RR Films: Cars and Driving

With the surprising implication that someone might actually be driving the Brexit bus from a front seat, BoJo attempts to hijack the future with alternative facts from the past. Donny would be proud of the blonde blusterer: a chip off the old duplicitous block.

But it provides an opening to look at films about driving, whatever the vehicle. And there are whole genres contained therein: the Road Movie and the Race Movie. I’m picking the first full-length feature from a chap called Spielberg (wonder what he’s been doing since?): Duel. It’s classified as a TV Movie but I’m sure it has since kept cinema audiences on the edge of their seats as they watch the increasingly dangerous cat-and-mouse manoeuvres by the wheeled protagonists. What a way to announce the start of your career.

What films featuring motorised land-based vehicles (cars, trucks, buses, lawnmowers…) would you recommend?

RR Films: Water

We did consider films about The Sea back in our early days but there’s so much rain around at the moment that I thought wateriness in general deserved a week.

There are some great dramas set on raging rivers (Werner and Klaus territory) and some gentle portraits set on lakes (well, one I can think of). Torrential rain can have devastating effects, as we are seeing, and yet drizzle and mist can prove beautifully atmospheric. Real life needs a bit of moderation; films prefer the extremes.

My choice is Pixar’s Finding Nemo, a film set almost entirely underwater, and one I was pleased to have the excuse to see in the cinema by taking a child with me. The animation is stunning and the jokes are pretty good.

What wet films would you recommend?

RR Films: Gambling

It is possible that nuclear war is about to break out, if you believe that two uncontrollable psychopaths are dictating events, or maybe it’s simply a continuation of the poker game that’s been going on for some time with the stakes getting higher. Let’s just hope neither one shows his hand; I can’t see that producing any winners.

So let’s stay in play (as I’ve heard on TV ads, I think) and consider cinema’s treatment of gambling, whether in the casino, at the races or in real life, where there are more than just financial consequences. Although set in a casino, my choice, The Cooler, is about the effects of love on this particular world of gambling. It stars one of my very favourite actors, William H Macy.

What films about gambling would you recommend?

RR Films: End Of The World

As climate change has nothing to to with the flooding of the USA’s fourth largest city – obviously – Gahd must be angry with Texas. Why? No reason required; it’s a mystery what that guy does. It can’t be retribution for spewing all that carbon into the atmosphere, so it’s probably just another test of faith for the Bible-thumpers – but it may be the beginning of the end. Keep an eye out for frogs.

Cinema loves spectacle and I’m sure, when it does happen in a few billion years, Earth’s demise will be truly cinematic, if you’re sitting in Row ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ in a distant corner of the Universe. In the meantime, tell me about your favourite films dealing with the End Of Times, either literally or metaphorically. I’ll go for the latter, Lars von Trier’s Melancholia. Whether or not you think it works as a concept, the final scenes are truly mind-blowing.

What films about the End Of The World would you recommend?

RR Films: Time

The Great Bell in the Elizabeth Tower, aka Big Ben, has been silenced for a while, causing some to fear the very end of time, or at least England as we know it (harrumph).

[Intertitle: Time hasn’t actually been an RR topic, but it is one of the categories on Marco’s Related Topics page and the other news didn’t inspire me and I should be in bed.]

Films have painted histories covering vast stretches of time and taking place in the twinkling of an eye (in a universe somewhere). Other films have shown the effects of time, on people, on places, on events. Some just play with it.

My choice does that, collapsing years into minutes, just as it collapses lives into bit parts: Synecdoche, New York.

What films would you recommend where time takes a front seat?

RR Films: Space

Cassini is celebrating the end of its 20-year sojourn to Saturn by getting a good snort of the atmosphere. Cheers!

Space used to be a fantastic wonderland, where the scant detail we had about it enabled imaginations to run wild and early films didn’t have to worry about the practicalities of distance, radiation, gravity and so on. But that has changed in recent decades as technology has allowed us to see, sample and even sniff worlds far, far away. Hell, we’ve even put actual people on the moon…..!

So I’m looking for films set in space this week. Plenty of classic sci-fi to choose from – and even a few ‘real’ space films now – but I’d like your picks of those that still seem plausible, given what we have learnt over the last 70 years. I’m choosing Duncan Jones’ debut, Moon. It’s a two-hander featuring Sam Rockwell and Kevin Spacey, -ish. Enjoyably perception-twisting.

What films set in space would you recommend?

RR Films: Coming of Age

The UK government is proposing that we be allowed to delete on-line evidence of adolescent shenanegans to save us future embarrassment. How sweet of them; it’s good to know they care…not enough to provide sufficient funds for education and mental health care, obviously, but enough to make it seem like they have some control over the tech companies we blithely give our personal secrets to.

But adolescent shenanegans are part of growing up, surely? Maybe you don’t need the video record of them plastered on the walls of time forever but they are part of the adult you become. Please feel free to recount your (embarrassing) youthful escapades but I’m more interested in films about such episodes, in the context of growing up and becoming an ‘adult’. I’m picking an Austrian film I raved about in 2011, Atmen (Breathing), about a troubled teen who finds a sense of purpose through a work-experience job at a morgue. You see him mature in front of your eyes.

What coming-of-age films would you recommend?