Get this! I asked some of my favourite designers/developers/creative types to give me one obscure/overlooked movie that they wanted to recommend to you, my lovely readers… and guess what, they ever so kindly replied! At first I just thought it would be cool to post their recommendations but when they started arriving in my inbox I realised that they reflected, in a unique way, the designers’ individual style and mentality. I really enjoyed reading them and have added each one to my to-watch list.
Gavin Strange (JamFactory) – Blood: The Last Vampire (2000)
Gavin Strange is a web/graphic design powerhouse. By day he works as Senior Online Designer at Aardman Animation (Home of Wallace and Grommit) and by night he hand-crafts “pretties” in various forms from websites, to logos, to vinyl toys, to skateboard graphics all under the name JamFactory. Gav appears to live in a parallel universe where there are 300 hours in a day. His recommendation is, of course a wonderous animated film; Blood: The Last Vampire.
“Clocking in at just 45 minutes, this beautiful fusion of cell animation and CGI is my recommendation for a movie you have to see. It’s dark, violent and brooding but not in an extreme way, it’s all balanced very well and you have to marvel at how aesthetics of the whole piece.”
“It’s not the most engaging of films with lack of character development but my, it is pretty. There’s a live-action version being released real soon, so it’d be interesting to see how those two fair against each other.”
John O’Nolan – Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)
John O’Nolan is a freelance web designer working in West Sussex. His company, Lyrical Media is going from strength to strength and he regularly writes articles about his experiences in the business over at his blog. John’s recommendation couldn’t be more fitting for this post.
“The film is called The Pirates of Silicon Valley, and is *incredibly* hard to get a hold of – it was only ever released on VHS I think, and then later a few were printed on DVD’s in the US, but nowhere else. Took me ages, but I eventually found a download for it online recently.
The movie follows the lives of our good friends Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates as they go through university and start tinkering with computers. It tells both of their life-stories as well as covering a really interesting history of Apple and Microsoft and how the companies have always been very closely tied for one reason or another.
It’s probably the best computer-related film I’ve ever seen, and I find it so interesting seeing the birth of the technological age through the eyes of its creators. Highly, highly recommended!”
Rick Nunn – The Boondock Saints (1999)
Rick is a web/graphic designer with a strong print background. He regularly wields a Canon 50D, has a fetish for strobes and shallow depth of field and has an ongoing 365 project on Flickr. As well as that, he’s very recently re-launched his personal site. Rick’s tastes pretty much mirror my own when it comes to movies so it was tricky to find a movie he loves but I hadn’t seen. Luckily he did it, so here’s what he has to say about The Boondock Saints.
“Boondock Saints is a great independent film written and directed by Troy Duffy. It follows two fraternal Irish brothers who, after getting mixed up with some Russian mobsters, get hand picked by god to rain vengeance on the guilty. It has some great characters, good dialogue and best of all it taps into everyone’s secret desire for to be a vigilante.”
Tim Van Damme – Speed Racer (2008)
Tim Van Damme is a Web/Interface designer at Made By Elephant. He’s based in Belgium but regularly darts around the globe attending and speaking at various web events. He writes a personal blog and takes some great photos. He is, as his blog says, a superhero sans disguise. His recommendation is a movie I’d heard about but that had never appealed to me. Oddly, Tim was the second person that day to recommend it to me… so I might check it out.
“I really liked Speed Racer (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0811080/).
It’s about a boy (first name Speed, last name Racer), who’s been dreaming about car racing for his entire life. Not racing as we know it, but on tracks with loops and hoops, and where the drivers use a lot of dirty tricks.
It’s fast, it’s over the top, it’s way too colorful, but I love it.”
Jonathan Snook – Paperhouse (1988)
Jonathan Snook is a Canadian web developer, designer and author of two acclaimed web development books. He regularly writes about his craft over at snook.ca and has worked on high profile projects with Sidebar Creative and Squarespace. As well as all that, he speaks at many web design/development events all over the world. Jonathan’s recommendation is certainly one I’ve never heard of but it sounds super interesting so I’ll be sure to check it out.
“I’m going to pull a rabbit out of a hat and go with Paperhouse (1988) (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098061/). It’s about a girl who draws a house and finds herself able to visit the house that she’s drawn. She begins to see a connection between what she’s drawn and the real world.”
“It’s usually labelled as a horror movie but I think calling it a fantasy suspense film might be more accurate. I saw this movie when I was a teenager and haven’t seen it since but I still remember enjoying it.”
Jeremy Keith – Primer (2004), Below (2002), Cypher (2002)
Jeremy Keith is a web developer currently working for ClearLeft in Brighton, England. His reputation for shaping the world of modern web development is extraordinary. As well as writing two books, Jeremy often speaks at some of the biggest web conferences in the world such as FOWD and SXSW. Jeremy has knocked it out of the park with not one, or two, but three excellent recommendations. Blam!
“Primer by Shane Carruth. A film about start-up culture and time travel. Shot on a shoestring, it features authentic performances and the most internally consistent plot of any time-travel tale. It demands your full attention and, unlike most twisty films, this one rewards repeat viewing.”
“Below by David Twohy. My favourite submarine movie. It starts as a straightforward World War Two thriller before turning into something very different. A lot of the enjoyment in watching this is the playful way that the film toys with its own identity: is it a war film, a mystery, or a horror?”
“Cypher by Vincenzo Natali. The best story that Philip K. Dick never wrote. It’s a Kafkaesque tell with a wry sense of humour that plays with questions of identity far better than big-budgeted Total Recall ever could.”
Elliot Jay Stocks – Lost Highway (1997)
The final contributor to this post is simply one of the most well respected people in the industry. Elliot Jay Stocks is a designer, illustrator author and speaker who, as if all that wasn’t enough has recently released an EP of his own music. Having worked for Carsonified, Elliot has since launched a very successful freelance career and recently re-launched his personal site. Elliot’s recommendation is great because it gives a unique insight into the way he views design.
“Thanks for asking me. I love movies. I really can’t watch enough. I tend to favour those that convey a distinct atmosphere and leave me with a particular feeling, and for that reason Lost Highway is one of my all-time favourites. I’m a big David Lynch fan anyway but I think Lost Highway is Lynch at his best: a deep, dark, thought-provoking piece of cinema that doesn’t go too far in its complexity, which sadly he did with Mullholland Drive (although I also love that) and Inland Empire (which just plain sucked).”
And if that wasn’t enough, Elliot threw in a bonus recommendation that I, for one, can totally agree with!
“My other all-time favourite is The Big Lebowski. It’s a movie that gets better and better every time I watch it. It’s really got its own charm and it’s not just because The Dude is such a great character; the whole film is an immersive world that you can happily get lost in. And what a strange story. I love it!”
Well there you go, folks. Hope you enjoyed the recommendations. I’d like to thank all the wonderfully talented web-folk who took the time to participate. I haven’t included all of you in this post but I’m hoping to do a part II around Christmas time so your recommendations will be included then. As always let me know what you thought of the movies.
Until next time.