Movie memories

2007 was a fantastic year for Hollywood films. And 2008 has started out very promising, despite the strike.

I don’t remember the last time there was such an abundance of top-notch movies in theaters that I actually wanted to hang out all day and sneak between films. Thanks to the oblivious employees of AMC 42nd st, some friends and I recently took in a truly excellent double feature: “Be Kind Rewind” and “Persepolis”. Weeks before that we saw a fabulous triple feature: “Juno”, “Michael Clayton”, and “Strange Wilderness”. And before that we saw “Trailer Park Boys” and “There Will Be Blood”. Awesome.

The key is to alternate genres!

Garth Franklin, creator of amateurish Hollywood film fan site Dark Horizons, posts a list of his favorite films every year after the Oscars. This is, of course, a favorite activity for film pundits great and small…but Garth posted his list along with his old lists of yearly favorites, since 1993: The BEST Films of 1993-2007

Just a cursory glance at the list tells you that Franklin is not to be trusted. For example, who in their right mind liked “Serial Mom” better than “The Shawshank Redemption”? “Serial Mom” is a fine film, but…let’s get serious. On the other hand, the appearance of the film “Rob Roy” on Best of 1995 boosts his credibility a bit.

My point is that I’ve spent so much of my life infatuated with cinema that reading this list is almost like seeing an uber-sentimental Wonder-Years -esque slideshow of my adolescence. I remember being obsessed with “The Fugitive” after seeing it in the cinema, excited by the unprecedented hype of “Jurassic Park”, enthralled and corrupted by “Pulp Fiction”. I remember being enchanted by “The Lion King”,waiting in line forever to see “GoldenEye” on opening day, and being baffled and frightened by “Trainspotting” and “The English Patient” (I still am not sure what the hell is going on in the later one).

I remember in 1999 when Hollywood movies had a flowering of sorts: “American Beauty”, “The Matrix”, “Fight Club” (although this a film which doesn’t impress as much as it did when I was 14). And that same year I saw “Galaxy Quest” 3 separate times in the theater because I’m such a hopeless nerd!

I could go on down the list, tracing movies through to high school, into college and out of it, across continents and back…but it wouldn’t be interesting for anybody except myself.

Suffice to say, perhaps in a Katey Rich-sounding phrase, movies are an awesome part of life.

AND in case you missed the tear jerker indie musical “Once”, here’s the 2007 Academy Award Winner for Best Song that has been stuck in my head for days:

Check out Glen Hansard’s goofy facial expressions as he sings the chorus!

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4 Responses to “Movie memories”

  1. Garth Franklin Says:

    The catch with any ‘Best of’ list is whether you write in what you think are the technically best films of the year or what were your favourites – the trouble is those two factors can be quite different and so I use a mix of both.

    Tastes also change. In 1994 when I was 17, Serial Mom became an important and seminal film for me, whereas Shawshank bored the crap out of me. Over time however that opinion has changed as I’ve seen a lot more films.

    Yet that’s the way of things. ‘Shawshank’ in every conceivable way is an immensely better film than ‘Mom’, yet ‘Mom’ holds more of a special place for me thank ‘Shawshank’. ‘Galaxy Quest’ no doubt is a film you hold in higher esteem than general critics and would probably go higher than most others on your best list of that year.

    The context of these choices is very important and must be taken into account before being dismissed.

  2. tripinchina Says:

    Garth-

    Well, I’m a regular visitor to “Dark Horizons” (even after it started to be flooded with ads) and although I don’t feel I can retract the adjective “amateurish”, the content on the site is always very entertaining. Indeed, I wouldn’t have linked to your favorites list if hadn’t enjoyed reading it. Thanks for your hard work!

    Now then.

    In this post I was trying to probe the way that movies stand out in my memory. So I absolutely agree that movies can take on a kind of personal significance, inexorably bound up with the context in which that movie appears in your life. It’s almost like certain film narratives can impact your own life narrative. This will always influence the way you rate a film.

    When I was a small child I re-watched the comedy “Short Circuit”, about a military robot that comes alive after having been struck by lightning, so many times that my feelings towards it are beyond preference, or even love. This movie is hardwired into my consciousness; as a result, it’s obviously a favorite even though it’s not going to win any awards on Rotten Tomatoes let alone the Oscars. Indeed, I wouldn’t bat an eyelash rating Steve Gutenberg, Ally Sheedy, and Fisher Stevens among my favorite actors irregardless of the fact that none of them are going to be delivering teary Oscar speeches any time soon.

    So I can definitely see how you might have liked “Serial Mom” better than “Shawshank”

    Keeping this in mind, perhaps calling your list “The BEST Films of 1993-2007” is less accurate than saying “My Favorite Films of 1993-2007”

    -Thomas

  3. David Says:

    Oh man were you freaking out when Ben showed up in last week’s LOST? You are not knowing your fluids, sir!

  4. tripinchina Says:

    You better believe I was! D Train can corroborate. I was like “that’s Fisher Stevens!” repeat x 18

    I am standing here beside myself!

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