Thursday, July 5, 2012

25 Movie Facts About Me

This is a pared down version of "100 Film Facts About Me," which is making its way around the blogoverse. Though I'm about a generation older than most of the film bloggers I read, I'm a novice film buff and new to the movie blogging community. ;-) I have thoroughly enjoyed this meme, which I read on many great blogs, including Brittani at Rambling Film, Andy at Film Emporium, Cinematic Paradoxsouthern vision, A World of Gods and Monsters, And So It Begins, Cinematic Corner, Being Norma Jeane, Eternity of Dream, "...let's be splendid about this...", and An Online Universe. I'm also inspired by MovieBuff25's post on this blog. Let's roll ...

1. I was never a serious movie buff until recently; I was always more of a bookworm. I credit my daughter for encouraging me to explore movies in more depth and introducing me to a variety of classic, indie and art house films I never would have seen on my own. There are a few movies I don't thank her for introducing me to. ;-) But for the most part, it's been an amazing experience.

2. The first movie I remember seeing was Sleeping Beauty.

3. I am famously wimpy when it comes to graphically violent movies. I should point out that I was raised in an era before VHS/DVD movies and cable T.V., and my mom restricted my brother and me to movies that were rated G. Thanks to the persistent efforts of my husband and daughter, I've become a lot more open to cinematic violence and twisted black humor. A turning point, for me, was resisting the urge to run out of the room during "the gimp" scene in Pulp Fiction.

4. Despite my history of wimpiness about film violence, Pulp Fiction and Inglorious Basterds are among my favorite movies.

5. We randomly quote movies in my house. A lot.

6. My first "dirty" movie -- when I was 14 -- was Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet. When I say "dirty," I mean that we got a brief glimpse of Romeo's bare butt. Our class went to the theater to see this movie. That glorious glimpse of his gorgeous naked posterior was a hot topic of conversation among all the ninth grade girls for days. Sad but true. Those were different times. ;-)

7. The first movie I remember really loving, as a teen, was Ordinary People. I don't recall whether it was a great movie, but I was going through a tough time and appreciated its depiction of adolescent depression and family dysfunction. I got that quiet, comforting message I'd often gotten from good literature: "You are not alone."

8. I have always disliked action movies. Why sit through all that violence for a mediocre plot and dialogue with crappy acting? When my husband and I met, it was his favorite genre, and he somehow persuaded me to watch some action/"shoot 'em up" flicks. The only one I actually liked was The Terminator. What's not to like? -- an imaginative premise and a smart kick-ass female heroine. I did see a Charles Bronson movie in college. The only thing I can say is that I was probably drunk. Apparently, I wasn't drunk enough -- I walked out halfway through the movie.

9. It took time for some of my favorite movies to grow on me. For example, I didn't really "get" American Beauty and Magnolia the first time I saw them.

10. Memory, and how it guides or misleads us in our lives, is a topic that has always fascinated me. One of my all-time favorite movies is The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Unsurprisingly, Memento is another of my favorites.

11. Another of my favorite movies is Fargo. I think the Coens are brilliant. I put off seeing Fargo for years because I'd heard about the wood chipper incident.

12. I think Brokeback Mountain is a magnificent movie, but I found it so heartbreaking I will never watch it again. I had a similar reaction to The Mission in college. The hardest part of Brokeback Mountain, for me, was watching the metamorphosis of Heath Ledger's character. It's a powerful story about how a life circumscribed by fear and prejudice can warp someone's personality beyond recognition.

13. By the same token, I loved In the Bedroom, especially Tom Wilkinson's performance. However, I'll never watch it again. The sense of grief and loss in that movie is just too raw.

14. The most disturbing movie I've seen, to date, is probably Simon Rumley's Red, White & Blue. I kept screaming and swearing during that movie ("Oh, Jesus! Jesus Christ! What the fuck! No!") It wasn't so much the graphic murder and torture scenes, though that was hard to take. It was the brutal parts where most of the violence was left to the imagination. Opening that door in my imagination, plus the knowledge that -- sooner or later -- this movie maker was going to pull all the stops was very disturbing.

15. The most disturbing single scene in a movie -- for me -- was probably the "curb stomp" in American History X. I still feel physically sick thinking about it. That's also a big part of what makes the premise of the movie so compelling. After someone opens up that kind of pure visceral, remorseless hate inside himself, how does he ever become fully human again?

16. Another movie I found disturbing -- many years ago -- was Dead Man Walking. When Sean Penn's character was onscreen, and I looked into his eyes, I found it chilling, especially since I'd met a few people with sociopathic personalities. I actually had to pause the movie and leave the room several times, just to get a breather.

17. As a self-professed movie wimp, I don't watch many horror movies. Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is one of the few I really like.

18. I especially dislike movies about exorcisms. If one is the slightest bit open to the possibility of hell and demons, it's too unnerving. If one isn't even remotely open to that possibility, the premise is just gratuitously stupid. However, when my youngest has tantrums, I sometimes quip that it's like a cross between The Miracle Worker and The Exorcist. 'Cuz it is.

19. I did watch one of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies. I was a sophomore in college, and there were controlled substances involved. 'Nuff said about that.

20. I'll watch anything with Ralph Fiennes or Philip Seymour Hoffman. Ralph Fiennes can convey more with a subtle shift of expression than most actors could manage during an entire monologue.

21. I never had much interest in the male actors who were celebrity crushes for many women of my generation. I never liked Tom Cruise except in his role as the misogynistic motivational speaker in Magnolia. I never cared for Brad Pitt until I saw him in Burn After Reading, Fight Club, and Inglorious Basterds. I loved Leonardo DiCaprio in What's Eating Gilbert Grape, when he was a skinny kid playing the mentally retarded younger brother. When Titanic came out, all the hype killed his appeal for me. It took me a long time to warm up to him again after that.

22. Even now, over 20 years later, I can never see Johnny Depp without envisioning Edward Scissorhands.

23. I recently watched my first Terrence Malick movie -- there may be hope for me as a film buff yet. It was Days of Heaven. It is gorgeous -- virtually every frame is a work of art.

24. About a year ago, I watched my first film by Ingmar Bergman; Wild Strawberries. Now I want to watch everything he ever made. There is so much power, in that movie, in the moments of silence and the things that are left unsaid.

25. One of my favorite funny movie lines is in Little Miss Sunshine, when Dwayne's uncle tells him not to miss out on the "prime suffering years" of adolescence.


  1. Fargo is one of my favorite movies. I'm with you on horror and gore. I don't like it but I can now enjoy it.

    1. Fargo is terrific, isn't it? :-)

  2. #6 - I remember watching that movie in my high school english class and all everyone would talk about was how big Juliet's boobs were.

    #11 - That movie should've been called Brainard, damnit! lol

    #14 - Red, White, and Blue is in my Instant Queue! I will prepare myself.

    Great list!

    1. There was discussion in our 9th grade English class about Juliet's boobs too. The character is supposed to be 13? ... 14? She seemed awfully well endowed for a girl that age. Funny ... I wonder how many of us would remember watching that movie in high school if it weren't for our prurient interest. :-)

      I am looking forward to reading your thoughts about Red White and Blue. I didn't like it, overall -- I found it too brutal, without characters I could like or relate to. However, I'll acknowledge that Simon Rumley is a skilled director, albeit a little rough around the edges -- I look forward to seeing where he goes, in the future, as he grows and evolves. The acting was very good, especially Noah Taylor as a sociopath. He was chilling.

  3. Great list! Love what you wrote about Brokeback Mountain and Wild Strawberries. I agree about In the Bedroom - it's such a difficult, heartbreaking movie. And I'll watch anything with Fienns and Hoffman too!

    1. Thanks, Sati! I have been enjoying your blog.

  4. Thanks for commenting over at my blog, Stephanie

    100 facts was a big ask, totally understandable you went with 25 points.

    That's a beautiful screeshot from Days of Heaven, have you seen Tree of Life yet?

    9. It took time for some of my favorite movies to grow on me. Same here, in fact I'm not sure I could call a movie a true favorite until I watch at least 2x.

    1. That's a good point -- it would be hard to call a movie a favorite until after a second viewing. And sometimes I see a movie quite differently the second time around.

  5. Movies affect me so much, I actually did a couple college projects around them. For instance, I used Fargo as a basis for a History of the English Language presentation and Fight Club as a thesis for a paper on consumerism and gender differences.

    1. Very cool! Those sound like fascinating papers. What's the link between Fargo and the history of the English language?

  6. Love these!

    1. What’s one you didn’t like?
    3. That’s a hell of a scene right there. Epic.
    7. Interesting insight there. That’s a really well-crafted film.
    9. Fair enough. I always say great movies get better as you get older.
    13. “Raw” is a really good way to describe that movie.
    16. It’s odd that that is never mentioned, how disturbing that film is. I find it very unsettling.
    20. Yep. Have you seen Spider? He’s excellent in that.
    23. Nice! The Thin Red Line is one of my favorite movies of all time. The anti war movie. Check it out!
    24. My favorite director. I am, and will remain, in complete awe of that man’s work for the rest of my life.

    1. Thanks, Alex!

      1. One of her favorites is a British indie movie called The Living and the Dead. I've seen it twice, and I'm just not feeling the love. :-)

      3. That is a hell of a scene, but the first time I saw it, the sheer bizarre brutality of it almost sent me running out of the room. :-) There are a couple of unforgettable lines in that part of the movie. (I'm gonna go all medieval on your ass!)

      7. As I haven't seen it in many years, I'd like to watch it again. The novel upon which it is based (by Judith Guest) is quite good too.

      9. I think so too, and sometimes I just need a 2nd viewing to appreciate what I'm seeing.

      13. Yes. The short story upon which it's based is good too, though very different.

      20. I love the movie Spider ... it may be one of his best performances. My daughter made an apt point about that film ... it's so rare to see a portrayal of mental illness/schizophrenia that isn't overplayed and feels *real.*

      23. I do want to see that.

  7. I love this! Your so honest and open :)

  8. FARGO is such a great film! I'm a horror wimp too but I'm trying to work through that. Nice post :)


Hello, and thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts -- reader comments make this blogging gig worthwhile. :-) Due to excessive spam, we are now moderating all comments. Like that dude in the Monty Python skit, we just Don't ... Like ... Spam. I will try to post and respond to your comments as quickly as possibly.