Movies rock. These ones in particular rock socks. They rock so many socks in fact that, when I saw them, (I saw almost none, if any, of these in the theatre) I lost my mind in some crazy fantasy world and decided it was a good idea to make more of these things. So here are the movies that influenced me much like a fatality influences your hospital bill. In no particular order.
1. Jurassic Park (1993). Spielberg brought Dinosaurs back from the dead for Christ’s sake! This was the only movie I watched for two years of my life. This is the penultimate example of what you can do with movies, you can bring the most amazing, jaw-dropping, dream-realizing things to life on the camera. Movies can bring dreams to life. A T-REX FOUGHT VELOCIRAPTORS!! It doesn’t get any better than that.
2. Beauty and the Beast (1991). This movie is just awesome. Them good old boys at Disney did a great job on this one. I used to watch this and Lion King over just about every other disney movie (except Aladdin). Fantastic songs like Disney always does, great tone-shifts for characters and settings, awesome set-design (drawing design?). They did a great job of making the Beast relatable and making him feel real and AUGH everything was so human. TALE AS OLD AS TIME. SONG AS OLD AS RHYME. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
3. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000). BAD. ASS. Ang Lee is a hoss. Everything about this is amazing. Throughout there is an underlying sense of urgency and tension for Li Mu Bai and to essentially fight for Jen Yu’s soul. But they hide it with this kind of veil of calm and collectedness. The fights are badass as can be but they’re so fluid and free-flowing it’s just jaw-dropping. Absolutely gorgeous cinematography that foster’s the serenity of the warriors and a kickass mystical, unbreakable, fuck-shit-up sword.
4. In Bruges (2008). God damn fucking Bruges is a fucking shit hole. One of the best movies ever just by virtue of sheer number of curse words. This movie managed to make a city look absolutely gorgeous but at the same time the most boring, lifeless, pointless place ever, which is appropriate considering the whole movie is full of allegories for heaven, hell and purgatory. Colin Farrell is funny, moving, and convincingly human and humane as a hitman who made one little mistake that consumes him now. This movie is full of humanity and cold-heartedness but manages to be absolutely hilarious at the same time. Fantastically shot and awesomely written script.
5. Spirited Away (2001). Myazaki knows his shit. The general arch of the plot is so freaking basic, it’s just a coming of age story in the main arch. But Myazaki crafts a beautiful, haunting spirit world. The pacing of the movie is just brilliant. Chihiro slowly gets engulfed into the world of the dead, going further and further down the rabbit hole until she’s almost trapped by essentially the devil. The movie has perfect “dream logic” where everything that happens becomes important and is needed to get further along through Chihiro’s journey. The spirit’s are wonderfully human in death and the music is so damn uplifting it hurts.
6. A Clockwork Orange (1971). Disturbing, insane, beautiful, and a little bit of the old Ludwig Van. Clockwork Orange is my favorite Kubrick movie cuz it’s just so damn crazy. Alex is a perfect teenager, he’s confident, arrogant, and irreverent. But of course, Kubrick makes him an uber confident, arrogant, and irreverent teenager going so far as to have him gleefully rape women and beat up old, homeless guys. This movie uses awesome set pieces, costumes, and cinematography to follow Alex down his path to being cured in one sense (or another). It speaks perfectly to the innate carnal nature of our desires and Alex is almost a Peter Pan of sorts. Go forth and watch me droogs.
7. Taxi Driver (1976). Of course it would be Scorsese who unofficially adapts Catcher in the Rye into a movie. And god bless him. Instead of a irreverent kid though, he turned Holden into an adult Travis Bickle who has no illusions in the same way that Holden does, but simply wants to maintain innocence and goodness. Robert De Niro is fan-fucking-tastic going from a quiet, introvert into a mentally unstable vigilante all for a single little girl. The script, supported by camera-work, captures the deranged single-mindedness of Bickle perfectly. He just doesn’t understand how to act with people (he takes a date to a porn flick the poor guy) and really is completely out of his depth. His transformation is astounding as he sports a badass mohawk and practices killing people in front of a mirror. It’s really chilling watching this guy’s ego growing and him feeling like a hero in the moments up until a bloody and kickass gunfight.
8. Godfather II (1974). Why did the 70’s effect me so much? I wasn’t born for like 20 years after these things came out. My Grandmother is Italian, my Father is half-italian, and I’m a quarter Italian. This movie has an Italian family kicking in the teeth of the dumb cubans and floridans. That’s reason enough for me to love it (VIVA ITALIA). Francis Ford Coppola is freaking awesome (I mean dear god he did The Godfather I and II, Apocalypse Now, American Graffiti, Patton, and Dracula). He made a 3+ hour-long movie interesting the whole time. Al Pacino got slapped in the face by the Academy when they didn’t give him the Oscar for Michael Corleone. De Niro was actually believable as Vito Corleone (How the hell do you stand up to someone like Marlon Brando) and was pretty badass later on. The changes in tone and mood from Michael running the family and Vito growing up is awesome. And Mario Puzo is freaking awesome.
9. The Good The Bad The Weird (2008). BEST WESTERN EVER! And it’s set in Manchuria with Koreans and Chinese fighting each other while fighting the Japanese army! Ji-woon Kim made a western that was hilarious, tense, action-packed, exciting, fun, and THE TWIST IS EPIC!!! The acting is epic and real at the same time and the editing is perfect for fight scenes. It gets you into the action and gets your blood pumping but doesn’t cut so fast and frame so tightly that you have no idea what’s going on. A perfect mix of humor and action. The whole thing is just a race to a treasure but it’s a ride.
10. Amadeus (1984). One of the best performances ever put on film is in this movie. F. Murray Abraham is just amazing as Antonio Salieri. As the younger Salieri he acts precisely and carefully in public but breaks down into a moody artist when alone, praying as a whiny kid to god to be as popular as Mozart. But then as the aging Salieri, accompanied by music composed by Mozart, he delivers monologues that send chills down your spine with the reality of his emotion and overbearing hatred for God and Mozart. Tom Hulce gives a wonderful performance as Mozart as he prances around like an immature school-boy and laughing that all-encompasing shriek of a laugh. But when alone he is sullen with the weight of his genius and his mix of emotions tears him apart. The cinematography is fantastic, mirroring the darkness in Salieri’s heart and the light that emanates from Mozart and his music. The editing is perfect, focusing all our attention on aging Salieri as he tells us his story and then on Mozart and the object of his affections once in the story. Perfectly executed movie. Tish ym tea.Read less