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MY FAVOURITE MOVIES | Documentarian Charlie Lightening

Hot Corn’s column in which musicians, actors, artists, directors tell us about their favourite movies

He’s been on the road with Liam Gallagher and Paul McCartney, and been behind some of the most enjoyable music documentaries in recent years – and so it was our pleasure to ask Charlie Lightening to be the latest filmmaker to take part in our ‘My Favourite Movies’ feature series. Giving expansive, thought-out answers, here’s a man with a passion for good cinema, and for that reason, he’s alright by us.

What’s the first movie you ever fell in love with? I guess Star Wars. I’m a massive fan of Star Wars, and Spielberg stuff like Indiana Jones. I loved those when I really young. But the first film I really fell in love with was Back to the Future, when I was about ten and I saw it in the cinema. My son is five and he’s obsessed with it. There was an orchestra playing live to the film, and I took him to see it, and I hadn’t seen it in the cinema for years, and it’s such a great movie, the way that it tells a story. I was talking to my wife about it, what’s magical about it is that there’s no fight scenes, it seems now like kids films always have to be about a fight. I would like to make films after a couple more documentaries I want to do, but I want to progress into doing actual movies, and I’d love to remake a film like Back to the Future. To do an adventure film for kids in a Spielberg sort of way that would appeal to kids as well as adults. Time Bandits is one, what an amazing film. When I was thinking about what sort of movie I’d like to remake, I thought that would be great. But Taika Waititi is making it for Netflix as a series, and that will be amazing to see where you can go with that. So, yeah, Back to the Future.

What’s up, Doc?

What’s the one film you never get tired of watching? There’s so many. I guess Back to the Future as its been on about a million times in the house because my son is watching it all the time. I guess that. It’s funny because having kids changes your perspective. I love Se7en as well, and more darker stories, but again as a filmmaker I think about actually setting out to make a film and immersing yourself as a director in a story, because you become so immersed in it. I always wanted to make Se7en ten years ago, but now I would rather make a Spielberg film.

Shame the careers for these actors never really took off

What’s your favourite movie soundtrack? Pulp Fiction. It’s amazing.

What’s your guilty pleasure? A lot of people would have answered more cooler stuff on the other two questions, and then answered things like Back to the Future as a guilty pleasure. Maybe I should’ve said Tarantino movies to the other questions. Maybe as a guilty pleasure, I’ll say the Avengers movies. A friend of mine on the Paul McCartney tour, he just knows everybody. I even went to the Breaking Bad finale with him because he knows Aaron Paul. And we were on tour with Paul in Atlanta and he asked me if I wanted to go with him to the set of the new Avengers film. At this point they were doing Infinity War. I had fallen a bit out of love with those films, and because I travel so much I was watching them on planes. I’d just seen Spider-Man and I thought, okay let’s go. So we went on the set of Infinity War. We had this access that was insane, and we walked onto the set and Tom Holland walked on in his Spider-Man outfit. Then we went into the other studio and it was the set of when they crash land and fight Thanos, when Iron Man meets the Guardians of the Galaxy for the first time. It was amazing. Then we went into the other studio and they were doing pick-up for Thor: Ragnarok. Then we walked into another studio, and he turned the lights on and it was the spaceship from Guardians of the Galaxy, and we just walked around on that. Mate, it was unreal. I saw the film in the cinema, it absolutely blew my mind.

Nothing guilty about these films, my friend

What’s the one scene that makes you cry every time? Off the top of my head, it’s Toy Story 3 when they’re in the furnace. My kids are really into Toy Story. If you actually watch those three films in terms of filmmaking, they’re brilliant. The storytelling, the development, the characters. At the end of Toy Story 3, the music, and the way they hold hands, it just gets me every time. Even if I just in and my kids are watching it, it still gets me.

We can’t even think about this scene without welling up

What’s your favourite ever music documentary? I enjoyed Supersonic and Lord Don’t Slow Me Down. I actually worked with Oasis, I did the press tour when they were promoting that film, it was the first time I’d worked with them and filmed with Noel and Liam, so that for me was quite a big thing. To be a part of that and that film, it means a lot to me. I think that Doors one is brilliant, the way that was put together. I thought Made of Stone was good. A great film.

A great documentary – and he would know

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