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15 Movies That Shaped Me

April 26, 2011

In honor of the San Francisco International Film Festival, which is currently happening, I decided to compile a list of movies that have stuck with me and never seem to get old. The greatest influences on me seem to use humor, fantasy, beauty, and great soundtracks. In alphabetical order:

Army of Darkness -I have my dad to thank for showing me this when I was little. I didn’t know what a B movie was, or that horror movies could be kinda funny. It has now been elevated to cult status, and if you’ve seen it you’ll understand why.

Dune -Another dad pick. Epic story, epic visuals, epic Sting. I had to throw a David Lynch number in there for street cred, right? I made my college roommates watch this and told me I was ‘so weird.’ Ha.

Elvira -The hair! the boobs! the horrible, sassy, sexual puns! Elvira was a great antihero to me when I was young, even though I now realize much of the humor was lost on me: “I’ll take a bloody mary.” “Virgin?” “I’ll have the drink first.”

Labyrinth– David Bowie + Jim Hensen = match made in heaven. This was a toss-up with the Dark Crystal, by the way, but it’s Bowie as a strangely sexual codpiece and make-up wearing goblin king. Ah, the power of the babe.

the Lost Boys -Filmed in Santa Cruz, features cool leather jackets, music by the Doors, and both the Coreys. As the cover states, it IS hip and sexy and fun. The cool side of the 80s, despite (or because of) the greasy chain-wearing sax soloist.

Lost in Translation – No movie romanticizes the loveliness of loneliness like this one. Makes me want to travel, talk to strangers, be a dandy.

Marie Antoinette – It got a lot of flack, but I can’t deny my love. I drank champagne in a movie theater in Paris watching this. It fit so perfectly. Visually stunning, deliciously mood setting. I am a Sofia Coppola fan.

Princess Bride – Every character in this movie makes you feel good, even the villains. Inconceivable!

Reality Bites – A pivotal movie to watch for the first time when I was turning 23 and freshly laid off, this perfectly encapsulates the era that shaped this one.

the Royal Tenenbaums – Everyone wants to be a Tenenbaum. The colors, the characters, the music. I would put every Wes Anderson movie on here but this was the first to really blow my mind.

Science of Sleep – Beautiful and ambiguous. The concept and importance of dreams is something everyone can relate to. Filmed in Paris and mostly done with the hand crafted love Michel Gondry has become famous for, the making of the movie is almost equally fascinating.

Stranger than Fiction – Will Ferrell shines in what seems to be his first stab at being considered romantically, and Maggie Gyllenhaal was the first to make being a female baker look pretty bad-ass. The first male being a one-handed Nicholas Cage in Moonstruck, also good. Anyways, the Spoon soundtrack and Queen Latifah are lovely cherries on top.

Toys– So weird, so imaginative. Joan Cusack and Robin Wright are quirky and lovely. LL Cool J surprises, and the sets are pretty trippy. I imagine this movie was super fun to make, and it sends a great message as well.

Trainspotting -Why I don’t do drugs. The book was awesome and the movie did it justice amazingly. Plus, it made me cool among my boy peers. I guess when you’re a teen it’s pretty important to expose yourself to all that is shunned by your parents and teachers, and this movie served that purpose. I have to wonder why I thought of it before I thought of Breakfast Club.

Wayne’s World – Not a lot of explanation needed here. Great script, awesome characters, universal truths. Wayne and Garth are, essentially, not cool. But they so are! Bohemian Rhapsody will live on forever, as will rocking out with your friends, avoiding psychotic exes, and being true to your happy broke self.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 1, 2011 4:22 pm

    I loved your run-down. A jog down memory lane for me as well. We watched Elvira and that movie about the chicks going to the Italian castle when we were sick. luv mama

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