Movies that got me through this year: A retrospective

Arts & Entertainment

Anthony Pantalone, Staff

In the spirit of the school year ending, it felt appropriate to look backwards instead of getting on my soapbox and talking about any new movies. These thoughts simply reflect the impact these films had on me within the last two semesters. Without further ado, let’s jump into it.

1. The “Before” trilogy

Back in the fall, I set out to show my roommates Richard Linklater’s “Before” trilogy for the first time. There is simply nothing like the experience of watching these movies for the first time, and the shared experience of watching them with another person is incredible. “Before Sunrise” is romantic escapism. “Before Sunset”  is a perfect fairytale. “Before Midnight” is the reality of life. All three movies in the trilogy when watched together feel simultaneously entrancing, euphoric and devastating. No movie can quite examine and comment on experiences of love, hope, regret, heartbreak and aging using the progression of time like these films do. 

2. “Everything Everywhere All at Once” / “The Worst Person in the World”

I had written about these two movies already, but they deserve some type of mention again. I saw “The Worst Person in the World” in February and “Everything Everywhere All at Once” in April, and both have stayed with me long after watching them. It’s an incredible feeling to watch a film and instantaneously know that you are watching something made with so much talent and love. I’ve sung their praises so much in prior reviews, so there isn’t much more to add.

3. “Spider-Man: No Way Home”

All autumn, we counted down the days to “No Way Home.” Rumors had been swirling for months about Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. The excitement of my friends was palpable even though the movie’s release date coincided with finals week. For me personally, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” was the perfect catharsis after a week of exams and a semester of anxiety. Much of my childhood was spent watching the Sam Raimi “Spider-Man” movies with my sister, and getting to see these characters on the big screen again with her sitting next to me was amazing. The reason that Spider-Man resonates with so many people is that everyone can see themselves in Peter Parker. A normal person with a good heart who simply wishes to do better than before and help others. Therefore, a movie that essentially functions as a massive celebration of Spider-Man is bound to hold a special place in the hearts of so many, including myself.

Marvel Studios

4. “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”

I had been intending to watch Celine Sciamma’s “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” for the past few years but never got around to it. In early January, I finally dedicated an entire evening to watching this movie, and I was lucky to have such foresight. I couldn’t do anything afterwards. My eyes stared at the TV for at least ten minutes as I simply tried to process what I watched and how I felt. It is everything that a romantic slow burn should be with meditative pacing that eventually quietly explodes. It’s a movie that isn’t loud at all but somehow still produces the profound effect of a loud, in-your-face movie on the viewer. During the final scene and shot, my chest even felt tight, and my breathing became noticeable. Either Sciamma is a true master of her craft, or I was experiencing a minor heart attack.

Lillies Films

5. “Dune”

In October, on a whim with friends I saw “Dune” on opening night in IMAX and have thus decided not to watch it again. Not because I didn’t like the movie. No, no, I adored it. Just, there is no way I would be able to ever come near that particular viewing experience of this Frank Herbert adaptation ever again. “Dune” is the type of film that someone needs to watch on the biggest screen they can find. It cleaned up at the Oscars in the technical categories and for good reason. My only complaint would be that my theater was also 4D, so sand kept getting in my slushie.

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