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Nine Films You Must Watch

Recently the world has become rather obsessed with blockbusters and the media is constantly throwing around the word ‘Box Office’ and it seems that a certain percentage can decide whether the film will be a success or a total flop.

However, I wish to avoid using those words. Instead offering a list of films that I personally believe you have to see before you die, despite some of these films being considered flops due to the money they made. The following list is in no particular order.

The Matrix: Starting off with a bang, the 1999 hit takes audiences on a green-tinted philosophical, action-packed journey that fails to hit the breaks once the blue pill has been taken. The Matrix has the ability to make audiences question their own very existence whilst also having amazingly choreographed moments including; the notorious bullet time sequence, and set shattering fight sequences. The Matrix tends to have some form of tainted view when people first hear of it, this is because of the sequels that I certainly do not recommend. The first instalment is able to perfectly stand up on its own two legs. A cast filled with the likes of Hugo Weaving, Lawerence Fishbourne and Keanu Reeves, paired with the films ability to quash the stereotypical ‘childish science fiction’ mould this is one film you do not want to miss out on.

Photo credit to Radio times

Love, Rosie: A little hidden gem that my girlfriend showed me during date night. Love, Rosie is the modern generation’s answer to Bridget Jones. A timeless classic that is able to capture the highs, lows and outright embarrassing moments we all face when it comes to love. I am not normally a fan of rom coms as this list is proving to show, but Love, Rosie is different. It’s not trying too hard to be relatable and it does not reach a point of absurdity that it becomes a comedy (more on that a little later). Love, Rosie instead fits in a rare almost impossible to reach sweet spot. It is able to entice audiences into this world that we are all but too familiar with, as Rosie struggles to find ‘the moment’ with her special someone. Love, Rosie is certainly a film you do not want to miss out on.

The Shawshank Redemption: I mean is it really a top ten list of films without mentioning this astonishing film? There is very little that I can say about this film that hasn’t already been said a thousand times before. Shawshank Redemption is a moving piece of film, that is able to lecture young teenagers on the world of prison, whilst conveying the difficulty of maintaining morals and finding true friendships. Morgan Freeman narrates in the first person, with each sentence perfectly matching what is being shown. The acclaimed book is brought to life in a true adaption that will last generations. A truly emotional journey that brings a tear to everyone’s eyes.

Bridesmaids: Earlier I mentioned how some rom coms can become so absurd they morph into more of a comedy, this is exactly where Bridesmaids fit. A romantic comedy that is so absurd that it will have you laughing from start to finish, especially at the cast which stars SNL icons Kristen Wigg and Maya Rudolph. Bridesmaids follows… well exactly what it says on the tin, as we appear to have the perfect cliche of the best friends wedding. Yet somehow everything that could go wrong does in spectacular fashion. Friends fall out, get beyond smashed on a plane and a certain incident involving dodgy Mexican food has to be the most iconic scene of the entire film, I’ll leave it to your imagination and not go any further with that! The film makes sure that the comedy isn’t the sole focus, we learn that Annie once owned a cupcake restaurant that closed down, audiences get to see how hard this had hit her. With the mix of comedy and relatable hard times for the audience, Bridesmaids is one romantic comedy that you would be a fool to miss out on.

Blade Runner: Philip,K. Dick’s iconic novel comes to life with this Ridley Scott adaptation in Blade Runner. Starring Harrison Ford, with spectacular visual effects the bigger the screen you have the better. Ginormous sets that will transport you to a whole new world, however for once this world is not desirable as we take to the slums of the future in all its gritty and grimy glory. This sci-fi icon will leave you questioning the idea of morality and what is it that makes a human human. The philosophical themes and iconic villain mean Blade Runner is the Godfather of the sci-fi genre. Evidently inspiring future directions for generations, you aren’t a true fan of science fiction till you have seen Blade Runner.

Shrek: Now you might be reading this and thinking “has this man lost it?”, well hear me out! Shrek is just simply one of those films that you have to see. If you have made it this far in life without even hearing about this film I would be shocked. The Dreamworks classic is the perfect mixture of dumb comedy for kids and hidden innuendos for older audiences. The story is simple enough, rescue the princess from the dragon and marry her to break some curse. Now, what Shrek does is take this cliche and become so self-aware that it becomes absurd as we see classic fairytale characters reference modern pop culture. The story behind the making of this film is simply incredible, the writers were all fired from Disney and instead went onto work for Dreamworks. The ill feeling towards Disney is certainly obvious once you know the backstory, adding even more to the humour. Starring Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy and Cameron Diaz, Shrek is one you must see or even rewatch before you die.

Iron man: I mean…just how can you not have seen this film. If you have only seen one of the new Marvel films ( The MARVEL Cinematic Universe) then you need to see where it all began in 2008 with Iron Man. The Godfather of this incredible cinematic project. Iron Man in a simple origin story in which we see the return of Robert Downey Jr after a rough patch in his personal life. This films successful use of comedy, action and incredible acting, though a risk allowed it to do something that hadn’t been achieved before. Again, there is very little I can say about this film that hasn’t been said before, but what I will say is that Iron Man has plenty of appeal for true comic book fans and even those that just want to kick back and enjoy the action. So kickstart your journey into this now 22 film franchise by going where it all began and you will not be disappointed.

The Shining: One of the first psychological horror based on Stephen King’s book, Stanley Kubrick takes the audience on a twisted journey that is so iconic, I would be amazed if you hadn’t heard of this gem. Following the Torrance family, as they move into a hotel hidden in the Alps to look after it. Their bonds are tested as we see the sanity of one man ( Jack Nicolson) crumble as the spirits that haunt the hotel, tormenting him in the process. It is discovered that the family’s son Danny has psychic powers – called ‘the shining’. Twists and turns take the audience into a hedge maze, not knowing what is going to happen next. So enter room 237 and go on a journey you will never forget but may regret.

Star Wars: A New Hope – A more personal one for this list as I have spent many hours watching this film again and again, yet it still remains timeless. A true Sci-Fi classic following the adventures of Luke Skywalker and his friends fighting against the Empire. Star Wars: A New Hope is the perfect stepping stone into this galactic franchise. It is certainly one that all families should watch as you get transported into this galaxy full of terror and excitement. I could spend hours talking about this film but I shall leave it at this, Star Was is the perfect escapism. You will find yourself cheering for the good guys as you travel to a galaxy far far away.

Matthew Cox

Guest Blogger

Originally from Birmingham, Matthew moved to Bristol in September of 2018. After finishing his first year of Broadcast Journalism, Matt is venturing into the world of film making for the upcoming academic year.

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The Four Stages of University

My apologies I’ve been M.I.A recently, truth be told I’ve been in a bit of a slump. You’ll know the one, in which doing anything feels like it’s going to drain all your energy. I’ve been living in a constant rotation of working, sleeping and trying to enjoy the beginning of my summer, somewhere in between it all. My parents will tell you I’m a big one for beating myself up when, unsurprisingly, I fail to juggle every aspect of my life. However, this time around I’m starting to understand no one really has their shit together.

At some point in the middle of your 10th bout of hysteria of the day, you’ve got to just stop, take a breath and cut yourself some slack. I’m under no illusion that being a student is the most stressful or challenging time you can experience in your life, but it’s definitely a shock to the old system. Whilst I’d allowed the loathing I felt towards A-Levels to seep into my expectations, in reality, Uni has made me realise that I’m not limited to a lifetime of academic averageness after all.

There are Four Stages of University that most, if not all, students will experience. These emotions stirred up by this big life adjustment can happen at any time, in any order and occasionally all at the same time. These stages are anxiousness, happiness, feeling homesick and residing in limbo.

The months building up to receiving your A-Level results and moving into your new home are concealed by a thin layer of anxiety. The looming fear of failed exams, horrible flatmates and not having your parents around when you’re cooking spag bol for the first time. In some instances, your anxious thoughts will befit what follows. You may end up living with people that don’t do their share of the cleaning, those that leave their dirty dishes strewn across the counters; or those that have been so spoon fed by their doting parents that the word ‘cleaning’ is bordering on a foreign language.

These initial waves of anxiety subside and are replaced by a staggering sense of happiness. This is probably your first solo mission, an opportunity for a fresh start. You’ll go to some great, good and awful places with new friends and inevitably spend more of your student loan than you should. As a person that deeply enjoys planning her life out, this was the first time I had no choice but to go with the flow. It would be impossible to meticulously organise something that involves that many people, it’s weirdly freeing.

Whether you choose to admit it or not, I believe everyone gets homesick. Even if it’s for the physical house you lived in, the people you lived with, or some kind of pet. There’s always something that will make you miss where you were born and bred.

Next you’re about to enter limbo. You’re going to live between your childhood and the looming reality of adult life, the invisible pressure of learning how to survive in the world; when you really just want to know why you’re learning to live in a world that will be barely recognisable after Brexit.

In this limbo you’ll learn about interests you didn’t know you had, you’ll discover your truest friends and you’ll realise all the adults around you really had no clue what was going on. You’ll struggle to say goodbye to the little you that left mud pies around the house and did Easter egg hunts in the garden. Now it’s official, you’re a grown-up.

I’ve painted a rather traumatic picture, but in reality it’s not. Moving to Bristol was the best decision I’ve made to date. I have made friends for life, produced work I’m proud of and I am slowly learning who I am as a solo entity.

So, thanks First Year you’ve been great.

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Please can you REPLAY that?

Looking at Replay on Gloucester Road you would think it was pretty unassuming with its simplistic black walls and stacks of board games. However on Saturday 3rdof November as the Moon set, Drum and bass lovers from far and wide descended.

DJ Smijen – Original Photo by Mimi Granell

Juxtaposed as the venue and music genre may appear at first, the overwhelmingly warm reception overrides any preconceived prejudices. Crammed into the little basement space, it was obvious to any onlooker that this was the merging of likeminded individuals both young and old.

Those that had listened to DnB whilst they’d eaten their cornflakes before work in the early ’90s and newly hooked individuals danced side by side. Dissimilarly to the crowd, the DJ’s were largely of the older generation, all except DJ Smijen. Much like the location, an inconspicuous First Year Maths Student who had only begun mixing last year, his set contained a blend of inter genres.

The evening began with DJ zzerg, with Murky, Smijen, Neural Net and Aztek following suit. Whilst the rainbow lights cascaded over the crowd zzerg began with a set comprised of neurofunk, rollers and some liquid style mixes. As the host of the evening and a charismatic performer, zzerg real name Andor Fazekas sent the crowd wild with his deck spinning and pretending to smoke a glow stick that had been launched at him by a friend.

Murky reminded me largely of a dad, with a warm smile and beer hand as he moved behind the giant crate like decks, dabbling from commercial DnB to Jump up the perfect DJ for those experimenting with the genre. Attempts were made in vain to impose a volume restriction by the Café owner to avoid noise complaints from local occupants.

Neural Net riled up the crowd with his techstep and neruofunk tunes, spotted subtly dancing to the other DJs Neural Net emphasized that the Dnb community is built upon inclusivity and enjoyment. Unlike many other genres, it does not reject older artists and equate talent to appearance.

The template for both the Facebook Page and Leaflet – Original Photo Mimi Granell

Aztek was the only DJ to use Vinyl’s, highlighting both his experience and pure skill, this is a talent well respected in the community as those using them have no assistance in monitoring the tempo of their songs. It is a sight to behold as he replaces vinyl after vinyl we so often associate with the music our parents listened to.

The buzz of the bass could be felt in your body, as you danced your feet got ever so slightly stuck on the beer-soaked floor.  Tetras was projected onto the walls behind the decks as players from the café upstairs played, adding to the bustling atmosphere. Onlookers would remain oblivious to the bunker, filled to the brim with bopping heads just beneath their feet.

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19 things I’ve learnt in 19 years

Besides learning the obvious things that every functioning human being should know, these are 19 more obscure things I’ve learnt in 19 years.

1.Do not beat yourself up over things you didn’t do as well as you’d hoped or shouldn’t have done at all. Being angry at yourself will not change anything, just embrace the mistake and learn from it.

2. There is more to life than other people’s opinions.

3. Do not speak to yourself in a way that you would not accept from others. You are the only person you have to spend the rest of your life with, so why don’t you start loving yourself in such a way that other people know what you expect from them.  In the words of the great RuPaul, “If you can’t love yourself how the hell you gonna love somebody else.”

4. Not everyone suits the education system and that’s okay. Don’t let this stop you from harnassing your potential, you’ll find your place. 

5.Hold on to good friends, whilst continuing to make new ones. The people you surround yourself with is so important, they’ll either tear you down or give you the push you need. Same goes for romantic relationships, be with someone that supports your ambitions.

6.Days off are necessary – we’re blood and bones, not cogs and circuit boards. Sometimes what you need is to put your work away, have a nap and go for a walk. 

7. Tell the people you love, regularly that you love them. Our family has had its fair share of health scares, life is very unpredictable so appreciate people whilst you have them.

8. Stroke all dogs, every single one (Unless otherwise instructed by the owner).

9. Your appearance does not equate to your capabilities in other areas of your life. If you don’t want to wear make up, don’t. 

10. Cry often by yourself, with other people, at films – It doesn’t matter just empty those tear ducts. 

11. Laugh loudly at least once a day. 

12. Compliment others

13.Be in the moment, it is easy to become swept up in life. But when you hone in and focus on just being present, you’ll be living in that moment whilst you make it a memory. 

14. If everyone likes you then you’re doing something wrong.

15. Leap at opportunities, if not you’ll remain stagnant.

16.Be inquisitive – Always question everything. In a world where we tend to take everything at face value, it’s important we get down to the nitty-gritty truth of matters. But also, ask people silly questions. 

17. Gin is good for you – health wise maybe not but I’ve always had a great time when gin has been consumed.

18.Making yourself proud is important  – celebrate big and small achievements. 

19. Take photos of everything.

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Why is colourful hair good for the soul?

Women and men are growing tired of the stale and outdated ideals of attractiveness. Increasing numbers of people are deciding to give societal beauty norms the middle finger, by the means of peroxide power. To me coloured hair and piercings are too often equated to a persons intelligence or capability.

I get a weird sense of satisfaction when I’m underestimated on the basis of my looks, it drives me to work harder. In an odd way, I feel bad for those that would not employ, be friends with or have a relationship with someone on the premise of external appearance. You’re limiting yourself to a lifetime of beige.

In 2015, wrote a painfully inaccurate article. Illuminating their readers to “5 Reasons Why You Should Never Date A Girl With Dyed Hair”. Laughably, these reasons included 1) ‘They’re attention whores’ 2) ‘They’re impulsive’ 3) ‘They’re ugly’ 4) ‘They’re useless’ 5) ‘They’re degenerate leftists’.

“You need to think of your employment prospects.”

” Coloured hair is a turnoff. I prefer women to have a more natural look.”

” Why’d you do that to your poor hair?”

Meg Moore

“Coloured hair is exciting because it changes how you look, especially as I have blue eyes I feel like the colours I choose definitely bring them out. I feel confident being able to control these things and that I am able to make myself stand out visually how I choose to. I think in a small way it is a rebellion, not against my parents or anything but in an attitude because I am being different from the norm, even though lots of people have coloured hair.

Meg Moore @megmoor_e

I don’t like being looked at particularly but I think it makes me feel like by looking at me people know that I like difference and that by me having something different about me, I could be more accepting of others difference. I’ve become more aware of the disadvantages since having to think about a job and that something so trivial may affect my chances which is silly as I am still equally as capable but I think it’s still revealing my privilege bc some people don’t get jobs based on hair or looks that they can’t change such as colour of skin. On the other hand it’s just sick to have vibrant hair.” – Meg Moore, Basingstoke

Kila Caprani @kilagcaprani

“Basically for me having coloured hair is another way that I can express myself and feel more confident – and I find when I’m confident in myself I become so much more sure of myself and project my whole personality to people which I think is 100% good for the soul. Makes self love a much easier thing to aim for when you know you’re giving your truest self to people and that they love you for it! ” – Kila Caprani, Hull

“Colour runs through us, through mundane everyday tasks, through every journey you take and every decision you make. From the colour of the background on your phone screen, to the constant argument with your partner about the ideal colour of a cup of tea. Whether it’s through clothing, home decor or the shade of your hair, colour is one of the most obvious forms of self expression.

Ellie Martin @effiej

The colours we chose allow us to express who we are, tell our own personal stories and allow us to access our inner creativity. Every human is an artist in their own right and every artist has a story to tell. Changing up your hair once in a while with a colour that you feel really represents you, might give you the confidence you need to make other more serious life changes or simply just to hold your head up high as you walk down the street. 

I know it worked for me and as five wise women (and a whole lot of song writers) once said, ‘spice up your life’, you might enjoy it.” Ellie Martin, Salisbury

Ebony Palmer @_ebonypalmer

“Coloured hair is good for the soul because it made me the most confident I had ever felt, I felt radiant in colour, I didn’t want to feel like a plain Jane.” Ebony Palmer, Bournemouth

Milly Struthers @millystruthers1

“Coloured hair is good for the soul as it regenerates it, when ever I’m having a bad time I usually change my hair up for a fresh start and to get over with the problem I’m dealing with.” Milly Struthers, Poole

“I feel coloured hair is good for the soul because its another avenue in which allows you to express yourself. People experiment with hair colours for many reasons but personally I enjoy the freedom it gives me and the fact that it indirectly forces me to change my style I.e clothing from time to time in order to fit which ever colour I’ve chosen. People always have something to say about someone’s appearance so I think dying your hair, like other avenues of identity, is just another way of being yourself and sticking it to everyone else” Tiger Broughton, Brighton

Tiger Broughton @_tigerrose

Dear Returnofkings, 1) We’re not looking for anyones attention, we’re trying to love ourselves. 2) Yes, perhaps impulsive but why is that a problem? 3) None of us asked you to find us attractive 4) Are we useless? We’re artists, lawyers, dancers, doctors and students. 5) That my friends is a colossal assumption, founded on the basis of what information? Our political allegiances are none of your concern.

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Heidi Loughlin: “I won’t give up on life till it gives up on me.”

Looking at Heidi Loughlin you’d never fathom the pain this woman has withstood. But Heidi is a mother, finding strength when it seems in scarce supply is what they do. An effortlessly likeable character, whether it’s her excrement anecdotes, fiery nature or refreshing honesty that gets you; she’s a woman you won’t be wanting to forget. 

Heidi Loughlin – Ex-Metropolitan Police Officer

In 2015, she was diagnosed with incurable inflammatory breast cancer whilst 13 weeks pregnant with her third child. Cancer Research statistics show that 1-5% of breast cancers are inflammatory. Forced to face her own mortality, she channelled her pain into writing. 

This took the form of ‘Storm in a tit cup’, a blog which began as it meant to go on with the first post entitled ‘flamey boob rot and the impending doom’. The frankness of her writing saw the blog grow in recognition, as fellow cancer patients and an abundance of others flooded to read her posts.  

“I’ve met many other cancer patients, that decided at diagnosis that they are going to die and that was it. They fail to remember that we all die at some point, but we live every day until that point. Do not let your fear of what may happen, detract from what you already have or what you want. I will not give up on life until  it gives up on me.

Too often we are afraid to show others our vulnerability, but Heidi showed the world unfiltered grief. In the worst moment, possible in any parent’s life. Losing a child. 

Eight days after she prematurely gave birth, Heidi and her husband Keith said goodbye to their daughter Ally. “When my daughter died, I felt all the fight drain out of me. I have an incurable cancer diagnosis, but her death was what made me want to stop trying. That was the initial shock and grief. It took me some time to regain control by focusing on my two other children, but that’s what keeps me going today. That, and my unrivalled stubbornness.” 

In the midsts of heartbreak, Heidi decided to give her all into preventing others from feeling this same loss. After losing her own daughter to an infection, Heidi’s gloves’ were created; intending to reduce chances of infections spreading in Neonatal Units. Plans for which began in June of 2018, they are aiming to roll the gloves out to NICUs in the latter part of this year. At the same time, raising funds for numerous Cancer Charities and awareness for inflammatory breast Cancer.

 Clinical Negligence Solicitor, Ceri-Ann Taylor recounts listening to Heidi speaking publicly “I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room come the end.” Continuing she says ”She speaks openly about the loss of her little girl, and her battle with cancer, but has a positivity about her that is truly admirable.”

Heidi’s first book ‘Heidi’s Lifeline’ has just been published, “it’s an autobiography with a twist.  Describing the writing process, she said ” The most difficult part was writing about the death of my daughter. There are no words that can encapsulate the feelings I felt. It’s not that I had reminded myself that she died, of course, she is always in my thoughts, it was the pain of pushing myself to recount every small detail of her slipping away.” The book also “details the experiences of growing up and then how I have dealt with my cancer diagnosis and beyond.”

Heidi’s newest venture sees her once again grabbing a helmet and jumping on a bike saddle. This time with close friends Lady Sarra Hoy and her husband Sir Chris Hoy for a 200 mile coastal cycle. She says “I’m hoping to learn some secret tips that will keep my arse from falling off.” Continuing to explain “I found that horse riding had toned my legs to a reasonable level, but truth be told, no amount of cycling can prepare your rear end for the pain of cycling 200 miles.”

Heidi Loughlin

Writing about Heidi Loughlin has been a challenge, not because there’s nothing to write but on the contrary. She is a person that has experienced more of life than most ever will. It feels ridiculous to say, but as soon as the word Cancer is mentioned; we have a  tendency to walk on eggshells around those diagnosed. But we shouldn’t, I’ve learnt that from Heidi. Her unfathomable strength is contagious and yes, one day life will “give up” on Heidi but she will have lived fantastically.

Heidi’s Platforms:

  • Twitter: @storminatitcup
  • Website:
  • Facebook: Storm in a tit cup by Heidi
  • Instagram: storminatitcup
  • To order Heidi’s Lifeline:

Other Useful Pages:


Q: What is something you’re tired of? 

A: I can’t stand the word ‘journey’ when its related to anything other than someone getting in their car, on the train or walking. I hate it when people refer to parts of their lives as a journey. ‘My cancer journey’, ‘My journey as a parent’ etc. It gets right on my nerves. 

Q: What is the best advice anyone has ever given you? 

A: Pick your battles and bide your time. This is most likely in relation to the previous answer, whereby my lack of control over my mouth can get me in trouble. I have been developing the ability to ‘bank’ things in the knowledge that one day I may get a chance for revenge. I also aware that sometimes I should let things go and focus on the bigger picture. Pick the battles that you know you can win. There is also some sense in allowing others to get there way from time to time.

Q: If you were to be arrested, what would you have done? 

A: As an ex-police officer, I can say there is a fine line between officer and criminal. I’ve definitely broken many laws in my lifetime and yet have never been caught. These days I’d be most likely to wind up in the slammer on a public order offence where I’ve been caught saying something rude to someone. The wrong kinds of people can grate on me sometimes and I’ve never been one for backing down when I feel strongly about something. I’m far too stubborn. 

Q: What is your favourite memory? (From any time in your life) 

A: Other than the predictable (the birth of my 3 children) I’d have to say my first Scuba Dive when I was in Mexico. I thought I had come face to face with a small shark and therefore I swallowed some water in shock but managed to keep calm and not shoot to the surface. As it turns out, it was a dolphin, but I was officially hooked on the underwater world at that point and went on to learn to dive and subsequently became a speciality diver in Thailand. The earth is much more water then it is land and yet many people never think to explore it. 

Q: What is one thing you still have from your childhood? 

A: Until about a year ago, I still had a pair of pants that we almost as old as me and still almost white in colour. Cotton is incredible and grew around my rear as I got wider. I also have my Cabbage Patch doll Jeffrey that is currently enjoying a revival courtesy of my eldest son Noah.