Films That Changed You


#1

The binding quality between all of us here is that we’re movie nerds. Whatever your relationship to Hollywood, whatever your level of experience, all of us are here because we want to make movies, and I’m interested in the films that inspired all of you. The films, without which, you may not have found your voices as artists.

I’ll offer a personal favorite:

Requiem For a Dream (2000) is - in many ways - a profoundly unpleasant movie. I did a double take when I learned that it’s only 100 minutes long because reaching the end feels like running a marathon. The plot is very simple: Four characters are offered up whole at the beginning and completely destroy themselves by the end. Plenty of films have looked at self-destructive behavior, but none of them have explored it so deeply, so completely, and so memorably as Requiem. Its exploration is so complete that watching the film is itself an act of self harm.

Stylistically, this thing is a unicorn - trying to emulate anything you learn here is risky at best. The material is overtly shocking, the story has basically no nuance, and it’s all put together in a way that is designed to make the viewer feel like they’ve been shut in a tiny box with the main characters. On paper, it really shouldn’t work….if you made this kind of film, it wouldn’t work. But the special magic of this movie, this moment, this cast allowed us this incredible piece of artistry.

I saw this when I was 13, and I’ve been chasing that high ever since!


#2

Jurassic Park. That movie still hits me the way I did when I saw it the first time as an eleven year old. I wish I could make a movie that fun, moving, and suspenseful.


#3

Nick and Norah’s infinite playlist…


#4

Why?
I’m interested.


#5

Agree…I typically avoid romance movies, but - as with any genre - lots of them are amazingly good. Why is this one worth watching?


#6

I just liked it… Its a movie that just won’t leave me for some reason. I don’t think others would feel the same


#7

The end of June means the end of Pride month, so - as your friendly neighborhood queer lady - I decided it was a good time to throw out some rainbow colored media for your viewing pleasure:

Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)

Starting us off with a bonafide art-film darling, Kiss of the Spider Woman is somewhat rare, but it’s worth seeing even if all you can find is a VHS rip. Set in the prison of an unnamed central/south American country, two very different people end up in the same cell: A political dissident (Raul Julia) and a transgender woman (John Hurt).

The dissident finds his cell-mate’s gender identity alien, her politics lacking, and is shocked to discover that the ‘romantic’ movie she continuously references is a Nazi propaganda film. Nearly all of the movie takes place in the same prison cell and has no bells or whistles to disguise any shortcomings….luckily for us, Kiss of the Spider Woman has very few. The performances, the pacing, the writing, and the character arcs are all incredible.

If you’re in the mood for the sort of movie that challenges expectations, dares to be different, and absolutely nails the concept of minimalistic, character-driven drama, this is the one for you.

D.E.B.S. (2004)

Pulp at its finest, DEBS is the story of a top secret university which trains young women in the art of espionage. It’s certainly not serious, contributes little to film history, and features one of the worst French accents imaginable, but it remains supremely unique and lots of fun to watch.

A weird mixture of Disney channel romance and Coldwar spy drama, this movie may be fundamentally disposable, but it also has no equivalent. The story follows Amy, a straight-laced spy with a perfect record whose world is shaken when she falls in love with arch-criminal Lucy Diamond. Fun and quotable, featuring a wonderful cast, dumb looking 2000s CG, plaid skirts, witty lines, and an adorable love story, DEBS was a huge favorite for teenage-me, and there are precious few better ways to spend an hour and twenty-five minutes.

It’s also family-friendly…unlike a lot of schlock I might recommend.

The L Word (2004-2009)

A series rather than a film…and quite the time-commitment if you plan on getting through the whole thing. Still, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more loving and complete portrait of lesbian culture. It may be dated, exaggerated, hyper-dramatic, and a bit gratuitous, but The L Word is a genuine treasure. Gay women may be featured elsewhere in media, but this is a show explicitly about us…and I won’t embarrass myself by trying to estimate how many times I’ve watched every episode.

It is as trashy as trash can be…but it’s also a time capsule of what gay life was directly before its civil rights movement. The L Word will make you laugh, cry, and cringe for hours upon hours upon hours, and I absolutely adore every stupid rainbow-soaked second of it.


#8

I’m sorry but the L word as title and it being about lesbians makes me immediately grin because it makes me think of Scott pilgrim:

WALLACE “you’ve got to bust out the L-word”

SCOTT “lesbian?”

WALLACE “the other L-word”

SCOTT “lesbians?”

WALLACE “it’s love Scott, I wasn’t trying to trick you”


SCOTT (to Ramona) “I’m in lesbians with you!”


#9

I love Scott Pilgrim so much…