NOTE: Hey, everyone! I just want to state that I’m sorry for the lateness of this 3rd and final entry in my A Film For Every Year Of My Life series. I was originally going to post this article on the last week of November (cause that was the week that my 30th birthday was on), but I had family visiting me for my birthday so I didn’t have time to finish it until now. So with that out-of-the-way, I hope you all enjoy reading it!
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 here and part 2 here)
In this 3rd and final part, I’ll be covering years 2004 to 2014:
2004: KILL BILL: VOLUME 2
What?! Another Quentin Tarantino film as my number 1 of its respective year again?! Well, there’s a pretty good reason for that: the man just knows how to make truly awesome films. The second volume of his two-part martial epic KILL BILL is absolutely fantastic, riveting and hugely entertaining film from start to finish. While 2003’s KILL BILL: VOLUME 1 was the more action-packed of the two films, KILL BILL: VOLUME II dials down the action and makes for it by taking a more character/dialogue driven approach to its story. Plus you can’t go wrong with both Uma Thurman and David Carradine squaring off against each other.
2005: THE DESCENT
You know what’s funny? The British horror film THE DESCENT never started off being my number 1 of 2005. In fact when I compiled my top 10 of 2005 list together for the first time, I actually ranked at number 10. However having watched multiple times over the years, I loved it even more than before. I loved it so much that my ranking for it went higher and higher until eventually, I decided to give it the number 1 spot. Believe me it’s deserves it. It absolutely fantastic, intelligent and truly scary horror film that’s also surprisingly thought-provoking for its type. It’s definitely without a doubt the best horror film of the 00s for sure.
2006: UNITED 93
Question: have you ever seen a film that was so emotionally draining that, despite knowing it was a truly amazing film, you probably never ever want to see again? I’ve seen a lot of films like that, and I can tell you that UNITED 93 is definitely one of them. Director Paul Greengrass’ incredible docudrama that chronicles the events onboard the tragic flight of United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11th was such a powerful, intense and visceral gut-punching experience that it actually made me cry when it was over. Plus immediately I knew that it would be the best film I saw in 2006 and that no other film would come close to what it achieved. Even though I’ll probably never see it again (who knows, maybe I will at some point), but it was a powerful experience I will never forget.
When people talk about what is David Fincher’s absolute best film, most of them would pick either SEVEN, FIGHT CLUB or even THE SOCIAL NETWORK. But for me personally, Fincher’s best film is without a doubt ZODIAC. This was an absolutely brilliant and completely riveting film that delves into the investigation of the Zodiac killings in California during late 60s/early 70s. Watching the film, you can tell that Fincher wanted to be as accurate as possible to the events during that time (which gives the film a very authentic feel in every way). Plus he had a truly amazing script to work with and as well as assembling fantastic cast too. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s definitely worth checking out. How on earth it didn’t get nominated for any Oscars I’ll never know.
2008: THE DARK KNIGHT
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always been a huge fan of superhero films. I’ve seen so many of them over the years, but to me THE DARK KNIGHT is without a shred of doubt in mind the single greatest superhero film of all time. It’s absolutely amazing film that while delivery some exciting superhero action and thrills, it also explores some fascinating themes and ideas as well. What makes the film the greatest superhero film ever made to me is that it does something most superhero haven’t been quite able to do, is that it transcends its genre to become more than just a comic book film. It has fantastic direction from Christopher Nolan, a brilliant and complex script, a terrific cast and, of course, the truly astonishing Oscar-winning performance of the late great Heath Ledger as “The Joker”. For all those reasons alone, it easily makes THE DARK KNIGHT a superhero film that’s going to be remembered for generations to come.
Okay, I know what you are thinking: why would I pick WATCHMEN as my favourite film of 2009, especially since there were so many quote unquote *better* films released that year? Well, the answer is pretty simple: I just absolutely bloody loved this film! Plus out of all amazing films that were released in 2009, it was the one that I’ve watched the most (I’ve seen every version, the theatrical cut, the director’s cut and ultimate cut, multiple times each). As a big fan of the original graphic novel that it was based, I wondered how on earth they were going to adapt this thematically rich and structurally complex story such as this one (there’s a reason why a lot of people considered the book ‘unfilmable’)? Well, director Zack Snyder achieved the impossible and made truly fantastic adaptation that faithfully captures the essence of the book. Sure it isn’t a perfect (let’s be honest, it was never going to be), but to me it’s still an excellent film that ranks up there as one of all time favourite comic book films.
2010: ANIMAL KINGDOM
I must admit through out 2010, I honestly didn’t that no film would replace Christopher Nolan’s INCEPTION as my number 1 of that year. But one day, I saw a little film that surprising knocked it off the number 1 spot. Which film was it? That film was the Australian crime drama ANIMAL KINGDOM. I was so completely blown away by it the first time that I watched it, that I knew instantly would become one of the greatest Aussie films ever made. It’s an absolutely amazing film that’s superbly made in every way: the performances, the direction and the script were all pitch perfect. Plus it was the film that introduce the world to veteran Aussie actress Jacki Weaver, who deservedly earned an Oscar nomination for her incredible performance here (she should have won it dammit!). I’ve seen a lot of fantastic films in the last 4 years since when ANIMAL KINGDOM was released, but none of them haven’t quite made to the level that this has. There’s no doubt in my mind that ANIMAL KINGDOM is the absolute best film released so far this decade.
2011: TAKE SHELTER
I have to admit, I honestly didn’t know what to expect from TAKE SHELTER. All I knew about it was that it got great reviews from critics and it had a premise that I thought was quite intriguing, so based on those factors alone I was interested in checking it out. Little did I know that after it was finished, it would become my number 1 of 2011. It’s absolutely fantastic, haunting and thought-provoking film that featured two amazing performances from stars Michael Shannon & Jessica Chastain (who has become one of my favourite actresses working today) and brilliant writing/direction from Jeff Nichols. In the 3 years since I’ve first watched it, I’m still thinking about it to this very day. To me that’s the sign of a truly great film.
2012: THE HUNT
When I moved to Melbourne from my old home town of Cobar in 2012, one of the first things I couldn’t wait to do when I got here, was to check out the Melbourne International Film Festival. I had never been to a film festival before, I was very much looking forward to attending my first one. I saw some really great films during those two weeks, one of those being the Danish film THE HUNT. Not only was my pick for the best film I saw at the festival, it was also my pick hands down the best film of that year as well. It was an absolutely powerful, intelligent and brilliantly crafted film about how a beloved school teacher’s life is turned upside down after being accused of sexual assaulting a student. I was completely riveted by it from beginning to end, it took a real complex and intelligent look at its story without it ever falling into cliché. Plus it had a truly extraordinary performance from Mads Mikkelsen, which should have earned him an Oscar nod.
2013: TIM WINTON’S THE TURNING
After the success of my first trip to the Melbourne Film Festival in 2012, I couldn’t wait to go again the next year. Once again I saw many great films at the 2013 festival and just like with THE HUNT, the best film I saw at the festival also went on to become the best film I saw that whole year too. Which film was it? It was the ambitious Australian anthology film TIM WINTON’S THE TURNING, which is a film that has 18 of Australia’s best filmmakers and artistic minds coming together to each freely adapt a short story from a Tim Winton’s novel of the same name. I’ve already talk about this film a lot over the last year (I’ve already done both a video review and Blu-Ray review on it) but there’s a really good reason for that, it’s truly extraordinary, ambitious and unique one-of-a-kind film that’s unlike anything that Australia has ever made before. It won’t be for everyone (some might consider it too pretentious or artsy) but if you go with it, it’s an absolutely incredible cinematic experience.
While there are still so many films that I still need before I can officially say what my number 1 of 2014 will be, but I safely say that so far Richard Linklater’s masterpiece BOYHOOD definitely has a very good chance of taking the top spot (and yes in case you were wondering, I did see this film at this year’s Melbourne International Film Festival). It’s an incredible film that follows the life of a young boy and his family of the course of 12 years. But what’s most amazing about the film, is that Linklater actually made this film on-and-off every year over for 12 years. So throughout the film’s nearly 3 hour running time, we actually see our main actor grow from a 6-year-old kid to a 18-year-old man in front of our own very eyes. Plus besides being terrific on a filmmaking level, it’s also an honest and truthful film that deals with universal themes about growing up that we all could relate to. It’s a truly amazing achievement that deserves to be seen if you haven’t seen it yet.
There you have it, that is part 3 of my list. I hope you all enjoyed my 3-part A Film For Every Year Of My Life article series. I don’t forget to check out part 1 and part 2 as well!
– Bede Jermyn