As many of you know, while I’m known for my mysteries and genre writing, I’ve got a contemporary romance coming out on March 17th. While I love writing genre-romances, it was fantastic to stretch my proverbial writing wings and write a Rhys Ford-style contemporary, delving into the lives of two men who are simply meant to be together.
So, my Top Five is awesome storytelling without a whiff of mystery. One of my greatest loves besides books is a well-crafted movie or K-Drama…and man, there are so many I adore so cutting it down to FIVE is nearly impossible. These are arranged in no particular order but each hold a special place in my heart. (Blurbs are from Wiki or IMDB).
1. Blade Runner
This movie really made a huge impact on me and taught me a lot about how to tell a story. The visuals are stunning and most importantly, it was about being human. What it meant to be human. I think that message is so gloriously steeped into the story, it is practically a character in the plot. Also, Harrison Ford is my first love.
Synopsis: The film depicts a dystopian Los Angeles in which genetically engineered replicants, which are visually indistinguishable from adult humans, are manufactured by the powerful Tyrell Corporation. The use of replicants on Earth is banned and they are exclusively utilized for dangerous or menial work on off-world colonies. Replicants who defy the ban and return to Earth are hunted down and killed (“retired”) by special police operatives known as “Blade Runners”. The plot focuses on a group of recently-escaped replicants led by Roy Batty, and the burnt-out expert Blade Runner, Rick Deckard, who reluctantly agrees to take on one more assignment to hunt them down. During his investigations, Deckard begins a relationship with Rachael, an advanced replicant who causes him to question his and the replicants’ humanity.
2. Goblin (or Guardian: The Lonely and Great God)
This is a recent addition to my favourites. It is a KDrama that can be found on Dramafever, Viki or other Kdrama sites and viewed for free. Such a fantastically filmed drama filled with angst, humour, a bit of food and squabbles. Such a great show. And well, Gong Yoo is one of my favourite actors.
Synopsis: Kim Shin (Gong Yoo) is an immortal goblin (Dokkaebi) and protector of souls. He lives with an amnesiac grim reaper (Jeoseung-saja) (Lee Dong-wook). who is in charge of taking deceased souls. Together, they see the dead off into the afterlife. One day Kim Shin meets a girl, Ji Eun-tak (Kim Go-eun), who has a special ability to see ghosts, and is destined to be his bride and return him to ashes.
3. Serenity (which of course goes hand in hand with Firefly)
I can’t say enough about the world building Joss Whedon crafts for Firefly/Serenity. His lingual use and disparate tech as well as social stratas is incredible. The tidbits of Chinese and hints of cultural assimilation are flawless and while the show was cut short before it reached its full potential, the follow-on movie, Serenity, offered some closure for its fans. I loved the characters built into this world and the stark realities of living on the edge was something Whedon never shied away from. Nathan Fillion’s Captain Mal Reynolds is a fantastic retelling of a pirate-rebel with a heart of gold.
Synopsis: Set in 2517, Serenity is the story of the captain and crew of Serenity, a “Firefly-class” spaceship. The captain and first mate are veterans of the Unification War, having fought on the losing Independent side against the Alliance. Their lives of smuggling and cargo-running are interrupted by a psychic passenger who harbors a dangerous secret.
Okay, now hear me out. This is an animated dystopian-science fantasy by Ralph Bakshi I fell in love with a long time ago. It’s an odd, kind of out there animated feature that for some reason tickles my fancy. It combines humour, politics, philosophy, a May-December romance and an alpha-male faerie named Weehawk who I always felt was cheated out of his own subplot. It also contains what I suspect is the proto-inspiration for South Park’s “You killed Kenny, you bastard!” line. Bonus trivia: It features early voicework by Mark Hamill as Sean, son of the king of the mountain fairies and captain of the guards.
Synopsis: Earth has been devastated by a nuclear war instigated by five terrorists, and it has taken two million years for the radioactive clouds to once again allow sunlight to reach the surface. Only a handful of humans have survived, while the rest have changed into mutants who roam the radioactive wastelands. In the idyllic land of Montagar, the true ancestors of man – fairies, elves and dwarves – have returned and live in peace. During a celebration of 3,000 years of peace Delia, queen of the fairies, falls into a trance and leaves the party. Puzzled, the fairies follow her to her home and discover that she has given birth to twin wizards. Avatar, a kind and good wizard, spends much of his boyhood entertaining his mother with beautiful visions, while Blackwolf, a mutant, never visits his mother, but spends his time torturing small animals. The film follows the battle between two wizards, one representing the forces of magic and one representing the forces of industrial technology.
5. Benny and Joon
This is a film done early in Johnny Depp’s career and really is one of my favourite films, not because of Depp but rather the fantastic portrayal of people who are more than likely on the spectrum and how they define their own normal. Depp does a fantastic job with his character’s personality and Stuart just kicks ass as Joon coming into her own. Absolutely adore this movie.
Synopsis: As adults, Benjamin “Benny” Pearl and his “mentally ill” sister Juniper “Joon” Pearl live together following the accidental death of their parents. Benny’s friend Mike has his cinemaphile cousin Sam staying with him. Joon joins Benny and Mike’s poker game, and loses a bet that commits Sam to live with the Pearls. Benny is at first outraged, but after an evening with Sam at the local diner and then coming home the next day to find Sam has cleaned the house, Benny decides Sam should be Joon’s “housekeeper” since her other housekeepers had been scared away by Joon’s outbursts.