Oh I do like a good challenge. Shout out to Claire Packer who writes a blog called Cinematic Delights for sending this challenge my way – #FiveFilmsForever!
I’ll probably do this all wrong knowing my luck, but here goes…
“You wake up to eerier 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?”
For the ‘Five Films Forever’ blogathon I’m asking you 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 Castaway 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
First of all let me say – I hate making definitive lists of absoluteness. That’s why this challenge was as much fun as it was a frustration to me too. Whenever I am asked the question “What is your favourite film?” I just can’t answer it. I don’t like limiting myself to one option because it’s easy to lose sight of other greatness. All the same, this is a challenge after all, so here goes…
- The Transformers: The Movie (1986) – It makes me happy. It has thrills, spills, adventure, and great (albeit cheesy) music too. It’s one of those films I can watch all the time. I thought that having an animated film in my pick of five would be a good idea for lazy mornings to remind me of a childhood well spent.
- Grease (1978) – To keep my spirits up I wanted a musical entry in my list, and what better than a musical entry that tells the story of being yourself and just having fun. I might know all the words to the film, but for any doubt about knowing all the dialogue in the film, I can assure you that I absolutely know all the songs word for word (and dance for dance). This is sure to keep my spirits up while all around me death and destruction is happening.
- The Godfather: Part II (1974) – Oooh, and absolute epic. I toiled hard about having the middle entry in a trilogy on my list but went for it in the end. While the first film is brilliant, the sequel is a masterclass in story telling. It’s also very intelligent and shows how good planning can pay off – something that I’ll need when you read me fate.
- Alien (1979) – For those dark nights when I need my senses putting on edge I decided to go with a Sci-Fi fantasy horror. It is very claustrophobic and will provide outer-Earthly scares that I’ll be able to handle during my fate. I didn’t want anything to realistic to the situation I penned so this works well to drive tension without reminding me too much of the apocalypse I’ll be surrounded by.
- Airplane! (1980) – Cheap laughs and easy viewing. Surely there are other comedies I could have picked, well, there are, and don’t call me “Shirley” 😀 This light-hearted disaster schlock film will keep me entertained and happy.
I am a survivor and I’m somewhere random and remote with my wife and cat. There has been a global catastrophic plague that threatened humanity (FTR it isn’t called Covid). Not many people listened to the advise on news reports and emergency broadcasts to run for the hills, and soon enough average everyday folk were bitten and mutated into rabid blood thirsty undead predators. Thankfully they had the good grace to be slower than the plague zombies in modern zombie films like “28 Days Later” (2002) so we were able to outrun them for a while. My small group managed to find solace within a larger group of people who seemed sensible enough and for the most part, looked like they had a plan for survival.
Sooner or later greed, power, and stupidity corrupted that group and things became tense, some people in the group fall foul to stupid mistakes that get them cornered and bitten. One day the fortified compound we have built is overrun by the undead. We should have seen it coming really, it happens in all the good zombie films (practically any of the George A. Romero zombie films). There is panic everywhere, some people fleeing and some people being munched on by the mutated undead.
In the panic I frantically search for my wife and cat, but I can only find one of them. My cat, despite being of an old age is not phased by the mass hysteria. He’s strutting around sniffing people and using his ninja-like fluidity skills to avoid any of the undead arms that try to capture him for a small snack. I grab Mr Chunks Sasquatch (yeah that’s my cats name) and against his protestations I get him nestled into my backpack so he resembles a fuzzy version of Yoda from “Empire Strikes Back” (1980) when he’s training Luke on Dagobah.
Unable to find my wife I am heartbroken. It’s not like I don’t try – I go into every single building, I try to catch a look at all the cadavers and walking dead – she is nowhere to be found. I remember that we always dreamed of living in a remote cabin in XXXX near XXXX (for secrecy and my future survival I’m not about to tell anybody where it is, that would be stupid!), so I begin the long arduous journey there. There is only so much wriggeling I can stand from my backpack so I decide on my journey to head to what looks like a small village. The cat and I stop for a break and to grab any supplies I can find. I leave him guarding a small isolated area where he appears safe and head into the small village to get what I can. It seems that fortune favours me. I manage to find enough supplies to make the journey a little easier on both of us – one such find is a modern pram (or pushchair if you are American). This might seem like an odd find but in my mind it allows transporting the cat a little easier, if not a little slower. When our journey recommences we are like a weird version of “Shogun Assassin” (1980), wandering the countryside on a journey.
After a long week of walking we only have one more obstacle to overcome, a small stretch of water. Mr Chunks isn’t thrilled about the idea of crossing water but thankfully I find a small boat which has space below the main deck and I ‘bribe’ him by opening a whole can of tuna out of sight of the water. He pootles off below deck with the scent of tuna in his nose and I begin to get the boat going. The crossing doesn’t take too long at all – I’m hardly crossing the ocean after all, and soon enough we are on the shores of XXXX where we can start to build our new life.
We aren’t entirely living a Tom Hanks “Castaway” situation nor are doing a Will Smith “I am Legend” either, having left the hordes of un-dead behind. I’m fated to live out my days with my cat, living off the land. Each day I take the boat back to the main shore to go on scavenger hunts for supplies, and also to see if my wife appears. I’ve left plenty of messages around the shore which tell her to meet me at a particular location if she gets this far. I can’t be too specific in the messages though for fear of somebody else finding me and taking the safe haven I’ve built. If she finds her way here she is clever enough to work out where to meet me based on my messages, and she’ll understand why am I not just saying “go to XXXX and we’ll be waiting”. Each time I make the trip to the mainland and wait in the designated spot I having a feeling of hope, but that’s also chipped away with a little heartache too as each day I wait in vain for her arrival.
… but then, one day I wake up and find a projector and movies in my secret hideaway.
Where did it come from?
How did it get there?
Who put it there?
Have my traps and early warning systems failed or is this some kind of magic??
My mind goes into survival mode, instead of focusing on the projector and movies I make a dash for the outside world to find out if I’ve been found. My survival instincts have kicked in big-time because I’ve been used to living alone for a while now and this doesn’t feel right. I search the whole camp, I go into each building to see if anybody is there or if anything has been moved. There is one notable absence from my life – the cat!
I run from edge to edge of my small island (it doesn’t take too long as it’s only a very small island) but there is no sign of Mr Chunks. My camp doesn’t appear to have been entered, and all my early warning traps are still set and ready to go off. As well as slightly scared I’m also mystified as to how anybody could have brought the projector and movies to me. I run around like a headless chicken from dawn till dusk searching for answers.
Just before daylight has faded I notice second boat near my own. How did I miss this before? Where has it come from? Who brought it?
I decide to stop running around and fortify my position. I have to find somewhere to set up and protect what I have, but I’m also really really hungry. I decide to kill two birds with one stone, I head back to the main building I’ve been calling home to get some food and to use this as a focal point to defend myself. As I get closer I can see illuminations – I can’t remember leaving a light on?!
I creep slowly up to the building and like a trained tactical specialist I get close up to the wall and side-step my way around the building. I’m listening for signs of life and looking for some kind of a nook or cranny I can look into the building to see what is going on. All of a sudden I’m taken out of my stride by a massive yell, it sounds feral and pained. I jump into action and bolt it towards the door and barge my way into the home building. To my utter shock and surprise my cat sprawled on the floor like a sleeping lion. He’s being groomed… by my wife. She looks up at me. My eyes glaze over as I stand dumbfounded looking at the vision in front of me. “His fur was matted, the comb got caught” she announces, explaining why there was a sudden painful and feral scream. I begin to cry and chuckle at the same time – the messy kind of crying where there are lots of tears and the occasional snot bubble. My wife stands up and approaches me, we share the longest embrace where I nearly squeeze the life out of her. Mr Chunks looks non-fussed and begins to finish the grooming my wife had started using his tongue.
That night, over a supper of vegetable stew my wife tells me the story of how she managed to get to me, how she found the projector, and why she thought it would be a good idea to bring it with her, despite it being heavy and slowing her down. She’s been carrying it for a while – before the whole adventure started, while we were living with others, she went on a scavenging trip and stumbled across the projector. She thought it would be a lovely birthday present. She wasn’t in the compound when it was overrun, she was looking for movies that she could give to me with the projector. She thankfully missed all the carnage and mayhem.
Our new life together starts then, my wife, the cat, and me. We settle down for the night and watch one of the films she managed to bring with her.
As a follow-up, and for a bit of fun, I asked Mrs DistractedByFilms what her responses would be to this challenge. She doesn’t blog so I decided to add her story here. After listening to what she said I feel that she is the better person in this marriage, and perhaps I have some making-up to do very quickly! Her story isn’t as graphic or tiring 😀
Her five films
- Up (2009) – Animated goodness that makes her laugh and cry. A beautiful film which is as touching as it is picturesque.
- Westworld (1973) – Who doesn’t love robots going rogue. There is no reasoning behind this, she just loves the film and could watch it on a weekly basis given the chance.
- The Great Escape (1963) – A cool classic that reminds her of how bad life could be, but also how pulling together despite adversity to overcome a situation. If these guys can escape the Nazi’s then whatever fate beckons she sure as hell will make the best of it.
- From Dusk till Dawn (1996) – My wife’s favourite film. Trapped with blood-sucking vampires everywhere, it might not be a manual to survive her fate but this cool and bloody film will sure keep her happy.
- The Wicker Man (1973) – Who doesn’t love Christoper Lee, right? With it’s juxtaposition of happy people and dark overtones of cruelty this will be a firm favourite on her playlist as she enjoys her ‘ever-after’ fate.
I’m alone? OK, that just means my husband has gone out to forage for food or to get firewood for the stove or fire in our idyllic county cabin. We left civilization behind a long while ago and now live hidden in a natural spot of beauty, surrounded by mountains, woods, and water. We left the world behind because it was getting scary with greed, corruption, and stupidity – it just wasn’t the world we envisaged living in anymore.
We live off the land and are at one with nature – even to the point that we regularly see wildlife in what we call our back garden, but is really the expanse of beautiful scenery that’s visible beyond the porch and the vegetable patch.
When my husband pulls his finger out and finally gets back to me, it’ll be time for snuggles and films with a fire roaring and the sound of nature getting on with it’s business outside. There’s nobody else around, and nothing to distract us so are happy in our own little world with a selection of lovely films to keep us entertained on the cold long nights that the location sometimes brings.
It’s probably fair to say that I’m not as nice as my wife when it comes to the journey we have to take. She’s opted for a nice and brief story, while I’ve gone over the top a little – nothing new there in this household! We have both chosen some iconic films, but we’ve both chosen some films that might be considered less epic. I had to change my story a few times, mainly because it read like I was heartless and cruel – in one scenario my wife died and she wasn’t happy about this. In fact, she threatened to come back as an undead monster and take her revenge on me. As an aching 40 year old I think my fate might be a strenuous ordeal, but if humanity is put to the sword I might just have to find a level of fitness which allowed me to play lots of sports in my youth, something that I promised would happen in lock-down. But instead of finding fitness, I found the ability to make really good cakes.
In case you were wondering, some of the films that nearly made my list included: “The Terminator” (1984), “The Shining” (1980), “Braindead” (1992), “Casablanca” (1942), “Night of the Living Dead” (1968), “The Blues Brothers” (1980), “Deadpool” (2016), “Flash Gordon” (1980), “Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade” (1989), “Mary Poppins” (1964), and of course, any of the original three “Star Wars” films – but probably “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980). I’ll put this out there too, given the choice again I might not have picked the 5 films I did here, but I stuck with my first options because it’s a fun challenge and thankfully not my “fated” end of the world list – yet!
This was a fun challenge, shout out to Claire Packer at Cinematic Delights for suggesting it. Time now to read other peoples #FiveFilmsForever!