On top of my year-based movie watching — I’m currently still in 1978 — I enjoy watching through other series of films as a Sunday night tradition. Following Bond and Indiana Jones, over the summer I decided to revisit a large chunk of Alfred Hitchcock’s work. I stuck to his color output (with the exception of Psycho of course), which starts in the late 40s. I’ve always been a big fan of his films — and his TV series, and even the Three Investigators book series that I loved as a kid — and it was really fun to do this, since I hadn’t re-watched most of them in probably a couple of decades. You’ll find below the full list of what I watched (and under this category).
The latest movie marathon I was doing was for 1968, and although I had initially told myself I’d do 10 movies, I’ve decided to stop after 7, which are all listed below (and can found collected here). There were still a few movies I would have watched, like Bullit (which I admittedly had already re-visited a few years ago), Yellow Submarine, and Barbarella, but I’ve had a hard time getting in the mood to watch them, so I think it’s better that I just move on to something else. Next stop: 1978.
Well, my latest movie marathon, for the year 1987, definitely took the longest (starting in October of last year) — not because of the quality of the films, but probably more because I burned out a bit on watching so many 80s movies last year, and needed to take a break. When I kicked off 1987 and made up my list of potential movies to watch, it was actually looking like I could end up watching 40 or 50 movies. I decided to cap it at 30 because I wanted to move on, leaving a lot unwatched, like A Better Tomorrow II, Angel Heart, Dirty Dancing, Fatal Attraction, Hamburger Hill, La Bamba, hell, even Princess Bride! But as with the other years I’ve revisited (1967, 1977, 1985, 1986), I had a good time doing a deep dive into a year’s movie output. What’s next? Since it’s 2018, I now plan on revisiting movies that go back decades, and so I’ll kick it off with a marathon of films from 1968.
Below are all 30 films from 1987 that I watched (in alphabetical order), with links to my thoughts on each — or you can just click on the “1987” tag.
- A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
- Beverly Hills Cop II
- City on Fire
- Creepshow 2
- Empire of the Sun
- Evil Dead II
- Full Metal Jacket
- Good Morning, Vietnam
- Jaws: The Revenge
- Less Than Zero
- Lethal Weapon
- No Way Out
- Planes, Trains and Automobiles
- Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrole
- Prince of Darkness
- Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise
- Some Kind of Wonderful
- The Hidden
- The Last Emperor
- The Lost Boys
- The Monster Squad
- The Pick-up Artist
- The Running Man
- The Untouchables
- Wall Street
As I mentioned a couple of times on my blog, I’ve been looking forward to watching this (the Japanese title is Hirune Hime: Shiranai Watashi no Monogatari). I’m happy to say I wasn’t disappointed, and found it to be a delight — definitely in the vein of Summer Wars and Your Name, if you’re looking to compare it to something (but not necessarily has good as those movies). It’s a tale told in parallel (mixing fairy tale and reality), and it all works beautifully. Very much recommended (my wife enjoyed it as well).
Well, following my 1985, 1967, and 1986 movie marathons, I’m now done with my journey back to 1977. Just like for 1967, I kept it to down to 10 films, and it was pretty easy for me to come up with the list of films to watch — I immediately came up with all 10 (which you’ll find listed below, in alphabetical order), a mix of classics, stuff that I loved as a kid, and stuff I’d never seen but always meant to watch. Yet again, as much as I enjoy watching these old films, I also enjoy taking the time trip back to that particular year — the intensity of watching a bunch of films from one year tells you a lot about that year, as much from what is on screen, to the way the films are put together and acted. What’s next? 1987 of course, and from the list I’ve already started putting together, I think I may hit 50-60 films.
The summer may be pretty much at its end, but we at least got two new episodes of Toco Toco TV this week, part of its promised “Summer Special” block, as we await the start of the next season. They both focus on filmmakers, Noboru Iguchi and Yoshihiro Nishimura, working in the indie horror genre, and are both fascinating in how frank each creator is about the difficulties of making indie films in Japan these days, with budgets for non-mainstream fare hard to come by and a fraction of what they used to be. It was also quite nostalgic for me to see Iguchi walking around Ikebukuro, the part of Tokyo where I lived for over 13 years.
40 movies in, I’m finally putting an end to my 1986 run of movies. Following the 1985 run of 30 movies I watched at the start of the year, I took my time on this one by not forcing myself to watch them in a marathon manner like I did for 1985. I had a really great time watching all of these, and although there are still a few more movies I could have included, I thought 40 was a good number to end on. Yes, I’m already thinking of exploring 1987 later this year, but I’ll take a break for now — my next film exploration run will be 1977, which I’ll cap at 10, just like I did for 1967.
Below are all 40 films from 1986 that I watched (in alphabetical order), with links to my thoughts on each — or you can just click on my “1986” tag.
- Big Trouble in Little China
- Black Moon Rising
- Blue Velvet
- Crocodile Dundee
- Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
- Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives
- Heartbreak Ridge
- Little Shop of Horrors
- Maximum Overdrive
- Peggy Sue Got Married
- Police Academy 3: Back in Training
- Pretty in Pink
- Psycho III
- River’s Edge
- Running Scared
- Short Circuit
- Something Wild
- Stand by Me
- Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
- The Big Easy
- The Color of Money
- The Delta Force
- The Fly
- The Golden Child
- The Karate Kid Part II
- The Mission
- The Money Pit
- The Name of the Rose
- The Transformers: The Movie
- The Wraith
- Three Amigos
- Top Gun
I was quite looking forward to watching this film. I’ve never read the manga series it’s based on, but I quite like the stuff that Polygon Pictures has worked on of late (Knights of Sidonia, Ajin), and I really dig the cel-shaded CG they produce. I did quite like the visuals, but I somehow never managed to really get into it, and it took me a few viewing sessions to get through it — I was just kinda… bored. The setting is pretty bleak and lacks visual diversity, and there’s just not much that happens in terms of interesting storytelling. The action sequences are well done though.
My friend Kyle tweeted out that today marks 20 years since the release of the film The End of Evangelion (July 19, 1997). I actually got to see it in theaters in Tokyo that summer, as part of my first visit to Japan, and this made me think back at how much my life changed that year.
It was at the start of May 1997 that I went to the city of Tianjin, China as part of a 10-week program to study Chinese at Nankai University — along with a group of students from McGill University and the Université de Montréal (where I was studying in their East Asian Studies program). The first day I was in China, I would meet the Japanese woman who is now my wife (it took a few weeks before we actually got together though). At the end of the 10 weeks, the entire group returned to Montreal, but I decided to stay — yeah, because of the girl — and so enrolled at the university there to continue my Chinese studies.
During that summer, my wife had returned to Japan (it was the university’s summer break) and I decided to go visit her for two weeks. That would be my first visit to Japan, a place I would later call home for over 15 years.
My wife is originally from Kobe, and so that’s where I went. By boat. It was a two-day journey from the port of Tianjin to the port of Kobe, and it was an amazing way to slowly take in Japan, small island by small island, until we reached the port. I still have vivid memories of listening to Fugazi’s Repeater on my walkman, while taking in the sight of Kobe as we approached.
I stayed a couple of days in Kobe, but for the majority of the trip we were in Tokyo, staying at one of my wife’s friends. It’s during that trip that I got to go see The End of Evangelion, which was my introduction to the series — I knew zero Japanese, and considering how, ahem, narratively adventurous that movie is (especially the ending), you can imagine what a trip it was to take in. That July also marked the release of Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke, which I also went to see at the theater (and as I mentioned recently, it may have been my first taste of Ghibli).
I still have quite a few vivid memories from that trip — like the first time I watched Mecha Mecha Iketeru, a comedy series on TV starring the comedy duo of 99, who I’ve continued to love for 20 years. I also bought a PlayStation while I was there to bring back with me to China, and the first words of Japanese I really learned where while playing Tomb Raider and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night in Japanese.
After the trip, we both returned together to Tianjin by boat (this time taking 4 days because of a tsunami), and would end up staying in China until the end of that year — at which point we went to Montreal for one semester so I could get the missing credits I needed for the program I was doing, before moving to Tokyo at the start of May 1998.
I’m certainly thankful for the interesting journey my life has taken, as well as for all of the unexpected swerves I’ve decided to take a chance on and follow.
Bond fanatic that I am, seeing this article in the Japan Times about the making of You Only Live Twice sure put a big smile on my face — it coincides with the 50th anniversary of the film’s release in Japan. Makes me want to watch it yet again (even though I re-watched it last year).