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Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 8:09 pm
by LetsMeetUpInParadise240
You do that, you better post a picture. :lol:

Posted: Sat Jul 14, 2007 6:53 pm
by tsm
Cool topic!

In no particular order and subject to change at any moment:

The Apartment
Raiders of the Lost Ark
The Searchers
Saving Private Ryan
The English Patient
Touch of Evil
The Loss of Sexual Innocence

Posted: Sat Jul 14, 2007 7:00 pm
by dik pose
"The Apartment" almost made my list... great film, the doctor slapping the crap outta Shirley Maclaine is shocking, funny, weird to see...

Posted: Sat Jul 14, 2007 8:33 pm
by Kazu
Billy Wilder's screenplay for The Apartment is incredible. I spent many hours sitting on the floor of the UCSB library, reading as many scripts as I could. The two that really stood out were The Apartment and Chinatown. They were flawless, every page was bursting with life, and I couldn't put them down. I haven't actually seen The Apartment, and I forget that I haven't, because the screenplay was just so vivid. I'm going to have to buy the DVD. I'm sure it will be one of my all-time faves. Thanks for the reminder, Ted!

All this Kurosawa talk is reminding me that I still have a Criterion Collection DVD of Throne of Blood sitting on my shelf, in shrink wrap. I can't wait to open it. Throne of Blood was one of my first Kurosawa films. One night back in High School, when I was leaving the house to go hang out with some girls, I caught a few minutes of the film on Bravo, and I was mesmerized. I wanted to duck out of whatever event I was going to that evening and watch the rest of the film, but hanging out with girls won out for the evening. After that night, I went on a quest at the local video store to find out which Kurosawa film that was, and in so doing, I got to see Rashomon, Yojimbo, The Hidden Fortress, and Seven Samurai. Realizing that they probably didn't have the film I was looking for, I just continued my Kurosawa binge by watching whatever else they had: Kagemusha, Ran, Ikiru, and Dersu Uzala. It was a pretty awesome journey watching all these films, and this is a good reminder that I should add them all to my collection.

Posted: Sat Jul 14, 2007 11:22 pm
by LetsMeetUpInParadise240
All this Kurosawa talk is reminding me that I still have a Criterion Collection DVD of Throne of Blood sitting on my shelf, in shrink wrap. I can't wait to open it. Throne of Blood was one of my first Kurosawa films. One night back in High School, when I was leaving the house to go hang out with some girls, I caught a few minutes of the film on Bravo, and I was mesmerized. I wanted to duck out of whatever event I was going to that evening and watch the rest of the film, but hanging out with girls won out for the evening.
Girls over Kurosawa?!?!??!? Are you insane?! And you call yourself a fan! Bah!

*stares at phone, collecting dust*


*sobs like Zoidberg from Futurama* :lol:

You've got to love Criterion. With every movie they've released by him, they also include the documentary series, It is Wonderful to Create! with interviews with him and other cast and crew.

Saw Throne of Blood on the big screen a few months ago. Damn, it was amazing. Open up that DVD soon!

Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 12:59 am
by neil
Wow you guys all have great taste!

Kazu, I remember your Throne of Blood story... I've seen 17 or 18 Kurosawa films, but that one has eluded me so far too.

It would be easy to rattle off a list of favorite movies, but this topic is about which ones actually influence us the most, and that's pretty thought-provoking for me... Alright, in no particular order:

Back to the Future--I saw this when I was a little kid, several times--like maybe 10 times! And I can vividly recall different viewings of it, like sitting at a drive-in with my family, or staring up from the carpet in my living room. With all that repetition, it's the first one that seriously made me think about how stories like it are put together. And of course, it was my introduction to Robert Zemeckis and well-crafted Hollywood movies in general. I'm so glad I was a little kid when this came out!

The Decalogue--Krzysztof Kieslowski showcases an ingenious use of motif and synchronicity and visual storytelling, with literary complexity. And it also showed me how these things can accumulate for an incredible emotional effect. (I think I was maybe trying to do something similar with my unfinished newspaper comic strip.) His Bleu was also maybe the first international/art-house sort of film I saw in a theater, and I still think it's fascinating. I really have to find it again...

Floating Weeds--I really like Ozu films a lot, including Tokyo Story and Late Spring (that one being the best, probably), but Floating Weeds was the first one I saw, and and this one-time combination of loving Ozu direction and cinematography by Kazuo Miyagawa (see also Ugetsu) completely blew my mind. The influence has led me to work this sort of quiet family drama into my stories (like in Flight 1 and Flight 2), and in general to try to find magic in the ordinary. His pre-war comedies, like I Was Born, But... and Record of a Tenemant Gentleman are maybe not so "transcendental," but are charming, hilarious, and excellently crafted--a great inspiration as well.

The Shop Around the Corner--Ernst Lubitsch crafted so many stories that were so hilarious and incredibly sad all at the same time; he's like the real Wes Anderson (who I like too). And this one is maybe the most perfectly crafted one. There are a lot of dazzling old screwball comedies like this (see also Preston Sturges and Howard Hawks), that i miss.

Walkabout--Holy cow, Nicolas Roeg deconstructs western civilization with a few well-chosen images and sounds. But it's also a remarkably human short story. Roeg's Don't Look Now is also an excellent thriller. But, he scares me in a different way as well, because he seemed to have completely lost his talent after a certain age. I've always believed that, no matter how bad I am, I'll continue to always get better with age (if not physically), so there's always more to hope for.

Woman in the Dunes--There's a man, and he falls into a pit of sand, and there's a woman down there, and he can't get out. With a few simple, seemingly bare elements, Hiroshi Teshigahara tells a gripping, twisting story that lasts the whole feature length. So many other story tellers go off on dreary "world-building" expeditions that serve zero dramatic purpose--they need to watch this to learn what real imagination can do! (There's a new print in circulation that makes it last 45-minutes longer, and perhaps dulls the story, but it's also incredibly clear, and makes the film look like it was shot yesterday.)

The Puppetmaster--Hou Hsiao Hsien and his contemporaries fueled my imagination for what cinema could do. This one in particular shows that it's possible to actually capture a life on film.

Eureka--An experiment called Shooting Gallery brought this nearly 4-hour-long, black-and-white, subtitled movie by Shinji Aoyama into mainstream Loews Cineplex theaters, including the newly built one near where I was going to school at the time. In the midst of a take home final, I trekked down there and loved every minute of it. In fact, I think the whole country could have learned a great deal from this story about a bus driver and a few of his passengers, who survive a random, horrific massacre, and spend the next couple years trying to cope with what happened. If only... Also, discovering the music of Jim O'Rourke was a nice corollary.

Sunrise--it's pretty amazing how in this age of technology, we can finally show basically anything we can imagine on screen; potentially, pure visual and auditory rapture. And yet, a good chunk of the greatest films ever made happen to be these crusty old silent black-and-white movies. Not bad, Murnau! Maybe it had something to do with cinema being new and untested, and imagination flying wild with the possibility of doing more than recording theater. The excitement is still palpable behind that dusty film grain.

Ordet--People would ask me what my favorite film was in college, and I'd always have to explain something about a Danish movie made in 1954... Anyhow, this quiet family drama about three very different brothers has the coolest twist ending I've ever seen, like Mr. Carl Th. Dreyer managed to capture a miracle from god on celluloid. Take that, Shyamalan!

Alright, I could keep going (gosh I didn't even mention Terrence Malick or Robert Bresson, or, or, or!), but now I'm getting depressed that I can barely take the time to discover new movies anymore (I could have given you the same list a few years ago!), or to write & draw my own stories, and that my personal storytelling ambitions seem so low in comparison. Although, recently I was listening to an interview with Kurt Vonnegut, on the occasion of his death, and he was explaining that it actually helped him a lot to have not studied English literature in college, because he felt uninhibited when writing--I've been trying to scale back and take this simpler path as well. I've been thinking that I need to just work on creating simple robust stories without trying to be the next Alain Resnais, and the results have been good. So, we'll see how it goes...

Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 1:21 am
by Kazu
Ooh, a nice list, Neil. Ozu, Roeg, and Kieslowski are huge influences on my work as well (I even lifted the opening sequence from Bleu for the prologue to Amulet, as you know :))

I was talking to my studio mates about Ozu a little while ago, and how I learned the importance of refining the act of telling a single story by watching his films. He dwells patiently on the same themes and situations again and again, yet every incarnation feels fresh and the storytelling is aided by my expectations from having seen the previous film. For anyone who hasn't seen an Ozu film, I recommend seeing Late Spring, Tokyo Story, and An Autumn Afternoon, in that order. Floating Weeds is also wonderful. It's amazing that, despite what very little happens in an Ozu film, they leave such a strong impression on my mind.

Good notes on taking the simpler path when it comes to your own storytelling. I realized that it's more fruitful to take a better look at my own life, rather than those on film, to be a stronger storyteller these days. Sometimes, having too much info can hurt the process.

Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 4:38 am
by Ganter
neil wrote:Wow you guys all have great taste!
I came here to change all that.

Pride & Prejudice - This is my most recent favorite. I bought it on a whim at a store closing sale, and have watched it oh... I don't know. At least fifty times since then (which was only a couple weeks ago)! It reminded me that I love to read and write, and I love language. It's recently helped me make an important life decision, I only need to watch the film again to put my mind back in that perfect place. It's the most unabashedly romantic movie I've ever seen.

The Neverending Story - It reminds me of the importance of stories in humanity, the importance of having a rich imagination. It's pretty cheesy, but whenever I watch it I'm always inspired to do something good.

The Secret of NIMH - To me this film is about what it means to be a single mother. It will always have a special place in my heart.

The Princess Bride - My brother and I watched this countless times. In fact, he counted up to forty, but lost track after that. We used to rehearse the dialog from memory while playing with transformers.

Laputa: Castle In The Sky - The ultimate fantasy adventure.

Princess Mononoke - The most surreal and personal of Miyazaki's films, I feel, because of its general feeling of a whole personal mythology about man's relationship with nature. I love seeing that relationship depicted in popular mediums, so this movie always grounds me and my interests.

Kurosawa's Dreams - Reminds me of what it means to be human. I hope to achieve such beauty someday in my own work.

Beauty and the Beast - This movie made me want to work at Disney when I was a teen, so I did things like "learn anatomy".

The Little Mermaid - This movie made me want to be a marine biologist when I was a wee one.

Contact - Here's a movie about a woman who loves outer space, two things I can relate to. It reminds me that I'm not alone.

The 10th Kingdom (tv miniseries) - Sadly, I've seen this more than ten times. All ten hours of it. Do you see a theme with the number 10? I won't explain why, but it has definitely had some kind of influence on me. I've seen it so many times, I can't see how it hasn't.

The Muppets Take Manhattan - Because it made me so desperately want to move to NYC when I was little. AND I DID. FOR SEVEN YEARS. You can't get more influential than that!

I'm sure there's more but you get the general idea...

Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 10:30 pm
by jshamblin
I think Amy has wonderful taste in movies. Well, everything except for The Muppets...

Vanilla Sky
Life's full of choices and this movie reminds me that even the smallest decisions can have huge consequences. And the soundtrack rocks!

The Never Ending Story
It's my favorite movie as a child. If I ever wanted to escape, I'd imagine I was in Fantasia riding a racing snail.

Castle in the Sky
As much as I love Princess Mononoke and Howl's Moving Castle, this is my favorite Miyazaki film. The animation is great (I love the opening credit animation), it has lovable characters and a good story that's full of depth and imagination.

The Lord of The Ring Trilogy
I can't count how many times I've watched it. I love the epic feel. I grew up reading J.R.R. Tolkien's novels and to me, this film is a masterpiece. I also like to play it in the background when I'm finishing up my illustrations.

The Goonies
Pirate's treasure, gadgets, fun, adventure and Sloth. "Hey, you guys!"

To Kill a Mockingbird
A classic. The film delves into some serious subject matters. I like the relationship the children have with their father. As a parent, I want to be like Atticus Finch.

Corpse Bride
I'm a huge Burton fan and an admirer of stop motion animation. This film reminds me of the constraints society places on us individually, forcing us to conform to someone else's ideology. It's okay to be yourself and enjoy life.

Pride & Prejudice (2005)
Say what you want, but Jane Austen knows how to write people.

I remember watching this in the theater with my family as a child. It's a great fantasy adventure despite it's imperfect story and Jack's lack of character. Tim Curry as Darkness gave me nightmares for years.

Immortal Beloved
I liked Amadeus, but Immortal Beloved is better.

Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 9:03 am
by LetsMeetUpInParadise240
Vanilla Sky definitely deserves praise for it's soundtrack and it's script. It's how I found Sigur Ros. :)

I've actually heard a lot of good things about Pride and Prejudice. Stephen Hunter, probably one of the most biting and picky film critics I've ever read, raved about the movie. And having Keira Knightley in it doesn't hurt, I'm sure.

I'm loving all this talk about Ozu. It was obvious to me Neil's a fan of him ever since I saw the mention of Tokyo Story in "In Due Time." I myself recommend checking out Early Spring, Tokyo Twilight, Equinox Flower. I bought them through the Eclipse series and loved each one of them. You'll be surprised at how dark Tokyo Twlight is. I actually found myself almost sheding tears at one painful scene.

Thanks for posting everyone! I love looking at these lists too!

Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 4:01 pm
by Kazu
Yeah, the new Pride and Prejudice film is excellent. The actors give such amazing performances.

Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 1:25 am
by jshamblin
If my dreams had a soundtrack, there would definitely be a few Sigur Rós songs to it. Their music really sparks my imagination.

I can't agree more about the acting performances given in Pride and Prejudice, but the cinematography alone, is amazing. You can really get an idea of who the characters are even before the story begins.

Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 5:36 am
by otisframpton
Kazu wrote:Yeah, the new Pride and Prejudice film is excellent. The actors give such amazing performances.
It was my favorite film of 2005. But if I had to choose between that version and the BBC mini-series with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth, I'd have to go with the latter.


Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 10:28 am
by tsm
Kazu, please check out The Apartment! I think it is as close to a perfect film as there is. IMO the crown jewel in the Billy Wilder oeuvure (with Double Indemnity and Sunset Blvd right in there too).

Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 10:43 pm
by Sarah Mensinga
jshamblin wrote:
To Kill a Mockingbird
A classic. The film delves into some serious subject matters. I like the relationship the children have with their father. As a parent, I want to be like Atticus Finch.
I love this movie too. I think it's one of those rare movies that does the book justice.

What a fun thread. It's really interesting to see everyone's answers. I'm supposed to be catching up on e-mails I've let pile up, but instead... here's my list;

1. The Iron Giant - My favorite animated film.

2. The Shawshank Redemption
3. Amelie
4. The Princess Bride (Excellent book too!)

5. Shawn of the Dead- Reminds me to write stories I'd like reading.

6. American Beauty
7. Interview with a Vampire
8. Edward Scissorhands
9. Star Wars 4-6
10. The Royal Tenenbaums