Rockie's Vulcan Staff Picks #6 with Guest Contributor Emily Hagins
Joining me this month is Austin native and wunderkind Emily Hagins. At such a young age, she has several films under her belt and is only getting greater at her craft. My personal favorite of hers is Grow Up, Tony Phillips and you can see her latest feature Coin Heist streaming right now on Netflix. She has always been kind to me in person and online, so it was only right to ask her to join me here today. Enjoy!!
Emily Hagins' Picks
To prepare for Coin Heist I had to watch a lot of heist movies, and I think it's safe to say that Gambit was my favorite! One of the characters in my movie is even watching Gambit on TV -- that's how much I love this film. Shirley MacClaine and Michael Caine have excellent chemistry, and aside from that I think it's one of those movies that you don't want to say too much about.
Ordinary People (1980)
I love Ordinary People because it shows how simple a movie's premise can be when the performances are strong and honest (or in the case of this film, brutally honest). This is one of my favorite hard-to-watch movies, as I don't usually find these kinds of films easily re-watchable. However, there is a lot to learn from this movie as a filmmaker/writer, and I highly recommend it! And if you like this, I recommend Quiz Show (also directed by Robert Redford).
Only Yesterday (1991)
I've loved every Studio Ghibli movie I've seen, but I watched both Only Yesterday and Whisper of the Heart for the very first time last week thanks to my friends Joe and Erik. I was mad at myself for not seeking out these movies sooner, so I had to recommend one! I love how the past and present are woven together in this film, and I think it's the perfect movie to watch if you are in a melancholy mood.
Broadcast News (1987)
This is one of my favorite movies because it's smart, sweet, and says a lot about how complicated it can get to balance a personal life with a professional and demanding career in entertainment/the media. I want to say it's a "feel good" movie, but I think it's harder to pin down than that -- because like life, Broadcast News has ups and downs and different answers to complex questions than what you might find in a typical romantic comedy.
Sometimes people think I'm joking when I say that Zathura is one of my favorite movies, but I seriously don't think this movie gets enough credit. I have always championed making smart movies for young audiences, and Zathura not only lets its young cast carry the majority of the film, but it also relies heavily on practical effects for a movie set in SPACE. I feel like we don't see a lot of either of these things these days, so I definitely recommend watching this movie if you're in the mood for a fun space adventure!
Sitting Target (1972)
A young Oliver Reed and a young Ian McShane bust out of a prison is this dirty crime film from the early 70s. Oliver's wife has been cheating on him and this will not fly. Rather than flee country after escaping he decides to murder her and her secret lover. Laced with a haunting score and a supremely tragic ending, Sitting Target will not be soon forgotten after you finish it.
Kung Fu Hustle (2004)
Live action Looney Tunes meets Yuen Wo Ping's genius fight choreography. Director Stephen Chow has several comedies with various themes I would recommend, but for the uninitiated, I would probably start here. Chow is a master at hitting you with huge laughs but also having an even bigger heart, showing true compassion for his characters. Need a pick me up or a feel good film? Look no further than Hustle. You'll cry laughing or just cry because it is so respectful.
Watchmen: The Ultimate Cut (2009)
Long and worth it. With Tales of the Black Freighter woven in, this beast clocks in at over 3 hours and I wouldn't want it any other way. The extremely dense source material would never ever be adapted properly, I just feel the hustle was on full display in the longer cuts of the film. Mean, weird and unflinching with violence, this adaptation tries hard and succeeds more than it stumbles. The death of the Comedian is standout making the Nat King Cole song 'Unforgettable', well, unforgettable.
Big Night (1996)
This and Tampopo are the greatest foodie films ever made. They both celebrate the one thing we do every damn day and make you appreciate the meal from creation to dinner time. In Big Night, two brothers attempt to save their floundering restaurant by impressing a famous jazz musician. Where it goes from there will make you laugh, cry and appreciate dramas all over again. The ending is pitch perfect.
Anyone who knows me knows I love this film from the bottom of my heart. Raunchy yet filled with honor, Goon is how you make a interesting sports film, even if you hate sports. Not only do you want to root for the home team as it were, you also root for the main character Doug Glatt, who may be kind of slow but is the sweetest guy to ever walk the Earth. I wrote about Goon for the crew at Cinapse, so here I am basically repeating myself, just know that a sequel is coming and I implore you to find the first chapter so your heart can grow 5 sizes larger.