Did you know that I have a degree in Cinema, Photography & Television? Yes, I know it probably wasn’t the smartest move, it allowed me to join the crowd of a gazillion other people working in marketing who did creative degrees and are now not doing that much creative stuff anymore, hey if you’re in the same boat!
If you want to be creative, just be creative, you don’t need a qualification in that, you just need practise and passion. Anyway, due to society that degree makes me officially qualified to write this article, as if my opinion wasn’t valid otherwise, le sigh. There’s SO much crap coming out of the big budget film industry, so I’d like to take some time to highlight some less obvious film choices that I loved and that you might dig too.
Remember also, if you love any art form (music, art, film, writing…etc.) you need to publicly support it and fund it to keep it going. Being a creative on any level is becoming increasingly difficult as time goes on and society starts to value cheap commodities over life enriching content, it’s quite sad. Remember that when you have to choose between a night out drinking at your local ‘spoons or paying a fiver to see some local bands. You can get pissed or you can help fund some hard working artists. Your choice, of course.
Anyway, back to the point. Here’s some of my film highlights of the year so far, I hope to write more content like this as the feeling captures me. Film has always been a massive passion of mine, so it’s been weird that I haven’t ever shared it much. Let me know if you watch any of these and if you can recommend anything that we actually haven’t already seen. Good luck with that, we watch a lot of films. Oh, and a tip: if you can watch a new film without reading too much about it or watching the trailer, you’ll have a way more interesting experience! Social media has spoiled so many great things for me by over-communicating essential things like plots and twists, which is why I’ve kept this article simple and spoiler free.
CJ7 (2008, Dir. Stephen Chow)
I think this one has made it’s way into my top ten films of all time. Having watched our first Stephen Chow film just last year in the shape of the surreal action film, Kung Fu Hustle, we were pleased to see more of this director/actors work turn up on Netflix. CJ7 is essentially a Mandarin Chinese version of ET, but totally unexpected and wonderful with some great lessons to be learnt about modern society along the way. The kids in this film are amazing, their facial expressions will give you so much joy and there’s a cute alien too. Yes, you’ll have to read subtitles, but it’s totally worth it and a good intro to Asian cinema if you’ve not braved this inspiring world already. Better than most stuff that comes out of Hollywood, that’s for sure!
I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore (2017, Dir. Macon Blair)
A Netflix Original that was added just last month, I avoided this one for a bit because the title sounded so depressing and that’s something that I often want to avoid. However, it had an awesome rating and Elijah Wood, so thought I’d give it a go. The best thing I did with this film was that I watched it without watching or reading anything about it first, which is always a nice bonus. This dark comedy had so many relateable sentiments, mainly to do with how shitty people can be, but the ace cast and story make it utterly enjoyable. Just a brilliant film.
Swiss Army Man (2016, Dir. Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert)
Starring three awesome young actors that you may or may not know from some of their other great films: Paul Dano (watch Ruby Sparks), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (watch Scott Pilgrim vs. The World) and obviously, Daniel Radcliffe (watch Horns if you haven’t already) there is nothing that will quite prepare you for this. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but this one plays out like a surreal music video with a soundtrack from Manchester Orchestra’s (that’s a band) Andy Hull and Robert McDowell. Set design is epic in a whimsical way, if you can’t get into it within the first 10 mins, give it a chance, because you’ll never watch another film quite like this one.
Spaghettiman (2016, Dir. Mark Potts)
Yes, this is as dumb as it sounds. But if you’re remotely interested in creating any kind of art on a budget with your mates, this film is a great guidebook. Low budget and with the writing talent also playing the roles, it’s a fun modern day parody of the super hero genre, which was clearly dreamed up when everyone was probably high/drunk and most likely they were eating spaghetti too, whilst still managing to have some important messages about being a better person. Plus, you can stream it on iTunes, Amazon and even YouTube super easily, whilst helping to fund their future projects too.
Mr. Right (2015, Dir. Paco Cabezas)
We’ve watched this several times since it launched now, it’s still awesome. Written by the super talented Max Landis (check out everything he’s done because he’s great) this is another dark comedy starring the brilliant Anna Kendrick and Sam Rockwell, two actors who continuously turn up in some of our favourite films. This is a kooky romantic comedy with an epic action twist clearly influenced by the likes of Rodriguez and Tarantino and it’s on Netflix so you’ve no excuse not to check it out.
Let me know if you dig this list, what you think of my recommendations (you can be honest!) and hopefully I’ll write some more, I’ve definitely got a bunch of TV recs.