As today is my birthday I thought I’d do a top 5 to celebrate this by picking my Top 5 Films starting with the letter S. My friend Becky Pritchard returns to join me in this Top 5 endeavour. Now the film does have to start with the letter S, so any films with the first word ‘The’ don’t count. As usual I want to mention a couple of others; Se7en, Shrek, Sing Street, Speed, and Some Like It Hot (probably many others I couldn’t think of as well).

Number 5:

  • Shuggie: School of Rock – Richard Linklater’s love letter to rock music was a seminal film in the lives of so many people my age. Telling the story of a down on his luck rocker, Jack Black’s Dewey Finn, who takes a substitute teacher position at a prestigious local school by pretending to be his room mate Ned (don’t worry Dewey I can’t spell the surname either). The young actors bring some of the best child characters ever to the screen; they aren’t annoying but really kids that you could find in school. And as someone who was brought up listening to AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Motörhead, The Who, and so on I was delighted to see a film which introduced these bands to many of my friends.
  • Becky: School of Rock – School of Rock is another absolute classic; everyone I have spoken to would include School of Rock listed in their top 10 films. It is a brilliant heart-warming comedy. It’s featured in many of my group’s pre drinks and it just produces such catchy songs that you can’t help but sing along to. It’s a film full of challenges, laughs and focusing on coming together as a group to achieve something. School of Rock is only enhanced by Jack Black’s character who pulls the whole film together.

Number 4:

  • Shuggie: Serenity – Fans of Joss Whedon’s incredible TV show Firefly were obviously gutted when it was cancelled after only a single season (seriously we still go on about it ad nauseam). That’s why it was so rewarding for the fans that in 2005 a film was made to tie up many of the lose ends that the show left. It couldn’t do them all, and there is even a reference to this made by Shepherd Book, and the ‘less important stories’ have been told in comic books. I actually came to the tv show through the film, having seen it on DVD when I first came out, and the iconic River Tam with the sickle and … shot stayed with me. This is a film jam packed with great quotable lines, awesome character moments, and one of the best performances by possibly my favourite actor, Nathan Fillion (seriously I have a fanboy t-shirt and everything… but I’m not crazy).
  • Becky: Shrek – Shrek is a fantastic family friendly comedy that follows the story of Shrek and his faithful Donkey. We follow Shrek and Donkey on their adventures as they try to stop Fiona marrying Lord Farquaad. The sequels that follow don’t quite match up to the fantastic original but definitely hold their own. Shrek is one of those films perfect for a rainy Sunday afternoon. I love the quote ability of Shrek and the welcome they get as they stumble across Dulock is just bloody brilliant.

Number 3:

  • Shuggie: Shaun of the Dead – The first collaboration between Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg, may still be their finest. A homage to horror films, particularly George A. Romero’s ‘The Living Dead’ series. Wright and Pegg succeed in creating one of the truly great horror comedies. The film is filled with hilarious quotable moments, not to mention that it actually manages to have some genuinely great horror moments. Shaun of the Dead is also responsible for bringing the world one of the best modern film characters, Nick Frost’s Ed. So let’s “go to the Winchester, have a nice cold pint, and wait for all of this to blow over”.
  • Becky: Se7en – Se7en is a dark thriller where we meet two detectives (Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt) as they follow the trial of a serial killer who chooses his victims according to the Seven Deadly Sins. This storyline is clever, disturbing and dark and keeps you guessing and squirming in your seat until the very end. I liked this film because of the fact you didn’t just get to sit back and watch, you had to think ‘why is this happening?’ ‘What does that symbolise’ and so on.

Number 2:

  • Shuggie: Spirited Away – It’s not often Spirited Away isn’t number 1 in a Top 5 list of mine, but it’s still right up amongst my favourite films starting with the letter S. I’ve spoken about my love for Spirited Away several times, and I’m really not sure what more I can say about it, but it is both my favourite animated and foreign language film as you can see here.
  • Becky: Shallow Hal – Shallow Hal is one of my all-time favourite films. We follow Hal (Jack Black) through a string of failed relationships until he is hypnotised by a self-help guru he meets when he gets stuck in a lift. The hypnotist teaches Hal to see a woman’s inner beauty rather than just judging her on her appearance. What follows is a brilliant film that takes you from laughter to tears in moments. I love this film because of the original concept and the deep thought behind it.

Number 1:

  • Shuggie: Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back – How do you improve on a film as good as Star Wars? You make one of the greatest films ever made. Empire Strikes Back hits all the notes that it had to, it give characters like Han, Luke, and Leia so much great material and introduced iconic characters such as Lando Calrissian and Boba Fett. The opening sequence on Hoth is still one of the greatest battles you will see on film and the iconic final confrontation between Vader and Luke is just special, and was one of the first films to ever have the heroes lose. Empire is not only one of my favourite films beginning with S, but one of my favourite films full stop.
  • Becky: Shutter Island – I stepped out of the cinema after seeing Shutter Island and questioned everything. I absolutely love films that make you think; and this makes you question the entire plot of the film in the last half hour of watching. It’s an absolutely incredible film in the sense that you are not prepared for what hits you. It’s dark and creepy in places but also clever and creative and I think that’s what makes it my top film beginning with ‘S’.