Living Beyond The Human Filter

The concept of the Great Filter goes a long way toward explaining the Fermi Paradox and is pretty interesting. Basically, the Great Filter is a theoretical barrier that all civilizations approach at some point, ultimately either dooming that group or giving it free reign to advance. According to Tim Urban, “we’re rare, we’re first, or we’re fucked”. The Great Filter is essentially a wall in time that makes or breaks a civilization, if you will. When it comes to human interpretation of this concept, on one side tends to lie the somewhat naive (often religious) people who believe we are special (or, ‘rare’) and that the Great Filter is already behind us. The other two options postulate that the Great Filter is still ahead of us, which is why many scientists, including Stephen Hawking, are vocally alarmed about humankind’s destiny.


Man, he must feel frustrated with people.

The Great Filter could be ahead of us in one of two ways; the first (as Urban puts it) is that we are first. ‘First’ meaning that we are the most advanced civilization in the entire universe, which when you consider the age of the Earth (4.6Ga) compared to the observable universe (13.8 Ga), can feel a little unbelievable – but still not a giant leap to think that we could be one of, (if not THE), first to find ourselves approaching the Filter.
The second way in which the Great Filter is in our future is that We Are Fucked. This is not a stretch when you consider the smorgasbord of skidmarks soiling the rag that is our current planetary underwear – nuclear annihilation, artificial superintelligence, impact events, and of course, human-driven climate change, to name the most identifiable few. This concept means we are neither rare, nor quicker to evolve than anyone else – which makes a lot of sense when you consider how many galaxies and suns exist, giving us our boring address on the nondescript outer arm of an unremarkable spiral galaxy.


She sure is pretty though – that’s the view from our outer arm, looking through a cross-section toward the centre of the Milky Way. (Photo by Roger Groom, incredible astrophotographer from Western Australia).

Just as the concept of the Great Filter can be applied to a civilization, it is applicable at the individual human level as well – in our human lives we are all capable of standing before a Great Filter; not a three-option theory, but a simple two-parter.
The Great Filter for humans (we’ll call it the Human Filter), rather than obliterating us at a certain point, would merely be the point at which you truly shed anything fucking absurd that doesn’t positively contribute to your life in a demonstrable way. Those who haven’t passed the Human Filter are those who haven’t managed to simplify their lives to the point of immediately understanding whether their current situation in life is beneficial or detrimental, to themselves and others. There are an overwhelming number of people who seem to make their lives far more difficult or complicated than necessary, and these people are usually the unhappiest overall (people who tend to stagnate in their misery – for example an unhappy/ambiguous relationship or an unhappy workplace). These situations can be solved with a simple calculation that usually results in removing the unsatisfactory factor (leaving the bad job, getting clarification or removing the bad relationship altogether), yet the person involved seldom makes these changes and instead remains firm in their misery, confusing as that seems.
The simple answer is that these people are still living in front of the Human Filter, and are in some way comfortable in their dissatisfaction – after all, who doesn’t love to have a good wee sense of indignant outrage? Can you imagine how some might deal with finishing their day with no sense of annoyance or injustice? Besides, it’s so much easier to use our time and energy dealing with our trivial problems and gripes than to expend real energy trying to tackle real problems.

The troubling thing about the Human Filter is that time is of the essence. None of the aforementioned people are bad people at all, they are all as wonderful and beautiful and kind and thoughtful as the next person – they just haven’t been morbidly consumed by one or more of the following four thought processes:

  1. We only have ONE LIFE to live. That’s roughly 90 years, in the best case scenario. Think about this minus your current age, and take into account your shifting perspective of how fast time moves as you grow older (each year feels faster than it’s predecessor). Put down your phone/computer for a minute, close your eyes and really, really, TRULY give yourself a moment to understand that when your time is up, it’s up. There is almost definitely no afterlife (sorry, but science says no – also, the probability of your special fabulous religion being the winner out of all the other special fabulous religions out there is just a simple matter of statistics; meaning that you have a low chance of having chosen the correct religion, therefore are likely wrong in accordance with the mathematics of probability). So, suck it up and realise that the probable outcome is that you are going to cease to exist – just like before you were born, your consciousness  will cease and it won’t be horrible or painful; it will just “be” (so think carefully about the regrets that you definitely don’t want to have before you are no longer conscious, and work on those ASAP).
  2. Being that we experience such a teeny speck of life in the vastness of infinity, you should know that nothing that you do matters in any form whatsoever – as long as you do not harm, or impede upon the enjoyment of, any other living creature, then you should do exactly as you please. You need to immediately stop caring what other people think about boring arbitrary shit like what you are wearing or what you do for a living. Seriously, if someone is going to think any less of you for living in a non-harmful and happy way, then those people are the ones that are in trouble, not you. Don’t waste your tiny precious sliver of time being alive manipulating your one life to conform to the standards imposed and upheld by other people (many of whom are still living in front of the Human Filter).
  3. The known universe is ridiculously vast. You’re a fucking speck of dust on one of the smallest planets on the one of the most inconsequential stars in one of the smallest galaxies. That Hubble Ultra Deep Field photo shows us about 10,000 galaxies – and the patch of sky in that shot is less than 2 percent of the area of the full Moon as seen from Earth. It’s pretty hard to get this scale across in writing, so do yourself a favour and watch this just for an entry-level understanding of how much of a nothing in space our sun (let alone the Earth, and all of us on it) actually are.


    Frighteningly awesome.

  4. We have no idea whether our civilization has passed our own Great Filter or not (unlikely), so it would behoove us to do everything we can to ensure that we actually manage to surpass it when that time comes. That’s why we have incredible people like Elon Musk trying to take some of our eggs out of this one planetary basket by becoming an interplanetary species – starting with Mars. That’s not the easiest thing to achieve and not everyone is going to be able to go to Mars anytime soon, so in the meantime, it’s now considered officially fuckwitted to ignore all of the compounding data about climate change, which means that if you’re not at least feeling guilty about doing nothing to help our ailing environment, then you’re probably firmly in front of the Human Filter.

The bummer is that we have neither knowledge nor control over when, and how, the Great Filter will present itself to us as a species – that event (hopefully) remains to be seen.
However, the awesome thing is that on an individual level, we very much have control over our own Human Filter – we can quite easily jump it safely – and if we all manage to pass the Human Filter, then these actions in and of themselves are going to help us negate at least a couple of the unnecessary and totally avoidable Great Filter scenarios, like self-destruction, climate change and death by post-human superintelligence.
By the way, I’m hovering around outside my own Human Filter, having a ciggie, chatting to the bouncer, waiting to sober up a little before he lets me in. As preachy as this post sounds, I’m not there yet. But I’m starting to think very hard about it, and the first step in overcoming the Great Filter as a civilization, is to think about how you can overcome your own Human Filter as a person.

Love, Chelle xoxoxoxoxo


Priorities, Which I Started Thinking About During A Really Long Tangential Explanation of Why I Don’t Watch The Kardashians.

The other day someone asked me why I don’t like Keeping Up With The Kardashians, and while I can’t in good conscience enjoy a show that negatively impacts humanity more than it positively impacts us, I realised that saying this just makes me sound like an elitist dickhead – especially to people that love the show and would take it as a direct affront to themselves. So I thought about it further, and decided to write out a logic-based reason why I don’t like this show – one which people cannot logically derive offense from.


How could the show be funnier than this?

The Kardashians may be totally decent and lovely people, and that’s awesome. It’s also redundant, because we will never know the real them due to the fact that they are all carefully constructed personalities in one big old brand. My issue with the show is not a beef with any particular person. What I see is the sum of its parts – including the consequences of its existence in a world already oversaturated with materialism, judgmental attitudes, capitalism, greed, jealousy and low self-esteem.
If there was a show about Elon Musk swanning around the house with his family and talking all sorts of shit about dick, I would definitely watch it – because that’s a person I respect the shit out of. But that would also be a paradox because Elon Musk devotes all of his available resources – time, money and mentality – to continually trying to make the world a better place with concrete plans and products, and his involvement in a TV show about himself doing mundane things would be so far beneath his character that if it did happen, he would probably no longer be someone I respect. He is so engrossed in the work that he is trying to achieve, that he was pretty unenthusiastic that a recent biography was being written about him – he’s simply more concerned with getting people to understand what his companies really do and why it is important for mankind. He could not give a fuck about social things like branding and self-image (he hates the idea of advertising and abhors sales tactics so much that he refuses to sell Tesla cars in dealerships).

Getting back to the Kardashians ….
Priorities: everyone’s are different and that is totally okay. Maybe you don’t give a shit about anything beyond what you do in your immediate day, and the highlight of that day might be watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians. I get it; life totally sucks for a lot of people a lot of the time and we all need to do whatever we can to hang in there, so I’m not going to lambaste anybody for deriving pleasure from this show. The thing is, nothing about watching these Kardashians designing waist trainers and taking selfies aligns with any of my desires and priorities, which means that if I have a choice to watch it or not, why would I choose to do something that not only doesn’t serve my desires and priorities, but actively takes time away from the things that do? That’s it – that’s my reason. Nothing against the show, and nothing against those who watch it. I wish that more people could be cool with everyone having different priorities and stop trying to casually, jokingly, (but also why do you fucking persist with this) pressure people into sinking bulk time into a TV show. If I sat down and watched every TV show that someone raved at me about how amazing and special and different it is, I would be finished school before I was done with watching TV. Guess what; it’s 2016. Almost all TV shows are really good. Here’s one way you can be a better person; stop trying to force other people to watch your special show.


Unless it’s Cosmos.

The fascinating thing about priorities though, is that they are like opinions – vastly different depending upon who you are speaking to. I’m not a vegan – I buy and consume animal products. That makes me a questionable person in the eyes of the more militant animal rights activists, but then on the flipside, they maybe don’t donate regularly to cancer research, or to Astronomers Without Borders, or any of the stuff that I’m passionate about. I do white collar volunteer work cataloging Maori artefacts in a museum, for fuck’s sake. That’s not helping anybody get a hot meal, or lowering global pollution levels, or saving any species. But Maori cultural preservation is a thing that is important to me (because historically speaking, most of the world fails in the treatment of, and importance placed upon, indigenous cultures), therefore that is where I prefer to direct my time.
And all of this is a good thing. Because if we all had the same priorities, then only some of the stuff in this world would be taken care of. Wouldn’t that be a fucked up situation? Cancer cured, but runaway climate change scheduled to kill us all within a few hundred years. Veganism adopted across the board, but all women’s shelters closed globally due to lack of funding and volunteers.
The key thing is that as long as everyone cares about something enough to make a decent effort to help that one cause, and can do their best to make smaller changes to other areas that might be on their radar (like buying one of those $5 KeepCups for your coffee), then on the whole, we are tackling most things across the board. That’s the whole thing. So, nobody’s priorities are more important than anyone else’s, what matters is how much conviction you have for your personal desires and concerns, and whether that conviction is enough for you to live a life that aligns with the core of who you are, and what you want. Pretty much like the Elon Musks of this world.

Priorities can, however, lead us into all sorts of places that we may never have intended on being. Following your priorities can be a slippery slope, so it’s really important to have a really good understanding of the things you want and the things you do. I feel like there is a high possibility that if humans colonise other planets in the future, the consensus might (should) be that religion is an Earthly construct for people who are unable to adapt to a more scientific way of thinking and is better left here, much like walking out of a playground to catch the bus, letting the infants squabble in their sandbox. Who wants to reach an age of science where we colonise a planet only to be followed to it by stubborn people who insist that their fictional religion should dictate the new way of life and its new laws? That’s archaic as fuck and it needs to stop. Faith is a lovely personal choice and can help some people immensely; organised religion is just destructive, limiting, and foolish. So if your top priority is religion, you need to have such conviction in that religion that you will happily stay on Earth with yo brethren in order to keep it, while the rest of humanity ventures forth into a new age of enlightenment, free from bullshit religious-driven politics and pettiness. By the way, I’m not foolish enough to state that there is no possibility of a higher force acting upon us, it’s just that you have to be missing a lot of critical thinking skills to believe blindly in a current man-made religion.
Welp, that was a hell of a tangent.

Anyway, back to priorities. Priorities lead us to places. My priorities are scientific, therefore someday I may end up helping to terraform Mars. Your priorities may be more Kardashian-esque, so you may end up with incredible hair and makeup skills and a sex tape. Your priorities are no more or less important than mine are, as long as it’s not something either of us wind up regretting on our deathbeds. The closer you align your priorities with who you are at your core and what you truly desire, the more you are going to love your life. Here are some combinations of priority and desire, and how they can fuck with us.

Priorities + Your innermost desires = A life of general contentedness and purpose.
This is the deal with people that seem to always be in the right place at the right time, people that are generally fulfilled, happy, stress-free and not obsessed with what others think of them. This is where I’m striving to be, which is a pretty stupid thing to say because this state is something that will only happen as a byproduct of acting in accordance with your true desires. You can’t strive to “be” here anymore than you can strive to be smart by reading one book. On a side note, one could argue that this is how psychopaths can remain so full of happiness and purpose while executing the stuff that most people consider dastardly and inhumane – because they actually are working from a place where they prioritise their innermost desires. That oughta give a few people nightmares tonight.
Priorities + No innermost desires = A “busy” life that leaves you feeling unfulfilled.
This is probably best shown by the “workaholic” stereotype, someone who would just work and work and work, miss out on their kids growing up, and all for what? A few extra thousand in the bank that you can never spend because you’re constantly working? On that note, this state can lead to many forms of “excessive” behaviour, ie. substance abuse, overexercising, overworking, fastidious cleaning, etc. Because when you are just “doing stuff” when your heart’s not in it, there’s never much satisfaction.
No priorities + Your innermost desires = A hedonistic life of wistful dreaming, followed by regrets.
This is a worrisome combination because the act of simply dreaming about stuff we want is usually enough to give us the instant dopamine/gratification we are after – and so it can go unchecked for a very long time. I know this, because this is how I spent literally all of my twenties, making bulk plans that I never followed through on, dreaming about all the cool shit I wanted out of life but never actually getting anything done. It definitely sucks to lose so much time to being “that guy”.
No priorities + No innermost desires = A life of empty hedonism, possibly with a good side of substance addiction
This is worrying, but at least you maybe blissfully unaware of this while it’s all happening, and you may even die in a happy stupor, knowing that you enjoyed your life. I feel like it would be an almost ecstatic experience to pinpoint your true desires and priorities after being in this state. It’s also probably the state where people are most vulnerable to religion and cults.

Basically, my recommendation is to pinpoint your innermost desire(s) and make your priorities feed into that. The pinpointing of desires is the hardest part (and not everybody even gets there), because we live in a very loud world where you can’t always be sure whether your desires are the things you truly want, or whether they are false desires that lead to social approval. Self-awareness is the hardest part, and maybe this is why people go off into the wilderness to “find themselves”, to quiet the obnoxious voices and opinions of the wider community. But what would I know? I’m just a regular jackoff that will probably never figure it out either!
Oh no … I have crazy-ranted my way through a blog that could easily be summed up in one motivational poster with the catchphrase “Happiness is knowing you you are”. That’s pretty embarrassing, but I’m still publishing this anyway because I can’t in good conscience throw away a 2000 word post, especially when that time should have been used to complete an assignment.
If you’re confused, that’s ok – this wasn’t a very well-written post and you’re probably quite disappointed that you didn’t get the vitriolic Kardashian rant you were so eagerly coveting. I’m terribly sorry my friend.

Love, Chelle xoxooxoxoxoxooxxo







An Open Letter To NZ High School Students

Dear Young Adult,

For me high school was quite a while ago (class of 2002). Things were different back then, there was no NCEA and internal assessment was only a small component of our final year – everything else was externally examined. Great for kids like me who excelled at memorising information for exams and then immediately forgetting it, and terrible for kids who struggled with rote learning. My year was the last year to have this system; NCEA was introduced the following year.
From my understanding of recent media, one thing that doesn’t appear to have changed is the pressure put on high school students to perform well in assessments/exams as part of a wider fear that your entire life hinges on your ability to score highly at school.
I promise you; your life does not depend upon how many “Excellents” you achieve in NCEA. This is something that school does drum into you subconsciously, but the amount of people out there in the world who had their life plans actually derailed by average school marks is incredibly minimal.
I’m going to assume that the stress people are feeling is because they want to get into university, as literally nothing else takes any school grades into account (trust me, no employer gives a flying fuck how you went in Year 13 art history).
Did you know that New Zealand universities have avenues to welcome almost everybody? Universities are a business and trust me; they want your money.
Achieving Level 3 NCEA is not the only way to get into university. It’s merely the fastest. If you passed Level 2 but bombed out in Level 3 (because let’s face it; the school system is not the most effective learning environment for everyone) yet are a motivated student, you can gain entry to university through completing a foundation year. This will allow you to enter any first year program, including those notorious health sciences.
Perhaps you didn’t do so well in Year 12 either. No biggie – once you are 20 years old, you can apply through special admission – again, if you are the kind of person who really wants to attain that tertiary education, they will most likely accept you. Not only that, but you can use the time in between to save money, go travelling, get life experience and just give yourself a motherfucking break from academic learning (seriously, you’ve been at it for 13 years in a row)!
I’m not advising you to abandon your efforts in high school, because obviously it’s important to challenge ourselves, and passing your Level 3 is the fastest route into university – I just want each and every one of you to know that failure to perform in a system that was designed for the masses does not in any way pertain to your worth, or ability to succeed in achieving the things you want out of life.
I’m a 31 year old who is studying a bachelor of science, involving maths and chemistry papers – I didn’t take any science in high school after 6th form biology, and I scored 23% for Bursary (Year 13) calculus. Yet here I am, studying science, after a solid decade of partying and forgetting literally anything I ever learned at high school. And guess what – I’m (more or less) an A student. Why? Because:
a. I want to be there; and
b. Universities have systems in place to assist people like me – they have papers like “general maths” and “concepts in chemistry” (which are still 18 point papers that count toward your degree) that consolidate the high school syllabus to prepare you for the harder papers.
Universities kind of realise that when we are 15 years old and are expected to know what we want to do with our lives in order to pick the correct subjects for NCEA, we might choose something totally inconsistent with what we end up wanting to do later in life. On that note; do not go to university unless you have a really clear plan of what you want out of your study there. It’s a huge waste of your money if you are just going because your parents expect it, or because you feel like you “should”, for lack of any other ideas.
The decisions you make, and the results you achieve while you are a high school student, will not haunt your future – no matter what your teachers and parents tell you (I promise!). What’s more important is the adult that you are becoming at this stage in your life. A student who might have to work their ass off to achieve a “Merit” is immediately going to be more prepared for tertiary education or the workforce, than the student who is naturally well-suited to exams and rote memorisation, who sails through school without learning about work ethic. Almost everyone I know who got to uni on the latter (myself included), got a very rude awakening and ate a bunch of humble pie when the “Credit/Merit” level students from school were the ones casually beating us out in the competitive programs like law and health sci.
So try to forget the end marks and instead focus on the process of learning. Practice time management and effective study habits – not in order to get the highest grade, but for their own sake – to prepare yourself better for adulthood, whether that involves tertiary education, working, or travelling. Learn at a young age how to sensibly overcome setbacks and perceived “failure” without emotional meltdown – because resilience is one of the most valuable things that money cannot buy. Things will happen in this life that you cannot predict nor change, and being able to deal with obstacles and failures in a way that keeps your stress levels steady and your self-esteem intact is probably the best marker of a great mind. Those are the real-life exams you want to be prepared for.
You have so much to offer the world, but don’t forget just how much the world has to offer you in return. We only get one life, and to spend any part of it getting unhealthily stressed about smaller things within the bigger picture is a real disservice to the wonderful human that you are. Celebrate the great things about yourself and your friends, 99% of them won’t have anything to do with your academic prowess. Enjoy weaving what will be a long and winding path – make it one filled with abundance, and don’t let fear become a motivator.

Love, Chelle xoxooxoxoxooxoxoxoxxo







It Really Is That Black And White: An Open Letter To All People Who Need To Change Shit Up.

I have had so many friends confide in me about how shitty their abusive partners make them feel on a regular basis so I figured that since I was spouting the same advice every single time, I may as well write a blog post about it. Much like the old adage, “he’s just not that into you”, what I have to say is very blunt and aims to rebut all the bullshit excuses you give yourself to justify sticking with the scumbag that treats you like his emotional or physical punching bag. For the sake of minimising pronouns, I’m going to write like I am talking to a female in a hetero relationship but this advice knows no gender, and is equally applicable whether you are a woman, dude, agendered, transgendered, bigendered, omnigendered, pangendered or otherkin (apologies if I have missed anybody out, gender description is not my specialty).

So. If you are with a person who treats you like dirt, calls you names, physically hurts you or makes you feel worthless, chances are that you and he have argued over this and he has apologised and lured you back in, time and time again. Firstly, and most importantly, HE DOES NOT LOVE YOU AND HE IS NOT ACTUALLY SORRY THAT HE HURT YOU. If you are genuinely sorry for something, you apologise sincerely and then you NEVER DO THAT THING AGAIN – because you can actually acknowledge why what you did was fucked up. This guy is probably the world’s best apologiser, and he sucks you back in every time. Why? Because he is genuinely concerned that he will lose you – but not because he loves you. He is freaking out because treating you like shit is one way that he can feel superior and take out his own shitty issues, and he is scared of not having that nice, safe, convenient, easily controllable outlet.

It’s SO important to grasp this fully: HE DOES NOT LOVE YOU. If there is any glimmer of love in there, it’s not a healthy, caring love – so again, you should get the hell away from that. If somebody actually loves you and cares about you they will make the effort to be kind to you and not pound you into the dirt repeatedly.
There are no exceptions to this.
Anything else is not love, it is insecurity and baggage and deep personal issues disguised as love. Actual love feels good. Love is not crying half the time and having the same conversation with your friends over and over and over for the billionth time because he did it again.

The reason that you stick around is because you have low self esteem. And believe me, HE KNOWS THIS. He NEEDS this to be the case. Because if you had a higher sense of self esteem, you would have been gone long ago. What you have to feel (and concentrate on getting professional help for if need be) is that YOU DESERVE BETTER THAN THAT. EVERYBODY DESERVES BETTER THAN THAT. And if you stick around, guess what – he will NEVER magically change. For change to occur, there needs to be a catalyst – and you subtly reinforcing and validating his behaviour every time you go back there, is NEVER going to make him change. I know it sucks being single if you are one of those people that crave emotional tenderness and shit. I know personally how much it sucks having low self esteem. But the only way you will ever be able to build self-esteem is by NOT BEING WITH SOMEONE WHO KEEPS YOU DOWNTRODDEN. If you truly think that being made to feel like a piece of shit is a better option than being single, then you need to get counselling immediately. Because that’s the most heartbreaking shit I have ever heard.
On a side note, why are people so scared of not being in a relationship? Ask yourself this question and think about it very critically. There are other ways you can probably get your various needs met that don’t involve you being abused.
Just know this; if you stay with this dude, you will never feel good about yourself and you will never lead a happy life. It’s as black and white as that – there’s no point trying to dress it up.

If he is a repeat offender, you are fooling yourself if you think that you can help him change or that he will change out of love for you. HE WON’T. And if he truly loves you (which he doesn’t), he should be able to be apart from you for a very long time to fix his myriad of fucked-up issues, and then demonstrate that change by treating you with nothing but the utmost respect and care. But again, you’d be stupid to expect that to happen – and life is far too short to take a gamble with such ridiculously long odds.
Life is so short, dude. How fucked off will Future You be with Past You if you have to look back on your life and acknowledge how much of it you wasted being with someone that treated you so badly? What if it were your friend in this situation? Would you think that it was all G?

Look; I know it’s not as simple as “just leave him”. I’m not telling you that it is. I’m just trying to get you to look at this with a shred of critical thinking, because that could be the spark you need to set up some therapy, or do something else which will set off a chain reaction of events that will finally get you to wake up and fuck this guy off for good.

I’m too bummed about this subject to write a well-flowing piece so I will just sum it up in a few bulletpoints – forgive me for not sugarcoating anything. I care about my friends too much to be gentle when what they really need is a huge shake.


Love, Chelle xoxoxoxooxox



The Best Movies Ever If Your Brain Is The Same As Mine

The other day I watched a movie that really got me excited for films again and I realised that I’ve never actually compiled a list of some of my favourite films – which for someone who loves lists, is kind of odd. So, I figured I may as well put it on here for people to read and hopefully some of you will perhaps sample parts of this list. Also I guess that if I meet some new friend who asks about my taste in movies, I can lazily point them in the direction of this post (and if you are here because of that, then might I warn you that I’m definitely not as cool as you seem to think I am). I will do my best to give enough pertinent information about these films without giving away much plot, because much like sex without a condom, films are far more satisfying without too much premise. So sheath up buckeroo, and take a hearty dive into my top 15 film recommendations, which are in no particular order. I should add that I am going to refrain from including my favourite comfort movies which include (but are not limited to) things like The Mummy, Con Air, Almost Famous, National Treasure, Lara Croft and Journey To The Centre Of The Earth, because although entertaining and easy go-tos, they don’t really get me truly excited about the world of film like the ones below.

Donnie Darko
This film is just fantastic. It is a sparkling orgy of all of my favourite things – exploring the fabric of spacetime, inter-dimensional abilities, excellent humour, top-notch acting, time period nostalgia, a beautiful soundtrack and visual spectacularity. It’s one of those films that you definitely need to watch more than once, as you aren’t likely to fully comprehend some of the deeper plotlines the first time around (or the second, or the third). I drunkenly posted a video on Youtube once, ranting for ca. 13 minutes about what the actual fuck is going on in Donnie Darko, and there are countless other videos along the same lines.


Oh, you thought I was kidding? Nope. Here’s me just casually nerding out about my fave film, complete with chalkboard of notes.

Across The Universe
Perhaps I’m biased because I like 20th century history, LSD and The Beatles, but this movie really stood out for me as an achingly gorgeous love story offset by a politically restless yet totally vibrant, psychedelic era. The singing is off chops – Joe Cocker absolutely nails the shit out of Come Together, which is sandwiched between other stellar vocal cameos from the likes of Eddie Izzard, Salma Hayek and Bono. It’s a very bright and colourful film with a soundtrack featuring nothing but Beatles songs in various styles. It’s a yes from me Simon.


SUCH good art direction.

Chasing Mavericks
I’ve always loved surfing films and this one is based on the true story of Jay Moriarity, a young surfer from Santa Cruz who was the unknown local who made the cover of Surfer magazine in the 90s when he wiped out on Mavericks during a massive swell. This film is a testament to hard work and dedication to your goals and is motivating as heck.


The inspiring story of how Jay arrived at the point of this shot, at just 16 years of age.

The Man From Earth
This film is literally a bunch of academics sitting around a fire talking after one of them reveals himself to be a Cro-Magnon man who has survived ever since his day. It’s kind of a philosophical thought experiment and is really fascinating. Low budget as all heck but has a pretty dedicated intellectual sci-fi fanbase.


Trippy story.

The Prestige
This one is a very clever Christopher Nolan effort, so you know it’s going to try to mess with you good and proper. The film is a story of intense tragic rivalry between two magicians (Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman) and it dissects the nuances of stage magic along the way. It’s not until after you watch it that you realise that the film is actually a magic illusion in and of itself. Are you watching closely?


Bonus: the late David Bowie features as the late Nikola Tesla…. two absolute legends.

NB: In fact anything by Christopher Nolan is insanely boss – Interstellar and Inception are also two firm favourites of mine. Watch those too if you know what’s good for you.

JK Simmons, oh my god. That man can be SO chilling when he wants to be, and in Whiplash he is a megalomaniac music conservatory instructor who abuses the shit out of a promising young pupil. It’s really intense, yet the ending is so incredibly triumphant that I found myself inadvertently holding my breath during the final scene. SO GOOD.



The Blues Brothers
Man, I really like a lot of music-themed films. The Blues Brothers is hilarious and vividly pretty and the music is nothing short of simply joyful. I have a huge crush on Dan Aykroyd in this one.


Also, Ray’s shirt.

Jurassic Park
The theme of scientific advancement vs social ethics will be a winning combination every single time. Add in some skilled Michael Crichton plot, some INCREDIBLE Steven Spielberg effects, some dinosaurs, Jeff Goldblum, and you have yourself a classic. If you haven’t seen Jurassic Park then what the fuck is wrong with you, get out of my blog and go watch it. Run don’t walk.


Because life finds a way.

Interview With The Vampire
This was that one time that I quite liked Tom Cruise – his character Lestat is really rather funny. This is a pretty well-made film that gives a glimpse into the human aspects of traditional monsters, showing the ever-present duality of nature among all creatures. The acting is excellent and the pacing is perfect.


So this is what happens inside the church of Scientology.

Disney’s Fantasia (1940)
I watched this a couple of years ago and couldn’t for the life of me reconcile with the fact that it was made in 1940. It is such an unbelievably rad achievement for it’s time! There is no dialogue whatsoever, just music and animation, so it’s a real audio visual treat to get lost in.


“I don’t need drugs to enjoy this … just to enhance it!”

American Beauty
I love this movie for many of the same reasons that I love Donnie Darko, and one day after watching them both on LSD, I realised how eerily similar they actually are, and subsequently found a guy who was able to communicate what I was far too high to at the time. Also, Kevin Spacey is probably one of the sexiest people of all time, which is so weird because he always looks a bit like a tired accountant on his day off. Maybe it’s the way he speaks, I dunno. But his inherent quiet sexiness only adds to American Beauty and I think Mena Suvari’s character missed out by not getting all up in that for real.


I rule.

Based on the book by our lord and saviour Carl Sagan, this film is about the reaches of radio astronomy, presenting some interesting ideas about how shit might go down if we received communication from out there. Jodie Foster is a radio astronomer working for SETI (aka bae) who receives and manages to decipher communication from extraterrestials. Her scientific nature is frustratingly cockblocked at many turns by Matthew McConaughey, a religious philosopher. But fuck that guy, because Jodie Foster is going to get amongst some otherwordly interaction! This one is directed by Robert Zemeckis, so you know it’s good.



Back To The Future
Speaking of Zemeckis, This one has been my best friend since it came out – which is the year in which I was born (I am going to just assume that my parents watched it with me as a baby in the room because it has been a part of my life ever since I can remember). It’s a playful time travel classic, with fun, bright visual design and a corking good soundtrack (thanks to Alan Silvestri and Huey Lewis) – and the attention to detail in what on the surface seems to be a pretty one-dimensional film, is actually very lovely.


All the best artistry of the 80s in one film.

Ex Machina
I only just saw this one a couple of days ago and it’s what prompted me to write this post, and to try seeking out more like it. Ex Machina is a recent indie sci-fi film about artificial intelligence, involving a multi-faceted Turing test that is ongoing throughout the whole film. I started to subvert the Turing test back onto the other characters in my mind and for some time I started wondering whether the characters presented as human were actually human or not. I started to suspect that I was unknowingly participating in the test, and I am still thinking about Turing’s test parameters and the real-world applications in a future where “computers will overtake humans with artificial intelligence at some point within the next 100 years”, according to Stephen Hawking. A true mindfuck, plus the dialogue is actually believable, which you don’t come across all that often.


It’s pretty dope.

Band of Brothers
Not actually so much a movie as a 10 part HBO miniseries, Band of Brothers is one of my all-time favourite pieces of narrative ever. The portrayal of the men of Easy Company throughout their WWII campaign is just incredible, and really captures the grim horror of war in juxtaposition with the good-humoured nature of these adolescent men who were a long way from home. I must have watched this at least fifty times and will probably watch it many more. A phenomonal production effort from Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg with outstanding acting and visually stunning shots.


Just chilling in Hitler’s Eagles Nest drinking his wine, as you do.

So that’s it – 15 of my favourite movies. Feel free to suggest any to me that you think i’d like, based on the above list!

Love, Chelle xoxoxoxo