Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Fifteen and Fifteen

So I've gotten tagged in those "List 15 movies/books that have influenced you" deals on Facebook, and so of course I figured I would do my lists here instead so they can be complete with links and whatnot.

I tried really, really hard to stick with the rules of just listing the first ones that came to my head and not going back to do any revisions so of course I basically immediately second guessed the entire thing.  But in any event, here we go.

15 Books That Have Influenced Me

Teeth, by Hugh Gallagher - Kind of a random choice, but I've read this book probably four or five times.  It's not particularly groundbreaking, but it's a quirky coming of age story that I have always loved.

House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielewski - Hands down an all-time favourite.  You don't just read this book, you experience it.  You get completely lost in it the way the characters get lost in the titular house.  Seeing this book on someone's bookshelf scores MAJOR points with me.

Only Revolutions, by Mark Z. Danielewski - While Danielewski's second novel couldn't quite stand up to House of Leaves, I still really enjoyed it as another literary experience.  It's a hard book to explain, because there's no right or wrong way to read it.  You can read it backwards or forwards or upside down.  I would like to try reading it again and see how different of an experience it can be.

Invisible Monsters, by Chuck Palahniuk -  I love the way that Palahniuk plays with different devices in all of his books, and Invisible Monsters stands out as one of my favourites with its use of "cut to/jump back" etc. to play with the timeline.  I've yet to read his Remixed edition of it, but it's waiting for me on my shelf!

Rant, by Chuck Palahniuk - My other favourite Chuck book surprisingly isn't Fight Club, but Rant.  His version of an oral history.  I loved how grand it seemed and over the top, even for Chuck's stuff.

The Contortionist's Handbook, by Craig Clevenger - I went through a period of time where I was tracking down books that were recommended by Chuck and his fans.  This one has to be my favourite from those lists.  This story of a man creating new identities for himself as he flees from life to life is well worth a read.

The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger -  Yes, The Catcher in the Rye.  It almost seems cliched to include it here, but I really do love this book and have read it so many times my copy has practically fallen apart.

1984, by George Orwell - Another one that I turn to every few years for another read.  It only gets more relevant.

Lord of the Flies, by William Golding - I hated this book in high school, but later fell in love with it.  Every time I go back to read it I pick up something new that I hadn't noticed before, and that's truly the sign of a good book.

The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern - I've only read this book once, but as I was reading it I knew I would read it again.  I wish this circus was real.  I want to live in this book.

The Killing Joke, by Alan Moore - I love Alan Moore, and this Batman story is considered a classic for a reason.  Do yourself a favour and check it out.

Watchmen, by Alan Moore - The graphic novel grand daddy.  I'll be honest - sometimes I like to watch the movie and follow along with my graphic novel in hand.  Because I'm just that nerdy.

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline - A truly original story, even though it's packed full of references to other things.

And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie - When I was young I read about a million Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books.  I'd gotten to the point where they were boring and predictable, so someone pointed me in the direction of Agatha Christie.  Thank goodness they did.  And Then There Were None remains one of my all-time favourites.  I can remember being so absorbed in this book that I wasn't even aware of people talking to me.

As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner - Not a book people typically read in high school, but I had a teacher who was passionate about it and I fell for it too.  The multiple, unreliable narrators is right up my alley and this is one that I can pick up and just start reading at pretty much any point.


15 Movies That Have Influenced Me

The Matrix - The Matrix is usually my answer for all-time favourite movie.  I'll never forget seeing this movie for the first time, not really knowing anything about it and walking out of the theater with my brain basically exploded.  I've seen it at least a dozen times, have read several books outlining the philosophy of it, and have watched multiple commentary tracks.  So yeah, I'm a fan.

Jurassic Park - Dinosaurs + John Williams score + Jeff Goldblum = a damn near perfect movie.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off - True story - I watched this movie every single day after high school for over a month.  Ferris Bueller is still basically the coolest person ever.

The Dark Knight - There are few things more stunning than Christopher Nolan's opening sequence in The Dark Knight.

Batman - Michael Keaton is my favourite Batman, because he made such a good Bruce Wayne.  He struck that perfect balance of comedy and drama and I'll love him forever.

Fight Club - David Fincher is one of my favourite directors, and Chuck Palahniuk is one of my favourite authors.  Therefore this has to be one of my favourite movies.

The Graduate - I saw this for the first time in my Sociology of Film class in university.  I instantly fell for it.  Young Dustin Hoffman, a flawless soundtrack, and that heartbreaking moment of uncertainty at the end.

Back to the Future - I feel like this one just gets better with age.  Even as we approach 2015 (I had better have a hoverboard next year) it doesn't feel stale to me.  It's just a perfect adventure.

The Big Lebowski - I have such fondness for this movie and all its wonderful strangeness.  If I could only pick one Coen Brothers movie to watch for the rest of my life, it would surely be this one.

Big Fish - Oh what a lovely, heartbreaking movie.  Again I went into it not knowing too much about it and walked out adoring it.  While it's tough to pick a favourite Tim Burton movie, I have a real soft spot for Big Fish and it came to my mind before Edward Scissorhands.

Pleasantville - A movie about people who get magically transported into a favourite TV show.  Obviously I love this.

Clerks - My man, Kev Smith.  I not only love the movie for what it is, but I love the movie for what he did to get it made.   

The Royal Tenenbaums - No one knows how to craft a world quite like Wes Anderson.

Shaun of the Dead - Maybe a bit of an odd choice, but I adore this movie.  It's so funny and clever and was just such an awesome introduction for me not only to Edgar Wright, but also to Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.

The Princess Bride - As you wish.  Such a big part of my childhood, and I can still get lost in this movie.  I can't wait to show it to Vivian when she's old enough.

Of course I immediately regret this whole thing.  I obviously need more movie choices - there are too many good ones left out of here!

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