A24, 2019, AND MY (SLIGHTLY) PRETENTIOUS PATH TO LETTERBOXD LIST-MAKER


(Photo: A24)

If you even remotely know me, you're aware that over the last year and a half I've become a pretentious asshat when it comes to movies. I've liked movies for as long as I can remember, but now I enjoy films. Put me out of my misery, someone, please.


I get irrationally angry whenever I see a live-action Disney remake announced and have been obsessively rating movies on Letterboxd (follow me @addictedtomids). As Sarah Smith, aka ms bird, would put it, "I hate having a film Twitter sense of humor now."


There are a few factors that led to my "awakening". I think I just got older and stopped not watching things because they looked dumb or boring, which are terrible reasons to skip potentially incredible art. My acquaintanceship with my pal Mary has surely opened my mind to new types of movies and has lowered my judgement immensely (except for The Lion King remake, I despise that atrocity). Say what you want, boomer, but I feel as if she really helped me explore films, music, whatever. I'm so much more open to art then when I was a fat high schooler with a buzz cut and closed mind.


What really made me an aspiring cinephile* is a singular film and the company behind it. I'd seen independent movies before but when I saw Mid90s on opening weekend in fall 2018, everything changed. I instantly fell in love with the shots of Stevie and crew skateboarding down the street throughout Los Angeles, the perfectly hand-picked soundtrack, and the way in which Jonah Hill crafted his story.


It truly was storytelling unlike anything I'd ever seen and I was hooked; I wanted more. And thanks to the three character logo that flashed before the opening credits, I had unique voices telling their stories in their own ways at my disposal. A24 changed my appreciation of movies; it evolved my taste.


*I really wish there was a better word to say "I love movies and I'm kind of a dick about it", for obvious reasons.


Last year set the bar for how I want to go about moviegoing for the rest of my life. I want to see as many movies as possible, whether they be wonderful, awful, or so despised by Twitter simps that it has to be the next great thing.


2019 was pivotal for my love of A24 and movies in general. Using my Letterboxd rankings for reference, I watched 29 movies that came out in 2019, the most I've ever seen in a given year (by far). I saw, and loved, films like Parasite, Booksmart, and The Lighthouse, which wouldn't have been the case as recently as 2018. I went from "That looks weird, I'm not seeing that" to "That looks weird, let's go see it opening night".


A massive aide in my viewing evolution is who I'm around. Ralph, Hotto, ms bird, Malizia, and Northrup are always down to go see the newest release being hyped on our timelines. Quite often we all enjoy similar movies but occasionally there's differing opinions which in turn lead to great conversations. Watching movies is a very solo activity but what comes after a trip to the theater is the best part. Plus, I can always rely on Hotto to give me recommendations that will unearth my new film fascination (i.e. Lady Bird, Good Time, The VVitch, lots of A24).


Good Time (2017) spurred a deep dive into the Safdie Brothers and led to my obsession with Uncut Gems


I still love goofy comedies (even though they unfortunately rarely get made anymore) and mindless action movies. It's like I only ate American cheese for a while but decided to add Swiss and a bit of mozzarella to my palette. Just getting a bit of variety.


I watched Dinner for Schmucks last weekend and had an absolute blast. I'll always scramble to the theater to be disappointed by the latest Star Wars. I'll never be one to just abandon a genre of movies because it's "not as good". In my eyes, that's not a thing; everything is relative, especially art. A lot of hilarious movies get ripped apart critically but if a movie makes you laugh and that's what it's intended do to, then it's objectively good. People like what they like. I adored Uncut Gems, now my favorite movie of all-time, but a lot of people didn't. Some despised it. That's just how it goes and people shouldn't be spurned for their tastes in movies. Unless they're really bad. Then it's ok to shit on them. They probably deserved it anyways.



There are a lot of movies that I haven't seen. Great movies, like The Godfather (sorry, Ralph). But 2020 is the year to work on that. I've been curating my watchlist and have begun working through it. I just finished Midsommar and have moved onto Frances Ha with Moonlight on the horizon. It's been my dream for a while to somehow be involved in filmmaking but if I haven't seen the most pivotal films, then I'll serve no purpose.


I'm so glad I dove headfirst into movies in 2019. My appreciation has grown so much and I want to keep exploring what's out there. I want to find that new distribution company whose filmography I can binge-watch. I want to find those directors that I spend hours listening to get interviewed. I just want to grow.


A few years ago, I never would've thought that I would be writing short reviews of movies on Letterboxd to try and make my seven followers laugh. Hell, I wouldn't have thought I'd have a Letterboxd. I really think I've found something I enjoy, even love.


I'm excited to see what the next year holds for me in terms of movies. How many more lists will I make? What classics will I see, and will I like them? Will I buy more A24 merch? The future is uncertain, but film is forever.


If you want more movie content, go check out the TV & Film section on Burbs and listen to RUN IT BACK, a movie podcast hosted by myself, Ralph Compiano, and Evan Northrup.








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