A few hours ago, I came across this tweet:
It was when I found myself writing an essay, on Twitter, which is inherently not a medium suited for that, that I realized I had today’s blog post topic. So, let’s start with the first one and overthink the shit out of this simple question.
What is a favorite?
Is it the one that occupies the most real estate in your brain? Because Hello Ready or Not! It’s the horror movie that I saw last (a few weeks ago), and it has some great visceral writing. This movie is also a prime example of film critic April Wolfe’s canard “It’s not what happens but how it happens”. The plot is pretty predictable; the makers signpost everything that’s coming well, well in advance. And it really does not matter. The movie is so good. The acting is good, the comedy is VERY dark but also hilarious, and there’s just a certain je ne sais quoi about it that is utterly compelling to me.
Maybe it’s the one you’ve watched the most? This is either Get Out or Contagion. The latter because it was somehow comforting in the worst, scariest stages of the pandemic, the former because it’s just a really fucking good movie. The latter is also a good movie, there’s a reason I didn’t watch Outbreak all last year.
Is it the one that’s had the most lasting impact on you? Please clear the stage for Aliens. I was WAY too young when I first saw this movie, in second or third grade, I think. The first three Alien movies still scare me (there are no others, after all), and when I first saw it, it gave me nightmares for WEEKS. Alien and Aliens still hold a special place in my heart, and probably always will. Childhood nightmares aside, this place might go to It Follows, Shutter (which, to be clear, was not a great movie), and the episode Jig-a-Bobo of Lovecraft Country for similar reasons. Although I don’t hold the same love for these as I do for Aliens.
Perhaps it’s the one you had most fun watching? Willy’s Wonderland or Shaun of the Dead. These both just hit me where I live, in different ways. Willy’s Wonderland features satanic animatronic animals, competence porn, and a fun hero (Liv, not the nameless man, although he’s great too). Shaun, on the other hand, features a nerd who’s just barely managing to hold it together in the apocalypse. And that is just so very relatable. But both movies, to me, look like the crew just had so much fun making them.
I could go on, and that’s just the first one.
Does it matter?
You might be surprised after all that to find that I would argue that the answer is yes! Every one of the movies that I might comfortably call “my favorite” is a thing that says something about me. And that’s true of everyone who replies to these questions. Our favorites act as a shorthand to get to know each other. I have a number of friends who I know basically from “You love that thing? *I* love that thing!” And that only comes about from someone asking questions like this.
Just don’t make me choose only one.