Step Right Up & Try My Buzzfeed Quiz!

As it turns out, anybody can sign up and publish content on Buzzfeed. I always assumed you had to work there or be a real writer or something in order to have your stuff published on Buzzfeed. To be fair, only the best of the best gets chosen by the editors to be promoted to the main areas of the site. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try making Buzzfeed lists or quizzes because hey, they are really fun and relatively easy to do.

Click here if you want to try my movie quotes quiz – but be warned, I didn’t make it easy. Many of my friends have already accused me of being downright vicious by not giving options, and instead making the quizzees guess blind. Look, they are just basically from my favourite movies, and I tried not to make them 100% impossible.. but who doesn’t love a challenge, am I right?

So give it a try! Let me know how you do 🤣

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Escaping The Cinematic Universe: One Original Film At A Time

One reason why Baby Driver is a front-runner for must-see movie of the year, in my opinion, is the fact that it’s entirely original. You don’t need to conduct research or do any homework prior to seeing it. These kinds of movies are generally more audience friendly – I took my mother to see Baby Driver and she loved it. It’s the quintessential, heading-to-the-theatre, “what should we see tonight?” example of a fun and exciting movie watching experience. No prerequisites.

Do not confuse my opinion with a distaste for the ever-popular superhero movies. I’m as much a fan of the Marvel et al. cinematic universes as the next person. Logan, Wonder Woman and Spiderman: Homecoming were a few of my favourites movies this year. At any given point in time, a good portion of the movies I’m most excited to see in theatres are superhero centric. There’s always something missing, though. I can’t look to just anyone and share a moment of pure elation about how great Avengers: Infinity War is going to be… and that’s fine. There’s something special about a one and done spectacular film, though. In fact, I think we’re craving them, and our calls are being answered.

Three of the most talked about movies of the last few months have been original, brilliant, and better yet they’ve delivered on the hype. Okja, an emotional and powerful story of a girl and her super-pig vs. a corporation and their super greed. Baby Driver, a heart pounding, foot tapping, car chasing heist movie like you’ve never seen. Dunkirk, a larger than life war film that quietly forces you to the edge of your seat. There’s something to be said for the magnitude of excitement surrounding a film that:

  • looks utterly amazing
  • you don’t know anything about outside of trailers and press material.

So why is this? Are we simply tired of ordering high stakes with a side of men in capes? Maybe. Or maybe at the core we miss the simplicity of watching a good movie. I could be alone in this, but when I’m seeing the new Marvel movie, or speculating on new DC trailers, there’s something a little stressful about it. There’s so much information, so many announcements and spinoffs and remakes and rumours and crossovers. This is all wonderful and mesmerizing and I’m filled with respect for the super-humans that keep track of it all; but as a fan who’s also a completist AND completionist, it can be an overwhelming relationship to maintain.

At the end of the day, a great movie is a great movie. The best great movies, though, pull you in and spit you out with a smile on your face and leave you wanting more. They linger. Their superpower is their staying power and sometimes, that is enough.

6 Movies That Scared The Shit Out of Me When I Was a Kid

A lot of movies are scary for kids whether they’re supposed to be or not. Some are understandable – when I saw Gremlins for the first time, it was terrifying (I love it now, though) and when I caught a glimpse of the room 237 bathroom scene in The Shining, I was way too young and that was… not ideal. Here’s a few other movies that scared the crap out of me as a kid.

101 Dalmatians

Not even the live-action one! The 1961 animated 101 Dalmatians scared me because of one specific scene – when the puppies are born and Cruella de Vil arrives. I remember being worried when you could hear her car coming. She’s not necessarily that frightening, even though she is evil – but she kills puppies! Doesn’t even try to pretend she doesn’t kill puppies! Just shows up and offers to buy them like it’s no big deal. No thank you.

Signs

I know Signs is a somewhat scary movie regardless, but I was only maybe 12 or 13 when I saw it (without parental guidance, probably). I love it now, but I’ll never look at corn fields the same again. I was particularly afraid when you could see/hear the aliens walking by the boarded up windows and again when you could hear them in the attic. I was equal parts afraid of and obsessed with this movie – the way everything ends up being connected. My cousins and I would pause and replay certain scenes so many times. When the hand grabs Morgan we would try and pause to see the hand before it moved. Basically any movie where a dog dies was a hard no for me (basically still is).

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

This is probably somewhat common, and like Gremlins, I love it now. I’ve seen so many Buzzfeed lists about how traumatizing the movie is. E.T. being sick and dying? Yeah, traumatizing. I was more afraid at the beginning, though, before you even see E.T. Even though throwing the baseball back to Elliott is pretty innocent and cute, the idea of not knowing what was in the shed had me on edge. I remember one time sleeping in my sister’s room for some reason, and the lights were off but my door was open and the light was on in the hallway, and I was SURE that E.T. was walking down the hallway towards my room.

Pete’s Dragon

I can’t really explain this one. I remember almost nothing about the actual movie. I couldn’t tell you what the plot is. Young orphan boy who is friends with a pink-haired sometimes-invisible dragon named Elliott? Sure, great, wonderful. The thing that scared me about this is that everything was live action with real people but the dragon was a cartoon. I am well aware that this doesn’t make any sense, but my young mind was wary and did not care for it.

The Witches

This one I know is common – again, thank you Buzzfeed. I don’t even remember how old I was when I first saw this. I never read the book as a kid, and the movie came out a year before I was even born. This movie is downright terrifying. I mainly remember the moment the Grand High Witch takes off her face at the meeting. This moment alone is PLENTY, but after doing a little googling I realized there’s so much of this movie that I forgot about (probably on purpose). The kids turning into mice. The Grand High Witch turning into that terrifying gross mouse. The baby carriage being pushed down a hill. This is for kids?? Rated PG?? No amount of parental guidance could have saved my young mind from this nightmare.

FernGully: The Last Rainforest

Hexxus. The evil pollution monster who wants to kill all the fairies and destroy the forest? Enough said.


 

What movies scared you when you were a kid? Let me know in the comments!

9 Documentaries On Netflix That Have No Chill

I’m not sure why but I think I have slightly masochistic tendencies when it comes to watching movies, especially documentaries. Some of these I would never rewatch unless I was in the mood to be sad/mad or in need of a good cry, but no part of me regrets watching them.

PSA: these documentaries are all available on Netflix Canada.. I’m not 100% sure about their availability outside of Canada.

Buck

Buck Brannaman is an acclaimed horse whisperer. I was not expecting to enjoy or even care about this documentary, but it was captivating. Buck overcame an abusive childhood and is now a well-known horse trainer and expert; he was one of the main inspirations for the 1998 film The Horse Whisperer (he consulted on the film and even doubled for Robert Redford). I would rewatch this one.

The Champions

This documentary is the epitome of a “you’ll laugh, you’ll cry” situation. I pretty much cried the entire time, but there are some happier moments. The Champions follows the journey of the dogs that were rescued from NFL quarterback Michael Vick’s illegal dogfighting ring in 2007. As an animal lover, it was hard to watch at times, but I would rewatch it because.. dogs are the best.

She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry

She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry documents the beginning of the modern women’s rights movement in the 1960s/1970s and the women who were involved. It is powerful and informative and inspirational. I was blown away by the archival footage. There’s a great interview with the producer, Mary Dore, here. I would rewatch this one, too.

Team Foxcatcher

Team Foxcatcher is the real life story behind the 2014 film, Foxcatcher. I don’t even know how to describe this one because the story is so bizarre. I knew a little bit of back story because Foxcatcher had already been out and getting a lot of attention around awards season. Basically, John du Pont is super rich and starts a wrestling facility on his property and eventually murders one of the wrestlers. I’ve read that the 2014 depiction strays quite a bit from the truth, so I sort of lost my interest in seeing it, but the documentary was wild. I would probably not rewatch this one, just due to general creepiness.

Citizenfour

This is the story of Edward Snowden and the NSA scandal. I still think about how crazy this is and it’s been years since I watched it. If you don’t know much about Snowden or the scandal you should definitely watch it. It isn’t sad or scary, unless you’re freaked out by global surveillance. I almost found it more interesting to see how it all started and what happened to him after he came out with all the inside information. Not a tear jerker per se, but great to watch when you need your mind blown.

 

Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine

This was one of the harder ones. Matthew Shepard was the victim of a hate crime in Laramie, Wyoming in 1998. The crime itself garnered a lot of attention, but Michele Josue, the filmmaker and a friend of Matthew’s, wanted the world to know who Matthew was, not just what happened to him. The film is a lovely compilation of interviews with Matthew’s family and friends, but the story is devastating.

West of Memphis

I was first introduced to the West Memphis 3 when I watched Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills in one of my university classes. I promptly went home and watched the two sequels. Jessie Misskelley, Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin spent 18 years in prison for crimes they did not commit. If you’re a fan of things like Making a Murderer, this will be right up your alley. There are many depictions of this story, but as one of the newer ones, West of Memphis is a good place to start because it’s more comprehensive and up to date.

The Hunting Ground

Plainly and simply, this one will fill you with rage. And it should. It documents the incidence of sexual assault on college campuses and how college administrations handle it. It is very, very upsetting but ultimately very important. I would rewatch it.

Blackfish

I think we all know about Blackfish, but if for some reason you don’t or you just haven’t watched it yet, please do it. Once again, not easy to watch but so important, and this documentary has had a huge impact since it’s release in 2013. In 2016, SeaWorld announced that it was ending the orca breeding program and phasing out all live shows. I have loved Free Willy since I was a child so this one was very emotional for me.

honourable mentions

  • Bully: follows a handful of students in the U.S. who are victims of bullying. I saw it in theatres and cried the entire time. Let me stress this: documentaries that are hard to watch are sometimes the most important ones to see. I thought I had seen it on Netflix, but it isn’t there now. If you have the chance to see it, I would definitely recommend it.
  • Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father: one of the most shocking and sad things I’ve ever seen. I actually don’t even want to spoil the story because it’s so intense and emotional. I would only rewatch this if I was forcing a friend to watch it for the first time. I watched it because it was on Netflix but again, for some reason it’s gone (it’s available in full on YouTube but you didn’t hear that from me).
  • Amy: the story of Amy Winehouse’s rise to fame and her death in 2011. This one IS on Netflix.

Some Netflix documentaries that are on my to-watch list are Elstree 1976, Minimalism, 13th, Batkid Begins, The Wolfpack, Welcome to Leith, Room 237 and Burt’s Buzz. If you’ve seen any of those or have other recommendations, let me know in the comments!

I’m Not A Regular Marathon, I’m A Cool Marathon

If you’re anything like me, your list of movies to watch is about a mile long. It seems like for every few movies I watch, I’m adding twice as many to the list. Not that this is a bad thing, obviously… but what does it say about me that I feel a special kind of satisfaction when I get to take a movie off my list? Don’t answer that. Seriously though, there’s nothing I love more than realizing I have an afternoon or evening free from the real world, and pumping out two or three movies I’ve been meaning to see or wanting to re-watch. I like to think it’s the easiest way to feel productive without actually doing much. So, if you feel like your movie list is getting out of control, or you’re sick of being judged because you still haven’t seen Rogue One or The Force Awakens (really, I’m judging you), I’m here to help you out. Here are 5 things you need to nail down in order to plan a movie marathon.

The Guest List

If watching movies is serious business for you, maybe you prefer to fly solo, which is going to make every other step in this process super easy – you’re calling all the shots. Movie marathons can be more fun in small groups. If you’re opting for the group route, the smaller the better – fewer people are easier to wrangle than a big group.

The Timeslot

Don’t be afraid of your schedule. Work with what you’ve got. Is there a Saturday coming up that you and your best friend both have off? Perfect. What about a Friday night that you don’t have any plans? Boom. Solo mini marathon. Take advantage of full weekends or back to back days off with more adventurous undertakings, like IMDb’s top ten or the extended versions of Lord of the Rings… the one marathon to rule them all… get it? Sorry.

The Setting

Now that you know who and when, we need a venue. There are a few things to consider here. For one, space. Depending on how many people are watching, you’ll need to find somewhere that gives you the space you need without sacrificing comfort. Another thing to think about: devices. Do you need a DVD or Blu-ray player? Whose TV streams Netflix? You don’t want to be stuck hovering around a laptop with 5 other people.

The Playlist

Now that everything is almost in place, the fun begins. If you’re flying solo, like I said, you’re calling the shots. This is a great opportunity to check some movies off your list. Focusing on genres or actors can be a good place to start, but sometimes you have to wing it and feel out your mood. When choosing for longer marathons or marathons with groups of people, themes are your friend. Some examples..

  • Apocalypse movies.
  • Movies set in New Jersey.
  • Movies where most of the characters die by the end.

Whatever you want! I also like to combine themes with people’s favourites. Everybody choose their favourite baseball movie and watch all of them. If you want to keep it simple, figure out what series everyone likes and go for it. If you have the entire weekend, why wouldn’t you watch all the Harry Potter movies?

The Menu

Now for the pièce de résistance. Snacks. The bottom line is you’re going to want a plan. Whether it’s that with exactly ten minutes left in your first movie you’ll order pizza, or you tell everyone to bring something, potluck style – make a plan. Food can also be a part of the theme if you’re feeling creative. What could be better than a chocolate chip cookie with an Oreo baked into it while watching Inception? Seriously, that’s a thing. Nothing will kill your momentum more than pausing between movies to figure out what everyone feels like having for dinner. Make. A. Plan. You’ll be glad you did.


Go forth and tackle your movie lists, and then start making new ones and share them with me! What movies are you tackling next? What’s an obscure marathon theme you’ve always wanted to take on?

Leave me a comment!