Today’s post is one that I am very excited to share with you. Holly Smale, author of the Geek Girl series, has recently released the first book in her new series The Valentines called Happy Girl Lucky.
In it we follow the Valentines siblings who were born into Hollywood royalty. Happy Girl Lucky focuses on Hope, the youngest sibling who is waiting for her chance in the spotlight to begin. She spends her time dreaming about love and movies and finds inspiration in every boy she meets.
You can check out my review here.
On this stop of the blog tour we’re talking movies and Holly has very kindly shared her top 5 with us!
Take it away Holly!
My Top Five Movies
In Happy Girl Lucky, my heroine Hope is completely obsessed with romance films: in particular The Heart Of Us, a film set in 1942 starring her mother, Juliet Valentine, and directed by her father, Michael Rivers. Obviously The Heart Of Us isn’t a real film – I created it for the novel – but I loved the idea of this one movie being the touchstone for the family: one that echoes throughout the series. For a family so completely lodged in the world of film, and for a protagonist who sees herself as an imminent star, it made sense that we would see that through the lens of a film that Hope watches over and over again: comparing her own life, holding it up as a goal and attempting to match it.
There are certainly films that I have returned to throughout my life: either because of how they make me feel, or because of the memories they evoke. Here are five that may not be the most original, or obscure, or even the best films ever made (although I think they are) but they have made the biggest impression on me and I return to them repeatedly.
It’s A Wonderful Life
If I had to pick one film to watch over and over again, it would probably be this one. I’m a huge Jimmy Stewart fan, I adore Christmas, and this film gives me such a warm, hopeful, bright feeling. It’s very slow, and black and white, but that’s what I love about it: nothing feels hurried and it feels like the story has space to breathe and take its time. The acting is so beautifully natural – Jimmy bumbles and stumbles without being edited, which is so rare now – and there’s so much heart and joy in it. I always cry twice – once when Jimmy is sad, and again when he’s happy – and when the credits roll I always feel warm and hopeful. It’s a film that celebrates what it is to be alive, to love, to try, to be a family. I will never not love it.
Ten Things I Hate About You
This film came out when I was seventeen, which made me exactly the same age as the heroine, Kat. I went to see it at the cinema, and I totally connected to her character: I, too, was quite an angry, independent blonde with a sharp tongue and a high guard, and I felt like I’d never seen anyone on screen before who felt like me (we even had exactly the same hair). At that age I didn’t know I’d end up doing an MA in Shakespeare (it’s a retelling of The Taming of the Shrew), but I do sometimes wonder which came first: there’s a small chance I followed that life path because of the impact of this film. I also fell instantly and madly in love with Heath Ledger – it was his first breakout film role – and it was my first proper crush: one that has so far lasted an entire lifetime, and is still quite possessive (seriously, I get really sniffy about other people crushing on him too). This film is fun, funny, clever, touching, romantic, fresh. It’s a classic, and in a genre of its own.
Gone With The Wind
I was a kid the first time I saw this: it was my Grandma’s absolute favourite film, and I watched it with her. To me, it’s probably one of the most flawless films ever made. It’s big and dramatic, yes (I won’t use the word ‘cheesy’: that’s a word that gets thrown at classics so powerful they’ve become part of our cultural vernacular), but it’s also incredibly insightful and psychologically driven. For the time it was written and made, it’s incredibly feminist (with a few scene exceptions). Scarlett O’Hara is a force to be reckoned with, and essentially uses her femininity as a weapon, to mask the brain and behaviour of a ‘man’. She’s complicated and often unlikeable and belligerent and manipulative – possibly a sociopath – but she’s also fearless and smart and resourceful and original. She does a lot of bad things, and yet you continue to root for her all the way to the end. There is literally no situation in life that cannot be summed up perfectly by a Scarlett O’Hara GIF, and it’s my most quoted film: I can – and do – recite it regularly. Probably my favourite film of all time.
Okay, Heath Ledger was my first romantic crush, but David Bowie was the first time I was inexplicably obsessed with a man in a film and needed to watch it over and over and over again to work out why. I had no idea he was a legend or a musician – he was just the Goblin King – and I thought he was probably the coolest, most charismatic thing I had ever seen. I also loved Jennifer Connelly – who at that point in my life seemed achingly, glamorously old – and desperately hoped I’d turn into her when I grew up (I didn’t). It’s such an exquisite film – brilliant music, Jim Henson muppets, perfect cast, visually stunning – and about as creative and exciting as a movie for children gets (and, frankly, for adults). It’s a classic, and still looks as good now as it did then. Timeless.
Any film by Hayao Miyazaki is pure magic, and I just love this one: it’s completely mad, a little bit creepy, and it has no limits at all to its imagination, which is exactly how it feels to be a child. It also brings back a lot of happy memories for me; I spent two years in Japan teaching English to children, and I loved it there. Watching Spirited Away makes me feel like I’m there again, and I tend to watch it with subtitles rather than dubbed so I can hear Japanese. A really special and beautiful film, and – like anything by Studio Ghibli – utterly original, fresh and fascinating.
Thanks again for sharing these Holly! Here’s where you can find her book!
Thanks for reading,