Time to break the rules of #FilmChallenge and share the ten films I picked and why I picked ’em. You can’t tell me what to do, Zuckerberg!
Facebook’s algorithm (and my friends) put the FilmChallenge right in my face for the second time. And since I like to talk about myself AND movies I like (in that order), I’m gonna expand on them here.
Before we start: I did do the #FilmChallenge last year, but I picked a bunch of old and/or obvious movies. So I tried to either pick new movies that had impacted me, or movies I maybe don’t talk about so much.
Now, we begin our countdown, in no particular order but how I randomly posted them.
These aren’t necessarily my favorite movies, just a list of a few that got me.
DAY 1 – It’s a Wonderful Life
Obviously. I didn’t see it until I was in my 30s, and it happened to be just after Christmas of a truly horrible, soul-mangling year for me.
By the time everybody showed up at the Bailey house, I broke down into full-body, ugly sobbing until the credits rolled.
And it refilled my faith in humanity, for a little while anyway.
DAY 2 – Blade Runner 2049
This movie, a sequel to the seminal Blade Runner, should not have been good.
All of the omens were there: not the original writer/director, attempted sequel of a classic, made 35 years after the original, etc.
However, it ended up telling a beautifully human story that somehow outdoes its predecessor. When it comes to impact and world-building, Blade Runner probably takes the crown, but 2049 far surpasses it in character development and story.
Plus, the relationship between K and Joi is gorgeous, and the movie leaves you to interpret what it all meant (if anything).
DAY 3 – Monster Squad
Imagine if The Goonies featured more decapitations, and you’ve got Monster Squad. At one point Dracula tries to kill a bunch of kids by throwing dynamite at their tree house. Yeah. If you haven’t seen it, do so immediately.
Not only is this a great movie by itself with a surprisingly smart script and snappy dialogue, but for a young horror fan it’s the tops.
Who hasn’t wanted to throw on an ’80s workout jam, steal all of their mother’s silverware, and sand some table legs into stakes?
DAY 4 – Doctor Sleep
Somehow, Doctor Sleep manages to be both a sequel to the movie The Shining and the book The Shining even though they are completely different stories with totally different themes, events, and characters. That magic trick alone makes this movie required viewing.
Ewan is wonderful as grown-up Danny Torrance, newcomer Abra is a fun character, and Rose the Hat is both terrifying and completely understandable.
This movie also features one of the most upsetting scenes I’ve ever seen in a movie, ever. I literally can’t look at the screen. And for a long-time horror fan, that’s saying something.
DAY 5 – Bill and Ted Face the Music
In this sourball of shit and razorblades called “2020,” we needed Bill and Ted more than ever.
The Bill and Ted movies have long been a part of my personal belief canon (I’m not joking), with the Steve Vai intro-version of KISS’s “God Gave Rock and Roll To You” serving as a significant piece of scripture.
A lot of bad things happened to me and my loved ones and my mental health this year (which certainly doesn’t make me unique), and this movie came at the perfect time to spread a little love and hope in the darkest of timelines.
DAY 6 – The VVitch
This movie is scary as fuck. I watched it how I watch all horror movies now because my wife hates them — alone, in the dark, on the garage couch, long after everyone has gone to bed.
This is the perfect way to watch this movie.
It’s a slow-burning, atmospheric piece that cultivates a sense of religious and existential terror, so if you’re looking for a slasher film this ain’t it. But the shivering, nerve-wracked, eye-darting version of Bobby that came out on the other side of this movie is a person I can’t discount.
DAY 7 – Beerfest
This is the movie that got me into beer, so I owe it at least 40 to 50 pounds of gut fat and a significant decrease in my lifespan. Thanks Beerfest!
There’s really no way to describe this movie other than “ridiculous and hilarious.”
The Broken Lizard team is back on their A-game with this movie, which I personally put at even-rating with Super Troopers.
We also played this movie in the groomsman room at my wedding while all the guys got ready for the big show, and people kept bringing us case after case of beer and somehow we didn’t cut off our heads shaving (bad) or show up late to the wedding (worse).
DAY 8 – The Hateful 8
This movie has slowly crept up the list of my favorite Tarantino flicks. I don’t know if it’s at the top yet, but it’s too damn close for comfort.
The foreboding atmosphere is masterfully ratcheted up throughout the movie, the dialogue is both hick-dumb and razor sharp, and everyone turns in a cranked-up, almost cartoon performance that elevates the horror into absurd comedy.
Plus it’s basically “the Thing” with cowboys and racists instead of paranoid scientists and Lovecraftian space shoggoths, which endears me to it somewhat.
DAY 9 – Interview with the Vampire
It’s just great. It’s just a great movie from start to finish.
Tom Cruise turns in what is inarguably his finest performance in any movie ever. Brad Pitt kills it, Kirsten Dunst kills it. The soundtrack is funereal, the shots are gorgeous, and the bisexual energy is off the charts.
It’s just a perfect gothic tale of love, possession, redemption, revenge, and fatalism. When you want to just ponder our short mortal life and the blessful finality it gives our greatest mistakes, toss on this puppy and just wallow.
DAY 10 – Bone Tomahawk
This movie completely surprised me. I had heard “super gory western movie,” which it turns out is a huge disservice to the flick.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s got some truly shocking gore — one of the goriest scenes I’ve ever witnessed, in fact. But it really is just one scene, and one sequence in particular, that tucks the gore in.
The rest of the movie is actually a relatively languorous journey through the wilderness, exploring the beliefs and foibles and mistakes of the four main characters through mostly dialogue.
It’s kind of a unique movie. If you haven’t seen it and can stomach (or look away from) one really rough scene, I highly recommend it.