From Dusk To Dawn: Radio Fodder's film picks for your after-hours viewing


Originally Published in Edition Three (2022)

We've all been there: the uncomfortable feeling of seemingly endless tosses and turns in bed in a desperate, yet frustratingly unsuccessful, attempt at falling asleep for the eighth time in the same night. With your mind unable to settle, you eventually give up trying and begin thinking of something you could do to distract yourself or pass the time. Let's be honest, we usually turn to Netflix. Radio Fodder understands, so behold: we present our top Dicks for an after-hours movie marathon. The next time you find it nearly impossible to get some shut-eye, from some dream-like adventures to spookier sagas, we've got you covered. 

Christina's Picks:

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

I'm going to assume that we all know what it feels like to come out of a dream and wonder whether the dream was real even for a split second. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind captures that exact feeling as it moves between memories, the present and the past, leaving viewers unsure of what is real. After a passionate yet chaotic relationship, Clementine and Joel break up. Clem then decides to undergo a new and seemingly popular procedure where she erases all her memories containing Joel. Joel follows suit and then navigates his memories with Clem, realising that they were meant to be too late. When you finish watching Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, you'll feel caught in a dream-like trance, reflecting on your own memories and whom you might want to erase in your life. Because don't we all love going down a memory rabbit hole at 1am?

Groundhog Day (1993)

Bill Murray jokingly described filming for Groundhog Day as a "nightmare ... [to] meet the same people every day and wear the same clothes" in a 1993 interview. Groundhog Day follows Phil Connors, a man forced to relive the same day over and over again. You're probably thinking, "Wow, this movie seems really repetitive. Why would I watch that?" Whilst (intentionally) repetitive at times, hilarious antics ensue with Phil saying whatever he wants to people, knowing there won't be any consequences the next day. The movie takes a heart-breaking turn when his desires to help people are fruitless; it'll leave you wondering if any of our choices make a difference in the long run. Being the only person awake, especially when the world around you is seemingly asleep, can create a repetitive space. Our time isn't marked by the appointments and classes we attend-It's a single flowing vacuum of time waiting to suck us in, like Phil in his never-ending time cycle in Groundhog Day.

Twilight (2008)

When we think of "after hours", indeed images of nocturnal beings come to mind: hissing possums, wolves whose eyes act as a beacon, and of course, the most supernatural notorious nocturnal being of all-the vampire. Let's imagine in this scenario that you've forgone a Buffy marathon because you're in the mood for a film--fair enough--but that should be your only reason for opting out of that. Now, chances are someone in your life has asked whether you're "Team Edward" or "Team Jacob". I personally have no opinion on the matter as I only watched Twilight for the first time last year, and it was a laughable and cringe experience. I'll never advocate for watching a film where the protagonist has no agency, whines after a guy for 122 minutes and foresees no problem with him even after he spells out that he "want[s] to kill [her]", but I feel like it needs to make this list purely because of its blue and grayscale aesthetic. As the night goes on and you become more delirious from the sleep deprivation, Twilight only gets more entertaining, comedic even.

Editor's Note: Farrago does not share the authors' views of this piece and believes that Twilight is ostensibly camp.

Carmen's Picks:

Us (2019)

In his directorial debut, Jordan Peele presented in Get Out the powerful motif of involuntary bodily ownership as a perturbing allegory for race relations in the United States-~-something that clearly touched the hearts and lives of many at the time. His follow-up to that film, 2019's Us, is a lot more ambitious and bizarre in more ways than one. Peele explores similar existential horrors through the story of the Wilsons, an ordinary family. Their underground doppelgängers are looking to kill and replace them. Characterised by unwavering stares and animalistic vocalisations, their demeanours alone are enough to make your skin crawl. The film even references several '70s and '80s horror flicks like Goonies, Jaws, and A Nightmare on Elm Street, but nods to The Shining overflow. What better film to burn through at 2am than a profoundly terrifying and thought-provoking horror film with call-backs to genre classics?

Howl's Moving Castle (2004) 

When he was asked back in 2013 to name his favourite out of the films he's created, Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki chose Howl's Moving Castle--the 2004 fantasy film he both wrote and directed. Based on Diana Wynne Jones' novels, Howl's Moving Castle sets itself in a fictional kingdom where magic and early twentieth-century technology co-exist. The film follows a young milliner, Sophie, turned into an elderly woman after a jealous witch casts a curse on her. In search of a magical counter to the curse, she treks the nearby hills for a solution, where she crosses paths with the film's namesake, the wizard Howl's infamous roving citadel. There's something so spellbindingly nostalgic about this beautiful steampunk film--from the lighthearted, unlikely friendships formed out of Sophie's kindheartedness to the visually stunning animations of the characters' backstories. It quickly feels like you're being absorbed into your screen, only to be fully immersed in Howl's extraordinary little world--the perfect daydream of romance, fantasy and adventure for your escapist desires.

Jennifer's Body (2009)

Expectations were high for Diablo Cody's screenwriting encore to Juno, her delicately comedic teenage pregnancy flick that premiered in 2007. However, opinions on Jennifer's Body seem to be heavily divided to this day. Still, a queer-coded "platonic" relationship between Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried's characters was enough to convince me. Fox is your textbook high school queen Jennifer-sexy, popular, and sometimes manipulative-while Seyfried plays her nerdy, timid counterpart (and best friend). But as Cody's script worded it, Jennifer is not just high school evil; she's actually evil. After getting possessed by a demonic succubus, she takes her place as a flesh-eating monster who only preys on boys. While not as traditionally dreadful as other household horror classics, Jennifer's Body is a fun, gory watch for those chasing after something slightly blither and more playful than most others in the same genre. Or it's perfect if you just want to watch Megan Fox wreak havoc on the men of Devil's Kettle.

Bonus: Stranger Things (2016--present)

Though it's not a film, the first thing that came to both of our minds when trying to decide on an "after-hours" marathon pick was Stranger Things. The TV show that arguably brought Netflix its current fame is equal parts spooky and nostalgic. Set in the 1980s in the fictional town of Hawkins, a boy's strange disappearance leads his friends, family, and the local sheriff to uncover what exactly befell him. As a result, we venture into the mystic dimension of the Upside Down-and those scenes alone are enough to warrant this show as a certified night-time binge-watch. Even if you've already seen the series, there's a magic that's captured in watching them unravel the layers of horrific truths behind Hawkins while also just witnessing a genuine friendship between the series leads, as portrayed to near perfection by Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Caleb McLaughlin, and Noah Schnapp. Not to mention the copious amounts of era-appropriate flourishes: classic -Men comics, Eggo waffles, Stephen King, Back To The Future--the possibilities are endless. Like the proverbial cherry on top, Season Four has also landed in May after a two-year delay, and fans couldn't be more thankful.

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