Thursday, August 12, 2010

Films That Defined Us

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Between the Hollywood Draft, my ever growing drafts and backlog of reviews, my me time and preparing for PAX, I nearly forgot about this really awesome blogathon/list that was created by Marc of Go, See, Talk. A regular poster at Anomalous Materials, Marc's site is a great one to visit if you get the chance. And lately in my inbox and for the past couple weeks I have been getting e-mails about this blogathon/list that he's trying to get off the ground due in part to the success of The Desert Island blogathon/list a while back that was extremely popular.

The topic? Movies that Defined Us. Movies in our impressionable years (aka till I was 13 or so for me) that shaped the way we look and view films. Well I've only been alive 19 years and up until I was 13 I wasn't allowed to watch R rated films. So no Taxi Driver, Godfather or the like on this list. The only reason there is even ANY R rated films on this list is because the one listed was the first one I ever saw. But this list is a great idea and one of the entries on the list is getting quite the treatment soon. And by that I mean my longest review to date.

The way I'm doing this is by category/genre. After I list the movie I will answer the questions that Marc put up regarding how it defined me:
  1. Why it dazzled me at a young age
  2. What still stands up about it
  3. Why you think it sets the standard for that genre
So without further ado let's get this started. First up...

The film: Dawn of the Dead (2004)
  1. It was the first R-rated film I got to watch by myself. When it first came out on VHS I was in that phase where I want to watch the best scary movie ever made. I had watched plenty of PG-13 ones and PG ones but never any R-rated ones until this one. That and the trailers looked awesome.
  2. It's without a doubt one of the best (in my opinion) remakes of a horror classic ever made. George A Romero's Dawn of the Dead was a cult classic that had a deep meaning, plenty of scares, and made zombies awesome. Zack Snyder's directorial debut takes out the meaning (which is a negative to some) but in it's place adds a lot of tension, action and drama that makes this an amazing film to watch.
  3. Most horror films nowadays ARE remakes, revamps, or re-do's of older films or other source materials (books, games ect). The problem is that most of them suck. Every now and again an original one comes out that is really good or there is a really good remake, but for the most part it's either PG-13 schlock or crappy, sexed up slashers. Dawn of the Dead is a remake with heart and intensity.
Next up...

Romance (I realize not in the traditional sense but dog lovers know what I mean)-
The film: Old Yeller
  1. It was the first film I ever watched on VHS. I had seen The Lion King when it was in theaters (very fuzzy memory though) but I had yet to watch a movie on VHS. It was mostly Pooh episodes for me. But then Mom picked up Old Yeller. I loved puppies. And I loved the first three/fourths of this film...then the ending happened. Yeah...try explaining why Yeller is getting shot to a 4 year old.
  2. It's a great story about a boy and his dog. The theme song is good, Yeller is a badass dog, and the acting still stands up as being really good. A great kids film with a scarring ending.
  3. Well for someone who has yet to see Gone With The Wind or most of those other romance films (besides Casablanca, I saw that), this was the closest thing to true love I saw as a kid. A boy loved his dog so much that when he got rabies, he had to be the one to put him down. And you could see he loved that dog.
Next up...

The Film: A Goofy Movie
  1. It's Goofy...I wish I could be more detailed but it's freaking Goofy. If you were a kid of the 90s who loved Goofy than this film was on your most watched list and was probably your favorite film of all time.
  2. Everything. In fact this movie gets better every time I see it. The more I see and analyze it and the older I get, the better it is. It is the film equivalent of wine. And you will hear more in my next review/meme/summer blogathon post which is devoted solely to this film.
  3. Most Animated films talk down to the audience and make jokes that are only relevant to kids or current pop culture. A Goofy Movie doesn't talk down, it's jokes are still funny and the references still stand up. It's a great animated film.
Next up...

The Film: Airplane
  1. My grandparents and my parents kept saying that this was one of the funniest movies of all time and that it would be appropriate for an 8 year old to watch. I had no idea what this movie was or who was in it but if they said it was funny than it must have been.
  2. It's quotability and humor as well as its memorable scenes and characters. Almost on a daily basis I find myself quoting SOMETHING from this movie (My most quoted is Shaun of the Dead). It's still as funny as it was years ago and I still love it (although I need to get it on DVD since the VHS is worn out)
  3. It's humor, characters, story and almost everything about the movie is timeless. You will always get a laugh out of the film and enjoy every minute. And it doesn't rely on raunch to be funny, something a lot of comedies haven't been able to do.
And Finally...

The film: Ghostbusters
  1. Back when I was growing up their was a cartoon called "The Real Ghostbusters" and "Extreme Ghostbusters." I had no idea what a ghostbuster was, but it was funny, they were kicking ass and taking names and it had ghosts. As a fan of Casper growing up I always loved ghosts. So when I learned these cartoons were based on a movie I was happy to watch it.
  2. The story is what really grabs me. To this day the story is engaging, full of wit, the characters are well developed, you really care about them, and it's just a fun ride from beginning to end. Plus ghost hunting will always be awesome. And the theme song. Show me one person who doesn't know the theme.
  3. It really showed that PG action/sci-fi can be entertaining for everybody and that if you have a great script with great characters and an awesome theme song, that a film can become timeless. It's still being shown regularly on TV, it's been released and re-released numerous times and they even made a video game sequel to the films in 2009. And it was a popular game...that's saying something.

Well that's my list. Hope you enjoy it. Be sure to check everybody elses.


  1. "Ghostbusters." That's awesome. That's on my list too and I saw it in the theater when it was released. That it's on yours too I think proves that it's timeless.

  2. Ghostbusters is definitely a popoular one in this blogathon. And love Airplane, .."don't call me Shirley." Classic!

  3. Wow going for Dawn of the Dead right up front? I like your style. I just adore this film, glad to see more love for it. The hell with purists and fans of the original. Snyder did something that paid respect, was really good and still stood on its own feet. Not many remakes can say that:)

    Glad you got on the Ghostbusters bandwagon...great trip isn't it? Thanks for participating Travis:)

  4. A Goofy Movie is one of my favorite animated movies, it just missed my list. It's so delightfully...something...

  5. I have to agree with you and Marc on the Dawn of the Dead remake. It was a pleasant surprise indeed.

  6. I'm down with Ghostbusters and Dawn Of The Dead. Both of those movies are timeless pieces of entertaining and smart filmmaking. I still haven't seen Airplane. I know. It's nearly a crime!

  7. Glad to see another mention of Ghostbusters. And I'm with Olive on that brillant quote - "And don't call me Shirley!".
    Although I haven't watched Old Yeller, it's a brilliant choice for the romance genre!