With a sunny pop loveliness, Allo Darlin’s songs just jump out at you in the way that the very best tunes do. Watch Elizabeth play the ukulele and with a wiggle of your hips and a tapping of your toes you are transported to a livelier world with intelligent, funny lyrics and songs about Polaroids and Woody Allen. They also pepper some of their tunes with snippets of well-known songs, like ‘You’re the One That I Want’ from Grease… Their film choices are interesting too, with an emphasis on childhood favourites. Elizabeth Morris (singer, ukulele player), Paul Rains (guitar), Bill Botting (bass) and Michael Collins (drums) tell us what cinematic works inspire them. Allo Darlin’s debut album is out on Fortuna Pop! now. For more information, go to the Allo Darlin’ page on the Fortuna Pop! webiste or their MySpace. LUCY HURST
1. Muriel’s Wedding (1994)
It’s slightly weird that my two favourite films both have soundtracks that feature Abba quite heavily but maybe it makes perfect sense. I can see similarities between the two of them. Muriel’s Wedding is an Australian classic and is pretty depressing but also defiant and joyous and funny. I relate to it because I come from a pretty small town in the Australia countryside like Porpoise Spit in the film. All the characters that must seem pretty kitsch to anyone else actually seem real to me – people have overblown personalities in small towns. I can relate to the freedom of moving to the big city – Sydney in Muriel’s case, London in mine. The friendship between the two girls is so genuine it reduces me to tears every time, especially when they sing the Abba songs. It’s absolutely amazing.
2. Together (2000)
Together, by Swedish filmmaker Lukas Moodyson, is set in a commune in Stockholm in the 1970s. Like Muriel’s Wedding, Together is essentially about friendship. It sounds so stupid when I write it here but the thing I love most about this film is the importance of sticking together – of being together. It captures something I can’t quite put into words but I love the characters so much and it is both very funny and really sad at the same time. It’s perfect and I would watch it every day if I could.
3. The Muppet Movie (1979) / The Great Muppet Caper (1981)
I really can’t decide between these two as one of my favourite films, they’re both part of the trilogy of 80s Muppet films. Both were a massive part of my childhood, so early on that I can’t remember which I saw first. I think The Great Muppet Caper is actually the better film. It’s a heist movie where Kermit the Frog and Fozzie Bear play a pair of reporters struggling to keep their jobs, so they follow a suspected jewellery thief from New York to London to get a big scoop. The opening sequence has old-school full credits with a tracking shot of Muppets in a descending hot air balloon with accompanying commentary. As with the TV show, both dive in and out of the fictional world and self-knowingly play with their fabrication. The film provides comedy opportunities galore, including a great scene with John Cleese in The Great Muppet Caper. I think The Muppet Movie has better songs. There’s also a fantastic super-villain who owns a restaurant chain called French Fried Frogs Legs. There is a superbly executed cycling Kermit, so it’s hard to choose between them. Jim Henson was a puppet genius, so no CGI needed here.
4. The Big Lebowski (1998)
This isn’t considered the best Coen Brothers film but it’s my favourite. With a fabulous cast – Steve Buscemi in particular – and a fantastic soundtrack, it is THE film to drink White Russians to. The film introduced me to one of my favourite Bob Dylan songs, ‘The Man in Me’, as featured in the fabulous dream sequence with The Dude flying through the air. It’s incredibly funny, the bowling scenes especially, and I really love how the whole thing is essentially about nothing. Great.
5. Watership Down (1978)
I first saw this film at Christmas at my Nana and Papa’s house in Norwich. I don’t think I could describe it as a positive experience but I wanted to include something that had really affected my life. I was six at the time and didn’t see the film to its conclusion, I couldn’t get past Big Wig sacrificing himself in the warren, it terrified me. For nearly eight years I had nightmares about that scene. At the time I had no idea who Art Garfunkel was but ‘Bright Eyes’ is a melody that is permanently etched in my memory.
6. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
I wanted to include light alongside the heaviness of my first choice. My friend Thom once classed this type of film as a ‘pudding film’ and I can’t think of a better way to describe it. It’s something that you know you don’t need, or maybe even want, but something that you crave from time to time and can watch over and over again. I put it on when I want to be transported somewhere beyond reality. It’s ridiculous and I love it for that reason. At the same time, he is a super-hero you can believe in and, like me, is terrified of snakes! I want to be as cool and caring as Indiana.
7. The Blues Brothers (1980)
I have seen this film hundreds of times. I love it. First of all, it’s fucking funny. Proper 70s Saturday Night Live funny, with an awesome cast and amazing dialogue. There is one of the greatest car chase scenes ever – in the mall and then from the Palace Hotel Ballroom to the tax office in Chicago. They trashed so many cars. It’s beautiful, nobody does that anymore, do they? Most of all there’s the music; Aretha Franklin, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, James Brown, John Lee Hooker, Booker T and The MG’s and then of course Jake and Elwood. It’s fun. It’s soooo much fun. John Candy is great as the affable cop, Carrie Fisher is a gorgeous and hilarious jilted bride, Frank Oz also delivers one of the greatest lines ever – ‘One unused prophylactic…. one soiled’.
8. The Three Amigos (2003)
Every Easter, my family would go on holiday to Bribie Island in Queensland, Australia. The best thing about Easter for me (and this includes all the chocolate) was renting The Three Amigos from Video 2000, the local rental place. I can sing The Three Amigos song in full – including the really long note. I can also do the Amigo salute! There are so many great gags too, like the singing bush and the invisible horseman. Also, I think that Martin Short is like the Barry Manilow of comedy – he’s not all great but he’s done some great stuff.
9. Ghostbusters (1984))
We could have picked any of the great Bill Murray movies, Lost In Translation, Broken Flowers, The Life Aquatic, Rushmore, etc. In Ghostbusters, he is the icing on the cake in a film that we all grew up with as children of the 80s, being scared of the library scene and not much else. At that age, it looked liked the coolest thing you could possibly do with your life if you were brave enough to become a real Ghostbuster. The effects still stand up too, in a Ghostbustery kind of way. Again it’s one of those kids’ films that it’s possible to enjoy as an adult beyond it being pure nostalgia. Incidentally, we just hunted down and ate Twinkies in New York and they were fucking disgusting.
10. Back to the Future (1985))
Marty McFly has to date his own mum – that’s the kind of wrongness you just don’t get in films anymore. He’s a cool, funny, smart guy who can teach his dad how to deal with bullies, skateboard like a motherfucker and play the guitar just like he’s ringing a bell. Doc Brown is a plutonium-thieving, terrorist-provoking mad scientist with a really, really cool car. Time travel has been covered by so many films but never so beautifully as in this one. And Huey Lewis is in it – and Crispin Glover – and actually Marty’s mum is pretty cute.