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.

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Is TV replacing movies?

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So yesterday, I finally finished watching Breaking Bad (2008-2013) (I know, I’m very late) and man that tv show was great. Bryan Cranston’s portrayal of Walter White was simply amazing and the show was brilliantly written. But anyway, I did not come here to write a review of the show.

Because the show was so great, it made me think a lot. Not necessarily about what’s good and bad, and were Walter White’s actions justified or not, but whether television is replacing movies or not. And I think that, slowly, it might be. So many tv shows now are filmed like movies. What I mean here is that the creators, writers, directors… everybody involved seems to work harder than before. They want their tv shows to look beautiful, they want talented actors, they want complicated characters and great writing. There always were good tv shows, but now, the game is becoming stronger.

People love to get to know the characters, and I think this is something tv can offer than cinema can’t. Of course, you get to know the characters of a movie when you watch it, but maybe not as much as a character on a tv series that’s been running for three years. Of course, if a movie has many sequels, like the Harry Potter movie series, you get to know the characters, the stories and their world a lot better than in a single movie. And movies with many sequels or with shared universes, such as The Hunger Games, the Twilight series, and the Marvel cinematic universe (just to name a few), often become highly popular, whether you like them or not. Because just like in a tv show, you get to understand a lot more things, the story can (usually) be more intricate and the characters can have more complicated developments.

Anyway, I just think tv shows like Breaking Bad might one day replace movies, just because they are so good! Of course, not every episode is going to be revolutionary great, but in general, tv is becoming more and more of a threat to the film industry.

Why I love watching bad movies

Confession time: I adore bad movies. Example, “The Room” (2003) is a movie I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of. It is sooooooo bad, yet I can’t keep my eyes from it. I think the best part of it is the “acting”. I’m not even sure I can call it acting, it’s too bad. Over-acting might be a better word. Anyway.

I watch a lot of bad movies (sometimes more than once), mainly because I think they are highly entertaining, but also because they give me a great idea of what not to do when making a film. I really do think that watching terrible movies is as important as watching great ones. Of course, you want to understand what you’re doing, so watching classics like “Citizen Kane” (1941) is crucial, but I think it is as crucial to understand what not to do, hence, “The Room”.

Some of my favourite bad movies (if you’re interested) are:

  1. Batman & Robin (1997)
  2. The Happening (2008)
  3. Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)
  4. The Room (2003) (obviously)
  5. Troll 2 (1990)

Postmodernism

Ever since I’ve learned what postmodernism in movies was, I’ve been a big fan of it. Many of my favourite films are postmodern or have postmodern elements in them. I think it is a very entertaining and interesting movement. Postmodern movies are so much fun to watch and analyze, I think I’m in love with them. And I thought I could write a little thing about the three main characteristics of postmodernism.

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Homage or pastiche: Postmodern movies will mix many different genres and make them fit together in a way you never expected. They can also “quote” or reference older works of arts, like paintings, books and other movies. It is always fun to find the similarities between the postmodern movie and the works it is quoting. An example that comes to mind right now is The Cabin in the Woods (2012). It has so many references to classic horror movies; every time I watch it, I find a new one!

Meta-reference: So basically, this is when a movie is self-referential or lets you know that it knows it is only a movie. The editing of the movie will be noticeable, the characters might break the fourth wall by talking directly to the camera or by using narration, the colours might look unnatural at times… Plus, postmodern movies often unfold in a non-chronological order. The movie wants to show you that it was constructed, assembled like a puzzle.

Contradictions: A postmodern movie might use loads of contradictions and paradoxes in the techniques they use to present the movie, or in the characters themselves. The ideas and morals introduced to us might change throughout the movie, or characters that really contradict each other might always been shown together. The concept of time and space practically doesn’t exist, which can lead to confusion at times, which contradicts our understanding of cinema itself.

A few suggestions

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

Pulp Fiction (1994)

The Big Lebowski (1998)

Fight Club (1999)

The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Birdman (2014)

Wes Anderson and Quentin Tarantino’s movies are great examples of postmodernism in films.

3 movies I used not to like

Sometimes you watch a movie and you’re too young to appreciate it. Or you’re just not in the right mood. Or you don’t understand it. And that’s enough to make you dislike a movie. Fortunately, I like to watch movies more than once, even when I don’t like them. And sometimes I realize that a movie I didn’t like is actually pretty good. So here are three movies I used not to like.

The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

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I first saw this movie with friends, in theatre. And we missed the first thirty minutes or so. I really didn’t like it; I thought it was lazy and stupid and did not quite make sense. About a year later, in a cinema class, we watched it. I was quite bummed because of the opinion I had of it. But when I saw the thirty minutes I had missed, I truly understood the movie. And I loved it. We then had to analyze it and it was so interesting! The Cabin in the Woods became a favourite of mines and I think it is one of the cleverest (maybe the most clever) movies of the genre.

Mulholland Dr. (2001)

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Boy did I hate this movie though. The first time I saw it, I was about 8. Clever, I know. I had no idea of what was going on, I didn’t understand a thing and I swore never to watch it again. When I was 16, I decided to give it another try. I did not understand everything just yet, but I liked it a lot more. And when I was 18, we had to watch it for a class. I have to admit, I still didn’t fully understand, some parts still remained blurry to me, but I started loving the movie; I even bought it on dvd. What I like is that every time I watch it, I understand it a little bit more. I haven’t watch it since I was 18, I should watch it again soon, maybe I’ll fully understand it this time.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)

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Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is now one of my favourite movies. I absolutely love it! I love Edgar Wright’s work as a director, so I was surprised when I didn’t like this movie at first. I don’t really know why, but I just did not enjoy it. Okay I actually kinda know why; I was not really paying attention to it, I was on my phone the whole time… Shame on me. A few months later, I decided to watch it again, and I discovered a great movie, very funny and so cool to watch. I never read the graphic novels, but I read reviews that said the movie really captured the atmosphere of the books, which is always great.

4 movies I love that people don’t

So I have a tendency to enjoy movies that are not well-liked (at least not by the people I know). Some of them seem to be loved by many others, either people I kinda knew from school or based from articles I read on the internet. Others just have bad ratings (and I can see why) but I still really enjoy them.

Enemy (2013)

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So I absolutely loved this movie and I thought it was brilliant (I actually wrote a little thing about it: A somewhat unorganized analysis of “Enemy”), but most people I know hated this movie with a passion. My theory is that they either did not understand the movie, or did not pay enough attention to it. They might also just don’t like it though. I won’t write too much about it, as I just mentioned, I already wrote a whole text about it, but yeah, this movie is amazing and just so well-thought! I love that before watching the movie, you think the story will go a certain way, but as soon as the movie starts, you understand that it is going to go in a totally different direction.

Tu dors Nicole (2014)

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So a little more than a year ago, I participated to the Prix collĂ©gial du cinĂ©ma quĂ©bĂ©cois (PCCQ), where around forty students from forty different schools have a debate and vote between 5 movies to choose the best movie from QuĂ©bec. It was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget. Tu dors Nicole won, and I was really happy about it because I had a proof that I was not the only person who really enjoyed this movie. But besides these other cinema students and cinema lovers, I don’t know anyone who loves this movie or even bothered to see it. Most people I know who saw it found it wayyyyyy too long and boring. But I thought it was fantastic. It perfectly showed how people my age feel in this exact period of their lives. The black and white works so well, the movie is so beautiful and meaningful, I could watch it again and again without ever getting tired of it.

The Voices (2014)

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So this movie got mainly bad to okay reviews, and I don’t feel as if people enjoyed it as much as I did. I thought it was quite funny; I loved the dark sense of humour. I reckon that it can be “too weird” for many people, but I think that is what makes it so fun. The main character, Jerry (Ryan Reynolds), is both lovable and scary and that feeling stays with you throughout the movie. I loved the differences between the world he sees when he is on his meds and the world he sees when he is not taking them. The movie leaves you with mixed feelings; should have I enjoyed the movie or not? I’ll admit, it is a quite disturbing movie and I think it might have been too much for some.

Buried (2010)

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Yes, another movie staring Ryan Reynolds. Yes, another movie that is quite disturbing. Just like The Voices, people became quite uneasy watching this movie, as I did. But I love when I get as involved in a movie as I did with Buried. I love how simple, yet frustrating and scary the movie is. I was truly panicked and devastated while watching it and I think it is what makes this movie so good to me. I’ll always remember the first time I saw it; when it ended, I was in such a shock I could barely move. I don’t watch this movie often because I want to “forget” about it so that when I watch it again, even though I know what happens, I’ll get the same feeling I got the first time I saw it.

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.