I’m filing this in the “On Anime” section because it seems to fit there, but what I want to recommend here is what has turned into my current favorite podcast, and that’s Patrick Macias‘ TokyoScope. It was launched last year through Patreon, and it took me until recently to finally create a Patreon account to subscribe, but I’m so glad I did. I’m still making my way through all the archives, but this is basically people I like (Patrick, of course, but Matt Alt is a regular throughout) talking about stuff that I like (Japanese pop culture, old and new, with a focus on classic anime). Listening to chats about old Godzilla films or just what was hot in 1979 is pretty much my jam, and it’s incredibly fun — feels like you’re sitting in the corner of a dingy izakaya with Patrick and friends, chilled mug of Yebisu in hand. Oh, and each post on Patreon that accompanies a new episode is always filled with great imagery.
And although I had already started my Leijiverse journey (that’s still going strong) before I started listening to the podcast, it was all the episodes with mentions of Yamato (Star Blazers) that got me to finally watch some — I decided to start with the fairly recent Space Battleship Yamato 2199, which is a retelling of the original series.
Last week I watched a new indie sci-fi movie called Archive, that I really enjoyed, but I was especially taken by a song that was used during a scene (in which one of the main characters puts on the music and starts dancing). The track is called “It’s Time to Wake Up,” it’s mostly sung in French, and it’s from a band called La Femme (from a record called Psycho Tropical Berlin that was released in 2013).
Back in May I saw a friend of mine share on Twitter that he was starting something called the “30-day Film Challenge,” and so I decided to give it a go as well. You are basically to answer a question a day by highlighting a film, following the instructions below.
Below, a round-up of my 30 answers.
The first film I remember watching? I don’t really have a memory of it, but I’ve been told by my parents that Dumbo was the first movie I watched. I have vague memories of seeing the original Star Wars though.
Favorite movie that starts with the first letter of my name? That’s pretty easy, Jodorowsky’s Dune is one of my all-time favorite movies. A fascinating look at what could have been — and it’s maybe even for the best that it was never completed, because it later gave us The Incal.
A film with a title that’s over 5 words? Well, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension is a pretty good one at 9. This is also making me want to revisit this movie, haven’t watched it in decades.
A movie with a number in the title? I guess I’m cheating a bit by highlighting a trilogy, but I was absolutely obsessed with Kieslowski’s Three Colors trilogy, and can’t remember if I liked one more than another. I’d also add his terrific 10-part Decalogue series.
A film with a character that has a job I want? The September Issue is a fantastic documentary, and despite loving working in the games industry, I still sometimes dream of producing a magazine, from top to bottom.
My favorite animated film? That one’s too easy, Akira. I didn’t even have to think about it. It’s also one of my favorite films of all time, period — I even included in the list of “5 perfect films” I recently shared.
A film I never tire of? Outside of the Bond films, The Breakfast Club is the one film that I revisit regularly (probably every couple of years), and still enjoy it just as much as I first did every single time. Certainly a timeless film for me.
A film where I liked the soundtrack more? I can’t think of one, since for me soundtrack goes hand in hand with the movie. If I was to highlight one though, it would probably have to be Reservoir Dogs.
A film I hate that everyone likes? Hate is a strong word, but I’m pretty indifferent to the Harry Potter movies — I’ve seen them all, and don’t particularly care for any of them.
My favorite superhero movie? I could point to stuff like Logan, the first Deadpool movie, the first Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor Ragnarok, or Nolan’s The Dark Knight, but I don’t think anything has been as visually stunning and satisfying as Into the Spider-verse.
A movie I like from a genre I don’t like? I guess I don’t much care for rom coms in general, but I sure love Pretty in Pink.
A film I hate from my favorite genre? I don’t like highlighting things I hate, and fave genre is hard to define, but if I were to pick action/adventure as the genre, my most disappointing film would probably be Crystal Skull, since the Indy series is something I love so much.
A film that put me in deep thoughts? I still have fond memories of seeing Lost Highway in the theater with my roommates, and then going to a diner after to discuss what the hell we had just watched.
A film that depressed me? I don’t know if Grave of the Fireflies is a good answer, but even though I think it’s a very well made film, I’ve never rewatched this because of how sad it made me feel.
A film that makes me happy? I think there are many, but it’s hard to go wrong with Totoro, which is also still my favorite Ghibli film.
A film that’s personal to me? Not really sure how to approach this. I guess maybe Breakfast Club is a movie that really speaks to me, but I don’t want to repeat movies in this thing, so for some reason, Hal Hartley’s Flirt is popping into my head.
My favorite film sequel? I mean, can there be any other answer than Evil Dead 2? Groovy.
A film that stars my favorite actor? Not quite sure why, but when I think about who could be my favorite actor, Jake Gyllenhaal comes to mind. I really enjoy so many of his performances, and his role picks. Sure, Donnie Darko is a classic, but I’ll highlight Enemy.
A film by my favorite director? Currently my favorite director is probably Denis Villeneuve, but one name that comes to mind from my decades of movie watching is Zhang Yimou, and I’ll highlight Raise the Red Lantern.
A film that changed my life? After 2 years at university (studying math) I freaked out, not happy. Watching The Last Emperor got me to take a class in Chinese history the next semester, which led to a History Major, which led to Asian Studies, which sent me to China, and eventually Japan.
A film I dozed off while watching? It’s never happened, and until recently I’ve always been pretty adamant about finishing movies I start. But my stance on this has changed recently, and Detective Pikachu was a movie that I stopped watching after about 15 minutes because I was bored.
A film that made me angry? A Life Less Ordinary is what comes to mind. I was so excited to see it, being such a fan of Danny Boyle, and the whole time watching it I just couldn’t stand it. It’s the only time I remember really wanting to walk out of the theatre halfway through.
A film by a director who has passed away? I was going to highlight Satoshi Kon and Perfect Blue, but there’s no denying that Alfred Hitchcock is one of my favorite filmmakers, and there are so many films of his I love. I highlight Vertigo, but could have been many more.
A film I wish I saw in theaters? Having a hard time with this one as I don’t go to the theater much anymore (mostly prefer watching movies at home), but do go see special things like Bond and Star Wars movies. I would have said Akira, but used that already, so how about Mamoru Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell.
A film I like not set in this current era? There are many movies I’ve already highlighted that would fit the bill, but let’s bring in the visual feast that is Ran.
A film I like that is adapted from somewhere? There are so many great films based on books, so I’ll just pick Fight Club, because why not.
A film that’s visually striking? I find In the Mood for Love to be one of the most beautiful and stylish things ever.
A film that made me feel uncomfortable? I’m sure there are many, but Irréversible is what immediately came to mind.
A film that makes me want to fall in love? Pretty easy answer for me. I do quite like the entire trilogy, but the first one, Before Sunrise, is absolutely the best.
A film with my favorite ending? Feels like it’s easier to remember the bad ones than the good ones. But if I was to highlight the most memorable one, it has to be Planet of the Apes (the original one).