Silver Screen Streak List #12: Wayne's Australian Movies

A curated list, reshuffled.

Silver Screen Streak List #12:
Wayne's Australian Movies

Written by dorrk
13 September 2020

Wayne Little is a big cheerleader for movies from his native Australia, so it was no surprise when he picked a list on that theme. His specific choice, however, of a Letterboxd list that he maintains, tiptoes dangerously close to the "custom list" designation and the more onerous rules that such a list requires. It doesn't quite cross that line, however, as it's not a list of movies that he personally likes or recommends, but rather a catalog of movies that he's seen, for good or ill. To correct for bias, we're ordering the list by the highest-rated movies according to all Letterboxd users. Only one movie — Hacksaw Ridge (2016) — appears in both the Top 10 according to this ordering and according to Wayne’s preferences.

Wayne has opted (wisely, IMO) to exclude shorts and television programs and other non-feature films except for documentaries. The resulting list includes some movies that have been on the periphery of my watchlist for quite a while, plus a couple of mainstream hits which I have purposely avoided.

My Priors

Biases and expectations about the movies in this list

The First Two

I’ll watch the first two movies from each list, giving each participant the chance to avoid an instant exit and maybe even earn some free passes.

The first two movies on this list are:

Not Quite Hollywood (2008); Dir.: Mark Hartley

Not Quite Hollywood (2008)

Dir.: Mark Hartley

I’ve had many positive experiences with Australian exploitation movies of late, and this documentary about that scurvy corner of the film industry is cited often on the Pure Cinema podcast. I've been wanting to watch it, and it's happening now.

The Castle (1997) dir.: Rob Sitch

The Castle (1997)

Dir.: Rob Sitch

While the marketing for The Castle makes this early Eric Bana movie look like the type of feel-good middling family comedy I generally run from screaming, I’ve heard promising whispers about it recently and now my curiosity is piqued.


If those first two movies fare well enough on my Flickchart, I'll continue on through the following, as long as they stay above 50% on my Flickchart.

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994) dir.: Stephan Elliott

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)

Dir.: Stephan Elliott

I may be missing whatever personality trait makes one delighted at the mere notion of drag performers. My baseline of indifference usually results in finding movies on the subject underwhelming. Exceptions like Hedwig and the Angry Inch notwithstanding, if I get to this one, it'll be with some wariness.

Hacksaw Ridge (2016) dir.: Mel Gibson

Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

Dir.: Mel Gibson

Although I’ve been trying to keep up with recent Oscar nominees, I just couldn’t bring myself to watch a combination of anti-war movie, unsubtle Mel Gibson direction, and the off-putting muppettiness of Andrew Garfield. However, Garfield starred in my favorite movie of 2019, so maybe this one will be slightly more tolerable now, or not.

My Brilliant Career (1979); Dir.: Gillian Armstrong

My Brilliant Career (1979)

Dir.: Gillian Armstrong

I love Judy Davis and have heard good things about this movie for decades. I've had Armstrong's Starstruck (1982) as a higher watchlist priority, but have little interest in the rest of her filmography. I was bored stiff by a festival screening of The Last Days of Chez Nous (1992).

Gallipoli (1981); Dir.: Peter Weir

Gallipoli (1981)

Dir.: Peter Weir

I may have seen this before; I have some vague recollection of Mel Gibson running somewhere with a gun. Weir is wildly hit-or-miss with me, with favorites like Witness (1985), and objects of visceral hatred, like Dead Poets Society (1989).

Candy (2006); Dir.: Neil Armfield

Candy (2006)

Dir.: Neil Armfield

I think I watched this one when going through a brief Abbie Cornish phase, including Somersault (2004) and Bright Star (2009). I could use a refresher on all of them. I'm not attracted to addiction dramas, in general, so a lot will depend on the performances and narrative approach.

The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978); Dir.: Fred Schepisi

The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978)

Dir.: Fred Schepisi

Schepisi has a mostly solid track record with a wide range of subjects, including a favorite, Six Degrees of Separation (1993). It will be interesting to see one of his early films and its look at social issues pertaining to Australia's indigenous population.

Sweet Country (2017); Dir.: Warwick Thornton

Sweet Country (2017)

Dir.: Warwick Thornton

I recall hearing some vague praise for this  one, but it just missed my 2018 watchlist. I don't know anything about it or its filmmaker.

Strictly Ballroom (1992); Dir.: Baz Luhrmann

Strictly Ballroom (1992)

Dir.: Baz Luhrmann
I’ve seen Luhrmann's four later movies and barely tolerate them. I find his kitschy tone overbearing at the expense of his narratives and characters. I'm not optimistic that his debut will fare any better.

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