A Decade of Films, 2018

We are at the penultimate! Which is great because I’ve pretty much closed in on my top 10 of 2019 (or at least as close as I will get until I manage to see certain hard-to-find things).

I did do a top 10 of 2018 this time last year, I don’t think I blogged it but it was definitely up on my Instagram and maybe Facebook.
But that doesn’t matter because this list is different!
Why? I’ve seen more of the 2018 films in the intervening year and, as I’ve had time and space to think on the films I saw earlier, surprising things have stuck with me while others have faded out a bit.

  • A Quiet Place: A novel idea for a horror film, expertly executed. I’m looking forward to the sequel this year. Apart from the killer monsters with excellent hearing, it’s also about the importance of family, forgiveness, and sacrifice. And does anyone else have the hots for ingenuity in films? I love watching characters come up with resourceful solutions. It reminds me of when I obsessively read and reread Robinson Crusoe as a child.
  • Hereditary: One of the best horror films of the modern era, more artful and deep than A Quiet Place.  It has a lot of shock value on the first watch but is so multi-layered that it really rewards rewatches and interpretation.  One of my favorite things about it is that even though the characters try to make the smart decisions, the non-stupid-horror-movie-character decisions, it’s not enough to save them.
  • The Favourite: We talked about Yorgos Lanthimos yesterday, and, oh look, he made a psychologically twisted, erotically loaded costume drama. In other words, he made a film specifically for me.
  • Spiderman: Into the SpiderVerse: It’s exciting, it’s fun, and it’s astoundingly beautifully animated.
  • Bad Times at the El Royale: Weirdly prescient of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, down to similar soundtracks (Hush by Deep Purple is one of my favorite songs ever no lie), locations (Nevada/California), time periods (60s/70s), and plots (I see a murderous hippy cult leader).  But if what you associate with Tarantino is non-stop violent action, this one is more Tarantino-y, despite not being the Tarantino film. Quite weird, quite overlooked. Look for Cynthia Erivo, Jeff Bridges, Chris Hemsworth, Jon Hamm, and Dakota Johnson.
  • BlackKklansman: A suspenseful day comedy about a black man infiltrating the KKK. I’m going to marry both John David Washington and Adam Driver. And also Spike Lee. How was this only Spike Lee’s first Oscar win?
  • Annihilation: A sci fi where the alien invader isn’t a ‘who’ so much as a ‘what’.  Centered on women. With beautifully disturbing visuals and jarring perils.
  • To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before: A very warm and fuzzy-feeling teen drama that put Noah Centineo on the map. I believe this is another one that is getting a sequel this year.
  • Game Night: Smart modern comedies are few and far between, but Game Night proves that when you get a good one it can be really really good.
  • Upgrade: Wikipedia is describing this film as ‘cyberpunk action body horror’, which I’m not going to try to parse. Long story short, a paralyzed man goes on a revenge mission with a little help from a piece of implanted tech that allows him to move again- except of course that can’t be all that it does. Long story short, it’s excellent.
  • Shoplifters: A Japanese drama film about the ties that bind a makeshift petty criminal family, it’s members assembled by need and necessity rather than by blood.  It pulls your heart in all the best ways.

Honorable Mentions: Bohemian Rhapsody, Black Panther, Crazy Rich Asians, The Hate U Give, If Beale Street Could Talk, First Man, Incredibles 2, Eighth Grade, Ca You Ever Forgive Me?, Tully, Searching, Wild Rose, American Animals, Blindspotting, The Tale, Girl.

Haven’t Yet Seen:

Best Movies of the Decade, 2012

2012 was a much better year in terms of movies than the one that came before.

My favorites as follows, in no particular order:

  • The Secret World of Arrietty: An excellent Studio Ghibli animated film based on the book The Borrowers. A good watch if you, like me, are someone who likes imagining what you would do if you were very very tiny. I blame a childhood spent watching George Shrinks.
  • 21 Jump Street: I don’t usually enjoy modern comedies, but this is one of the few exceptions.  Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill are great together, the premise is good, and performances are good all around.
  • Moonrise Kingdom: Moonrise Kingdom was my first Wes Anderson movie and one of the first movies where I really realized how amazing the theater experience can be.  It’s an aesthetically beautiful movie, a musically beautiful movie, and my enjoyment of it was certainly aided by the freshness of never before having seen Anderson’s particular style of quirk.  That all said, it’s one of his best and is probably one of the more important films in my movie-viewing history.
  • Rise of the Guardians: This is an underseen, under-rated animated Christmas film that takes place around Easter.  Long story short, a group of magical mythical heroes (The Tooth Fairy, Santa, the Easter Bunny, Sandman, and Jack Frost) must team up to protect the children and the hopes and the dreams from Pitch Black/The Bogeyman.  The Easter Bunny is Hugh Jackman.  Santa/North looks like a very Daddy version of Auguste Rodin. Jack Frost is also hot. Wholesome content.
  • Skyfall: I very much like Daniel Craig James Bond and this is one of his better ones (Second to Casino Royale).
  • Django Unchained: I used to think I couldn’t stand Quentin Tarantino but have come to a change of opinion, largely through Inglourious Bastards and Django Unchained.  I was thinking recently about how some of Tarantino’s movies seem to show a desire to retcon history, to take injustices and rewrite them.  I like him best when he plays in this sandbox.

I didn’t see: Monsieur Lazhar, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Magic Mike, Samsara, The Master, Looper, A Late Quartet, or Amour.

New to Me: Best Movies Watched in 2017

Most of my movie watching is not new releases, so much as catching up on films that were once new releases but haven’t been from somewhere between a year to a century.
And they’re none the worse for that.

To be eligible for this list, the film must be one of my favorites that I watched in 2017 but NOT released this year.

  • Shall We Dance (1937)
    I can’t say enough about this film- one of the most beautiful Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers vehicles that I’ve ever seen.  Highlights: Slap That Bass and Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off (roller-skates!)
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)
    I’ve already talked tons about Kingsman so I’ll keep this short. You’ll never think of Free Bird the same way again.
  • 3:10 to Yuma (1957)
    While the more recent version is good (particularly for a modern remake, that most justly maligned of categories) it still doesn’t really hold a candle to the absolutely masterful original- the frustrating but heroic town drunk (completely cut from the modern version), Van Heflin’s scrappy portrayal of Dan Evans, and above all Glenn Ford’s suave outlaw Ben Wade. Plus the song.
  • Django Unchained (2012)
    Tarantino’s films are very hit or miss for me, but Django Unchained was very much a hit.  The cast is excellent, the plot is fun and exciting. Tarantino does his fun soundtrack thing.
  • The Piano Teacher/ La Pianiste (2001)
    This movie is beautifully repulsive. Basically a piano teacher (Heyyy Isabelle Huppert) conducts and affair with one of her students who believes that she is falling in love with him, essentially misreading the symptoms of her rapidly deteriorating sanity as signs of romantic obsession.
  • The Hurt Locker (2008)
    I had pretty much decided not to watch this because it looked a bit testosterone-heavy for me, but a confluence of circumstances led to me watching it and discovering that it is in fact a thoughtful and well-paced film with interesting characters and developments.
  • La Piscine/ The Swimming Pool (1969)
    Alain Delon is beautiful. So is Romy Schneider. So is Jane Birkin. So is summer.
  • Les Enfants du Paradis/ Children of Paradise (1945)
    This film had me absolutely spellbound for all 3+ hours of runtime.  A theater mime is in love with a courtesan who is also beloved by three other, very different men- a pretentious actor, a conniving thief, and a rich count.
  • Contracorriente/ Undertow (2009)
    Contracorriente is my most recent addition to this list, having just watched it I think the day before yesterday. It’s a surreal and poignant ghost story in which a married fisherman has to find a way to reconcile two aspects of his life: his more conventional family life with his pregnant wife and his devotion to his male lover, a painter and town outcast.

Here’s to another year of good films!

It’s My Party and I’ll Buy What I Want To

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I have such an interesting, ambivalent relationship with my post titles. Like this one sounds hugely consumerist, bitchy, privileged, and entitled.  But it rhymes with a song I heard somewhere that i feel like is a well known, even famous song but that i don’t remember. So now it will be stuck in my head and there is no better way to express that than putting it in everyone else’s heads as well.

The actual purpose of this post is the fact that it’s my birthday and I am 22 for the first time ever! It’s pretty great. I slept well, saw Dunkirk last night (amazing, expect news later), had a Dad-made celebratory peach pie for breakfast, and have finally started watching Django Unchained, which may go down in history as the second Tarantino film I don’t hate (shout out to Inglourious Basterds!)

The past few weeks I’ve been hunting down the things I’ve had on my wish list, and I thought I would share those today.

  • Estee Edit Metallishadow in Wild Cosmos
  • Nars Gouloue Blush Travel Size
  • Nars Schiap Lipstick
  • MAC Russian red Lipstick
  • MAC Brave Lipstick
  • Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Cocoa
  • Golssier Cloud Paint in Puff (I succumbed to the marketing and they sent me free stickers. I feel blissfully basic)

In hindsight, I’ve only bought makeup, which is very interesting. I do still have a bit of money left and I’m feeling very cosmetically satisfied. But I have realized, during the past week’s heatwave, that I could use more light dresses. This realization came about as I spent yet another day dying in a silk camisole and spandex shorts.