Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ask JKM a Question #17: One Movie on a Desert Isle?

A reader, Sarah, writes:

“I want to know your answer to the ‘desert island scenario.’  To refresh your memory, you’re stranded alone on a desert island and you can only pick one movie to take with you to watch. What is it?”

Hi Sarah, that’s actually one that I’ve thought about from time-to-time. I’m not sure why, however.  It seems like an eminently illogical scenario that I would be alone on a desert island, and yet have the capability and time to watch a movie.


In terms of my “one movie,” to watch on a desert island, I’ve decided, regretfully, that it can’t be a horror film. 

I know that probably sounds silly, but I enjoy horror so much, in part, because it’s so different from my real life.  I lead a happy, sheltered, comfortable existence.  But if I’m stranded alone, away from my wife and son on a desert island -- with little hope of rescue -- I definitely won’t be picking Halloween (1978), The Exorcist (1973), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Alien (1979), The Thing (1981), The Blair Witch Project (1999), or any other personal favorites of the form.

Although a comedy sounds appealing on first blush (preferably something from Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer), the problem there is that most comedies -- the good ones anyway -- clock in at ninety minutes or shorter.  If I’m only going to get one film to watch for the rest of my natural life, I want to squeeze every minute out of the experience.

Considering these factors, I think I’m going to select my all-time favorite film, and the movie I consider the best science fiction movie ever made: Planet of the Apes (1968).  The film has moments of humor, moments of incredible humanity, and some great action.  The script is brilliant, and the look of the film amazing.  Plus, uh, Linda Harrison is in the movie.  Planet of the Apes also runs a good long time (112 minutes).

Plus – and this is important – it may help me understand the local wildlife…

Don’t forget, e-mail me your questions at Muirbusiness@yahoo.com


  1. Anonymous7:37 PM

    John, brilliant choice of the first and best Planet Of The Apes(1968) movie. I will never forget seeing this film as a very young boy in the early ‘70s with my family in the drive-in. I have this one on my short list of all time favorite movies too. There is something extremely special about the ’70s boyhood Planet Of The Apes franchise experience of the movies, CBS television series, Saturday morning animated series and all the merchandising [toys]. You are right it is perfect for a desert island shipwrecked Gilligan’s Island castaway situation. My other short list runner-ups would be one of these Kirk era films: Star Trek TMP(1979) or Star Trek II Wrath Of Khan(1982) or Star Trek V Final Frontier(1989) or Star Trek VI Undiscovered Country(1991) or the sea based Walt Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea(1954).


    1. SGB,

      I absolutely love your choice of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. That would be another top selection, in my opinion.

      I might also want to take Star Trek: The Motion Picture. It's high-minded and inspiring. The other films would just make me, I'm afraid, long to see the rest of the sequels...

      I appreciate the comment, my friend.


  2. Easy: Captain Ron


    1. Hi Cannon,

      A Perfect choice, I think. (Hey, Kurt Russell is the star. How bad could it possibly be...oh...)


  3. 20,000 LEAGUES would be a pretty awesome choice. Tough call. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK may be mine. Either that or BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA.


Jaws Binge: Jaws (1975)

A modern film classic,  Jaws   (1975) derives much of its terror from a directorial approach that might be termed "information over...