Blogathon: Five Films Forever

I recently set some of my film blogging friends the challenge of taking part in a new blogathon I had launched: ‘Five Films Forever’.

The challenge:

“You wake up to eerie silence. You call out ‘Hello?’ but no-one answers. You’re alone except for a film projector and speakers with infinite battery life and five of your favourite films at the foot of the projector. You have nowhere to be so start watching the films. What are they, where are you and how will your story play out?”

To take part I asked entrants to list:

  • My five films: What are the five films you would happily watch for the foreseeable future and why?
  • My fate: Where have you been deserted – are you adrift like Hanks in Cast Away or are you an end of the world survivor like Smith in I Am Legend?
  • My finale: How will your time alone end? Will you be saved by Spielberg or will you live happily ever after on your own like Disney?

My five films

After much deliberation – and cursing myself for setting the limit of five films, but hey, it wouldn’t be a challenge otherwise – I came to several conclusions with my selection.

Firstly, I decided that I wanted to have variety – from format to release date and from genre to cast. Variety keeps things interesting so the films I have chosen include a black & white film and an animation, a romance, a couple of fantasies, a historical epic, and a drama. My selection also features puppets. And singing.

Secondly, and no doubt quite shocking to those of you who know me well, I have not included any films from The Lord of the Rings series. The reasons for this are two-fold: 1, I couldn’t just watch one without the other two and 2, I near enough know them all verbatim so don’t need to continue watching them for them to bring me joy.

The films that will be stacked by the projector are:

  • The Last Unicorn (1982): Featuring music from one of my favourite bands (America) plus the soothing tones of Jeff Bridges and Christopher Lee, this is a favourite of mine that I have loved for longer than I can remember. Funny how we revert to our childhood for comfort, eh?
  • Labyrinth (1986): This is another film that I’ve loved for many, many years. One of my heroes – David Bowie – has top billing alongside a young Jennifer Connelly. There are musical ear worms aplenty (along with an actual work) with catchy songs and dancing puppets.
  • Gladiator (2000): For those moments when I need motivation, to feel empowered or to just have a good cry, I would want to watch Russell Crowe’s Oscar-winning performance in Gladiator.
  • Brief Encounter (1945): Although I only watched this for the first time recently (my review) I completely fell for the leads, the story and the beautiful words of the script. I think it would be a film that I would only enjoy more on repeated watches.
  • The Way (2010): I have watched The Way – directed by and starring Emilio Estevez with his father Martin Sheen playing his on-screen dad – many times and still take something away from it every time. It’s an inspiring story and one that I think I would continually take peace from.
Abel Tasman National Park.
Abel Tasman National Park. Source: New Zealand Department of Conservation.

My fate

Having decided not to select any of the films from The Lord of the Rings series, my fate – and I admit it is very idealistic and positive – would see me waking up in the real Middle-earth instead: New Zealand. Albeit with a watery twist, as I do have a soft spot for water-based disaster flicks.

In this scenario I’ll be waking up on South Island on the shores of Abel Tasman National Park in a bach (Kiwi term for beach house or holiday home). I’ll be there on my own after visiting a dear friend who lives in New Zealand and then deciding to go travelling for a few weeks by myself.

Driving through the night I’ll have made it to Abel Tasman National Park in the small hours and will be completely alone as far as my eye can see. I’ll unpack my things in the bach and then step outside to admire the gorgeous — but slightly unearthly — sunrise.

The ground will start gently shaking, which isn’t uncommon for New Zealand, and as the intensity starts to grow I will decide to head inside — years of watching films telling me to shelter under a table — but while doing so I’ll unfortunately bang my head and be knocked unconscious.

When I come to I’ll discover that an earthquake has separated a substantial part of Abel Tasman National Park from the rest of South Island and is surrounded by a circular, impassable trench that — as if operated by magnets — pulls down anyone or anything that tries to cross it. So, I’ll be on my own. Fortunately, I’ll be in paradise.

My finale

For all the happy escapism that films present me with my story would conclude with quite a normal ending, as while there are a lot of injustices and things to dislike about our society at the moment, we live in a beautiful world and I share my life with some special people so wouldn’t want to be on my own forever.

After four or five months the trench would subside and a heroic crew from the Royal New Zealand Navy would rescue me. I would be absolutely fine, having lived off nature’s bounty and now quite at one with the local and animals and fish life — a version of Snow White crossed with Ariel, if you will.

Life would resume as normal, and it would just so happen that my dog and everyone I care about now lives in New Zealand too, having decided to make the move so they could stay closer to me and take part in the rescue attempt.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post and the posts of other people who have taken part in the first blogathon that I’ve run. Please feel free to take part yourself: leave a comment below to share your entry and I will compile a list of links.

Now read entries from:

My parents got in on the action too:

  • Mum: Mary Poppins (1964), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), A Knight’s Tale (2001), Tuck Everlasting (2002) and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
  • Dad: El Cid (1961), The Guns of Navarone (1961), Zulu (1964), The Italian Job (1969) and The Yakuza (1974)


25 thoughts on “Blogathon: Five Films Forever

Add yours

  1. The Way has been on my to-watch list for a while. I must get around to that one.

    Nice varied selection – I watched Romper Stomper with a young Russell Crowe yesterday; a bleak, uncompromising tale of Australian skinheads on a road to ruin. Not one you’d want when stranded!

    I like your “fate” Claire; very apt. Sounds like a real adventure.

    1. Thanks, Dan! It’s quite idealistic but I can be an optimist sometimes 😉

      The Way is one of my favourite films. It’s interesting on so many levels, and I particularly enjoy that Estevez directs his own father as his on-screen father.

      Eek! Think I’ll take Maximus over a skinhead 😀

    2. Romper Stomper is a classic. If you’re ever in the mood for another dark Aussie classic, Dan, check out Chopper, a biopic of one of our country’s great (well, you know, not great but well known) gangsters. Eric Bana as you’ve never seen before.

  2. Hi Claire, firstly thanks for setting this up. As someone who basically sticks to film reviews I found this quite a challenge, but an enjoyable one. Love your choices for the five films. Brief Encounter is quite racy when you think when it was made.

    1. You’re very welcome, Dom! I’m happy you could take part and it’s fun to test yourself now and again.

      Yes, I completely agree re. Brief Encounter. Racy from the contemporary perspective but tame to ours some 70 years later!

  3. I love Brief Encounter! It is such an intelligent film about marriage, love and the reason for an affair. There is no one who is bad or evil, they are all human. My Way is a beautiful tribute to love of a child and how he finds himself and helps others. I love Labyrinth with the magical styling and David Bowie was magnetic. Gladiator is a powerful film with great acting by Crowe, Phoenix and Hounsou( did I spell that right??). I have not seen your first pick. I love LOTR and oh will see where I end up. I love the first fairy realm from LOTR.

    1. Beautifully summed up, Birgit – “they are all human”.

      Have you seen The Way?! You must be one of only a few people I know who has actually watched it! Seems like it’s a hidden gem.

      We completely agree about Labyrinth and Gladiator too. If you enjoy fantasy then I think you will enjoy The Last Unicorn. It is a stunning animation with fantastic music and a moving story.

      And thank you for joining in! I will add your link to my post 😀

      1. Yes, I have seen The Way. It was on the late show on a channel I get and it’s a real gem for sure. I’d love to take that walk if I could.

  4. I’m ashamed to say, despite many recommendations from friends in Germany, I haven’t watched “The Last Unicorn”. Efforts must be doubled and tripled. Lovely choices here, “Labyrinth” nearly ended up on my list too. Hats off to your mum and dad, some great films there too.
    Thanks for the challenge. Loved it!

    1. Oh please do watch The Last Unicorn! I don’t think I’ve seen it on any streaming services but I’ve just looked and the DVD is available as low as £2.99… nudge nudge!

      Ah, I’ve passed on your message to my parents. They also shared their longlist – Mum’s included Romeo and Juliet (1996) and The Painted Veil (2006) while Dad had The Last Samurai (2003), Battle of Britain (1969) and White Tiger/Belyy Tiger (2012).

      Thanks for taking part! 😀

  5. Ahahaha! I knew you’d want to be stuck in LOTR country! Can I come over to your island so we can watch GLADIATOR together? LOVE that movie!!

    Yes variety keeps things interesting so I tried to include a variety of genre as well, including a b/w classic and animated movie. Now you got me curious to see The Last Unicorn.

    Thanks for spearheading this Claire, fun times!

    1. Hehe, I was a bit sneaky there – if I can’t have LOTR, I’ll be in LOTR country! 😀
      You can absolutely come over!

      Yes, please do watch The Last Unicorn. I’ve watched it countless times now and am always charmed. I’d love to know what you think of it.

      And you are very welcome! Thank you for participating.

  6. Hmm, this is a quandary. I wouldn’t have had ANY of your five films picked for myself – nor would I consider them for repeated viewing. But your mum and dad? I’d hang with them for their picks each and every day LOL!! Mary Poppins? Guns Of Navarone? Pirates Of The Caribbean? Good lord those are some picks from the top shelf!

    Thanks for creating this and inviting me Claire, it’s been a blast reading all the lists and alternatives to this great idea! Wonderful stuff. If I can ever drag myself away from Bag End I’ll join you on your next quest too.

    1. Ha, I’ll pass your message on! Have you seen all of my selection? Not many seem to have watched The Way or The Last Unicorn!

      I’m so glad you enjoyed taking part 😀 Thank you!

  7. Saw this on Birgit’s blog. Had to give it a go. Neat idea indeed.

    I still haven’t watched The Way. Got to get on that one. Been a few years since I watched The Last Unicorn. Having everyone come to you with a happy ending is a find way to be indeed.

    1. Hi Pat – thank you! And thanks so much for taking part. I’ve added your link on my post.
      I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts if you do watch The Way. The Last Unicorn is a childhood favourite so I have a big soft spot for it.

  8. Great post! And I love your film choices (although I’ve not seen The Way but it sounds like I should). Especially love seeing The Last Unicorn listed – I don’t know anyone who has seen that. I only saw it for the first time after I started blogging & it’s fantastic. 🙂 Bowie is a hero of mine too & I absolutely loved the romance in Brief Encounter (also only watched that for the first time after blogging as well).

    1. Thank you! 😀
      Wonderful to know there is another The Last Unicorn fan out there. I haven’t come across that many people who have it heard of it let alone watched it.
      Labyrinth is one of my ‘happy films’ I can watch time and time again.

  9. Hi there, is there a time limit for this post as love to join in now I have some time. I have just finished hosting another blogathon. Btw would you like to join my Joan Collins blogathon in March..? Details are on my blog…

      1. Please do go ahead if you’d still like to join? It was to post on or after 29 January so up to you 🙂
        I’ve just had a quick look around your blog – there’s so much content! I could be there a while…

      2. Tbh I do feel a bit cheeky as it’s over a week after the 29th. But do tell me when you have your next one. If you look up the blogathon pages for this year there are quite a lot of blogathons to join if you keen.

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