Photo Reflection of the Day #163: Fireball Flower with a Splash

Fireball Flower with a Splash - 2015-08-29_12-48-40

What Is It

A flower with a yellow and reddish center and then red and yellow pedals.


Why It's Today's Pick

Out again on another walk, I came across these gorgeous flowers.  They remind me of fire balls with their mixture of yellows and reds.  In the last 6-8 years, I have definitely become one who stops to smell (or at least look at or snap a photo of) the flowers.  But I'm amazed at how much more I'm noticing front yard landscapes and their choices of flowers, plants, herbs, and crops.  I'm also not too surprised how my own neighborhood which I walk/run through quite regularly continues to surprise me with gems like this. 

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Photo Reflection of the Day #162: Any FriendShip in a Storm

Any FriendShip in a Storm - 20150821_191156

What Is It

Derby Wharf with the Friendship Tall Ship as a storm moves onto Salem.



Why It's Today's Pick

Every since my wife taught me that the grayish hue between clouds and land in the background was in fact rain, I'm now mesmerized by this idea of being able to see a rain storm without being in it.  Thus to be on a boat where it isn't raining and watch the rain to the left and right of the Friendship is pretty cool.  I also like this photo because it gets the full space while also capturing the foreboding clouds.  This seems like a photo that could be enhanced and made more vivid by being turned into a painting.

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Photo Reflection of the Day #161: Clouds Closing In on Salem

Clouds Closing In on Salem - 20150821_183949

What Is It

Downtown Salem as a storm makes its way in.  

Why It's Today's Pick

It's that time of year where thunderstorms become a bit of the norm.  Lots of humidity and heat and thunderstorms arrive almost as quickly as they disappear.  I happen to be parking my car at the downtown parking lot in Salem and went to the top floor, which doesn't have a roof and got to witness the approaching storm.  That wave of clouds seems so oppressive and ready to just take over.  I love the eve of a storm, where one can feel the changing weather.  Often this includes the rustling of wind but also a quieting that takes place and of course, a light drop in temperature--if not extreme then at least because the sun is no longer bearing down.   

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

My Top 101 Films Part 10 (of 10) (Finally!!!)

And we finally get to the end!  It only took a year or two.  Here's the running list of previous entries!

Stand by Me (1986)

The wild and coming-of-age adventures of four boys as they travel to discover a dead body is pure Americana.  It may seem a little morbid by today's standards and yet for many I grew up with this was a powerful and moving story--still is.  The childhood antics (debating who is better, Superman or Mighty Mouse) contrast with the flashbacks of a lost brother and disconnected parents and comes to a head when confronting the dead body and the older gang.  Filled with an impressive cast of people who have gone on to other fascinating projects and a great sound track, it's a great film to watch again and again.     
The trailer for this film can be found here.

Swing Kids (1993)

It's like a quasi-musical.  No really signing, but plenty of music and plenty of dancing.  This paired with Newsies and you have a early Christian Bale singing and dancing mini-marathon that is delightful.  Coupled with Newsies is and interesting dialogue because one offers a criticism of unbridled fascism and the other critiques unbridled capitalism (which is also present within Rent--ok, who's surprised by that pattern in my movie selections?).  But Swing Kids was the first film to introduce me to ideas about popular culture and it as a form of cultural resistance.  That is, the film fixates on how music was a focus point and means of resistance.  It's strange but I never entirely realized how much this film has in common in parts with Footloose--another film that I am fond of (though it did not make the list).  
The trailer for this film can be found here.


Station Agent (2003)

DVD Cover - Station Agent
I implore you to watch this film.  If you watch Game of Thrones or just want to see an amazing performance by Peter Dinklage, this is an essential film.  He is amazing and when I first saw this film, I fell in love with Dinklage as an actor.  Though he speaks so very little, there is so much complexity in his body language and performance.  If you want to understand why he was chosen for Game of Thrones, it's worth looking at, but if you just want to see a powerful performance, you still need to see it.  The film focuses on three lost-souls.  The main character is a short person who inherits a station from his close and recently-departed friend.  There is also Patricia Clarkson who plays a mother who has lost her child, and Bobby Cannavale, a young guy operating a food truck whose father is sick.  The three make the oddest grouping possible, but it works so amazingly well.  
The trailer for this film can be found here.


The Thing (1982)

DVD Cover - The Thing - Carpenter
I generally like John Carpenter's works, but I never really watched The Thing until I was an adult and teaching a horror course.  Then, it became one of my favorite horror films.  Since then, I have read and appreciated the novella it is based upon, John Campbell's Who Goes There.  So much of the drama and horror focuses on the idea of not knowing who is the alien or not.  A narrative clearly evocative of a communist regime, the film works in numerous ways to make views feel claustrophobic, distrustful of everyone, and anxious about what it might mean to not resolve the question of who goes there.  The film has some great features to it including point-of-view camera shots that prove frustrating to the viewer because you know there are things beyond your vision.  The sound track also proves to provide an oppressive and haunting heartbeat that lingers throughout the film--it almost makes one wonder if it is the film or their own heartbeat.  
The trailer for this film can be found here.


Trainspotting (1996)

DVD Cover - Trainspotting
Beyond the Scottish dialect and the mayhem that makes up the film, the film goes down in my own personal history for the first film that I watched that included a full frontal shot of a male.  I applaud Ewan McGregor (who does this again in another film years later) for this (and for Danny Boyle for including it).  I found this an impressive statement given how rare such shots are.  But the film itself is such a fascinating pastishe of the hardcore drug life and McGregor's character gives us the full tour from the highs to the lows.  In some of its more funky scenes, it reminds me a great deal of A Clockwork Orange--there is a hyperactivity about both films which seems present.  There is also moments that are genuinely strange and freaky--such as the baby on the ceiling scene (you'll have to see it to get it).  I believe there is going to be a sequel to this that will include most of the main actors and Danny Boyle as director as well.  
The trailer for this film can be found here.


Trollhunter (2010)

DVD Cover - Troll Hunter
If you are looking for another great Scandanavian horror film on this list (the first being the Swedish Let The Right One In), then Trollhunter is you rnext option.  This film follows a group of documentarians as they stumble upon real trolls and a whole network for trollhunters wardens who are meant to keep them frome ever being made known to the public.  Lots of great scenery is coupled with tense and terse moments throughout the film in the Norweigan woodlands as the characters continue to record their own demise.  It is largely invocative of The Blair Witch Project in its execution but still feels it has something unique to offer.  The trolls--which are largely kept in the dark--do make several direct appearances and the films makes them reasonably troll-like without feeling entirely ridiculous.  
The trailer for this film can be found here.


Unbreakable (2000)

Back in the day, when M. Night Shyamalan made some interesting movies--until we all realized that his gimmick was to keep everyone in suspense and confusion until the last ten minutes of the film when he unlocked it all.  Regardless of the fact that this is how he has done nearly every movie, I still have an appreciated of Unbreakable as a modern-day (and mayhaps post-modern) telling of a superhero story.  I also like that there is not entirely an origin story--dead parents, magic-bestowing elder, power-granting rays from a moonrock, etc--but rather the story focuses on the character's discovery of his powers, more so than why he must fight crime (we get this by proxy--protecting his family, but it's not so explicit).  The final reveal of the villain proves to be just the start of the journey and in some ways, one could argue takes away from the development because the villain appears to be just a villain for villain's sake--not necessarily as full formed as the hero.  Regardless, it proves one of the better narratives about a superhero coming into his own.  
The trailer for this film can be found here.


United States of Leland (2003)

DVD Cover - United States of Leland
For all those Ryan Gosling fans, all I can say is that I saw him first--in this film and you really should too.  Like the above mentioned Station Agent, this was a film I saw early on that secured my respect and interest in all things Ryan Gosling.  His role in this film is fascinating and his acting is amazing.  He plays the titular, Leland who has killed his girlfriend's little brother without reason.  He is now in juvenile detention and everyone wants to know why he did it.  Other performances are strong in this film, but it's Gosling who commands every scene he is through his poise and body language.  The desire to get inside of his head drives everyone--even the viewer to keep eyes focused on a young man who is clearly intelligent and sensitive but has committed a most-heinous act. 
The trailer for this film can be found here.


Watchmen (2009)

DVD Cover - Watchmen
For some, I may have lost all disrespect, but as I've said before in this blog, I'm a fan of adaptation and I do not expect tit for tat.  I'm curious in the ways a narrative will evolve in another medium and I rather like what they did with Watchmen.  I think to fully appreciate it, it's probably useful to rely on all three elements of Watchmen--the film itself, The Tale of the Black Freighter and Under the Hood, as these films provide the full richness that is the original comic, Watchmen.  I found the adaptation with its use of music, updated technology, and chosen actors to be rather well chosen.  I think for many people, the film doesn't feel as powerful as the comic, but again, that often has to do with two things.  One is that they have already read the comic and using it as a comparision.  The other is that Watchmen is a powerful narrative, but we have to remember it was written in the 1980s and has been influential enough in our narratives that many of its core ideas are already mainstream ideas in television and film.  
The trailer for this film can be found here.


Whale Rider (2002)

This proves both a beautiful and heart-warming film.  Set in New Zealand and focused on a Maori tribe as it reconciles an aging chief and no apparent male heir.  The protagonist, Paikea Apiran (Pai), is the grand-daughter but the grandfather refuses to believe that  a woman could lead the tribe.  What follows is Pai's constant challenges to show she is worthy while her grandfather grows increasingly angry and distant.  The contrast between the adorable and stubborn Pai is met with an equally adorable and stubborn grandfather.  The film's power lay in the clear love between these characters and their refusual to accept each other in their ways.  
The trailer for this film can be found here.


Wizard of Oz (1939)

It feels quite right to end with this one.  The Wizard of Oz is still a favorite of mine in all its technicolor glory.  As fantasy films go, it still holds up decades later.  And to those who hate remakes, you should know that Wizard of Oz is indeed a remake.  But the film is just a fantastic trip to another world and of course, down memory lane since it's one of the earliest films (besides Star Wars) that I can remember watching regularly when growing up.  Despite the hokey outfits--today I imagine they would all be CGI characters--the film and its atmosphere works and easily transports the view to Oz and all its majesty.  
The trailer for this film can be found here.


So that's all 101 films...finally!  What are some of your favorite films and why?  Post them in the comments!

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Photo Reflection of the Day #160: I think this is a Caterpillar?

I think this is a Caterpillar?

What Is It

A funky little fellow I stumbled upon during a walk this week.  

Why It's Today's Pick

It's times like these, I appreciate how much I have taken to walking and running around in my neighborhood.  On an early morning while doing my cool down walk from my run, I walked by this guy.  I walked by it and questioned what I just saw and went back.  It is a curious fellow and I've never seen anything like it. I watched it for a few minutes without it moving too much and decided that a photo of this fellow was entirely necessary.  I highly recommend clicking through to Flickr so you can see the photo up close as you can see all sorts of details when you zoom in. 


This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

Creative Commons License
By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Photo Reflection of the Day #159: So Much Pollen--So Little Time

So Much Pollen--So Little Time - 20150819_171214

What Is It

A big sunflower with a bee collecting pollen on it--enough that its legs are yellow.  

Why It's Today's Pick

I know--I keep doing the bee on flowers thing.  Well, it's summer and it's not like I get to do this for much longer.  BEEsides, it's hard to say no to such photos when walking along BEEcause you're never quite sure what other fabulous moments you might come across in a given day.  I like this photo because i don't have the full sunflower--it works to only show part.  It think the bits of pollen on different parts in the flower's center sticks out fairly clearly, especially since the bee is gathering up a far amount of pollen on his wings.  I have to wonder if I would have noticed the pollen on the legs if it was just flying around--rather than being in the center of the flower and invoking the yellow petals.  

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Photo Reflection of the Day #157: #SelfieSunday #23

#SelfieSunday #23 20150822_101707

What Is It

A selfie from a wedding on the Salem Commons.

Why It's Today's Pick

I had the pleasure of attending my wife's best-friend's wedding on Salem Common yesterday--which mean, I had to do the whole clean up thing--suit too.  I figured that would be a great opportunity to take a nice selfie (good professional profile pic, right?).  I don't think I'll ever be entirely comfortable in a suit, but at least I can tie a tie (thank YouTube for learning that skill!).

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Photo Reflection of the Day #158: Because Sometimes, Nostalgia Is Just a Game Controller Away

Because Sometimes, Nostalgia Is Just a Game Controller Away

What Is It

A TV with the "Start Screen" for the SuperNintendo game, Final Fantasy 2 (which is actually Final Fantasy 4).

Why It's Today's Pick

So the other night, I decided I didn't have too much on my to-do list and thought I might enjoy a relaxing evening playing Final Fantasy IV--a game that I have mentioned before in this blog and rather enjoy playing time and again.  I know the game backwards and forwards--but like any good RPG (role playing game), it is like a book--it still holds sway over you for decades later and you long to return to the adventure.  To me, there is little difference between revisiting this game (a  game that can take 20 or more hours to beat) and opening up The Lord of the Rings or the DragonLance series--both of which I enjoyed greatly in my youth.  However, this time around, I decided to make it a bit more interactive and began live-tweeting my gameplay along with pics of particular moments in the game.  When asked why I decided to do this...well, because it was fun and a way of sharing my gaming experience with others--particularly people who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s loving this game and others.  If you want to keep up with the game-play, I'll be posting them to this folder on Flickr.  


This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Photo Reflection of the Day #156: Dark Skies Ahead

Dark Skies Ahead - 20150815_174116

What Is It

A panoramic view of Salem Willows waterfront with an incoming storm.  

Why It's Today's Pick

I highly recommend that you click through on this view as the panoramic photo is pretty awesome.   I love contrast between the light and dark skies.  Towards the right, there was occasional lightning and you could see rain coming down.  It was clear that wind was even working its might on the waters. I also love the grounding of the film--it seems almost perfectly mixing foreground with grass, rocks, and sands, water, and sky.   I haven't played much with the panoramic option on my phone, but now seeing the kind of photos it can take, I will probably do more with this feature.  

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Photo Reflection of the Day #155: Dinner...On the Rocks

Dinner...On the Rocks - 20150815_163223

What Is It

A seagull in mid-flight dropping a clam upon the rocks.

Why It's Today's Pick

I know--seagulls, 2 days in a row!  While enjoying the Salem Jazz Festival at Salem Willows this weekend, My wife, a friend, and I wandered over another waterfront that wasn't as active.  We sat, just enjoying the view and chatting, until we notices that the seagulls were trying to make dinner.  This gull as you can see is in mid-flight, dropping off his dinner to fall upon the rocks.  So the initial action shot I was pretty impressed with as I generally don't go for action shots since I'm only using my cellphone and don't really have a sense of how to do action shots.  However, I was equally impressed when I applied a filter and the light schema of the clouds became so much more pronounced.  If you take out the houses and maybe the boats, you have something that could be a film poster for some independent drama film.  


This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Photo Reflection of the Day #154: 3 Wise Gulls

3 Wise Gulls - 2015-08-15_08-39-03

What Is It

Three seagulls on a brick roof and looking in the same direction.

Why It's Today's Pick

You sometimes just stumble upon a scene that you feel like you might be interrupting.  I happen to look up and saw these three seagulls standing there and all looking off at something.  I found it curious for them to be standing on the wall with almost equal distance between them and looking in the same direction.  I was also intrigued by three different feathering colors.  The traditional solid white and solid gray stood in the middle.  The one on the left is light gray on dark gray and the one on the right is almost solid grey.  I also realized the security camera on the build was looking in the same direction.  Could these seagulls be non-traditional security, ready to attack an intruder or trespasser?  Now that, I need to capture on camera!

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Photo Reflection of the Day #153: Junkyard Sunshine

Junkyard Sunshine - 2015-08-15_08-38-15

What Is It

A yellow flower sticking out from the side of a fence along the sidewalk.


Why It's Today's Pick

So I wouldn't call where I took this a junkyard by any means, but the name just sort of worked.  It was is an area along the street that is largely industrialized and mostly warehouses, so the idea of this vibrant yellow flower emerging from it (among others that were there) makes an interesting visual.  In this photo, I like the strong focus on the blossoming flower and the other buds, while everything else is out of focus.  In a way, it says the background is just noise to its own and prosperity.  The filter also helped to draw out the green and yellow, making it pop to the viewer's eyes. 

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

Creative Commons License
By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Photo Reflection of the Day #152: Morning Dawn in the River

Morning Dawn in the River - 2015-08-15_08-37-04

What Is It

A calm river at low-tide that is reflecting the clouds.

Why It's Today's Pick

Another water-reflection shot.  I'm probably overdoing them--but then again, at least they're not repeated pictures of my cats, so there's that  I just tend to like the contrast and the composition.  Even in this one, the image moves from mud and rocks to water and sky.  it's like capturing the all of the earth (water, sky, earth) but only using two surfaces.  The sun-tinged clouds also draw the eyes--though not nearly as well in the photo as they did in the moment.  Then within all of this, you have the boat that could be floating in the sky above the clouds or upon the water.  My minds sees strange things--what can I say.


This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Photo Reflection of the Day #151: #SelfieSunday #22

#SelfieSunday #22 2015-08-15_08-36-24

What Is It

A selfie of my shadow.

Why It's Today's Pick

I haven't done a selfie since June, despite wanting to do one weekly.  Ooops!  I should get back to that.  This was a fun one to take on my way back from a run.  First, it makes me feel like I'm 100 feet tall and who knew my legs are so long.  With legs like those, you'd think I'd run faster.  This shadow has a fun-house feel to it but that's what comes of taking photos in the early hours of the day.  I wish I was more awake and aware when I took it.  I would have moved over a bit and had the arrow either pointing down at my head or do something else creative using what's on the ground.  Next time, I suppose.  

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

Creative Commons License
By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Photo Reflection of the Day #150: Balling By The Bleahers

Balling By The Bleahers - 2015-08-15_08-35-25

What Is It

A silver baseball on a bleacher near in front of an empty field.  

Why It's Today's Pick

I found this a curious picture.  I'm not even sure if the ball is a fixture of the park or an actual metal baseball or just spray-painted.  But I couldn't resist snapping the photo.  I purposely included the chain-link fence to look through as I feel it added something more--a distanced feeling about the baseball:  something to be seen but not touched.  The colors within this photo were also impressive in that they are largely dark and dull, except for the ball which seems the only bright spot in the frame.  

This submission is part of the 365 Challenge.  For 2015's submissions, check out this link to all the posts.  For access to all photos, which open for reuse under a Creative Commons License, check out the full album on Flickr.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

My Top 101 Films Part 8 (of 10)

So I'm finally honing in on the final three entries of this series.  It only took a year, right?  But hey, it's not like I haven't been doing lots of stuff or posting much!  
For those just joining in, here's the running list of previous entries!

Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

DVD Cover - Pans Labyrinth
What a visually fascinating film!  To me, it fits into the fantasy dream films like Never-Ending Story, Labyrinth and MirrorMask.  Films that bleed the line between the real and the fantastic.  However, unlike Labyrinth and Never-Ending Story (and MirrorMask to a lesser degree), the backdrop of this film is powerful and draws strong parallels to the fantasy world that Ofelia finds herself in and they eventually meet in a way that reminds me of Never-Ending Story.  It's a darker film though as a fairy tale that makes a certain amount of sense.  Writer and director, Guillermo del Toro typically captures the dark world that is evocative of Dante's Inferno or Odysseus's venture into the Underworld.  It's not outright hell, but damn close!
The trailer for this film can be found here.

PeeWee's Big Adventure (1985)

Though I didn't know it, PeeWee's Big Adventure was probably my first real introduction to camp and I was entirely mesmerized by it.  Mostly, because I didn't know what to make of it but still found it fascinating to watch.  I remember the first time I went to watch this film--I thought it was about PeeWee from the Smurfs (one of the two human characters).  I was initially disappointed but found myself watching the movie time and again.  The film has some great lines and great moments--both funny and for a young kid, scary at times.  Large Marge still haunts me and when PeeWee hisses; it's definitely uncomfortable.  Yet these are counterbalanced by other mesmerizing scenes such as his morning routine, his fetishistic obsession with his bike (something as a kid I could relate to), of course, the Tequilla dance scene at the biker bar.  It's such a crazy mix and works so well.  It is a shame that Burton's work feels largely less original and engaging with each passing movie, because this was definitely one of his best!

The trailer for this film can be found here.

Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

DVD Cover - Perks of Being a Wallflower
I connected with this film in some profound way (and followed up with reading the book--the film is a pretty faithful adaptation).  Charlie's life and experience are in many ways distinctly different, but there is certainly overlap that I recognize, particularly in the films final-third.  What I liked about the movie and the book is that it captures so well that idea of being both insider and outsider simultaneously: that weird sense of alienation while amongst friends that can be a hallmark of people battling depression or other emotional challenges.  In a way, it does its best to capture the outsider experience that so many feel while going through high school and though at times is celebratory, also captures some of the harsher realities and limitations that come with it. 
The trailer for this film can be found here.

Persepolis (2007)

DVD Cover - Persepolis
This adaptation of Marjane Satrapi's graphic novel is one of the best adaptations out there.  Granted, this makes some sense given that the adaptation from comic to cartoon seems like an easier transition than to live-action film, but the film goes beyond just that.  The film captures so well Satrapi's juxtaposition of being a child in a world that is slowly becoming anything but a child's world.  The loss of innocence, privilege, and freedom comes in waves and realizations and the film communicates this well with its motion, sound effects, and soundtrack.  It feels a perfect compliment to the graphic novel.  I remember the first time watching it with trepidation as the film starts in color but then moves into black and white as the character, Marjane begins to reflect on the past.  Mayhaps it was because Satrapi worked on the film herself or just that the directors had a good sense of how to capture the narrative.  Regardless, it's a powerful but light film in the vein of Life Is Beautiful.
This film can be found here.

Pinocchio (2002)

DVD Cover - Pinocchio
I've always been a fan of Pinocchio.  I think it might have to do with the fact that Pinocchio and Pinocchio in Outer Space were two of the earliest films I owned as a kid and would watch them ceaselessly.  I always appreciated the idea of the puppet who aspired to be a boy.  Therefore, I grew ecstatic of the idea of a live-action Pinocchio being made, especially by Robert Benigni (as I had just seen him in Life Is Beautiful).  It seemed if someone could make it happen, it would be him.  And despite being a full adult male, he made it work with him as the titular character.  The film didn't get as much attention as I thought it might but I love this film.  It is quirky and magical and sometimes, utterly ridiculous.  But that is Pinocchio!  I remember first watching this film and feeling a little put off.  The film is dubbed rather than subtitled.  I thought they did this to attempt larger appeal but later on, I discovered it was because the dialogue moved so fast (and it does), that doing subtitles would have been next to impossible at times.  What was also questionable initially but eventually made sense and added to the film's quirkiness is that the film used famous actors for the voices.  So Jiminy Cricket appears as a dark olive-skinned bald man in the voice of John Cleese.  Disorienting for sure, but then again, a talking cricket should be disorienting! 
The trailer for this film can be found here.

Pom Poko (1994)

DVD Cover - Pom Poko
The film will always be known as "the ball sack movie" because that was the moniker my friend bestowed upon it after watching it.  But it is a curious tale from Japan.  The film focuses on a group of woodland creatures, mainly raccoons who come up against humans building houses on their land.  They must figure out how or if they can stop it and what to do about it.  However, raccoons are considered magical creatures with special powers in Japan, so their tools and resources means they are more creative in their assaults.  It's a powerful tale about environment, conflict, and shared resources that doesn't necessarily end happily.  That the film is over twenty years old and largely focused on children is pretty interesting given that films like this have only become popular in the last ten years.  
The trailer for this film can be found here.

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)

DVD Cover - Postman Always Rings Twice
Another great noir film from the mind of James Cain.  Because I saw them together, it always feels like the sister film to Double Indemnity.  But the film has its own unique rhythm and challenge for its characters  It has a bit more ironic justice than we see with Double Indemnity and we even believe at one point that these characters may indeed make it, but justice (and the Hayes Code) won't allow it.  The chemistry between Frank and Cora is pithy and passionate but one doomed to fail.  A part of you roots for them in the beginning but then as the story progresses, you realize they deserve each other--as punishment. 
The trailer for this film can be found here.

Princess Bride (1987)

It's a film that many people enjoyed after the fact.  Somehow, it arose from it's measly film release and became a cult-classic.  What's not to like in this film--it has a bit of everything for everyone.  Adventure, action, romance, and silly and inane humor.  Like other films (Monty Python and the Holy Grail), it a highly quotable movie that people regularly invoke at the most appropriate and inappropriate moments.  It's also a film that is steeped in the fantastic but not necessarily in special effects, which is rather impressive.  It's clear that some fantasy needs to rely on CGI and heavy special effect to tell its narrative.  But Princess Bride is fantasy without needed much of the fantastic that special effects deliver.   It makes me wonder what it would look like today if they tried to remake it.  
The trailer for this film can be found here.

Princess Mononoke (1997)

Princess Monoke was the first animated film I saw by Hayao Miyazaki and from Japan in my adult life and have left its impression.  It a well-told tale with a strong female lead and mixing history with fantasy in a beautifully animated film that is impressive to watch even now, nearly twenty years later.  I was amazed at the complexity of the plot, the length of the film (over two hours) and the culture within the film.  That is, I realize it is derived in part from Japanese folklore but having never been much exposed, it was intriguing to see the ideas of demons, gods, magic, nature, and technology all intermingling in the film.  It definitely left me with a great interest in Miyazaki and Japanese animation.
The trailer for this film can be found here.

Psycho (1960)

I grew up somewhat obsessed with this film--mostly because the two sequels had come out and there was supposedly (and eventually was) a fourth film coming.  It was the 1980s and slasher films were all the rage.  I didn't quite realize that Psycho was a bit different, but that's what being a kid is--no knowing the difference.  But Hitchcock's classic is still a powerful film that lingers.  It has all the markings of a noir film but goes sideways when one least expects it.  Anthony Perkins' performance still remains haunting to audiences over fifty years later and everyone's ears prick when they hear someone has mommy issues nowadays.  The most lingering image of this film is of course the final scene where we see Norman Bates sitting by himself with the voices of himself and his mother in his head.  
The trailer for this film can be found here.


Your turn!  What are some of your favorite films and why?  Post them in the comments!

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.