If you remember last month here on the site, my friend/podcast co-host/head honcho of this site SuperMarcey decided that in the lead-up to her 30th birthday that she was going to do a three-part article series called A Film For Every Year Of My Life. In this series, she picked one film from every year over the pass 30 years that had some major impact on her life. Marcey even suggested to me that I should do my own one as well since was also going to be 30 soon (at the end of November since you were asking). So here it is!
Just like the ones on Marcey’s list, the 30 films that I’ve chosen for mine are films that had an impact on my life. Whether I saw these films when I was a kid or full-grown adult, they made a major impression on me. Not just as turning me into a big film fanatic, but also the way they shaped me as a person as well. These films either made me laugh, cry, inspired, angry, scared, entertained, thrilled, excited and even open my eyes to things I’ve never known before. But interestingly enough, every single one of these films were my number one picks of their respective years. So without further ado, here they are!
(You can check out part 1 of my list here)
In this 2nd part, I’ll be covering years 1994 to 2003:
1994: PULP FICITON
When people ask me what is my all time favourite film, I tell them the answer to it before they even have the chance finish the question: PULP FICTION. When I saw the film for the first time at the age of 13-14 (which around the time I was coming into my own as a major film buff), it immediately changed my life forever. Not only was it an absolutely amazing and brilliantly made film in single every way that you can possibly imagine, it became a very important one to me as well. It was the film that made me aspire to one day become a filmmaker too. While my journey to becoming a film has been a long one (whether I’ll actually make it, I’m not sure) but the fact that this film inspired that dream, I’ll be forever grateful for it. There’s a lot I could say about PULP FICTION (I could easily dedicate an entire article to it), but the fact that it’s my all favourite film pretty says it all.
When I think who is one of the best directors working today, one of the first names that pop into my head is David Fincher. He has made a lot of great films, but definitely one of his masterpieces is SEVEN. It’s an incredibly made and absolutely dark serial killer thriller that packs such a disturbing punch, that it stays with you long after you’ve watched it. Even nearly 20 years after its released, it’s still haunting to this very day. The fact that it was a highly profiled film from a major Hollywood studio, is even more astonishing.
1996: PARADISE LOST: THE CHILD MURDERS AT ROBIN HOOD HILLS
I’ve seen a lot of fantastic documentaries through out my life, but without a shred of doubt in my mind PARADISE LOST: THE CHILD MURDERS AT ROBIN HOOD HILLS is the greatest one I have ever seen. It’s absolutely extraordinary and chilling film about the trial of the “West Memphis 3”, a group of three teenaged boys who were arrested and accused of the murders of three young boys in their small town. The film takes an even-handed look at both sides during their trial but we soon discover that despite no real hard evidence to prove that they did it, they were basically accused of the crime because they were ‘different’. It truly riveting doco that keeps glued to it from beginning to end (plus their story was continued in the sequels REVELATIONS and PURGATORY, which tools at their time in prison and their eventually freedom). If you haven’t seen it yet, make sure you do. It’s powerful stuff.
I know, I know. I’m probably going to get a lot of crap for this one, but I don’t care. I love TITANIC. Also just like PULP FICTION, this film also marked a major turning point in my life. Between the ages of 12-13, films were slowly becoming a passion of mine. But it wasn’t until I saw TITANIC, that I officially became a major film buff. I know it’s strange, but it was the film that made me fall in love with films. Plus it wasn’t everyday that you aware how much a film can be a world phenomenon, seeing that at first hand as a 13-year-old was astonishing to me at the time (I loved the film so much that actually made me want to learn more of the history of the Titanic. I got my hands on everything from books, articles and documentaries on the ship). For all those reasons alone, this film will always have a special place in my heart.
1998: SAVING PRIVATE RYAN
While I have seen many great WW2 set war films by the time SAVING PRIVATE RYAN was released, but none of them affected my in the way that this film did. It really blew me away the first time I watched it (I’m pretty sure it did for a lot of other people as well). Director Steven Spielberg set out to make a war film that realistically depicted what it was like for soldiers fighting everyday during WW2. The end result being one of the powerful and unforgettable films about war ever made (the over 30 minute long opening scene of the Normandy Beach battle is one of greatest sequences ever put on film). The fact that this film didn’t win the Oscar for Best Picture is still a travesty to this day.
1999: THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT
Okay, confession time (and I know that this something I know I’m going to get a lot of crap for): when I first heard about THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, I shamefully admit that like some people around that time, I thought it was real (yeah, I know. But luckily I wised up pretty quickly. So shut up haha). Well, you have to admit that the online marketing behind this film (which was ahead of its time) was pretty convincing. Even though it was disappointing that didn’t turn out to be real after all, but that didn’t stop the film from one of the scariest films I’ve ever seen (it’s my number 4 horror film of all time). There are moments in this film that still chill me to the bone 15 years after it was released. Plus like PULP FICTION, it was one of the first films to inspire me to become a filmmaker too. The fact that the makers behind it went out a made a film with practically no money at all, was absolutely inspiring to me as a young film buff.
Then year 2000 was a truly great year for Austalian films. But without a doubt that best one of the lot was definitely CHOPPER, which was a film based on the life of Aussie criminal turned best-selling author Mark ‘Chopper’ Reed. It’s absolutely riveting and darkly funny film that was brilliantly made by then first time director Andrew Dominik (who would later go on to make other fantastic films like THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD and KILLING THEM SOFTLY). However the real star of the film was Eric Bana, who was truly amazing in the role of ‘Chopper’. What was astonishing for us Aussies at the time, is that we didn’t think that Bana could pull it off (before this film, Bana was well known to us Aussies as a comedian and the star of the sketch comedy show FULL FRONTAL). But he proved us all wrong by, not only giving an amazing performance, successfully capturing the essence of ‘Chopper’. It’s a fantastic film that deserves its place as a Aussie classic.
2001: THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING
Okay, another confession time: believe it or not, I have never read any of the books in J.R.R. Tolkien’s THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy (Again I know, I know. So, shut up haha). But that didn’t stop from absolutely loving the first film in the series THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING. Co-writer/producer/director Peter Jackson did a truly brilliant job in making a film that was able to capture the imaginations of both book fans and as well as newcomers to the series like myself. I love everything about this film: the characters, the story, the action, the music, the world-building etc., it was brilliantly done. As soon as the film was over, I couldn’t wait to see the next one!
2002: THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS
After brilliance that was the first chapter of THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, I must admit that I was a bit worried that the second chapter in the series THE TWO TOWERS wouldn’t be able to match the epicness of THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING (plus there’s the sigma that sequels are never good). But luckily director Peter Jackson was able to achieve the impossible by making a sequel that was just as fantastic, and in some areas even better, than the first one. It continues on where the first film left by giving us more world-building, more memorable moments, incredible action sequences and as well as introducing some new great characters (especially the CGI character of “Golum”, who was brilliantly played by Andy Serkis). Also just like this first one, as soon as it finished, I couldn’t wait to the following year to see the third and final chapter!
2003: THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING
It’s very rare in a film franchise where the second film is better than the first one, but it’s even rarer for a third entry into it is better than previous films in its series. But director Peter Jackson was able to achieve the impossible once more with the third and final chapter in THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy: THE RETURN OF THE KING, which in my opinion the best one in the entire series. It was absolutely amazing film from start to finish and it deserved every Oscar that it was nominated for (it became the first fantasy film to win the Best Picture Oscar). This astonishing film that, along with its two previous amazing installments, proved that not only was THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy the absolute best films of the 00s, they earned the series its place as one of the greatest film trilogies of all time.
There you have it, that is part 2 of my list. Keep a look out next week for part 3, which I’ll be covering years 2004 to 2014.
– Bede Jermyn