I like good movies, as, I suppose, does everyone else. But good for you isn’t necessarily good for me. Through the years, a handful of movie have gotten under my skin, lodged like bug and force me to rewatch them.
These are movies that to me are more than mere entertainment, but contain in them a story or a narrative, even just phrases, that pulled me in. I don’t own a lot of DVDs, but these are among the few I do. These are movies that I quote, movies that I want to capture in my writing, movies that I compare other movies to. These are MY movies.
1. Fight Club
Maybe it was the fact that at the time I saw the movie I was twenty-something not entirely sure what to do with my life or how I fit into the world but this movie had me slack-jawed with awe. The way that Tyler Durden forces people to recognize the single quality that they want to commit to the world has me thinking to this day that I really should be doing something with my life, in a sort of save-the-world-somehow kind of way that I suspect everyone feels from time to time. Tyler’s speeches may, given a little distance, be more over the top than helpful, but there are two scenes that really stick; the one where they hold the gun to the back of the guys head and make him tell them what he wants to do with his life, and the one just before he crashes the car and asks the passengers what they always wanted to do before they died.
2. Twelve Monkeys
A time-travel movie that has a great sense of atmosphere and where the time paradoxes are self-fulfilling. Everything that happens ensures that the timeline stays intact, complete. The background music lends it an otherworldly feel. Bruce Willis’s character feels real, almost as if he’s not acting. Plus, Brad Pitt is awesome in it. The movie is weird and wonderful as only Terry Gilliam is able to create.
3. Donnie Darko
As soon as I saw the trailer for Donnie Darko I knew that I would like it. The dialogue is great, since so much of has no bearing on the plot; it’s just kids having a discussion. Donnie is a very interesting character and drives the whole movie, and the fact that we emphasize with him means that the writers did their job well. Frank, the giant bunny rabbit, is exactly the sort of creepiness I like in my movies. Dark and deep and open to interpretation. Infinitely re-watchable.
I like movies that demand something of the viewer, and so I love Primer. A time-travel riddle of sorts, as the viewer tries to piece together which version of the main character we are watching, and what they are really up to. It is about engineers who accidentally invent a time machine, start playing the stock market while trying to avoid any time paradoxes. Then they figure out how to go further back and how to play with the possibilities and that’s when the trouble starts. Watch with a pen in hand to take notes. Then watch again. Then watch it again. Then watch it with the director’s commentary. Then maybe, just maybe, you’ll start to get an idea of what is happening. The movie was made for $7,000 dollars, and this made it all the better to me.
5. The Crow
The very best example of urban fantasy. Dark and gothic, almost to the point of self-parody, this movie is cool though-and-through. The soundtrack is awesome and plays very well with the themes of the movie. There is something they did with the filmography that captures the mood in every shot, and rightful anger of the lead character just has us cheering for him from the start.