Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Thursday Movie Picks: Childhood Favorites

This week, the theme for Wanderer's Thursday Movie Picks Meme is childhood favorites. This one is a tricky one to select as it's difficult to remember everything I loved as a child. Also a lot of what I was watching was on VHS tapes so there wasn't much of a distinction at the time between "movie" and "VHS compilations of a TV show" back then so it's hard to sort through what definitively counts.

I also remember have some more embarrassing entertainment moments. Here's a fun story: when I was first read the climax of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (the part where Harry confronts Quirrel and he turns out to have Voldemort on the back of his head) I was so scared I was probably the only person who didn't want to watch the movie. When my parents took me to see it anyway, I got so panicked at that moment I had to be taken out of the theater until the scene was over. I remember it also took a few years and some gradual adjustments before I was finally able to watch the full movie without having to leave the room as soon as that scene came up.

Still, I've tried to come up with a good list of a few classics.

Journey to the Center of the Earth (1958)

I watched this one so many times when I was younger. I was a big Jules Verne fan and found myself captivated by this version (incidentally, this one is in every possible way superior to that insulting 2008 3D version everyone was talking about for a while). It easily became a personal favorite and one I watched over and over again. The other one I loved was 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea but it wasn't until much later I got a chance to really examine that one in depth.

The Wrong Trousers (1993)

As a kid, I was a huge fan of Wallace and Gromit and owned all three of the original short films on VHS; but The Wrong Trousers was probably my favorite of the three. This one is plain bizarre and hilarious in so many ways. After all, this is the film that literally revolves around the acquisition of electronic pants (come on, tell me you didn't want your own pair of techno trousers as a kid). It then goes on to involve Wallace renting Gromit's room to a penguin who is really a criminal mastermind planning to steal a valuable diamond, and ultimately culminates in an epic train chase worthy of Buster Keaton...on a model train! (see picture) 

What's not to love about this? Just the bizarre gadgets Wallace has on hand are amusing enough (he has an unusually convoluted morning routine, which ends up getting sabotaged), but also the fun uses it finds for model trains (come on, tell me you wouldn't want a train setup like this one). It's also remarkable how complex Gromit can be without making a round (Wallace is the only speaking role).

Real Wheels/There Goes A... (1993-2003)

I guess this technically counts, though I'm not sure if anyone else here will actually remember these old videos. I used to watch them all the time. Basically, it was a series of short documentaries (usually around 45 minutes) hosted by Dave Hood (several them also featured his co-star Becky) which would talk about different types of vehicles. The films combine documentary film-making with slapstick and screwball comedy to educate kids about how different types of vehicles work and different ways they are used.

Most of them tend to focus on Dave, sometimes accompanied by his co-star Becky, as hosts who are allowed to "pretend for the day" that they are in a specific job so they can learn about the vehicle in question. This often leads to a number of sketches where they consult experts and try to perform aspects of their pretend job only to botch it up in humorous ways. That is also intercut with straightforward documentary portions that allow experts to talk about the vehicles or their history in some cases.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Thursday Movie Picks: Just One Day

This week, the theme for Wanderer's Thursday Movie Picks is Just One Day, as in films that take place over the course of a single day. I had one or two good choices for this one but unfortunately I've been preoccupied with a lot so a lot of this I've had to throw together at the last minute (almost literally). I had a good first one then never got around to writing much for the others so hopefully I still have some good choices. Keeping up with my blog has been a bit difficult lately but I'm doing what I can.

I do hope to try and keep up with Thursday Movie Picks at least, though I have struggled with some writer's block that's made it hard to come up with good choices for everything.

Do the Right Thing (1989)

This is definitely one of those films you have to watch multiple times to fully appreciate, and admittedly I've only seen it twice. I know at least one blogger who is in many ways far more qualified to discuss Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing than I am, but I'll try my best.

Do the Right Thing is what you might call a very unconventional approach to addressing the issue of racial tensions in a predominantly-black neighborhood. This tension is symbolically shown by the motif of heat- the story takes place on the hottest day of the year. While racial tensions are undoubtedly present, the film encourages its audience to find the right way of overcoming them. The film presents us with people who are right for the wrong reasons (mainly through the excruciatingly annoying character of "Buggin' Out"), and eventually culminates in a big riot that fails to accomplish anything.

Before Sunrise (1995)

The first installment of Richard Linklater's Before trilogy, and also arguably proof that he is the most patient man in the world (how many other directors can stay committed to a series where each installment has a ten-year gap between them, while also filming a boy's aging in real time). This is a fun romance that follows the unlikely bond between two young people who happen to meet by chance on a train in Vienna, trying to make the most of their one night together not being sure if they will ever see each other again. Such as simple but engaging little piece.

Life in a Day (2011)

This was a bizarre experiment by Ridley Scott which took a documentary approach to "Just one Day" in the most broadest possible sense. He literally had people record moments of their life on a single day and submit it. The full movie is a compilation of all those occurrences, events happening around the world which are connected by the fact that they all occur on exactly the same day.