Movies to Inspire – Part IV

Movie Reel

Summer is the season of blockbusters. In essence, design is about busting blocks. Be it web or graphic or illustrative, design is all about the message to the audience, the people. Using outside influence to inspire creative, constructive usability is the sole purpose of design, the heart, if you will.

The fourth installment in our Movies for Designers series is much more than teaching you anything about Design, these films teach something about people — how they behave, what motivates them and how they shape art and culture at the same time they are shaped by it.

Dear Mr Watterson Calvin and HobbesDear Mr. Watterson

Any kid growing up in America between 1985 and 1995 (and thereafter) knew of Calvin and Hobbes. 20 years after Calvin and Hobbes stopped appearing in daily newspapers, filmmaker Joel Allen Schroeder has set out to explore the reasons behind the comic strip’s loyal and devoted following.

Clockwork OrangeClockwork Orange

Surprisingly, Kubrick was given an almost minuscule budget for the production of A Clockwork Orange. Although the film is an adaptation of the novel written by Anthony Burgess, a screenplay was never written. Instead, Kubrick worked it out scene by scene, asking his cast to work directly from the book. Don’t be shocked by the violence in the film, what should really grab your attention is the wonderfully bawdy and colorful costumes and set designs. The costumes were an integral part of the film, as they represented the uniform of the movie’s sadistic gang: the Droogs. Alex DeLarge and his Droogs were dressed by Academy Award-winning Italian designer Milena Canonero. She was the regular costume designer for many of Kubrick’s films, including Barry Lyndon, which won her an Academy Award in 1976.

Endless SummerThe Endless Summer

Possibly even more famous for its poster design, The Endless Summer rides the globe in search of the perfect wave with California surfers pursuing their dream from West Africa to Tahiti. Splash back into the surf with the landmark docu-narrative that shaped half a century and changed the world of surfing forever!

Scanner DarklyA Scanner Darkly

Here’s a fun interesting fact: in a behind-the-scenes director Richard Linklater mentioned that it took his animation team 350 plus man hours rotoscoping and designing every second of the film. The theatrical release of the film only spans for 100 minutes, so just imagine the tantamount of work for the animation team that had to be done. For any designer, you can’t ignore the hard, illustrative work it took to make this film possible. 


There’s a point in Memento where the lead character asks his wife why she enjoys reading a particular novel more than once. “I always thought the pleasure of a book was wanting to know what happens next,” he says. Such is the design of Christopher Nolan’s master puzzle of a film, its ability to have us guessing what’s coming next narratively while already knowing what’s coming chronologically. We are kept simultaneously informed and uninformed, at the mercy of a film that moves largely in reverse order, drawing suspense out of discovering the truth of the past, rather than revelations of the future.

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