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Top 5 movies that influenced me and why

Sometimes, facebook will lead to pretty good things. And I don't mean finding some hot chick you'd been chasing after in Highschool; I mean actual, interesting, meaningful things. Like getting you to think about the movies that shaped your views on cinema and perhaps even the entire world around you from the moment you first got sucked into their world. (Thanks for that, Telekinetic Firetruck) So I've tried to list these movies that made a big impact on my life, and explain to you the reasons why they impressed me so much.

1. Star Wars
Star Wars

Star Wars has probably influenced me more than I'd like to admit. It was the first Sci-Fi movie I'd ever seen and I was incredibly impressed by it. My dad had shown me a (copied) VHS of it when I was very young. To be honest, I don't even really remember when that was, or where we were living, or what my feelings were while I was watching it. I just know that my descent into nerdhood must have started that day. Because I remember getting my parents to buy me action figures and playsets, and being so incredibly happy when I could finally see my first Star Wars movie in theaters. Of course, that ecstasy was short lived (since Episode I sucked hard), but I think I finally felt a little bit of how it must have felt for my father when he went to the theaters in 1977, ten years before I was born, to witness this milestone of cinema. From the moment I had seen that video, I had envied him for the fact that he was there to experience it all for the first time, and I believe he enjoyed allowing me to feel the same way about the subsequent movies. And even though those never achieved the same level as their legendary ancestors, they still have a special place in my heart.

2. Ringu

While I don't regard Ringu as belonging anywhere near a list of the top 10 best Japanese movies, it was definitely one of the movies that has shaped my movie history in more ways than one. I believe this was the first Japanese movie I've ever seen. I think I had been watching anime and stuff before, but never actual Japanese movies. While Ringu itself hasn't really left its mark on me (that dubious honor goes to the 2003 film Ju-On), I think it has opened my mind for the wonders of Asian cinema. At first, I focused exclusively on the 'Japanese Horror Movie' segment: Ring, Ju-On, Dark Water, Eye, etc. However I soon branched out (be it because of my innate fear of little girls with long black hair standing at my bed or just pure boredom due to the repetitive nature of such films) to other movies such as Battle Royale, Azumi and Ichi the Killer. After the obvious well known movies, I discovered a better side of Japanese cinema in Guu the Cat, Marebito, Sweet Rain and many other movies. Of course through starting on the horror side of things, this also led me to my love for the genre I'm probably most 'known' for with my friends: Japanese gore movies like Tokyo Gore Police, Frankenstein Girl VS Vampire Girl, Machine Girl, etc. and more absurdist stuff like Yatterman and Kung-Fu Cyborg.

3. Interview with the Vampire

As any proper self-loathing 15 year old goth, I was into vampires at the time. Mostly Buffy and Angel, of course, since Joss Whedon is a fucking genius when it comes to selling crap to teenagers, but it was Interview with the Vampire that left its mark on me (oho, get it!?) the most. Because Interview with the Vampire was an actual good movie. I'm not even kidding, that movie was really great. I know Interview with the Vampire urged me on to look for more vampire movies, which naturally drew me deeper and deeper into the horror side of things.

Closely related to this, of course, are zombie movies. I'm really just guessing here, but I think the Dawn of the Dead remake is the first zombie movie I ever saw. Sure, it wasn't that great, but it did spark a fire that still burns brightly today. For years, I have collected all kinds of zombie movies, new ones, but also older ones, big budget ones and ones that were filmed in someone's backyard, American ones and Japanese ones. I love zombie movies, even really shitty ones like War of the Living Dead (if you haven't seen it: please don't bother!), because they're just mindless (oho, get it!?) fun. And, you know, there's guts. And blood. And shit like that.

I was thinking of including my love for B-movies under this film too. To be honest, I'm fairly certain that was sparked by Wishmaster, but it could've been related to the whole zombie movie craze, so I'm just gonna include it here. My zombie movie obsession came relatively late in my life, by the way. Just to provide some sort of timeline for you, my Star Wars obsession came around my 12th year, I think, while my Vampire days were around my 15th, my Ring days around my 16th, and my zombie days were around my 18th. By then, I had already come to enjoy the gory side of cinema a lot, wondering why people found Ichi the Killer so offensive while there were so many movies out there that were much worse. But the point in my love for B-movies wasn't the gore or the guts, it was the bad acting and horrible plot. I absolutely adore movies like Attack of the Killer Tomatoes or Bubba Ho-Tep because they're just so incredibly far-fetched that they make absolutely no sense whatsoever. I guess you could also put movies like Escape from LA/NY and Barbarella under this category. All three are movies that I love a lot, but when you really think about it, they're absolutely horrible.

4. Alien

Watching Alien was kind of like a revelation to me. As with all good movies, I was too late to enjoy the glory days of this impressive franchise, but the love I felt for it was no less intense than that of someone who had actually been there at its premiere. While I certainly own my Star Wars obsession (and my introduction to Sci-Fi) to my father, I believe I owe my advance into the more serious side of Sci-Fi to myself. As with many things, I am unsure how exactly I came into contact with the Alien franchise, but I know that it left a very big impression on me. It showed a different side of Sci-Fi. A darker, more mature side that wasn't explored in the more fantastical Star Wars movies. I still believe the original Alien is one of the best movies ever made. The way Scott handled suspense is something you rarely see nowadays.
Another thing that is interesting about Alien is how it indirectly drove me towards French cinema. As you all know, Jean Pierre Jeunet directed the fourth (and, in my opinion, second best) (suck it, haters!) Alien movie, called Resurrection. I loved Resurr
ection a lot, so I decided to check out some other movies this Jeunet person had made, which in the end led to me not only discovering my favorite director (Luc Besson), but also my favorite actor, Jean Reno. Watching Jeunets movies such as Amélie and La Cité d'Enfants Perdus opened me up more to foreign cinema, I think. I started watching more French movies, but also German and Spanish ones. My hate for American Remakes that had been around since the Ringu days grew exponentially while I discovered the beauty of foreign cinema.

5. The Dark Crystal
Dark Crystal

For my final movie, I picked The Dark Crystal. Not just because it is the most beautiful movie ever made (that, it is), but also because it represents somewhat of a change in me. Most of the movies listed so far have been giant financial successes, movies that everyone has seen at some point or another. But The Dark Crystal is different, and this is the reason I picked it. The Dark Crystal, to me, represents the moment in time that I realized I don't need to act my age. It's okay to love movies that were made for children, because these movies can be so much better than 'adult' movies that make millions of dollars at the theater. It also made me realize there is so much more out there in terms of movies.
Under this category, I'd like to incorporate drama movies such as Tideland and Chocolat, fantasy movies such as Mirror Mask and Bridge to Terabithia and quirky ones like Coraline. When I saw The Dark Crystal, it was by 'accident', I accidentally switched to the channel the movie was on while watching tv during a sunny afternoon. I realized I had to dig deeper if I didn't want to miss things like this. I realized I had to broaden my horizons in order to see as much as possible of the beautiful worlds that were being created all over the world and stop confining myself to genres like Horror and Sci-Fi.

Since then, I have been open to all kinds of genres. And not just when it comes to American movies, either. Where I first confined myself to the action/gore/horror side of Japanese movies, I now realized I should open up and watch all sorts of films, leading to the beautiful The Witch of the West is Dead, the completely useless but still beautiful in its own way Eli Eli Lema Sabachthani and Paco and the Magical Picture Book.
There's something I feel like adding in regards to Eli Eli Lema Sabachthani, by the way, which I can't really fit in anywhere but want to say nonetheless: Sabachthani wasn't the example I had in mind, but I can't remember the movie I did have in mind and I seem to have misplaced the DVD, so it will have to do. Eli Eli Lema Sabachthani actually did make a very big impact on me, and I feel like I have to explain how and why. Do you know those kinds of movies that are about absolutely nothing at all and when they're over you're just sitting there like 'what the fucking shit did I just waste my evening on'? Sabachthani is like that. It's a 2 hour movie about the process of making Noise music. Basically, you're watching two guys rattle around a bunch of pots and pans for two hours, while barely speaking. The example I had in mind was like that: it was a movie about a Japanese couple; the man had a job at the local paper, sketching court scenes, and the woman had a job at some boring office. The movie was two and a half hours long, and literally nothing happens. They get into fights, ignore them, and carry on with their daily lives. Movies like that and Sabachthani give me a weird feeling. A feeling I'm not sure whether I love it or hate it. I always end up feeling completely empty after watching such movies. At first, I'm angry because I've wasted my time on them, but then, when it calms down in my mind, it's like they strike some sort of nerve and I just go..empty. Do you know what I mean? I think I like movies like that. It's like DEEP movies, without the DEEP in the movie itself. It's almost like the viewer himself makes it DEEP by thinking about it. I dunno, I just thought I had to share this.

This week, I've seen one of those movie about absolutely nothing (Mamoru Oshii's 'Talking Head'), a movie about a couple that is psychic (The ESP Couple) and one about Ron Perlman being weird (Mutant Chronicles). I might still be inclined towards the lesser know movies, B-movies, and Sci-Fi stuff, but I know there's many more things out there to enjoy.


4 comments on “Top 5 movies that influenced me and why

  1. Ghislaine
    28 September 2010

    Epic top vijf! Heb ze alle vijf gezien. Al vind ik je nummer vijf eerder een nummer een, als ik deze vijf films op volgorde moest zetten^^

    En door jou kan ik ook echt alleen maar keihard lollen om elke zombiefilm ever, en vind ik het geen straf meer om die dingen te kijken. Heb laatst de slechtste aller tijden gezien, god, hoe heette ie nou… Het is in een bos met zo’n awesome gast met een staartje die dan min of meer in zn eentje overblijft en vet veel ‘gothicmetaldudes’ als zombies… En een wijf met echt te neppe tieten die op een bureau werkt. Mh. Ik heb niet het idee dat dit helpt:P

    Nou ja, hij was heel slecht, vooral de scene waarin twee chicks gingen zonnen op het strand wat echt een heeeeel vies strandje was (waarschijnlijk niet aan zee maar aan een sloot ofzo) zonder zon en dat er ineens zombies uit het water hun bikini los kwamen rukken en ze toen gingen aanvallen uiteraard. Keislecht.


  2. Harry d. Busdriver
    1 October 2010

    Nouja, het is ook allesbehalve bedoeld als een ‘beste 5 films ooit’ he? Dan zouden Ringu en Interview with the Vampire er sowieso niet in voor komen =p
    Die zombiefilm ken ik niet =[ Ga eens goed nadenken over hoe ‘ie heet, hij klinkt iig erg interessant. En slechter dan War of the Dead kan het niet zijn. Ik downloadde dit weekend ‘Zombie Women of Satan’, dat belooft ook nog wel aardig te worden. Als je nog een awesome film wil zien moet je Frankenstein Girl VS Vampire Girl btw eens downloaden, die is echt briljant <3

  3. Ghislaine
    18 October 2010

    hij heet swamp zombies:P die slechte zombiefilm dus^^

    en de slechtste film OOIT heet ‘Death race’, die van Asylum met Insance Clown Posse.. damn. lol.

    die frankensteingirlvampiregirl klinkt briljant indeed, even googlen:P

    19 October 2010

    BIG TITS ZOMBIE 3D is voor zover ik ‘m heb gezien ook wel een recente topper =p
    Death Race was inderdaad zeer kut..maar die was echt gewoon zo kut dat ‘t ook niet meer leuk was xD Swamp zombies zal ik wel even opzoeken though, thanks!


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This entry was posted on 26 September 2010 by in Film and tagged , , , , .

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