Why I haven’t finished the ‘To All the Boys’ series.

To All The Boys I Loved Before is a young adult romance series, written with care by Jenny Han, and turned into a Rom-Com for Netflix. I’d highly recommend it! As someone who prefers to watch romance (and it needs to have that comedy element to it, I’m not really a ‘Notebook’ style gal) to reading it, TATBILB was a head-turner for me, and really had me questioning whether I’d sold the whole genre short.

I’d seen the film, and wanted to know if the book held up. It did! There were enough changes that I could enjoy both in their own right. Characters were developed differently, because the book had more time to weave the story, but pacing in both was good. The main characters were flawed, but not to the point where I couldn’t relate/empathise. It was a generally wholesome experience, and I wanted to read the next two books in the series.

book blog

You may remember, back in November, I did a tour of the independent bookshops in Kent. I was surprised there were so few, and even more surprised that half of them weren’t open at the time of recording (but I assumed that was due to me and my lack of forward planning. (I didn’t check their opening times…)) I’m happy to say that the shitty service I’m about to talk about has NOTHING to do with any of those independent bookshops.

Anyway…

Having decided I wanted to finish the rest of this series, I took a trip in my car to a bookstore near me which specialises in kids books and toys. I’ve seen YA in their windows before, so I thought, ‘why give my money to Amazon, when I can support an independent?’ I’ve got a Waterstones which is closer to me, so, worst case scenario – I’d pop in there on my way back from this independent.

The lady behind the counter was lovely. Yes, she could order the books in for me, it would take two-three working days. It was a Saturday, so I could expect the book by the end of the week. Not a problem.

‘Do you want me to pay now or when the books arrive?’ 

‘No, it’s fine, pay when you come back. We’ve been having trouble getting books in for people. We’ll call you when it gets here.’

In hindsight… maybe this should have been my first red flag? They took my name, my number and I was on my way. I had the rest of my Top Trumps TBR to get through, and (much to Kate Macdonald‘s chagrin) I don’t have a problem waiting between books in a series.

Sidebar: the reason I don’t have a problem is a little bit down to Cassandra Clare, and her Shadowhunter series. I really enjoyed the first four books. But then I missed a couple, and binged four more and it was too much. Unlike a tv series where my impatience gets the better of me, because I like to take my time with a book, I don’t mind waiting for the next one so I can ruminate over the last. (Sure I just googled to double-check I knew what ruminate meant… I was right though).

A week passed. Then a second. No word from the bookshop. Weird. But she’d told me they’d had a problem getting it in so maybe it wasn’t available at the moment. Netflix had released a promotional trailer for PS I Still Love You, the second book to be turned into a film from the series. It was coming out on my birthday. It could be that all the copies have already been scooped, I thought to myself. And as I’ve asked for both, they’ve not called until both are ready. I can’t read the 3rd book before the 2nd anyway…

No harm in asking. So the following Tuesday, I went down to the bookshop. I still had a month. Plenty of time to read book 2 before the film came out. I even dragged my brother and the dog along for the walk.

But when we got there, all the windows were dark. And a little note in the window said, ‘closed due to sickness.’ Fair enough. I can’t be mad about sickness. Cold and Flues were going around, and I’m not a heartless bitch. (For the most part).

I gave it another week, and tried again. During storm Dennis. Because we’re on the coast, we get a lot of wind generally anyway. But the rain was something else. I layered up, convinced the dog and my brother for a second time for a walk, and we made our way to the bookshop. It was open – THANKFULLY – and whilst my brother took the dog on a little stroll, I went inside.

‘Hi,’ I said, ‘I’ve come to find out if my books are in. PS I Still Love You and Lara Jean Forever After?’ 

‘Oh yes! We’ve been trying to call you!’ the lady said. 

This filled me with hope. Hope that was shortlived.

‘We tried to call you on the shop phone, but it kept getting to the middle number and cutting out.’ 

Guys. My dudes. Friends. Countrymen. It’s 20-fucking-20. Everyone and their dog has a mobile phone. Many have mobiles INSTEAD of landlines. I don’t have a house phone. But my mobile is currently sitting in front of me. (On silent, I’m trying to concentrate). A bad handset is ZERO reason not to call someone. Especially if calling them is going to bring money into an industry which is hard graft at the best of times.

I said nothing.

She switched on the computer (which should have been my, what, third red flag at this point?) and waited for the thing to load. I tried to make small talk.

‘It must be great working here.’ 

‘It is. I’m only here a couple of days a week but it’s great.’ 

‘I saw there was a sign saying someone was sick last week?’

‘The lady who owns this shop, her little girl had the chickenpox. Couldn’t very well bring her in!’ she laughed. 

‘Well, you’ve got my number – in case you ever need a shift covering!’ I joked. 

She didn’t laugh. 

The computer connected and she wrang up my books. I tapped my card against the machine

‘Oh. It’s declined.’

Panic. I hate it. There’s money in the account, I know there is, but suddenly I’m thinking ‘shit, shit, shit, shit…’

‘I’ll try inserting it,’ (hehe) I say, trying to stay calm. 

‘No, it’s saying it’s not connecting,’ she says after a moment. 

Relief. It’s not my fault. Not my problem. Wait. Yes, it is my problem.

‘I don’t have any cash I say,’ looking at the two beautiful books in front of me.

‘I’ll try a different wifi connection. I’m so sorry about this.’ 

I’m trying not to be unreasonable. She’s doing her best. She’s being polite. But Waterstones and Amazon wouldn’t have had these issues… I grumble to myself.

‘It won’t connect. I’m so sorry about this.’ 

I used to work for my mum in a Wedding Dress Shop. Clients don’t get more unreasonable than a bride, her mother, and their entourage. If you don’t learn good sales tactics, a nice manner, you get a bad reputation and your business goes down the toilet. So, from that experience, here’s what I was expecting:

An apology. Directions to the nearest cashpoint. And a bookmark/token gift with a marginal mark-up so that the customer walks away feeling pleased with me and happy to come back. So they think that, even though I’ve messed up, it was worth coming all this way. (No matter the ACTUAL distance, if you know what I mean.)

Heres what I got:

A shrug.

The lady kind of looked at me like I was helpless. Put the books back in their bag and told me she’d keep them for when I came in again. I put my purse away and walked back out into the rain. I walked past the two cashpoints I knew where in the high street to find my brother under a canopy with a very soggy dog. And we went home.

I ranted to anyone who would listen. ‘How stupid is that?! No wonder independent bookshops keep dying!’ My dad told me he’d have ordered from Amazon the moment the shop was closed the first time. But I was still adamant I’d buy local. My next nearest independent bookshop was over an hour’s drive away (The Margate Bookshop). And I knew the books were there! They were tucked safely behind the counter. I didn’t want it to be a complete waste of time.

My birthday came and went. I had no books. The film was out. It was getting weird reviews, a real mixed bag of people wanting John Ambrose to be more book-like, and also happy Peter K (these are the two love interests if that wasn’t clear) was less book-like. But I didn’t know what the book versions of these boys were first! So I still haven’t seen the film.

My brother took the dog for a walk, knowing it would be a sensitive subject (I know, so sheltered that this is my biggest gripe over the last two months – but come the hell on!) but the bookshop was closed for lunch.

And I started feeling like a mug because, I’m constantly going on about independent bookshops. The Margate Bookshop has been shortlisted for the 2020’s Independent Bookshop of the Year Regional Shortlist. And yet this whole experience has been a complete waste of time. And as Rita Mae Brown once said, ‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.’

I went back yesterday. The shop was closed again. A little sign saying, ‘cash only’ in the window, but nothing to say when they’d be back.

And my books are in there. Waiting to be read. That’s why I haven’t finished the series. (Crying emoji.)

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Storytime – James Bond.

James Bond 

The tack room smelt of saddle wax and damp. A bizarre mixture of plastic and leather, oats and hay. A scent a thousand teenage girls carried with them, until they don’t. Riding lessons had been cancelled, so the other girls and I huddled inside, happy we at least had a counter to climb on and a mini fridge to raid. A small heater clicked in its corner as it attempted to heat the cold concrete, and we waited for our parents.

I was the youngest. Too short to climb up onto the counter, too chubby to try. Relegated to the floor. The cold seeped through my jodhpurs, and I still had my helmet on. It was heavy and warm on my head. Plus, the strap was fiddly.

I felt buried in my own silence. Redundant. The older girls were talking about boys. Who they fancied, when they would see them next, whilst I looked up at these girls wondering if I’d be invited to join in. One of the nicer girls noticed I was watching, and out of some misguided kindness extended the question to me.

‘Is there a boy you fancy?’

I’d had time to think about it, so my response was immediate.

‘James Bond.’ I said. ‘I love James Bond.’

There was silence. Tight lips tucked in on themselves.

‘Which one?’ a blonde girl broke.

Too young to understand, I persisted, ‘James Bond. All of them.’

Hyena like, pack-cackling rippled through the tack room, and I realised too late I’d made a mistake.

‘Do you mean Pierce Brosnan?’ a third girl pressed. She didn’t have kind eyes or a nice temper. She was baiting me. I was smart enough to know that much. If one of the nicer girls had asked, I’d have been more honest. I’d have explained the difference between traditional Bond over the newer, flashier Bond with his out of control gadgets and unnecessary explosions.

But I buckled under the eyes of this older girl. I nodded. Feeling like a coward. Not brave enough to admit Sean Connery was better.

*

A few years later, the scent of saddle wax had been replaced by salt watered air and evening cold. The faux shipwreck, climbing wall and wooden towers of Folkestone’s coastal park were haloed by the orange fluorescents of metal streetlights. Strange shades were cast by the palm trees, as our playground attempted its best impression of being anything other than a fishing town.

I’d been abandoned by my friends who were smoking weed in the top tower of the wooden castle. A boy with curly hair had offered me a toke and I’d politely refused.

He and I sat in the little children’s boats that rocked, his feet touched the floor whilst mine did not. He thought he was a bad boy because he’d done a bit of shop lifting, skipped school and smoked weed. He’d had sex too, which he was clearly proud of. He also walked his niece to school, played rugby religiously and offered me his hoodie when I shivered. I refused that too. I was determined to be warm in my rugby training jacket with South East Girls printed in barbie pink across my back. I didn’t want to look needy.

Our friends heckled us from the tower. Making smoochie noises and laughing. He gave them the middle finger back, like a bad boy. And I laughed.

When the shouting died down, and fresh smoke billowed out of the tower. The tall boy relaxed his body into a slouch. I relaxed too. I liked this boy; he was funny and nice and that was all it took for me to like someone. He’d told me that he fancied someone in our group, and a small part of me hoped that now we were alone he’d tell me who it was. Not so I could mock, or shriek or sympathise. Just my common curiosity.

‘Is there someone you fancy?’ he asked, watching me in the haze of orange and black.

Less than a second passed before I answered. His game was clear to me, because it was the same as mine. I decided to reward his curiosity with the truth. Not the whole truth, I knew James Bond was not going to be the right answer. But I would tell this tall, curly haired rugby player exactly how I felt.

I shrugged. Looked him dead in the eye so he knew I was being honest and said,

‘Nah. Boys are stupid.’

What was the last film you watched? – Victoria and Abdul

Victoria and Abdul PosterWay back when – when ‘drama’ wasn’t twitter beef or insta hashtags, but something people did for entertainment and to win a goat (actual facts, look it up), there were two main types.

Comedy

Tragedy.

Comedies would be filled with lots of little mishaps, but inevitably ended up with a cathartic happy ending.

Tragedies – didn’t. They would be filled with comedic elements, but make you cry your little eyes out. And the British – if I do say so myself – are really bloody good at comic tragedies. Victoria and Abdul is an example of this.

 

Here’s why: (PS. Spoilers)

The screenshot opens in Agra, our lead (played by Ali Fazal) begins his morning with prayer. The camera then follows him walk through Agra to where he works, following his feet with only a few shots of his face. We meet exactly one English soldier on his way to work, who is rude and obnoxious and calls Abdul Karim and ‘idiot’. Now, English comedy (at least from where I’m sat) has always played on how aware it is of the classic ‘Englishman’. Here we have a British film, showing the audience how ridiculous British-isms are. There’s no doubt the Englishman is rude, but Abdul carries on his way – showing that this behaviour is the norm, the English ruin everything (even a nice walk to work) and everyone else just ignores them.

This is then carried on for the next sixteen minutes, hammering home the idea that English traditions are completely underwhelming or simple-minded to those looking from the outside in. There’s a great juxtaposition between the two ‘Hindus’ as they keep being called. One is excited to be in England, one can’t wait to be home. This second character (played by Adeel Akhtar) even goes as far as to compare the English to ‘Barbarians’ because of what they put in sausages. The two Indian men are told their new costumes were designed to look ‘authentic’ even when Abdul points out they’re nothing like the traditional costumes. And they look so bored!

As course after course of food comes out, there are casual side glances, rolling eyes, stares, and sighs. All little details that show how disappointing the whole thing is. But what makes this absolutely genius is Queen Victoria (played by the true queen herself Judi Dench) is asleep. She’s awoken to receive a coin, makes eye contact Abdul and the opening titles (16 minutes in mind…) flash across the screen practically screaming – this is it. This is the relationship that could save her. If you’d like to know more about their true relationship, Vanity Fair has written an amazing article all about it.

The queen is, at this moment in her life anyway, bloody miserable. Her husband is dead, her lover is dead, her children are horrible and she’s sick of being bossed around. She’s clearly dying of boredom and because the English can’t help themselves, there are even jokes about her constipation. But here is this person, a complete contrast to everyone she knows. He’s excited to talk about carpets, to teach her his language, to talk about what being a Muslim is like and she’s revived by his enthusiasm. She encourages him to bring his wife to England, and unlike everyone else, isn’t terrified of this woman whose face is covered up or different. It’s exciting. And it’s lovely to watch.

Image result for opening scenes of Abdul and VictoriaWhich means the moments of contrast are stark and terrifying.

Servants shutting doors in Abdul’s face, being put in cold and isolating dorms, but most importantly – the constant backstabbing.

Bertie, Prince of Wales (played by Eddie Izzard) is a nasty, scheming little man who begins with the household – who already are at odds with Abdul – and then with Abdul’s friend Muhammed.

This is where Muhammed becomes my favourite character. His speech to the Prince is 10/10. He refuses to sell out his friend, well aware that he is dying because of the awful English weather. He’s proud of his friend for playing the game so well, and when he dies (I did warn about spoilers) the English are there to ruin it again.

Because everyone is so focused on making sure the queen is okay, his death passes with only two moments of note. The first is when Abdul’s serving boy runs up to Abdul to tell him about Muhammed, and the next moment is his funeral. I was seconds away from tears.

Abdul is then alone – as his wife and mother-in-law get 0 lines – with only the queen to protect him. The court are on his back constantly, looking for any reason to have him removed. And once the queen dies, he’s sent back to India and all of the letters and journals they shared together where destroyed. Now I’m for real crying. Damn you. Damn you cinema!

The film comes full circle, with Abdul waking up in Agra, and then walking through the streets. He returns to the Taj Mahal gardens, where a large statue of Queen Victoria has been put up and he keeps his promise to stay by her side. And isn’t that bloody lovely/heartbreaking.

I spent a lot of time talking about the money with Big Hero 6 – because I wanted to make a point that whilst I didn’t like it, clearly others must because it rolled in the dollar as it were. Victoria and Abdul have done pretty well, grossing $61,000,000 worldwide so far. I, personally, think it’s worth all of the awards. And has redeemed Stephen Frears after Tamara Drewe for me.

Let me know in the comments below if you agree or disagree or if you want to share your opinion. See you tomorrow!

What was the last film you watched? – Big Hero 6

Short answer: Big Hero 6

Long answer: Big Hero 6

Big Hero 6, Disney’s answer to Hero Movies, won an Oscar for Animation, made $56,000,000 dollars in its opening weekend and then went on to quadruple that in gross profit. It scored highly with critics and audiences alike, being described as ‘agreeably entertaining and brilliantly animated… briskly-paced, action-packed and often touching.’ 

Image result for big hero sixBut to be honest, and otherwise unhelpful, I wasn’t a massive fan. Let’s start with the plot:- (Spoilers)

We are introduced to Hiro Hamada through a robot battle. Anyone who’s ever seen an episode of Robot Wars, Transformers, or Real Steel – this intro was for you. We’re brought in to think they’re giant robots doing battle, until the camera pans out and you see that it’s two people controlling their robots much like in the tv show Robot Wars. Except there’s no fun narration from Craig Charles. Hiro steps up to challenge the reigning champion and eventually wins. When the reigning champion acts like a child who’s had their favorite toy destroyed (because he essentially had that happen to him) he reacts to physical violence. Towards a 13-year-old. Now, up until this point (and we’re only a couple of minutes into this film), there hasn’t really been any danger for our protagonist, who we assume will be Hiro because he won and because he’s on some of the posters. It seems a bit extreme, but thankfully there’s an ex-machina ‘Older brother arrives on a moped to save the day’ moment so we can breathe a sigh of relief before watching a ridiculous non-car chase as the two brothers try to escape. I say try, because they both get arrested. Turns out, whilst battling robots isn’t illegal in San Fransokyo, gambling on these robot battles is. Who knew?

For the next ten minutes, we’re driven through the world through Tadisha Hamada’s eyes. He wants to encourage his brother to be a better person and to use his brain for something better. He wants to make his parents proud. He wants to show his brother his nerd school. And this is the bit where ‘fast-paced’ seems like a kind way to say ‘info-dump’.

When Tadisha takes his younger brother Hiro to his college/university, he introduces him one by one to Go Go, Wasabi, Honey Lemon and Fred. We’re then introduced to Callaghan, the professor of the university. This all happens very quickly, and we’re shown details of differing personalities of each. Here’s my problem with this. There are now so many characters that I don’t really care about any of them.

Hiro is a moody teenager, pure and simple. Tadashi is the kind soul who wants the best for everyone. Their aunt Cass has two minutes screen time, repeats the same joke as Tadashi, and spends most of her time talking about food and hugging people. Go Go is cold and aloof. Wasabi is clearly OCD. Honey Lemon is over excitable and Fred is the classic frat party stoner (who we later find out is also a billionaire baby). And we’re introduced to all of this information in a succinct fashion because? Because the characters will be important, and these little idiosyncrasies are what make them the heroes they’re going to become? Also, Tadashi has been at this school long enough that he’s tested Baymax 84 times before he works. He’s got his own workspace, and these people are described as his best friends; so how does Hiro not know about them until now? Why does it take Tadashi getting arrested alongside his brother to introduce Hiro to this school? ‘For stories sake’ isn’t good enough in my opinion. And it means that at 23 minutes when Tadashi sacrifices himself to save someone and dies – I felt nothing. Sorry.

There’s a clumsiness to the writing I didn’t expect. Casual Frankenstein references. The fact that when Baymax needs charging, he acts drunk rather than sleepy. Why? For the slapstick comedy? Of which there isn’t really any in the rest of the film. There are a few moments where Disney makes an effort to subvert our expectations. When The Eye of the Tiger starts playing, this is the moment when Hiro has no ideas or plan at all. Baymax makes a funny noise when he does the fist bump and has to deflate and inflate himself, which did make me giggle. But it was difficult to have an emotional attachment to anything other than Baymax. Hiro is clearly consumed by anger, and it’s only his friends that keep him from becoming Callaghan or another villain of the same ilk. And the fact Baymax becomes sentient enough to stop Hiro from removing his care chip. (That’s never explained by the way).

There were five other American/British CG Animated films to come out that year. The Book of Life (Net $99.8 mil), The Boxtrolls ($108 mil), How To Train Your Dragon 2 ($618.9 mil), Penguins of Madagascar ($373.6 mil) and Postman Pat the Move (£8.6 mil).

I’ve included the amount these films made to show that actually, Big Hero 6 ($222.5 mil) was average. I don’t expect Disney to be average. Disney should be miles ahead. The Book of Life is majority 20th Century Fox, and How to Train Your Dragon 2 + Penguins of Madagascar are Dreamworks and Fox. I’m not including that to slander either company. Far from it, they’re big games in animation. And that’s why I expect more from Disney. They are the company for classic children’s storytelling through animation. But even though Big Hero 6 is PG, it doesn’t really feel like it’s for kids. Certainly not kids old enough to understand the emotional distress Hiro is feeling, because he refuses to feel it. He shoves it out of the way until it’s useful in problem-solving. Or Baymax finally explains what he means by ‘Tadashi is here’ and shows the video he’s somehow recorded and saved.

I’d like this film more if:

1. Tadashi did something to engage the audience more than just save his brother. Like maybe being the sole caregiver, until Aunt Cass steps in once he’s died.

2. We got more time to get to know the friends and the university.

3. Everyone had known Fred had money and that was a joke from the start, rather than ex-Machina millions.

4. Baymax had had more personality. It is, after all, fictitious. He could be more sentient before he decides to protect his care chip.

So no, I wouldn’t spend any more money on this film or any sequels hereafter. I probably wouldn’t watch it again unless it was the only thing on television, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend it to a friend.

Let me know in the comments below if you agree or disagree or if you want to share your opinion. See you next week!

Who is your favourite Director?

Okay, so, I did a bit of research into this because I thought the answer was going to be super simple and then it wasn’t. And the reason it wasn’t is that people aren’t super simple. Our tastes change as we grow and learn, but the styles and techniques of the films we love have been immortalised and don’t change. Obviously.

I’m not a film theorist, but something I do enjoy doing is watching video essays exploring film theory, specifically screenplay analysis and critical theories I’m familiar with within literature put towards the visual medium. I promise, if this isn’t the kind of thing you’re looking for, I’m not going to to go in heavy with this stuff (even though I love it!). But if you are interested, I’d recommend checking out the following youtubers: Lindsay Ellis, Lessons from a Screenplay, and Nerdwriter1. But it’s due to my over-zealous nerdiness that I found choosing my favourite director so difficult. It’s no longer about just watching a film and thinking ‘Good Job! – I enjoyed that’, because I’m more aware of the work they’ve put into it.

So here are some honourable mentions:

John Hughes: 

I went through a phase of only watching John Hughes films on repeat, and considering I’m a being with a very short attention span, I think that says a lot! It was all about the dialogue, the soft colours, (sometimes musical interludes) and the sincerity of the stories Hughes crafted. 10/10 John. Would recommend.

Wes Craven: 

“Wes Craven has become synonymous with genre bending and innovative horror, challenging audiences with his bold vision.” – that’s straight from his IMDB page. For me, it was the intelligence it invoked in the audience watching his many, many films and television shows. The Twilight Zone, Scream, Nightmare on Elm Street. His horror films make you feel intelligent with the dialogue and plotting, before pulling the rug from under you and scaring the living daylights out of you. And it’s psychological enough that you don’t have to worry about it not being terrifying on a second viewing.

Sophia Coppola: 

I would describe Coppola as an ‘auteur’ – AKA a director creating content that explores authorship in contrast to the ‘shallow superficiality of Hollywood’ (thanks Lindsay Ellis). She’s a great director, with a distinguished style and personality. And the interior meaning within the work is inherently feminine – which for me is important because I don’t believe femininity should be considered a negative trait at all. She was the first female director on my list when I started thinking about my favourites (which says something about the very heavily masculine world she’s working in). She was almost usurped by Patti Jenkins or Lone Scherfig who arguably have more works and more recent works worth noting, but she’s the queen for me.

Okay so – for the favourite directors:

I took a few things into account when curating this list. The first was the emotional and psychological impact these directors had on me as I grew up. The second was the adult analysis of their skills (with what little qualifications I have on that) and the third was, petty, but the sheer number of 10/10 in their portfolio.

3. Edgar Wright. 

I’ve not met an aesthetic I’ve liked as much as Edgar Wright’s. And if you’re unsure what I mean then check out this video that goes through it. The man is a genius. His style lends itself so perfectly to visual comedy (another video if you’re into it) but he’s also not afraid to let his audience feel. Baby Driver has some really dark moments, framed in bright colours with white noise so you can feel them without feeling rushed to move on with the plot. Hot Fuzz gives you the complete understanding of the main character’s isolation from a short montage of images. Wright spent days filming one shot for Shaun of the Dead because it had to be perfect. His detail orientated, character-driven stories and authenticity are what makes him so bloody fantastic! (in my humble opinion).

2. Joss Whedon. 

Joss Whedon is not a nice person. He’s “allegedly” fired actors for getting pregnant, cheated multiple times, emotionally abused his wife, he’s included rape subplot storylines that seem to be there for the pure conflict of it all, clearly isn’t as pro-feminist as he’d like to be, and his main characters might be female, but they’re tiny and they’re put through the absolute shitter. Excuse my language. But Buffy, Angel, Dollhouse, Firefly, Serenity, and Doctor Horrible are all a part of who I am as a person now. And he directed that shit so…

1. Ang Lee. 

I didn’t even know Ang Lee had such an important role in my film tastes until I looked into it. His subtle genius has given us the best adaptation of my favourite Austen story Sense and Sensibility, Brokeback Mountain, Life of Pi and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Do you know how good a film has to be to get a ten year old interested in subtitled films!? And before Marvel created the MCU, Ang Lee gave us Hulk – a film way before it’s time, science fiction and fantasy, action and intrigue. The man’s a genius and well deserving of all his awards an accolades. He is an auteur, and his films are classics for good reason. He’s my number 1.