My Top Ten Willem Dafoe Movies

Happy Birthday to Willem Dafoe, who is 62 tomorrow.

I have to admit that I’m not necessarily a huge fan of Dafoe. I think he’s a decent actor & has been in an interesting range of films but my main reason for even giving him much thought is probably because he’s one of so few actors from my home state. Why are there so few famous people from my state?!

As with all my actor top tens, these are ranked from my least favorite to favorite movie instead of by performance (Although, to be honest, number one is probably my favorite performance as well. He’s awesome in that!). So here are My Top Ten Willem Dafoe Movies:

The Rest That I’ve Seen:

18. The English Patient (screw this movie)
17. Speed 2: Cruise Control
16. American Dreamz
15. American Psycho
14. Cry-Baby
13. Born On The Fourth Of July
12. The Last Temptation Of Christ
11. Clear And Present Danger (barely remember it, to be honest)

Top Ten:

10. TIE: The Fault In Our Stars & Daybreakers

9. Odd Thomas

8. The Spider-Man Movies

7. The Aviator

6. Streets Of Fire

5. Platoon

4. John Wick

3. The Hunger

2. eXistenZ

1. Finding Nemo

Honorable Mention:
Finding Dory, because it’s just a small cameo

Some Of The Many I’ve Not Seen:
To Live And Die In L.A., Mississippi Burning, Wild At Heart, Body Of Evidence, Basquiat, The Boondock Saints, Shadow Of The Vampire, Once Upon A Time In Mexico, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, Manderlay, Inside Man, Tales From Earthsea, Antichrist, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Cirque Du Freak, John Carter, Nymphomaniac Vol II, The Grand Budapest Hotel

My Top Ten Video Game Movies

After watching Warcraft: The Beginning last week, I started thinking about other movies based on video games. I thought Warcraft wasn’t too bad (as far as these adaptations go) and thought it may actually be one of the better ones.

For this, I worked off the list of video game movie adaptations at Wikipedia. It turns out that I’ve seen hardly any (Warcraft, Silent Hill, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider & Alone In The Dark). That’s it! And, wow – other than Warcraft, those movies are absolute shit. In fact, Alone In The Dark was so bad that a bunch of us bloggers watched it at the same time while trashing it in the Comments section for Shitfest at The IPC (you can check that post out HERE – it was good fun!). Therefore, I can now officially declare that Warcraft: The Beginning is the best film based on a video game that I’ve seen!

So what the heck is this top ten all about? At the above Wikipedia link, there’s another section entitled “Films With Plots Centered On Video Games“. Yes! There are some great movies in this section! Why is it that movies in which video games play a big part are often so good but it seems that no one can turn an actual video game into a decent movie?

I admit to being lazy this time & working only off the Wikipedia list but their lists are never complete. If you can think of other video game based movies, let me know. As always, though, my Top Tens only contain movies that I’ve actually seen. I’m hoping that once Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Ernest Cline’s awesome Ready Player One comes out that it’ll be a very high addition to this list. I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am for that one – I absolutely loved that book & Spielberg is the perfect choice to be directing it! ๐Ÿ™‚

Okay – here are My Top Ten Movies With Plots Centered On Video Games (counting down to my favorite):

10. Pixels
Ugh! What a huge disappointment this was but I have to see more video game movies before I can knock this off the list…

9. Nightmares (segment: The Bishop Of Battle)

8. Scott Pilgrim Vs The World

7. TRON: Legacy

6. Summer Wars

5. The Last Starfighter

4. Wreck-It Ralph

3. TRON

2. eXistenZ

1. WarGames

A Few I Haven’t Seen But Want To Mention:

– Angry Birds

I have somehow so far avoided having the kid drag me to this one. ๐Ÿ™‚

Arcade & Brainscan

For years I was slightly obsessed with finding a mid-90’s movie I saw part of in which teens were being killed inside a video game. Some kind people on this blog informed me that it sounded like Brainscan. Thank you, kind people! But I’m now thinking it may actually be the movie Arcade. Hmm! I have to track both these movies down to know for sure…

The FP

Speaking of movie obsessions, I’ve been somewhat obsessed with wanting to watch this 2011 movie ever since I heard about it. Here’s the synopsis from IMDB:

In a post apocalyptic future, two rival gangs fight for control of Frazier Park by playing “Beat Beat Revelation”, a deadly version of Dance, Dance, Revolution(TM).

Are you shitting me?! That sounds like the best bad movie EVER! But I don’t think it became some big cult classic so maybe it’s not as goodbad as it sounds. But I still badly want to see it.

My Top Ten Jennifer Jason Leigh Movies

Happy Birthday to Jennifer Jason Leigh, who turns 54 tomorrow!

Leigh is of course up for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in The Hateful Eight at the end of this month so it seemed like a good time to do a top ten. BUT! I have not yet seen The Hateful Eight… I will at some point as I do like Tarantino and then I suppose I can update this list as I’m hoping it’ll easily make the top ten??

At the moment, I’ve seen exactly ten of Leigh’s films (the other one that I really want to see besides The Hateful Eight is Rush). So, right now, these are My Top Ten Jennifer Jason Leigh MOVIES (not roles), counting down to my favorite:

10. Single White Female

9. Backdraft

8. Dolores Claiborne

7. The Spectacular Now

6. The Machinist

5. The Jacket

4. Road To Perdition

3. The Hitcher

2. eXistenZ

1. Fast Times At Ridgemont High

My Top Ten Movies Watched At Home In 2015

I’ll be posting a list of My Top Ten 2015 Movies (by UK release date) tomorrow but, as always, I also like to do a list of my favorite older films that I watched at home for the first time in the past year. I watch more movies at home in a year than I do in the cinema so it seems silly to ignore them as there are often some great ones that I’ve just seen for the first time.

I keep a full (sadly ranked!) list of what I watch throughout the year HERE and see that I watched 73 films at home in 2015. Yikes! That seems excessive. Well, I’ll admit that I don’t pay attention to half of them as they’re playing in the background while I do other stuff (especially those really shitty movies I’ve ranked at the very bottom of the list of 73). But I loved some of them so I’d like to highlight not just ten but the top fifteen. You should all know by now that I can’t ever make a top ten list only containing ten things! ๐Ÿ˜‰ But I did manage no ties…

So here are My Top Ten Movies Watched At Home In 2015 counting down to my very favorite (including the next five as honorable mentions). I’m proud that I’ve managed to review the full Top Ten other than my number one. Hmm… I really should say something about that one!

Honorable Mentions:

15. Miracle Mile
14. The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three (1974)
13. The Unbelievable Truth
12. Waxwork
11. Ladies And Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains

Top Ten:

10. eXistenZ

9. Melancholia

8. Short Term 12

7. Dredd

6. We Are The Best!

5. Road House

4. Escape From Alcatraz

3. The Last Unicorn

2. Grave Of The Fireflies

1. Escape From New York

I wanted to keep this list simple so I’ve said nothing about any of these movies. But feel free to discuss them with me in the comments! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll say it was pretty easy deciding the order for these but I did have a hard time deciding which movie to put at number one for tomorrow’s list. Number one & two were so close! But I still managed no ties for tomorrow.

My Top Ten Body Horror Movies

***WARNING: NASTY IMAGES***

This list wasn’t easy to create as it was hard deciding what movies I consider to be part of the “body horror” subgenre. While researching this to get an idea of what movies most often tend to be considered body horror, I also managed to see enough gory images to last me a lifetime. Yikes. Guess my love of the David-Cronenberg-style of body horror is pretty tame & mainstream stuff!

First of all, I’ll give you Wikipedia’s definition:

Body horror is horror fiction in which the horror is principally derived from the graphic destruction or degeneration of the body. Such works may deal with decay, disease, parasitism, mutation, or mutilation. Other types of body horror include unnatural movements, or the anatomically incorrect placement of limbs to create “monsters” from human body parts. David Cronenberg, Frank Henenlotter, Brian Yuzna, Stuart Gordon, Lloyd Kaufman, and Clive Barker are notable directors of this genre.

I totally agree with the directors listed by Wikipedia – their films are the exact ones I’ve always had in mind when I’ve heard the term “Body Horror”.

Here’s a boring, rambling bit that no one has to read: It’s become a little joke with my hubby that my top ten lists often come with rules that exclude the Alien series of films (for the record, I think the first two films are pretty much the greatest things ever created & they’d top every list if I always included them). Such as, I don’t count them as “horror” so always say they don’t count in any “horror” lists that I do. Well, I’m once again not including Alien/Aliens as, while what happens to the body falls into the “body horror” definition, the body horror aspect is not the main focus of those films. The one other questionable one is John Carpenter’s The Thing and I went back & forth on whether to include it. The body horror is focused on much more than in the Alien films but it’s once again not the main focus. Plus, it seems too good to be included with the likes of the other movies on my list. Well, I’ve included it mainly so people don’t yell at me but it means it’s my number one by far. ๐Ÿ˜‰

What I’ve Not Seen:

I’ll also point out that I’ve of course only seen a handful of “Body Horror” movies so, if I’ve not seen them, they won’t be on the list. I had wanted to do a body horror week but just haven’t had the time to get anything watched for it other than Cronenberg’s Shivers & Rabid. Maybe next October – I can always update this list! Most films in this genre are really too gross for me (I like my gore old & quite fake-looking) but the two I had really hoped to see before making this list were Altered States & Tetsuo: The Iron Man. So don’t ask why they (and the Alien films) are not on the list!!!!! (Someone will as no one reads these damn intros). ๐Ÿ˜‰

Enough blathering! Here are MY Top Ten Body Horror Movies counting down to my favorite:

10. TIE: From Beyond & Re-Animator

9. Basket Case

8. TIE: The Brood & Scanners

7. Night Of The Creeps

6. Videodrome

5. eXistenZ

4. Society

3. Slither

2. The Fly (1986)

1. The Thing (1982)

Honorable Mentions:
The Evil Dead
Shivers
Rabid
Teeth
The Toxic Avenger
Splice

I’ve Not Seen:
Tetsuo: The Iron Man
Altered States
Tusk

eXistenZ (1999) Review

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eXistenZ (1999)

Directed & Written by David Cronenberg

Starring: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jude Law, Ian Holm, Don McKellar, Callum Keith Rennie, Sarah Polley, Christopher Eccleston, Willem Dafoe

Running time: 97 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A game designer on the run from assassins must play her latest virtual reality creation with a marketing trainee to determine if the game has been damaged.

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My Opinion:

I’d call myself a David Cronenberg fan although there are quite a few movies of his from recent years that I haven’t seen. Looking at everything he’s directed, all my favorites are from 1979 to 1986. This is when he was at his body horror best and I far preferred that style to the more realistic violence of things like A History Of Violence (although it’s a good film). I suppose that’s why I haven’t gotten around to watching more of his post-1986 movies. 1999’s eXistenZ is a return, somewhat, to the older Cronenberg that I like best. It’s certainly not as good as The Fly, Videodrome, The Brood, etc, but I did enjoy it and it’s made me want to try harder to watch the rest of his films that I’ve not seen.

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I find that a lot of these older “virtual reality” movies don’t really age well. That sort of thing is so much more advanced than we’d have thought possible even back in 1999 so, although it may have been groundbreaking at the time(?), that side of things isn’t as impressive when watching this for the first time in 2015. Just like Snow Crash was a great book in 1992 but it’s weird that they’re choosing to make it into a film now (although I’m really anxious to see if they manage to do a good job with that one!). Can I just say that I think it should be a law or something that any cyberpunk film being made nowadays should have a score by Daft Punk? Yes, I did like TRON: Legacy more than a lot of people seemed to. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Hey – since I’m totally off track now (I’ll get back to eXistenZ in a minute), can someone please tell me the name of a horror movie I caught part of on cable in maybe 1996/1997 or so where these teenagers were being killed inside a video game? No, I can’t even name any of the actors in it. I’ve been trying to find out what that movie was for years now… Okay – back to eXistenZ!

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I didn’t hate Jude Law in this! I mean, I didn’t love him but he was totally tolerable. I also thought Jennifer Jason Leigh was very good – I’ve always thought she was a bit of an odd one but this role really “fit” her. Maybe she should have done more strange films like this one? And I loved her hair! I liked the partially crimped thing she had at first and then how it was fully done while in the virtual world. I know I sound like a girly girl going on about a hairstyle but, looking back on how this movie ended, I’m thinking the hair is kind of important to figuring out what the hell is going on… Amiright?! Probably not but, if I watch this again, I’m going to watch her hair more closely throughout it. I thought she was really pretty in this, actually – I never really thought that about her. I’d have to say this is my favorite role of hers now.

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The story in eXistenZ first felt pretty straightforward, then was a bit all over the place Cronenberg-style, then the ending felt a bit “really? that’s it?! I could have guessed that but it seemed too simple!”. But maybe it’s NOT that simple? I suppose it’s one of those movies that could do with a second (or third) viewing to fully understand what’s going on but I often like to think there’s more to movies than there really is. I’m sure I missed some symbolism (other than the usual, obvious vaginal thing that Cronenberg loves, this time in the form of a “port” in people’s lower backs that they use to link directly into Leigh’s virtual reality game. with a cord that looks like a cross between an umbilical cord & a penis, of course!). It was pretty gross, actually. I loved it! Very Cronenberg. As was a very cool “gun” made out of bones & human teeth.

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There are several big names in this so it was surprising that they all had pretty small roles (Ian Holm, Christopher Eccleston, Willem Dafoe). They’re not necessarily unimportant roles but Law & Leigh are in it the most by far, so it’s good that they worked really well for the film & had a good chemistry. Perhaps it’s why this film isn’t as big as some of Cronenberg’s others, though, as the two main stars weren’t exactly big names compared to other films he’d done (Law is more famous now than I remember him being in 1999). Plus, they’re a bit younger and they’re attractive so it almost feels like this movie is aimed more at a younger generation but I don’t think a young audience (early twenties) will have gone for this movie as it’s far too “strange” for a time when American Pie was the big movie of the year. (I’m not trashing American Pie – I like that one too).

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Anyway, eXistenZ passed me by at the time (as I think it did a lot of other people) but, although it’s not as good as Cronenberg’s very best, it’s still of a similar sort of style to his best films and I enjoyed it. There’s just enough “WTF?” and “that’s kind of disgusting” moments to keep Cronenberg fans happy but I’d probably only recommend this one to his fans.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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