Time is cruel. It marches forward mercilessly, forcing us to grow older and more withered but not necessarily wiser.
Well, at least not in my case anyway.
As the years fall off the calendar, it feels like time is speeding up. It seems to be constantly gaining momentum, making each passing year feel shorter and shorter. I’m hurtling through my thirties now, but it doesn’t feel all that long ago that I was at school.
Quite frankly, it wants to slow down a bit and stop scaring the shit out of me.
As I get older, I find myself spending more and more time thinking about the past. More specifically, I find myself watching films and playing video games that I remember fondly from my childhood. Seeing as I’m boring and lacking in originality, I thought I’d compile a list. Who doesn’t love a good list?
I grew up with two older brothers, so from an early age I had access to some films that I shouldn’t really have been allowed to watch. However, because I was a little shit (still am, really) I watched them anyway. With that in mind, it’ll come as no surprise that there’s a lack of children flicks on this list.
For the sake of brevity and not wanting to bore you to sleep, I’ve whittled this list down to five films. Starting with…
The ‘Burbs (1989)
The ‘Burbs was the first Tom Hanks film I ever saw, and I still regard it as my favourite to this day. It had that Spielbergian sense of adventure that only Joe Dante and Spielberg himself are able to achieve.
When Ray Peterson (Hanks) suspects his creepy new neighbours, the Klopeks, of murder, he recruits his fellow crackpot neighbours to invade their home and garden while they’re away to look for evidence.
The ‘Burbs is entirely responsible for my inability to trust neighbours. I feel sorry for the old guy that lived next door to us when I first watched this film. Looking back I realise that he was a harmless, lovely old fellow, but at that time I was convinced that he was some rubber mask-wearing Scooby Doo villain.
So I snuck into his garden once and stole a potato from his vegetable patch.
That showed him…
Conan The Destroyer (1984)
I can’t remember if this was the first Arnie film I saw, but it was the first time I realised how much fun it was to watch him bumble his way through a movie. Don’t get me wrong, I love Schwarzenegger, he has been a huge part of some of my favourite films, but it’s safe to say that his acting back then wasn’t exactly Brando-esque.
I still prefer The Destroyer to The Barbarian despite the fact that it’s clearly an inferior film. Nowadays I’m more interested in a good story, and The Destroyer‘s was complete rubbish. But back then I didn’t care about such things. I just wanted to see this impossibly large man smash bad guys to a pulp.
Which is exactly what I got.
I don’t even think it’s my rose-tinted glasses talking when I say that this is the best Batman film ever. As much as I enjoyed Christopher Nolan’s excellent trilogy, they were a little bit too serious for my tastes. Tim Burton’s quirky, gothic style seemed a much better fit for Batman and Gotham City.
He was an unusual choice for the role but Michael Keaton handled the duality of Bruce Wayne superbly. He was believable as the aloof, troubled millionaire, but he was able to switch from this into the borderline unhinged masked vigilante with ease.
You can’t mention Batman without The Joker. No disrespect to Heath Ledger’s incredible performance in The Dark Knight, but, for my money, Jack Nicholson was the best Joker. His casting was simply perfect. With his shark-like grin, maniacal laugh and a warped sense of humour, Nicholson didn’t just play the character; he was the character.
Big Trouble In Little China (1986)
For a number of years this was my favourite film. I think it’s actually impossible for John Carpenter to make a bad film with Kurt Russell in. They are by far my favourite actor/director coupling, and a large part of that is down to Big Trouble In Little China.
There’s real joy to be had in watching an egotistical buffoon like Jack Burton accidentally save the day then act like it was his plan all along. On paper, there’s not a lot to like about Ol’ Jack Burton; he loves himself, he loves the sound of his own voice and he’s an insufferable know-it-all. Somehow Kurt Russell transformed that ego into false modesty and, in doing so, turned him into one of the most endearing accidental heroes ever committed to screen.
My childhood basically consisted of watching as many Arnold Schwarzenegger and Kurt Russell films as I could get my hands on. They were my two biggest heroes growing up, so much so that if I saw them both sharing the screen today I think I would literally explode with glee.
Ghostbusters II (1989)
This was the first film I saw at the cinema.
It may not be as good as the first Ghostbusters and it’s certainly not the best film I’ve seen at the cinema, but for me, this is where my love of movies started.
Every time I watch it now I instantly become that four-year old kid again, sat next to his big brother in matching hand-knitted Ghostbusters jumpers that our Mam had kindly made for us, completely in awe at the majesty of the big screen.
We were very lucky children.
So there you have it!
Those are five films that instantly take me back to my youth. There are so many films that I could add to this list, but I settled on those because they bring back a lot of fond memories for me.
I realise how incredibly lucky I am to have had such a great childhood, and thinking back to those halcyon days always puts a smile on my face.
But enough about me! What films remind you of your childhood? Let me know in the comments below!