Artwork by Charlotte Southall
As a kid, we have tendencies to become obsessed with things very easily, watching films over and over again until we know every line. These days, it’s likely that one of those films is Frozen or Despicable Me, but what were the favourites of our SQ staffers growing up in the 90s and early 00s?
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL (2003)
“Bring me that horizon…”
Bubbling with swashbuckling adventure and thrilling bed-time story scares, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl hooked me straight away – my imagination dropping anchor in its grimy, rum soaked world! Ever since I first saw it when I was around eight years old, it’s remained a precious, glinting gem amongst my treasure island of favourite films.
It sparked exciting escapades such as making Pirate ships out of dining room furniture and plastic sword swiping battles in the garden… my Mum’s flower pots often paying the price. I was swept up in the mythology of the high seas – its bad guys and brutes. Pirates of the Caribbean provided the perfect outlet for my fascination with this world; with ghost tales of Aztec gold and the depiction of jewel encrusted caves, bloated with mysterious ancient artefacts stacked high like rich, toppling cakes. I was enthralled by it’s characters, mainly because, like Johnny Depp once said, Pirates were the rock n’ roll stars of their time – the rebels of the waves, the outcasts with heavy buckled boots and a strut in their step. They lived without rules. That’s an exciting idea when you’re eight…
Captain Jack was, and remains to this day, one of my all-time favourite movie characters. He’s a concoction of the flamboyant cowardice of Withnail and of course, the infinitely cool swagger of Keith Richards… Also possessing a very similar run to Woody in Toy Story. There’ll never be a more loveable Pirate to roam the seven seas, born from pure daring genius; the mind of Johnny Depp.
The sense of danger always felt so real and scary in this film – nothing like the cheap threats and corny baddies that dominate most other kid’s films. Lines such as ‘You know nothing of hell’ still stay with me. One of my favourite scenes was the attack on Port Royal – slowly the menacing black stern of a ship emerges from the mist and then violent blasts of angry cannon fire suddenly fill the air. To me, the Black Pearl was almost as terrifying as its Captain. Barbossa (played to evil perfection by Geoffrey Rush) was one of the scariest villains I encountered when I was younger – right up there with the Wicked Witch of the West and the Child Catcher, his gargling cackle haunted my nightmares for years.
Pirates of the Caribbean stirred my fantasies as a young kid, filled with gang planks, raging storms, walking skeletons and supernatural treasure – I still find myself drawn to it now, and say with pride that I can quote it off by heart! Who’s to say once you’re grown up you can’t be a pirate? Keith Richards is living proof! Hoist the colours, it really is a Pirate’s life for me… Savvy?
“…Drink up me hearties, Yo Ho…” -Angel Lloyd
LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE (2006)
God knows how I gained access to Little Miss Sunshine at the pivotal age of eight. Though having re-visited this sun-speckled gem a good ten years later, I can now attest to the reality that I did not grasp each reference at the time; I couldn’t wrap my head around why little Olive (Abigail Breslin) would oppose the ice cream that had accompanied her waffles, or why Uncle Frank (Steve Carell) would ever feel the need to hurt his wonderful self. These went beyond my budding grasp, as most things do when you’re still developing motor skills. However, I did pick up on the inexplicably perfect dance scene to Rick James’ ‘Super Freak’, and, of course, the charmingly busted yellow van. Even after my recent rendezvous with this forever favorite, all of these components were equally as magical as I remember them being, and then some. Granted, it adopts the familiar road-trip tropes moviegoers know far too well, its execution is so likable and bizarre that it’s hard to fault — especially when a lingering bias is still in play. See, while Li Shang and Aladdin were the quintessential subjects of many of my friends’ sexual awakenings in the mid 2000’s, colorblind Paul Dano was mine. -Kassandra Karlstrom
A KNIGHTS TALE (2001)
Between the ages of 4 to 8 I’m pretty sure all I ever did was repeatedly watch A Knights Tale – and although my life no longer revolves around it, it is still a very special movie to me and provides me with a lot of happy memories. One of the things as a child that I loved most about the film was the scene where a jousting match plays out, set to Queen’s iconic song “We Will Rock You” – using contemporary music in a period setting is not done often, which is maybe another reason why I was so drawn to it, as it wasn’t like any of films I had seen at that point in my life.. What makes A Knights Tale just as entertaining now as it was to me then is the mix of immature humour, which would naturally appeal to young kids, and more mature adult jokes that you would only start to notice and find funny once you’ve aged up a lot – allowing it to transcend age barriers.
A Knights Tale is also important because it was the first Heath Ledger film I ever saw – and was where my love for him began. Although I then went on to see pretty much all of his work – there is just something about his performance in A Knights Tale that will always be my favourite, even if there is no denying the magnificence of his turn as the Joker. –Megan Gibb
NEVER BEEN KISSED (1999)
Never Been Kissed was a favorite of mine as a kid, and I still enjoy it for the same reasons I did then: Drew Barrymore, Drew Barrymore,and (duh) Drew Barrymore. Beyond her performance, and beyond a genuinely funny script and great 90s fashion, there’s a troubling message at its core. Drew Barrymore plays Josie Gellar, a copywriter turned investigative journalist for the Chicago Sun Times. We meet Josie as she starts her first undercover job posing as a high school student at South Glen South. Why? We’re not really sure, but it’s the plot of the movie so we don’t question it too much. Enter Mr. Coolson, Josie’s English teacher, played by Michael Vartan. Mr. Coolson is–well, look at his name, for fuck’s sake. It’s like something out of a Charles Dickens novel. He is not a regular teacher–he’s a cool teacher. He lets his students call him by his first name and brings his hockey gear to class. He’s passionate about Shakespeare and takes an interest in his student’s lives. He uses his position to form emotional and borderline romantic bonds with his students. He weighs in on their personal affairs and complains about his own relationship as he flirts with (in his mind, anyway) a seventeen-year-old girl. Why wasn’t I able to see through Sam Coolson’s cool-guy act sooner? I guess we can blame good old movie magic. Romantic comedies have (for better or worse) been manipulating audiences since their inception, so at the end of the movie, we root for the kiss and try not to notice it’s between a teacher and someone who twenty minutes earlier had been his student. Mr. Coolson is like a lot of male teachers I had growing up. There was a social studies professor at my high school who would give the girls rides home from school in his Camry. I still remember his gelled hair and khakis. There’s a scene in Never Been Kissed that pretty perfectly captures the inappropriate nature of Mr. Coolson’s feelings toward Josie. After her identity is revealed, Sam’s feelings are hurt, and he says it’s because he feels Josie tricked him. As viewers, we’re left to wonder why he’s mad and not relieved his feelings were for an adult woman and not a teenager. Is he upset because Josie has made him feel disgusted by his attraction to her? Why do we even care? When I watch the movie these days, I tend to turn it off right after the big reveal. I guess I can see through the rest now. -Juliette Faraone
LOOK WHO’S TALKING (1989)
I have danced from the age of 3. Every year I would have dancing exams and every year my mum would buy me something nice from the dance shop as a reward for trying my best. But one year there was no more stuffed doll ballerinas or figurines that my mum could buy because I now owned all the ones in the shop. So one year, aged about 7-8, I come home and find the VHS of Look Who’s Talking laying in my room. I ignored it for a while until mum mentioned it. She told me that was my treat this year. I had no clue what this film was, but that 12 certificate glared at me through the wrapping and haunted me for months. ‘A 12? I, a mere 7-8 year old, cannot watch A 12 CERTIFICATE’ would run through my mind and I stared at the VHS for a good 6 months before opening it.
Well, what a ride that first viewing was. For those of you unaware, the film opens with a CGI sperm swimming through a woman’s uterus on its mission to be the first to fertilize the egg…. All set to the tune of The Beach Boys’ ‘I Get Around’. Fantastic stuff let me tell you.
The film follows Kirstie Alley as Mollie, a pregnant woman carrying the child of a married man. When the day comes for her to give birth, she is helped by an unsuspected taxi driver named James (John Travolta) who becomes a huge part in her life and new love interest. Sounds standard, yeah? But wait, we can hear the baby’s thoughts throughout the entire movie…..and the baby is voiced by none other than Bruce Willis. Viewing adult relationships through the eyes of a tiny one is always going to be funny, and Alley & Travolta’s on-screen paired is comical, electric and heart-warming. We flit back and forth between the trials and tribulations of Mollies single-parent life and her waking nightmares about ending up with James and also see baby Mikey learn from his mother and father figures.
This film was essentially the first bit of sex-ed I ever got, and I felt super cool having watched a 12-certificate. I still think it’s brilliant to this day and realising its directed by Amy Heckerling is a total treat. The soundtrack is also a banger I downloaded ‘Town Without Pity’ and ‘Let my love open the door’ recently to my iPod to proclaim my love for the film. –Chloe Leeson