Personal Milestones Measured in Movies

Note* These movies in no way represent any significant meaning to my life event, rather this is a simple slice of progression of film history throughout my lifetime with specific picks that I found interesting and entertaining.

I tend to shy away from posts about my personal life on this blog, as it is first and foremost a movie blog. However I thought it would be fun to give selections of movies corresponding to the years of my personal milestones. I will give an event with the year it happened, after which I will select a film recommendation from that year in the hopes of presenting you with potential watching material from the span of my 24 year life thus far. This list isn’t necessarily my “favorite” movie from any given year, rather they’re just snippets that I found particularly interesting. Each of these films deserves a full review, which I may get to at a later date.

1988 – Birth

My Neighbor Totoro


It’s fitting that the film that introduced me to the wonderfully rich universes created by Hayao Miyazaki came out the same year that I was born. My Neighbor Totoro has become a cult classic since it’s release in 1988. The story follows a family in 1958 as they move to the Japanese countryside. The film is beautifully animated and the plot is simple and heartwarming. Mae, the youngest of the two daughters, discovers a kind, gentle, giant and incredibly fluffy forest spirit in their backyard. This spirit accompanies the young sisters as they embark on a journey of discovery and wonder through their new home and the surrounding area. There are no villains and for the majority of the film there is no danger. Where most films require confrontation and conflict to be compelling, Totoro relies on the audience relating with the wonderment that is so familiar to childhood, but often lost as we age.

1992 – The year I became a Christian

Porco Rosso


Studio Ghibli makes it on the list twice! And it’s no wonder, Hayoa Miyazaki is practically the Japanese Walt Disney, thanks to his masterful animations and wonderfully told stories. Porco Rosso is the story of a 1920s fighter Pilate who was cursed to continue his life with the head of a pig. Porco (the titular character) is a well known expert flyer for hire. He’s often contracted out to rescue captives from sky pirates. The movie plays like an expertly crafted feature film version of the Disney animated show Tailspin, but with far more emotional weight. Though Porco Rosso is a “pig”, he used to be a man and must deal with relationships he had from his days as a human as well as prejudices that spring forth due to his new form. Every day he accepts his differences from humanity, he runs a deeper risk of losing all ties with it entirely. (I would also like to note that Reservoir Dogs also came out this year. If you would like the read a discussion on the movie between myself and Paul Boyne do so by clicking here)
1998 – The year I was Baptized
The Truman Show


The Truman Show follows the life of a man that was born into a lie. Jim Carrey plays Truman Burbank, the most popular man in the world due to his role on the hit reality show “The Truman Show”. The catch is that he has no idea he’s being filmed, that his environment is completely controlled or the fact that his entire life has been lived in the confines of a massive sound stage. The film asks questions about life, our fascination with reality television and the moral boundaries that tend to get smudged for the sake of gratifying our craving for entertainment and self gain. The strongest aspect of this film is the performance given by Jim Carrey. We follow his character from complete ignorance to his situation to a gradual understanding that something is very wrong about the world he lives in.
2006 – Graduated from High School


Simultaneously one of the funniest and grossest alien movies I’ve ever seen, Slither is the story of a small town that is almost entirely overrun by an alien species that takes control of human hosts and uses them as incubators. Nathan Fillion plays a police officer who finds himself the last defense from a full scale earth take over. It’s equal parts B movie horror and gross out humor blended together with some very solid film making.
2010 – Graduated from College
The King’s Speech


Fantastic performances from it’s entire cast was matched by the equally talented film makers behind the production of The King’s Speech. The internal and external struggles of the man that would become King George VI is shown through close up shots giving an atmospheric claustrophobia that perfectly captures the feeling one has just before giving an address before a large crowd for the first time. Beautiful scenes expertly convey the emotions of the actors, allowing the audience to connect and feel what the characters feel.
2011 – The year I married my best friend
Source Code


Duncan Jones’ second feature directorial endeavor is another Sci-Fi (his first was Moon which I review and recommend here). Jones certainly seems to have found his stride, as this film is emotionally weighty and intriguing, however with this film he amps up the action and thrills. Capt. Colter Stevens wakes up, confused, in a chamber with various video monitoring systems on the walls. He is unable to escape. He is informed that his mission is to locate the bomber of an event that has already happened. he is given an eight minute window to locate the bomber so they can prevent his next attack. He enters the scenario each time as one of the victims of the bombing and must figure out the perfect way to utilize his small window while simultaneously figure out where he, himself, actually is. Exciting, fast paced and solid performances make this film well worth watching, even for a second or third viewing.
2012 – We bought our first house


Another example of great film making overcoming the constraints of a (relatively) low budget. The cast is filled with lesser known actors, all of whom give great performances. This dark take on a superhero origins stories explores the reality behind the angst experienced by many teenagers today. When a group of three High School boys receive telekinetic powers, their true colors begin to bleed through. Power proves to be the ultimate test of character. In most movies I dislike the hand held shaky camera gimick, however in this instance it blends right into the narrative.

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