Sunday, May 8, 2011

30 Day Film Challenge Week 1

There's this thing going around on Facebook called the 30 Day Film Challenge, where you just write about movies every day, with some kind of theme, and I've been doing that, and you're gonna love it. Here's the first week's worth.

Day 1 - Your Favorite Film

I've gone through a few different favorite films over the years, and I kinda feel like it's time for a new one. But it's tough because the simple, completely objective fact is that Showgirls is the BEST movie ever made. It is not possible for a film to be better; it is literally perfect. So even if something else took the place of my "favorite", Showgirls will always be a better film. And it's very hard for me reconcile "the best" and "my favorite" being different things.

Day 2 - Your Least Favorite Film

Yesterday, I posted a review of the movie Aerobicide, and mentioned that nearly half of the movie is footage of girls aerobicizing. And I fucking love it. It's not even because I think it's "hot" necessarily, I just love the idea of it. Fucking aerobicizing! Brightly colored spandex! Bela Tarr's Werckmeister Harmonies is similar in that more than half of the movie (like at least 80%), is footage of people walking around. Except nothing is interesting about that, and there never could be. Even if 30 years from now, we all travel around exclusively by segway, I can't imagine there being the same joyous, attractive novelty we can find in aerobicizing. Like, "Remember when walking was a trend? So endearing!"

I don't really remember what happens in the other 20% of Werckmeister Harmonies. It has something to do with a whale. The non-aerobicizing portions of Aerobicide consists of (and I'm basically just quoting my own review) blood, nudity, amazing acting, macho posturing, burn victim nudity, an attempt at mystery, and seriously fucking incredible music. That is how you make a fucking movie. Werckmeister Harmonies is, to me, a lesson in exactly how NOT to make a movie.

I heard a quote once that the worst movie you've ever seen is somebody's favorite movie. I'm fascinated by this because it's so true. I know Werckmeister Harmonies is someone's favorite film (maybe lots of people's). And I know there's some sad asshole out there who thinks Showgirls is the worst film they've ever seen (maybe lots of sad assholes?). I don't really know what to do with that, it's just interesting to me.

I've been using Aerobicide as the example of cinematic perfection as opposed to Showgirls, because it fits better as a literal antithesis to WH. But WH is the opposite of Showgirls, too. Another contender for my least favorite film is Two for the Road, which I hate in a completely different way. It's a film that filled me with rage and hatred, and I was disgusted that anyone could put together something so reprehensible. But the reason I chose Werckmeister Harmonies as the worst over the more infuriating Two for the Road is because Showgirls is a masterpiece of entertainment and WH is the exact opposite of entertaining.

Day 3 - A Film You Watch to Feel Good

Dream to Believe is certainly a great pick-me-up film that will make anyone feel totally good, but really, anytime I feel depressed or frustrated or sick or annoyed or tired or bored or hungry/thirsty, all I want is mean-spirited gore. I don't have a go-to movie, I'm more likely to try to find something new.

Day 4 - A Film You Watch to Feel Down

If I'm ever in just too good of a mood, and I want to gain control before someone embarrassingly spots me with dry eyes, I suppose I would put on the heart-crushing documentary Dear Zachary.

Day 5 - A Film That Reminds You of Someone
STAR WARS (any of them).

It feels a little like cheating to go with something that reminds me of Erin, but I seriously cannot hear or see a reference to Star Wars without thinking about what a fucking nerd she is because it's her favorite movie/series of movies, and how much I love her for that.

To challenge myself with a movie that reminds me of someone I'm not already thinking about all the time anyway, I'll say Spice World reminds me of my friend Jennifer because we watched it together when it came out and it prompted me to completely reassess my view of pop culture. And Tokyo Decadence reminds me of my friend David from high school because he lost my VHS copy of it and I'm still mad at him like 12 years later.

Day 6 - A Film That Reminds You of Somewhere

This was really hard to come up with because I didn't want to just list that like Dirty Harry reminds me of San Francisco because it takes place here, or that Moon reminds me of the moon. And I've resisted listing The Virgin Suicides because it reminds me of the movie called Somewhere that is also directed by Sofia Coppola. I wanted something actually tied to a memory, or a film that is somehow strongly attached to the movie theater I saw it in. And once I thought of one thing, I thought of a few, so here a few:

Dazed & Confused reminds me of the Clay because Erin and I first got together after a midnight show of it, exactly 7 years ago.

The Garbage Pail Kids Movie reminds me of the 4 Star because it unexpectedly sold out, and was the first major success for Jesse Ficks' Midnites for Maniacs series, which has been an extremely important film series in my life. I've been waiting for The Garbage Pail Kids Movie to play at the Castro (where M4M has moved to), but so far it hasn't, and either way, it'll forever be associated with the 4 Star for me.

Pecker reminds me of Los Angeles/LACMA because I went to the premiere on my 15th birthday and got to meet John Waters, who I was completely obsessed with.

But my official choice is Bully, which is the first movie I saw when I moved to San Francisco (at the Lumiere), and I am soon moving out of San Francisco, so it's relevant to right now.

Day 7 - A Film That Reminds You of Your Past

In high school, I used to make copies of my favorite movies, from one VCR to another, so I wouldn't have to rent them over and over again. And I apparently didn't care much about quality, because I would record in EP Mode so I could get 3 movies on one tape. This wouldn't always work out because I was also taping stuff off HBO and Cinemax all the time, and so sometimes I'd end up with a really good movie at the beginning and end, but a mediocre one I never needed to see again in the middle. So then I would have to wait until a movie was on that was exactly the same length as the middle one so I could record over just that one. Anyway, there was one particular tape where I had compiled three incredible movies: Killer Condom, Showgirls, and Forbidden Zone, and I would watch this tape over and over again. Killer Condom is not of the caliber of Showgirls and Forbidden Zone, but it's still great and I watched it more than most other movies.

It was a nice tape to have because all three were movies I desperately wanted other people to see, so it was an easy choice for like, what to bring to someone's house. So yeah, it was very important, and even though I now own the movies on DVD and Blu-ray, I still have the tape in my collection.

And I just realized that it's only this specific VHS tape that reminds me of my past, and not any actual movie, so I'm changing my answer to Pink Flamingos. I've already written about why in the past, but the short version is that it catered to my interests and my humor more than I thought was possible in art, and it invigorated my love of movies, and essentially changed my life.

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