This article originally appeared on VICE UK.
Just as people relate to the protagonist in their favourite novel or see bits of themselves in a band’s frontperson, they connect with the flaws and spoils of the main character in their number one film. It’s how it goes. We’re human: we eat, sleep, piss, shag, fight, pay the bills and somewhere between, look toward art as a way to understand why we do what we do.
For some people, watching a movie is about engaging with the purest of fantasy. It’s a cheap ticket to the harsh deserts of Tatooine, James Cameron’s exoplanetary moon or wherever the fucking weird place in Pan’s Labyrinth is set – and you don't even have to put on pants to get there. For others, it’s romance, as learned through the verbal two-step of Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy, the jostling and ribbing of Love & Basketball from Gina Prince-Bythewood or the strange isolation of Sofia Coppola's Lost In Translation; determination, from the rags-to-riches narratives of Tony Montana, Jamal Malik and Chris Gardener; stupidity: in whatever Jim Carrey is in.
Like songs and paintings and polyphonic ringtones, there is a film to suit every emotion. Anger (La Haine). Grief, death and loss (Up). Falling in love with the older, hot American man visiting your vacation villa (Call Me By Your Name). It’s all there. From Lady Bird's precise mother-daughter-col girl relationships to the hard-working grit of a Frances McDormand character making you realise how pathetic you really are, watching movies is one of the best ways to understand the nuances of the human condition.
That strong connection we have with films leads almost directly to why an outrageously high number of red-flag straight male Tinder users identify with Fight Club’s Tyler Durden. It’s the reason behind every T-bird and Pink Lady outfit currently on the streets of Brighton, and the inspiration for every imitation Titanic 'you stand behind and I'll go in front with my arms out' pose posted online for laughs. Pretty much everyone has a little bit of them in a film, somewhere. In light of that, let’s look into what people’s favourite film says about them. Or to be more direct: what your favourite film says about you. That’s you, who I am talking to. I’M TALKING TO YOU. HIYA.
SO, YOUR FAVOURITE FILM IS PULP FICTION (1994)
Let’s start with an easy one: Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. The one where Uma Thurman’s character accidentally snorts smack and almost dies and John Travolta says something about burgers and cheese and Europe. “They just do things differently over there,” he posits, before repeating that quote you gleefully recite when ordering a royale with cheese – which would be fine on the odd occasion but not when you say it at your local shopping centre’s Burger King every other weekend. Also be honest: you probably bought this with Seven or Inception or something like that as part of a 2-for-1 offer at HMV before it closed down.
SO, YOUR FAVOURITE FILM IS CLUELESS (1995)
This one is good because it suggests you have at least probably read a book that wasn’t also sold in HMV (it’s based on Jane Austen’s Emma, doncha know) and/or despite edging 30, you still think the high school years were the best of your life and continue to dress accordingly. Like Cher, you’re a boy or girl or man or woman who can’t drive but that’s OK – someone else will always do it for you. Oh and definitely stop drinking so much coffee, that stuff is bad. Pretty sure it’s why you don’t sleep very well? Anyway.
SO, YOUR FAVOURITE FILM IS KIDS (1995)
Okay, yeah, you can rip a bong from an apple or a bottle of water but do you have a job? And by job that’s anything outside of the music, content and documentary industries and also not at a skate shop.
SO, YOUR FAVOURITE FILM IS PRINCESS MONONOKE (1997)
Like fellow Studio Ghibli films Spirited Away (often deemed a metaphor for a brothel) and My Neighbour Totoro (it’s about death), Princess Mononoke contains a sub-text. Director Hayao Miyazaki says that while on the surface it’s about a man’s quest to find a cure for a curse, it’s actually about leprosy. It’s these things, you say, that elevate the Japanese anime house’s films into works of art that “adults and children can both enjoy.” For now you’re working in CeX or IT or recruitment, you also like to spend lots of time alone, but one day you really do plan to get your shit together and make the trip to Kyoto to meet up with the pen-pal you’ve been chatting with on a Japanese speech learning app.
SO, YOUR FAVOURITE FILM IS 'ANYTHING FROM THE MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE (2009-2019)'
No knives thrown… what Marvel has done with the MCU is incredible. It’s a once-in-a-life-time level of accomplishment. It’s for nerds who have way too much free time on their hands and I envy every one of them.
SO, YOUR FAVOURITE FILM IS BRIDESMAIDS (2011)
Ballie Ballerson on the weekend is it. Prosecco pong? Thought so.
SO, YOUR FAVOURITE FILM IS 'ANYTHING BY WES ANDERSON (1996-2018)'
Like the Bridesmaids fan above, the Wes Anderson watcher also likes to drink. But you drink gin. Cool gin, like pink gin. Or one with berries in. Or any gin, really, so long as it isn’t the supermarket own brand or Gordon's. You have some tattoos, you like candles, you do drugs, but not too many drugs. At one point you’ve probably colour-coordinated your bookcase display. Open your tea cupboard: there are at least ten different flavour blends. Bill Murray excites you. Something is very wrong.
SO, YOUR FAVOURITE FILM IS GOODFELLAS / THE GODFATHER / THE GODFATHER II
I guess you’re a man and that’s OK :)
SO, YOUR FAVOURITE FILM IS THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (1994)
You watched this in school, haven't bothered with another film since. This is the Of Mice and Men of movies.
SO, YOUR FAVOURITE FILM IS WEST SIDE STORY (1961)
SO, YOUR FAVOURITE FILM IS LORD OF THE RINGS (2001-2003)
Screw the Myers-Briggs personality test, there are two types of people in this world: those who can't do anything for three continuous hours except maybe sleep. And then you have those who grab some thrills from watching little men go find a ring they've lost in a weird fantasy world. “But it’s one of the best fanta–” Nope. “It’s so detai–” No, no, no. This is pure hopepunk, fantasy-core.
SO, YOUR FAVOURITE FILM IS THE EXORCIST (OR EQUIVALENT HORROR FILM)
There’s something very lawful neutral about you horror film-loving lot. I'd probably expect you to be chaotic evil, due to the enjoyment you gain from an evening spent watching possessed childrens’ heads turn anti-clockwise on their necks. But you're actually the most vanilla of the bunch. Surrounded by an extensive collection of the macabre (loads of things to read, basically, and maybe a cat), I kinda feel you get you kicks from watching bad things happen to bad people while toeing the line of absolute mediocrity.
SO, YOUR FAVOURITE FILM IS 'THE BATMAN FILM WITH HEATH LEDGER’S JOKER IN (2008)'
*Joker voice: “WhY sO SeRious”*
SO, YOUR FAVOURITE FILM IS 'THE BATMAN FILM WITH TOM HARDY'S BANE IN (2012)'
*Bane voice: “I AM BANE”*
SO, YOUR FAVOURITE FILM IS NONE OF THE ABOVE
Well done. You are a rounded individual who can't be easily placed in an archetypal box based on something you watched on DVD more than three times!