Monday, June 25, 2012

85 Film Facts About Me

Inspired by Stevee at Cinematic Paradox, and several other bloggers - Tyler @ Southern Vision, Alex @ And So It Begins, Sati at Cinematic Corner, Nikhat @ Being Norma Jean, Ruth @ Lets Be Splendid About This and Sam @ An Online Universe - I decided to come up with my own list of 'Film Facts' about myself. Note: I couldn't quite make it to 100, hence the 85.

1. My favourite film experience so far is my second viewing of Platoon. Hiring it out on VCR I watched it twice in the one week. After the first; feelings of disappointment and some distress (I was young-ish). After the second; absolute adoration.

2. The first film I watched twice on the same day was The Usual Suspects. Because it was unbelievably entertaining, and you know, the ending is badass. The second was American History X. I bawled at the end, and had to watch it again.

3. I will never shake the image of the curb stomp in American History X.

4. I LOVE the chase sequence in Se7en - I wish I had directed that scene - and I have never jumped out of my skin more than in the 'Sloth' sequence.

5. Actually, the infamous encounter behind Winkies in Mulholland Drive takes that prize.

6. The first film I remember being really scared watching was The Silence of the Lambs. I would have been early teens.

7. But, my favourite horror film is Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. Another film that gave me nightmares.

8. Se7en, and Snatch were the two films I watched in close proximity that altered my perspective on Brad Pitt's acting. Last year, with Moneyball and The Tree of Life, he was outstanding.

9. I have never been more close to being sick from a film than during the early club scene in Irreversible. Who new what horrors were in store later. A truly shocking film.

10. The most films I have watched in a cinema in one day is four - set June 10 2012. It's too many.

11. I saw Titanic in a cinema when I was nine. I went without my parents. I'm not sure how that happened. It was a big deal back then.

12. Since then I have never watched Titanic in its entirety.

13. Does anyone else get chills at the end of The Wicker Man? Every time.

14. The Godfather has one of the best screenplays ever.

15. There is also a case for Casablanca, Chinatown and All About Eve.

16. My favourite of the Star War films is The Empire Strikes Back.

17. I have always favoured The Thin Red Line over Saving Private Ryan. I can't concisely explain why.

18. Films I don't like that a lot of people seem to: Forrest Gump, Braveheart, Casino and Scarface. Also, Bonnie And Clyde. I know.

19. Films I like that no-one else seems to: Speed Racer, House of 1000 Corpses, Whatever Works.

20. When I was really young I had a rotation of 10-15 kiddie flicks: included were Toy Story, Aladdin, Cool Runnings and Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Bizarre.

21. I was actually pretty late to the party when it came to getting into film. It was 2001 when my interest exploded, and I started delving into the good stuff.

22. The first DVD I owned was...Road to Perdition. Then I picked up Monty Python and the Holy Grail for my birthday. And so it began.

23. I don't know exactly how many DVDs I own. More than 300.

24. When I used to go to the cinema with friends, usually every week, we would often just turn up and watch 'something'. Now, I never go to a cinema without knowing exactly what I intend to see.

25. Working at a cinema it now baffles me how many people have no idea what they want to see, and yet come and ask a staff member for help. Not everyone knows as much about films as me. It's a risk.

26. I 'almost' prefer Zach Snyder's Dawn of the Dead to the original. I also like Watchmen, but despise every other Zach Snyder film.

27. I hated Andrea Arnold's Wuthering Heights. The book was a slog in high school, but I finished it. I'd rather go struggle through the book again than watch the film.

28. A character I really like but rarely hear anything about is Stan (Mark Ruffalo) in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. 

29. People have said I look like Adrien Brody.

30. I cry at the end of Trois Couleurs: Rouge. I also cried on two separate occasions during Toy Story 3. The last film that brought tears to my eyes was Brave (yesterday).

31. "You should see the other guy" (Fargo) is one of the funniest moments in cinema. The line-up scene in The Usual Suspects is another.

32. My favourite ending to a film, and this might shock some people, is to John Carpenter's The Thing. Kurt Russell (and his beard) are awesome.

33. I wish I was following the Oscars as much as I am now back in 2007. Tracking the battle between There Will Be Blood and No Country For Old Men would have been very exciting.

34. My favourite comedy of all time is Life of Brian.

35. I actually prefer TV comedies to film comedies - Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Arrested Development, The Office, Entourage etc. All of my sense of humour is influenced by those shows. Especially Seinfeld.

36. A comedy should be under 100 minutes in length. There are exceptions: The Big Lebowski, Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead.

37. Sideways makes me happy. Thomas Haden Church is gold, and it features Paul Giamatti's best performance. Plus I like wine.

38. Watching two of the best actors of all time face off with one another in the diner in Heat is a film lover's dream.

39. I usually watch DVDs with subtitles on.

40. Over the last two years I have been selecting a director to focus on during the month, when I have a month without a festival to cover. Though I have worked through films by Tarkovsky, Cronenberg, Clouzot, Kieslowski, Altman, Godard and Miyazaki, the most fun I had was with early Dario Argento. The Bird With the Crystal Plumage, Deep Red, Suspiria, Inferno, Tenebre are all excellent.

41. My favourite acting performance of all time is Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood.

42. It is my #1 film of the 00's.

43. I could watch the derrick explode and burst into flames over and over again.

44. Daniel Day-Lewis is my favourite actor. I love The Last of the Mohicans. It has probably my favourite film score of all time.

45. Though I do love Neil Young's work on Dead Man.

46. My favourite actor at the moment, however, is Michael Fassbender. With Shame, and now Prometheus, he is certainly one of the best actors working today.

47. An underrated actor I really like is John Hawkes. He was so overlooked for Martha Marcy May Marlene.

48. My favourite actress is Kate Winslet. My favourite performance from her is in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I like Michelle Williams a lot too.

49. My favourite film in black and white is Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal. Staggeringly beautiful.

50. Though I enjoy a lot of Bergman's films, two goes at Persona is enough for me.

51. Michael Haneke films keep me up at night. After watching Funny Games (1997) I woke up throughout the night distressed. It was also the same week I watched The Piano Teacher and Antichrist. Tough times. But I had the same reaction to The Seventh Continent. They get under my skin.

52. My favourite documentary is The Man With A Movie Camera, followed by Hoop Dreams. And I think that Cinematic Orchestra's musical accompaniment is PERFECT. Here's an example:

53. My favourite animated film is Spirited Away, followed by Wall-E.

54. My least favourite genres are romantic comedies and musicals.

55. I feel like it is an achievement to have endured Moulin Rouge. I actually enjoyed it.

56. I'm actually not sure what my favourite genre is: a good horror/thriller or comedy/drama hybrid I guess.

57. I need to watch more Westerns. Once Upon A Time in the West for example.

58. I love the rowing sequence in The Social Network. 'In The Hall of the Mountain King' can be used in every film, in my opinion.

59. A classic I feel ashamed to have not seen is On the Waterfront. 

60. I own the 2003 edition of 1001 Movies to See Before You Die. I don't know how many I have seen now, but it would be approaching 400.

61. My favourite directors are Stanley Kubrick, David Fincher and Paul Thomas Anderson.

62. I could watch the teaser for The Master on repeat.

63. I am yet to see a Coen Brothers film I haven't liked. I haven't seen Intolerable Cruelty or The Ladykillers.

64. I hate Michael Bay films. Even when I watched Armageddon back in the cinema I hated it. That was when I used to like everything.

65. I missed the days when I used to like everything, but I guess I didn't know when a truly great film came along. I was too young to see the truly great films. Unless they were called Toy Story. It was a big deal in 1995.

66. I am Australian, but not really a fan of Australian film. I have seen an embarrassingly short number. Having said that there have been a few gems over the last three years.

67. When I pick out a film to watch, the fact that it is a foreign film and may have subtitles has no bearing on the decision at all.

68. I love films that keep you entranced for the entire duration. The lights go down, you are immersed in the film and forget you are in a cinema, and then the lights come back on. That's the experience The Tree of Life gave me on a second viewing.

69. The performances of Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling in Blue Valentine blew my mind.

70.  I love long takes. Steve McQueen has delivered two extraordinary ones. How bout the opening scene of Boogie Nights? I hate over-editing.

71. I don't really like hand-held photography that much. I felt like it worked during the Bourne films, but few other action films have pulled it off. It depends.

72. I kinda like 'found-footage' films. I really enjoyed The Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield and The Troll Hunter. Quarantine had its moments too.

73. I can watch an enjoy Face/Off and Con Air any time.

74. The films I have watched the most over the last 3 years are Inglourious Basterds and The Social Network. My favourite films of 2009 and 2010.

75. Film soundtracks are becoming an enormous part of my regular listening. I had the soundtrack for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo on repeat for a week before watching the film.

76. I have not yet made the transition to Blu-Ray yet. I do own two Blu-Rays though. Competition winnings.

77. I studied film theory at university and one course - Silent to Sound Cinema - introduced me to Strike and Battleship Potemkin, Nosferatu, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Metropolis, Pandora's Box and Modern Times amongst others. Pretty awesome.

78. The essay I am most proud of was an analysis of the alteration of the time-image in postmodern and contemporary cinema. I examined Fight Club, Memento and Mulholland Drive amongst others.

79. Some of my friends use to go to a trivia night. Occasionally they would call me and ask me film questions. I almost always knew the answer. On one occasion, the answer was Inside Man. "Is it good?" one of my friends asked. "I don't know I haven't seen it." "Then how did you know the answer?" "I just did." It got the me the nickname IMDB.

80. I have become somewhat addicted to film festivals. It's where I belong I think.

81. I'd love to go to Cannes one day, but I turned the Sydney Film Festival into my own personal Cannes Film Festival. I watched six films that screened at Cannes this year at the SFF and will make the trip to Melbourne for MIFF and catch the rest.

82. My favourite film of 2012 so far is Holy Motors. Nothing has matched the buzz I experienced afterwards in a long time. Subsequent viewings wont match that feeling either. Well maybe they will, I don't know. In my personal Sydney Film Festival Awards it took out five - Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Cinematography and Best Scene.

83. The scene in question will likely remain one of my favourite scenes in history.

84. Some days I feel like I should take a break from film and read a book. From start to finish. In that order. Seinfeld joke. But seriously, I need to read more.

85. I write about film because I love film and I love to write. It has become a compulsion. I can't stop. Sometimes I want to, but I feel like I would let people down, people who care about my opinion. I feel like I need to see every film at the cinema and justify my thoughts on them. At the same time I want to see everything that has ever been made. It's never-ending, and I know I will never catch up.


  1. I started reading this then stopped at American History X. I also chose to block out that curb stomp (until you reminded me of it!). You watched American History X twice in one day!?! I can never get through that film again(because it's brutal, not because I hate it).

    Totally agree on #24 and 25. It's a huge pet peeve for me.

    Wuthering Heights really was bad.

    1. Yeah i was reminded of the day I watched it twice when I wrote about The Usual Suspects. Its a shattering film. I have not watched it since. I don't mind chatting to customers when they come in and ask about films - in fact I love it - but I think it curious that so many people just turn up and ask "what's on?" and "what do you think?".

  2. Four films in one day... damn. I saw three movies in one day at the most when I volunteered at the 2004 Atlanta Film Festival. I saw Strayed by Andre Techine, DiG! by Ondi Timoner, and later that night, Primer by Shane Carruth. I ended up chatting with both Timoner and Carruth. That was awesome.

    I like Speed Racer and House of 1000 Corpses too!

    I also hate Michael Bay though I will admit that I find Bad Boys and The Rock to be quite decent and watchable.

    1. That sounds like fun. I would like to volunteer at the SFF one year, but I am too addicted to being a patron at the moment. Possibly only watching half a film would irk me too.

      I find 1000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects to be very entertaining. Sick, but oddly watchable. Then Rob Zombie made Halloween, which was dreadful.

      I do like The Rock, I must admit. Also, the first Transformers film was fun at the time. It was years before I realised Bay made The Rock. I felt guilty, but the second half does have a lot of cool action.

  3. Your last fact is particularly true for me. I can totally see where you're coming from! Same with your second to last fact. My friends all think I'm extra slow because they read Catching Fire in like, a day, and it has already taken me a week and I'm still not finished. Films are more my scene!

    Anyway, totally love this list!

    1. I am a really slow reader..of novels. Something about sitting and reading a book I seem to have forgotten how to do.

      Yeah, I don't want to stop because I'm not sure what I would do with my time.

  4. God, I remember the first time I saw Se7en at the cinema and it got to the sloth scene. I think the entire audience nearly shat itself collectively at that moment.

    1. I can imagine. I didn't love Se7en the first time around, but the scenes I mentioned...and the ending...lingered with me, and I watched it again not long after. Always freaks me out.

  5. Oh this is really cool.

    Love your favourite directors! I love long takes too. Inglorious Basterds and TSN :D :D Also, you should really move to India because they show Con Air and Face/Off practically everyday :P

    1. I have watched Inglourious Basterds and The Social Network probably 6-7 times on DVD since I bought them. Endlessly watchable. If I visit India and get bored, I'll know they have two of my fav. action films readily available :-)

  6. 2. Do you know the ending Kaye tried to shoot during filming? Norton refused, and it led to a colossal in-production meltdown. (Hint: Kaye’s new ending sucked.)
    3. Now say goodnight.
    4. God, love both of those. Before they shot that scene, Fincher asked Pitt what he hated most about chase scenes. Pitt said that the chaser always knows which way the person being chased ran. So they filmed it based on NOT doing that. Awesome.
    9. Yep.
    10. I’ve done 7, at Sundance. THAT is too much.
    17. Yes yes yes.
    18. I hate Braveheart. And Forrest Gump is… okay.
    27. Shit really? I really want to see this. Damn.
    31. “In English, please.”
    33. There actually wasn’t a battle, really. No Country was a no-brainer to win. It was pretty obvious TWBB would take actor and a technical award, but, sadly, that’s about it.
    39. I’m not alone!
    46. Hells yeah.
    59. It’s as good as you’ve heard.
    70. That scene is brilliant. Introducing every major actor in one shot… revelatory.

    1. 2. I did not know that. I'm so glad they kept the ending that was ultimately shot.
      3. Chills.
      4. That's what I love about it. Pitt is constantly scrambling to figure out where he went. He comes down the stairs and John Doe fires a shot up at him (completely unexpected). He hears commotion and discovers a door of one of the apartments has been flung open. He runs through there. When he sees him enter the street, he can't follow him the same way so he improvises. I love it. So tense.
      10. 7. Oh man. Features?
      18. I don't hate Forrest Gump. It had been talked about so much, so after my first viewing, I thought: "Is that it?" The second and third bored me mostly.
      27. Yeah. Its almost unwatchable.
      33. Really? I have no grudges because I love 'No Country' but I like TWWB more haha. Still. wins for DDL and Elswit were a given.
      39. Yeah, I read your list and recognised that I do the same thing. Thought I'd mention it. I ask friends if i can put subtitles on and they look at me weird.
      70. Haha, it was PTA's bday yesterday. Love that shot. The guy was only 27.

      Thanks for reading dude.

  7. I love these facts posts everyone has been doing! So insightful.

    #8 - I recently changed my mind on Brad Pitt too, he's pretty amazing and diverse.
    #18 - I've been meaning to see Casino for ages but keep putting it off due to it's length. Looks like I'll wait a little longer now too!
    #19 - On the other hand, I really want to watch Speed Racer sometime soon.
    #24/25 - I'm the same now, but last year I saw Warrior not knowing one thing about the film and it quickly became one of my all time favourites. I guess people like to be surprised perhaps? Not sure haha
    #31 - Growing up I've seen Fargo a few times and I always loved that line too :)
    #35 - I was just thinking of getting Seinfield on DVD recently too. Have only seen a few eps. Love Arrested Development.
    #76 - Bought a Blu-Ray player yesterday after winning a DVD!

    1. 8. I guess I have been a fan for about a decade now. He's great. Jesse James, Benjamin Button and then The Tree of Life/Moneyball. There are some in between, but he's a force. Oh, and apparently he's great in Killing Them Softly too.
      18. Not a fan of Casino, but many people like it...a lot.
      19. You might not like Speed Racer. Not many people do haha.
      24/25. Yeah absolutely. I like going to screenings knowing nothing, but they are scheduled in. If I am taking the time to go to the cinema - even if I wasn't writing - I would still pick out an option.
      35. Oh man, get into Seinfeld. Season 3 onwards is gold.
      76. Haha. There you go. I haven't been able to afford a better TV and a blu-ray, but someday.

  8. Fantastic list! I like Whatever Works too and I'm not too fond of Forrest Gump. I'm totally with you on the Winkies scenes, it almost gave me a heart attack first time I was watching Mulholland Drive and I actually turned off the movie and gained the courage to finally watch it weeks later. So glad to read nice words on Brad Pitt - his work in Snatch remains one of my favorite performances ever. I've only just began Arrested Development and I love the sense of humour in this one, really clever and amusing show.

    1. I like Whatever Works because of Larry David I think, but I laughed a lot. Also happy to hear you are enjoying Arrested Development. It gets better and better on repeats because there are subtle references to later seasons in the first, and throwbacks to earlier eps in the latter ones. Also, the running jokes - "Her?" and the Blue Man Group for example - are so clever.

    2. So far I love Will Arnett the most. And I love "I made a huge mistake" thing :)

  9. Great post! A few thoughts.

    #3 -- Me either. It's one of the most disturbing movie scenes I've ever watched.

    #7 -- Mine too.

    #39 -- Me too. I get more out of it that way.

    #78 -- I'd love to read that essay. :)

    1. Shining fans unite. There is a doco circulating through the festival rounds at the moment called Room 237, which is an insider into the making of The Shining. I really want to see it.

  10. I agree with #26, except that I DO prefer the remake to the original. I liked The Watchmen too. I never got all the hate for it, sure the ending was rushed compared to the book. But I thought it was a good movie.

    1. Ooh nice one. The original is a little slow in the middle I feel. Snyder's is much more intense. I agree. I really enjoyed Watchmen. Perfect casting.

  11. #9 - Oh. I wanted to climb out of my skin and dismantle my skull during that scene.

    #18- I agree. Forrest Gump and Scarface and kind of the worst. Gump is just so...boring. Scarface is simply bad. Period.

    #19- I put Speed Racer in my underrated movies of the 2000's list. Totally agree. At the very least? It's an AWESOME kids movie.

    #26- Seriously believe that Watchmen will have its day. That was as beautiful an adaptation as you can get with a book that complicated, and someday folks other than "upset fanboys" will see its technical merits. It has its flaws, sure, but IMO it's a really great genre film (and one of the best looking).

    1. 9. Oh me too. I felt ill. I had been told about the rape scene, but not the club scene. Ugh.
      18. I hated Scarface on recent viewing. I watched it years ago and I think I must have thought it was cool to like it, because I thought I did. Watching it again completely reversed my opinion.
      19. It is. And I had a great time in the cinema. I saw it by myself haha.
      26. I read the graphic novel a couple of days before the film and I left the cinema declaring exactly that: that could not have been adapted better.

      Thanks for stopping by. Appreciate the comments.

  12. Btw dude, you must watch On the Waterfront!!

    Also, #18 - What's wrong with you?! lol

    1. 18. Haha. Yeah, I have been accumulating a number of films that are culturally significant but I tend to dislike. I like a lot more films than I dislike, so I am pretty generous with my criticism. These didn't cut it :-p

  13. John Hawkes really is underrated. I'm also impressed by his work in "Winter's Bone" and "Me And You And Everyone We Know"

    I prefer Zack Snyder's Dawn Of The Dead compared to George A. Romero's version. Fast running zombies for win!

    Blu-Ray is rather cool. Other than picture quality, some of the bonus features are very interesting.

    1. I haven't seen Me and You and Everyone We Know, but I heard some not very positive things about The Future, so not yet sure about Miranda July. John Hawkes' involvement will prompt me to watch it one day. It seems like a lot of people prefer Snyder's version. That is interesting.

  14. #10 -- I remember seeing two films in a row at the theater one day. I was walking like a zombie afterwards. How could you manage to sit through four... I've no idea.
    #26 -- I'm one of those people who don't think that Snyder's Dawn of the Dead remake was bad. But it and the Guardians animation are his only films that I could stand.
    #58 -- because of that music I actually wanted to stand up and start dancing right in the cinema lol but I didn't do it, thank goodness

    Great to see that people continue to write these lists. Well done, Andy!

    1. Four was tough. Last year at SFF I watched three in a day twice. This year I did 4 once, and 3 three times. It gets easier. Yeah, I love In the Hall of the Mountain King, and the way that scene is shot and edited blows my mind. I love it - and I love how Fincher tied in an awesome scene like that to the story. Initially it seems really unnecessary, but then...

  15. #4 - I haven't seen Se7en in years. I guess I need to break out the copy I bought over a year and a half ago.

    #10 - Four films in one day? Yikes! I once did three (Lars and the Real Girl, August Rush, and No Country for Old Men) at three different theaters, and it wiped me out.

    #15 - And Sunset Blvd.

    #52 - I still need to see The Man With A Movie Camera, but I love Hoop Dreams!

    #84 - I too need to read more. My problem is that I look at a book and think about how many films I could watch instead of reading it.

    1. #10 - Three is tough, especially if you are traipsing all over the city too. I haven't heard of August Rush, but it could have been a great day...especially ending with No Country. My four - Goodbye, Undefeated, Tabu and Amour. I could have seen Bully/The Law In These Parts earlier, too.

      #52 - Immediately check out The Man With A Movie Camera and think about the editing.

      #84 - Agreed. The time it takes me to read a book could be full of watching movies and blogging. Have to try something different every now and then.

  16. Now that you mentioned Room 237, I want to see it, too. I'll be looking for it. ;-)

    BTW, my daughter made a list like this at our blog, in case you want to check it out.

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