Allan Smithy’s top Australiana films


Allan Smithy releases his highly anticipated debut EP, ‘I See A Palm Tree’ this week and will play some free shows on the East Coast of Australia in November/December to celebrate. We asked Allan to talk us through some of his favourite Australiana films:

There are several things, which I look for when it comes to a classic Australiana film. Firstly you need those cultural icons. They may or may not have been stars at the time, but they need to be people that you are familiar with. Secondly, there needs to be classic Australian idioms, things that have made there way into every day speech like “copped it sweet,” or “hooley dooley.” And finally it needs to be set in a specific location, so when you watch it abroad it takes you back to a familiar area. These are a couple of movies that make my Australiana cut.

In no particular order:

Sorry Black Hawk Down and any other box office film Eric Bana has been in, this film is his best work. By a mile. He totally nailed Mark “Chopper” Read. Its full of classic one liners like “Copped it sweet,” and “Robbo? No Cash” and its full of great characters like Neville Bartos. It also has heaps of pub scenes that feel like it was filmed at my local. Aussie icons? Check. Classic zingers? Definitely? Pub? Yep. Australiana film. Nuff said.

Two Hands
Vale Heath Ledger. You know he was only 19 years old when they filmed Two Hands? What were you doing at 19? I was watching Chris Angel Mindfreak DVD’s, eating Mcdonalds and playing Playstation. What a cracking film. Someone should open a store that just sells Pando’s shorts, cause they would sell. Brian Brown, Rose Byrne and plenty of other familiar faces, set around the eastern suburbs of Sydney, set in the glorious 90’s. Yep that’s definitely Australiana right there.

Priscilla Queen Of The Desert
It’s Friday night. You’re watching the 8:30 movie on channel 10 and it’s probably around 2001. Priscilla Queen of the Desert comes on. You sit back and watch a couple of blokes in bright colours travel through the outback. They are Guy Pierce, Hugo Weaving, and Terrance Stamp. You also see Bill Hunter and hear a cacophony of hits. There’s sequence and sand and a little something else that you just can’t put your finger on. I’ll tell you now – it’s Australiana.

Muriel’s Wedding
Hello Toni Collette and Rachel Griffiths. How old are you guys in this film? How old is this film? And there’s Bill Hunter again. This movie is a classic, they stick it to Tania, they sing ABBA songs and there is the classic line “You’re Terrible Muriel.” If you haven’t heard that used in every day life, you obviously haven’t grown up in Australia, because you guessed it, this films Australiana through and through.

Looking For Alibrandi
“Het-eenager of ther yeaaaaar.” All I really remember about this movie is that smash hit by Lo-tel, but I think that is enough to get it across the line. What happened to that band? It also had Pia Miranda and Matthew Newton… What happened to those guys as well? I think this film just raises more questions than answers, but the main point is fuck that’s a good song.

The Castle
If you haven’t seen this movie drop what you are doing, do yourself a favour and go watch it. It’s a dead set classic. It’s full of amazing one liners like “tell him he’s dreaming,” it has a stellar cast around Michael Caton (including none other than our main man Eric Bana), and it’s about a bloke who is a DIY man (like me!) just trying to save his house from the government . I hear you Darryl. You are a classic Australian icon and this is the crème de la crème of Australiana films.

Crocodile Dundee
Here is a film about an outdoorsman from the outback dominating the states. When an Australian does well overseas everyone get’s behind them and cheers them on. Look at Courtney Barnett or Vance Joy. Well throw Mick Dundee into the mix to. He’s our champion and for that alone this film makes the grade for an Australiana Classic. My only question is how did he get that knife through customs?

Mad Max
It’s just cars, sun, sand and outback. It’s like Priscilla Queen of the Desert’s violent sibling. It’s a film that opened up the Australian New Wave of cinema, and helped break Australian films across the globe. It’s a film with a semi coherent Mel Gibson (which is a good thing). It’s Mad Max and its an Australian classic.

Getting Square
I know that I said there were a few elements that make an Australiana film. Well this is film is an exception. I just really like David Wenham, and I think he is great in this film. There is a plethora of other goods things about this film: it’s set on the Gold Coast, it stars heaps of other great actors like my main man Garry Sweet, and has some pretty sweet costumes. Garry Sweet + David Wenham = Australiana film.

Neighbours / Home & Away
I know these aren’t films. Nor are they even on the same network, but let me tell you Ramsey Street and Summer Bay have been breading grounds for great Australian actors for decades. It’s also loved in the UK. Based on that alone I thought it was due an honourable mention as an Australiana staple.

Allan is playing a collection of free shows to celebrate the release of his EP…

Fri 25th Nov | Waywards, Sydney
Thu, 1st Dec | Barbara, Brisbane
Fri, 2nd Dec | The Penny Black, Melbourne

Further details on his Facebook page.