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The first part of my 15 Movies series I think is quite safe, because those five movies are in all due respect endearing in their own way. Witty, funny, comic yet irresistible, those movies are my primary recommendations when someone asked me for good movies to watch, and the usual quick resort when asked of my favorite films.

The second batch might not be as appealing as the first one; they’re certainly not the happy ending kind. But in their own dark twisted manner, they definitely got me. It’s true that the dark part of our lives are the ones that stirs us to reality; and when it comes to films (I’m a huge movie fan, if you don’t know by now), I don’t see why it has to be different. 

Here is the two-third of the 15 Films that Moved Me.

Handpicked, with bloody cherries on top. Cheers! 

6. Wanted 

Wanted stars James McAvoy as “Wesley Gibson, a frustrated office worker who discovers that he is the son of a professional assassin and decides to join the Fraternity, the secret guild in which his father worked.” 

Now, this might seem as just a fast-paced action movie with an unintelligible plot just to keep the action going; my point is, if they have to forgo the plot and storyline in order to make the incredible stunts and action scenes as shown in the movie, then let go of the story for all I care. I so love the thrill of the ride with this movie; every scene’s an action eye-candy that had me breathless in my seat.

OT: In general, I would go for action movies than the horror types, as long as it doesn’t have too much blood in it, and not too much killing. 

Wanted is like a crazy feel-good movie, you don’t care where the story leads you; but the ride certainly rocks.

Also, the scenes are bloody most of the time, but the bloody parts are easily overlooked since the action scenes (especially those with James) are mostly comic.

7. Crash 

I think we miss that touch so much, that we crash into each other, just so we can feel something. 

Crash is a 2005 film set in Los Angeles featuring intertwining stories of racism and multicultural tension. It won Best Picture in the Academy Awards for that year over Brokeback Mountain, also a contender in my 15 Movies list (whoops, spoiler alert haha). 

What I love about this film, having to depict a heavy issue on cultural differences, is that it leaves one feeling really bad. How the character's lives turned out in the end is an eye-opener that would make its viewers abhor racism, which is how it should be for movies with this theme.

Although it doesn't help that the Asian characters were viewed negatively without any redeeming qualities or character development towards the end. 

The intertwined stories are amazingly woven together without overbearing each other; its ensemble cast with their subtle yet deeply moving performances makes this low-budgeted film a winner over its more contentious rival. 

8. Closer 

An adult love story, this is one poignant romantic film that features, to quote one character “a bunch of sad strangers photographed beautifully”. 

Initially, I wouldn't like a plot as Closer's, as someone who believes in a person's inclination towards the beauty and the good; at some point, one would question the characters' rationale for their choices, oooh bad choices at that. But this distorted passion for greed and unfaithfulness just adds to the film's mysterious aura. Also I’ve always found one’s rawness attractive and this film is a love story straight from the core: a blatant parade of a person’s ugliest desires. 

Don’t you think at rawness there is beauty?

Indeed, the scenes are as unpredictable as its characters, quite a big break from the typical certainty of Hollywood romantics. 

I won't dwell on the actors since three of the four leads are my favorite actors to date (and if you know me, it'll be so easy to pick the odd one out). Almost all scenes have a strong impact even if most only have (any) two of the leads in a clip; one can't do that with a lot of mainstream actors I think, plus the lines alone are powerful.

Oh just one very biased note: Natalie Portman is so-so ravishing here. 

9. Daybreakers 

I allotted one gore film for this list, just so it’ll look more unbounded (and in a way, might make me look uninhibited that I like bloody stuff haha!) and it’s a tie between 28 Days Later (where I was introduced to the hunky/big-eyed Cillian Murphy) and this, Daybreakers starring Mr. Sugar Ray look-alike Ethan Hawke. 

In 2019, when a plague has turned most humans into vampires, a company (vampire-led of course) farms all the remaining humans while researching for a synthetic blood substitute.

The movie over-all is OK, not too memorable dialogues or characters, nice premise but usual considering the surge of vampire-themed movies. The feeding frenzy in the end is really disturbing, and the slow-mo dramatizing the whole mess was polished; that was my favorite scene despite the bloodshed. 

The only reason I picked this is that this is one movie that got me really scared of vampires (but again, this is just me, I’m easily frightened). The scenes involving the vampire-turned-bats scared the hell out of me as I imagine them in real life. 

10. Vanilla Sky 

A 2001 psychological thriller film starring Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz and Cameron Diaz. 

I blame my strange fascination with life-in-a-waking-dream related films to this movie; Vanilla Sky is one of the first films I’ve watched as a kid that have grown with me throughout.

It was summer and my father brought home a set of Betamax films from our suki video rental store and one of those is Vanilla Sky. I remember Papa rented it because my mother likes Tom Cruise, despite the super narcissistic movie poster in the cover. I remember reading the movie synopsis and immediately wanted to watch it. I remember watching it with my older sister but have to stop in the middle because it bore her and the unorganized turnout of events is quite disorienting. I remember feeling very confused, I swear I can’t make sense of anything happening, but I sure wasn’t anywhere near bored.

I was completely lost in the story, but I didn’t dare stop. I knew in an instant that the film had introduced me to something magical; it was strange but watching it, I fell in love with the idea of simulated realities.  That was one of the few times I was genuinely interested in a concept from a movie; I was 13 (or 14) that time, the youngest and most gullible I could ever be.

Watching Vanilla Sky, I was on fire. Various thoughts were flying everywhere, it opened up a mirage of awesomeness in my young mind. 

I did finish the film inspite of my older sister's withdrawing in the middle; near the conclusion, my younger sister joined me. She was right on time for the part where we had a peek at Cameron's nipple; and I was quick to remark that it's just a button on her shirt, or dirt (I can't really recall what I tried to pass on as a nipple); I just knew she didn't tell on me.

Quite funny how that turned out, Vanilla Sky opened up the concept of lucid reality to my innocent mind that which would fascinate me for years to come. And to my sister's more innocent mind, Cameron Diaz' boob.