A few years ago, back in the summer of 2009, Brad Brevet over at Rope of Silicon wrote an article on the five films that he would take with him if he was stranded on a desert island (and, presumably, was allowed to take five films and able to watch them).
It’s an interesting concept, as people often ask others what their favorite film is. But how do you pick just one? Heck, how do you pick just five?! It’s a dubious task to ask someone to list their five favorite movies: they’ll spout off five movies that they love that quickly come to their mind, and then they’ll say, “Oh, and I forgot about this one! And this one!” Soon enough, this seemingly easy question has brought the respondent to his or her knees, scouring their brain and making difficult decisions to postulate just which five films are their favorite.
We did a post back in January on our Top Ten Favorite Films; so how is this any different? Well, first off, the number is different, as it’s been sliced in half. But it’s different in another respect, too: where we chose to go by genre in our Top Ten Lists, this list is completely non-genre-specific. If I want to bring five animated films, I can bring five animated films. If I want to bring five comedies, I can bring five comedies. If I want to bring five Brad Pitt movies — well, you get the picture.
It’s also different in the context of the question. If you’re asking me to bring five movies to a deserted island on which I’m stranded, that means I’ve got to pick five movies that I can watch alone, over and over and over and over again. Back in January, I listed Schindler’s List as one of my favorite films. But does that mean I would bring it with me if were stranded on a desert island? Absolutely not, unless I wanted to suffer from depression and cry my eyes out for the length of my desertion.
As Brad stated in the opening his article, the situation here lends itself toward selecting movies that are light-hearted, fun, and don’t cause me to dwell too much on the fact that I’m stranded on a desert island. To be honest, my five could change tomorrow, but it’s a fun idea nonetheless. So without further ado, below are my selections, with accompanying explanations for each choice. I’ve also listed a few alternates for each choice, to show which other movies I was deciding between (you know, in case I couldn’t take a specific title for a certain reason).
When you’re done reading mine, how about you give it a try and post your five in the comments section below the article. It’s a pretty fun exercise, and can be difficult as all heck if you take it seriously and really try to narrow it down.
#1. THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (1994)
This one is, for me, a no-brainer: it’s my as-of-yet undisputed favorite movie of all-time. This is one title that simply has to come along with me if I’m going to be stranded on an island for an indefinite period of time. The Shawshank Redemption has it all: superb acting, great writing, beautiful cinematography (despite the prison confines), and a story that ends with the ultimate payoff. My alternates here (Forrest Gump, Casablanca, North by Northwest, Pulp Fiction) share the same qualities, but Shawshank stands out.
#2. ZODIAC (2007)
In the number two position I’ve chosen David Fincher’s highly-underrated 2007 film Zodiac. When I’m stuck on an island all alone, I have a feeling that I’ll want a mystery/thriller to get my pulse-pounding a bit. I’ve listed L.A. Confidential, Charade, and Se7en here as my alternates, and each one could easily take this spot. Charade‘s big draw is its stars, Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, and the witty dialogue between them. However, it ultimately came down to Se7en and Zodiac, and while Se7en is Fincher’s best film, I think that Zodiac suits the situation better.
#3. BACK TO THE FUTURE (1985)
For the number three spot, I wanted to select a movie that is just flat-out fun. Initially, I put Transformers in here and was ready to be done with it. But then I thought about Ocean’s 11 and Midnight in Paris, two other films that are flat-out fun. And then Back to the Future popped into my head.
Needless to say, I chose to go with Back to the Future here, because it is such light-hearted fun, an action-adventure film with just the perfect mix of humor and story. I count this as one of the most quotable films around, and I love quoting movies, even if no one is around to hear it.
#4. OFFICE SPACE (1999)
While Back to the Future is a lot of fun and is often comedic gold, I found myself wanting to put a pure comedy on this list. So do I go for something that is more slapstick, like Dumb and Dumber, something more act-oriented like Monty Python and the Holy Grail, or something from 2000’s raunch-master Judd Apatow, like The 40-Year-Old Virgin? And then, there’s Ferris Bueller’s Day Off to consider as well.
I chose to go with none of those, despite how tempting they were, and instead opted for Office Space. It’s one of those 90’s comedies that I think truly has stood the (relatively short) test of time and outshines its genre. Plus, when I’m stuck on a deserted island and watching this, I can think about all the work that I am absolutely not missing.
#5. THE INCREDIBLES (2004)
For my fifth spot, I could have went in myriad different directions: romantic comedy, horror, something starring one of my favorite actors/actresses, etc. However, I decided that I needed one of two things to round out this list: a superhero flick or an animated movie. With the selection of Pixar’s The Incredibles, I can kill two birds with one stone.
It was hard for me to leave The Dark Knight off of this list, as it’s a movie that I can watch over and over; admittedly, I have done so. Ditto for Iron Man. And as I was thinking of other animated films, I kept coming back to other Pixar favorites like Monsters Inc., Toy Story and Ratatouille, and one of my favorite Disney films, The Lion King. But, of the bunch, I chose to go with The Incredibles. It’s the most fun and re-watchable out of the ones I’ve listed here, and it fits both the superhero and animated genres.
And there you have it. So now it’s your turn to sound off: you’re stranded on an island for who knows how long and can take with you five movies to watch. Which five do you pick and why? Let us know in the comments section below!