I watch a ton a movies, and I can honestly say that movies have a huge impact on my life. (Perhaps too much impact? I have shouted at people “Why doesn’t this radio have numbers along its volume dial? It must go to 11!” (Jokes! but not really…) ) Although I maybe have not seen Borat or Ben-Hur (soon to be rectified), I have a huge file-o-fax of movies in my brain and in my idea/inspiration log. Throughout my childhood my sister, brother and I, with the help of my mum and dad, have watched some pretty obscure stuff plus the classics that everyone must see, plus all of Disney, ever. (E.g. I watched The Breakfast Club and Dead Poet’s Society by the fifth grade. I actually remember my mum talking about how these movies may not be totally appropriate for my age… She totally fast-forwarded over the part where (spoiler!) Neil kills himself, and paused the movie, and just told me, Real-style, that he had taken his life. And I remember being like “OMGGG. WHATTTT?” )
I love the feeling of getting totally immersed into a film and being able to experience, see, learn about another world. My favorite part of movies is that point of no return – when you are so into the reality of the film, that after the movie is over, you don’t just ponder about the film, but you are left talking or thinking or acting in the character of the film. Awesome.
Anyway, here are a list of movies I love. I’m a harsh critic, but I will never discount a movie if there are some winning features. E.g. Tyra Banks’ hair in Life-Size. Some movies are really bad, but sometimes you NEED a bad movie, too. I think we all have those spells. Sometimes you need a lame, feel-good rom-com to give you a break from real life. Or, perhaps some really dumb Tomb Raider. BUT, I usually never need a cheap, slightly-offensive, not in an awesome way, movie. Or a movie with crazy bad acting, or just an unsuccessful plot. So I will generally leave those out of this list. Sorry High School Musical. I will never want to watch you. There will never be a good time for that much spray tan. Anyway, here will be some movies I’m into, and a bit about of my thoughts on them. Laters!
(Click on all images to go to their original webpages.)
Beauty Is Embarassing
“A documentary on the life and current times of artist Wayne White.” here. Documentary. A little un-evenly paced, but a fabulous film about one of my favorite artists, Wayne White. I love everything about him, but most of all, I loved watching his process (how he implemented his personality, view, style into his art), him in his element and just being his weird self, and being reminded of the important art-as-a-lifestyle approach. Honest and hearwarming.
“By tying thousands of balloons to his home, 78-year-old Carl sets out to fulfill his lifelong dream to see the wilds of South America. Russell, a wilderness explorer 70 years younger, inadvertently becomes a stowaway.” here. Animation, adventure, comedy. Really entertaining, funny, really heartfelt movie. Really reaches to an audience of all ages, and the animation is just gorgeous. The maturity and care put into the character development is just beautiful. This film is a true testament to what animation can be when the animators, story board artists, directors, etc. are given free reign – from the little details (an apartment bedroom filled with a kaleidoscope of colors), to the plot arc. This is such a great example of what animation has become today, compared to what is was perceived to be 10 or 20 years ago.
“A documentary that follows six young dancers from around the world as they prepare for the Youth America Grand Prix, one of the most prestigious ballet competitions in the world.” here. Documentary. An inspiring depiction of the hard work and time and sacrifice that it takes to become a recognized ballet dancer, or really achieve any dream. A collection of stories and the insight into the lives of the dancers is really beautifully relatable, whatever your knowledge of ballet.
“Biography of Mohandas K. Gandhi, the lawyer who became the famed leader of the Indian revolts against the British rule through his philosophy of non-violent protest.” here. Drama, Biography. A powerful movie, and another one of my favorites of all time. Really shows the power of human will. Not a quick or light movie to watch, but so worth it.
The Scarlet Pimpernel
“Leslie Howard plays Sir Percy Blakeney, an 18th century English aristocrat who leads a double life. He appears to be merely the effete aristocrat, but in reality is part of an underground effort to free French nobles from Robespierre’s Reign of Terror. Based on the novel by Baroness Orczy.” here. Action, Romance, Comedy. A classic book and film, The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934) is to me one of the first/best superhero movies. Mysterious, intreguing, funny and romantic in both senses, its a really fun older movie to watch. (Fun fact: The guy who plays Sir Percy Blankeney is Ashley from Gone With The Wind! Not that anyone knows who I’m talking about…) This quote applies to life and suits, and is my mum’s personal favorite: (said in snooty London accent) “Nothing is so bad as that which is not so bad.”
A Single Man
“An English professor, one year after the sudden death of his boyfriend, is unable to cope with his typical days in 1960s Los Angeles.”here. Drama. Tom Ford directed this film, so obviously its going to be beautiful, with detailed costumes, and subtle cinematography and art direction. The character development, I must say was pretty beautiful, too, and what drove the film. That, and Colin Firth’s mastery. (Not to say the Nicholas Hoult was not right, specifically, on the money. I feel like he never needs direction. He just makes the character different than it ever knew it wanted to be.) Yes, its slow, but you watch it for the journey. It showed really beautiful homosexual love, and also the mind (and reasoning) behind the impeccably dressed man. With beautifully subtle art direction, although its not a ‘must see’, I’d recommend it to any film or drama buff.
Can’t Buy Me Love
“A nerdy outcast secretly pays the most popular girl in school one thousand dollars to be his girlfriend.”here.
Comedy, Romance, Drama. This is another one of those 80’s teen movies which I am such a fan of (they were romantic comedies before the genre became so bastardized by hollywood and the popular kids, and there was at least some level of wanting to release teen angst finally! always on the screen), that is a little less widely known, although it has been re-done so many times. This is the original, and of course, the best. Its staring the adorable Patrick Dempsey, a future “McDreamy” from Grey’s Anatomy, but here he looks real and unfinished and just natural in his acting. Also, I feel like he probably is a bit of a dork in real life, who just happens to be conventionally good looking, which adds to the whole apple pie. This movie is a sweet, lighter romantic comedy done right, and to me, is memorable in the chemistry of its main characters. Plus the styling in this movie is amazing. Even for the 80’s, it is so well done.
“A noble underachiever and a beautiful valedictorian fall in love the summer before she goes off to college.”here.
Comedy, Drama, Romance. This movie has now become quite mainstream-vintage, but I remember a time where everyone knew the famous ghetto-blaster-over-your-head pose, but NO ONE knew where it was from, or had heard of the band named after it. Back in grade 11 when my English Media teacher, Mr. Brown, let us watch this the last day before the winter break, I fell in love with this movie. Not only is it another one of the classic 80’s teen movies – the films that came out at the start of the genre, when every thing was still new and was being done for the first time – but it has so much heart! You can totally watch it in a this-is-so-cheesy ironic way, and you can totally watch it in a real-life-hearbreak way. There are so many amazing quotes and insinuations, and there is true wisdom in this movie. I don’t even know where to start. Here’s a taster: “Why can’t you be in a good mood? How hard is it to decide to be in a good mood and be in a good mood once in a while?” Or, “I am looking for a dare to be great situation.” Just one more: “I have this theory of convergence, that good things always happen with bad things. I know you have to deal with them at the same time, but I just don’t know why they have to happen at the same time. I just wish I could work out some schedule. Am I just babbling? Do you know what I mean?”
“Two slacker friends try to promote their public-access cable show.”here.
Comedy. This movie is so obviously on this list, that I feel like I hardly should have it here at all. (Except I ran into someone the other day who DIDN’T KNOW WHAT WAYNE’S WORLD WAS, so I thought I had to include it.) Classic, classic comedy about two bros from the 1990’s, in their basement with their baller cable show. This is one of the movies that put Mike Myers on the map. Here’s a taste: “She’s a fox. In French, she would be called “la renarde” and she would be hunted with only her cunning to protect her.” “She’s a robo-babe. In Latin, she would be called “babia majora”. ” “If she were a president, she would be Baberham Lincoln. ” Genius.
“Selfish yuppie Charlie Babbitt’s father left a fortune to his savant brother Raymond and a pittance to Charlie; they travel cross-country.”here.
Drama. Another one of Tom Cruise’s 90’s greats. This movie is so famous that I hardly need to say anything about it, except SEE IT. This movie did not win 4 Oscars for no reason. Beautiful, realistically-portrayed, personal story. Character development is so subtle, which makes it so believable, and the pace is just slow and fast enough to make you feel the restlessness of a road trip, but the constant interest of a great drama.
David and Lisa
“The emotional story of a young man in a mental institution for teens who begins to understand his psychosis in the environment of others with mental and emotional problems…”here.
Drama. A very interesting movie directed by Frank Perry, and a beautiful acting job done by Keir Dullea in the lead. So many subtle details and such a well-made movie. I admit that sometimes I find it hard to get immersed in older movies, but this movie really succeeded with its subtlety to bring me into the story real quick. Just a great story, with beautiful film techniques.
“With the help of his mentor, a slave-turned-bounty hunter sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.” here.
Action/Drama/Western. Quentin Tarantino is such a freakin artist. I know it sounds cliche, it is true. This movie was pure art – it was not action (think Die Hard) or slasher or historically accurate. Eff that. I do not care that it was not really any of those things. It was art and it was interpretive and it was my fantasy and it was gory and it was awesome. He made my every western, white-guilt, 70’s, type, modern-hipster-film-art dream come true.
If I came into the movie wanting my friends to call me ‘ayna’ (silent D), then I sure as hell left that way.
(p.s. I should have a section just devoted to Quentin, Wes and Lena Dunham….)
Indie Game: The movie
“A documentary that follows the journeys of indie game developers as they create games and release those works, and themselves, to the world.” here.
Documentary. Really intense, beautiful and personal look into the world of indie gaming, or really any self-directed labour of love. Awesome movie.
“The Muppet Elmo is one of the most beloved characters among children across the globe. Meet the unlikely man behind the puppet – the heart and soul of Elmo – Kevin Clash.” here.
Documentary. Lovely, just lovely and so cute and sweet like Elmo. Highly recommended.
The Scent of A Woman
“A prep school student needing money agrees to “babysit” a blind man, but the job is not at all what he anticipated.” here.
Drama. Very, very famous 90’s movie. This movie is so interesting and poignant, and if you are a film buff you really should see it. It goes with the whole ‘Dead Poets’ era. I honestly haven’t seen it for a while, but I remembered it the other day, and knew I had to post about it. I still remembered exactly how it made me feel and how much I liked it when I first saw it. I will never forget the famous scene in the courtroom. Totally clutch movie.
“An afro-american teen writing prodigy finds a mentor in a reclusive author.” here.
Drama. Also directed by Gus Van Sant, a beautifully paced, slow, complex movie. In my opinion, on of Sean Connery’s best. The first time I ever heard Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow was in this movie, and I will forever think of this movie and the feeling I had when I first heard it.
Good Will Hunting
“Will Hunting, a janitor at MIT, has a gift for mathematics but needs help from a psychologist to find direction in his life.” here.
Drama. Obvious one, but amazing one directed by Gus Van Sant. I don’t really want to say much about this except that the acting is just amazing, and the writing (by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck! They won an academy award for it!) and plot development is so good. This one is personal when you watch it. (Also, tons of quotable lines, but the funny thing is, I never really want to quote it. I just want to hear the actors say the lines, to keep them special.)
(….The only thing is, I don’t really get the title of the movie. I mean, I get it, but everything else about the movie is so spectacular, I think they could’ve chosen something better. But anyway, the title is still good, I really don’t want to rag on this movie at all. :) )
“A talented young boy becomes torn between his unexpected love of dance and the disintegration of his family.” here.
I refuse to believe that the broadway show is better than the movie, and will forever refuse to see the show. Its so good, you just have to watch it. (If you want to, that is… And also, if you are into dramas.. That helps….)
The Usual Suspects
“A boat has been destroyed, criminals are dead, and the key to this mystery lies with the only survivor and his twisted, convoluted story beginning with five career crooks in a seemingly random police lineup.” here.
Crime, Drama, Mystery. Super edgy movie. To me, this one is a classic. Great twists in plot, and the writing is so awesome. The last scene in the entire movie is so epic, I get chills every. Single. TIME. Also, the acting is so good. SUPERB.
The Parent Trap
“Identical twins, separated at birth and each raised by one of their biological parents, discover each other for the first time at summer camp and make a plan to bring their wayward parents back together.”
Comedy, Family, Drama. Part of it is nostalgia and the fact that it was a favorite childhood movie, but also I think that I would say that its a favorite movie because the styling of this movie was just done so well. It wasn’t too rich or lavish to be impersonal, and it just felt so clean and fresh. For the time when it was made, the interior design, clothing and hair styling, sets, everything, just made it such a well done lifestyle movie. Even if you left the movie not really caring about the plot, you couldn’t really leave this movie without getting a feel of the vibe the director was going for. That fresh, clean, loud, up-lifty but quiet feeling. And to this day, when it rains, all I want to do is wear a white denim Ralph Lauren shirt with jeans, curl up with a book and listen to Ray Charles sing ‘Everytime We Say Goodbye’.
This movie was also done back when Lindsay Lohan was cute, and to me, it was definitely her best roles to-date.
“American-born Gogol, the son of Indian immigrants, wants to fit in among his fellow New Yorkers, despite his family’s unwillingness to let go of their traditional ways.” here.
Drama. One of my favorite movies of all time. (If not, my favorite movie of all time.) Poetic, clean, romantic, honest, beautiful performances, it feels like a novel, gloriously cultural, appealing to different age groups, intriguing, compassionate, not afraid to be slow. That is all I’m going to say about it.
“In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a plan to assassinate Nazi leaders by a group of Jewish U.S. soldiers coincides with a theatre owner’s vengeful plans for the same.” here.
Adventure, Drama, War. This movie is so freakin badass. Quintin, you are an artist and an intellectual and a badass. I salut you. This movie makes me totally proud to be Jewish. And also, its so intentionally cheesy and dramatic and exciting, you can’t ever really predict what’s going to happen, the subplots are great (as they always are in Quintin’s movies), the actors are sublime. Just like all of Tarintino’s, is so good.
“When Manny Singer’s wife dies, his young daughter Molly becomes mute and withdrawn. To help cope with looking after Molly, he hires sassy housekeeper Corrina Washington, who coaxes Molly out of her shell and shows father and daughter a whole new way of life. Manny and Corrina’s friendship delights Molly and enrages the other townspeople.”here.
Comedy, Drama, Romance. This movie just does something to me to make me happy. All the little bits in this movie are just totally playful and magical, and all the leads in the movie are fabulous. Beautifully made film – subtleties are so nice, and romance is convincing. (In my humble opinion.) Be warned, it is very sad too, but it is also just a nugget of smile and ‘EVERYTHING is going to be alright’.
“This documentary follows the lives and careers of a collective group of Do-it-yourself artists and designers who inadvertently affected the art world.”
Documentary. Beautiful documentary focusing on specific artists and the overall inception of the punk-art movement of the 1980s and 1990s in California and New York. Discusses and shows the shift in the perspective of the art world during the 1980’s-90’s: a new, less elite, more open perspective to what art is, and to the artists themselves. Can be slow or pretentous at times, but extremely touching, honest interviews, with features from many fabulous artists. I found it to be a really beautiful, impactful film. True insight into these artist’s minds, processes, backgrounds, perspectives, etc.
Seven Wives For Seven Brothers
“In 1850 Oregon, when a backwoodsman brings a wife home to his farm, his six brothers decide that they want to get married too.” imdb.
Classic. Romantic Comedy. This movie is a ideal winter movie. Much of the movie takes place in a lodge in the mountaintops in the wintertime in Oregon, and it is super atmospheric. It is fun, its light, super cute and very charming. All the music was really great too, if you’re into 1950’s musicals (and of course, the costumes were awesome). If you love old movies (in the vain of the Sound of Music!) and don’t mind sitting through a bit of 1950’s male chauvinism, this movie’s totally awesome.
The Joy Luck Club
“The life histories of four Asian women and their daughters reflect and guide each other.” (Imdb.com)
Drama. Lovely, beautifully well-done mother daughter movie. Focuses on the Chinese-American experience, and the lives of four (eight) sets of mothers and daughters. A beautiful series of stories, all so emotionally portrayed, startling accurate and funny, with calmingly atmospheric cinematography.
Fantastic Mr. Fox
“From director Wes Anderson (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums) comes FANTASTIC MR. FOX, based on the book by Roald Dahl. Featuring the voices of George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, and Jason Schwartzman.”
Imma keep this short and sweet. This movie was so beautiful. Omg! I could not get over the animation and art direction and the quirky costumes for each character. If that was all, and literally there was no sound, I would probs still watch it. I was totally INraptured by their movement and the animators cinematography.
But, more than that, the animation totally worked specifically with the writing, which of course was amazingly clever and fun and SASS-tastic. Wes Anderson, you can wear whatever color uggs you want, and still be cool. Just so particularly, cleverly Wes Anderson. I thought plot was a bit here and there, but I think that kinda goes with the Wes Anderson ride, and I am totally cool with that. Conclusion: Lovely with spice. :)
Bill Cunningham: New York
“Bill Cunningham is the street-fashion and society chronicler for The New York Times. After 50 years of cycling the streets of the Big Apple with his camera, snapping the great, the good and the stylish, Bill Cunningham is now in front of the lens in this loving and intimate portrait of a remarkable man and a chronicler of a city.”
This film was so great and definitely for a compassionate of art and fashion. It was a not-uncomfortably-intrusive and fascinating study into an unusual man’s life (unusual man, yet an every-man). Plus, a really great reminder of why you should bother dressing interestingly and why you should bother trying new things.
The film also gives an honest insight into the experience of being in a profession that you love (not striving for a position you love, but actually what life is like after you get it), and gives an insight into life in New York city. Despite his love of flamboyancy in clothing, I left feeling that Bill gave the viewer permission to not be ashamed to look perhaps too much in-depth into something others may see as ordinary or uninteresting.