Well since the last entry on "Inspirations Week" was not one day ago, but rather one MONTH ago, I really should lose the whole "Week" thing in the title. But now I just find it funny.
A brief rundown: Previously on Inspirations Week...
- Day 1 I talked about a couple of self-pub rock stars, JA Konrath and Amanda Hocking
- Day 2 saw me gushing about the king of the Smodcastle himself, writer/director Kevin Smith
- Day 3 I stuck with the silver screen and discussed some things about movies the get the old creative juices flowing, mainly writer/director Christopher Nolan, the film Fight Club, and director Terry Gilliam.
And that brings us, all the way nearly to June, with day 4, where I wrap up 7 things in cinema that blow my freaking mind. And to kick things off...
4. Quentin Tarantino
Favorite film: Pulp Fiction
I always feel like such a film poser when I talk Tarantino. For a while you weren't cool if you didn't like Tarantino, and somewhere along the way it became uncool to like Tarantino. You had to dig deeper to prove your indie snobbery, Quen has gone mainstream! It's even worse when cite Pulp Fiction as your favorite film of his. There are the super-snobs who will say Jackie Brown is the best and you're an idiot for not thinking so. There are the purists who claim Reservoir Dogs is the end-all-be-all (I'm inclined to agree with them on some levels...) Then there are people like my wife - the new school - who will watch Kill Bill over and over and over again and never get sick of it. In the end, though, regardless of which end of the street-cred spectrum you fancy yourself on, we're all correct. Tarantino is one helluva filmmaker. For me, though, cliche or not, nothing beats Pulp Fiction. Its the only film whose script I own in a novel form. Its one of my favorite Bruce Willis performances (and I love me some Willis.) Its got some of the most quotable lines, some of the most infamous scenes in cinematic history. But Pulp Fiction really shines in the little things. Just look at the camera work sometime. The angles. It's like a comic book on film, the way the people talking aren't always all thats in the frame. The way we're brought into the scene emotionally simply by where the camera is positioned. I love it, and aspire to create something as wholly enjoyable and memorable every time I sit down to write.
5. Hellboy I & II
directed by Guillermo Del Toro (based of the co
mic by Mike Mignola)
The Hellboy franchise may seem a bit odd to put in this list. It hasn't really stood any sort of test of time, its a comic book movie, it wasn't a huge hit. But Hellboy was my gateway drug into the imagination of two wonderful artists, Mike Mignola and Guillermo Del Toro. I have since loved everything Del Toro has put on film, from Pan's Labyrinth to Cronos to yes, even Mimic (and you'll understand why once you see #7...) I just love the creativity on display in these flicks. The costumes and characters are phenomal, the set design is great. These stories touch on all my favorite sorts of genre stuff: demons, fantasy, sci-fi, myth and fairytale. Del Toro's mind literally exploded all over these movies and they are such fun to watch. If you really wanna nerd out, like I have, check out the 3-disc special editions of the DVDs. Watching Del Toro walk through the goblin market set from HBII and talk about all the minor details as if goblins and fairys and even Hellboy himself were as real as you and I makes my inner-child's heart soar.
6. Tim Burton/Johnny Depp/Danny Elfman
Favorite film: Sleepy Hollow
(Again, #7 will make so much more sense.) Sleepy Hollow? you might ask. Seriously? Yes. It's my favorite Elfman score, the cast is great, the mood is perfect, and it doesn't take itself too seriously. And the climatic scene in the church is one of my favorite scenes ever. The more obvious choice for this trio is Edward Scissorhands, which is also an amazing film. The other two flicks, Corpse Bride and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory are enjoyable films as well, though not on the same level for me, (nor for very many others, most likely,) as Edward Scissorhands and Sleepy Hollow. These cats don't hit a home run every time they're up to bat together. That's not the point. The point is that they are three INSANELY talented people who I admire greatly. Tim Burton has always been a creative beacon for me, I was a Music Compositions major in college because Danny Elfman made me want to score film, and I would love to someday write a character wort
hy enough for Depp to embody. And when this trio gets together, even if its not something miraculous or for-the-ages, I'm always excited to see what they bring to the screen and I always leave entertained.
7. Cheesy Freaking Movies
Favorite film: Hackers
Yep, so now you understand. Ask anyone I know: I love cheese-tastic movies. Usually from the 80s and early 90s, the time of cheese. Hackers sits alone on top of that mountain for me. I could watch it again and again - and have! It was the 4th movie, I believe, that I made Carter watch (obviously, he's a tiny baby and didn't "watch" most of it, but it was on and he like all the music and lights!) (And this is the same kid who was born to the sounds of Journey, so he's doomed. I've cursed my boy to a life of cheesiness.) I won't sit here and defend Hackers' cinematic value (I could, but I won't.) Just suffice to say that it doesn't get any better for me than a movie so hopelessly clueless about "future" technology. Everything in it is so beyond dated its not even funny. And it was beyond dated like... 4 months after the movie came out! It's a tiny piece of '95 in a freaking time capsule. Terrible electronica? Rollarblades? 3D videogames? Fischer Stevens on a skateboard? This is pure gold people, a film that always brings a smile to my face.
Some other cheesy picks that always make my list: Adventures in Babysitting, Batteries Not Included, Army of Darkness, Big Trouble Little China, Gremlins, Dead & Breakfast, The Fifth Element, Final Destination, Water World, Hot Rod, The Lost Boys, Masters of The Universe, Short Circuit, Smokin Aces, Walking Tall, Zoolander, Last Man Standing, The Rundown, Doctor Detroit, basically any movie with Nic Cage or Arnold in it, and lots of zombie/horror flicks... just to name a few. And of course you can't forget those fantasy classics like Dark Crystal, Legend, The Neverending Story, Willow, Labyrinth, Krull, and the like. All sorts of movies I've enjoyed immensly, and still enjoy today. Why? Because they're just entertaining stories done in an entertaining way. That's all. They're not reinventing cinema or pushing any boundries. I'm a simple guy to please - entertain me. Let me escape for a while. And in short, that's why I love movies, the good and the cheesy.
James Cameron: The Terminator is one of the tightest scripts I've seen ever, and the director's cut of The Abyss is probably in my top ten.
Robert Rodriguez: This dude not only does cheesy and fun well, he also inspires me with his 10 Minute Film School segments found on most of his film's DVD extras. Totally awesome stuff, this guys a real creative filmmaker. Plus, Planet Terror is the bee's knees!