All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…


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Four favourite movies (or TV Shows) of 2013

Day of the Doctor-horz

~ in no particular order ~

~ 1 ~

The Day of the Doctor | Written by: Steven Moffat

How could this not be on my list? Over the last twelve months it’s been mentioned countless times on this blog and, as the date drew closer, my excitement levels continued to rise, eventually reaching fever point the evening before the worldwide simulcast event. Perpetually worried that it would be pants, my fears were appeased within minutes of the show beginning as Steven Moffat and the cast and crew had shaped one of the best episodes of Doctor Who in quite a number of years. This isn’t just one of my favourite television/movie moments of the year, but one of my highlights of 2013, period!

~ 2 ~

Star Trek: Into Darkness | Directed by: JJ Abrams

The first film in JJ Abrams’ rebooted Star Trek franchise was one of the last films I saw before becoming homeless again in 2009. As such, the memory of this extremely good sci-fi action film is closely intertwined with my memories of that brutal period of my life. Approaching it’s sequel, Into Darkness, I was aware that it may resurface some unpleasant memories, but I also hoped that it would become intertwined with the new direction my life was entering. Fortunately, the latter proved true. Although not quite as good as the first film, Into Darkness was an excellent blockbuster movie that had me entertained from the word go.

~ 3 ~

Once Upon a Time | Created by Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz

I’ll be honest, I watch a lot of television. Not only is it one of my primary coping mechanisms but it’s a field of entertainment that I’ve always dreamed of working in. Amidst the random fare that I’ve watched over the last twelve months there were some obvious stand-outs: Game of Thrones (S3), Nikita (S3) and Parks and Recreation (S4), but the show that most captured my imagination this year was Once Upon a Time.

I initially began watching this show because of the presence of Robert Carlyle – one of my favourite actors – but was soon swept away by the strong female characters, intricate storylines and sheer sense of fun the show offers.

(PS…I still have to catch up with season 3, so no spoilers please!)

~ 4 ~

Iron Man 3 | Directed by: Shane Black

Although last on this list, this is probably my favourite film of the year, mainly because I had more fun watching this gleefully over-the-top comic book adaptation than I had with any other film or television product of the last twelve months. Filled with exceptionally well realised set-pieces – the attack on Stark’s home, the barrel of monkey’s sequence, the CGI overload of the finale – I dare anyone to sit through this film with a bored expression on their face!


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Thirteen book-to-movie adaptations that are actually pretty good!

The 30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge has meant I’ve been writing a lot about Mental Health over the last few weeks. Although it’s not something I’m ashamed of, for the sake of my own sanity I’ve decided that today’s Thursday Thirteen needed to be about something non-mental health related! :)

After watching a movie, how many of you have ever proclaimed ‘well, it wasn’t as good as the book’?

I’m willing to bet a fair few of you because, let’s be honest, most adaptations are pretty appalling. However, as with everything in life, there are always exceptions.

Thirteen book to movie adaptations that are actually pretty good!

Movie Posters

13. Secretary
Book by: Mary Gaitskill
Film by: Steven Shainberg
A stereotype busting story and a tour-de-force performance by Maggie Gyllenhaal elevates this heart (and bottom) warming film onto the list of great book-to-movie adaptations.

12. Clueless
Book by: Jane Austen (Emma)
Film by: Amy Heckerling
This film, a contemporary adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma, is one of the brightest, breeziest and enjoyable of the 90s rom-com selection. Clueless is a master class on how to contemporize a classic work of literature.

11. To Kill a Mockingbird
Book by: Harper Lee
Film by: Robert Mulligan
I first watched this adaptation of Lee’s only published work of fiction whilst studying the book during High School. At the time I wasn’t impressed, but re-watching it years later revealed the nuances, power and intensity of this superb adaptation.

10. Jurassic Park
Book by: Michael Crichton
Film by: Steven Spielberg
Like most book-to-movie adaptations, the film does deviate from the novel in several key areas, but the sheer childish fun of seeing dinosaurs come to life make this film a must watch for any adaptation aficionado.

9. Life of Pi
Book by: Yann Martel
Film by: Ang Lee
Long considered un-filmable, Ang Lee proved all doubters wrong by creating not only one of the best book-to-movie adaptations of recent times but one of the finest (and most beautiful) films of the year.

8. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
Book by: C.S. Lewis
Film by: Andrew Adamson
Although it pales in comparison to the BBC adaptation (ineligible for this list given its television origins), this film version was a beautiful adaptation of the book and introduced (the perfectly cast) Georgie Henley to the world.

7. Trainspotting
Book by: Irvine Welsh
Film by: Danny Boyle
The film that launched Ewan McGregor, Johnny Lee Miller, Ewan Bremner and Robert Carlyle into the national consciousness. This striking adaptation of Boyle’s novel about the heroin subculture in Edinburgh is a film you truly must see before you die.

6. Scott Pilgrim vs The World
Graphic Novel: Bryan Lee O’Malley
Film by: Edgar Wright
I cherish and adore this film more than any other made in the last ten years. Initially watched when I was homeless on the streets of Melbourne, this film inspired me to keep pushing on in my efforts to escape that most vicious of lifestyles. As such, it will always be a film I’ll hold close to my heart.

5. Fight Club
Book by: Chuck Palahniuk
Film by: David Fincher
This is one of my favourite films of all time. A devastating look at identity and consumerism, David Fincher has crafted one of the most consistently stunning, shocking and empowering films ever made and should be considered essential viewing for anyone, least of all those interested in book-to-movie adaptations.

4. Red Riding Trilogy
Books by:  David Peace
Films by: Julian Jarrold, James Marsh and Anand Tucker
David Peace’s quartet of books 1974, 1977, 1980 and 1984 are some of the bleakest, most intensely visceral series of books I’ve read in a long time. The film trilogy adaptation is just as intense, just as dark and equally as captivating. If you’re weak of heart, this may not be the film series for you, but you will be missing out on some of the finest British film-making, ever.

3. Alice in Wonderland
Books by: Lewis Carroll
Film by: Tim Burton

I will admit to hating this film the first time I watched it. I hated Mia Wasikowska as Alice, I hated Johnny Depp as The Mad Hatter and I hated what Tim Burton had done to one of my favourite books. However, I recently decided to revisit this movie after having it recommended by several people, and I’m glad I did, for I found it to be one of the most inventive, inspiring, enjoyable and engaging films I’ve seen in a long time.

2. The Lord of the Rings (Extended Editions)
Books by: J.R.R Tolkien
Films by: Peter Jackson

What can be said about this movie trilogy that hasn’t already been said? It is an exceptional masterwork that will be loved and admired for generations to come. A quintessential entry on any great book-to-movie adaptations list.

1. Young Adam
Book by: Alexander Trocchi
Film by: David Mackenzie

I have been an ardent fan of Trocchi’s work for the better part of the last fifteen years and his novel Young Adam is one of my personal favourites. So when I discovered it had been turned into a movie I will admit to approaching it with trepidation. I needn’t have feared, for David Mackenzie has crafted a truly superb book-to-movie adaptation that cannot be missed.

Over to you…what are some of your favourite book-to-movie adaptations?


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Movie Monday: Ten decades, ten films…

You are about to be marooned on a (semi) deserted island for one year.

You know you’re about to be marooned on a semi-deserted island for one year because you’ve paid someone to ship you to the Lost island. The reason you’ve paid someone to ship you to the Lost island doesn’t need to be explained (as nothing to do with this island needs to be satisfactorily explained!) :p

To keep you from going insane you have to take one movie from each decade between 1920 -2010. There’s no real reason why you’re only allowed one film per decade, you just have to accept it.

What (and why) do you choose?

Go…

~ My Desert Island Decatet ~

Posters 1

1920s – Sherlock Jr.
…because it’s the first Buster Keaton I ever saw (so lots of good memories attached!)
Plus, I’m gonna need to laugh!

1930s – The Wizard of Oz
…because it’s one of my favourite movies of all time.
Plus, I’m gonna need to sing!

1940s – Citizen Kane
…because it’s the greatest movie of all time! (Vertigo is nothing compared to this!)
Plus, I’m gonna need to be inspired.

1950s – Roman Holiday
…because it’s one of the greatest romantic comedies of all time.
Plus, I’m gonna need me some Audrey Hepburn.

1960s – Psycho
…because I wasn’t able to choose Shadow of  a Doubt, Rear Window or The 39 Steps.
Plus, I’m gonna need me some Hitchcock.

1970s – The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes
…because it’s the greatest ever Sherlock Holmes adaptation.
Plus, I’m gonna need me some Holmes and Wilder.

1980s – My Neighbour Totoro
…because it’s the greatest animated movie of all time!
Plus, I’m gonna need to dance (to that awesome theme tune!)

1990s – Fight Club
…because it’s one of my favourite movies of all time.
Plus, I’m gonna need to know how to make soap.

2000s – Secretary
…because it’s a film I have an immensely complicated love/hate relationship with.
Plus, I’m gonna need me some Maggie Gyllenhaal.

2010s – The Avengers
…because after so many serious films I think a mindless actioner is in order.
Plus, I’m gonna need me some Whedon (and Johansson!)

Posters 2

So? Over to you…


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Fun and Games: Mental Health at the Movies

One of the primary methods of coping with mental health and/or emotional distress is to distract your mind from the problem(s) at hand. Although we all have unique ways to distract ourselves (some people venture into the garden, others spend time with a certain 900 year old Time Lord) some methods of distraction are universal.

One of the most common distraction techniques are puzzles and quizzes. Whether it’s sitting down with a tough Sudoku or wiling away the hours with a jigsaw puzzle, spending time enjoying these activities is not only emotionally productive but can prove beneficial to both mood and memory.

This week, we’re going to have a little bit of fun (whilst honing this particular coping skill) with a variety of puzzles, quizzes and games.

Enjoy! :)

~~♥~~

#1: ‘Mental Health at the Movies’ Wordsearch

For this first puzzle, I’ve cunningly hidden the titles of twenty-two Mental Health related movies and TV shows in the grid below. The words may be running horizontally, vertically or diagonally, they may share the same letters and some may even be running back to front. But they are definitely all there!

How many can you find?

MH Movies WordsearchMH Movies Wordsearch (Word List)


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Movie Monday: Where are all the female superheroes?

superheromontage

Captain America…Thor…The Incredible Hulk…Batman…Green Arrow…Iron Man…Spider-Man…Green Lantern…Ghost Rider…Green Hornet…Superman…so many superheros, so many testicles…yet so very few women!

Regardless of how much I enjoy superhero movies, the number of men with bulging biceps and throaty voices rushing around to save the world is seriously starting to annoy me. It seems that every month we have yet another superhero willing to put their penis on the line to prove, once and for all, that only men are capable of being the ‘hero’. That women, with the occasional bit-playing exception (Black Widow, Catwoman) are merely objects to be saved (and ultimately bedded) by the superior male gender.

What utter insulting, annoying, sexist crap!

With the influx of superhero movies over the last several years, I think it’s about time female superheroes started to get a better piece of the action. So for today’s Movie Monday, I present six female superheroes I’d like to see headline their own movie (and prove once and for all that women can – and do – save the world!)

Hawkgirl She-Ra Spider-Girl Squirrel Girl SupergirlTank Girl

Are you sick of the invasion of male superheroes and think it’s about time we had some kick-ass women saving the world?
If so, who would you like to see on-screen. If not, what exactly do you have against female superheroes?


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Movie Monday: A few of my favorite movies…

Ever since deciding to partake in daily memes on this blog I’ve been searching for something to do on Mondays. After months of searching the Interwebs and being wholly uninspired by what I found, I’ve decided to create my own. Or rather to just simply dedicate Mondays to be about one of my favourite things…movies.

Whether it is sharing my favourite movies, venting over various films I can’t stand or focussing on a single aspect of film-making that inspires and or interests me, each and every Monday feel free to join me with a barrel of popcorn for an exciting adventure into all things motion picture related. Switching off your mobile is optional, but if it goes off during the post, prepare to be scolded :p

For my inaugural Movie Monday I’ve decided to share ten movies that I absolutely adore…but rather than simply tell you the name of the movie, I’m sharing the one line IMDB synopsis. All you have to do is work out what the movie is.

Simple :p

What movie am I?

Movie Quiz

1. “A San Francisco cartoonist becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down a serial killer.

2. “A young drifter working on a river barge disrupts his employers’ lives while hiding the fact that he knows more about a dead woman found in the river than he admits.

3. “A bored and sheltered princess escapes her guardians and falls in love with an American newsman in Rome.

4. “When two girls move to the country to be near their ailing mother, they have adventures with the wonderous forest spirits who live nearby.

5. “A new kid in town assembles a fledgling rock band – together, they achieve their dreams and compete against the best in a battle of the bands.

6. “A caving expedition goes horribly wrong, as the explorers become trapped and ultimately pursued by a strange breed of predators.

7. “After death, people have just one week to choose only one memory to keep for eternity.

8. “A young woman discovers her visiting “Uncle Charlie” may not be the man he seems to be.

9. “A young woman starts working for a demanding lawyer, where their employer-employee relationship turns into a sexual, sadomasochistic one.

10. “A group of very different individuals with different ideas of how to face the end come together as the world is expected to end in six hours at the turn of the century.

~ Clicking each line will whistle you away to the IMDB entry so you can find out all about the movie in question ~

So what movies do you love? Feel free to share the titles (or synopses, if you feel like being quizzical) in the comments or, if you like, in a blog post of your own :)


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My Life in Animated Movies

Over the last several months I have been writing a sporadic series titled  ‘My Life in…‘ where I highlight the films/books/moments/music that have defined me through each year of my life. As it’s been a while since I wrote a fun post, here is ‘My Life in Animated Movies’.

For each year since I was born, until last year, I have chosen an animated movie that has resonated throughout my life. Not necessarily the best animated movie of the year, but the one that would feature in a DVD collection that speaks of who I am in my soul.

Animated Movies

1978       The Lord of the Rings    

This was my introduction into the world of Tolkien and, unlike the recent adaptation of ‘The Hobbit’, can be watched without the sudden need to fall asleep.

1979       The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

This was my introduction into the world of C.S.Lewis…although it’s not as good as the 2005 movie or the classic BBC serial.

1980       Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don’t Come Back!!)

Charles M. Schulz. ‘Nuff said.

1981       The Fox and the Hound               

This is the first animated film I can remember seeing at the cinema. My mother took my siblings and I to see this in Richmond (London) at a time when I was completely unaware of who Kurt Russell was.

1982       The Secret of NIMH       

Why are rodents so popular when it comes to animation? When the finished product is this good, who really cares?

1983       The Wind in the Willows            

This film used to freak me out. Seriously.

1984       Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind        

Hands up who can pronounce Nausicaä correctly? I saw this for the first time during a Studio Ghibli retrospective at the Cinema Nova in 2005, a magnificent feat of animated storytelling.

1985       The Black Cauldron        

Do you remember heading down to the newsagent as a child and spending your hard earned pocket money on pointless packets of stickers? Do you remember ripping open the packets hoping this time you’d find the one bloody sticker that was preventing you from completing the album, but you never did?

Disney’s The Black Cauldron was the only (the only) sticker album I ever completed and remains in all it’s disheveled, disintegrating glory in a box in my parent’s house as proof completing a Panini album was indeed possible.

1986       The Great Mouse Detective      

If this film hadn’t been made it’s entirely possible my life-long love affair with Sherlock Holmes would never have occurred, for this was my introduction into the world of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most beloved creation. (see, animated rodents :p)

1987       Footrot Flats: The Dog’s Tale     

John Clarke provides one of the voices; ‘nuff said!

1988       My Neighbour Totoro   
Runners up: Grave of the Fireflies, The Land Before Time

Simply the greatest animated movie of all time…ever…period! The only people who could possibly disagree with this accolade are those who have never seen it. Hopefully you’re not one of them.

1989       The Little Mermaid        

I used to have a crush on Ariel. Just saying.

1990       Duck Tales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp            

This film will forever remind me of my childhood. And dodgy NES games. And rediculously addictive theme songs.

1991       Beauty and the Beast    

Until I saw My Neighbour Totoro this was my favourite animated movie of all time. At one point I knew it word for word…not exactly something a childless man should be admitting to, which I guess is why I live a socially isolated life :p

1992       Aladdin               

A film I can no longer watch due to it being a trigger to the abusive relationship I was in.

1993       The Wrong Trousers      

Wallace and Gromit were never better than they were in this masterpiece!

1994       The Lion King    

As those who have read this blog know, I once served Jeremy Irons coffee. Squee!

1995       Toy Story            

The second best Toy Story movie, after its first sequel, of course..

1996       James and the Giant Peach        

Better than A Nightmare Before Christmas. Oooooo, controversy :p

1997       Princess Mononoke      

Often forgotten fact…Neil Gaiman worked on the script for the English language version.

1998       A Bug’s Life       

I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again; David Hyde Pierce is a genius.

1999       My Neighbours the Yamadas    

Perhaps Studio Ghibli should consider using the word Neighbour in all of their movie titles, for this lesser-known animated masterpiece is superior to some of their better known films.

2000       Titan A.E             

I watched this in Halifax with Rachel. She didn’t like it. Although she, like I, did enjoy the very-Whedon ‘Bob’ exchange.

2001       Monsters Inc   
Runners up: Waking Life, Shrek, Spirited Away

For years after watching this movie Louise (and anyone who I told/found out) teased me mercilessly over the fact I bawled my eyes out when they say goodbye to Boo; one of my favourite animated characters in the history of animated film!

2002       The Wild Thornberrys Movie   

This movie was on the television the day after I was assaulted in 2007. I watched it curled up in a ball and remember thinking ‘why couldn’t you be the Rugrats Movie’? (as I have always loved the Rugrats!)

2003       The Triplets of Belleville             

Magnificent. Beautiful. Inspirational.

2004       The Incredibles               

One of the all-time great CGI movies and easily one of Pixar’s finest.

2005       Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit          

I very nearly didn’t get to see this movie as I refused to switch my phone off for the preview screening I was attending. The phone had no camera facility and I needed to have it on for work (as I was on call). Fortunately, they relented as long as they witnessed me putting it on silent (something I always do when going to the cinema anyway!)

2006       Happy Feet

I watched this with my parents on Christmas Day 2006; my last ‘enjoyable’ Christmas. Given I was suffering from Glandular Fever at the time I fell asleep when Mumble arrived at the zoo so, to this day, have no idea how the film ended as I didn’t wake up until the credits had started rolling.

2007       Ratatouille        

This is a film I watched during an anxiety ridden flight from Melbourne to London in 2008. My least favourite Pixar film, most likely because of the bad memories it brings of this horrible flight! Also, more animated bloody rodents!

2008       Ponyo  

Another Studio Ghibli gem.

2009       Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs        

A film that never failed to make me smile…until three days ago, when even this was unable to break the insidious depressive episode I’ve found myself in.

2010       How to Train Your Dragon
Runner up: Tangled

My favourite CGI animated movie of all time. Simply stunning.

2011       Puss in Boots    

I’ve never really been a fan of the vastly overrated Shrek movies, but this spin-off was quite marvellous. The short that accompanies it on the DVD is also wonderful :)

2012       Brave   

Perhaps it’s the red-headed Scottish heroine. Perhaps because it reminds me of Miyazaki. Perhaps because it’s highly under-rated. Perhaps because I watched it on a good mood day. I don’t know. All I do know is that I loved this movie from beginning to end and it should have received far more acclaim than it did.

See also:

My Life in Movies
My Life in Books
My Life in Happy Memories
My Life in Music

and

Addy’s Top Twenty Animated Films of All Time