Tuesday, 11 November 2014


Okay, so not ALL my favourite movies are ten years old, but I recently came to the realisation that a lot of the movies that I love did indeed celebrate the ten year anniversary of their release this year. I don't think this is merely a coincidence, either. I was seventeen in 2004 and that was the year that I really fell in love with movies. I mean, I'd loved movies for the previous sixteen years, but that year, I got really into movies. They do say that the things you fall in love with as a teenager will stay with you forever, don't they...

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
I've said this a million times before to anyone who will listen but Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind genuinely changed my life. A friend and I skipped the afternoon of college to go to the cinema one slow afternoon, we didn't have any idea what was showing and it turned out that our choices were Eternal Sunshine or Van Helsing. You know, that Hugh Jackman vampire/action flick. Anyway, neither of us were really fussed about either of them but we picked Eternal Sunshine because it started fifteen minutes sooner. We didn't know anything about it other than that it starred Jim Carrey- I guess we just assumed it was an asinine comedy.

I remember coming out of the cinema that day feeling completely mesmerised. I wasn't quite sure what I had just experienced but I knew that it was important. I decided that day, right then, that that was what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to write something that would make someone feel exactly the way I felt right then: Overwhelmed, and happy to be so.

I don't know if I will ever succeed in writing something that will give somebody the feeling I had that day and at this point I don't think it really matters. I feel like every day since that day I have been on a sort of spiritual journey, a pursuit of expression, if you will; Discovering little details about myself and attempting to put all the pieces together. Ten years later and I still don't feel like the complete version of me. Not even close. To be honest, I am terrified of the day that I do feel like the complete version of me. What the fuck do I do then?

"Do you feel overwhelmed by life? You can't be a writer unless you feel overwhelmed by life."

An old university lecturer said that to me once. Well, not to me, to the whole class. It was the first thing he said as he walked in to the room. I remember writing it down, but I didn't really need to, it has always stuck with me. I don't know, maybe this is all pretentious nonsense. Maybe if we'd watched Van Helsing that day I'd be a bad motherfucking monster hunter right now. Maybe. Tell me, do you feel overwhelmed by life?

Before Sunset
I didn't see Before Sunset at the cinema, I picked it up on DVD in a boxset with it's 1995 predecessor Before Sunrise - I'd read glowing reviews if of Sunset and the premise was right up my street. In the 1995 film, two strangers meet on a train in Europe and spend a night walking around Vienna together and Sunset picks up with the same two characters nine years later. 

These movies totally blew me away. I can't say that they changed my life, but they certainly improved it. I think. I mean, to seventeen year old Martin these movies were the perfect example of romance. This was exactly what single, virgin, seventeen year old Martin wanted- to meet a beautiful stranger and have an epic romance. Maybe all having these movies in my life actually did was give me false expectations about life. As it happens I did actually end up having a rather epic romantic encounter at the age of nineteen which was akin to the plot of the first film- I have never written about said night on this blog before, but perhaps I will do one day- and even so, I'm not entirely sure that I didn't somewhat engineer that night, or at least manipulate it slightly, in order to emulate the experience of these films.

Last year a second sequel came out, entitled Before Midnight, picking up the story another nine years later. This time I did get to see it at a cinema, in fact I got to see all three movies at a cinema, on the same day. All three films are very close to my heart, but Before Sunset is definitely my favourite of the bunch. It has such a perfect ending.

Garden State
The thing about Garden State is that it's basically just your run of the mill, by the numbers rom com, but it just somehow manages to shine that little bit brighter than most. I think the best way to judge a movie, regardless of how 'technically' sound it is, is on rewatchability (If that isn't already a word, I'm coining it). Because it really doesn't matter how good the script is, or the acting, or the directing, or any of that shit (and that isn't to say that any of those things are weak in Garden State), what I mean is that no matter how many times I see this movie I never tire of it and fuck what anybody else thinks of it. I have always been a sucker for rom coms. Maybe because I used to watch them with my mother when I was a kid or maybe just because I'm a big old softie, I don't know. 

There is a conversation the two lead characters have in Garden State about what the word 'home' means to them and it has always stayed with me. The time I first saw the movie I was a teenager, still living at the 'home' I grew up in and after I moved out I was very aware of the gradual feeling of my parents' house not being my home any more. I remember thinking about that scene in Garden State and I often wonder if I would have been so aware of that feeling had it not been for that movie.

There are plenty more movies that I love from 2004 but I won't bang on forever, I will simply give you a list of the ones I can remember off the top of my head: Sideways, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, I Heart Huckabees, Collateral, 2046, Dawn of the Dead, The Machinist, Napoleon Dynamite, Howl's Moving Castle, Closer, Dead Man's Shoes, Creep (Okay, Google may have aided me a little there)

Does anyone else have one particular year that made them fall in love with movies or is it just me?!?


  1. My sister was obsessed with Napoleon Dynamite when it was on pay-per-view, and watched it at least once daily for a several months. Suffice it to say I couldn't stand it within a couple weeks. We obsessed over Garden State together, though, and I can confidently agree that one cannot get sick of that movie.

    I don't think I have one standout year that made me love movies, but Underworld is definitely the one that geared my attention towards wanting to make the costumes.

  2. 2004 was a great year for movies. I recently saw Howl's moving castle for the first time and loved it so much.

  3. Garden State is a film that makes me rage, usually, but because I like you; I'll let it go.

    There's a picture of 2004 Risha and a friend re-enacting the 'YUSSSS!' bit from Napoleon Dynamite. It's suitable embarrassing, but utterly awesome.

    The Before Series. We've talked about how much we love this series before. But daaamn. I've forced people to watch the films because I can't fathom how we can be friends/lovers if they haven't. It isn't some life affirming thing, it's the emotion; the sentiment; what it makes you feel. One of my favourite conversations about these films, with one of my favourite people, is from Vienna; drinking on the banks of the Danube and laughing uproariously. <3

  4. p.s. The wonderful Christa Lei wrote about the Before series on her blog and we ended up having quite an intense discussion about it: http://blog.christalei.com/beforeafter/

  5. I haven't seen Sunset but I loved Garden State. As for ESOTSM, I think it's weird that nobody every deals with her alcoholism. I don't believe in an idealized relationship between a pushover and a drunk which is what I think their love boils down to. Carry was grand and Michel Gondry is one of my all time favorite directors of basically ever and ever amen, but still, she needs help not a live in caregiver. Lol, sorry if that comes off too harsh. I think being raised around alcoholics makes me a little prickly on the matter.

  6. Why does Garden State make you rage? Tellmetellmetellme