Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Getting My Feet Wet - Reflecting on This Year's Toe Dipping

For four months out of this year, I have dedicated myself to exploring movies that I wouldn't normally take a look at. They made a huge gap in my movie watching, and I thought it was time to fill those gaps. In June, I checked out French New Wave. The month after that, I looked at Anime films - which was super helpful considering I'm going to Japan next month/year. I took a break over August and September when I took a couple of breaks from blogging, but in October I was back into it with Horror films. Last month I took a deeper look into Nicolas Cage's filmography. They're all wildly different movies, but I thought I may as well rank them from worst to best, just to show how these new discoveries panned out for me. So here are all 34 movies, ranked:

34. The Wicker Man (2006), Dir. Neil LaBute - Obviously. Although Nic Cage in a bear suit is probably going to be the most memorable experience I'll have of 2012 through the eyes of movies.
33. Gone in 60 Seconds (2000), Dir. Dominic Sena - Purely because that car-themed sex scene between Nicolas and Angelina Jolie. It was the most awkward thing ever.
32. Ghost Rider (2007), Dir. Mark Steven Johnson - Nicolas as a fearless stuntman?

31. Suspiria (1977), Dir. Dario Argento - Easily the biggest disappointment of any toe dipping. Loved the art direction, but didn't feel the movie.
30. Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959), Dir. Alain Resnais - I appreciated it, but so little resonated with me. I think that's because I was really tired when I saw it.
29. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009), Dir. Werner Herzog - Probably the craziest Cage Rage movie I saw last month. Still don't understand those reptiles (I've said this three times now but no-one will answer me).

28. Halloween (1978), Dir. John Carpenter - Jamie Lee Curtis was awesome, but this wasn't all that scary. 
27. Akira (1987), Dir. Katsuhiro Otomo - An interesting vision, but I have a hard time remembering most of it.
26. Paprika (2006), Dir. Satoshi Kon - I'm just gonna say it: I liked Inception far more. Not that we should even be comparing. 

25. The Evil Dead (1981), Dir. Sam Raimi - A damn good early movie from Sam Raimi. Still, I can't say I thoroughly enjoyed it, though.
24. Jules and Jim (1962), Dir. Francois Truffaut - It was interestingly made (and it has had a huge influence on the films of today), but it wasn't particularly memorable.
23. Wild at Heart (1990), Dir. David Lynch - An interesting take on a love story influenced by The Wizard of Oz. I actually like it more and more with each day.

22. The 400 Blows (1959), Dir. Francois Truffaut - I didn't find it as excitingly easy to relate to as everyone else seems to, but there was plenty to like about the film that practically introduced French New Wave.
21. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), Dir. Tim Burton - It isn't often that I like Tim Burton movies but this musical horror was pretty cool.
20. Lord of War (2005), Dir. Andrew Niccol - A definite eye-opener of a film. Even though Nicolas Cage is largely miscast, I did enjoy this film by Kiwi Andrew Niccol.

19. Howl's Moving Castle (2004), Dir. Hayao Miyazaki - A mystical tale which I didn't love, but definitely thought was beautiful.
18. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), Dir. Robert Weine - The oldest film on the list, and also the oldest feature I've seen thus far, was beautifully made and had an awesome twist.
17. Au Hasard Balthazar (1966), Dir. Robert Bresson - An extremely sad tale of a donkey's life. I can't handle these sorts of films.

16. Spirited Away (2001), Dir. Hayao Miyazaki - All I can say is that I wish that I watched this at a different time when the world wasn't so awful to be in.
15. The Cabin in the Woods (2011), Dir. Drew Godard - So much fun. I've come to appreciate it more since my first watch. Joss Whedon is awesome.
14. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006), Dir. Mamoru Hosoda - Apart from the fact that the main character was a bit of a spastic, I really enjoyed this one.

13. Millennium Actress (2001), Dir Satoshi Kon - A heart-breaking little film. I loved how the TV crew actually followed the actress through her memories.
12. Poltergeist (1982), Dir. Tobe Hooper - Even though it is more Steven Spielberg than Tobe Hooper, it is still a really interesting horror film.
11. Face/Off (1997), Dir. John Woo - One of the biggest surprises for me. As someone who doesn't love 90s action films, this one was really enjoyable.

10. Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962), Dir. Agnes Varda - I saw this a whole month before I decided to dip my toes in French New Wave, and I'm glad that this film started it all.
9. Scream (1996), Dir. Wes Craven - I did not expect to enjoy this movie as much as I did. It is a whole lot of meta fun.
8. The Blair Witch Project (1999), Dir. Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sanchez - I admit, this movie had me scared to walk down my own hall way.

7. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Dir. Tobe Hooper - Every time I look back on this it seems scarier and scarier. I will never look at chainsaws the same. And now my Mum think she's gonna buy herself one.
6. Adaptation. (2002), Dir. Spike Jonze - Just so awesome. And one of the few times where I never felt like I was watching Nicolas Cage.
5. Breathless (1960), Dir. Jean-Luc Godard - Jean Seberg lived such a tragic life, but she was so wonderful in this movie. A good movie for me, since I love hearing people talk.

4. My Neighbour Totoro (1988), Dir. Hayao Miyazaki - So amazingly cute. I can't wait to go to Japan so I can buy as many Totoro things as possible.
3. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964), Dir. Jacques Demy - A tragic story dressed up in the most beautiful colours and songs. Catherine Deneuve is flawless.
2. Vivre Sa Vie (1962), Dir. Jean-Luc Godard - A wonderful movie that comes to a tragic end. Anna Karina gives a stellar performance. The conversation between her and the old man at the restaurant remains one of the best things I've ever seen.

1. Grave of the Fireflies (1988), Dir. Isao Takahata - I never expected to cry so much at the end of this. No animated movie has got me quite like this since Toy Story 3. And that's saying something. Such a tragic tale, I'll never know how they could ever put it to animation.

So, what do you think? Got any favourites of these titles?


  1. GotF is a very sad film, and this will be an unpopular opinion, but I didn't find it to be a great masterpiece.

    Still, I am very glad to see so many New Wave films in the top 5. Especially Umbrellas.

    Have you already decided where you'll be doing your toe dipping in 2013?

    1. French New Wave was by far my favourite month!

      I'm not entirely sure - it is a very time consuming process and time isn't something I'll have a lot of next year. Alas, I would like to check out live action Asian cinema, German expressionism, Pre-Code films, etc etc etc

  2. Fantastic. As pretty as Umbrellas of Cherbourg looked, the constant singing was so bloody painful. I am used to loads of songs in movies, but this was just too much.

    Grave of the Fireflies is beautiful.

    Good year man :)

    1. Haha, you have to like musicals in order to like that film. You may have a little bit of trouble watching Les Miserables, since that is wall-to-wall singing.

      Thanks! It was indeed a good year.

  3. Yay! So glad to see Grave of the Fireflies, Breathless, and Spirited Away so high.

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