Thursday, May 19, 2005

Movie Meme

This taken from Sarcasmo (who else), who I thought had forgotten my birthday in her currently busy state but surprised me with a gift of Shaun of the Dead – my latest all-time favorite movie, great for me and this post. That reminds me:

TOTALLY UNRELATED SIDE NOTE TO MY PHILLY OPERATIVE, “FAT MIKE” – the strike is off. Stand down, repeat, stand down.


I love movies. They’ll never replace a good book, especially when you need to squish a spider, but they have their place. I tend to prefer masculine, violent movies with artistic overtones (think Blue Velvet and Fight Club). I generally like character studies and quiet reflection better on paper. On the screen, I like it when stuff blows up real good. At the same time, the movies I like the least are the absolute brain dead hyper-action films that have no plot or talent associated and rely on special effects and dizzying camera angles to create the illusion of tension (recent movies with the words fast and furious in the title come to mind). On to the meme.

Total number of films I own on DVD/video:
Eighteen, and they’re all on DVD. I shun old technology. Also, I rarely buy movies anymore since discovering NetFlix. Now I prefer to keep only the ones I can either pop in to re-watch a brief scene or that I might have a sudden urge to watch again and don’t want to wait. Examples – Finding Nemo, Lola Rent, and Shaun of the Dead.

The last film I bought:
An impulse buy – the 30th anniversary edition of Jaws. It hasn’t changed noticeably in thirty years.

The last film I watched:
On TV: Shaun of the Dead. In the theater: The Incredibles.

Five films that I watch a lot or that mean a lot to me:
5. Shaun of the Dead. I thought this movie was really good the first time I saw it, thankfully in the theatres, but I like it more with each viewing. It has a little something for everybody, and it works on every level – humor, horror, and romance. It is slightly marred by the ending, which I believe was the result of an American test market group, but otherwise perfect. Note to editors and former writing group members – you see, there is such a thing as humorous horror.
4. Conan the Barbarian. At twelve, this was the perfect movie for me, what with all the blood and violence and nudity. We just had cable installed (HBO only), and I used to sneak down to the den in the wee hours (between midnight and four A.M.) to watch it with the sound turned down. Some time later my long-absent dad, in an attempt to prove parental dedication, gave me a VCR against my mother’s wishes and allowed me to pick a video to go with it. He knew the contents of the movie (since he watched it with me on my new top-loading machine), but it took my mother awhile to catch on. Like so many, she assumes all fantasy movies to be about chaste knights, fire-breathing dragons, prancing unicorns, and cobbling elves. By the time she confiscated my tape I had already watched it completely more than a hundred times (I counted) and could remember every line, scene, and sound without the cassette. One added bonus – the movie prompted me to seek out the original Conan series, still available then in paperback, which is how, when, and why I started reading. Note – the books were better.
3. A Clockwork Orange. My friends got me into this one in my teen years. We identified with the main character Alex to the point of dressing like him and committing minor acts of vandalism (we were really too much the suburbanite pussies to do any real ultra-violence). That’s right – at age sixteen I skipped school, drove to an upscale hat store in downtown Nashville and purchased an expensive bowler hat to go with my combat boots. At school they allowed us to pick our own novel for our last book report, provided it was a classic. They defined classic as any book at least twenty years old that had sold a million copies. That’s a great way to rate literature – it’s not art unless it’s old and has made a lot of money – but I digress. At first our faculty didn’t recognize the book and allowed it, but they caught on soon and banned it from the classics list. Note – the book was better than the movie, although both are cool.
2. Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I actually think Monty Python’s Life of Brian was a slightly better movie, but I have to go with Grail here because of the impact on my life. It marked another group of firsts: my first British film, the first time I’d heard of Monty Python, and the first time I’d seen a movie that surreal and nonlinear. It was also the first movie my friends and I learned to quote religiously while we sword fought with tobacco sticks. “Right, I’ll do you for that!” “Just a flesh wound.” “I’ll bite your legs off.” “Ow! That was my face, dickhead.” Note – the last one was an ad lib that frequently came up.
1. Star Wars (and The Empire Strikes Back). I lumped these two together since they’re both part of the same series. I really think Empire was a better movie, especially since my childhood hero and favorite person Darth Vader kicked more butt, but Star Wars has to take top prize for the impact it had on my life. When it came to theatres I was eight years old, living in rural Kentucky in a place where we barely got three channels on the TV if the weather patters were favorable and the nearest theatre was a forty-five minute drive away. One of my friends, a boy four years older who lived in the third house up the road (about five miles away), came to visit and breathlessly described the spectacle. It sounded stupid to me who had never even heard the term science fiction before. “People shooting each other with beams of light? How scary.” Still, he insisted that I see it and I promised him I would just to shut him up. My family rarely went to the movies and had never taken me to anything more sophisticated than Raggedy Ann and Andy, but I badgered them into taking the family (at that time still mom and dad and older sis) and we were all in shock and awe. I’ve loved sci-fi ever since.
- Honorable Mention: Taps. This is the first movie I ever saw with an unhappy ending. In fact I remember sitting in the theater, blown away at age eleven, thinking “Everything didn’t work out in the end. They can’t do that, can they?”
- Honorable Mention: Donnie Darko. Just because it’s immensely cool and defies classification.

Tag 5 people and have them put this in their journal:
Once again, I'll leave it up to whoever wants to do this to take the initiative rather than tag them. It seems like we’re all extremely busy these days. It must be a virus going around.

Moo, out


Weary Hag said...

Okay so I own and have immensely enjoyed all of the movies you mentioned except for Conan. Grail and Clockwork are two of my all-time favorites. I too sat in shock and awe over the ending of Taps.
I have my dad to thank for my fondness of violence in filmdom. As a tiny kid, we'd watch shit like King Kong and Godzilla movies together and my favorite parts were when they'd squish or eat people;good stuff for the early 60s. When my mother found out I went to see Clockwork, she raised an eyebrow ... when she found out how much I enjoyed it, she got this scared shitless look on her face. I think I went back to see it twice more in one week on the big screen. Did you ever hear of a movie called Zardoz? Just curious.
One more thing... you'll probably cringe at this but remember we didn't have a lot of choices when I was a teen ... I went to see each of the Death Wish movies about five times as they came out. Chuckie Bronson was my hero for years following that series. Not because he played the vigilante, but just because he was such a capably violent mofo. Oh yeah, and he had nice shoulders too.

wondy woman said...

I'll do it! I love movies too and I like your page a lot. And I'm farting about this morning in my pj's with nothing to do - so thank you!

Wondy x