Friday, April 24, 2009

My Driving Forces

Sometimes I can’t help but get frustrated at the on going decline of quality cinema. I’ve never, ever considered myself to be even remotely pretencious. Infact I hate pretencious people more than anything in the world. The fact of the matter is while I love movies like Casablanca and Citizen Kane I also love crap-fests like Troll 2 and recently Dance of the Dead.

I am not going to say that a movie like Dance of the Dead should win any awards. Nor should Crank 2 which is easily the most fun I ever had at a movie. But what’s sad is that these are among the best films I’ve seen from in the last few years. Crank 2 is currently my second favorite movie of 2009 (behind the disappointingly unfair bomb Adventureland)

Recently on my netflix I’ve been watching older films, specifically movies like The General, City Lights, Duck Soup and Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy. While watching these movies I’ve realized that proper comedies, the timeless ones just aren’t happening. Will people reflect on movies like Knocked Up in 20 years from now the way that we remember any of these films? Probably not, that doesn’t’ stop some films from being INCREDIBLY inspiration in the last 25 years.

I’m presenting you with a list of 10 films (made since my birth) that have inspired me as a filmmaker/writer.


10) The Toxic Avenger – This is a bizarre pick to start off with. But both this movie and I were created in 1985. Toxic Avenger is what put renagade film-maker Lloyd Kaufman and his Independent film company Troma on the map. The movie taught me that you can make movies on your own terms. It’s not a great movie, but it’s fun and you can tell it’s been done as practically as possible.

9) Forgetting Sarah Marshall – This was one of the most well written films about break ups ever. It might still be a recent film but this is movie has single handedly influenced me to start writing a new script after a year of writer’s block.

8) Hot Rod – Andy Sanberg might be in the lime light now for the I’m On a Boat video, but before collaborating with T-Pain he was making this box office bomb with his friends. It’s one of the most ridiculous movies ever created but you cane tell that the members of Lonely Island don’t care, they just want to make themselves laugh and that’s why  its great. Think of yourself over your audience.

7) Labyrinth – I don’t know any child of the 80’s not influenced by this Jim Henson film. While watching this film one thing is clear, Jim Henson was a vision and he was going to make that vision a reality. That being said Jim Henson is my hero though, so this is slight bias.

6) Purple Rose of Cairo – Woody Allen’s love letter to cinema is also his best film. Anyone who’s a cinema-holic will be influenced by this film that mixes drama, comedy and fantasy into one brilliant film. It should be noted that Woody Allen is my favorite writer

5) The Monster Squad – I grew up with this film the way many people grew up with The Goonies. This was the movie that made me know that even at the age of 5, I wanted to make movies. It’s just a fun movie plain and simple.

4) Scream – This was the first horror movie I ever saw and it started my love affair with horror movies. As years have gone by I’ve learned that this is one of the most brilliant horror movies ever written. The more films I watch, the more that I love about it.

3) Wet Hot American Summer – The people who brought you the State created easily the greatest Anti-Comedy ever released. Most people watch it and just “don’t get it”. That’s almost exactly the point, there’s nothing to get, it’s simply a completely irreverent film. I feel the same way about this movie as I do with Hot Rod

2) Garden State – Zach Braff’s dramedy was the film that I watched multiple times while working on what I consider my first “REAL” screenplay. I remember when I watched thinking “this is exactly how I feel”.

1) Clerks – Kevin Smith’s film debut has shaped my script-writing more than any other film out there. It was real, I knew I had those conversations with my friends and more importantly, it screamed, ‘you can do this yourself’. I know for a fact I’m not alone in my love for this movie and it’s influence on me.

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