Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Goddamn! That's a pretty good fuckin' milkshake.

Some time ago I wrote about John Travolta over on my other blog. I decided it was time I mention him here so I've pinched some stuff from my other post.

I've had a crush on John Travolta since the first moment I ever laid eyes on him. I was probably six. I'm now thirty and as I sit here watching him converse with Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction, my heart pitter patters just the same.

Judging by the way I get ribbed for liking him so much, I recognize that for some reason he's gone out of fashion. I can't understand this. I think it might be the Scientology but I'm willing to overlook it.

Like every girl my age, I first saw him as Danny Zuko in Grease. What is there to even say about that movie? We've all seen it and millions love it. Some pretend they hate it but for some reason I just can't believe anyone that says that. He oozes cool in it. I watched it over and over and over, never tiring of it. These days it is very much a comfort film and I still know every last word of it.

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Once I got a bit older I was allowed to watch Saturday Night Fever. Anything good enough for Gene Siskel is good enough for me, alright? I know this film is pretty iconic but I feel that even still it's kind of underrated. Most people I know just think of it as that disco movie but it's so much more than that. If it weren't for all the cheesy Bee Gees songs, it's even a bit Scorsese-esq. It has its funny moments but it's also got a tragic feel to it. If you haven't seen it in awhile, revisit it. And drop the judgements and just let yourself enjoy the dancing and the music. It's fuckin' great.

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But by far, of all Travolta's films, my very favourite is Blow Out directed by Brian De Palma.

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An understated JT plays Jack Terri an audio technician that records sound effects for movies.

He's currently working on some bad horror films and needs new wind, etc. so he goes out one night to get some new stuff. The scene in which he's out on the bridge collecting new sounds is up there as one of my favourite scenes in any movie ever. I just love the feel and look of it.

Anyways, so he's out there getting all sorts of stuff when he hears a car screeching around the corner. There's the sound of a tire blow out and the car careens off the road and into the creek below.

He runs down to the creek and dives in. There's a dead man in the car and a woman, Sally, trying to escape with her life. He manages to get the girl out and they end up in the hospital.

It turns out that the man that was in the car was the governor and a possible presidential candidate. Soon JT begins to suspect that this "accident" wasn't really an accident and he goes about trying to discover the truth with Sally.

My second favourite John Travolta movie is Pulp Fiction by Quentin Tarantino. Like I needed to mention who made that film. Actually, I don't think I even need to say anything about this movie at all. Everyone has seen it and most people can agree that it's a classic. Thank heavens for QT bringing my baby back into the spotlight!

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Back in high school, I was downtown and I found a beautiful John Travolta calendar. Each month had a different vintage, dreamy JT and I kept that on my wall until I moved to Vancouver. After it expired, I would just alternate my favourite picture every few months. I even mentioned him in my yearbook grad quote. Is that gross? Probably. I also mentioned my cat. That's the kind of person you're dealing with here.

Not only was he a total babe back in the day but he has such a nice demeanor. He seems like a truly genuine person and it makes me love him even more.

Some people like to try and squash my John Travolta love by mentioning two words: Battlefield Earth. Guess what? Not gonna work my friend. My love runs deep and Battlefield Earth isn't gonna change it!

I am keeping my fingers crossed that someone comes along someday soon and brings him back in the way Tarantino did. He belongs in my heart and on screen playing the cool guy forever.

Rotten Tomatoes - 84%
IMDB - 7/10

Saturday Night Fever
Rotten Tomatoes - 94%
IMDB - 6.7/10

Blow Out
Rotten Tomatoes - 89%
IMDB - 7.1/10

Pulp Fiction
Rotten Tomatoes - 94%
IMDB - 8.9/10


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pynchon Beach Lit

When I stumbled upon the release date of a new Thomas Pynchon novel I was floored. Against The Day was published three years ago. In Pynchon time that was two weeks ago. The new book was said to be a noirish detective story set against a psychedelic backdrop. Now I was sold and floored.

And then I saw this:

What a cornball cover. This is exactly what I wanted, a really cornball Pynchon novel. All of his novels border on cornball or sometimes fully embrace it. But this novel promised with that image to teeter on fun/insanity.

Thomas Pynchon and beach lit in the same sentence is a stretch but this book is literally beach lit. Set in (fictional) Gordita Beach California, P.I. Doc Sportello, passes joints with surfers, rockers, lawyers, criminals, internet pioneers, industrialists, etc. And goes on the wildest pro-bono turkey chase, down a labyrinth of conspiracy leads and most likely forgets it all or most of it, no doubt, because he suffers from Doper's Memory.

This is definitely Pynchon's most accessible read and will not need a guide to help one get through his references because we all know about Gilligan's Island, and the Beach Boys.

And some of us know about:


Published by Penguin Press 2009
369 pages

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Jodie Foster

This past weekend I was reminded of how much I have always admired Jodie Foster. It's not like I forgot about her or anything it's just that she's not in too much these days. I re-watched The Silence of the Lambs on the weekend as I do about once every year and let me tell you, it gets better every time, if that's even possible. As a young girl I wanted to be Clarice Starling. Fuck, I still do! Many years ago I even took criminology/psychology in college hoping to head in the right direction.

My love for Jodie Foster bloomed when I was quite small. You see, I've always loved movies and when I was young and delusional I had grand fantasies that one day I might just be an actress in the movies myself. Although I was too young to be completely insecure, I became aware that I didn't necessarily look like all the other kids in movies and as I got older I realized that I didn't necessarily look like all the teenagers in movies either. It felt like a lose/lose situation.

Nope, there I was in elementary school, gangly and awkward. My ears stuck out and I had crooked teeth. My face was covered in freckles. I was weird and shy. And then I saw Freaky Friday. Lo and behold there was a girl who was kind of funny looking too or maybe she was just tom-boyish and she talked kinda strange. I wished I had a best friend like that, someone that could understand how I felt, and even better, I thought that if she was in the movies then maybe one day I could be too!

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Of course, when I saw Freaky Friday and Jodie Foster for the first time, I was a bit behind. She was quite a bit more grown up at that point, but what did I know?

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Let's jump ahead a few years to the 1992 Academy Awards. Yes, even back then I simply had to watch the Oscars every year. I remember it vividly. I recall Billy Crystal being wheeled out with the Hannibal Lector mask on but most of all I remember how happy I was to see Jodie Foster in her white suit, giving her acceptance speech for Best Actress. It was a moment I will always remember. I thought she was so pretty and if she turned out pretty maybe there was hope for me. Even though I thought she was pretty I still noticed that she didn't look like all the other pretty ladies there. But again I thought, if she was up there maybe one day I could be too!

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Well scratch that. I was always too shy to try and act even though in my heart I felt like it was something I could excel at. In high school when there would be auditions for various plays (my high school was kind of known for theatre) I would always work up the nerve to go into the auditorium and sign up to audition. Then I'd sit there waiting my turn but inevitably I'd always get too nervous and sneak out the back doors. It was quite devastating to me really. I just couldn't bring myself to go up there in front of all those people. Come Grade 12 I wouldn't even walk across the stage due to my overwhelming stage fright.

This never stopped me from playing around by myself in my room though. Then as in now, I can often be found alone in my room doing monologues in the mirror, prancing about while reciting lines in different accents. Pretending I'm people I'm not. That small, awkward girl with a face of freckles and crooked teeth just grew into a bigger version of the same.

Maybe my dreams didn't come true but I still love the movies and I still love Jodie Foster and every time I see her in something I feel that spark of inspiration and I feel good.

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Ok, so why did I think she was kind of funny and plain looking? She's is a total babe!


Monday, July 20, 2009

(500) Days of Summer

This will be brief as I know most people have not seen this film yet and I don't want to spoil it for you:

I loved this movie.

Romantic comedies get a bad rap. That's because there are so many pumped out every year and most of them are garbage. Now, anyone that knows me, knows that I like going to see bad romantic comedies as well. What can I say? I love love! But don't mistake the fact that just because I go see them all, that I might actually think they are good.

No, there are indeed few romantic comedies that have that perfect combination of good writing, good directing and good performances from the actors. It's hard to reach the perfection that is such films as Annie Hall or When Harry Met Sally (and let's not forget Sleepless in Seattle!). I don't expect that (not everyone can be an Allen or Ephron!) but it certainly is refreshing when one stumbles upon a film about romance that is a step above complete fluff.

(500) Days of Summer is the first feature film from director Marc Webb. It was written by Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber and to them I say bravo, job well done!

It follows Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Tom and Zooey Deschanel as Summer and their 500 days together from beginning to middle and then the end. Yes, I tire of seeing Deschanel play the "kooky" girl. To me, she seems to play variations of the same character, over and over again but I don't dislike her. And JGL is the hottest thing I've seen in awhile. Pardon me while I go wring out the ol' undies (ahem, sorry)! They were both great in this, especially him, and their chemistry helped to make this movie as wonderful as it was.

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Sure, this isn't the greatest film ever made but it was nice to see an original spin on this familiar tale that we all know so well, in the movies and in real life. I thought the writers did an excellent job of capturing the fun, the awkward, and the messy moments that make up all relationships as they blossom and then fall apart. It was all around a clever and inventive film.

What I took away from it was that when suffering a broken heart, we all choose to look back and focus only on the good times when if we could just step back and get out of our heads, we might see the relationship for what it was - not very good. We'd see that stuff that meant we weren't meant to be. I know I've been there and I would imagine that you have been too. It's just too bad that for most people it takes months, if not years in some cases, to get to that point.

A lovely film. Please go see it.


RT - 89%
IMDB - 8.3/10

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Manhattan Melodrama

Last night I was lucky enough to catch Manhattan Melodrama on the big screen. Not only that but it was paired with The Public Enemy! It's a rare occasion that movies from the early 30's play in Vancouver so this was something that I couldn't possibly pass on, for in my opinion, the 30's were one of the best decades for film (not too mention the movie stars).

Manhattan Melodrama starts in 1904 with the infamous sinking of the steamship "General Slocum" in the East River of New York. On board are two young best friends, Blackie Gallagher (a wee Mickey Rooney) and Jim Wade. Their families perish in the fire/sinking but they are rescued by a priest and promptly taken in by a man who has lost his own son in the disaster.

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The two boys remain the best of friends, now close like brothers, as they grow up to be very different men.

Blackie, now a grown man (Clark Gable) has become a racketeer, owning and running his own successful casino. The cops are on his payroll and turn a blind eye to the goings on inside. Meanwhile, Jim (William Powell) has become the District Attorney. Although they are so very different and do not see each other as much as they once did, their love for one another still runs very deep.

Blackie's main gal, Eleanor (Myrna Loy) is becoming increasingly fed up with Blackie's lifestyle and longs for a more normal life with the man she loves. After a night in which Blackie arranged for Jim to entertain Eleanor, she decides enough is enough and she leaves Blackie. A few months later she meets up with Jim and a romance blooms followed quickly by a marriage that Blackie supports.

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Jim runs for governor during this time and is warned that his association with Blackie and what seems to have been preferential treatment in regards to a murder, may hinder his chances in the race.

Another murder takes place and all signs point to Blackie as the culprit. Jim, having to do his job, must prosecute his best friend in what leads to a guilty verdict and the sentence of death.

I really enjoyed this. Starting off with a young Mickey Rooney made it a sure bet that I would love this film. There's always something about him that fills me up with such happiness. Even at such a young age he just had that spark and the acting chops to go with it.

I thought all of the leads were well cast. They were a joy to watch on screen together. I really felt the connection and devotion between Blackie and Jim, especially in the emotional ending scenes. It felt very real to me.

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And I loved Loy and Powell together. It makes sense that over the course of their career they were in 14 films together, including The Thin Man series and The Great Ziegfeld!

Actually, an interesting tidbit is that William Powell was married to Carole Lombard from 1931-33 and then in 1936, Lombard met Clark Gable. They were married in 1939 until her death in 1942. Just interesting to me? Ok, that's fine.

Clark Gable really is charming, isn't he? Although he's never been an absolute favourite of mine, I couldn't ignore how good he was in this. While he used to make all the ladies swoon, I myself have a hard time getting past that little moustache. I'm drawn to the William Powell's, Jimmy Stewart's and Mickey Rooney's of the world.

All in all a very pleasing tearjerker (if you're a pansy like me). Check it out.


1934, B&W
Rotten Tomatoes: N/A
IMDB: 6.9/10

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Wackness

I resisted watching The Wackness for awhile based only on the title. It rubbed me the wrong way. I just thought it was a stupid name for a movie. But last night I was sitting around doing what I do every day - listening to a Creative Screenwriting podcast. I decided to check out Jeff Goldsmith's Q&A with Jonathan Levine, writer and director of The Wackness. WELL. I thoroughly enjoyed it and decided that I simply had to see the film ASAP. And so Matthew and I rented it later that evening and let me tell you, it did not dissapoint!

I absofuckinglutely loved this film. I know it wasn't perfect but it resonated with me in a very special way because it reminded me somewhat of my youth. Ok, so I wasn't dealing pot in NYC back in '94 but I certainly was hanging out in '94 and smoking a lot of it.

The Wackness is your typical coming of age story but with lots of hip hop and drugs. It takes place in New York City in 1994 and stars Josh Peck as Luke Shapiro, a newly graduated dope dealer. I loved loved loved this guy. I've never seen him in anything else but I can't imagine how I won't be seeing him all over the place soon enough if any filmmakers and casting directors were paying attention.

The movie opens with Luke trading weed for therapy with Dr. Jeffrey Squires, a psychiatrist. Ben Kingsley as Jeffrey is delightful. I used to think he was kinda gross after hearing a story about him from some hair stylists that worked with him on a movie up here, but after seeing him recently in Elegy and now this I have to say I'm a big fan.

It's the last days of high school for Luke where he spent his time selling drugs to the "cool" kids while remaining a bit of an outsider. One of these kids just happens to be Stephanie (Olivia Thirlby), the stepdaughter of Jeffrey with whom Luke has a mad crush on.

Summer hits and a bunch of the kids from school leave the city for adventures in Amsterdam, everyone that is but Stephanie. How convenient!

It's also at this time that Luke discovers that his parents are in some financial trouble so to save his family from losing their apartment for a life in Jersey he decides to start selling even more pot. He sells it out of an ice cream push cart, his way of fooling his parents.

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While out one day with his cart, he runs into Stephanie and naturally things happen. With everyone out of town she has nothing better to do then notice him. As his relationship with Stephanie develops so does his interesting friendship with her stepfather who appears to be going through a bit of a mid life crisis.

I thought this movie looked beautiful. The lighting was gorgeous and soft and romantic at times and I just think that Jonathan Levine did such a great job capturing life as a teenager, summer, NYC, falling in love and having your heart broken for the first time.

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Like I said, I really related to this film. At the time this film was supposed to take place I was 15 years old and a bit of a fuck up. And for all the Nirvana and Propaghandhi and ispy I was listening to, I was also heavily into a lot of the music that was associated with this movie - A Tribe Called Quest, KRS One, Biggie Smalls, Biz Markie. Oh! And when Luke and Stephanie got it on to R. Kelly's Bump N' Grind, I was feeling it. I've probably even been there!

Great movie, great actors, great writing, great soundtrack. Nothing like a little nostalgia...


Rotten Tomatoes: 68% (pfft)
IMDB: 7.2/10

Friday, May 22, 2009

East of Eden

It was with heavy heart that I closed East of Eden for good this afternoon. I had always wanted to read John Steinbeck's classic but somehow it took me almost 30 years to get around to it. Better late then never!

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As with any book that grabs me like this one did, I didn't want it to end. I started reading it about a week and a half ago and I couldn't put it down but as I fell completely in love with it and neared the end I tried slowing my reading pace down because I couldn't bear the idea of it ending.

There are many books in this world that I like a great deal but there are few that suck me into their world so intensely and have me so invested in the characters that I feel I am also a character in the book. Where, if someone I love in the book is injured or dies or is betrayed I feel as though it happened to my own father/mother/sister/friend. Along with this book the others that come to my mind are The World According to Garp and A Fine Balance.

I'm a big fan of epic family stories that span years. From the first sentence I was hooked. I've rarely read a novel that had so many interesting characters whether they were pure evil or the kindest souls you could ever have the pleasure of knowing.

The story begins with Adam and Charles Trask, two brothers and the sons of Cyrus and Alice Trask (Adam has a different birth mother) living on a farm in Connecticut. The boys grow to be very different. Adam is a kind, loving boy and although Charles loves his brother fiercly, he has a wicked violent streak that comes out of jealously causing him to twice beat his brother to a pulp.

It is after these beatings that it becomes obvious to Charles and the reader that Cyrus favours Adam.

Cyrus, an army enthusiast (and liar but that's a whole other story!) raises his sons in a strict military style and once old enough he demands that Adam enlist however, he chooses to keep Charles at home on the farm knowing that his violent temper will do him no good.

The Trasks are only one family this story follows. We also have the pleasure of getting to know the Hamiltons, Samuel in particular. Sam was by far one of my favourites. An Irish immigrant who made his way over with his wife to the Salinas Valley and their barren farm where they raised nine children. Sam was a warm, honest, self educated man who eventually becomes friends with Adam Trask once Adam as an adult relocates to the Salinas Valley with his pregnant wife Cathy.

And this is all just in the beginning. It also follows the evil Cathy along with Cal and Aron Trask, her twin boys whom she deserts as babies, leaving them with a wounded Adam.

Along the way there are so many memorable characters including another one of my favourites, Lee. Lee is introduced as the simple minded Chinese servant to Adam Trask's family but he soon reveals himself to Sam as an intellectual Chinese-American who only speaks 'pidgin' because: “It’s more than a convenience,” he said. “It’s even more than a self-protection. Mostly we have to use it to be understood at all . . . . If I should go up to a lady or a gentleman, for instance, and speak as I am doing now, I wouldn’t be understood.”

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John Steinbeck

I beg you to read this if you haven't already! Today, as I sat and ate my lunch at a local diner, I sadly came to the end. I was filled with such emotion as I read the last page that I walked back to work wiping tears from my eyes. I don't know whether I was crying because of events in the book or if I was crying out of pure joy at having been afforded the luxury to read such a wonderful story.

I just don't know how I will be satisfied by the next book I pick up.


East of Eden
by John Steinbeck
Published 1952
601 pages

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Crimes and Misdemeanors

"Sometimes to have a little luck is the most brilliant plan."

Movies don't get any better than this! Crimes and Misdemeanors is Woody Allen's philosophical tale of ethics and morality, weaving two stories together.

On the darker side of things we have Judah Rosenthal a highly respected ophthalmologist (brilliantly played by (Martin Landau) and "devoted" family man who finds himself in a bit of a pickle when Dolores (Anjelica Huston), the woman he's been having an affair with for a few years sends a letter spilling the beans to his wife. As luck would have it, he finds the letter first and is spared for the time being. He tries talking sense into Dolores but she's hysterical and refuses to be tossed aside. In her desperation she continues to threaten going to his wife with the truth and to go public with some of his shady financial dealings. Judah reluctantly decides that quite possibly, murder is the only option.

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On the flip side we have an unhappily married documentary filmmaker Cliff (Allen), who in a time of need takes the job of doing a film portrait of his wife's pompous brother Lester (Alan Alda), a successful television producer. It is while doing this that he meets and falls in love with Hallie (Mia Farrow), an associate producer.

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This is a thought provoking, at times shocking, dark and funny, film that asks many questions such as: Can you commit morally objectionable acts and not be consumed with guilt? Can anything truly matter if "god" doesn't exist?

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There are strong performances given by each and every actor in this film. Martin Landau is so friggin' good in this! I read an interview with Woody Allen where he stated that Landau is the one actor he has worked with in which every way he moved and gave his lines was exactly how he had envisioned it and he attributed it to the fact that they both grew up in the same area of Brooklyn so they developed a similar way of interacting. Alan Alda is fantastic as usual. His Lester is pretentious, self obsessed and in turn really humourous to watch. And in small but welcome roles we have Jerry Orbach as Judah's dirty brother and Sam Waterston as the painfully kind and sweet rabbi Ben who, although going blind, somehow comes out a winner in the end.


Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
IMDB: 8/10

Woody Allen

I couldn't possibly have a film blog and not speak of my main man Woody Allen. Woody has made my world a better place and although this might be a bold statement, I don't know that I'd want to live in a world where his films didn't exist. I love him that much.

We all trudge through life looking for someone or something we can relate to. For me, I do most of my relating with characters in books and in movies. While some might find that depressing it's just how it is and I don't mind at all. What a wonderful feeling when you find people or things or characters that you see some of yourself in. It makes you feel less alone. So naturally, when I stumbled across my first Allen film it was love at first sight. Cue the fireworks.

Suddenly there were other people in the world that I identified with! Ok, I'm no rich Manhattan-ite but here were chatty, intelligent neurotics, something I had never seen on screen before. When you see your faults (or charms, depending on how you look at it) magnified on screen it's funny! Who knew?!

The other thing I instantly loved was how dialogue heavy all of his films were (are). Exactly how I like 'em! I don't need there to be a lot going on in a movie but what I do need is well written dialogue and a lot of it. I don't care if absolutely nothing happens in a film for 2 hours, but I better be watching and listening in on some good conversation. That's what's wrong with so many films out there; there's often a simple, generic formula to follow in writing a film but so many people fail in the dialogue department. Not my boyfriend Woody. He gets an A+!

And above all else, he's funny. When I meet someone and they don't think so, I think less of them. I won't judge you on many things but I will judge you on that. He's a comic genius! Have you seen Play It Again, Sam?! It's a film that he didn't direct but he wrote and starred in it and if you dare say he's not funny then I challenge you to go rent it and just try not to laugh! If you don't find the way he eats rice or the way he dances in it hilarious then there's something seriously wrong with you. A real laugh riot that guy!

I meet many people that say they hate Woody Allen when I speak of his movies. I always ask the same question when I hear that: Have you actually seen one of his films? In most cases they have not and in every case they bring up the fact that he fucked his daughter. WELL then! I could write plenty about that.* I just don't see how any of that has to do with whether or not he makes good movies!

I will talk about many of his films in the future, in fact it's possible that I will touch on every single one of them but over the next few weeks I'd like to focus on my top five starting with Crimes and Misdemeanors which I'll post about later today.

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*All I'll say, because I have to, is that he was not married to Mia Farrow and they didn't live together. Soon-Yi Previn was adopted when she was 8 years old by Farrow and her then husband, Andre Previn. Woody was never a father figure to her, she had a father! I admit that cheating on your partner with her daughter is a sleazy thing to do (Soon-Yi should also take some of the blame) but he's not into incest and pedophilia. Soon-Yi was 22 years old, an adult! And they've been together now for 17 years, married for 12. They also have 2 children. To quote the man himself: "The heart wants what it wants." The situation was definitely unfortunate and there was a lack of class on both Soon-Yi and Woddy's parts, but love prevailed so maybe what was meant to be was meant to be. Jus' sayin'.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sissy Spacek

At a certain point I realized all of my tastes in motion pictures came full circle, revolving around 5 people: HD Stanton, Terrence Malick, Jack Fisk, David Lynch, and Sissy Spacek; Sissy being the bow that ties it all together. For instance, Eraserhead is my favorite. Film? No, just favorite. And to show you how full circle it is: Sissy Spacek was married to Jack Fisk (production designer extraordinaire), who's sister, Mary Fisk, was married to David Lynch. Terrence Malick tried to raise money for the production of Eraserhead, who had been working with Fisk since 73.

She's not one of my favorite actresses just for being married to the Man in the Planet, or being in Malick, Altman and Lynch films, or for holding the slate between takes on Eraserhead but for delivering one of the finest runs of films in the 70's starting with one of my favorites, Badlands.

In Badlands she plays Holly Sargis, a 15 year old baton twirler, left an orphan and on the run when her trigger happy boyfriend kills her dad, et al.
The film on which she met her husband to be, Jack Fisk.

imdb: 7.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 98%

Next in the run is Carrie, probably the most famous film of her career and better because she's in it (worse because of Travolta). Creepy and haunting, a powerful performance full of angst. Oh teenage, angst.

imdb: 7.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%

Robert Altman's 1977 film 3 Women is hypnotic, dreamy gold. Spacek turns in a varied and spooky performance as obsessive Pinky Rose, and Shelley Duvall is at times hilarious and frustrating, but an incredible performance as well.

imdb: 7.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 95%

Spacek's performance as Loretta Lynn in the 1980 film The Coal Miner's Daughter is the best biopic in the history of celluloid! Spacek can sing her face off. Plus this film has a young Tommy Lee Jones in it, a favorite of mine and Amanda's. (Perhaps we will post about how much we love the TLJ flick The Hunted.)

imdb: 7.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 100%


Next up: a recap of my recent foray, and new found love of '70's cinema. (Which will include some nice things I have to say about John Travolta, which Amanda will love.)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

That Obscure Object of Desire

I was completely captivated by That Obscure Object of Desire. I watched it for the first time one late spring evening when friends were gathered in the backyard. I had started it before anyone arrived but was so enamored by it that I couldn't tear myself away to join them. There was also a total babe out there but even that didn't prompt me to turn it off. In the end I got to finish the movie and I got the guy (with time!) so all was well.

Luis Bunuel directed this masterpiece (his last film) starring Fernando Rey, Carole Bouquet and Angela Molina. Visually, what I loved about this film was his use of two actresses, one French and one Spanish, both absolutely gorgeous, to play the role of Conchita. Going into the film not aware of this really threw me for a loop at first but once I realized what he was doing and got used to it, I thought it was such a strange, bold and ultimately really interesting idea.

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Mathieu is a wealthy man who upon noticing one of the maids working in his home becomes filled with an intense sexual desire for her. The maid is Conchita of course. He is determined to let nothing stand in his way of getting her.

Conchita goes back and forth from tempting and teasing him to refusing him. She never gives herself up to his desires and slowly Mathieu's patience wears thin until he is full of rage.

As she continues to withold sex from him, his anger and frustration reach a boiling point and he threatens to have her deported.

The background of this film is littered with guns and explosions courtesy of a terrorist group wreaking havoc on the city. It's interesting that this all really does just lay in the shadows of Mathieu and Conchita's bizzare relationship.

For me, the culminating point in the film is when Mathieu buys Conchita a house. He hands over the keys and she closes the wrought iron door. He can still see and hear everything. Conchita lets loose and tells him how repulsive she's always found him and then to torture him further she has sex right there with another man in front of him. AAAH! That had to hurt, huh Mathieu?! As I sat watching this by myself, I felt so uncomfortable. I felt her disgust for him and found myself wanting to spit in his face and also glad that she was rubbing her honeypot in his face like that. I wanted to high five her and say, "You go girl, show the man what he's missing!" And then on the flipside I felt my face burning with his humiliation.

Most of this film is told in flashback as he tells his story to strangers on a train. They were curious after witnessing him dump a bucket of water on Conchita's head while she stood on the platform. I'm not often a fan of stories told this way but this film is an exception.

Hands down, one of my very favourite films.


1977, French/Spanish
Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
IMDB: 8/10


I saw Marty for the first time a few months back and got a real kick out of it. Written by Paddy Chayefsky, it stars Ernest Borgnine as Marty Piletti, a single, kind-hearted, overweight, butcher from The Bronx that at 34 is still living at home with his mother.

He seems to have given up on any idea of finding love at this point in his life, deeming himself too unattractive for any woman to love him.

At the prodding of his mother one Saturday night he reluctantly attends a dance at the local hall. Once there he is approached by some douchebag who offers him a couple bucks to take the dog of a blind date that he got stuck with, home.

Marty is horrified that someone could be so cruel and tells him he can't just ditch her like that! Naturally, the jerk doesn't listen to him and ends up ditching his poor date, Clara.

Marty sees her crying and feels terribly so he goes to her and attempts to comfort her. While sharing a dance they get to talking and these two lonely souls connect through their shared lack of confidence. All of the dog talk between them is pretty cute and I have to say that anyone that's ever felt like a bit of a dog themselves is going feel for them tremendously and really relate to this charming film.

In each other they find comfort and some very welcome company.

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Betsy Blair and Ernest Borgnine as Clara and Marty

I have to say that as I was watching this I was repeatedly impressed with the writing. I think Chayefsky's script absolutely stands the test of time some 50 years later and that he was such a wonderful talent.

The superb writing in addition to the always adorable Ernest Borgnine left me with a smile on my face throughout. Definitely worth checking out!


1955, B&W
Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
IMDB: 7.8/10