03 January, 2012

My VHS Favourites

Till the time I became a Twitter addict, I used to think I was one of the last few people on this Earth who still had a Video Cassette Player and a bunch of VHS Tapes. But, was I wrong or what? I do still think that I might be amongst maybe 10 people in India who actually uses VHS to view movies in this day and age.

My VHS collections isn't huge anymore, around 100 tapes, partially because I upgraded a few movies over time and others just went bad, but I still enjoy watching some movies in the format I first saw them (aside from the theater).

Here's a list of some of my favourite movies that are in my VHS collection. 

Cinema Paradiso - The first ever "foreign film" that I saw and loved. Along with The Last Emperor, it is the only non-Hindi/English film that I remember watching as a child. The brilliance of Cinema Paradiso is that if you ask any cinephile today, there is a good chance that they have seen it and it has had some part in guiding their love towards films.

Grosse Point Blank - I've tried thinking of another actor that could possibly replace John Cusack in this brilliant dark humored film, but honestly no one comes to mind. Cusack plays the character of a hitman going to his school reunion with such ├╝ber-coolness that were it not for Grosse Point Blank or High Fidelity, he would have never survived the debacle that was 2012.   

JFK - Conspiracy theories aside, the film really is a masterpiece when it comes to a journalistic approach in a film. A great cast and some pretty awesome blink-and-you-will-miss cameos by a number of legendary stars, the film remains of one Oliver Stone’s greatest works.

Love and other Catastrophes - A small indie-esq gem of a film that follows a group of students during one day of their life. Quirky and fun, it works as a lovely little date film.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail - I was officially introduced to Monty Python in college by my History teacher who played the entire Holy Grail in class to especially show the scene of the history professor doing the TV show being killed. For me Holy Grail will always be better than the more appreciated Life of Brian. 

Primal Fear - There was nothing better than watching the entire film unfold before my eyes in the last 10 minutes when all the secrets come to light. There has only been one other film that has had the same effect on me and that one is mentioned below. Story aside, Edward Norton performed brilliantly, and the fact that I had just decided on making Psychology my double major brought about a whole new angle to the film.

Curdled - I haven't heard many people talk about this film. In fact I too was given this tape by a friend who had seen it and thought I would like it. It's a nice psychological dark comedy that has a blood clean-up lady going head to head in a battle of wits with a serial killer.

Reservoir Dogs - It is better than Pulp Fiction any day...and that is a fact!

Rope - My favourite Hitchcock film, I just love how the story, which is a fierce battle of one-upmanship, works so well in the claustrophobic surroundings of an apartment, and to top it all, goes about doing so in extremely long takes. This murder why-dunnit tells the audience everything straight on, yet keeps them captivated throughout. Pure brilliance.

Swimming with Sharks - Kevin Spacey is the boss from hell. Dark, funny, dramatic, if this movie were to be made now, it would have been turned into torture-porn, but thankfully the story along with strong performances is what makes this one of my favourite films. 

The Castle - This Australian gem based on real life events is the story of a family as they fight the government who wants to take over their house to extend a nearby airport. The film is funny and charming, full of eccentric likable character, and is pure Australian gold.  

The Usual Suspects - Yup! It's that other film which has an ending like no other. A film that remained my favourite for the longest time and just the thought of the ending now gives me goose bumps. Brilliant!

Trainspotting - it had me at “Choose Life”. 

Transformers: The Movie - The only film that I own in VHS and DVD format. It might be animated, but it is so much better than any of the live action Transformers we have seen in the last decade. With some great voice support and a strong storyline, Transformers is a must have for any fan of the toys or even anime.


  1. WOW I forgot how chunky VHS' are!!

    Props for still watching them matey. My kids go mental when I show them a VHS in a shop "this is what we used to watch a film on", they cannot believe it!! HAHAH

  2. Hi Scott, my daughter is too small to figure out the difference, but I can imagine the day I show her casette players, or even CD players. Thanks