- Every month, In Reel Time, features a prominent Goan personality in the field of art, media, lifestyle, and culture, and takes a look at their all-time favourite movies.
Anyone who tells you they ‘don’t really watch movies’ is either a liar, or just hasn’t watched a movie that has moved them (no pun intended). Growing up, movies were everything I needed to just get away from life. We all have our own stuff to deal with, and me being the kind of person who doesn’t really open up to anybody, felt that watching a good film was probably the best way to just escape for an hour an a half, and get completely immersed in another life. In many ways, it kinda helped me become the person that I am today as a standup comedian.
When I was asked to do this (thanks Mark), I thought at first that it would be pretty easy to pick out a few of my favourites and get this over and done with. But the more I thought about it, and with every movie I put down, I kept thinking of one better. 30 years of watching pretty much everything I could does not make it easier! And so I channelled my inner adolescent Danny and decided to go with the movies that really stood out in my life – for the purpose of pure entertainment. I’m not looking at movies that made an impact or changed the way I think, inspired me, moved me, taught me something new … no. I’m looking to be entertained.
As standup comedians, we’re constantly looking at the mundane and trying to find the humour in what others see as ordinary. Filmmakers do pretty much the same thing, and so here are 10 of my favourite movies that I think really stand out because they were just awesome.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
This one is a no-brainer. It’s a cult classic with just brilliant storytelling. Every scene in the movie is gripping, and it really keeps you engaged. It’s the kind of movie that you can watch over and over again – even though you know all the dialogues, but never get tired of it.
Pirates of the Caribbean (2003)
This is my go-to franchise for pure entertainment. Captain Jack Sparrow is just an amazingly written character, so funny, and so well played by Johnny Depp. Just the scale at which these movies were made was so amazing, and definitely a standout experience for me in the cinema.
As a kid, the Transformers were a huge part of my childhood. The cartoons were epic, but the actual toys – even more so. So much thought went to making robots that transform into cars and planes, and as a kid, it really blows your mind. So to see it come to life on the big screen when you’re an adult is just everything coming back around full circle and a celebration of your childhood. Michael Bay did a fantastic job with the first couple of movies.
Thor Ragnarok (2017)
When you look at everything that has been made in the MCU, this one just stands out. It’s another level. In my opinion, this was comedic-genius level funny, just in terms of its writing and acting. To combine comedy with a superhero film so well was really good.
I love 300 because it’s just pure machismo, and nothing else. Rock solid abs, and great dialogues. It’s the kind of film that I can watch over and over again because it’s just entertaining. I especially love the fight scene, when the Spartans are advancing and Leonidas is up front, the whole sequence is shot in slow motion – it’s stunning.
Death at a Funeral (2007)
This was probably the first dark comedy that I ever experienced in a theatre. I watched the original British version, not the American one – the original is way funnier. Solid acting, and to take a topic like death and a funeral, and to make it funny? For me, that was super inspiring.
Toy Story (1995)
This is one made the list purely for that connect with the child inside us. Growing up our toys always formed a big part of our world, and we always believed that our toys could speak when we were not in the room. So to watch a movie like that, and to get two more after that with the same premise and just the perfect balance of humour and storytelling, it definitely makes it one of my favourites.
Daddy’s Home (2015)
This was probably the only comedy in recent memory where I actually laughed out loud in the cinema. Very solid comedy writing, and very good acting chemistry by Will Ferrel and Mark Wahlberg
I love this Alfred Hitchcock classic because it’s one of the few films in the world that have been shot in one take. It was also one of the films that were a part of my studies during MBA. I guess it really remained with me purely because of the amount of effort and skill required to pull something like this off in the late 40’s. So yeah, for its time, this one is right up there in my list of all time favourites.
Spiderman: Into The Spiderverse (2018)
One of the last few movies I watched in the theatre, the animation was really next level. I’ve been a huge Spiderman fan ever since I was a kid, so for me, this was especially entertaining because of the way it was written. Such a complex storyline done extremely well.