Friday, August 2, 2013

Go Go Movie Show Premier: What Nostalgic Movies Influence Your Style?

I'm a lifelong film and animation fan, exposed to anime, horror, classic cartoons/musicals and science fiction flicks since birth. Live action and animated movies alike are muse and motivation for me, never failing to inspire. I thought I'd kick off my "GO GO Movie Show" premier with the top three movies that have influenced everything I create. These are my security blanket flicks, I never get tired of watching them!

GO GO Movie Show Criteria: Movies I love and will recommend are very styled and ooze atmosphere, creating a unique world and mood. They're quirky, unique, and artistic. I'm particularly fond of horror, musicals, character studies, kitschy flicks, retro/vintage movies, low-key comedies, and just plain WEIRD shit. The weirder the better!

"I've got better things to do tonight than die," Springer

Visual Style:  A world of its own, stunning to behold as eye candy alone.
Story/Script:  Non-Transformer's fans may be lost, depth of a wading pool. Still love it!
Kitschiness: 1980s action kitsch! Soundtrack complete with power ballad! (The Touch: Listen!)
Retro Style: 1980s blocky bot design, my favorite! Retro, yet high quality cell-shaded animation.
Thriftiness:  $6 million for this incredible animation?! Even factoring inflation, dayum!

Quotable: I can't choose between Unicorn's"Your bargaining posture is highly dubious. Very well. Proceed. On your way to oblivion." And Spike's emphatic "Oh SHIT what are gonna do now?" that miraculously slipped past the 1980s children's movie censors.

This 1986 animated classic easily influences my everything, thanks to this movie my style boasts robots aplenty, clean lines, bold typography, and bright colors. (Note how the screenshot and poster above go with this blog's design eerily well!) I watched the VHS until it snapped in the player and can quote most of it to this day as an adult! It has the most colorful, detailed, imaginative animation I've ever seen for the action/robot genre. Throw in a huge dose of 1980s nostalgia, THE 80s soundtrack and all of my favorite 'bots and you have the best movie ever. This movie is my happy place.

Trivia: This was legendary Orson Well's final role. Judd Nelson, Robert Stack, Lionel Stander, and Leonard Nimoy lend their voices, too!

Visual Style:  The dark, quirky visual style MAKES this one.
Story/Script:  My favorite Tim Burton story and script. Hilarious!
Kitschiness: Off the damn charts.
Retro Style: Classic Americana juxtaposing late 80s early 90s tacky modernism.
Thriftiness:  Only $1 million(!!!) spent on the huge quantity of visual effects. The B movie, purposefully fake look of the special effects really adds to the quirky style.

Quotable: "Ah. Well... I attended Juilliard... I'm a graduate of the Harvard business school. I travel quite extensively. I lived through the Black Plague and had a pretty good time during that. I've seen the EXORCIST ABOUT A HUNDRED AND SIXTY-SEVEN TIMES, AND IT KEEPS GETTING FUNNIER EVERY SINGLE TIME I SEE IT... NOT TO MENTION THE FACT THAT YOU'RE TALKING TO A DEAD GUY... NOW WHAT DO YOU THINK? You think I'm qualified?"Betelgeuse to the white-bread Adam on asking for his bio-exorcism resume. HAD to quote the whole thing.

Perhaps THE perfect use of my favorite director's talents, this movie is my childhood. (It may be yours too.) It's telling that it's the first thing I watched when I moved out on my own at 20 to feel "at home."  I love the characters, dark comedy, and the set design, populated with black and white repeating line patterns and pops of red, green, and blue. The intentionally hockey stop motion animation make it an affectionate homage to classic monster flicks while giving it a style all its own. I watched the HELL out of the animated show and still wish I live in the perpetual Halloween that is The Neitherworld.

Visual Style:  It's ALL style, no substance. Enough odd subtext to analyze for decades!
Story/Script:  Script so bad it's awe-inspiring, and hilarious. Kids will LOVE it. We sure as hell did.
Kitschiness:  ALL kitsch! Runs on kitsch, made of kitsch!
Retro Style:  YES! A shining example of the best special effects money could buy in 88'
Thriftiness:  At an estimated self-funded $22 million this vanity project pulled out ALL the stops. Money well spent!

Quotable: CANNOT RESIST MR. BIG'S, "You wanna know why I'm doing all this, do you? I just wanna get everybody high, Man. You know, some good drugs. That's all."

This trippiest of ego trips takes on a journey though Michael Jackson's mind (curious and curiouser!) and let's us see him transform into: purple stop motion animated caricature of himself, god that creates the Earth, purple stop-motion animated rabbit, futuristic super car, violent silver Michael Jackson transformer, space ship (with his singing voice), Tommy gun wielding mobster, a literal amusement park with rides all over his body. I will blame my childhood obsession with Moonwalker for my now insatiable, constant craving for WEIRD everything! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my Michael and this movie. The "Smooth Criminal" sequence boasts the BEST choreographed scene ever filmed. I am confident it cannot be topped. . (Seeing is believing!) Michael Jackson is arguably the most famous man on Earth, I consider this film required watching! For lovers of The Strange, it's the ultimate indulgence.

Trivia: I didn't know this until researching for this article (! no, don't take away my pedantic MJ fan card!) but the Smooth Criminal sequence expands on this brilliant dance number by legendary Fred Astaire. MJ takes it to the next level!

Honorable Style-Influencing Mentions: Little Shop of Horrors, Edward Scissor Hands,  Hell EVERY Tim Burton Movie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, buckets of horror, Tom and Jerry animated shorts, Tex Avery animated shorts, oh so many more!

I wanted a top 5 list of ultimate influences but it looks like after deep thought, these are the main three that should be shared here. Future Go Go Movie Shows will feature my top list of favorites in particular genres (and even film shorts, like my favorite Tex Avery shorts) and earnest recommendations for your movie nights! I'm thinking every Friday or every other Friday.

Don't be shy, tell me: What are the top movies that have influenced your style? What are the nostalgic movies you never get tired of watching?
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  1. Spoiler Alert - The death of Optimus Prime may have been one of the most traumatic experiences of my childhood.

    BTW - Can't wait to see more of these reviews!

    1. The movie was my first exposure to prime so it didn't affect me like that. Sure as hell shocked audiences of the time and forced them to change a death in the G.I. Joe movie to being merely a "coma" :D Glad you liked the review.

  2. Top Movies of my Childhood:
    *Star Wars.I remember when those oh so collectable action figures came out and my friends and I would have make believe adventures.I always wanted to be Han Solo because he's awesome(and he has a Wookie).
    *E.T. I remember seeing this movie twice in the theater and wishing that I could have my own alien.
    *Indiana Jones.Leather jacket,whip,fedora,exciting adventure,and he's also Freaking Han Solo(can you tell I had a crush on Harrison Ford?)Plus it is impossible to think about those movies without humming the theme music.
    Honorable Mentions also go to The Goonies,Caddyshack,Firestarter,Ghostbusters(only the first one),the Blues Brothers,and National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.
    Movies that Influenced my Teenage Years:
    *Pretty in Pink
    *Breakfast Club
    *Some Kind of Wonderful
    *Ferris Bueller's Day Off
    *Karate Kid I & II
    *The Princess Bride.This is the one movie that I didn't see until a few years after it was out(it didn't do that well at the box office).Once I saw it with my friends,we almost wore out that tape watching it.I can quote almost that whole movie(much to my children's chagrin).Inconceivable!!
    These are all movies that if I was flipping through channels and came across one,I'd have to stop and watch it.

    1. Those are all classics. I watched a lot of E.T., Star Wars, and Ferris Bueller, too. I watched a lot of 80s movies and music videos for being born in '86. :D

  3. Well, I'm a lot older than you, Van. My faves are classics like Sunset Boulevard and Casablanca. I can actually say I saw Star Wars at a theater at its first run-- my dad took us kids. That movie was a BIG DEAL!!

    1. My mom did raise me with the classics. Though at the time I had a hard time swallowing the different acting style. Couldn't take Marilyn's sexy baby talk seriously. " she really that stupid?"

    2. Oh, and LOTS of musicals. :D I've watched a lot of Star Wars but it's never had the huge impact on me it seems to have on all the other robot loving nerds.

  4. adams family is my favorite halloween movie

    1. Love the one from the 90s and the sequel, too.

  5. I can't say they influence my style, but there are movies I love. Empire Records (the 90s are retro now right, lol) is one of them. The Labyrinth of course, and The Princess Bride.

    1. Might need to check out Empire Records, haven't heard of it. My childhood is retro, nOOooOO...! :D

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