Archives for category: Kult Film

Ever watch a movie that you can’t quite put in a box? The successful ones are few and far between.

One of those is kind-of-horror, kind-of-halloweeny mystery, with some added time-travel, fantasy and psychological thriller, “Donnie Darko”. If you really think hard about it, “Donnie Darko” can even be just another superhero movie where the superhero makes the ultimate sacrifice.

What genre do you think it is?

The poster of Donnie Darko where loads of stills from the film make up the silhouette of a bunny

The bunny will come and get you!

What is this film?

“Donnie Darko” (2001) is an original screenplay written and directed by Richard Kelly who managed to pull this off as his first feature film.

The film is scattered with famous faces, both faces that were famous at the time like Drew Barrymore and Patrick Swayze, and also faces that has since become a staple on the silver screen, like siblings Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal (Not-Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain and Dark Knight Batman’s love interest).

The movie follows Donnie Darko, a youth dealing with “mental issues” and a big bunny Frank who tells him to do stuff. Whether the stuff is good or bad is really in the eye of the beholder.

 

Is it any good?

This is a mind-fuck movie.

And I love me a good mind-fuck movie, because there are a lot of great attempts, but only a select few that will actually mess with your brain.

By mind-fuck movie, I mean that by the end of the movie, your brain should be pounding after the excruciating effort it did of trying to makes sense of what just happened.

And even though there are dragged-out sequences in semi- slow motion, that at least now seems like something every graduate from film school coughs up, at least in “Donnie Darko” it’s a thing that permeates the movie on so many degrees that after a while I am kind of fine with it.

Even footage speeded-up or run backwards has some merit here where the topic at hand is time travel.

 

Frank – the bunny

If someone has ever created a bunny that I would not want to meet in a dark alley, it is this one.
And because it has such a comforting outline paired with such a hideous grin, the creepiness doesn’t evaporate when you get a full frontal look. I still find it scary even then.

Bunnies are aparently a recurring theme in the film, if you can bother to look back and find the long list of shots found by die-hard fans. Also the number eight has people counting and over-thinking things.

Funnily enough, all these details that add up in the end and all the background information that links to different scenes are probably the reason why “Donnie Darko” has gone kult. It rewards the adamant viewers who come back and back again with new little nuggets of a-ha moments.

 

The Time Travel Thing

Yes, there is time-travel and yes it feels rather believable. I mean, they did bring in Stephen Hawkins and everything 😉

To really understand the idea of time travel used in this movie, I would recommend checking out the chapter descriptions of the fictional book “The Philosophy of Time Travel” which Donnie Darko is obsessed with in the film.

I would never suggest to anyone to go read this explanation before you watch the movie. Let your mind be rattled and see where you end up. What explanation did you come up with?

Once you have watched the movie and made up your mind though, it can be great to see where Richard Kelly was coming from. It won’t necessarily give you a lot of answers but it might make you a little less of a question mark than you initially were.

 

What mood should you be in?

It fits well in a setting where you kind of want to watch a horror and be a bit freaked out, but you don’t think a good-ol’ slasher is going to do the job.

You also will need some patience. The film is in parts slow-paced, probably due to the inexperience of its first-time director, but fear you not. It is worthwhile to get to the end.

(Although my boyfriend couldn’t handle it and fell asleep).

Be aware that people are prone to lose their thoughts ever so slightly to the vast questions of time and space, fear and love, after watching. But challenge your brain once in a while why don’t yah.

 

Further Watching

Want some more mind-fuckers? Go for the movie told backwards – “Memento” (2000), the movie told in really short cuts – “Requiem for a Dream” (2000), the movie told in disappearing memories – “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004), or the one with the dreams within dreams – “Inception” (2010).

If your mind has been sufficiently fucked, take a look at “Harvey” from 1950. Whether a conscious nod to this film or a total coincidence, it is worth looking at another film that has chosen a giant bunny as the imaginary friend. And how completely different it has been interpreted.

 

If you like what I read, follow my blog and get ideas on what movies are worth spending your time on. I mean, some 3 hour movies will just steal from your life. Let it only be my life 😉

Next week I will look at the next movie on the ImDb top 250 list: #6 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. For now you can read #5: Pulp Fiction.

 

Still from Donnie Darko where someone has written "They made me do it" on the ground

The bunny makes him do it!

 

Who am I?

I’m a freelance writer who likes to watch movies. I watch Netflix a lot and sometimes there is a long way between the really good movies, whether good means entertaining or profound.

To help you avoid watching all the crap I have had to endure, I will give you some hidden gems or best movies of Netflix right here every month.

Want another good Netflix movie? Check out the chilling community in “Winter’s Bone”!

 

Why do I think I can talk about movies?

With an over average interest in movies since watching Star Wars as an 8 year-old, and with some background in the industry, I know at least a little bit about what it takes to get a movie made, and have loads of opinions about what makes them great.

But no matter my merits, it is whether or not you agree with my taste in movies that will make these reviews beneficial to you, whether you follow my advice or not 😉

 

Where can you find the film?

All movies in this Netflix-series can be found in the Norwegian Netflix Catalogue, which is the one I have access to.

If you can’t find it on your local Netflix? File a complaint, they really should have it 😉

 

If you like what I write, please give me your favourite movie in the comments so I can put it on my list of reviews or sign-up to read my next blog post 😉

Proclaimed the campest movie in the world, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is a true staple of the Halloween-movie collection, without being the tiniest bit frightening.

Unless you’re afraid of transsexuals. Or aliens. Or Susan Sarandon’s high-pitched singing.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show Poster

How camp can you get?

What is this film?

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (1975) is an adaptation of the stage show, “The Rocky Horror Show”, and is truly a beacon of kult films.

Upon released it was an epic fail, but fortunately it started showing at midnight screenings in cinemas (growing in popularity in the 70s) and steadily it grew a faithful following.

And I’m talking proper following. For cinema screenings, people will dress up as characters from the movie and bring props to use at specific points to become more a part of the movie than a silent audience.

I have personally only attended the stage production, but I will most definitely be looking out for a screening just to experience all the props and the dancing.

Curiously, it was the debut film of Tim Curry (among his more brilliant renditions is the evil concierge in Home Alone 2) which just tells you that anything can happen in this world. He actually created the role of Frank N. Furter in the original stage production (do you see where this is heading).

So, what is the movie actually about?

Does it really matter?

You get a goody two shoes couple who ignite their sexual needs. There is a humpback butler, a french maid a la Helena Bonham Carter, transvestite dress-up, an actual transvestite, a man of muscle, Meat Loaf and a great monitor that just lets you see anything.

Oh yes, and there are aliens.

And a ridiculous narrator.

Do you really need a story as well?

Do I Love it or Hate it?

After some deliberation, I have decided that I am going to love it.

You often won’t love a kult film the first time you see it. You will love elements of it, but still be too scarred by the elements that were bad. I will have to watch it again and again (preferably with some die hard fans) to proper love it. This way, my brain will gradually delete all the things that are bad and leave me noticing only the delightfully funny and weird.

I love the human brain.

There is kind of a story there, but not really. It is truly a perfect specimen of a film that is so bad that it kind of feels good.

 The singing lips

The movie opens on a traditional, way-to-long-for-modern-audiences, intro. It is basically a pair of red lips on black background singing the song “Science Fiction/Double Feature”. And it’s kind of a mind fuck as the lips are clearly female, but the voice sounds off. And indeed it his the voice of writer and Riff Raff, Richard O’Brien.

The mood is set already at this point.

The intro is apparently inspired by the artist Man Ray and his painting “A l’heure de l’observatoire, les Amoureux” (Observatory Time, the Lovers).

My favourite song

You will be surprised, as was my boyfriend, as to how many songs from this film you have actually heard before. And danced to.

My absolute favourite is “Time Warp“. It has a psychedelic quality to the whole group performace of the piece due to the choice of an angled and trippy filming style. For some reason I am reminded of the “Banana Boat Song (Day Oh)” from “Beetlejuice” (1988), which isn’t in any way similar, but has the same kind of epic, quirky quality.

It is in some way amazing that Tim Burton hasn’t made a version of this musical yet. Maybe that could take it from kult to classic.

Or maybe I should shut up and realize that there is no story there, so it can never be better. Only stay suspended it time as a movie that for some inexplicable reason is great.

What mood should you be in?

You absolutely have to set your mind to total blank before you watch this film. Your taste and your sense of what a movie is supposed to be is going to be violated whether you like it or not.

There is not going to be a great quality running through the entire experience. At times it will be frustrating and often it will be weird, but you will just have to embrace it, because there is no other way to have a good time with this movie than to decide that you are going to enjoy it.

They had me at “Hello” (watch it and you will know what I am talking about).

Further watching

The first thing that came to my mind was “Beetlejuice” (1988) by Tim Burton, which inhabits the same weird and wonderful mood. There are no adequate words to describe this film, just know that there are ghosts, Emo Winona Ryder and a host of famous (and thus brilliant) actors.

Tim Burton is never a waste of time.

If you would like to watch som more transvestites (who doesn’t), I can recommend the australian “The Adventures of Priscilla; Queen of the Desert” (1994) where you get to experience Hugo Weaving (the chief elf Elrond in Lord of the Rings) as a drag queen or the wonderfully camp, british comedy “Kinky Boots” (2995) where Chiwetel Ejiofor (the slave in 12 Years a slave) gets his drag queen on.

In need of more good ideas of what to watch in the vast movie world? Take a look at one of my Guilty Pleasure movies, or follow the blog and get a notification next time. It is usually once every week, but you will also get another Best movies on Netflix on Sunday this week. 😀

Riff Raff from Rocky Horror Picture Show

Riff Raff says “Hello”

Who am I?

I am an aspiring screenwriter who loves to watch movies.

I am particularly fascinated by Kult Films and want to watch as many as I can to try and make sense of why they become a source of comfort and nostalgia to such large groups of people.

When I watch a new Kult Film, I will let you know what you are in for in advance, so that you don’t have to waste your time with movies there is no chance you will ever like. But sometimes I will recommend you to just take a leap of faith. You might just like it simply because it is different.

Why do I think I can talk about movies?

With an over average interest in movies since watching Star Wars as an 8 year-old, and with some background in the industry, I know at least a little bit about what it takes to get a movie made, and have loads of opinions about what makes them great.

But no matter my merits, it is whether or not you agree with my taste in movies (or my boyfriend’s, whose opinion will be noted if opposing my own) that will make these reviews beneficial to you.

For this movie in particular, note that my boyfriend, who normally favours action and war movies, wanted to watch “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” again the next day. Just saying.

Where can you find the film?

I had to buy it in the store (no time to wait for online shipment, Halloween came quickly this year), and thankfully they had it (and pretty cheaply).

This is the kind of movie that it seems to me streaming services avoid because elements can be deemed slightly offensive (by all the goody two shoes who haven’t met Dr. Frank N Furter), so it is not to be found on Netflix.

However, it is a Kult Film, so you might as well buy it as you will watch that sucker to death anyway 😉

If you like what I write, please follow this blog and I will give you a host of good reasons for why you should or shouldn’t watch movies.

On Sunday, we will take a look at another Halloween classic, this one part of the Netflix catalogue and thus unearth another “Best movie on Netflix“.

Have you ever had a conversation about the pros and cons of robbing a bank versus a liquor store versus a coffee shop?

It is just one of the many ridiculous conversations you will enjoy while you watch “Pulp Fiction”.

And this is only the first time out of nine where I will use the word ridiculous to describe this movie. Feel free to give me a thesaurus with other words I could use, it is just so ridiculously appropriate.

Pukp Fiction Poster

Good Ol’ Poster looking like a Pulp Fiction book cover.

What is this film?

Pulp Fiction (1994) is Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece. Not his first movie, and certainly not his last, but the one that ranks highest on the lists and the one that truly defined him as an auteur (at least in my eyes).

I really won’t spoil too much of the plot, mostly because it jumps back and forth in time and is truly difficult to retell, but also because if you haven’t already seen this movie, you should just stop reading right now and either watch it or leave this article all together.

Any amount of reading will only ruin the experience, and if you’re not willing to watch it, then why are you reading this anyway.

As a warning, the word “fuck” is used 256 times. That’s the kind of movie this is. A gangster crime movie. With loads of violence. And look out for the fact that something bad always happens when Vincent (John Travolta) goes to the toilet (and picks up a pulp fiction novel to read).

 

Dividing a people

“Pulp Fiction” is not for everyone. You either love it, or you hate it. And if you’re a hater, you simply don’t get it.

If you don’t like it, then Quentin Tarantino’s sense of humor is not for you. Maybe avoid him all together.

And I can see why. He pokes fun at violence, and he does it by elevating the violence to a ridiculous level of absurd proportions. And then he might put an inappropriate soundtrack on top of it all, just to make the scene even more unbearably awkward and out-of-place . It can be too much for certain people.

But then again, most guys love it, and this movie is the reason why several geeks out there think they can quote scripture. Although you can look for a long time in the Bible to find the passage that Jules likes to quote before he kills.

Still of John Travolta and Samuel L Jackson from Pulp Fiction

The iconic shot from Pulp Fiction

Do I think it’s good?

Let’s get this straight. I love Quentin Tarantino. As a director.

As a person he seems like a bit of a douche, but he makes entertaining movies so why do I care.

Why do I love him? He goes so far over the top with everything that it becomes funny. He is so referential to other films that it is a treasure trove for movie geeks. He makes B-movie plots feel A-movie. AND he knows how to get the dialogue pumping.

So if you like that, you will like his movies. And you will like “Pulp Fiction”. Simple.

 

I Shot Marvin in the Face

Case and point: the “I shot Marvin in the face” scene.

Whilst speaking to Marvin in the back of the car, Vincent (Travolta) accedentally shoots him in the face and kills him instantly, splattering blood all over the car. This is the most ridiculous and most genius scene in crime movie history.

The fact that Vincent and Jules now have to clean the blood out of the car and get rid of an unexpected body, and we get to follow that mundane practical problem from beginning to end, is just hilarity taken to the next level.

And that they go to Jimmy, played by Quentin Tarantino, for help, just makes it even more ridiculous.

Still from Pulp Fiction of Samuel L Jackson driving the car as John Travolta shoots Marvin in the face

“Shit, I just shot Marvin in the face”

Travolta + Jackson = Perfection

It is in fact John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson together having their ridiculous conversations in the most ridiculous of scenarios, that makes this movie one you watch over and over again.

Right next to the fact that you want to watch it over again to see if THIS time will 100% get what is going on. Maybe this time.

And I agree with the voters of Premiere’s 100 Greatest Movie Lines…

You know what they call a Quarter Pounder with cheese in Paris? (…) They call it a Royale with cheese

– Vincent Vega (John Travolta) –

…IS one of the greatest movie lines EVER!

In fact, it is one of the greatest conversations.

Interesting, random and ridiculous conversations is actually Quentin Tarantino’s strongest suit. There is no director who can make me look forward to a talk around the table like he can.

 

What is in the briefcase?

Theories out there are abundant on what is casting that shiny, orange glow upon Jules and Vernes faces at the end. It’s apparently “So Beautiful”.

The most likely story out there is the one that says in the script there were diamonds, but since “Reservoir Dogs” had a case of diamonds at the centre of the plot, Quentin decided simply not to show what was in the briefcase. And to great effect.

This simply let’s you decide for yourself what is in the briefcase.

Although I like the theory that it is Marcellus Wallace’s (played by Ving Rhames of Mission Impossible fame) soul that the devil has ripped out from the back of his neck (hence the band-aid).

 

Will it stand the test of time?

There is no reason why this movie shouldn’t stand the test of time.

There are no visual effects that will fade to bullshit, and with so many questions and confusion around what, where and whythefuck, there will always be a new generation who will decipher what happens in their own way.

And let’s not forget the violence. It will never get old.

In other words, “Pulp Fiction” deserves its place high on the list of any kind of “best movies” shoot out. It is special, it defines a generation of movies and it created its own genre; The Tarantino Movie.

 

What mood do you need to be in?

Feeling like something extremely violent but yet hilarious at the same time? Then this is your movie.

And there is no end to the famous people in it, so you can have some fun celebrity watching.

 

Further Watching

The only thing you can move on to after watching a Tarantino movie are more Tarantino Movies.

Go for his early crime movies like “Reservoir Dogs” (1992) and “Jackie Brown” (1997) and you won’t be disappointed. They are about the same thing as “Pulp Fiction”, but still they suck you in and are entertaining as hell.

If you’re not that much of a Tarantino fan, I suggest looking at Guy Ritchie, the Brit who also does crime with a distinct voice. Look at “Snatch” (2000) with a genius Brad Pitt as a tater, “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” (1998) and “Layer Cake” (2004) with a pre-James Bond Daniel Craig.

 

Still of John Travolta and Uma Thurman Dancing from Pulp Fiction

John Travolta and Uma Thurman do an unexpected weird dance to “You Never Can Tell” by Chuck Berry.

Who am I?

I do not work for ImDb, I just have a nerdy need to make sure I watch all the movies people claim to be good. In this way I can make up my own mind about whether or not they are a hype.

This is not a per se recommendation from the ImDb Top 250 list, but rather a statement about the movies on the list that hopefully will make you want to watch the movies again, or watch the movie and make up a mind of your own 😉

Or avoid it like the plague.

 

Why do I think I can talk about movies?

With an over average interest in movies since watching Star Wars as a 8 year-old, and with some background in the industry, I know at least a little bit about what it takes to get a movie made, and have loads of opinions about what makes them great.

But no matter my merits, it is whether or not you agree with my taste in movies (or my boyfriend’s, whose opinion will be noted if opposing my own) that will make these reviews beneficial to you.

 

Where can you find the film?

This movie is one of the few Tarantino movies that cannot be found on Netflix. But like any of the movies (at least the ones I like) on the ImDb top 250 list, they should be in your collection.

 

Once a month I will review the top 250 movies on ImDb and determine whether they still deserve to be on the list or not. Have they stood the test of time, or are they just there out of habit or historical significance (which does not a good movie make). I start from the top because there is less change in the top films than at the bottom of the list.

Look here for my judgements on #3 The Godfather, part II and #4 The Dark Knight.

Other Fridays of the month, I will look at “New Releases – is it worth a cinema ticket”, “Guilty Pleasures” and I will also be “Unearthing the Best Movies on Netflix”.

 

I have used several sources in writing this post among them ImDb trivia and some cinema history books in my possession.

Sign up and get a notification next week so that you don’t miss the next blog post or my next ImDb top 250 review. Next month we will have a look at number 6, the classic western  “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”!

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