Welcome to the inaugural instalment of the AMS Flick of the Week, a free service provided by your friendly All My Sins producers.
Since this is the premiere episode, there is a lot of pressure. And that pressure is building. Building to an inevitable climax. The walls are closing in. The more I write, the more it feels like there’s just No Way Out, that with One False Move, there could be an Apocalypse Now.
That’s correct, I’ve chosen the over-crowded but eternally loved genre of ACTION. And not just because I’m a guy. Although perhaps mostly because I’m a guy. But also because one of the thrusts of F of the W is that we, as filmmakers, get to share movies that we not only love, but that also influenced us. To make certain kinds of films, sure, but also to be way more badass.on the set of “Boom”.
So I’m choosing three films which did that for me. They are, in my opinion, as good as it gets when time is running out and the stakes are through the roof.
#1) Die Hard (the first one, please god the first one)
This may be an obvious choice, but that’s kind of the point. This movie is in every serious action fan’s top 5. It’s Citizen Kane with machine guns, Baby. As a writer, I value structure above all else and DH is the genre’s Master Class. Scenes build to their conclusion then drive you to the next. The action itself has the good sense to unfold at just the right pace, allowing the viewer to take in the consequences as they occur. It’s been said that plot stops dead when an action sequence begins, and it doesn’t start up again until its completion. I happen to believe that’s true, and Die Hard shows that action can be brief yet still change everything… in an instant. And it has arguably the greatest line uttered by any hero in Hollywood’s long and colourful history of acerbic, ironic comebacks.
What a sexy/gritty/textured film. Why sexy? Antonio and Selma, that’s why. Even the misshapen mugs of Tarantino, Buscemi and Trejo couldn’t ugly this thing up. The explosions are sexy. If you haven’t seen it, or even if you have, pour yourself a sexy but violent beverage, sit back and watch the opening sequence – an unparalleled feast of visual and auditory storytelling that simply has to be experienced. What happened to the artistic sensibilities of writer/director/producer/steadicam-operator/composer/editor Robert Rodriguez after this is a mystery that may never be solved, but at least he gave us Desperado.
#3) Run, Lola, Run
That’s right, I’m going across the pond. Chances are pretty good that you haven’t seen this little gem, but I implore you to rectify that flaw in your character as soon as possible. It may seem counter-intuitive to watch an action film with subtitles, but consider Das Boot, La Femme Nikita and Pusher, just to name a few standouts from Germany, France and Denmark, respectively. As good as those films are, they’re all blown away, burned to cinders, vacuumed up, dumped in the river and blown away again by RLR for my money. It’s so inventive as to border on experimental, and it has the cojones to buck cement-like Hollywood convention by hoisting a female actor to the helm of an action film, but it’s much more than that. It’s freaking awesome, is what it is. Writing, direction, acting, pacing, CONCEPT… somebody stop me. If I could marry this movie, I would. I think I’m going to cry.
I really hope you get a chance to check out my choices. If so, let me know what you think. Did they make you a better person, did they make your life more worth living? And please give us some of your own suggestions in the comment section. Feel free to share the reasons your personal favourites resonate with you (even if it’s just because you smoked a lot of weed that day).
Until then, I am outta here.