Perfect Blue (1997) is an animated psychological thriller that follows Mima, a charismatic pop idol, who leaves the music industry for the chance of becoming an actress. Mima’s decision to leave her pop career behind does not go over well with some of her fans. Throughout the story, Mima is confronted by one of these fans, a creepy, violent stalker who is obsessive over her pop idol persona. Mimi grapples with lost identity when she begins to witness a doppelganger of herself walking around town dressed in her old pop idol attire. The introduction of this doppelganger begins to blur the line between reality and illusion and it becomes difficult for the viewer to distinguish what is real and what is not.
A distinct characteristic of anime from the 90’s is the highly stylized animation these films used to create extremely bold characters. But where Perfect Blue sets itself apart from this 90’s art style is its realistic animation The characters are drawn to look like real people, which makes the horror aspects of this film all the more unsettling.
Watching Perfect Blue was one of my favorite movie experiences of all time. For days I was left thinking about all the twists and turns this film’s plot takes. If you are a fan of either horror or anime definitely add Perfect Blue to your watchlist.
Paterson (2016) follows a week in the life of Paterson (Adam Driver), a New Jersey bus driver whose passion is writing poetry. Paterson has a strict routine which consists of waking up at the same time everyday, going to work, observing his passengers, going home, and writing poetry. Viewers also observe Paterson’s marriage to Laura (Golshifteh Farahani), a sweet woman who constantly has new artistic ambitions she loves to tell Paterson all about. The married couple’s life is seemingly simple and calm. Yet, at the same time so full of love. My favorite aspect of the film is the poems that Paterson writes in his journal. Paterson is very observant, attentive, and kind and his poems reflect that. Like the film itself, Paterson’s poetry is simple yet beautiful.
One of my favorite poems Paterson writes is,
“If you ever left me
I’d tear my heart out and never put it back”
Paterson is a deeply thoughtful, observant film that captures the subtle beauty of everyday life. I highly recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys finding the beauty in the mundane.
Mysterious Skin (2004) tells the story of two young men, Neil (Joseph Gordon Levitt) and Brian (Brady Corbet) and the interconnectedness of their very different lives. Neil is a prostitute and Brian is an alien abduction claimant and they are both connected through a dark secret from their past. Content Warning: the movie contains dark subject matter such as abuse so definitely research trigger warnings beforehand. While the film does include extremely disturbing subject matter, it does so in a tasteful and illuminating way. The acting in this movie is phenomenal and I think it is one of Joseph Gordon Levitt’s best roles of his career. The soundtrack enriches the depressing yet beautiful overall feeling of Mysterious Skin. It includes songs from Slowdive, Cocteau Twins, Ride, and other amazing bands. Mysterious Skin is one of the best movies I have ever seen and I highly recommend it to anyone willing to endure some of its darker aspects.
This Is Spinal Tap
This is Spinal Tap (1984) is a comedy about the comeback tour of a fictional British heavy-metal band, Spinal Tap for their album, “Smell the Glove”. The movie is filmed like a documentary and follows the pitfalls of the aging 1980s hair band as they try to make their way back to the top of the charts. The group faces a lot of problems— most of them having to do with the fact that their audience, as their manager puts it, “is becoming more selective”. Spinal Tap witnesses the size of their arenas and the size of their audiences attention spans becoming smaller each gig. They have major stage malfunctions, their management is dysfunctional, and critics are harsh. The entire film is a spoof of early metal bands and the music industry as a whole. While Spinal Tap isn’t based on a specific band, it definitely drew inspiration from bands including the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Queen, KISS, and even the Beatles. Spinal Tap is an absurdly funny film that I recommend to anyone in need of a good laugh.
Man on the Moon
Man on the Moon (1999) follows the life of the eccentric, unconventional comedic legend, Andy Kaufman. Played by Jim Carrey, Andy Kaufman is one of the most interesting people I have ever encountered. It is difficult to describe just how special he was but some of his most popular work includes intricate gags he created that took sometimes years to entirely unveil. Andy Kaufman who swore he “never told a joke in his life” spent his entire life making people laugh. He was obsessed with pulling elaborate pranks and hoaxes on his audience. The extent to which he goes to fool people makes you wonder if he is only trying to please himself rather than the crowd at his shows. Andy Kaufman is one of the most interesting entertainers of all time so definitely check out this film to learn more about him.