Scrolling through Twitter one afternoon, I stumbled upon an amazing little feature by blogger Liam McNally – he had posted a text post with a number of different film titles from each year of his life. Bloody brilliant.
So I’ve decided to give it a go. I’ve been on this wonderful planet for almost 19 years now, and although I wasn’t alive for the release of Jurassic Park, there have been a fair few phenomenal films in my lifetime.
This is my longest post to date – I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. (2730 words – bloody hell).
Oh my God. I didn’t realise how difficult this post was until I searched ‘1998 films’ into Google. The Trueman Show, Saving Private Ryan and The Wedding Singer all in the one year? God, anyone alive and kicking back then must have been having the best year of their lives.
But despite the 10 minute long decision process, I’ve decided on Pleasantville. I watched it when I was very young and hadn’t ever worn a bra, much less watched anything like that bath scene. Despite my mortified eyes however, the film will always be one of my favourites. I remember seeing the main character for the first time and just constantly thinking god, this is a weird film for Spiderman and Elle Woods to be in.
1999: 10 Things I Hate About You
Again, this year is bloody difficult. The Iron Giant, The Mummy and Toy Story 2 – they just don’t make films like them anymore. Although I wasn’t a fan of Star Wars Episode 1 – it has to be one of my least favourites. Anyway.
10 Things I Hate About You was one of the first chick-flicks I ever watched. I knew Heath Ledger as ‘the strangely cute singing guy from that movie’ before I knew him as the Joker. I felt like I related to Kat – I wasn’t big on getting a boyfriend, and I was pretty much destined to be a wee bit strange since birth. Plus her name is so cool.
At the time of watching, I was right into Harry Potter. I loved the idea of special schools dedicated to supernatural people – it made my own secondary school even more boring. I’d often just sit in class and daydream about being able to fly or have the ability to imitate people.
But in all honesty, the one person I was most envious of was Quicksilver. And not because I wanted to save the world or any of that pish. No. When I sat in my third year physics class, the smells from the cafeteria always decided to sneak up the vent and attack my nostrils. I would get so unbelievably hungry, and my stomach would always tell my classmates just that. So I used to daydream about running faster than time, sprinting down into the dining hall, grabbing a steaming hot spicy chicken panini (and maybe some soup, if I could manage) and munching it before heading back up to class. Yeah – I wanted superpowers so I could eat my lunch early.
2001: The Princess Diaries
AH. I’ve got a feeling film directors are deliberately messing with me right now. Legit, I had a look at the films from 2001, and I was floored. What an amazing year. The first Harry Potter movie came out this year – the beginning of an absolute era. Shrek debuted as well – but I was always slightly offended when people heard my Scottish accent and compared me to a giant green ogre when I travelled abroad. The first Lord of the Rings film came out as well – see what I mean about them messing with me?
But despite all of my favourite film franchises beginning in this year, I gotta say, the Anne Hathaway/Julie Andrews combo that is The Princess Diaries absolutely stole my heart. I had never related to a character more – I had frizzy hair, buck teeth, oversized glasses and a tendency to prioritise spending time with my cat over hanging out with real-life friends. So when she went through her beautiful princess transformation, I was floored. I mean, I’m still waiting for that to officially happen, but I’m still holding out hope that I have a long lost relative that’s gonna tell me I’m a princess (no, not you mum).
2002: The Pianist
Originally, I had written the first Spiderman as my favourite film of 2002. But that quickly changed.
The first time I watched The Pianist, I was 13 years old in a stuffy history classroom. I still hold the belief that this was definitely not the right time to watch this film. It felt as though my teacher didn’t have any material to convey how horrific the Holocaust really was, and so instead she stuck on one of the most distressing and hauntingly beautiful films of all time. I didn’t fully appreciate it back then – I cried when I watched the horrors that took place in the ghettos, and got even more upset when immature people around me started to laugh.
But I watched it for a second time a few years later. Although I cried again, I gained a much deeper understanding of the film. I still listen to the soundtrack when I want to write a particularly moving or sad chapter of a book. The film has such a disgusting beauty to it, it is astounding – it makes me question my morals when I say it is one of my favourite films.
2003: Peter Pan
Again, there were so many amazing films this year – I can’t explain my guilt at not choosing Finding Nemo or the last instalment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
But I found my first love in the live-action remake of Peter Pan. Just a few years after it was released, I found myself watching it time and time again. I was young, and there was a boy with messy hair and a fairy to keep him company. Honestly, I was head over heels. I grew to absolutely despise Wendy Darling. How dare she take away my Peter, with her stupid bow and annoying accent. And the fact that Lucius Malfoy was Captain Hook just made it that little bit better.
2004: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
You’re lying if you say that this isn’t one of your favourite films.
Again, it was tricky not choosing The Incredibles or Mean Girls – even The Notebook made it to my shortlist. But the way the Weasley twin’s hair sat and the introduction of the marauders just made my life complete. Except for Pettigrew. Fuck you, Pettigrew. I’d read the book before I saw the film, and while I was slightly disappointed with the previous two, I didn’t stop talking about PoA for months. In fact, I still talk about it. It’s great.
2005: Sky High
This year was going to be beautifully simple – I absolutely love Star Wars Episode III. In fact, it was possibly the only film I was certain of when I started this post. But, never the less, I looked at the list of 2005 films anyway, and was reminded of the best thing I’ve ever watched. Ever.
Remember earlier in the post when I said that I frickin LOVE schools for supernatural people? WELL HERE WE GO AGAIN. I watched Sky High recently with my friend Ross, and even although the acting was abysmal and my cringe levels were off the chart, I couldn’t help but smile. As if the flying school bus wasn’t enough, the euphoria I felt when Will and Warren won Save the Citizen was something I don’t think I’ll ever feel again.
2006: Pan’s Labyrinth
I feel like if I choose any film other than this, my Spanish teacher would kill me. Again, it’s another film that we watched at way too young an age in my opinion. Sure, it looks all mystical with fairies and creepy monsters with eyeball hands, but it has this underlying story-line of the horrors of war and escapism that you can’t fully understand until you’re a bit older.
I watched it again when I was 17 and studying Advanced Higher Spanish, and knew the film as ‘El Laberinto del Fauno’. I could go on for 20 minutes about this film and its director (which I did by the way, in the final exam).
WHAT A FILM BTW. I’ve always loved Disney – my sister and I would spend nights staying up way past our 8pm bedtime watching Aladdin and Peter Pan, with a fair few stolen After Eight mints from my mum’s bedroom too. This film just completely blew me away – the animation was new and cool and it was set in PARIS.
Even now, ten years later (omg ten years wtf) I still think about the scene where Remy combines the cheese and grapes, and little fireworks and swirls form in his mind. I once ate a McDonald’s chip and then took a sip of my strawberry milkshake, and legit I’m pretty sure that’s what happened in my mind.
2008: The Chronicles of Narnia – Prince Caspian
Enter stage left – my second love. At the age of nine, Prince Caspian had everything I could ever want in a guy (or so I thought). He had a sword, long hair, an accent I had never heard before and he fought Peter Pevensie (I seem to hate a whole lot of Peters).
I thought it was the coolest combination of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, and it was while watching this that I began to have a crisis about my true Hogwarts house. I had always thought myself a Gryffindor – I had the scarf, the pens and the egotistical ‘I’m-better-than-you’ attitude that all young Gryffs seem to adopt. But I found myself siding with Edmund Pevensie about a whole lot of things. I didn’t fully accept Slytherin as my true house till a good few years later.
2009: Star Trek
I watched Star Trek before I even touched Star Wars, and I was absolutely hooked. It was what introduced me to science fiction, really. After Star Trek, I moved onto Doctor Who, and although I couldn’t really get into the Star Trek TV series, I found my love of sci-fi growing.
It was my love of Star Trek that caused me to accidentally find Star Wars. My brother would constantly go on about C3PO and lightsabers, and I decided very early on that it wasn’t for me. But after trying (and failing) to find Star Trek online, I accidentally found Star Wars instead, and thus began my love of the Skywalkers and giant wookies named Chewy.
2010: How To Train Your Dragon
Other than Aladdin, Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III was one of my first (of many) cartoon crushes. I thought he was the most adorable lil guy ever – he was clumsy, dorky, and absolutely loved animals. He was perfect. I thought the animation was absolutely incredible, and the Scottish accents were just a bonus. I much preferred being compared to Gerard Butler than a green ogre, in all honesty.
And don’t even get me started on how he looked in How To Train Your Dragon 2 – oaft.
2011: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two
HPDHP2 is right up there with the Prisoner of Azkaban. I remember heading to the midnight release of the last Harry Potter book – I was decked out in a Scream robe that we’d stitched a Gryffindor badge onto, with curly hair that reached my shoulders. And yes, I won the costume contest. But I remember staying up that night and reading the book until 7am, and having to head to school the next day without a wink of sleep. And yet I didn’t care – I had just finished the last book in a series that completely shaped my childhood.
So when the movie hit the cinema screens, I was praying that I wouldn’t be disappointed like I was with some of the others. And apparently, my prayers were answered. Even although the Deathly Hallows is split into two parts, I always consider them the one film. And it’s most certainly my favourite.
2012: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
This film really got to me. I bundled up in warm clothes to see it in the cinema with my friend Ailish, and it was the first ever film I had cried at. I’d read the book before hand and cried my eyes out, but the severity and meaning of the story didn’t hit me until I watched the film. Logan Lerman and Emma Watson were two of my favourite stars at the time: I knew Emma from Harry Potter obviously, whilst Logan stole my heart as Percy Jackson.
But what struck me most was the way I related to these characters. I often found myself standing next to the wall in school dances, watching people having a good time but being physically incapable of joining in – it was as if my feet were constantly glued to the floor. It was comforting to know that I wasn’t alone in this, and it lead to me being able to open up to my guidance teacher about my struggles with anxiety.
I also wrote about the original book in my piece ’13 books to help get over a break up’ – check it out.
2013: The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug
2014: Guardians of the Galaxy
2015: Star Wars – The Force Awakens
Up until 2015, I was losing interest in Star Wars. I’d watched the films countless times, but as much as I adored them, I couldn’t stop thinking about the shabby effects. So when Finn, Poe and Rey lit up my local cinema screen in December 2015, it was as if I was born again. I suddenly dived back into the world of lightsabers and gun-wielding Wookies, and I genuinely haven’t looked back since.
And although I cried my eyes out when that thing happened, I agreed with it – it was about time.