The films that influenced me: Louise Agostino

Film has always been part of my life. It is something I hold as entertainment, inspiration and has shaped my personality.

When I was a kid I used to read review books that were the size of encyclopedias. I had a diary where I wrote reviews and graded them. I loved Classic Cinema. This changed after studying film at Melbourne University. I discovered my love for the horror genre.

So here goes my list of the top 10 films that have influenced by life, and who I am as a person today.

10. Home Alone

I watched Home Alone literally, home alone. I hoped I could get up to the same antics. Unfortunately that didn’t happen.

As an adult, I still love Home Alone perhaps even in the same way. It is just so iconic and really captures how much fun it was being a kid.

I never knew this but John Hughes (The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, etc.) wrote the screenplay to Home Alone and Home Alone 2. You can really see that Hughes quality come through. Home Alone is less dark and existential to the usual Hughes treatment but this is a fantastic, non-traditional Christmas film with some of the best 90s eye candy.

9. Happy Gilmore

Happy Gilmore is a flat-out classic. Many memorable moments and characters like my favourite, Shooter McGavin (Christopher McDonald).

I do not have any anecdotes or trivia for this film, but when I saw Happy Gilmore I became an Adam Sandler fan instantly. I loved Sandler’s anti establishment and goofy energy.

Although Sandler has been tied to his production company Happy Madison, it is nice to see him stepping outside and being involved in indie films like Punch-Drunk Love (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2002)and Uncut Gems (Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie, 2019)

This may have been the start of the Sandler wave but Happy Gilmore reigns as the funniest.

8. Jaws

Originally I thought Jaws was boring. Now I see much more.

I am scared of sharks and not the best swimmer so the idea of Jaws does stress me out. Even hearing the iconic tune gives me the chills and makes me visualise the horror.

What I love about Jaws is how clunky the sharks were (there were three). Spielberg had mechanical issues so the decision to not show the shark(s) till the very end and gave Jaws its thrill. Instead Spielberg created tension through the score and camerawork. Using underwater cameras we get to prey on the victims from the point of view of the sharks.

Jaws, is a high concept film regarded as the first summer blockbuster. It is also a film I have noticed is played on TV around summertime.

7. Night of the Living Dead

Night of the Living Dead is the first part of George A Romero’s zombie trilogy.  

It is low budget and shot on location. The blood is chocolate sauce and the flesh is ham, but Night of the Living Dead sends a message to the horror genre I will never forget.

Evoking social and political commentary, Romero makes this powerful through his black and white photography and strong message. It gives the film a unique, documentary quality. Racism is still current and a problem we faced today and makes this, 1968 film not only a classic for the time but still so important.

I do not want to give away any spoilers to those who haven’t seen, Night of the Living Dead but this is the first horror film that made me cry.

Fun fact, Night of the Living Dead inspired me to write my very own script.

6. The Big Lebowski

This is definitely my favourite Cohen Brothers film. I saw this when I started to really get into film. This is an independent comedy with copious amounts of swearing. For me this made me very happy. I could be juvenile and a snob at the same time.

The Big Lebowski has the most delightful cast and dialogues, it doesn’t hold back in any way.

I have seen The Big Lebowski a few times now and each time I pick up something new. For example, there’s a scene when “the Dude” (Jeff Bridges), Donny (Steve Buscemi) and Walter (John Goodman) realise the Dude’s car has been stolen. They share the same dialogue over and over, “Dude, where’s your car?”

As we may know, this dialogue is the name of the film, Dude Where’s My Car (Danny Leiner, 2000) and is a direct reference to The Big Lebowski.

5. Psycho

I have seen Psycho one and a half times. The first half, I only lasted after the shower scene, which is strange considering this is scariest part. The reason, my family being the film buff committee thought I was mature enough to see Psycho. I wasn’t and had nightmares for weeks.

Later, I re-watched Psycho as and adult. I absolutely loved it but still had to cover my eyes. Hitchcock makes Psycho so problematic by killing the main character Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) within forty-seven minutes of the narrative and by making the villain Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) a nice, normal person whom you feel sorry for.

I love Alfred Hitchcock and have enjoyed his works but Psycho is my favourite. It really demonstrates the criteria of a how a horror film and characters should be treated.

4. Spring Breakers

“Spring break forever, bitches.”

Spring Breakers is the coolest film. It is subversive and colorful. Although Spring Breakers is quite mainstream, Korine manages to keep his darkness fresh in a fluro way.

Spring Breakers embodies the American franchised, Girls Gone Wild (a late 90s program with frat boys and girls getting drunk on camera taking their clothes off) aesthetic. However, these girls are different. They are powerful. Selena Gomez, Rachael Korine, Vanessa Hudgens, and Ashley Benson subvert their sex appeal and reclaim the female gaze position.

I love the energy, vibe, fashion and the world that Korine captures. It is vulgar and artistic.

3. Get Out

I couldn’t wait to see Get Out, it was opening weekend.

Went with my boyfriend and friends and told my friend who is not a horror fan that I will pre warn her when I think the scares will come. It turns out I was the person people laughed at. I let out a scream during a quiet moment in the cinema. How embarrassing! I think my scream is proof that Get Out is on a league of its own. This is a film so unpredictable and fresh.

Get Out is one of the best films I’ve seen in the past decade. It has a perfect blend of satire and political commentary whilst using horror conventions. And you really do care about the characters, I haven’t’ seen this quality in quite some time.  

2. Suspiria

I never thought the horror genre could be artistic and beautiful.

When I saw Suspiria, I was blown away by the acoustics from the Italian prog rockers, Goblin. The score accentuates the horror in an expressive and brutal way. Fun fact, I went to a live screening of Suspiria performed by Goblin themselves.

Storywise, you can see Suspiria is cheesy and that’s part of its charm. Suspiria is riddled with awkward, out of place dubbings and when the antagonist is reveled, it is not scary at all. Yet, each time I see this, I still sit there gobsmacked with busted eardrums. 

Suspiria changed my view of the horror genre and opened up new ways to explore worlds I thought couldn’t be possible. I hail Suspiria as an integral part of the horror genre and cinema history.

1. Boyhood

Out of all the films I have chosen, Boyhood is the one I still choke up about. If I hear “Hero” by Family of the Year, which was such a well curated song it takes me back to how much I loved this coming on age narrative. 

Boyhood is such a triumph in filmmaking. Expanding over twelve years, you get an understanding of Mason (Ellar Colltrane) growing up as a boy, teenager and onto his college years. You really feel like you have been with Mason and his family members during this journey. Personally relatable Boyhood, reminded me of those awkward growing up phases I went through experiencing many tears and fits of laughter.

Special mention must go to Patricia Arquette who won the Oscar for best supporting actress and to Lorelei Linklater who plays Manson’s sister; she is actually Linklater’s daughter.

Out of everything from my list, if you haven’t seen Boyhood, then do so now.

This is the film I care about the most about.

If you want to know what makes the other members of the Movie Metropolis team tick, check out Adam’s most influential films, Daulton’s favourite movies, Jesse’s influential flicks and the films that made Joe who he is today.

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