At work, one of my supervisors asked everyone, “what were your top 5 films of the last 5 years?” This question was surprisingly difficult to answer for many people, including myself. Apparently our movie memories are incredibly scatterbrained. It actually took me a solid day to think about what films truly made an impression on me in the last half-decade. For me, I chose films that left me thinking or provoked me, not the films that were necessarily “pleasant” to watch. So here were my answers.
(the films are all over the place, time-wise because they’re 5 films I’d watched in the last 5 years, not ones that were made in the last 5 years)
5. The Bridge ** (trigger warning: deals with suicide)
This particularly upsetting documentary tells the stories of people who ended their lives by throwing themselves off of the Golden Gate Bridge. The narratives are also spliced with video footage of people trying to throw themselves off of the bridge, and some actually managing to do so. I remember watching this for a film class and intensely discussing the ethics of film-making.
There’s an even more fascinating “behind-the-scenes” interview segment with the film crew, who try to justify their project. I remember one particularly problematic moment where one of them recalled being on surveillance duty on the bridge with a camera. When he first saw a person jump, he said he first made sure the camera was on, then called the suicide hot line. It’s horrifying to hear, but then, when our culture is so obsessed with preserving the moments rather than actually living them with our social media mechanisms and apps, is it really surprising?
4. The Tree of Life
I found the actual viewing experience of this to be quite boring – someone I know described the nature scenes as being akin to a “long screensaver” which is brilliant – but the family story was quite moving for me. And you know, it’s just so beautifully shot. I remember the film very vividly.
3. No Country for Old Men
Javier Bardem’s feminine bob, his ruthless expression, and super gun are one of the most terrifying things I had ever seen on screen.
And this scene made me want to run out of the theatre.
2. Sunset Boulevard
Gloria Swanson’s extremely affected manner of speaking and moving are what made this film so memorable for me. And the deranged motion of her mouth as she utters, “I’m the greatest staaaaar of them alllllll…..”with that crazy gleam in her eye is stuff your nightmares are made.
The kidnapping-a-Mormon-missionary-by-a-former-beauty-pageant-and-having-sex-with-him-for-three-days story is just too strange. On top of that, Joyce McKinney (the kidnapper) is possibly the battiest woman (and a wonderful performer/interviewer on-camera). There is also a really random derailing of the plot about cloned puppies, too. Yes! World’s first cloned puppies! I can’t even explain how crazy this movie is to you, and how many WTF moments there are. But I’ll tell you my favourite WTF quote from her:
Interviewer: Do you think men can be raped?
McKinney: No, a guy either wants to have sex with a woman or he doesn’t. That’s like putting a marshmallow in a parking meter.
The conclusion: I apparently only like disturbing and sad films. What are your top 5 movies of the last 5 years?