Welcome to a completely self-indulgent movie roundup!
I watched Azrai’s Movies that created me. (…As an artist) | LH Episode 075 a few weeks ago (late to the game, I know; Azrai’s video came out in 2018) and it put a little motivation bunny in my head. So I thought I would roundup the movies that I think had a big impact on me growing up. I’ve already done a roundup of books that made me who I am, but I’m thinking about doing an updated version of that soon. In the meantime, here are some movies that I loved when I was a kid/teenager, and that I think had a significant impact on my personality (for better or worse)
I can’t really put the brainpower into making a favourites list in order of how much I love them/their impact on me. So instead I’ve just put them in order of oldest to newest.
#1 – Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Oh… a brunette Disney princess with a love of books who doesn’t fit in with most of her peers? Bestill my baby neurodivergent heart! Sign me the f*** up! A Disney prince with his own library who recognises and learns from mistakes when the heroine points them out? Yes, thank you, I will keep this as the standard for suitors for the rest of my life.
Also, if you want a long tangent about why I think accusing Belle of Stockholm Syndrome is a reductive misunderstanding of her character, feel free to peer-pressure me into writing that!
#2 – Basil the Great Mouse Detective (1986)
True story: in high school, I wrote an essay about this movie despite my advisor repeatedly warning me that it was too ‘low-brow’ and ‘childish’, and that if I wanted to be taken seriously I should do something more ‘serious’… Jokes on her, because I got top marks for that essay when I submitted it for my HSC exams. And thus began my career-long academic obsession with understanding popular culture and children’s fiction as worthy areas of study.
#3 – 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
If Basil the Great Mouse Detective triggered an interest in pop culture and children’s fiction, 10 Things I Hate About You triggered an enduring interest in how fiction changes for new audiences, how adaptations work over time, and how character tropes and relationships work in different genres. Yes, The Taming of the Shrew is super horrific from our modern perspective (though that reading has been unpacked elsewhere), but 10 Things is a moving exploration of Shakespeare’s originary text – which is just fascinating when you look at what changes were made and what weren’t… and why. Plus, Heath Ledger was really good in it!
#4 – The Lord of the Rings (2001)
Alexa, play Flaming Red Hair.
Hobbits. Good vs. Evil. A medievalish setting where women aren’t gratuitously violated for NO F***ING REASON. Jackson’s adaptation of The Lord of the Rings actually adds more to female characters like Arwen and Galadriel, though he did cut Eowyn’s glorious feminist rant which is something I’ll never forgive him for. But damn… that aesthetic, though. That hopefulness, though. That happy ending, though. This series (the extended versions, of course) remains to this day my core comfort series; a reminder that there’s some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.
For your interest, if you haven’t read LOTR, here’s how Eowyn takes Aragorn’s ‘go hide in the caves’ mentality apart in a single scene:
“All your words are but to say: you are a woman, and your part is in the house. But when the men have died in battle and honour, you have leave to be burned in the house, for the men will need it no more. But I am of the House of Eorl and not a serving-woman. I can ride and wield blade, and I do not fear either pain or death.”
#5 – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)
This movie is just pure dumb fun! I watched it when I was 15 and going through my ‘quirky girl’ phase. What I love about this film is the very straight-faced way that it approaches its core conceit: that the universe is infinitely stranger and more familiar than we realise. Stephen Fry’s narration is very deadpan and delighted, Martin Freeman’s Arthur Dent is a masterclass in ‘British man out of his element’, and the special effects are so down-to-earth that it adds an additional level of realism to the whole endeavour. I think a lot of my sense of humour comes from this movie.
Bonus: Five recent movies I absolutely love and will probably watch and rewatch until I hate them
#1 – Zootopia (2016)
What a fantastic and unflinching exploration of how racism – both implicit and explicit – can manifest and its effect on those it targets.
#2 – Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
What happens when you give a Kiwi a Hollywood budget and an Aussie heartthrob male lead? You get this colourful, funny, heartfelt examination of how it feels to inherit an uncomfortable history.
#3 – Wonder Woman (2017)
I remember walking out of this movie (surrounded by my girlfriends, because we’d all gone to see the film together) and thinking: Is this how men feel when they leave the cinema? I just wanted to run across the road and try to flip a truck!
#4 – Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse (2018)
Ok, this film’s animation and music are absolutely STUNNING. It’s the best combination of the originary media (comics) and the adaptational media (film) that I’ve seen, and the narrative itself matches – and even exceeds – the standard set by the visuals.
#5 – Emma (2020)
Finally. A Jane Austen adaptation that leans into the humour. Austen was a satirist, ya’ll, she’s not meant to be taken too seriously! Also, the costumes are really cool and the whole film just looks immaculate.
So, yeah, that’s my film roundup! Again, shoutout to Azrai for giving me the idea. I love their work and I hate that it took me so long to discover them.
PS – I love writing and I love eating! If you want to help with the latter (and ONLY if you want) you can maybe buy me a coffee? ❤