Vol. 19 - Films To See Before You Die
and a podcast on the power of the parasocial
Happy Sunday, everyone! I hope you’ve all had a great week. By the time this newsletter goes out, I will be hungover in Dorset/waking up feeling refreshed in Dorset (only time will tell) after spending a weekend visiting friends (with Rhubarb in tow, of course). For this week’s issue, I’m taking a mixture of topics that you submitted to me on Instagram, covering everything from planning my 30th and parasocial relationships to my must-see films. With that, let’s begin…
my must see list
When I took to Instagram to ask you what you wanted to see in last week’s ‘Club Corner’ segment, a lot of you asked for a list of ‘must-see films’ (and books, but for the sake of this segment, I’m ignoring that part). The notes app on my phone is endless and includes everything from the mundane to the important. There have been several instances where I have been discussing films with a stranger, and we have both realised we have a notes app filled with our favourites that we end up dutifully exchanging. Sharing notes lists is an underrated love language, in my opinion. Anyway, this begs the question as to why I haven’t shared it with you guys yet. If someone were to ask me what films I think everyone must see, chances are I’d show them this list, so it should be no different for all of you. This list is long and varied (I’ve edited it *slightly* otherwise, it would be unbearably long), and hopefully, it will have something for everyone. As quite a few are foreign-language films, I will include the language of the film next to the title if it’s not in English. This is also going to be in alphabetical order so that there is no favouritism. I’ve also linked the trailers to each title (not that all of the trailers do these films justice, but, hey ho). If you would like to see my other film playlists, you have the choice between the ‘I watch these so I can finally cry’ playlist and ‘comfort films for when I’m sad and bloated’. Enjoy.
3 Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri - I love Martin Mcdonagh as both a writer and director (if you loved Banshees of Inisherin, In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths, you’ll get it), but this has to be my favourite of the four. The performances from Sam Rockwell and Frances McDormand are electrifying. The way it blends dark humour with drama and a biting social commentary is brilliant and terrifying.
A Little Princess - I’m sure some of you have a go-to film when you need to A) cry, B) feel something, or C) a combination of the two. This is that film for me. I saw it as a child, and it made me both terrified of boarding school and the thought that my father might be shipped off to war at any given moment. Based on a novel, A Little Princess is simply magical. It captures the essence of childlike wonder and imagination so beautifully. Very healing for your inner child.
American Psycho - I know this evokes mixed feelings, but this film is iconic. Props to Mary Harron for doing everything in her power to have this made, and I am so glad that it was a woman who did direct this. The impact of this film is undeniable.
Angus - I cannot find this film anywhere, and it’s driving me nuts, but this film is the gold standard for 90’s coming-of-age films. It’s simply about an overweight kid called Angus, struggling through high school and learning self-acceptance. This soundtrack introduced me to Greenday, and the opening scene of the high school marching band playing to ‘Am I Wrong'?’ by Love Spit Love is burned in my brain. I watch this video weekly, seeing as the song isn’t available on Spotify.
Arrival - If you want to believe in something bigger and better than yourself and get lost in one of many magical worlds that Denis creates, watch this. Try not to cry as ‘The Nature of Daylight’ plays.
‘Before’ Trilogy (Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight) - THE ART OF DIALOGUE IS NOT DEAD. For those who don’t know, Richard Linklater is famous for his films about the passing of time, and therefore, his films are all done in real-time. The ‘Before’ series is filmed over decades, following a couple (Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy) who meet on a train and spend one magical night together, walking and talking around Vienna. If you are a nostalgic person, these films will make you suffer endlessly. Before Sunrise is ‘screaming, crying, throwing up’ personified. There has never been a better on-screen couple than Jesse and Celine.
City Of God (Portuguese) - I watched this for one of my modules at uni and had my eyes opened to a whole new way of filmmaking. It’s a brutal, unflinching look at life in the slums of Rio, and it follows several characters over decades as life takes them on different paths from the slums they grew up in. To top it all off, it’s based on a true story.
Decision To Leave (Korean) - If you don’t believe in love, you will after this. Tender, touching and funny all wrapped up with a murder plot and a tale of stalking/borderline obsession? The cinematography is ethereal, and every shot is set up to add another layer to the story. Have fun crying.
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