Jon Mcleary is the creator of The Spines, check them out on Bandcamp. They will be playing two shows this coming weekend with Vorn and The Julie Lamb band as part of The Bungee Tour. He is also an artist, author of the novel Manslaughter and you can read his weekly War Stories here at Off The Tracks each Monday with The Ghost of Electricity. Here are five films that have stayed with him…
1 –The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Besides scaring the hell out of me, it awoke this feeling of pathos and the empathy that comes with it. Though Frankenstein and Dracula had those elements too – they weren’t human and Quasimodo was, very much so. Half of the horror in that film is from the torture and injustice rained down on the misshapen anti-hero. The indelible image of him being whipped on the wheel in front of the jeering crowd and the kindness and bravery of Esmerelda.
2 – The Concert for Bangladesh: It was my first kiss – at the Carlton Theatre in Hamilton, early high school years on a date with Susan G. We kissed all the way through Ravi Shankar and it seemed to go on forever but I remember the second half of the film really well. George as band leader of sorts, cut free of The Beatles and in his artistic prime. There is a palpable goodwill that he corralled on that stage with all his talented friends. Wonderful performances by Leon, Eric, Badfinger, Billy, Ringo and DYLAN. To see Dylan come out and deliver like that at that time was as memorable as the kiss
3 – Apocalypse Now: I had a strange, delayed reaction to this film. I just sat there numb and it all just washed through me – the visuals, the music and that story. It was like nothing existed until I walked out of the Embassy Theatre into the blinding sunshine and the movie finally hit me with this huge thud. It all came flooding back, scene after scene like at the last sentence of a great novel when you have to re-evaluate emotionally everything that has been before.
4 –The King of Comedy: One of my favourite De Niro performances as the loveable sociopath. It’s not even that funny, yet so many elements from Seinfeld and The Office are taken from this. It shows De Niro in a whole new light an actor and Jerry Lewis too – Sandra Bernhard is brilliant in it as well. Scorsese’s take on fame and stalking, it has all these echoes from Taxi Driver with Travis/Rupert and all the fantasy scenes – two sides of the same bent coin. I know it didn’t have great box office success but to me it is a little masterpiece.
5 – The Hobbit: It pretty much rescued my life. I was in dire straits when I got the call to work on those films and I learned so much about so many things. I worked there for two years, not in any grand capacity, just moulding and casting props, but when you finally get to see your work on the big screen in high definition and 3D it’s a pretty big buzz and like the other films I’ve mentioned – will be around forever.