Camiele: A Life in Movies

2006: Tekkonkinkreet

To be quite honest, 2006 was a BRILLIANT year for animation: A Scanner DarklyHappy Feet, and anime classic Paprika all released that year. However, the film that pretty much captured all my focus was Tekkonkinkreet. I bought it on a whim, asking a friend of mine if she’d seen any good anime recently. She pointed out this one for, “if you like angst.” It’s another film that means the world to me. Based on the manga Black & White. The film adaptation is just brilliant and pretty much follows the manga to a t, from the angles to the fight sequences, it’s just a gorgeous piece of cinema!

2007: Ocean’s Thirteen

2007 actually had a LOT of great films: The Great Debaters, Talk to Me, There Will Be Blood. But I just found Ocean’s 13 to be the coolest. With the newest members of the cast, including Al Pacino, and this being one of the last films Bernie Mac was in before his untimely death, it’s just a good old-fashioned fun time! It literally makes you think you could rob a bank… which, I mean, really isn’t a great thing to teach kids…

2008: Ip Man

The biopic about Bruce Lee’s teacher Ip Man was not only a respectable telling of his story, it was a simple, sharp, and clean film that didn’t use martial arts as a selling point but rather as a part of the story. It was beautifully shot, incredibly written, and gave fans of the man and his greatest known protege something warm and beautiful to remember both men by.

2009: This Is It

Call me sentimental, but this behind-the-scenes styled documentary was absolutely essential to my getting closure.

I knew exactly where I was when I learned one of my all time favorite artists had suddenly (but not entirely shockingly, for all heroes masked in as heavy hubris as he have only one inevitable ending; it’s all a matter of “how”, not “when”): London. I had just gotten of a boat party on the Thames, where, in fact, one of Michael’s classics had made an appearance. After disembarking, a friend of mine and I decided to hit up a pub for some late-night drinks before taking a bus back to our dorm. While riding the tube to Piccadilly Circus, a couple of people were talking among each other. One of them said, humor dripping from his voice, “Yeah, did you hear Michael Jackson’s dead?” My whole world stopped. I looked at this stranger and said, “Are you serious? Cuz that’s not even kind of funny to me.” And he looked up, apology and sadness in his eyes, and said, “I don’t know. You know how rumors are….” Yeah, a little piece of my world was left on that train.

All that to say this documentary was important to me. It was important to finally get an in-depth glimpse at the man who was known for his larger than life stage show and superhuman presence. The softness and perfectionism in him was jarring and made me feel even more pride to have been a fan of his since the time I discovered music for the first time. And to see the reactions of all those around him, how they respected and lionized him, brought a great warmth to my heart, and I was finally able to let go of the stony sadness that I’d carried for four months after hearing of his death.

2010: Inception

Yeah, Leo’s on here again. But really all the credit goes to Chris Nolan and his vision and his nod to one of the most cerebral and gorgeous films ever made, Paprika.

2011: Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

I saw two movies in 2011, and this was one of them. I don’t even remember what the other one was. And that’s all because of two words: Green. DRESS! That is all.

2012: A Werewolf Boy

Sitting in the airport for 12 hours, waiting for someone to retrieve me, I get the idea in my head that I want to watch this Korean film about a boy who was raised by wolves and falls in love with the girl who finds him (thanks, Julyssa). I really don’t have the words for this, but the one that comes to mind is the first word Song Joong Ki says after over 90 minutes of film: Kajima… SLAIN!!!

2013: The Great Gatsby

Yeah, that’s right! Leo… AGAIN! And another Baz Luhrmann adaptation of a piece of literary canon. Truth be told, I saw the 1976 version with Robert Redford. And, I mean, Red will always be Red and will always be handsome and charming. But Leo’s interpretation combined with Luhrmann’s eye for the outlandishly gorgeous and his perfect ear for scene music made this adaptation of The Great Gatsby my favorite. Just as Luhrmann’s take on Shakespeare was the best version I’d seen (including the 1968 version), his hand with the F. Scott Fitzgerald semi-autobiography was just pure magic. And oddly enough I’d seen nine… NINE films in 2013. The most I’ve seen in a year probably ever. A few of them were truly impressive pieces of cinema (The Conjuring was a strong candidate for this year). However, Gatsby’s introduction ALONE was enough to make this the best film of 2013 for me!

And there you have it. The 27 (well… 28. Sorry, I tried) films that have been the most memorable to me over the course of my life. A few films were already taken (The Matrix is in my Top 5 favorite films of all time), but that’s just how it goes. Not all of these are history-making, iconic pieces of cinema gold to be forever lionized by the annals of time. However, all of them had an impact on me in some way, whether shifting my perspective at different intervals or just being truly entertaining. I’m hoping in the next stages of my life I’ll have the fortune to see even more films that influence and truly entertain me.


As unexpected as my path was to loving all things weird, more unexpected is my ability to get attention for writing about the stuff.

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