My Top Five Influential A-List Movies

Celebs and Media, Personal Bits 6 Replies

5. Black Hole. This movie was pivotal for me because it represents Disney’s struggle to break free from the niceties and politeness the studio had created as reputation for itself over the years. TBH came out just as I was crossing over from kid to teen and at the time, I did see it as yet another “We Want A Star Wars Hit, Too!” movie, but as I got older, its dramatic art direction overshadowed the painted-on robot eyes. TBH was the first Disney movie that used curses in its dialogue and I think it was a justified move for the studio. Okay, the characters say “Damn” and “Hell” but they had to start somewhere, right? Though I couldn’t imagine V.I.N.CENT blurting out “Shoot the fucker!” when Maximillian appears (but that would totally rock). Coupled with the release of TRON, it’s obvious that Disney was struggling to move past their Mary Poppins image to cultivate a more mature entity, much like I was at the time. Ha. Me. Mature. Fart.

4. Alien/Aliens. Alien showed me that I could scream like a girl at a movie and Aliens showed me that I could squeal like a Frat boy in a Liquor store wielding a parent’s unlimited credit card. These two flicks also showed me that it was ok to “fuck with the brand” in some circumstances – where you can flip off the beaten path and create something new, not by following the established genre too closely. I also learned that “more is better”, space marines are hot, and Paul Riser was a goof. Alien was my first “horror” movie I ever saw when I was 13, thanks to my Dad dropping me off at a theatre in Montreal and running off to hang out in some Montreal gay bars.

3. 20,000 Leagues. I’ll be honest, until recently re-viewing this movie, I don’t recall the ending of it at all. It ends abruptly as if they ran out of paper at the script printing factory. All I do remember is how manic James Mason looks while he plays the seashell encrusted organ. I forgot entirely that Kirk Douglas and Peter Lore were in it, chewing the scenery like it was Oscar Jerky. But the star of the movie was the sub, which was wicked cool. The sub design is probably why I got all curious about this whole Steam Punk thing from a couple years back. I thank SharkBoy for reminding me of it’s awesomeness.

2. 2001: A Space Odyssey. I got fascinated with this movie because my oldest brother was fascinated with it. When I was a fledgling teen back in Brockvegas, and we had no such thing as “cable” (nor did we have TV remotes, kids. Shock and horror!), we had to tune our TVs manually to the nearest, clearest station, which would lead to some missed shows. Let me expand on that: fat-ish, near-friendless kid, home on a Friday night, fresh from the store after spending half his allowance on chips and pop, sitting in front of a TV, eyes unblinking at a broadcast of 2001: A Space Odyssey, lips lined with that unmistakably Doritos orange, suddenly goes apeshit mental when the transmission from across the river suddenly dies. And I mean mental. If it was video-ed having my melt down, I’d be a YouTube sensation. I missed the rest of the movie, but not before my middle brother found me near-collapsed in front of the TV in tears.

1. Star Wars. What can I say that millions of nerds and geeks have already said about this movie? I do remember seeing a teaser picture in StarLog magazine of the Millennium Falcon surrounded by Troopers while impounded by the Death Star. I thought to myself “Holy crap they spent some big money on that one shot…” and continued to feed into the soul of the Hollywood Blockbuster by religiously buying up all the teaster content I could, before the movie was released. Back then, kids, we had to buy magazines if we wanted movie news. Trailers were caught by chance on TV, and if you were lucky to have your top loading VCR recording at the time, you could “re-watch” the said trailer. To this day, Star Wars remains the most theatre-watched movie in my life at about 20 sittings. Alien is second to that at 10.

6 thoughts on “My Top Five Influential A-List Movies

  1. Erik Rubright

    All good. I love TBH for the overall look of it. As a kid it “felt” like what I imagined space would be like. I didn’t remember the ending until I rewatched it a couple of years ago. And then I thought WTF? Who wrote this?

  2. petebone

    I saw the Black Hole when I was a kid and thought it was fantastic, until the next morning. In our house you could go from hallway to living room to dining room to kitchen to hallway, one big loop. Some how I got it into my head that Maximillian was one room away, just waiting. So I kept moving from room to room, eventually I freaked out and went to school a half an hour early.

  3. Evil Panda

    And swapped Star Wars and 2001 in ranking. I loved Star Wars as a kid, but it just doesn’t hold up to repeated viewings (and adulthood) like 2001 does.

  4. Sean

    Great stuff. I too have an affinity for The Black Hole, as you know. For me, along with the art direction, its John Barry’s amazing score that gets me. The meteor shattering through the ceiling of the Cygnus while the heroes run across that flimsy cat walk seconds before its destroyed is one of the most breathtaking shots Disney ever created. Also, the ending was ballsy (and nonsensical) as hell (!) considering the other things they were making at the time.

    Also, the Bloor is running another Alien/Aliens double-bill in April. Definitely going to make up for my missing the sequel at the Scotia Theatre with you guys. Sadly, Aliens is the type of sequel you will never see again: a film where a brilliant but relatively untested director is given 100% creative control over a mega-studio’s franchise.

    Ah well…good list, sir.

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