What the Hell Happened Last Year? – By Brian Morton

I spend a lot of time watching movies. In fact, I’m watching one even as I write this, I probably watch more movies than is healthy for a normal person, but if you ask anyone who knows me, I’m anything but normal! The problem that comes with watching so many movies is that, often, they become a huge blur. Scenes and images blurring together until you often can’t remember what movie was which, so, when a movie stands out, it’s really saying something. So, at the end of every year, I like to look back at the movies that stand out in my mind, because they’re usually the movies that mean the most, the ones that left their mark…so, here’s a list (in no special order) of the movies that I saw last year that I marked me the most.

Taylor Bertram:
This story of an abused woman who’s abuser turns up dead might, at first glance, seem to be your standard ‘bad guy gets his’ tale, but it’s a bit more than that. Based in reality, this small-town-slice-of-life style movie will make you really think about what’s going on around you, and what you can do about it.

The Hit Girl: One of the most amusing movies I saw last year, the story of a hit man who’s accidentally trapped in the body of a teenaged girl, but who still has a contract to fulfill…while navigating through the ‘mean girls’ of high school!

Swing Lowe Sweet Chariote: Chariote is a good girl who’s led astray by bad people, in this cool movie. The problem is that, once she’s seen the bad side, Chariote doesn’t really want to be good any more…and that, as we all know, has consequences.

Skull World: A documentary about ‘box wars’, people who make weapons and armor out of cardboard and then gather to fight. One of the weirdest docs I’ve ever seen, Skull World made me actually want to join in the fight!

The Pact: What man among us hasn’t sworn off women at one time in his life. Well, this tale of two brothers who make a pact to go woman free for a year is one of the most moving and romantic movies I saw all year!

Biology 101: The internet is a dangerous place, and when a teacher gets addicted to a porn site that features one of his students, he quickly becomes obsessed and then blackmailed. Filled with twists and turns, this is one of the better dramas I saw all year.

Profile of a Killer: When an FBI profiler is captured by a teenaged serial killer, it’s up to him to not only profile the killer, but convince him not to kill him as well! This is one of those rare movies that features mostly only two people in one setting, but still manages to remain edge-of-your-seat entertainment throughout.

Rotten Apple: This one’s a short, but it’s a deep short. The story of a guy who’s girlfriend left him, and when he finds out that she’s now dating his best friend, what can he do but make a peace offering…of an apple…that’s embedded with pins! A strange, weird, shocking short that makes you actually sympathize with the villain.

Bee People: The second doc that made my list, this one is about honey bees and the people who are trying to save them through conservation and teaching. Bee People actually made me want to get a hive and start helping out too!

Tilt: One of the strangest movies I saw this year. The story of a man who’s lost touch with his daughter, but when she’s attacked, he finds himself filled with undirected anger…that he directs it at anyone who crosses him. The end of this movie made me really want more.

Head Cases: Serial Killers In The Delaware Valley: This final installment of Anthony Spadacinni’s ‘Wayne Montgomery’ series, is, quite possibly, the best movie that he’s done. Wayne is dead and all the people who he’s affected in life (whether for good or bad) show up in a 20/20 style documentary about this evil man. Filled with most everyone from past films, this is a great way for Spadacinni to close the book on this character, and open new books at the same time.

Harold’s Going Stiff: Zombies were everywhere this year, but Harold is a zombie of a different type. In this movie, zombie aren’t the evil dead risen from the grave, they’re sad people who’ve gotten this terrible disease and are literally hardening! But, they’re still misunderstood and are hunted by the narrow-minded. Harold has a caretaker and they’ve developed a father-daughter relationship, so when the zombie-hunters come for Harold, things might not go as they planned!

Well, that’s my list, it’s not complete and it’s not the only movies I saw this year, but it’s the best of the best that I saw. And, while you’re list might not match mine, these are all movies that it’s worth your while to search out and see, and, they’re all from filmmakers who are up-and-coming and have a deep passion for the stories they tell and how they tell them. There are times when this job become a bit of a burden, there’s nothing worse than sitting down with a movie that you’re pretty sure is going to suck, but when you get movies like the ones above, that are amazing stories told by amazing people, it makes all the terrible movies worth it! So, to all the filmmakers who’s movies are here, keep up the great work and know that, even if it’s just a few of us, you’re making a difference and your audience appreciates you! Now….get back to making great movies!