Let’s be honest: nobody enjoys ironing. There’s usually something far more important to do than moving a hot slab of metal over a pile of dry clothes that have been gathering dust in the spare room for longer than you’d care to admit. Like descaling the kettle, for example.
But fear not – cinema rides to the rescue! Why not put this tedious task to good use by watching a film at the same time? Ironing demands a certain amount of attention (you don’t want to risk ruining your other half’s favourite top) but you can usually spare enough brain power to keep up with a movie that requires very little mental capacity to enjoy.
There is an art to choosing a good film to iron to (stay with me). It should be light, undemanding, familiar – being predictable is a good thing (no taxing plots or deep philosophising). It should not involve subtitles (you’ll be looking down at the ironing board for much of the time), and should be fun enough to keep you going through 90 minutes of hot steamy pressing (er… yes). Basically, anything that gets shown on ITV. And hopefully there will be a bit left over for you to enjoy with your feet up once the hard work’s out of the way. So here’s my ten suggested films to iron to:
1. You’ve Got Mail (1998)
Ok, so this Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan vehicle isn’t a patch on their earlier Sleepless in Seattle collaboration, but it gets by on the charm of its two leads – which makes it ideal fodder for ironing. Revel in the light romantic banter while you try to get the creases out of that shirt.
2. The Scorpion King (2002)
This disposable spin-off from Universal’s Mummy franchise is a simplistic fantasy adventure romp starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Forget the plot – the writers certainly did – and instead enjoy the well-staged action and Johnson’s rippling torso.
In the mood for something a touch more futuristic? Look no further than this bank holiday favourite, which has endless scenes of people standing around staring at spectacular alien vistas – making it perfect for the humble ironer to keep up with.
4. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
To be honest, any pre-90s Bond movie would suffice. But Roger Moore’s light-hearted stint as the super spy makes him ideal company for the ironer. So I suggest this, the definitive Moore entry; it’s got all the action and raised eyebrows you could possibly want. Alternatively, if you’re worried it’s too much fun to waste on ironing, go with the dodgy Moonraker, which might actually improve if you’re only watching it with one eye.
5. The Princess Bride (1987)
This irreverent, amusing, romantic fairy tale pastiche is cinema’s equivalent of the little black dress – perfect for any occasion. You know how it goes, even if you’ve never seen it before. So stick it on; you can always blame the heat of the iron if you find you need to dab your eyes at the end.
For joyously silly comic book nonsense, nothing can come close to Mike Hodges’ 1980 adaptation of the sci-fi hero. Plenty here for the ironer to enjoy: colourful sets, a rocking Queen soundtrack and one of the most eclectic casts ever to grace a film set. Brian Blessed alone makes this essential ironing viewing.
7. Superman II (1980)
More comic book shenanigans, this time with Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel. The first film is better but is deserving of your full attention, so instead go with this less essential sequel, which is campier and has Terence Stamp doing his villainous thing. All together now: “Kneel before Zod!”
8. The Magnificent Seven (1960)
Another bank holiday favourite, this is easy to follow (cowboy in black recruits other cowboys one by one to help defend village against evil bandits), has a brilliant cast (Brynner, McQueen, Bronson, Coburn, et al) and can boast a theme you’ll be whistling for days afterwards. Possibly too good for ironing duties, but you’ve seen it before, right?
When there’s so much ironing you’ve literally resorted to wearing plastic bin bags because everything else is in the wash, this is the film to put on. A gargantuan running time, classic set-pieces (the chariot race of course, plus that terrific sea battle) and a truly epic production allow plenty of opportunity for you to try and fix those tricky trouser creases.
10. A Shot in the Dark (1964)
Finally a dose of Inspector Clouseau to keep your spirits up if the ironing is getting you down. Any Pink Panther film should do the trick (so long as it stars Peter Sellers), but this one is probably the best of the lot. It also has the distinct advantage of containing that memorable nudist camp sequence. “Give me ten men like Clouseau and I could destroy the world…”