A friend who was going through a painful breakup got this advice from her mum: 'Brad'll make it better." My friend swore it was true and I can vouch for it. When it's cold outside, when it's boiling hot outside, when you're blue, when you're overloaded, when you need a laugh, when you need some inspiration, or when you just need to retreat into a pleasant fantasy, a night with Brad Pitt can be just the thing.
If you're with your partner, no need to despair. I have it on authority from a manly man that 'Brad makes interesting film choices' and he has certainly worked with some great directors and co-stars.
Here's how I'd schedule my night of Brad movies. Of course, if I had a week .....
1. As a warm up, I'll take myself back to before he was a megastar, when Robert Redford cast him as a mini-me in the charming, under the radar "A River Runs Through It". It's a little taste of what's to come. Start time: 6 pm Running time: Two hours.
Times are changin' in Montana, but the river keeps on flowing
2. I'll feast my eyes on his breakout leading role "Legends of the Fall." For the gorgeous scenery of course, the luminous Julia Ormond, the consummate actor Aidan Quinn. Not for beautiful, flawed Tristan with his flowing locks, he of 'Brad'll make it better' fame for my friend and her mother. Not at all! Start time: 8.15 pm Running time: two hours
Oscar winning cinematography and swelling violins
3. For light relief because it's going to be a long night, my next selection is "Burn After Reading". I've loved Frances McDormand since "Fargo", and Brad makes me laugh every time I see this. Be warned though, this film contains a 'cluster***' of swearing. Start time: 10 pm Running time: 90 mins
A Coen Brothers Classic
4. Because it's his acting and film choices I really care about, I choose one of Brad's artier films next. I read somewhere that his personal favourite was "The Assassination of Jesse James by Robert Ford the Coward" but its title is too long to include in this article. I'd go for 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" in a nod to David Fincher, Brad's collaborator in "Seven" and 'Fight Club" which aren't getting a guernsey tonight. I'll marvel all over again at the digital effects behind this film, and wait with anticipation for the clock to turn backwards and for Brad to wipe twenty years off his real age on screen. He does it so well. Oh, did I mention Cate Blanchett? Start time: 11.45 pm Running time: 2.5 hours
Oscar winning art direction, visual effects and make-up
5. It's after midnight and time to spice things up a little. It's Brad's face that makes him so sexy, isn't it? So I'd hunt out "Meet Joe Black". Brad is ridiculously handsome in the first scenes, I can have a little snooze when things get a bit turgid, and wake up in time for what has been called the best sex scene in movie history - for what it implies rather than what it shows. Anthony Hopkins gets his second chance this evening to rattle off his lines at break-neck speed, and Jeffrey Tambour is delightful in a supporting role. Start time 2.30 am Running time: 3 hours
No Oscars, no critical rapture, but magnificent interiors and Brad at his blondest
6. It's time to make the most of the last precious hours until morning. To get my eyes, if not my hands on those rippling muscles. Again it's a toss up. I could chose "Snatch" or "Fight Club" if I just wanted chiselled abs. But I'm thinking heroic, so I'll choose Achilles and "Troy". The hero dies in the end, as in fact Brad's character does in every one of these six films. But there is plenty of horse flesh to go with the stirring saga. It's celluloid proof that Brad Pitt is a demi-god of equal status to Achilles.. Start time 6 am Running time: 3 hours
Bloo, Byrne and Bean - Achilles' life and Troy co-stars
I've managed to make my night with Brad stretch for 15 hours. As the French would say, with six (little) deaths in one evening, it's a night to remember.