Or the films that changed the way I viewed cinema. I do have plenty of favourites, but there are those that really stand out, watershed films that make reevaluate what I’m watching. If I have time I’ll do a short write up of each film and how each blew my fucking mind.
Just a little background:
When I was young I felt I never saw a bad film, everything was a masterpiece to me. I grew up on films like The Karate Kid, Beetle Juice, Batman Returns, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and Return to Oz. Then my mum started taking me to the state university film center where they showed films that weren’t shown at our mall multiplex. It was there I saw The Commitments, it was the first time I heard swearing on screen, and I was amazed at the sheer energy of the film. And so started my journey of seeking out films that were beyond the multiplex.
A few years later, I was given a complimentary copy of 1997 of the Time Out Film Guide. That book became my bible, I highlighted titles of films that interested me, and the reviews were so well-written,my favourite reviewers were Tony Rayns and Geoff Andrew, and I would seek out any film that they would give a favourable review. I also love that the reviews didn’t have star ratings, so you are more free to determine whether the film is masterpiece or not (unless, of course, it’s mentioned in the review). In contrast, the first film magazine I ever bought was Empire, and it happened to be their 100th issue, in it they had a section for all the films they gave 5 stars to, and that became my “watchlist” (in combination with the TO Film Guide) and I slowly went through the films an developed my own taste in films. One particular film really stood out in the Empire 5 star films as it did in the TOFG, and that was Stranger Than Paradise. This was Geoff Andrew’s review that made me want to seek out the film:
A beautiful little independent film that paved the way for the more accessible (but perhaps less exhilarating) delights of Down by Law, this three-part road-movie-with-a-difference is shot in long, static black-and-white takes, and features an excellent score that straddles both Screaming Jay Hawkins and Bartok. The story is slight: cool, laconic New Yorker Lurie (of Lounge Lizards fame) reluctantly plays host when his young female cousin arrives on a visit from Hungary. When the girl finally disappears to Ohio to stay with an eccentric old aunt, Lurie suddenly finds himself feeling lonely, and he and his buddy Edson slope off westwards in search of…whatever. It’s an ironic fable about exile, peopled by carefully, economically observed kooks who, at least after the first half-hour, are drawn with considerable warmth and generosity. Not a lot to it, certainly, but the acting and performances combine to produce an obliquely effective study of the effect of landscape upon emotion, and the wry, dry humour is often quite delicious.