and Jack Black hid behind, knelt on the floor behind the cousin, and very noisily proposed to her. So the first time I saw the film I was in a very good mood having had such a brilliant start. But Knocked Up, like The Hangover which is also wonderful, is full of really really funny things; particularly the friends.
  • “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004, dir. Michel Gondry) – In a way it’s like Let the Right One In – the office where they alter your mind feels like a ghastly dental surgery. So you’re in this weird mixture between something that feels terribly realistic, with Kirsten Dunst jumping up and down on a bed, absolutely normal, and yet it’s completely freakish and odd and had these spectacular special effects in it. I love the sort of downbeat-ness of the love story — the fact that, really, they’re sort of right for each other, but only because they’re not right for anyone else. I think it’s a genuinely great fantasy movie, a great love story, and Kate Winslet’s hair is, after all, blue, so that’s obviously a good reason for seeing it. You’ve been on this massive ride, and it gets back to these people in a corridor, which I suppose is like — if you land on the moon, there’s just you on the moon, and I think there’s something profound about the whole thing.”
  • “Animal House” (1978, dir. John Landis) – “I’m going to break my rules for this one, and just put in one old movie. I still think that Animal House is misunderstood, although I do increasingly read about a generation of comedians saying it is the great film. Because I think it’s a brilliant comedy, with brilliant acting, with everybody at their best – Karen Allen at her cutest, Tim Matheson at his handsomest, John Belushi at his most mono-syllabic. […] It seems to me like a really great, classic, funny character movie hiding in wolves clothing, pretending to be a big stupid old generic college movie, but it actually invented the genre, and I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a funnier version of those movies. Certainly when I was doing The Boat That Rocked, it was M*A*S*H on the one hand – very casual, conversational, just guys doing a weird job – and Animal House on the other – with big characterisations and set-pieces..” 

Richard Curtis Is also known to have shared in interviews his fondness for Robert Altman’s film “Nashville” (1975).

Film Doctor - About Time

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The Film Doctor Team
 
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