Favourite school movies

So I just started Uni last Friday, and it made me think about those¬†teen movies/”school” movies, so I decided to make a short list of some of my favourites. I know, teen movies aren’t always the greatest movies in the world, but the following three were quite entertaining and actually mean a lot to me.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off¬†(1986)

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True, this movie doesn’t really take place¬†in¬†school, but it’s still a “school” movie to me. Who never dreamed to skip school and have a day like this? I was 12 when I first saw this movie. My best friend at the time was sleeping over and my dad had bought the dvd. He told us it was great and all, but we didn’t really believe him, you know? My dad, recommending an old movie… At first, we watched it just so he’d leave us alone with it. But then we kinda liked it. And then the¬†Twist and Shout¬†sequence happened and we just lost it. It became our favourite movie, we’d never shut up about it. We’d dress like Ferris, we’d talk like Ferris, we’d dance like Ferris… We even started singing¬†Danke Schoen¬†on a regular basis.

The Breakfast Club (1985)

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In our fourth year of high school, on a gloomy Saturday afternoon, my friends and I sat down to watch this movie and let me tell you, it had the same effect¬†Ferris Bueller’s Day Off¬†had had. We just loved the movie. Like, we even associated each other to a character (I was Allison, aka the Basket Case). For a while there, we kinda wished we’d go to detention and have a great time like them. Of course, our school library wasn’t as big as theirs, but still. I guess what we liked the most about the movie though, was how even though the characters are all pretty stereotypical, they’re not 100% what they seem. That scene where they all talk about what got them into detention was, of course, our favourite.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

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I saw this movie for the first time with the same girls I watched¬†The Breakfast Club¬†with. We all liked the movie, but one of these friends in particular and I like, really liked the movie.¬†Come On Eileen¬†by Dexy’s Midnight Runners became¬†our¬†song.¬†What we particularly liked was how truthful this movie was. Unlike the two John Hughes movies that I mentioned before, this movie has quite a realistic story. Some of the things that happen in this movie actually did happen to some of my friends (or to myself). Plus, thanks to this movie, my friend and I discovered that the whole¬†Rocky Horror Picture Show¬†showings was an actual thing. And since then, we go every year on Halloween.

Another 5 favourites

I love a lot of movies you know? So I thought I’d make another list of favourite movies, because why not eh?

The Big Lebowski (1998)

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I saw this movie for the first time in class, only a few years ago, and I absolutely loved it! The Dude (Jeff Bridges) became some kind of a hero to me, because he’s just so calm and nothing really worries him. I’d like to reach this level of chill one day. It is a very nihilistic movie; nothing actually happens, and what does happen happens for nothing. It is funny and quirky and has a great social message. The performances are all great, especially John Goodman as Walter, who is the absolute opposite of the Dude.

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

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This movie was directed by Wes Anderson and, as usual in a Wes Anderson movie, stars many big names. It is also a very beautiful, aesthetically pleasing movie. The movie is also a lot of fun: it tells the stories Mr. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes), concierge of the famous hotel, and Zero (Tony Revolori), the lobby boy. We also get to know the people staying at the hotel, all more colourful that the others. Many stories intertwine, which creates a very entertaining movie.

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

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I’ve loved this movie since I was 8. It is, according to me, one of Stanley Kubrick’s bests (also, the book by Anthony Burgess is amazing, one of my favourite books). Malcolm McDowell as Alex is fantastic. Every time I watch this movie, I get chills. In a somewhat near future, ultra violence becomes the norm and Alex and his droogs have a lot of fun fighting, raping and terrorizing. Alex gets arrested after “accidentally” killing a woman. In prison, he is subject to many experiments and learns to hate violence. This movie really makes you think about the society we live in and you definitely look at violence differently after watching it.

Harold and Maude (1971)

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Harold (Bud Cort) is obsessed with death. Maude (Ruth Gordon) loves life. He’s a young adult and she’s 79, but they become best friends and lovers. They meet at a funeral of someone none of them knew; both of them were there to pass time. I saw this movie for the first time on television when I was about 13 and I fell in love with it instantly. I identified so much with both Harold and Maude, I couldn’t think of anything else for weeks. Plus, all the Cat Stevens’ songs we hear throughout the movie got stuck in my head for months (like, I still sing¬†If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out¬†all the time).

Kynodontas (2009)

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Kynodontas¬†(or¬†Dogtooth¬†in English) is a very weird movie that can easily and understandably make you uneasy. We follow the life of a family, all of them remaining unnamed, and very strange things are going on. The father (Christos Stergioglou) and the mother (Michele Valley) keep their two daughters (Aggeliki Papoulia and Mary Tsoni) and their son (Hristos Passalis) captive. None of the “kids” (they’re in their late teens/early twenties) has seen the outside world. They think planes in the sky are toys, cats are extremely dangerous and they learn an entirely “new” vocabulary (like, the movie starts with the three of them listening to a tape and they learn the meaning of carbine as “a beautiful white bird”). It is unsettling, but makes you think a lot.

Double features

So I stayed up all night watching movies, and I thought I could write a little list. Here are a few suggestions of double features, movies I think go well together either because of their stories, their styles or their genre.

 

The Thing (1982) and The Hateful Eight (2015)

This one was kind of obvious, since people have been talking about it quite a lot. Not only is Kurt Russell in both movies, Quentin Tarantino¬†admitted that¬†The Hateful Eight¬†was highly inspired by John Carpenter’s¬†The Thing. Plus, some music written for¬†The Thing, that ended up unused, can actually be heard in Tarantino’s movie. Both movies are set in winter and in both movies, winter¬†becomes its own character. Paranoia, isolation, violence and death are shared themes and the feeling you get while watching either of them is quite similar. It can seem like a weird couple, but they fit very well together.

The Evil Dead (1981) and The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

The Cabin in the Woods¬†was written by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard as a “love letter” or tribute to the horror genre. The movie is filled with references to classic horror movies, one of the most obvious being to¬†The Evil Dead. In both movies, a group of friends go to spend the weekend in a cabin in the woods. There, they find a weird looking diary or journal, which should not have been touched. Things take a wrong turn from there and violent deaths ensue. They are definitely¬†worth watching together.

J’ai tu√© ma m√®re¬†(2009) and¬†Mommy¬†(2014)

Both written and directed by Xavier Dolan and both starring Anne Dorval as a single mother, these movies are about mother and son relationships. Complicated relationships. I wrote a little bit about Mommy in 5 favourites of the moment if you want to check it out. Though the movies do have really similar themes, they are very different, both character wise and aesthetic wise. It is also very interesting to see how much Dolan has improved and changed as a writer and director in such a short period of time.

Drive (2011) and Nightcrawler (2014)


With similar themes and aesthetics,¬†Drive¬†and¬†Nightcrawler¬†are pretty amazing together. They both have great film noir qualities, playing with lights and shadows a lot, and of course, telling us crime stories happening in the nighttime. They’re both quite thrilling movies too. The main characters are pretty different, which creates a great contrast when watching them one after the other. The stories are different too, but they give you the same feeling of watching and being watched, uninvited.

Batman (1989) and Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)

I’ve decided to put Batman¬†together with¬†Birdman¬†because of Michael Keaton. Yes, he plays the main character in both movies, no this is not really the reason why.¬†Birdman¬†tells the story of an actor who is mostly known for his role as a superhero in a series of movies he was a part of decades ago. Michael Keaton is mostly known for his role of the titular superhero in¬†Batman,¬†which was, according to many, his biggest, most popular role. The¬†parallel established¬†between the actor and his character is interesting. I think watching¬†Batman¬†and then watching¬†Birdman with the previous movie in head is pretty cool.

The Time Machine (1960),¬†Westworld ¬†(1973), and Logan’s Run¬†(1976)

Okay, this is a triple feature, but believe me, they all fit together so perfectly! I’ve¬†loved these movies ever since I was a kid; my dad had bought them and I’d watch them again and again. I’ve always considered them as a trilogy of some sort (even though they aren’t). You might be wondering why I’ve put them together; one has morlocks, one has robots and one has a ceremony to kill everybody who’s turned 30. But they’re all science-fiction movies about a dystopian future (well,¬†Westworld¬†doesn’t really take place in the future, but it has a dystopian future vibe either way). And let’s not forget just how entertaining they are. And quite weird too, especially¬†Logan’s Run, with that weird ice place and that weird robot. Anyway, I recommend watching those three one after the other.

Childhood favourites

Here’s a list, once again in no specific order, of movies I really enjoyed as a kid. Some I still do, others I haven’t seen in years, but they were all the best movies ever at one point in my life.

Space Jam (1996)

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I have never been the biggest Looney Tunes fan, nor have I ever enjoyed basketball, but for some reason, this movie really did it for me. I have to admit, I haven’t seen it in a very long time, so I don’t know if it’s actually all that good. But as a kid, this movie was just amazing. I understood that cartoon characters were not real, but I did not understand how they could interact with real people. My mind was blown! Every time I watched this movie, I thought that maybe, just maybe, I was wrong and that cartoons were actually real.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

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This movie is the first movie I remember seeing, and it is my absolute childhood favourite. It was a gift from my grandmother and I watched it so often, the tape actually broke. I cried so much, my mum repaired it instead of throwing it away, and it still works! I learned all the lyrics to every song by heart and still remember most of them. I still watch it at least 2 times a year, at Halloween and at Christmas. I loved that monsters tried to celebrate Christmas and I actually wished Jack Skellington could replace Santa for a year; I really wanted that vampire teddy bear.

The NeverEnding Story (1984) and The Neverending Story II: The Next Chapter (1990)

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I haven’t seen these movies in years, but I remember being both afraid and amazed by the story and characters. And also being devastated by the horse scene. If you know what I’m talking about, you understand. These movies actually made me believe that if I were to read a very old book, the story would come true (I was a bit disappointed when I picked up the oldest book I could find at the library and none of that happened). I also really wanted to have a dragon like Falkor the Luck Dragon, which is probably why I would only draw dragons for a while. I had never seen anything like these movies, they were so unique!

Alice in Wonderland (1951)

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I have to say, I’ve always been disappointed that she wakes up at the end of the movie. Of course, I was happy the Queen of Hearts did not catch her, but still. Wonderland is such a fantastically surreal place,¬†I’ve always wanted to visit there. My favourite character was the cat because he could disappear at will but also because I was a little bit afraid of him. I could watch this movie over and over again without ever getting tired of it. And even though I have not seen it in a while, I still remember the song All in the¬†Golden Afternoon, sung by the flowers, because it gets stuck in my head all the time.

Peter Pan (1953)

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I never wanted to grow up (unfortunately, I still did) and every night, I wished Peter Pan would come to my window and we’d fly to Neverland together. I really, really wanted to fight the pirates, and I really, really wanted to be able to fly. And even though I did not really like Tinkerbell, I wanted to have a fairy friend too. Just like I was a bit disappointed when Alive woke up, I was always a bit disappointed when Wendy and her brothers decided to go back home. This is the first movie that made me believe in magic.

Ben-Hur (1959)

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Yes, Ben-Hur is one of my childhood favourites. Every Easter, I would watch it on t.v. and even though I did not understand the story at all, I absolutely loved the horse races. I also loved when Judah Ben-Hur goes to see his sister and mother in the Valley of the Lepers, because I thought it was scary (for some reason). I watched it this Easter for the first time in years and probably understood the story for the first time in my life.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

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I actually saw this movie for the first time after seeing¬†Space Jam. And I was really happy to see that cartoons and humans worked together “again”. This was another proof that cartoon characters might actually be real, just hiding from us.¬†I really should watch this movie again because I barely remember the story. But I remember Judge Doom, played by Christopher Lloyd, melting in the end and just how disgusting, but cool I thought it was.

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989)

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The ants were amazing. The cereal scene scared the hell out of me, I mean, the dad could have eaten his kid! I actually thought the actors had been shrunk for real, otherwise, how could they have slept in legos and befriend ants? I was genuinely concerned for them. What if someone stepped on them? What if they never made it back to the house? What if the machine did not work and they were doomed to stay shrunk forever? So many questions…

Jack and the Beanstalk (1974)

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Every time our grandmother babysat us over at her place, my sister and I would watch this movie. It was nightmare inducing, but we kept watching either way.¬†I actually don’t know if it was intentional or not, but all the songs were scary, but we also loved them. The scariest scene was the wedding one with the people made out of paper. Chilling. But we still enjoyed it very much, we loved to be scared I guess. My grandmother would never watch it with us (I actually do not know if she’s ever seen it) and my sister and I were convinced it was because she was too afraid.

5 favourites of the moment

Hello gals and guys (why did I start like that though)! So this is my first “proper article” on this blog of mine and I thought I could make a short list of 5 movies that I really enjoy at the moment. Or at any given time in my life. Movies that I love. Anyway. Here’s the list (in no specific order).

Festen (1998)

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Festen¬†(or The Celebrtion in English) is a Danish film directed¬†by Thomas Vinterberg. It is the first movie of the Dogme 95 movement, a movement created by Vinterberg and Lars von Trier in 1995. Without spoiling too much of the story, the movie is about Christian (Ulrich Thomsen), whose father is turning 60. To celebrate the birthday, the whole family reunites; brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins… everybody’s there. During supper, Christian decides to make a speech and… let’s just say that things go wrong from there. The movie is quite intense. You almost have the impression to be there with the characters. It is terribly realistic, and don’t be surprised if the movie looks like an old tape of a homemade video; it is part of the movement.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,¬†directed by Michel Gondry, starring Jim Carrey¬†and Kate Winslet, is one of the most original movies I have ever seen. Honestly. Not only is the cinematography fantastic, Jim Carrey gives one of the best performances of his career. And this is not his usual comedy movie. The movie is about Joel (Carrey) and Clementine (Winslet), who after breaking up, get each other erased from their memories. The movie jumps back and forth in time, but is not too difficult to follow. It also mainly takes place in Joel’s subconscious, which takes us in a dream-like world in which everything seems possible, or impossible.

The Hateful Eight (2015)

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Many people thought this movie was too long. It is not.¬†The Hateful Eight¬†is the latest movie written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, with amazing performances from every actor, especially Jennifer Jason Leigh as Daisy Domergue. The story takes place after the Civil War (3 to 10 years? Maybe less? Maybe more?), in Wyoming. A bounty hunter (Kurt Russell) and his prisoner Daisy find shelter in a cabin, where they meet other colourful characters. Every single one of them¬†is interesting and even though you don’t actually like any of them, you get attached, you love to dislike them. The cinematography is breathtaking and the score, by Ennio Morricone, is perfect. As I mentioned at the beginning, many people thought the movie was too long. I think it actually brings sooooooo much to the story! It reminds us of older Western movies¬†directed by Sergio Leone. This movie is probably my favourite of Tarantino’s so far.

 

La piel que habito (2011)

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This movie is definitely not for everyone. It is strange. It is disturbing. It speaks of delicate subjects.¬†La¬†piel que¬†habito¬†(The Skin I Live In¬†in English) was directed by Pedro Alm√≥var and features Antonio Banderas as a plastic surgeon, haunted by his past. The first time I saw this movie, I was totally unaware of what the story would be, and that’s why I don’t want to say much more about it. It is the kind of movie that requires you to understand the story as it unfolds in front of you. I would also recommend watching it by yourself. I watched it with my parents and¬†found it a bit awkward. Or maybe that’s just me. Anyway, it is definitely worth checking out.

 

Mommy (2014)

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Mommy, directed by the brilliant Xavier Dolan, is a very touching movie about the difficult relationship between Diane (Anne Dorval) and her son, Steve (Antoine-Olivier Pilon). A widowed mother and a son with ADHD. They fight, they scream, they cry, and they love each other unconditionally. The aspect ratio of 1:1 (if you don’t know what that is, it’s basically a square) is perfect for the movie. You feel as if you’re watching their story through the windows of their house, almost as an uninvited viewer. You also feel trapped as much as they do in their situation. One scene in particular really got to me; the one at the karaoke. ¬†The movie is also very beautiful aesthetically; the colours are astonishing. There are also a few references to other movies, such as¬†Home Alone (1990), which is always fun.