The Films That Influenced Me: Adam Brannon


Adam Brannon

Movie Metropolis founder Adam Brannon shares the ten films that changed the way he viewed cinema.

Film has always meant an awful lot to me. But it’s not just films that I love, I adore anything film related. From memorabilia to the smell of a new Blu-ray, my passion for cinema goes far beyond sitting down and actually watching a movie.

The films featured in these lists changed my life and the way I look at the film industry, helping me shape and create this website in the process.

#10 Mrs Doubtfire

This film started my love affair with the wonderful Robin Williams and his loss feels raw even today.

Mrs Doubtfire has become something of a cult classic over the years and its impressive script means it still remains relatable today – and just as hilarious.

Chris Columbus, who later went on to direct the first two Harry Potter films crafted a near-perfect adaptation of Anne Fine’s Madame Doubtfire. Most people don’t realise the film is based on a novel, and I have to admit, I only discovered this a few years ago.

Even decades after its theatrical release, Mrs Doubtfire proves films can still throw up a few surprises if you look deep enough.

#9 Star Wars: The Force Awakens

A new film yes, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less extraordinary.

Unlike the majority of you reading this, I wasn’t blown away by the original Star Wars films when I was young, in fact, I only watched them a couple of times before The Force Awakens came out – I just didn’t get the whole space opera thing.

That all changed in December 2015 when Episode VII was released. I completely fell in love with the entire series, minus the prequels of course, and now have them all on Blu-ray with a couple of special edition steelbooks thrown in for good measure.

Rogue One may be the better film out of the two, but The Force Awakens started my love affair with Star Wars and its incredible universe. Now I can’t get enough of it.

#8 Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban

The first two Harry Potter films, in retrospect, aren’t all that great. Far too long, with a plodding pace, they’re good most definitely, but not incredible like J.K Rowling’s stunning books.

When Alfonso Cuaron was drafted in to help take the franchise in a new direction, he came up with the exceptional Prisoner of Azkaban.

As I entered my teen years, this is exactly what I wanted. A dark, brooding adaptation of a much darker novel than its predecessors. Gary Oldman’s introduction as Sirius Black was mesmerising and the series reached a new maturity that matched its ageing target audience.

I still watch the film to this day and love every minute of it. The cinematography is astonishing and shaped the rest of the record-breaking series.

#7 Deep Impact

The year was 1998 and the world had been swept away by the success of James Cameron’s Titanic. Audiences wanted more and two box-office behemoths were born to satisfy this urge to see things destroyed.

One was Armageddon, the other, Deep Impact. The latter began my rather morbid obsession with disaster movies – it has become my favourite genre and as I write this, I’m actually watching Deep Impact again and loving every minute of it.

Sure the technology is dated, they’re using floppy discs for heaven’s sake, but the emotional drama is something rarely called for in the genre.

Tea Leoni isn’t my most favourite actress, she’s garbage in Jurassic Park III, but she brings a warmth here that means it’s one of the most human disaster films ever produced, and hugely underrated. Check it out if you haven’t already seen it.

#6 Avatar

James Cameron certainly knows how to pack a punch. Avatar is currently sitting pretty as the highest grossing film of all time and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change anytime soon.

Heck, even Jurassic World, a 3D re-release of Titanic and Star Wars: the Force Awakens couldn’t topple this incredibly beautiful film.

Let’s be honest though, the plot is a bit pathetic and outside of those stunning special effects, Avatar really doesn’t have all that much going for it.

So why include it? Well, it was the first film I ever reviewed for Movie Metropolis so it holds a special place in my heart. On the 17th October 2010, Movie Metropolis was born and it is Avatar that has the special honour of being the very first article I ever uploaded.

#5 Halloween

The oldest film on my list, John Carpenter’s 1978 masterpiece was the film that began my enjoyment of the slasher genre.

And by enjoyment, I of course mean sitting with my hands in front of my eyes for the majority of the run-time. This seventies film set the standard for the genre with its incredible mix of horror, teenage angst and obviously that iconic tune.

Jamie Lee Curtis became the scream queen of the period and Michael Myers was the antagonist that made you check your wardrobes before going to bed – or was that just me?

It still gives me chills to this day. Sure, it’s been impersonated, remade and has about 100 sequels to its name, but that doesn’t tarnish the memory of one of the greatest horror films ever made.

#4 Hairspray

Quite a bizarre entry on the countdown but stick with me and all will become clear.

In the winter of 2007, I went through a hard break-up and believe it or not, the remake of Hairspray really helped me through it.

It wasn’t all plain sailing however; the DVD was bought by my former lover for us to both watch at some point in the future. Alas, that wasn’t meant to be and the box sat on my shelf for a couple of weeks completely unloved as I tried to come to terms with my loneliness.

Eventually, I decided to pop the DVD on and was blown away by how well written and beautifully acted the whole film was. From John Travolta’s amazing turn as Edna Turnblad to Michelle Pfeiffer’s villainous Velma Von Tussle, it was the cheerful uplift that I so desperately needed at that time.

#3 Alien

Ah Alien, you’ve turned me into a snivelling wreck on many occasions. The sole reason I began having night terrors, Alien found its way into my life in 2011 when I watched it for the very first time.

It’s my partner’s all-time favourite film and when that’s the case, you kind of have to watch it. Especially considering we have watched the entire Jurassic Park series upwards of 50 times – and don’t get him started on Desperate Housewives. Seriously, don’t.

There’s no denying Alien is an absolutely astonishing film and it is without a doubt one of the best horror films I have ever seen, but those face-huggers have been the cause of many sleepless nights in the Brannon household, trust me.

#2 Jurassic Park

The great thing about these articles is they throw up a few surprises. I was all ready to put Jurassic Park at number one until I remembered my now first choice.

Steven Spielberg’s 1993 masterpiece not only changed the way blockbusters were made, but it categorically began my dangerous obsession with dinosaurs. They’re not just for kids you know.

I was Sam Neill’s Alan Grant at four years old. Playing with my plastic prehistoric beasts and pretending they were real. I even created a model Jurassic Park in my mum’s rockery – to which she was not best pleased, but it stayed there for months and I was very proud of it.

And I now collect Jurassic Park memorabilia, to the dismay of my partner, a collection which is growing year on year and shows no signs of stopping.

#1 The Land Before Time

Littlefoot, Petrie, Cera, Ducky and Spike made up the majority of my childhood. When I wasn’t watching ‘real’ dinosaurs in action, I was submersing myself in the animated world of the Great Valley.

The Land Before Time broke my little heart and it was for more reasons than that bas*ard sharp tooth killing Littlefoot’s mother. In 1994, I lost my nana and I remember sitting and watching this film and crying my eyes out.

In some ways though, this animated beauty helped me through an incredibly tough time. My mum tells me I became reclusive and barely spoke, naturally I don’t remember this but looking back at the message this film sent me, I’m sure it made me realise that loved ones never really leave us, they just move to a special place reserved for the very best of us.

The Land Before Time spawned over a dozen sequels that my little sister has enjoyed watching just like me over the years – it has a very special place in Brannon family history and for that reason, it has to be the most influential film in my life.

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