Film

life-lessons-from-horror-movies

Life Lessons from Horror Movies

I love a good horror movie. Okay scratch that. I love a few select horror movies and none of them are recent. Trust me, just ask anyone who gets incredibly mad at me laughing the entire time because I just cannot suspend my disbelief for two or so hours. I might get into my favorites in another post because I just finished watching the 1979 version of the Amityville Horror and AMC’s Fear Fest is going to start in just a few days. Plenty to write about, right?

We all know the horror movie clichés. I mean, if we didn’t there wouldn’t have been 5, yes FIVE, Scary Movie franchise films to mock them. For example: There’s the typical don’t go camping because, of course, nothing good ever happens in the woods. Who likes spending time outdoors anyway? Another good one: Don’t be a promiscuously dressed female attempting to run away from any ghost, zombie, monster, or killer. Why would you be wearing heels at time like this? Are you serious right now? Get rid of them and high tail it out of there, girl. See what I’m getting at? So I chose 6 of the best life lessons we can learn from classic horror movies to get ourselves through the next few creepy weeks leading up to Halloween.

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So, I Tried Filmstruck…

Streaming films from the Criterion Collection was previously a bit scattered. A couple were on Netflix for a while, and then they exclusively began streaming on Hulu. You don’t know panic until you’re trying to stream as MANY Criterion selections as you can before your Hulu free trial runs out (I watched quite a few). But, by the powers that be, Filmstruck was created.

Filmstruck is a streaming service that offers “contemporary and classic art house, indie, foreign, and cult films.” It was created by the film lovers at Turner Classic Movies and the Criterion Collection. There’s a pretty well stocked library of options across multiple genres, and even just scrolling genres seemed endless. Their partnership with the Criterion Collection gives a more immersive viewing experience to movie loves by offering their exclusive special features. This includes commentary and even exclusive curated programming made by guests in the film world and beyond. There’s 4 types of subscriptions (regular, regular + Criterion, annual, and even student), and they give a really substantial 14 day free trial.

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4 “Iconic” Lifetime Movies

A few weeks back while enjoying homemade pizza we decided to check out whatever was airing on Lifetime that night. Lifetime has a pretty great reputation for making a steady stream of movies we love to hate. In fact they are so popular Lifetime established a movie network that runs almost 24/7 showing them off. They have just become one of those things you can turn on in the background or watch all day long while laying on the couch. They are just so addicting.

The one viewed that night was Manny Dearest. I thought I could share some thoughts on it because rarely do you get a story about a creepy male nanny. There was quite a bit of humor involved in such a dark subject, but not as much as the classic, A Deadly Adoption, starring Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig. Instead I decided to revisit 4 truly iconic Lifetime movies from yesteryear. Lifetime movies have a few formulas, but the best ones are based on true stories that become even more dramatic for television. For this reason all the movies below are based on a true story (which happened accidentily).

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My Criterion Collection Selections

Wow that’s quite a few “tion” words, isn’t it? 

The Criterion Collection is one of my favorite things to ever exist. The Criterion Collection collects the most popular films and packages them with tons of exclusive extras for film lovers to enjoy. They are mastered for the greatest watching quality and new additions are made monthly. The collection has evolved as technology has changed and is currently available for streaming on Filmstruck. There is an expansive variety of directors, countries, and films to choose from.

What I love so much about the Criterion Collection are the exclusive cover art that each DVD/Blu-Ray comes with and I love the extras. They seek out commentary, extras, documentaries, behind the scenes footage and more to help the viewer enjoy the film with greater context. I’ve taken a lot of film classes and seen plenty of the movies available in the collection. I may also be guilty of marathon streaming movies a bunch I haven’t seen on Hulu Plus before they removed them.

One really cool thing Criterion does is allow you to create a collection online of movies through My Criterion. Make lists of films you own, a wish list of movies you want, and share them with others. Plus many filmmakers and industry members make their own lists to share with everyone when you need a new suggestion.

Below are 5 of my favorite films available on Criterion. There are over 150 films available so it was quite hard to narrow down just 5 (I have many more). I also have quite a bit of feelings about Armageddon being available on Criterion…but no one really wants to hear about that.

  • Band of Outsiders | Jean-Luc Godard (1964) – The French New Wave is one of my favorite genres to watch. Since Pierrot le Fou is out of print, this is the next best choice. The additional features in include excerpts from a documentary with Jean-Luc Godard and behind the scenes footage.

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Documentaries Worth Watching

It’s finally the weekend and time to relax by doing a whole lot of nothing. I usually spend time finding random documentaries on Netflix (there’s quite a few interesting ones about mysteries and cults if you like that kind of thing). I think documentaries are interesting because they give us a glimpse into worlds we may not see otherwise. As someone who loves learning I’ll watch a documentary on pretty much anything.

I have accumulated a few favorite subjects and specific documentaries. One of my favorite subjects ever in life is design. I would heart eyes emoji any time we watched one in my design class. Another subject I like is music. Not only does it give me a chance to hear the history of artists, songs or movements but I get to look at some things I might not have considered interesting before. Netflix has quite a few really good music documentaries if the aliens, conspiracies, and cults get old.

Below are some of my all time favorite documentaries. Aka the ones I talked people’s ears off with despite them desperately wanting me to shut up. Seriously I can talk about fonts for an unfortunate amount of time. 

  • Helvetica (available for rent on Amazon) – This documentary is about typography, graphic design, and the most popular (and recognizable) font. There are interviews with people who absolutely love it and those that can’t stand it. Its pretty surprising how widely used the font actually is from magazines and signs to television. I truly never realized how many places it appears. It also digs a little deeper into the people who create the fonts we use every day because they each have a story to tell.

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Back to School Watch List

Summer is unofficially over. On one hand it’s going to be great to stop the influx of summer vacation FOMO but on the other hand it means focusing on school (and pumpkin spice latte Instagrams). There’s really only one place to turn to when it’s time head back to school: teen movies.

Teen movies are great for a few reasons. First, once you’re out of high school you see them in a completely new light. Were the kids in my high school rich snobs like in Clueless? Would I have been the subject of Laney Boggs/Zack Siler situation? These movies become even better as an adult not only for nostalgia sake, but because they are absolutely insane concepts. You see things you don’t realize as a teenager and how illogical or implausible they are. Another reason they are great is they help you survive the years you are stuck in high school. See the characters are just like you (albeit played by twenty-something actors), living in towns just like yours, and engrossed in situations (a bit more farfetched) like yours. They are somewhat of an escape to places and people we wish we could be rather than the even crappier teenage situations we were in at the time. I mean there isn’t always a swift, romantic resolution or choreographed dance sequence at the prom.

So these are a few of my favorite teen movies for back to school season. I consider myself a lover of the teen movies so truly this is just a jumping off point.

10things

10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

10 Things I Hate About You is essentially The Taming of the Shrew for teenagers. There are two approaches to high school: you either embrace it and take all it has to offer or you shun it completely as ritualistic nonsense. Thankfully with 10 Things I Hate About You I was able to enjoy both sides equally (in real life I was much more of a Kat than a Bianca). Plus Joseph Gordon Levitt is quite the babe.

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Bring It On (2000)

Bring It On fed into my middle school cheerleading ways and made me optimistic about high school. Torrence was cool and looked like every model in a Seventeen magazine. Plus her love interest Cliff is literally everything athletic boys aren’t. He’s charming, witty, and has some serious air guitar skills. He’s everything I wanted in a high school boyfriend. The movie is funny and so ridiculous. Competitive cheerleading is SERIOUS business.

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The Breakfast Club (1985)

The Breakfast Club is essential teen movie viewing. It encompasses the high school experience from every perspective there is. 5 people from different walks of high school life forced to spend the day together where they unrealistically bond and act as though once detention ends they could ever continue this facade. The end is absolutely perfect and one of my favorite movie endings of all time. Real detention was not at all like this.

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Clueless (1995)

Clueless is probably the least relatable high school on this mini list. Not because regular teenage situations weren’t involved but because rarely does a high school like theirs exist. Sure in gym we played tennis, but not with a machine where balls flew at our faces. But also we couldn’t get Marky Mark to plant a celebrity tree for Arbor Day either (he was a distinguished actor by the time I entered high school). I grew up wanting to live in this movie for lack of a better reason to choose it. It’s a true classic and everything about it is perfect. I’m still really disappointed I didn’t get a white Jeep for my 16th birthday..but that’s a different blog post.

shesallthat

She’s All That (1999)

She’s All That is literally a high school nightmare. Any group of popular kids who place a bet to make a nerdy outcast popular are just horrible. And that’s probably because I very easily could have been Laney, you know, if people actually did that in real life. There’s so much I love about this movie now. It has everything: a makeover, beach volleyball, a girl showing popular girls whose boss, an almost dated MTV Real World reference, and above all a choreographed prom dance sequence. Brilliant.

 

 

What to Watch on Netflix

Netflix is a way of life. Between their original programming and the streaming of hundreds of television shows and movies there’s always something new and interesting to watch. Of course, with that many options how do you know just what to watch?

If I’m honest, my watch list is filled with 80s/90s teen movies (Teen Witch forever!) and the entire series of The Twilight Zone (I’ve never finished the whole thing). Still I’m always on the hunt for new and interesting things to watch. Netflix is great because of the wide variety of selections they have. Everything from one of the first motion pictures ever made, A Trip to the Moon (it’s actually not bad for the record), to modern-day classics like Almost Famous and Clueless.

I’m a little sad because of Criterion’s deal with Hulu most of their selections have been removed from the service. Another selection that has since been removed was the quintessential 90s teen movie, She’s All That. Thank goodness the overrated comedy Mean Girls still exists in its place. 

If you’re stuck on what to watch or just looking for something interesting and new, here’s a few of my current selections available on Netflix at the moment.

StrangerThings

Stranger Things

I’ve mentioned this one before but it’s everything that is great about 70s and 80s pop culture all wrapped into one. It’s like if the Goonies and Stand By Me had a baby who made best friends with ET. They decided to visit Aliens and any Stanley Kubrick flick while a John Carpenter synth horror score played in the background. That doesn’t even begin to do it justice. When Will goes missing his mother and friends must take down mysterious, creepy forces in order to get him back. Of course, there’s a little government mystery in there too.

ET

E.T. the Extra Terrestrial

Once you’ve loaded on the pure nostalgia Stranger Things brings, why not look for some similarities with one of its influences: ET! Just kidding, I mean you can find the similarities if you want. They are pretty obvious. But ET is a classic. It still makes me cry today as an adult. I don’t think I need to run down the plot of ET, if you haven’t seen it..I’m just not even sure where to begin with you.

Chef's Table

Chef’s Table

Chef’s Table is a documentary which explores the kitchen, lives, and influences of famous chefs from around the world. It’s visually beautiful as you can see from this screenshot. Despite my feeling everyone deserves more than 6 tortellini, but that’s a whole other subject. The chefs stories are so interesting and paired with the music and visuals it’s just something everyone needs to watch. I mean the plating of the meals in itself is something soothing I could watch all day.

TheGetDown

The Get Down

I was apprehensive about this show for a few reasons: it’s made by Baz Luhrmann and the first episode along is the length of a movie. Baz Luhrmann creates a sensory overload for my brain sometimes so I try to keep my distance, but I was pleasantly surprised by this. It takes place in the 1970s during the rise of hip-hop. Once the movie of a first episode is complete it becomes much more tolerable to continue. The combination of music and visuals is enticing and it sucks you in. Another cool thing that is mixed in the episodes is archival footage from the 1970s so it appears your watching a documentary or are part of the action living in the moment while watching.

VivianM

Finding Vivian Maier

Finding Vivian Maier is another documentary, but this time a film about a nanny with a talent for photography she kept secret. Over the span of her life she took over 100,000 photos and never showed them to anyone. Her life’s work was purchased during an auction a few years ago and this documentary follows the journey to finding out who she was through her art. It’s fascinating to hear the stories of Vivian from the people she knew who end up being mostly the kids she was a nanny for and their parents. She took over 100,000 street photos with a great eye for every detail and emotion that comes with the human experience.