Inspired by NaBloPoMo’s July theme of ‘Decade’, I decided to have a look at some of my favourite films from 2004(!) A whole decade ago!
If there is one thing that can make me feel old it is looking at the films I remember so well from years ago. It’s one thing to remember watching a film when you were child; but when you think of films you went to see in the cinema with your friends… which you drove to in your car… that you were actually allowed to see because you were 18 and you didn’t have to fake being older anymore… well that can get a little depressing.
Ten years ago today I was 17 about to turn 18. I would just be ready to finish sixth form college and ready for my year out. I would have just passed my driving test and be getting ready to head out onto the motorway for the first time with some of my best friends to a road trip to Tenby of all places. I had long dark brown hair which I tended to streak with bright colours or bleach the front so I looked like Rogue from X-Men, wore band hoodies, black nail varnish and Berny Skater jeans…
Green Day hoodie with tip-ex graffiti – check. Checkered sweat band (still have one of these) – check. Backwards trucker cap – check. Baggy corduroy trousers with rips up to the knees and band patches on the pockets – check.
Now, I love films. Always have. Going to the cinema is probably one of my my favourite social activities. So nothing helps me remember a year like its films. 2004 was the year we were introduced to Ron Burgundy for the first time. The world thought that Saw would be a one-off horror film. Dodgeball suddenly became a popular game in places other than America. And… actually no… no one ever thought that Catwoman was going to be good. This also saw the introduction of one of my favourite lines of film dialogue – amusingly from one of the worst films of the year. (Warning – contains expletives – don’t play if you don’t like them or something… in fact – the title of the video also contains expletives – can’t be helped… so just keep on scrolling)
So, without further ado, here are my top films of 2004. Some of them may be for sentimental reasons, others I may not actually have realized were released in 2004 until much later, but either way there are some great film memories for me from a decade ago.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Dir: Michel Gondry. Starring: Kate Winslet, Jim Carrey
Maybe it was because I loved Jim Carrey. Or Kate Winslet. Or had a HUGE crush on Elijah Wood. But I absolutely loved this film. Which is amusing considering now that I look back on it I hadn’t even been through any soul-destroying break ups at this point in my life. At the time I really just connected with the style of the film (and yes, this is one of the films that convinced me to go blue) and I began to appreciate it for its substance years later when I had grown up a bit more.
The Phantom Of The Opera
Dir: Joel Schumacher. Starring: Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum, Patrick Wilson
I don’t think I had obsessed over an on-screen musical so much as this since Moulin Rouge! I had always loved The Phantom Of The Opera. It had been my favourite musical for as long as I could remember and I had always wanted to play Christine. So the idea of it coming to the cinema excited me to no end. I know a lot of MT puritans hated this adaptation, but I loved it. The costumes – the set – Gerard Butler… everything! It even made me like Raoul a lot more than I had before (I was always on Team Phantom growing up).
Shaun of the Dead
Dir: Edgar Wright. Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost.
Every now and then a film comes along that ‘defines a generation’ (to use a very cliched term) and ‘Shaun of the Dead’ was definitely one of those films. I loved Spaced. It was one of those shows I watched on repeat with my friends and I even ended up writing several essays on it for my Media Studies AS Level. I wanted to be Tim! I know it’s not much to aspire to – but a wannabe comic book artist working in a comic book shop with Bill Bailey? How would I not want to. So when I heard they were doing a film, I had no idea what a huge success it would be! Now little old Tim Bisley is Scotty in Star Trek! Who would have thought it?
Dir: Mike Nichols. Starring: Clive Owen, Natalie Portman, Julia Roberts, Jude Law
As a theatre studies student, this was one of those films that ended up defining my acting at the time. Every woman and her dog ended up doing monologues from this play and I guess I was no different… except I did Clive Owen’s monologue because it was just amazingly awesome! Again, this is a film I appreciate much more now that I am older, have read the play and had a little bit more life experience. It was still one of those films that stuck with me from 2004 as I ended up knowing the dialogue and characters so well.
Dir: Guillermo Del Toro. Starring: Ron Perlman, Selma Blair
Despite having seen ‘Blade 2’ (And actually really loving it might I add), I didn’t really start to obsess over Guillermo Del Toro until I saw ‘Hellboy’. I hadn’t really read the comics from before, but I knew the character and so this film also turned me into a Mignola fan. Thanks to this film I was later introduced to ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ – one of my favourite films. All in all, I think I owe a lot to Hellboy.
Honorable mentions also go out to ‘Kung Fu Hustle’, a film I didn’t actually watch until college but absolutely loved. It’s one of those great ‘party’ films which is fun to watch with friends over a beer. ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ also came out in 2004 and after having been introduced to Studio Ghibli with ‘Spirited Away’s performance at the Oscars the year before, solidified my position as a Miyazaki fan and Ghibli lover. ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’ came out in this year, though I wasn’t a Harry Potter fan until the book release of ‘The Half Blood Prince’ in 2005, when I quickly devoured all of the novels leading up to that one. Also a huge shout out to ‘King Arthur’, which no one seemed to like but me… Mostly because I had a bit of a crush on Tristan (Yes – Mads Mikkelsen before he became all awesome and villain-y).
What were your favourite films of 2004? An extensive list can be found over on IMDB (of course). Have any of them influenced you over the years?