108 / 365 – ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’ (1998) – 120 mins
IMDb Challenge #68 / 250 – Ranked #172 – Via DVD Collection
Eddy (Nick Moran) and his three best mates Bacon (Jason Statham), Soap (Dexter Fletcher) and Tom (Jason Flemyng) find themselves heavily – seriously heavily – in debt to an East End hard man and his enforcers after a crooked card game. Overhearing their neighbours in the next flat plotting to hold up a group of out-of-their-depth drug growers, our heroes decide to stitch up the robbers in turn. In a way the confusion really starts when a pair of antique double-barrelled shotguns go missing in a completely different scam.
With its colourful and brilliantly named cockney characters, Hatchet Harry, Barry the Baptist and Nick the Greek, who I have watched many times before, but not enough it seems as it reminded me what a fantastic and very humorous gangster \ black comedy piece from then first time director Guy Ritchie had created.
After a slow start Ritchie ups the pace that it almost goes off like a runaway train, with solid performances throughout from its four wideboys, deliriously executed set pieces, including the drug robbery of all drug robberies. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is clever, fast, and dynamite entertainment, that to me remains Ritchie’s creme de la creme.
109 / 365 – ‘Stand By Me’ (1986) – 89 mins
IMDb Challenge #69 / 250 – Ranked #171 – Via DVD Collection
Four friends Gordie (Will Wheaton), Chris (River Phoenix), Teddy (Corey Feldman) and Vern (Jerry O’Connell) from small town America go for a hike in the woods seeking the truth of a rumour that there is a dead body abandoned there. They discover more about themselves and their hopes and dreams than they had bargained for…
Adapted from a Stephen King short story, ‘The Body’ ‘Stand By Me’ is one of the best coming-of-age stories ever made, where there is much to admire, the special bond between best friends Gordie and Chris and in one key scene they share if it doesn’t have you choking back tears, well then…..
Rob Reiner (director) manages to perfectly balance the sentimentality, comedy and drama in the story whilst all the time drawing authentic performances from the young friends, and then there’s genuine menace from 80’s bad boy Kiefer ‘Jack Bauer’ Sutherland. Reiner crafted this and ‘The Princess Bride’ within the space of a year to establish two timeless classics.