The Films That Shaped My Practiceby byronkrathwohl-181-208075 | created - 09 Apr 2016 | updated - 1 month ago | Public
The films and pieces that shaped how I create art.
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1. I Love Lucy (1951–1957)
TV-G | 30 min | Comedy, Family
A daffy woman constantly strives to become a star along with her bandleader husband and gets herself in the strangest situations.
I grew up with Lucille Ball, a true tour-de-force. Her writers were masters of timing and character-building until we knew Lucy, her friends, and family. My storytelling and comedy base from childhood. Reruns during dinner and then during lunch in middle school. I loved Europe. Still holds up.
2. Seinfeld (1989–1998)
TV-PG | 22 min | Comedy
The continuing misadventures of neurotic New York City stand-up comedian Jerry Seinfeld and his equally neurotic New York City friends.
Nihilism and existentialism never seemed so funny until one turned to a New York covered in ennui, malaise, and indifference. Sartre and Camus would be proud, but nonetheless, the writing was on point, the storytelling was crisp and sharp, and the knockout episodes never-ending. Betrayal is a favorite of mine. While it reads as very middle-class white now, there's still a lot to gain from its structure and character building.
PG | 142 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Ten years after initially meeting, Anakin Skywalker shares a forbidden romance with Padmé Amidala, while Obi-Wan Kenobi investigates an assassination attempt on the senator and discovers a secret clone army crafted for the Jedi.
Votes: 619,182 | Gross: $310.68M
Star Wars was another classic around my house, and the first episode struck me emotionally (NOT DEATH!?!?) but the second episode struck me with sheer spectacle. The hero's journey was so visual here- Kamino, Genosis, the war... Deserts, oceans... Mesmerizing.
4. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
G | 86 min | Animation, Family, Fantasy
When two girls move to the country to be near their ailing mother, they have adventures with the wondrous forest spirits who live nearby.
Votes: 270,358 | Gross: $1.11M
One of the first films I watched and rewatched immediately. A classic rural haunting, nostalgic and fresh all at the same time. There's a beautiful sense of joy and security in the face of pain in this film, a comfort watch if I ever saw one. One of my favorite bits of cinema is the Cat Bus sequence. The rain, the bus stop, the umbrella... Gorgeous. I got it from the library and bought it at Target the next day.
5. Princess Mononoke (1997)
PG-13 | 134 min | Animation, Adventure, Fantasy
On a journey to find the cure for a Tatarigami's curse, Ashitaka finds himself in the middle of a war between the forest gods and Tatara, a mining colony. In this quest he also meets San, the Mononoke Hime.
Votes: 323,202 | Gross: $2.38M
The more mature and engrossing Miyazaki. One of his most fully developed and powerful stories. Engaging with feminism, environmentalism, war, economics, nature, and spirituality. The exploration of brothels, of battles, of men's inferiority fears, and the beauty of the forest amongst it all. The death of the forest and the rumination on modernism say it all. Beautiful. Timeless.
6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
R | 108 min | Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi
When their relationship turns sour, a couple undergoes a medical procedure to have each other erased from their memories.
Votes: 877,608 | Gross: $34.40M
In high school, I started watching tons of indie rom-coms. Not all of them hold up with my practices and thoughts on social justice, many support Manic Pixie Dream Girls or Colonialist Tourism, but Eternal Sunshine engages with the tragedy of breaking up. How do we hold it together? How do we pick up the pieces? Kate Winslet stuns and shocks me again and again in her refusal to be a manic pixie dream girl.
7. Juno (2007)
PG-13 | 96 min | Comedy, Drama
Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, an offbeat young woman makes an unusual decision regarding her unborn child.
Votes: 480,391 | Gross: $143.50M
During my freshman year, I also watched Juno. And it is a perfect film. The acting, acidly sharp script, perfectly matched soundtrack, and kitschy color palette work to form a story that breaks itself when Juno can't hold up her end of the kitsch and cries in her minivan. Poignant, realistic, and witty as *beep*. Ellen Page is a revolutionary actress here.
8. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
R | 158 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
Journalist Mikael Blomkvist is aided in his search for a woman who has been missing for forty years by Lisbeth Salander, a young computer hacker.
Votes: 407,145 | Gross: $102.52M
Another one of the few films I've seen more than once. I went and saw it in theaters multiple times. Rooney's commitment is shocking every time. The power in her resolve and vulnerability as Lisbeth are cutting. Fincher's cool 'detachment' follow through the lashings and darkness of the underbelly of Sweden. A Nordic caper with more than enough tension. Still bitter Rooney didn't win an Oscar for this performance.
9. Adventure Time (2010–2018)
TV-PG | 11 min | Animation, Action, Adventure
A 12-year-old boy and his best friend, wise 28-year-old dog with magical powers, go on a series of surreal adventures with each other.
I begin watching around Season 3 when AT got emotional. We were introduced to a weary Ice King, a Princess Bubblegum with no control, and a fractured Marceline. Of course, it only got more turbulent and in-depth afterwards. Season 5 reached new heights with witches, new dimensions, romance, queerness, surveillance, and more. Continues to be one of the most emotional and touching shows on TV. And beautiful at the same time.
10. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
PG-13 | 94 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A pair of young lovers flee their New England town, which causes a local search party to fan out to find them.
Votes: 307,559 | Gross: $45.51M
The film that made me want to be a filmmaker. I thought, I could do that. (Could I? Who knows) But the mix of scenery, beauty, nostalgia, and longing made me think through life. I began my descent into filmmaking as artifice until I rebelled to film as content then film as content and form. But more on that later.
11. Breathless (1960)
Not Rated | 90 min | Crime, Drama
A small-time thief steals a car and impulsively murders a motorcycle policeman. Wanted by the authorities, he reunites with a hip American journalism student and attempts to persuade her to run away with him to Italy.
Votes: 69,803 | Gross: $0.34M
I discovered Criterion not long after Moonrise, and my junior year I spent devouring the auteurs. I began working on scripts and engaging with existentialism. Breathless brought forth the idea of rebellion.
12. 30 Rock (2006–2013)
TV-14 | 22 min | Comedy
Liz Lemon (Tina Fey), head writer of the sketch comedy show "TGS with Tracy Jordan", must deal with an arrogant new boss and a crazy new star, all while trying to run a successful television show without losing her mind.
The first show that led me on a binge watch and opened up my new world. Probably put me on the NYer track the most.
13. Winter Light (1963)
Not Rated | 81 min | Drama
A small-town priest struggles with his faith.
After making some *beep* films, I began looking deep into Bergman my senior year of high school. Winter Light stands out as one of the most moving and poignant pieces that centered a desire to 'make something' besides comedy or kitsch like Anderson. I began moving forward with a deep appreciation of filmmakers with deep oeuvres.
14. Dreams (1990)
PG | 119 min | Drama, Fantasy
A collection of tales based upon the actual dreams of director Akira Kurosawa.
Votes: 22,946 | Gross: $1.96M
Experimental, accessible, clear, obscure. A powerful omnibus movie.
15. Persona (1966)
Not Rated | 83 min | Drama, Thriller
A nurse is put in charge of a mute actress and finds that their personae are melding together.
Changed the course of cinema, raised the bar beyond what many thought possible. The marriage of art house to experimental cinema. And the acting and cinematography...
16. Rear Window (1954)
PG | 112 min | Mystery, Thriller
A wheelchair-bound photographer spies on his neighbors from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder.
Votes: 426,013 | Gross: $36.76M
The classic. Can't beat the pacing of a Hitchcock.
17. Gilmore Girls (2000–2007)
TV-PG | 44 min | Comedy, Drama
A dramedy centering around the relationship between a thirtysomething single mother and her teen daughter living in Stars Hollow, Connecticut.
My senior year of high school me and my sister discovered GG and we were hooked. We grew and were bonded because of it, it means so much to both of us and we both relate, love, discuss it in equal measure. The thing I rewatch the most.
18. Weekend (II) (2011)
Not Rated | 97 min | Drama, Romance
After a drunken house party with his straight mates, Russell heads out to a gay club. Just before closing time he picks up Glen but what's expected to be just a one-night stand becomes something else, something special.
Votes: 27,048 | Gross: $0.46M
I cried. I learned. I was broken open. I wasn't out. And this opened my world. Haunting and powerful.
19. Girls (2012–2017)
TV-MA | 28 min | Comedy, Drama
A comedy about the experiences of a group of girls in their early 20s.
In government, I had to write reviews of articles on websites on a news app. The news app drew from whatever websites we wanted. I somehow found Slate and I found its reviews of Girls. Thus, I discovered the "real world" of adulting. From there, in college I actually watched it and devoured season 4 as a show on postcollege/ and gradschool (but really college). It was fresh, lively, and hard to watch in the most pleasurable way. When it ended, I felt empty.
20. Frances Ha (2012)
R | 86 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A New York woman (who doesn't really have an apartment) apprentices for a dance company (though she's not really a dancer) and throws herself headlong into her dreams, even as the possibility of realizing them dwindles.
Votes: 69,131 | Gross: $4.06M
I dove into mumblecore and found it invigorating. This is life!! I got a little high on it.
21. Looking (2014–2015)
TV-MA | 30 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
The experiences of three close friends living and loving in modern-day San Francisco.
Neurotic gays? I was hooked and saw "Myself" on screen, at least sort of.
22. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
PG | 102 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy
Dorothy Gale is swept away from a farm in Kansas to a magical land of Oz in a tornado and embarks on a quest with her new friends to see the Wizard who can help her return home to Kansas and help her friends as well.
Votes: 363,934 | Gross: $2.08M
Is there a better spectacle? St Vincent and Pink Floyd both love it.
23. Grey's Anatomy (2005– )
TV-14 | 41 min | Drama, Romance
A drama centered on the personal and professional lives of five surgical interns and their supervisors.
In college, I found my next binge. A powerful powerful powerful meditation on grief, death, love, and sex. I let my emotions wander and I watched 10 season in 4 months. (That's a lot by the way) I was obsessed. My favorite tv show.
24. Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)
Not Rated | 14 min | Short, Fantasy, Mystery
A woman returning home falls asleep and has vivid dreams that may or may not be happening in reality. Through repetitive images and complete mismatching of the objective view of time and space, her dark inner desires play out on-screen.
In a DIY filmmaking class I begun to see new visions. Deren of course is essential.
25. This Is Not a Film (2011)
Not Rated | 75 min | Documentary
It's been months since Jafar Panahi, stuck in jail, has been awaiting a verdict by the appeals court. By depicting a day in his life, Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb try to portray the deprivations looming in contemporary Iranian cinema.
Votes: 4,624 | Gross: $0.08M
But so is this political slife of life meditation on film, nationalism, and safety by Jafar Panahi. Everything is cinema...
26. Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (1988)
Not Rated | 43 min | Short, Biography, Drama
Karen Carpenter's battle with anorexia nervosa and the cultural influence of the Carpenters in the 70s.
The marriage of semiotics and form led to this piece by Haynes. And of course, led me down to affect theory.
27. Ghost World (2001)
R | 111 min | Comedy, Drama
With only the plan of moving in together after high school, two unusually devious friends seek direction in life. As a mere gag, they respond to a man's newspaper ad for a date, only to find it will greatly complicate their lives.
Votes: 110,720 | Gross: $6.22M
One of the few movies I've seen more than once, definitely a continuation of the slice of life but with an air of mystery and weirdness. Isolation at its height.
28. Please Like Me (2013–2016)
TV-MA | 29 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Twenty something Josh is going through a number of big changes as he navigates his first decade of adulthood. After being dumped by his girlfriend, he comes to the realization that he is gay.
A much more real way of seeing myself in tv. Josh is me. I am Josh. It's eery at times. The aesthetic the locations, it's me in Australia. The tone and script is witty, affective, emotional, and funny. Timely and wonderful. Maybe my favorite tv show... I was stunned at the ending.
29. Creative Nonfiction (2009)
60 min | Comedy, Drama
College student Ella is completely focused on her ambiguously romantic relationship with her dorm-mate, Chris. She is so consumed by trying to understand his behavior that she's neglecting ... See full summary »
Reminded me: MAKE STUFF. Anywhere with anything. A powerful lesson to learn.
30. The Watermelon Woman (1996)
Unrated | 90 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A young black lesbian filmmaker probes into the life of The Watermelon Woman, a 1930s black actress who played 'mammy' archetypes.
And on the opposite end of make things with what you have..... this wonderful meditation on lesbianism, race, archives, learning, and heroes.
Not Rated | 202 min | Drama
A lonely widowed housewife does her daily chores, takes care of her apartment where she lives with her teenage son, and turns the occasional trick to make ends meet. However, something happens that changes her safe routine.
Votes: 6,658 | Gross: $0.02M
Rapture in film.
32. The Meetings of Anna (1978)
128 min | Drama
Anna, a detached and diffident director, arrives in Germany to show her latest film; she checks into a hotel, invites a stranger to her bed, and abruptly tells him to leave. He asks her to ... See full summary »
Another rapture with a different lens.
33. Sea in the Blood (2000)
24 min | Short
Home movies and family photographs mixed with drawings and texts tell the story of a family that has lived with disease.
Director: Richard Fung
It comes at you. With Joni and death and sex... it's water in its purest, dirtiest form. Shockingly present. Shockingly fun.
34. Carol (2015)
R | 118 min | Drama, Romance
An aspiring photographer develops an intimate relationship with an older woman in 1950s New York.
Votes: 109,700 | Gross: $12.71M
One of the few films I have gone to seen more than once. I saw it over and over when it came out... a dazzling portrayal of pain and love. The coolness, the melodrama, a classic Todd Haynes reading of "old times" still modern as ever. And knockout performances by Rooney Mara (a fav of mine) and Cate Blanchett. I think Rooney is my fav current movie star... The affect is present as ever.
35. One-Week Walden (2007)
10 min | Short
Showed to me by a friend as I experimented in first person film. A knockout of form and expression and affect in voice/body.
36. Skam (2015–2017)
Not Rated | 30 min | Drama, Romance
The story of young teenagers and pupils on Hartvig Nissens upper secondary school in Oslo, and their troubles, scandals and everyday life. Each season is told from a different person's point of view.
The youth !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! One wishes one was this cool and yet also is broken by their own youth of loneliness. A tight script, a powerful voice, an interesting concept.
37. Weekend (1967)
Not Rated | 105 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama
A surreal tale of a married couple going on a road trip to visit the wife's parents with the intention of killing them for the inheritance.
Godard is the master of apocalypse, words, language, and destruction. Trumpism before Trumpism is a genre we know retroactively give to Arendt, Didion, and more- but here is one of cinema. Nationalism and post-nationalism have been discussed for a long time.
38. Broad City (2014–2019)
TV-14 | 22 min | Comedy
Broad City follows two women throughout their daily lives in New York City, making the smallest and mundane events hysterical and disturbing to watch all at the same time.
The first two seasons are gold, but also "Witches" is the height of the show. A webseries to tv amazing. Bliss when it all comes together.
39. Sex and the City (1998–2004)
TV-MA | 30 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Four female New Yorkers gossip about their sex lives (or lack thereof) and find new ways to deal with being a woman in the 1990s.
Defined my early 20s and beyond as a way of seeing the world.
41. The Beaches of Agnès (2008)
Not Rated | 110 min | Documentary, Biography
Agnès Varda explores her memories, mostly chronologically, with photographs, film clips, interviews, reenactments, and droll, playful contemporary scenes of her narrating her story.
Votes: 3,110 | Gross: $0.24M
42. White Material (2009)
Not Rated | 106 min | Drama, War
Amidst turmoil and racial conflict in a Francophone African state, a white French woman fights for her coffee crop, her family and ultimately for her life.
Votes: 6,600 | Gross: $0.30M