Thursday, 17 December 2009

A Decade of Movie Memories: 2002


2002 was a pretty strange year for film, looking back at what I saw theatrically it looks like half schlock, half awards films. As with 2000 and 2001 that completely parallels the year for me which started out pretty rough living on my own in the tiniest apartment at what felt like the end of the world side of Parkdale. Limited funds meant limited movies seen for a lot of the year but then half way through I worked for a bit at TIFF which opened my eyes and I was immediately drawn to see film from all over the place that I'd heard nothing about but loved looking at the pictures and reading the descriptions in the program. One of the films I remember most vividly was the South Korean high school set martial arts film Volcano High. It was weird, it was wild, I barely understood what the heck was going on and I wanted more! It doesn't make this list though, as I didn't see it theatrically.

Speaking of, the parameters or the list are films seen theatrically, no series included and films are listed in the chronological order in which I saw them. This is a list of favourite movie memories, not a best of list.

Flower & Garnet
Touching and beautiful Canadian family drama that centres on siblings Flower and her brother Garnet. It has that beautiful understated Canadian tone to it, with an offbeat but not bizarre quirkiness to it. True real heart drama fare here, and outstanding performance from the leads Jane McGregor and Colin Roberts. The supporting cast also does and excellent job, and it's nice to see Callum Keith Rennie play someone who isn't completely evil, throughly enjoyed his performance as well as both Kristen Thomson and Dov Tiefenbach. Funny moment with this one was actually running into friends at the theatre - it was awesome to see familiar face supporting great Canadian film!

Ok, so changing the tone here a little bit. I by no means would ever say that Rollerball is a good film (as much as I love Jean Reno), but this one if purely about the memory of it because I saw it in the afternoon. I'm not sure why, I must have had a weird job schedule at the time - yes, I was working odd hours which allowed for watching films at the theatre in the afternoon which is a beautiful thing, and I was a happy camper for that alone even if I was seeing.. Rollerball.

Reign of Fire
It's weird to look back and see the casting for Reign of Fire. At the time I recognized Matthew McConaughey (although hated this performance, it was so OTT Americana it made me laugh) from Contact, and Alexander Siddig from "Star Trek: TNG" but didn't know who Christian Bale or Gerard Butler were at the time, and only really 'saw' them in it when I revisited it recently. But again, the memorable moment for this film wasn't the film itself but the experience as I saw it at Scotiabank and I believe it was recently after they acquired a liquor license and during the screening 2 guys came in, late, drunk and sat right behind me. I was so miffed. Previously to this I would normally just sit through the annoyance but I got up and moved away from them - which was a big step at the time. Funny to think that because now I do it all the time.

The Scorpion King
I saw this on a Sunday afternoon at The Kingsway with my sister Jamie on a lark. I had zero expectations, in fact I'm not even sure why we went at all having never seen The Mummy movies. But, I LOVED this film! The Rock is hilarious, has great timing and ain't no chore to watch. Plus, quite early on I was so ready to roll my eyes at gender crap - but there wasn't any, in fact the female character ended up being pretty freaking awesome! I was floored, and I'm sure partly because expectations were low but it was nice to enjoy something just for the fun of it.

Ok this is a bit of a cheat as I saw it on DVD, but the pic I took has it in there so I'm sticking with it and resisting the urge to sub my back up of Spider-Man instead. Have I mentioned yet that I tend to completely love films that have an strongly blue colour story? Yep. That accounts for a lot of water, submarine and space films. I have no idea why I like them but I do. I saw this film before seeing the original Solyaris / Солярис which is a bit of a shame, but I really enjoyed it. I loved the oddness, the pacing and the eerie feeling that something is off. Creepy.

Catch Me if You Can
Now we get to awards season race to see films. I'm not sure if I went to this because it was nominated for Golden Globes or Oscars, but that was the sole reason I went and it was the first film I literally ran out to see after work the day of the announcement with knowing virtually nothing about the film and was thrilled that I ended up loving it. Reminded me that I rather enjoy the concept of investigating forgery and fraud. Also started me saying "I concur" to people, which always seems to set people aback. hehe.

The Quiet American
My strongest memory of seeing this was getting into a bit of a debate with the theatre staff on if it was a Canadian film or not, and they were trying to say that it wasn't and I didn't agree (because I checked... and albeit it's a co-pro but Canada's in there). I had to hold in my chuckles during the credits when things like "Telefilm" started to appear. Sigh.

About Schmidt
Another awards bait film and a really good one at that. Went to see this at Canada Square with my sister Jamie and we were possibly the youngest people there. The ladies in front of us (who chatting through the all previews) actually snickered at us for laughing during the opening of the film - which is a really funny scene. The nerve! Tsking us! For laughing! Couldn't believe it.

Gangs of New York
This film is the exact moment I started to waiver on seeing films just because they were nominated for something. I thought the opening was brilliant, and I think I even though "Wow, if nothing else that opening was brilliant", yet sadly ... that was all I found brilliant. Holding back laugher for me was a challenge during many of the dramatic moments, and when it was nearing the end I really couldn't care less what happened. It even prompted the discussion afterwards of what etiquette is required to leave a film before it finished, something I'd never really considered before.

The Hours
Ending on a high note, this was a fabulous film and I remember seeing it on a cold winter day. The weirdest thing though was that the theatre was freaking packed! I mean, I go to a lot of films and they tend to be on a good day maybe 20% full but this was near sold out in one of the big theatres at the (then) Paramount. I believe it was the only screen it was on in Toronto. What else was notable was that the audience was almost exclusively women, another thing I had rarely seen.


drewbacca said...

I like the idea. Not a best of per se, but shit that stuck with you; even if it was bad.

For me that year probably Brotherhood of the Wolf. It's one of the more beautiful looking films from the year and I remember walking into the theater a bit late because my friend and I were outside smoking illegal substances (c'mon, this was a long time ago, I was still a kid). Still one of my favorites to this day because I remember it so vividly and was mesmerized.

/too much info

drewbacca said...

Oh - and kudos on including Solaris. Underrated movie. Soderbergh is still my main man. Gotta catch up with the original some day soon. Heard it was boring though.

drewbacca said...

And if you like "blue" films, did you ever catch INK this year? It's quite awesome. Would fit nicely in a TADFF screening.

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Thanks Andrew! I've been enjoying exploring the years so far.

I remember Brotherhood of the Wolf coming out and I really wanted to love it, but I sadly didn't. My experience of watching it was not and interesting as yours though! :)

The original Solaris is rather long and there is at least one scene that is just bizarre long, but overall I really enjoyed it.

I so need to catch up with Ink, it's on my list and I've only heard good things about it.

Ryan McNeil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ryan McNeil said...

I must say that I really like the angle you're taking with these annual posts. So many of us have done "Best Of's", that reading something more personal is quite refreshing. Great idea Moxie!

Heh - when I think back to ABOUT SCHMIDT, I remember seeing it in The Cumberland and being in front of an older woman who insisted that I take off my baseball cap (That's one of my highest annoyances).

And I'm another person glad to see SOLARIS on here - another movie that I don't think gets enough love. I saw that one opening weekend with two friends, and was just blown away by how gorgeously shot it was!

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