Which film would you take with you to a desert island? We asked the cast of Celebrity Treasure Island and then a professional film critic to analyze their answers.
Just as WALL-E reveals a deep desire for human connection through his endless viewing of Hello, Dolly (1969), a person’s choice of film can speak volumes about their wants and needs. Of course, WALL-E didn’t have a choice of which movie he would watch alone on repeat forever, but the contestants on Celebrity Treasure Island NZ do. In addition to requiring their chip and song of their choice, we asked them what movie they would take to a desert island.
As with all of our experiments, we then took our findings to an expert. Dom Corry is a film critic and editor at Letterboxd, whose work has appeared in Entertainment Weekly, Flicks, The NZ Herald and even the dirty old Spinoff. Radiating live from Hollywood, he gave his thoughts on our celebrity’s Desert Island movie choices and what those choices say about their potential gameplay in the world of Celebrity Treasure Island.
A note on journalistic process: As with all rigorous experiments, for example Sensing Murder, each contestant’s name was withheld from Corry to avoid unconscious bias.
Guy Montgomery and Cam Mansel: Mission Impossible (1996)
In a Cruise-based alliance that no one saw coming, comedian Guy Montgomery and radio host Cam Mansel chose the 1996 classic, but for very different reasons. “I first watched it a week ago and it was the perfect movie,” Montgomery said. “Holy shit, this is so good. I feel like I finally have obtained Tom Cruise because he was so hot and cool and kinda sexy, and the female lead turns in one of the great accidental comedy performances. Mansel’s justification was more situational. “Being stuck on an island is going to get you into your head, and if you’re having a crazy out-of-this-world adventure, it’s probably a good chance to escape your reality.”
Corry was shocked by Montgomery’s impulsiveness, a trait we’ve also seen displayed in his previous Desert Island picks. “Anyone who picks a movie they saw a week ago as their favorite movie is driving chaos,” he said. “They could be a threat in the game, or someone who could be hard to trust.” With Mansel, Corry was more generous. “It’s very thoughtful and suggests a considered personality, probably a good person to have on your team.”
Elvis Lopeti: Dreamgirls (2006)
Immediately, Corry pulled out one of Dreamgirls most memorable moments – Jennifer Hudson’s performance of ‘And I tell you that I’m not going‘. “It’s about someone asserting their independence after being betrayed by band members, which seems to speak directly to the genre of the game here,” he said. “I think this person is ready for drama.”
Courtenay Louise: La La Terre (2016)
“He’s someone who might be a little more romantic at heart, someone who is maybe sincere and wears his heart on his sleeve,” Corry said of the real La La Land. “I think that indicates a trustworthy person and probably someone who loves jazz.”
Lady Susan Devoy: Mamma Mia (2008)
A great snapshot emerges here of the best squash player New Zealand has ever known: enjoy Ready Salted Eta crisps with Kiwi Onion Dip while blasting the cover of Heart from “Stairway to Heaven” and taking over Mamma Mia ( 2008). “He’s someone who I think would have a hard time hiding his emotions,” Corry said. “Mamma Mia is all about putting it all out there, expressing it all. It’s loud and it’s upbeat, it’s about screaming how it feels from the top of the hills while believing that Pierce Brosnan has a singing voice.”
Lynette Forday: The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Corry said this selection suggests someone who is willing to venture into the unknown, although he questioned the authenticity of his answer. “Perhaps it denotes a naivety or candor that now that I’m saying it out loud makes me suspect that’s what they want to convey. Maybe they’re not as innocent as the choice suggests it.
Perlina Lau: The Sound of Music (1965)
“It’s a non-revealing answer that perhaps suggests a level of strategy. Sun Tzu says the enemy shouldn’t know who you are, so this person is clearly following the art of war.
Dylan Schmidt: Stepbrothers (2008)
“Good people like stepbrothers and bad people like stepbrothers,” Corry reflected. “It’s eminently rewatchable, not a wildly revealing choice, but someone who likes to laugh is probably a good person to be stuck on an island with.”
Iyia Liu: Bridesmaids (2011)
“I think Bridesmaids is an underdog movie and picking it might indicate someone who thinks they won’t be seen as a threat, but thinks they have a chance. A quiet achiever, a secret champion. Bridesmaids are all about not being the alpha and always being a winner.
Dr. Joel Rindelaub: Dumb and Dumber (1994)
“It’s a goofy movie,” Corry chuckled. “Anyone who picks up this movie probably won’t be a huge intellectual threat in the game.” I didn’t tell him that the person who cast him is the only doctor in the cast.
Karen O’Leary: Clue (1985)
The 1985 cult favorite based on the board game Cluedo had Corry fizzing positively. “Clue is a masterpiece and I immediately align with that person and put money on it,” he said. “It’s about groups of people analyzing each other, it also has three famous endings that can speak to the unpredictability of reality TV shows. This person has good taste in movies and probably knows how navigate complex group dynamics.
Alex King: The Dark Knight (2008)
“The central theme of The Dark Knight is the disruptive power of chaos, which is perhaps relevant in this context,” Corry said, referring to the infamous “some people just want to see the world burn” quote. King may have let slip her allegiance to chaos when she told The Spinoff that the movie featured “Christian Bale and the Joker.” Corry was frightened by this saying – “I think this person is a real threat.”
Eds Eramiha: The Avengers (2012)
Corry didn’t have high hopes for the unlucky celeb who chose Avengers. “That’s a downright boring answer,” he growled. “That’s like saying your favorite food is French fries.” Ironically, as we all know, Eds don’t eat any type of potato product.
Mike King: The Princess Bride (1987)
“It’s like The Wizard of Oz but without the subterfuge. It reveals someone who is genuinely adventurous, is probably a good ally, and believes in honor and rolling down the hills and the greatness of Andre the Giant.
Jesse Tuke: The Neverending Story (1984)
Although Tuke’s rationale was that it “seems like the most logical way to kill endless time”, Corry was concerned about what this answer revealed about his preparation for the competition. “This perhaps suggests a candidate who is a little too focused on his childhood, and who is not ready or able to face the adult realities of life as represented by the specific skills required to progress in Celebrity Treasure Island. .”
Cassie Roma: Forrest Gump (1994)
“That sets off a bit of alarm bells,” Corry said. “It’s a great movie and it’s actually not as boxy a movie as history might remind us, but it’s also a monolithic cultural entity that represents virtue in a way that, if you choose, you would know and want this association. I am a little suspicious of this person.
Ron Cribb: Braveheart (1995)
“Choosing Braveheart in this context suggests someone with a martyr complex who I wouldn’t be surprised to see fall on their sword at some point in the name of helping a teammate.”
Te Kohe Tuhaka: The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
“It’s kind of like the Sound of Music where it’s hard to pin down anything about that person because they’re so loved,” Corry speculated. “But there are relevant themes there – mainly persistence in the face of hardship and digging holes.”
Melodie Robinson: Interview with the Vampire (1994)
The former Black Fern confessed that her choice was mainly motivated by a desire to “perv at Brad Pitt”, which Corry concerned. “That person might go crazy on this island faster, depending on how hot the rest of the contestants are and how much like Brad Pitt they are.”
Shimpal Lelisi: The Goonies (1985)
“He’s someone who’s up for the challenge of the show and will do his best,” Corry said. “The treasure hunt in The Goonies is very auspicious. I think this person has a chance.
Siobhan Marshall: Desperado (1995)
“Antonio and Selma forever,” the Outrageous Fortune star said. Cory agreed. “Antonio and Selma have never looked so good, it’s a pretty sexy movie. Of all the answers here, I’d love to talk to this person more about movies. They look like fun to hang out with on the beach. Don’t expect Marshall to bring any delicious fries at the party.