This is something that I’ve seen done by many people through the years. I figured I’d do something similar in an effort to make my blog more interesting and ~quirky~. Also, I have very few posts in here that say very much about me as a person and where movies fit into my personal life, so I think this will also be a good way to shake things up a bit. Moreover, this gives me a reason to honor some of the gems of the 90s and early 00s, the former decade being one of my very favorites in cinema.
Basically, I’ll go through each year of my life and associate it with a film from that year, relating it back to my own life somehow. Should be fun.
1991: Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
This is the highest grossing film from the year I was born, making a little over half a billion dollars! It’s also one of the more recent “important” films that I’ve barely just seen for the first time fairly recently. I wrote some thoughts about it and its predecessor.
1992: Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.
Christmas is one of my very favorite holidays, and this is one of my very favorite holiday-themed films. I’ve been watching it every year for as long as I can remember and to this very day prefer it miles over the original (Rotten Tomatoes score be damned). I think this also may have planted the seeds for my Tim Curry love at an early age, but there’s no concrete proof of that…
1993: The Nightmare Before Christmas.
One of the most meaningful films of all time to me. I bought the VHS tape at a thrift store when I was seven and watched it obsessively 20-30 times over the course of a month or two. I’ve seen it countless times since and continue to make it a yearly tradition to watch it every Halloween (probably my #1 favorite holiday). I could go on and on and on about how important this film is to me, but I’ll probably save that for another post. Essentially, the songs, characters, and animation are all the stuff of my childhood nostalgia; while I aim to watch as many animated films as possible, nothing else could ever compare to the sentimental value I hold for this movie.
1994: The Lion King.
This was the very first film I watched in theaters. Obviously I was too young to remember details, but I do remember it being the first time I was aware of sound and color and their influence on the film’s mood, with the vibrant scenes being cheery and happy, and the dark scenes being dreary and ominous. This is also my very favorite film of the Disney Renaissance.
1995: Before Sunrise.
Celine and Jesse make up one of my very favorite romance couples in the movies. I watched this movie for the first time on my birthday nearly three years ago, and it was exactly what I needed at that moment in time. I want every little part of this movie all for myself.
Despite my not exactly “loving” it, Freeway is probably the single film that I recommend to people the most, especially if they’re looking for something fun and wild. It’s weird and shamelessly trashy, yet also socially conscious in the strangest, most surprising ways. I also think this is Reese Witherspoon’s best performance ever; if only I can get someone else to agree with me…
1997: Perfect Blue.
Like everyone else, I was introduced to this film through Darren Aronofsky and Requiem for a Dream. This film is really important to me, however, as it is the first ever film I watched from Satoshi Kon (and probably my favorite of his work), who would go on to be one of my very favorite animators. It is because of the psychological ambition of this movie – and his work, by extension – that I would come to recognize the potential for animation and this method’s artistic significance among the field.
1998: I Stand Alone.
This film cracked the top ten of my very favorite new-to-me films of last year. There are few films that could so effectively disgust me through the vast majority of its runtime, yet bring me close to tears with its tremendous finale. I’ve seen nothing else like this. I wrote a longer review of the film here.
1999: Boys Don’t Cry.
A terrific, super important film, which I feel is often undermined by many as to just how imperative movies like these (which are few and far between) are to our deeply queerphobic culture. Hilary Swank is perfect in this movie. This is a really great essay on the film, in case anyone is interested.
2000: American Psycho.
I went through this phase in high school where I was absolutely fascinated with the narratives and psychology of serial killers and the ilk. During this time, American Psycho and A Clockwork Orange were two of my favorite movies. I’ve always been into more twisted, macabre facets of the arts, so it’s no surprise that this movie was exactly my type of humor. I don’t hold it to as high a standard these days, but I still keep the DVD in my collection for oddly sentimental purposes.
2001: Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter.
Another thing I really like to do is watch really shoddily-made B-movies and exploitation flicks. One of the earliest to enter my movie-watching history is this wonderful gem. To this day, I’m still not completely sure what I think about it – wild concept, sure, but also a bit dull. Nonetheless, I continue to recommend it to people every chance I get.
2002: Talk to Her.
Pretty much my very favorite film from Pedro Almodóvar, who I LOVE. Everything about this film is pure cinematic perfection.
This was one of the very first “foreign” films I ever watched, landing on it around the time my mom first signed up for Netflix. The one mistake I did make was watching it on Netflix Instant, which was the English-dubbed version. Nonetheless, my naïvety in those days meant that I didn’t recognize the difference, and was still blown away nonetheless. It’s a movie that I still hold up to high regard – and one I desperately need to rewatch.
I don’t remember much about this film (need to rewatch), but whenever it gets brought up, it reminds me of the time I rented it from Blockbuster back in the day, during one of my family’s weekendly trips. I picked this out because my 12-year-old brain thought, “ooh, time travel!”. Later that night, we realized it was something completely different than what we expected; I understood probably 10% of what was going on. I tried watching it again a few years later, but to this day the actual film itself remains little more than a blur in my mind.
2005: Walk the Line.
2005 was the first year that I started to pay attention to the Oscars. By extension, it was the first year that I really began to fathom the amount and variety of movies that were out there (keeping in mind that I was 13 and still very Hollywood-centric). I had watched Walk the Line earlier that year in the theater and it was one of the frequently-nominated films that stuck out to me the most. It also introduced me to Johnny Cash. And hey look, another terrific Reese Witherspoon performance!
2006: Little Miss Sunshine.
Undoubtedly, Little Miss Sunshine was one of the most important films that would introduce me to the wild and wonderful world of independent cinema (the other is Napoleon Dynamite). Yet another important eye-opener for me, and one of my very favorites in the Oscars competition that year.
2007: Into the Wild.
Yet another fairly important film to me, and one that continued to expose the beauty and versatility within the field of cinema. I rented this film once it was available at our Blockbuster, watched it twice, and read the book immediately afterward. For the longest time, it was one of the most emotionally impacting movies I had ever seen. I still hold it to high regard ’til this very day.
2008: Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father.
2008 seems to have been a rather great year for documentaries; Food Inc., Standard Operating Procedure, Waltz With Bashir, Anvil: The Story of Anvil, to name a few. However, I think Dear Zachary still remains as the single strongest emotional response I’ve received from a documentary. I watched it last year and it upset me greatly. But as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, what makes the story truly tremendous is how life-affirming it manages to remain within all its dark, unspeakable tragedies.
2009: Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.
There’s actually nothing overtly profound or exceptional I have to say about this entry; just that it’s a ridiculously fun, clever animated film that I love with all my heart and have probably seen about 10-15 times.
2010: Blue Valentine.
I attribute this film specifically to the friend who recommended it to me. We used to be really close, but have unfortunately lost touch over time. I’ll forever cherish the fact that he showed me this film, as it’s since remained one of my very favorites. It’s also illuminated me to a couple basic facts: 1) I have a thing for super dreary, depressing movies where nothing is happy and everything ends up being terrible at the end, and 2) Michelle Williams is perfect.
2011: These Amazing Shadows.
A documentary about the National Film Registry that also doubles as an giant love letter to the art form itself. It seems to be relatively underseen (as most documentaries are), yet completely blew me away and even moved me to tears at times. It is also one of the most important factors that inspired me to consider becoming a film historian and perhaps dabble in film archiving.
2012: The Master.
One of the coolest things to ever happen to me was the time I waited something like 3-4 hours in a long line in front of the Castro Theatre – in the freezing cold San Francisco winds! – for a special early screening of The Master. I even got to meet Mr. Anderson himself! Even if it was for less than a minute and the picture I took with him was not very good. Unfortunately, I didn’t think too highly of the movie either, but that was still a night I’ll always be fortunate to have experienced.
My most favorite film from last year and one that means quite a lot to me. Despite changing circumstances in my life, this is still a film that I could see myself holding close to my heart for a very, very long time.
2014: The LEGO Movie.
I’ve yet to come across a film from this year that I legitimately love (since I’ve only seen five and only love three of the five), so I’ll end this post with my favorite film of the year so far. EVERYTHING IS… something.