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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

12 Movie Meme, Part I (aka How to Drive Sarah Nuts in Three Short Days)

I've officially been tagged by Ordovicius for the 12 Movies Meme. Aside from wondering what Lazy Eye Theatre has against Diablo Cody (I liked Juno! Although it didn't make my list, as you'll see...) I found this to be an intriguing, and soon afterward, aggravating, meme. Not unlike the "good mix tape" analogy offered at the original site, this is the sort of thing that will slowly drive me nuts as I change my mind, tweak the list, rack my brain, shuffle things around, etc.

So, bear in mind that this list is in no way definitive of my movie taste and in fact leaves out quite a few movies that I really, really like and/or consider to be important. Also, bear in mind that, like Taliesin meets the vampires, I totally cheated--if he gets to posit a vampire room and a non-vampire room, then I hereby present you with


That's right! Bow down before my cheatiness! ...Also my indecisiveness. Because this is so long, I'm breaking it up over two posts.

Day One: Inexplicable Childhood Obsessions Day
The Phantom Tollbooth (1970) There are two movies which I was obsessed with as a child--we're talking age 8 and below--and this is one of them. I drove my parents nuts asking them to rent this one and #2 below over and over and over. So I think they must have played some key formative role in my personality, no? Er...maybe? Anyway, The Phantom Tollbooth is a great satirical book, too, by Norton Juster.
Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971) This was the other movie I was obsessed with as a kid. I still have a VHS copy. It features a very young Angela Lansbury, an absolutely hysterical scene with David Tomlinson playing soccer with cartoon animals, and suits of armor coming to life and fighting Nazis. What's there not to like? Okay, maybe this is why I'm so weird. Oh. Also, evidently it was directed by my husband.

Day Two: 1980s Dan-Ackroyd-Related Comedies Day

The Blues Brothers (1980) Do I really need to explain why this movie is on my list? Let's just say that every time Rob and I are driving around and we see a police car somebody has to say "We got rollers." I also like this one: "How much for your women? How much for the little girl?" More great quotes here. This movie also has an excellent Carrie Fisher appearance and some fantastic guest musicians.
Ghost Busters (1984) Cheesy theme song aside (though I did enjoy it at the time--gimme a break, I was seven), this is another hilarious movie. It may be worth your time just to see Sigourney Weaver floating in mid-demon-land intoning "I am the Gatekeeper. Are you the Keymaster?" Bill Murray and Rick Moranis also have great roles in this one.

Day Three: Gratuitous Inescapable Teenage Angst Extravaganza

Better Off Dead (1985) In my defense, this one isn't even a John Hughes movie. Although poor Savage Steve Holland seem to have since been relegated to directing inoffensive pubescent-children's programming...Anyway, this lesser-known John Cusack movie is funnier and somewhat less overtly derogatory of Asians than other 80s teen movies (remember Sixteen Candles and Long Duk Dong? I rest my case...). It also inspired an episode of South Park--the one with the ski montage.
Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) No, you really couldn't escape without a John Hughes movie. This one's always been my favorite, although I did enjoy The Breakfast Club, National Lampoon's Vacation, and Weird Science. Matthew Broderick is perfect, Alan Ruck as his buddy Cameron is genius, there just is no better evil principal, and then there's Ben Stein: "Bueller...Bueller..."

Day Four: Lesser-Known Hayao Miyazaki Movie Day

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind / Kaze no tani no Naushika (1984) Not only is this a really cool sci-fi story (adapted from Miyazaki's original manga series) but it's also got a strong female protagonist as the hero--something you see in most of Miyazaki's movies. The voice casting on the English dub is also quite good and features Uma Thurman and Patrick Stewart.
Porco Rosso / Kurenai no buta (1992) This is actually more of a love-during-wartime story--the only sci-fi/fantasy aspect is the fact that the guy has been cursed with a pig's head. A bit different for a Miyazaki movie.

Day Five: Bow Down Before Terry Gilliam and Acknowledge His Awesomeness!

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988) I remember watching this one at my uncle's house not too long after it came out, and flipping out at how great and surreal and unlike anything else it was. I didn't see it again until many years later, but I enjoyed it just as much--if not more--than the first time. Excellent role for Eric Idle, a surprise visit from (or to) Robin Williams' giant head, and a very young and rather naked Uma Thurman.
Brazil (1985) - European Version Excuse me, but anything I was about to say has just been driven out by the blowing of my mind due to the fact that I just found out Tom Stoppard co-wrote this movie and I had no idea. In any case, it's really hard to describe this movie but it's a bizarre dystopian fantasy of a future ruled by bureaucracy. Fabulous Jonathan Pryce performance. The European cut makes a lot more sense than the American version.

Day Six: Futuristic Techno-Fantasy Day

Akira (1988) This is just a great anime action sci-fi thriller with some outstanding artwork, particularly in the scenery of Neo-Tokyo. Great creepy hi-tech atmosphere and particularly influential for cyberpunk fans. Also, the story is rather interesting philosophically.
Blade Runner - Director's Cut (1982) Too many things I like about this movie to list them all. Great casting, amazing artistic vision, the book it's based on is excellent (if significantly different from the movie)... I even still loved it after dissecting it to bits in a college Rhetoric class I particularly hated.

Part Two to come tomorrow, hopefully...


tanita✿davis said...

Oh, the shame: I've never made it through The Phantom Tollbooth or the Bedknobs thing -- both gakked me out pretty well within the first few tries. And I *did* try. But, like Escape To/From? Witch Mountain, I can't do Disney/Landsbury, and I don't know what was UP with the Tollbooth, but I tried reading it repeatedly. Couldn't get through it.

The Porco Rosso thing... is so surreal. We went through a thing of seeing All Things Miyazaki one day... by the time we got to this one, it was pretty late, and we were completely confused/amused.

Anonymous said...

Great response!

I know what you mean with the difficulty of the meme. The day after I posted mine I was scratching my head and wondering how on Earth I had neglected to include Chinatown among others.

Sarah Stevenson said...

I know...there are just too many great I tend to feel differently about them depending on my mood on any given day.

There were also a lot of last-minute substitutions. I took out Kill Bill, which was difficult. The other problem is I'm way behind on movie-watching. Eh--oh well!