Some good Ns today: Napoleon Dynamite (a movie that my students taught me to appreciate – “your Mom goes to college!”), Nacho Libre (cracks me up every time), Nightmare Before Christmas (obviously a number one N for the list) and other films I liked such as Never Cry Wolf and Norma Rae. Again, I chose the ones I have watched the most and ones which I think students probably haven’t seen before.
The NeverEnding Story: I just started singing the theme tune in my head the minute I typed it out. Now, I know this movie got referenced on Family Guy but due to the age and not as amazing special effects as modern movies have, I’m guessing some haven’t seen it. Watching it today we go, “Wow…that looks so bad” in spots (not that I don’t say that about movies these days too) but the overall story and magic of the movie is what I think kids, at least, should see. The best part of this is that Bastian enters the world of the book. It’s an amazing fantasy adventure that promotes reading – what’s not to love? There are some sad parts, some bizarre parts, but all in all it’s such a good movie that I love watching even today. I mean, how many of us didn’t hope that we got swept up in some mysterious land where we had to save the fate of its people, then end up flying on Falcor just to chase away the bullies in our school? My favourite though was always Atreyu and Artex (and that scene still makes me cry.) I also loved the concept of “The Nothing” that threatens Fantasia. After watching it a couple of years ago I finally put the movie on closed caption just to figure out what Bastian named the Childlike Empress – Moonchild. His mother’s name was Moonchild? Okay, then. All these years I never understood what he said so I assumed it was Jennifer or Heather or something very feminine and 80s movie cool. Oh well, doesn’t ruin my love of the film any less.
Atreyu: Do you have a cold?
Morla, the Ancient One: No, we are allergic to youth.
Natural Born Killers: This movie is full of violence and cursing and crazy crap going on. No, it’s not for everyone but when I first saw this in 1994 (before Pulp Fiction came out, mind you) I was absolutely amazed. Written by Quentin Tarantino and edited/produced by Oliver Stone is puts together the absolute insanity that can be caused when two lunatics fall in love and decide to go on a mass murdering spree. Again, pretty intense, but the way it’s handled it’s dark comedy way (I mean the abusive father is Rodney Dangerfield and the dutiful, useless wife is Edie McClurg, otherwise known as Grace from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.) Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis are Mickey and Mallory Knox the infamous Bonnie and Clyde type couple that the public absolutely adores because of the media reception that they’ve gotten. Robert Downey Jr. is Wayne Gale, the Geraldo-type news anchor who is so over the top stupid that he he doesn’t realize that no one cares about him or his journalism style. The movie was quite different in many respects from things most standardized audiences had seen and it made you cheer for the two most cold blooded killers in fictional history. But that’s the point. Why would we care about these two? Do we sympathize with them because of the things that happen to them that made them the way they are? Or do we hate society just as much as they do and are happy when the crooked cop, the buffoon prison warden and the annoying news anchor get theirs in the end? Not everyone can get past the movie blood to like the film and today I see it as a silly looking movie at times but, man, as a teenager, it was quite a remarkable thing. Hands down, one of the best soundtracks in a movie too.
Mickey: You'll never understand, Wayne. You and me, we're not even the same species. I used to be you, then I evolved. From where you're standing, you're a man. From where I'm standing, you're an ape. You're not even an ape. You're a media person. Media's like the weather, only it's man-made weather. Murder? It's pure. You're the one made it impure. You're buying and selling fear. You say "why?" I say "why bother?"