Sunday, August 7, 2011

16 Days of Birthday, Day 1: My Undying Love for Christopher Nolan

What's this '16 Days of Birthday' business? Well well, seeing as this time in 16 days, I'll officially be 16 whole years old (or as we all like to call it, 'legal'), I thought that I might celebrate. Because, after all, I've been waiting to be 16 since bloody ages ago. Why? When I'm 16, I'll be able to get out R16 movies. But how will I be celebrating, especially on the blog? By giving you a special post each day for the next 16 days, ending the marathon on my birthday. Each day I'll pick something new to talk about. This new topic will be something cool that I've found in my love for movies...consider this like my premature autobiography. So, who's ready for 16 days of rambling? Come on, don't all rush in at once!

Today's topic is that of my main man, Christopher Nolan. As some of you may or may not know, I quite like the man and his work. 'Obsessed' would have been a more apt term to describe my admiration for him this time last year, with the release of Inception and all. This year, I've toned down my love for him quite a bit, but I still enjoy the occasional rewatch. No, I'm not one of the obsessors who feels the need to post about every little piece of news that comes out of The Dark Knight Rises. Even I admit, apart from the recent Ane Hathaway and Tom Hardy set pics and, I suppose, the slightly disappointing trailer, I roll my eyes at just about every little detail that is surfaced on the web. It will only be when I see Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard on set, plus a better trailer that I will actually start shitting bricks over it.

Alas, I do quite enjoy the films he has made that have been released. So much so that three of his films are in my top 5 (though there has been a bit of shuffling around since I did my last list, so I wouldn't know where his films stand now), which a lot of you seemed to frown upon. I'm sorry that I'm a simple girl with simple taste, and I guess I am 'brainwashed' into liking Nolan films.

Let's take The Dark Knight, for example. I saw this in the cinemas with my friend mainly because I loved Heath Ledger dearly and this was his final completed film. It actually took me just about two years after watching this to watch Batman Begins. But even with my zero interest in Batman or anything like that, I still thoroughly enjoyed The Dark Knight. This is probably because I thought all superhero movies were meant to be as cheesy as anything, looked cheap and were pretty much brainless. The Dark Knight, however, was the complete opposite to my pre-conceived thoughts. There were times in that first screening when I was completely lost in the screen, forgetting that I was in a cinema, and even better yet, I forgot that it classified as a superhero movie.

Another thing I remember about The Dark Knight was how well-received it was as soon as it opened. I remember seeing it shoot straight up to number one on IMDb's Top 250...a move which puzzled me and still puzzles me to this day, but I'm still proud of what it achieved in such a short time. Especially seeing as it was a sequel. I think it improved so much on the first, which came down to many things: everything getting a shade darker, Maggie Gyllenhaal arriving on the scene, one of the best performances ever by Heath really changed things, as you've noticed a whole lot of superhero movies trying to be dark and moody, but ultimately failing to do what Christopher Nolan achieved.

One thing that never fails to piss me off, though, is how this film was forgotten over the more 'Oscar-bait' movies. Yes, there were some good movies made in 2008. But the Academy made all sorts of stuff ups everywhere. The Dark Knight was nominated for many technical awards, winning one for Sound Editing. Heath Ledger was justly given a posthumous Oscar for his amazing performance. However, the movie was missing from the Best Picture, Director and Screenplay races. Had the Best Pic race been opened up to 10 back then, TDK would have got in. But I'm sure people have already forgotten about the likes of Frost/Nixon and The Reader. TDK lives on, in it's small way, influencing other superhero movies and giving people the smart movie they need. I just need to think of the closing speech and I get goosebumps.

Oh well, there's just something about Chris Nolan and the Oscars. I was at the head of the hate crew when he got snubbed this year for his work with Inception. I was also at the head of the hate crew when his screenplay, which was pretty much the definition of 'original' didn't get picked and The King's Speech, with it's 'original' screenplay did. Anyway, those wounds have healed, and I've moved on. Especially since some great directors never won an Oscar in their lives...even though everyone knew they were the best.

I don't really know why I love Chris Nolan so much. I just find his movies something...special. Following was a marvel, considering it was made for $6000 and was still completely awesome. Memento, probably my favourite movie of all time, always feels new every time I watch's like I've lost my memory, just like Leonard. That is truly Nolan's masterpiece. Insomnia, though a remake and not written by Nolan, had a very insomniac kinda feel to it. Batman Begins began the new way superhero movies were supposed to be, kick-ass while still being intelligent. The Prestige is exactly like a magic trick: once you know the outcome, everything becomes blindingly obvious (seriously, that movie is trippy). The Dark Knight...well, we've already talked about that. Inception, of course, is exactly like a dream. Finally, someone has come along and injected his original ideas into a dying Hollywood. He's playing the game that the likes of Michael Bay is playing, but he's doing it so much better.

2012, The Dark Knight Rises will be hitting cinemas. Can Nolan really cap off such an epic trilogy with style and make it be as good as the other two? Who knows. But I've got to say, I completely trust Nolan. He's a guy who doesn't think the sun shines out of his ass, who doesn't seem to think much of his immense talent, who has a profound knowledge of cinema, who knows his limits, and who is just an amazing bloke. Is that why I love him? Probably.

So, have you got any film-making idols you just think are all-out amazing? Do tell!


  1. I have a lot of filmmaking idols I think are all-out amazing, but I'd be here all day if I was talking about just one of them, so let's stick with Nolan.

    He's a brilliant director, I agree. I've seen all of his movies except Batman Begins, and I loved them. I felt that Following was eerily similar to Pi, another black and white directorial debut released around the same time, belonging to Darren Aronofsky. Memento is probably my favourite Nolan too, though it does have some plot holes that are annoyingly obvious.

    I was one of the tiny group of people who saw The Dark Knight and said, meh. But Inception completely reaffirmed my admiration for the man. He's not one of my favourite directors of all time (cue Ingmar Bergman, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Paul Thomas Anderson, Lars Von Trier, Michael Haneke and David Lynch), but he's definitely Top 20 material.

    I am seriously looking forward to the next 15 of these posts, so keep it up! I'm coming up on 25 next year, so I might consider doing something similar.

  2. What a great idea for the run up to your birthday, Stevee!

    Of course, you had to start off with the 'man man' Nolan, and as always, articulate yourself very well!

    Memento, without doubt, is my favourite Nolan, but I love what he has done to the Batman universe.

    I remember seeing Batman Begins in the cinema, and at the time I was pretty into - obsessed even - comics (I still am now, and I guess, I always will be) and I thought it was a really great take on Batman, but for me, The Dark Knight is in another league.

    The only thing that is bothering me some about The Dark Knight Rises is the fact, coming from someone who loves Catwoman, Anne Hathaway has been chosen to play that deadly character.

    Don't get me wrong, I like Hathaway, but she doesn't have that appeal that you need to play Selina Kyle/Catwoman in my eyes.

    Hopefully she can prove the naysayers wrong, though. Ledger managed to do it, so I hope Hathaway can bring it out of the box.

    You should really check out Tim Sale and Jeff Loeb's 'Long Halloween' series as there is no question that Nolan was inspired by their take on Batman. Also Frank Miller's 'Year One'.

    Enough from my nerdy comic talk now! Looking forward to your other 15 posts!

  3. I actually thought of doing a '19 days till 19' blog thing, but couldn't think what to base them om. You're obviously doing a much better, in fact, great job.

    Speaking of Nolan...he's incredible. My viewing of the Dark Knight has to be one of my biggest regrets of my life. My dad took me and my cousins to see it in this terrible theatre, and we couldn't hear a thing! This, unlike the Michael Bay-esuqe Hollywood blockbusters, was a film where people talked a lot and it was all I was seriously robbed of a great cinematic moment. When I saw it on the dvd later, I just wished (and still do) that I could have understood it then and stood up and clapped. I did do that for Inception, but God, I love the Dark Knight soooo much more.

    Um favourite directors- Woody Allen is probably my biggest inspiration. I also quite love Francois Truffaut, Bollywood legend Raj Kapoor, Quentin Tarantino (duh), Sofia Coppola and uber-sexy David Fincher.

  4. Haven't you seen set pictures of JGL and Marion? Try to google them because I've seen some photoes of them at a number of film sites :)

    You know there are many filmmakers whom I consider great but if to put it like "a filmmaking idol", that is definitely Chris Nolan. No one else has gotten the status he holds.

  5. I hope its not long before Chris Nolan gets an academy acknowledgement for his work. I haven't seen nearly as many of his films as I should have, but enough to appreciate how awesome he is.

    And 16 soon? Woowoo! Hope it's an incredible birthday. I'm going to go ahead and assume R16 is equivalent to R18 here in Oz. Coolio!

  6. i adore christopher nolan myself. good choice. i'd also add scorsese, spike lee and pedro almdovar. oh and innaritu.

  7. Haven't you been 16 already? If not then this has been a proper build up...HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Nice to know that I am 21 years older than a blogger I look up to....(awkward!!)

    Anyway Nolan is a great film maker and like you Memento is probably one of my faves of all time. Such a great story that unfolds completely unexpectedly.

    I look forward to the nest 16 posts!!


  8. Tyler - I haven't yet seen Pi, but have you noticed how eerily similar Nolan's and Aronofsky's films have been running together? 1998: Following and Pi, two black and white low budget features. 2000: Memento and Requiem for a Dream, their mainstream breakthrough. 2008: The Dark Knight and The Wrestler, two very successful films, earning them both hoards of critical acclaim. 2010: Inception and Black Swan, their biggest Oscar successes. Weird, yes?
    Oooh, and do a 25th birthday marathon!

    Cherokee - I'm sure Anne Hathaway will prove us all wrong. Mind you, I'm like, her biggest fan.
    Ah, I will check out those comics!

    Nikhat - Well, I try :)
    Damn, that sucks. I admit I didn't really 'get' The Dark Knight when I first saw it, but with plenty of DVD watches I've loved it more and more.
    Oh gosh, Tarantino, Coppola and Fincher= :DDD

    Lesya - I've seen a few hazy pics, but I'll go stalking when I get the time!

    Ruth - He better get some attention!
    And no, R16's are just before R18's (as we have R18's too). Don't ask, our censorship is stuffed to the max!

    Custard - No, still got two weeks to go! And that's nice that you look up to me.
    Memento is just the best, I love that movie so much!


You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.


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