Iain Gray Freelance Writer

Bright lights, big cities

I seem to have arrived back in the office and fallen straight into the middle of a brutal and uncompromising debate regarding the relative positive and negative points of New York and London.

Therefore, Reel Life has decided, perhaps unwisely and certainly not terribly seriously, to wade into the argument with some city-based head-to-head contests on various film genres.

The nominees are:

White vest of courage trophy for violent action movie
Die Hard With a Vengeance [NY] or Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels [London]

And the winner is...
The original Die Hard would have walked it, if only it hadn’t been set in LA. Therefore, due to the sheer verve with which people are damaged or dispatched, Lock, Stock takes it and the Brits go one up.

The “You Talkin’ to Me?” award for urban insanity
Taxi Driver [NY] or Repulsion [London]

And the winner is...
Despite Catherine Deneuve being a lot easier on the eye than Robert De Niro in a Mohican, the ultimate metropolitan breakdown has to go to Travis Bickle. Scores are tied.

The “Woody Allen has this sewn up” Rom-Com cup
Annie Hall [NY] or Notting Hill [London]

And the winner is...
As if anything was going to beat the mighty Annie Hall. 2-1 to the Yanks.

Red sauce Cheap Cult Horror trophy
Q The Winged Serpent [NY] or Deathline [London]

And the winner is...
I love Larry Cohen’s quite insane movie about a huge Aztec bird-god living in the Chrysler Building and munching New Yorkers as they swim in their rooftop pools. However, it can’t top the classic London Underground horror story for gore, wit and, ultimately, pathos. Half-way through, and it’s two-all.

The “leetle fren” cup for gangster epic
Once Upon a Time in America [NY] or The Long Good Friday [London]

And the winner is...
Battle of the Bobs, De Niro versus Hoskins, but the sheer scope of the former film swings it for the Brooklyn boys. The Big Apple takes the lead.

“It happened just like this, honest” award for dubious History
Gangs of New York [NY] or The Prestige [London]

And the winner is...
Despite being painstakingly accurate for most of the film, Gangs of New York falls down with its complete lack of poop there would have been mountains of human and animal waste piling up in the streets of the five corners: this would have left no room for the fisticuffs that make up much of the movie. However, any film which casts David Bowie as Nikola Tesla being hounded by Thomas Edison and his cronies has no problem taking the prize. It’s all square into the final round.

The Slaughtered Lamb stranger abroad award
Mickey Blue-Eyes [NY] or An American Werewolf in London [London]

And the winner is...
The really can be only one winner from this. John Landis’s mighty comedy-horror tears the head of Hugh Grant’s slight gangster-comedy.

So, the final score is a resounding 4-3 to London. Huzzah for the Brits!

However, if you think my choices are appalling or have any ideas for other awards, then please let me know.


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