On Thursdays we focus on movies be it because they will shortly be in the cinema or because we believe they are cult classics everyone should watch in their lifetime.
Autumn is the time of year where I begin to compile lists of films I need to watch. Whilst spring brings out the romantic and dreamy aspect out of movies, Autumn is rough but that is what makes these movies so spectacular. The brownish, red visuals added to streets filled with dead leaves have a certain poetry to it.
My good friend Peter DeGraft-Johnson has kindly compiled an Autumnal cinematic guide for us. As an addition to studying English Literature in London, Peter spends his days attending premiers and conducting interviews as well as writing reviews for major Film institutions (British Film Institute, The Prince Charles Cinema and TimeOut London, to name a few). He is clearly making quite a mark on the cinematographic scene.
Sit back, relax and get your popcorn ready to enjoy your classic films for Fall.
When Harry Met Sally
Although the film takes place over more than a year, the iconic scenes are in autumn. When Harry (Billy Crystal) and Sally (Meg Ryan) take a leisurely stroll through a park, surrounded by a cascading backdrop of green, brown, orange and yellow, an iconic modern cinema scene is born. The next viral wedding proposal will probably be a reworking of this stirring autumn romance, men? Take notes.
Dead Poets Society
Sadly, when autumn rolls around school bells start ringing too. Set in the American 50s prep school Welton Academy, Robin Williams is magnetic as the non-conventional English teacher, John Keating. As we follow the shy new guy Todd Anderson (Ethan Hawke) through dictatorship like teachers, the camaraderie between the tight-knit group of students is a firm foundation for the dramatic storyline to take place around them. Look out for Todd cycling around the school grounds in a distinctly autumnal scene.
Another back-to-school setting for autumn and once again we’re in the company of overachievers. Equipped with a traditionally smooth Wes Anderson colour scheme , Rushmore takes place across an autumn term. Max (Jason Schwartzman – this is Wes Anderson of course) isn’t the brightest in the classroom, instead he’s an extracurricular mogul that shares a love interest with Herman Blume (Bill Murray). The student who lists Harvard as his reserve university option and the listless millionaire form an unlikely pairing, and before too long they’re exchanging tit-for-tat revenge schemes over Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams) a widowed elementary teacher, in a pathetically funny anti-love triangle.
Withnail & I
What’s not to love about two out-of-work actors swearing their way through London, via the drab surroundings of Penrith, Wales? As well as being contagiously quotable, the Richard E. Grant & Paul McGann double act is grounded in a sense of close friendship underneath the drunken squalor – “The entire sink’s gone rotten”. Withnail and his unnamed drinking partner “I” leave London for a weekend in the country, courtesy of Withnail’s root-crop adoring Uncle Monty (played by Richard Griffiths) and continue drinking to excess, while trying to figure out their lives. There’s also a notorious drink-along-with Withnail game for any fans of extreme alcohol consumption. Be warned, and remember to buy enough alcohol to open your own private wine cellar.
Autumn isn’t only good for wandering through parks and being romantic, rom-coms take second place to horror once Halloween comes around in October. Before Scary Movie ran out of spoof ideas, they turned to John Carpenter’s original Halloween for inspiration. A real sense of dread creeps through this film, in every lingering close up of empty windows and escaped asylum inmates surrounding cars. A young Michael Myers starts the killing off, and within ninety minutes traditional end of October hell has been released on a sleepy Illinois town.
Written by Peter deGraft-Johnson
Make sure you check out his website: Room to review
Follow Peter on twitter: @RoomToReview