It’s Flixgiving! The Flixist staff has gathered together around the cool glow of the TV to share movies that we’re thankful for; ones that have impacted our lives, ones that we feel are important, and ones that we just love.
The movies I’m thankful for range everywhere from kid’s classics to resonant conceptualization to the king of campiness. I’m sure these eclectic choices say something about me and my personality … oh yeah, it says that I’m awesome. Read on to find out more about what movies I’m thankful for this Flixgiving.
[Happy Flixgiving, everyone! We’ll be posting these leading up to the actual Thanksgiving. Click here to see all of the films our writers are thankful for.]
Persepolis is a movie I’m truly thankful for. Not only is Marjane Satrapi’s masterpiece a gorgeously animated film, but more importantly I’m thankful for the story it tells. Persepolis is a film adaptation of Satrapi’s autobiographical graphic novels of the same name, and it tells her story of growing up as a young girl in a turbulent, change-filled time in Iran. Persepolis brings an incredible amount of humor, sensitivity and humanity to events and settings often misunderstood or misrepresented in Western media.
I’m also incredibly thankful that Persepolis garnered the attention that it did when it debuted in 2007, it was even nominated for an Oscar! (It lost to Ratatouille, but that’s a whole ‘nother rant altogether.) That an animated film about and by an Iranian woman that tells such an important story was placed in the epicenter of American and Hollywood culture is wonderful, and to me, worth being thankful for.
Princess Mononoke is one of those films I’ve grown up with. I remember watching it when I was a little kid after my parents rented it from Blockbuster thinking it was appropriate for children because it was an animated movie. Makes sense, right? Well, let’s just say the first 5 minutes of this movie still scares the sh#t out of me to this day. I grew up loving and wanting to be San, the wolf girl, the Monster Princess – with her fierce attitude, toughness, oneness with the natural world and her good heart.
Princess Mononoke was the first Studio Ghibli movie I remember caring about, and I’m thankful that it exists in this world. Not only because of the personal affection I have for it, but for its impactful story about conservation and peaceful coexistence. Its allegories are even still relevant today as our industrial societies begin to take things like climate change seriously.
Speaking of nostalgic musing, my favorite movie when I was a little girl was 101 Dalmatians. Yes, more so than any princess movie, adventure movie, anything – my favorite was the one with the dogs. In retrospect I’m really thankful 101 Dalmatians came out when I was little because it allowed me to identify with and care about animals, dogs specifically, instead of other things. It gave me an option that wasn’t gender-based, and had nothing to do with the pitfalls of being a princess. Whether this had a direct impact on my subsequent traditional gender-norm aversive adolescence is maybe a bit of a stretch, but it almost certainly informed it to some extent, if only subconsciously.
I watched both the animated and live-action 101 Dalmatians I don’t know how many times growing up, and now as an adult (Who even gets to work with animals full-time, everyday! Little me would be so proud!) I’m thankful that I did.
I’m not just thankful that La Jetée exists, I’m also thankful that I watched it when I did. I watched it in a film class in my first year at art school, and I instantly fell in love with it. La Jetée was the first avant-garde film that I truly cared about, and I think it was also the first to really challenge and expand my idea of what “cinema” was and could be.
La Jetée is a film, but it is presented almost entirely through a series of still images with narration, voice acting, music and sounds played over. It exists as an experience through time, like any other film, yet it is actually a parade of meticulously constructed moments. This leaves space for your mind to connect those moments; to move the actress’ hand, the actor’s feet. Every time I watch the scene in the natural history museum I think the implied taxidermy animals are moving too. La Jetée was one of the first films I remember feeling connected to and desiring to explore and understand on a deep level, and for that I’ll always be thankful.
Riki-Oh The Story of Ricky
And now for a total tonal record scratch! Riki-Oh The Story of Ricky is possibly my favorite movie. Set in the year 2001, the titular character (our hero) Ricky gets incarcerated for manslaughter in a privatized and corrupt prison. The movie just spirals out of control from there. I’ve written before about Riki-Oh and its well-deserved cult status, and it’s just a movie I’m so so so thankful for. It’s always incredibly fun for me to watch — with its mind-blowingly bad effects, god-awful English dub, nonsensical and constantly surprising storyline — everything about it is just spectacularly bad. Riki-Oh The Story of Ricky is a hot pile of garbage. And I absolutely adore it. I’m incredibly thankful for all the uninhibited joy it’s given me over the years.
So that’s it! Five movies I’m thankful for, for wildly different reasons. I hope you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving and watch some movies together.