I wrote the 40-year story of my relationship with Star Wars.
Millennium Actress is a Japanese animated movie that stretches the movie-analogy machine to breaking point. With most movies, you can say something like “it’s like Seven Samurai in space” or “it’s like King Kong but with a robot”. With Millennium Actress, I can make no analogies because I have seen nothing else like it.
The movie tells the story of a Japanese actress through three parallel story-lines that are blurred together. In the “present”, the old actress is being interviewed by a producer and his cameraman. In flashbacks, we see what her life was like, but scenes from her life are intercut with scenes from her movies to tell a dream-like story.
I’m doing it no justice at all in this review, but please know that it touches a nerve for me, the way Big Fish does: that you can’t tell the story of anyone’s life by just relaying the facts. Sometimes you have to tell a good story to convey who someone was. Facts are waypoints.
In 1985, we piled into my mother’s car and went to watch Follow That Bird. My sister, her friends and me. I loved that movie; it was a road movie, before I knew road movies. It was a classic Muppet movie that wasn’t really a Muppet(tm) movie, before I really knew Muppet movies. This was the 6-year olds equivalent of an SNL sketch that turns into a movie. A full length Sesame Street movie.
Earlier this month, my older daughter went to watch Little Women with her best friend, while I stayed home with the 6-year old. And we watched Follow That Bird.
It’s still pretty great for 6-year olds.
Here are my favorite movies of the decade, in order of release date:
- Moonrise Kingdom
- Before Midnight
- The Grand Budapest Hotel
- Inside Out
- La La Land
- San Junipero
- The Florida Project
- Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi
- Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
In addition, I consider these two specials/one-person-shows to be of the highest order:
- My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend by Mike Birbiglia
- Nanette by Hannah Gadsby
These are not the “best”, but ones that will take me back to this decade whenever I think of them in the future.
I didn’t have kids in the decade before this, and now I do. I watched 3 movies a week back then, and now I’m lucky if I’ve watched one. And luckier still if isn’t a Disney re-watch.
It’s time to get back to it.