Monday, July 19, 2010


Prologue 1:
September 1, 2009:
Or maybe the whole movie takes place in DiCaprio's head, and it's just about him going nuts.  You heard it here first, kids.  If I'm right, I totally called that 9 months before the movie came out.



Prologue 2:
This is my longest post ever.  Whatever I happen to say down there, remember this:  you should go see Inception if for no other reason than I had this much to say about it.  Too many movies are just "there were cool explosions" or "he got the girl in the end" these days.  This one had thousands of words in it, and I still have more to say.  So get yourself to a theater already.

Man, it's been a while.  Since I've done a real movie review update, but also since I thought about Inception.  I was so pumped back when that first trailer came out, and then last weekend it was suddenly in theaters.  So I went.

While I recommend going into Inception without having a plot summary since the way the thing was put out there for most film goers, I also just want to put down into words what I remember happening.  If we're going to think about a movie like this, it couldn't hurt to have a quick recap.  So here goes:  Leonardo DiCaprio is a professional thief, but instead of stealing real stuff he goes into people's dreams (with fantasy technology that's just sort of taken as a given throughout the film) and steals their ideas.  He's got a team of people who help him with this, including the 500 Days of Summer guy, some other dude who is a pretty serviceable actor, and Juno.  Michael Cain shows up for like 10 lines, too.  Anyway, playing around in people's dreams is a super cool setup and leads to some pretty sweet special effects (though maybe not enough sweet special effects - more on that in a minute).

Our heroes screw around for a while as the movie lets us figure out for ourselves what the hell is going on for the first half an hour, a technique I appreciated.  There was danger that the audience just wouldn't figure out what was up and the whole film would be impossible to follow, but that didn't happen at least to me personally.  I'm sure someone's movie experience was ruined by it, though.  After the initial action scene shenanigans take us through this setup, we get to the basic plot of the film:  some Asian dude wants DiCaprio to go into someone else's mind and preform inception.  That is, instead of stealing an idea from someone else, he wants to plant one there.  500 Days of Summer guy says it's not possible, but DiCaprio insists that it is.  Gasp!  So they gather up their team who I already introduced to you and get down to business planning what is essentially the coolest heist movie since Ocean's 11.

By this point, we've already been introduced to the concept of a dream within a dream, so it's no surprise when it turns out that the heist / inception is going to take 3+ levels of dream.  This is cool.  There are also complications that arise from DiCaprio's dead wife, who still lives on in the dream world as a projection from his subconscious.  She keeps lurking around in the background, potentially sabotaging our heroes plans.  Then there are further complications, etc, etc.

Damn good movie, in my opinion.  I'd been comparing the previews to Blade Runner, Chinatown, and The Matrix, and while I'm not sure it lived up to quite those standards, the feel was definitely along those lines.  The noir aesthetic wasn't as good as Chinatown's, and the script could've used more work.  Usually when I say that it's because the dialog was bad, but in this case it was more like they didn't take enough time to flesh out the supporting cast of characters.  DiCaprio gets a good amount of personality since the movie basically comes down to his relationship with his wife, and Juno certainly gets moments.  We get a hint of something great from 500 Days guy, but it looked to me by the end that that was just because he's a good actor.  There's like 4 team members who are more or less disposable, which begs the question of why they were included the first place.  Cut a couple and give more time to fleshing out our principals.  I mean, the whole inception heist is based on this sort of character study of the guy they're planting an idea inside, yet even he seems a little empty by the end.

Just a quick aside, have you been following all those imdb links I've been throwing out?  Holy crap.  This movie's cast was just awesome.  It's like a who's who of actors that I like seeing in pretty much anything.

So we don't get as much character as I'd like, which is a shame.  But characters are boring - what about cool action sequences and sweet dream effects?  Sadly, the film does in this area pretty much what it did in the characters section:  while full of good intentions, but it didn't push them far enough.  You get a couple really great moments like the train plowing through the middle of city streets and the hotel fight scene that takes place as the van one dream level up does a barrel roll, but then it feels like things slide.  I want the creativity of Eternal Sunshine, or at least something a little bit more dream-like.  I'm okay with relatively mundane settings, but it feels like there should be more terribly out of place things like that train.  You've got this troubled guy's entire subconscious to work with, why not make some waves?

Even better, you could kill two birds with one stone by having weird dream projections showing up that give us a deeper insight into our characters.  If DiCaprio's wife is coming out of his head, what's to stop other people's personal demons from arriving and giving them trouble?  At least let us see some traumatizing clown from our subject's childhood.  I wanted to feel more Spirited Away and less action movie.  Obviously you can't just drop the action entirely, but you can find cool stuff to do here.

The synchronized kicks I was totally on board with.  I love the idea that in order to wake up from a dream you have to get that falling sensation because I know how readily falling in a dream wakes me up.  The same goes for death - right up until they changed that rule, I was totally in love with their system.  It was the sort of rules system I'd wished we'd gotten to see between Jacob and The Man in Black by the end of Lost.  Of course then they went and blew it all by changing the death rule.  I don't think they had to do that - instead of putting more on the line in the dream world and compromising your awesome system of rules, but more on the line out in the waking world.  That way, for every person that gets killed in-dream and wakes up, the task of inception becomes more harder, and we get drama that way.  If the cost of failure is essentially death (as it is for DiCaprio), we'll worry nearly as much about the character's survival without having to re-suspend our disbelief.

Whatever.  My original point there was that the kicks system was cool, and they got clever with how each level's kick was delivered.  The cue music was perfectly atmospheric, the elevator thing was priceless... basically everything about the kicks I liked.

I have one major technical gripe with the movie, and that is that all the cutting back and forth between dream levels was too quick for me.  Instead of going 4 seconds of falling van -> 4 seconds of elevator -> 10 seconds of snow dialog, I kept wanting to see bigger chunks on each level.  This way, I feel like we could have actually watched 500 Days guy in the hotel solve the various problems he was faced with, and maybe think about solutions along with him.  Instead, I felt like we just kept coming back to him doing some new random-ass thing.  I wanted to see him thinking, and larger chunks in each place would have let that process be more visible to us viewers.

Also, the snow level was just kind of random.

Alright, we're getting deeper here.  I haven't even touched the big gun issues yet.

As I said earlier, the movie basically comes down to DiCaprio dealing with his wife's death (and the other issue that I'll get to, I promise).  I felt like they handled this relationship well.  While I wish there were more bits in the film that felt like a slasher flick with Mal (the wife) as the villain who could be just around any turn, the actual characters were good.  As much as I complained about the lack of imagination in dreamscapes before, I thought the elevator trip through DiCaprio's memories was near flawless.  I would've liked to see multiple trips to this elevator to let the idea build and ferment, but I guess there wasn't time.  That seems to be one of the recurring problems with Inception:  there were so many ideas packed in that not many of them got room to breathe, even with a 2:20 runtime.

Back to the wife, there's that point at the end when DiCaprio is facing her down in limbo where he talks about how she's not nearly as complex as the real Mal, how she's only a memory, a facet of the complex woman who he actually knew and loved... I loved that bit.  I'd sort of already assumed this is what Nolan had been going for with her character, but it was a still a cool pointer in the direction he wanted us to look regarding Mal.

Speaking of limbo, what the hell.  That was by far my least favorite part of the film.  I didn't understand what it was, how you got there, or what purpose it served.  I guess the plot devices it created were important.  It let us look at that basic idea of limitless creation that comes with total lucid dreaming, and it set up the foundations for everything between Mal and DiCaprio.  Still, it was explained just awfully.  How did DiCaprio end up in the same limbo that he'd been trapped in with Mal?  Is there really just one, and if so, are we to believe that the two of them were the only ones who ever lost themselves there?  Then there's the whole deal with DiCaprio trying to find the Asian guy there which just didn't make any sense at all to me.  Why do you need that?  Just have the Asian guy not die, and you can have the same ambiguity in the end since DiCaprio has to go down into limbo to bring back the Scarecrow actor guy.  What's the point?

Which brings us neatly to the end.

I walked out of the theater with this huge grin on my face.  Joey and Danl followed me out the theater and to the bathroom where I promptly broke out laughing and exclaimed, "That was retarded."  I mean, as soon as you find out that the opening scenes are a dream within a dream, you have to see it coming that the whole movie could be set up as one big-ass dream.  I'm much more okay with this in a movie than on a TV show - if Lost had been a dream (or god forbid it turn out they were dead the whole time), I'd have been pissed.  But two hours examining that sort of reality question is fine by me.

So I think I did like the ending despite the fact that it bugs me.  Leaving things open for interpretation allows stupid kids like me to think about them for hours on end, which can be fun.  Joey thought just having the top fall over should have been how the film ended, and I agree that it would have been a fine conclusion a fun action piece about dreams and reality.  Certainly much better than most we get these days.

As is, I'm trapped between two opinions on the ending.  The first is that it was perfect.  It does so many things at once.  It lets you decide on which ending you like better - whether DiCaprio was in a dream the whole time or whether he got back to living his life at the end.  This doesn't quite work since the people who want the top to fall over are pissed that the top doesn't fall over, but it's perfect for those who like the idea of the whole movie being a dream.  It also plays into my favorite theme in the movie:  determining your own reality.  We see this a lot as everyone takes turns shaping each other's realities.  For starters we've got Juno creating dream worlds, the actual dreamers populating them, and DiCaprio sprinkling his subconscious all over everyone else.  Then there's the dreamers in the sedative guy's basement, DiCaprio and Mal's control over limbo, Mal's manipulation of DiCaprio once they're both back in the "real" world, etc.  At the end, we see DiCaprio ultimately choosing his own reality as he abandons Mal in limbo so he can return to his kids.  He makes the conscious choice to stop all this nonsense and just live his life.  In that sense, it doesn't matter whether or not the top falls over after the final cut to black.  The important thing is that DiCaprio decided for himself how he was going to live and went and lived that way.

I like that message a lot.

The other thing this ending does is make Carol Donelan super happy.  That is, it's commentary on watching movies within a movie.  One could argue that since we hear the top wobble just as the film cuts to black at the end, the top must fall over right at about that time.  Coincidentally, what else is happening just as the film cuts to black?  The film is over.  And just after a film engrossing as this one, you really do feel like you've woken up from a dream.  At least I do.  Having the film end on the wobbling of the top is this great nod at the way we take in films.  I can see the arguments either way about whether it's better for the plot to have the top fall or not, but this particular thing about the ending is great.

All that said, my other opinion about the end is that it's just trying to hard.  If you let the top fall over, you give us a satisfying conclusion to a fine story.  There's plenty of material to be discussed within the rest of the piece, especially if they'd taken the time to flesh everything out a bit more.  You can give us our real ending while still asking interesting questions.  I guess then you aren't going to get a bunch of free press post-release, though.  Probably less of a cult movie, too.

Critics seem to be just shitting themselves over Inception.  I definitely liked it a lot.  It's better than anything else in its same class that's come out in years.  The problem is just that there's so little coming out in that class.  So few movies are trying to be good and thought provoking rather than money makers.  Hell, so few good movies these days aren't based on some pre-existing intellectual property.  When someone comes along and makes a good movie with a budget that doesn't focus primarily on explosions, everyone freaks the fuck out.  I liked it, yes, but it was merely quite good.  It's just that quite good looks like solid gold when it's peers are a bunch of monkeys.

The monkeys also have bazookas.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ten Second Film Festival

It's exactly what it sounds like.  Here's the details:

The TSFF takes place on the 4th of July at The Soap Factory near Dinkytown, Minneapolis where I've been living this summer.  I was invited to spend the holiday with some people who were going, so naturally I tagged along.  Holy crap was it a good time.  All I want to do now is make ten second films all day long.  It was so worth the back pain caused by sitting on a plant.

The show's format was good.  There was a host, this big guy in a white suit and American flag top-hat.  He was funny, receptive to the crowd, etc.  Good at his job.  They'd apparently been taking submissions for a long time (maybe all year?), and they'd picked the best 100 to show.  These were divided into 10 categories, each shown consecutively along with an intro video.  They had names like "Mindless Violence", "Arthouse", "Documentary", and "Dance Off".  Then between the sets of 10 there were judges who chose a winner.  The winner got a silly trophy and lots of drunken applause.  The whole thing took about an hour and a half, which was a great length.

The best moment of the night needs some setup.  After the Documentary category, the crowd favorite was far and away this appropriately named film called Sticks.  Everyone was chanting "Sticks Sticks Sticks!" until the judges finally gave in and agreed to give it the prize.  Unfortunately, no one showed up to take credit.  People got upset, there was booing, etc.  It was bad.  So they had to give it to the second place winner instead.

Later in the night, another winner has just been announced, and again it's looking like a no-show.  Everyone's getting bored looking around, and finally this guy comes in like off the street and walks up on stage.  They try to hand him the trophy, but he waves them off.  There's some confusion, and this guy finally ends up with the microphone and says to the crowd "Hey, I'm the guy who made Sticks."  Cheers erupt, along with demands to give him this category's trophy.  So they did.  Awesome.

I noticed after the Documentary category that the best films tended to be documentary in nature, even if they didn't fall into that category explicitly.  I think capturing the perfect 10 second moment on your phone's camera just has more oomph to it than the other reigning formula of "one ten second joke".  Not that those weren't hilarious, mind you.

My favorite film wasn't either of those, though.  I wish I could find the video online, but alas, a description shall have to suffice.  It was called Puree, and it featured a bleak, white room containing only a blender full of water and goldfish.  A hand slowly moved onto the screen, reaching for the power button on the blender and getting closer... closer... CLOSER... and then a smash cut to black.  So perfect.

Looking around online, it looks like none of this year's films are online.  In fact, very few of them seem to make it up unless they're put there by their creators.  Still, here's one of my favorites:

You can see their whole youtube channel here.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Love N' Dancing


Do I actually need to say anything about this movie?  You should be able to imagine a 95% accurate version of the film just from the poster.

Let's start at the beginning.

Carleton has a termual (that's once a trimester) tradition called the Library Silent Dance Party.  The idea is that a few days before the last Friday of the term, an email starts being forwarded around to pretty much every email list on campus.  It contains a link to an mp3 and instructions to download it, put it on your music listening device of choice, and show up to the first floor (aka the Monastary Quiet floor) of the library at 11pm on Friday.  Then when all 200+ people have shown up, some pre-designated leader silently counts down on his fingers.  When the countdown ends, everyone presses play.  Thus begins a dance party in the most quiet location on campus.


The LSDP moves through the library, slowly making its way up the floors.  After the break 30 minutes in, it generally beings to move around campus like an ooze, engulfing building after building of innocent by-standers trying to study for finals.  It's probably the single coolest thing I've ever done at Carleton.  And college is pretty cool, and Carleton is pretty cool for a college.  In the middle of it, you just feel connected to all these strangers in a totally awesome non-creepy way.  Like, you're just dancing with people.  It's great.


So midnight comes around this past Friday night, and everyone's leaving the LSDP.  Of course, after an hour of such an experience, you can't just go home and go to bed.  As tired as you are, your energy level is through the roof.  I didn't know what to do, but eventually I went to get smoothies at the snack bar with a bunch of Social Dance Club people.  That got us a decent ways, but after the smoothies were gone, what then?  I mean, watching a movie is always on the table, but...

I made the mistake of making a comment about how all the things in life that make me feel amazing are slowly converging to dance.  Swing dance club, social dance club, contact improv, the LSDP... All these things just make me feel unbeatable in a way that not much else ever has.  I say this comment was a mistake because I was in the presence of one Kendra, who immediately demanded that we spend the rest of the evening watching Love N' Dancing

A few organizational shenanigans later, I found myself along with several other dancers in Kendra's apartment with the opening to what looked like Dirty Dancing all over playing itself in front of me.  How had it come to this?

The plot was exactly what you expect.  Early on, I made a comment about how the girl was going to take off her big glasses, let down her hair, and rapidly become a ridiculously good dancer.  Not only did all of these things happen, but later during a crisis her friend says to her (I shit you not):  "Girl, you're wearing contacts.  You've let your hair down.  You're happy.  Why do you think this is?"

And Kendra goes "Dancing".  And the friend goes "Dancing".

It was brutal to sit through, though I admit the dancing was awesome.  Now that I actually dance a lot, I can appreciate that sort of thing in bad dance movies.  I also spent an unreasonable amount of time marveling at how the director had hid the cameras in a dance studio where all the walls were mirrors.  Let me just say that there were some very conveniently place pillars and many clever angles.  I made a point of it to ruin every moment possible with yet another technical comment.

Still, no matter what I may say about this movie's quality, the dancing was great.  And like Kendra, I wish I could do this.  Still wasn't worth being up until 3am for.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sam D Makes An Autobiographical Movie

In which I actually show the polished version of the movie from the edit in my last post.  Assignment:  autobiographical movie about 30 shots in 60 seconds.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sam D Makes A Depressing Movie

Assignment:  make a 3-5 minute concept film in the style of something you'd watch in a museum.  The concept?  Love.

I sat around for a few days not having any ideas, then I listened to Gymnopedies and decided to just make something that tried to capture the feel of that piece.  I'm pretty happy with the result apart from the dirt on the lens in a bunch of shots - there was one really beautiful one I had to cut just because there was too much dirt.

EDIT:  Here's a link to the other film I edited today.  It was a good day for editing; I was in the lab from like 2pm until 10pm.  So much fun.  People all around, fellow CAMS majors... We talked, we edited, we discussed next fall's classes... It was great.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Sam D Makes Another Movie

The assignment:  come up with a universal sounding question, ask it of a bunch of people, then edit together the results.  This is the results.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Sam D Makes A Movie

Turns out I do that from time to time.  Actually, this one got made back in the fall, and I just forgot to put it up here.  It was always my intention to use this site as a place to store movies I'd made and was proud of, and since I haven't had the time / motivation to write anything as of late I thought this would be an acceptable alternative.  There's more of these in the pipeline; I even filmed some today!  I never thought holding a boom-mic could be so exciting.  And I shock myself by saying that without sarcasm.

Anyway, here's a video:

EDIT:  Oh God it's embarrassing to go back and watch that again...
EDIT2:  Okay only the voice-overs are really embarrassing, and they were only there because they were required.  So I'm going to call this one a net win.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Ghost Writer

Not to be confused with Ghost Rider, which is a crappy superhero movie starring Nicholas Cage and sounds pretty much exactly the same when you say it out loud.

Saturday was the last day of my spring break in the sense that it's the day I moved back in to college.  Sunday sort of counts, but Sunday is a school night, plus I had to work all afternoon.  So Saturday was the last "real" day of my spring break.  Coincidentally, it was also the first day of my friend Joey's break, and the only day he was going to be both free and in Minnesota.  It was pretty much a given that we'd have to hang out.

Plans weren't really made.  We knew eating somewhere nice was a on the agenda, and we knew one of us would have to wrangle up a car.  Beyond that, we didn't have much idea of what we'd end up doing.  So on the way up to dinner, Joey asked if I'd ever gotten around to seeing Hot Tub Time Machine.

(Damnit Danl)

After a delicious meal at Taste of Thailand in Apple Valley, we drove over to Lakeville to see what was showing.  This was the first time I can remember just showing up at a theater and then deciding what to see when I got there.  It's a much different experience, but one that I like.  It's really just giving yourself over to the idea that you're going for the experience of going to a movie rather than going to see anything in particular.  There's an added mini-game of trying to remember what all the movies on the marquee are about and deciding how long you're willing to wait to see something.  I quite enjoyed it.

We weighed our options, and eventually decided on a movie I'd never heard of - The Ghost Writer.  The plot was something like a young Obi-Wan Kenobi does covert spy work to take down James Bond, who is actually George Bush.  Meanwhile the old guy from Eternal Sunshine and Adele DeWitt watch from the sidelines.

Wait a second, scratch that.

Ewan McGergor is an out of work British writer who gets a job as a ghost writer for the memoirs of an old British Prime minister (Pierce Brosnan) after the old ghost writer turns up dead in the ocean.  Apparently the old writer was drunk, but if you can't figure out from this premise that he was actually murdered you need to watch more movies.

That plot summary is really great.  The whole movie felt the same way - we follow the increadibly likable McGregor around doing odd bits of investigation here and there, and he slowly puts together a giant conspiracy.  It's fun to watch, intense.  I likened it to the feeling I get playing Myst-style adventure games, where you're constantly snooping around in these places and expecting someone else to show up and ask you what you're doing, to which you will have no good response.  There's this ever-present feeling of tension.  I like it when a movie can give me that.

About halfway through, I was reminded of Hitchcock.  We spend the whole film following this one male protagonist as he is accidentally thrown into a world of political intrigue and deception, then gradually gets his bearings.  At all times, we know exactly what he knows - nothing more or less.  This is such a Hitchcock thing to do.  Not to say that The Ghost Writer was as good as most Hitchcock.  It was fun, to be sure, but it wasn't amazing.  Great atmosphere from the tension coupled with the color palette, sets, weather, etc.  The acting was fine.  It came together quite well and in a way that didn't need to use explosions or chase scenes (beyond a choice few that again reminded me of Hitchcock in that they actually seemed reasonable).  The clues our hero uncovered were all very reasonable.  The only gaping plot hole in the movie came at the very end, literally in the last 2 minutes.  For a modern film, I can't ask for much more than all that.  I highly recommend.

EDIT:  OH snap!  I almost forgot my favorite part of this movie.  The Observer was in it.  Yeah.  It was hilarious.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Iron Man (2)

When the first Iron Man came out, I expected it to be just bad.  Iron Man the superhero never really appealed to me - I didn't even know his background, so to me he was just some dude who was... made out of iron?  I guess?  That's so much lamer than spider powers or shooting lasers out of your eyes.  With no hope at all for the movie, I figured it would go the way of The Hulk and not be worth my time.

What I did want to see was Forgetting Sarah Marshall.  I loved Knocked Up and wanted more of that.  Plus that whole love thing... I like hearing what people have to say about it.  Good reviews, a promising premise, and appreciation of Apatow's previous work were likely to come together well.

One day I convinced Marie (I think it was) to go see Sarah Marshall with me.  We were at the Key, and naturally asked around to see who else we could drag along.  Madelyn was down, and we were working on Kellen.  "Can't we see Iron Man?" he pleaded.  I was opposed, Marie was torn.  Somehow we decided the easiest solution was to just go see both, which led to the first time I've ever snuck into a theater (or rather bought one ticket and stayed for two movies - but that's much less cool sounding).

Sarah Marshall came first and was just as I expected - awesome.  It was funny and raunchy but in a good way.  That is, it was not so raunchy I can't take it like some of Apatow's stuff.  Meanwhile it actually had something to say about relationships.  It totally delivered.

We giggled to ourselves as we walked down the hall to the Iron Man theater, arriving suspiciously early and taking our seats while the ushers were still cleaning up.  We talked about the last movie, and I prepared myself for the cool explosions of a bad action movie.  LITTLE DID I KNOW what was in store for me: the acting genius of Robert Downy Jr.  This was before I had seen him in anything before; I would see him in Charlie Bartlett about a week after Iron Man where he absolutely made the movie as a supporting actor.  I decided to see everything he'd ever been in, then promptly changed my mind when I realized how long the list was.

Iron Man immediately became my favorite non-Christopher Nolan Batman superhero movie.  It had a great script, good acting all around, The Dude jokes, a modern setting, and the amazing, amazing RDJ just stealing the show for a full two hours.  They even ended it by breaking the classic modern superhero trope of doing the secret identity thing for a few movies and just let the cat out of the bag right away AND the classic modern superhero trope of having all sorts of angst about the love interest and just let them hook up right away.  PLUS they did the Batman thing where everyone is just some messed up dude with technology instead of having super-powers.  So great.  I was totally blown away.


So.  A couple months ago the trailer for Iron Man 2 came out, and naturally I became interested in writing about it.  I actually started writing this post right when that trailer came out, but then college happened.  So you get it now.

Let's check out the trailer:

I can't embed it, but you should be able to follow that link if you want to actually see it.  What I see is this:  more of the the same.  Mind you, this is a very good thing.  More witty banter, more RDJ kicking ass, more Samuel L Jackson having an eye-patch... more of everything that was so fun about the first.  I'm pumped.  You should be too.

7 May 2010, here we come.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Blood Simple

I'm beginning to recognize 90s style.  There's a certain film grain to films from that decade and the late 80s.  I don't know if it's just better cameras or what, but movies look a bit different these days.  Probably just technological improvements; the whole shift to digital has come since then, after all.

Blood Simple is the first movie made by the Coen Brothers, and like most of their movies, [SPOILER ALERT] pretty much everyone dies in the end after a crime gone horribly wrong.  This one in particular reminded me a lot of Quentin Tarantino - Reservoir Dogs, to be specific.  The time the movie was made is about the same, they both have this crime gone wrong thing, they both end in with lots of people getting killed...  There's also the whole scene where the main character is cleaning up his bloody car where I kept thinking of The Cleaner from Pulp Fiction.

I feel in some ways like No Country For Old Men was the Coen Bros way of remaking Blood Simple.  The motives behind the killings are very different, but they have lots of similarities.  Both are set in Texas.  Both start with roaming shots of landscapes voiced over by one of the main characters.  Both have a nasty bad guy running around trying to kill everyone.  Both involve crimes gone wrong leading to massive amounts of bloodshed.

On the other hand, Blood Simple has music.  It has a girl who survives.  It has dream sequences and that amazing section where the main guy is burying the other guy (oh my god so creepy).  It has driving sequences, though they come straight out of Fargo.  Or I guess the ones in Fargo come straight out of here.  This movie also has a huge emphasis on sound.  The music is crazy atmospheric.  There's this recurring motif of a repeating sound beating over and over.  It starts with windshield wipers but comes back again as a fan, an alarm clock ticking, and the footfalls of someone in the next room.  Very soothing but placed in this context that's so intense.  It put me on edge the whole film.

Another thing this movie does really well is setting the scene with little close up shots of all sorts of details.  Like when the two men are meeting in the back room of the bar:  we see some fish heads.  We see the fan.  We see a chair.  We see one of the men talk.  We see a cigarette.  All these shots come together to give us a really rich scene.

Man, those pipes at the end of the movie...

And that sequence dealing with the first dead guy's body...


Damn, y'all.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Disaster Strikes!

So it appears that SOMEONE (Danl) is going to SOME STUPID (ly cool) CONVENTION on the opening of Hot Tub Time Machine.  This means I really need people to go with.  If you're going to be around on the night of Thursday the 25th of March and don't have class the next day, let me know so we can hot tub back to the 80s.

Marie, I'm counting on you for this.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hitchcock I

Alfred Hitchcock - a name I have long associated with the greatness of cinema.  I italicize the word cinema there to emphasize the fact that appropriate word is most certainly cinema and not film or movies.  I first heard about Hitchcock while my dad read The Three Investigators books to me as a boy.  This was a Hardy Boys* style series with two main differences.

1.  There were three of them instead of two.
2.  Each story was bookended by the boys handing off their latest adventure to (a fictional version of) Alfred Hitchcock who would then publish them.

I remember starting one and there being this scene in Hitchcock's office.  My dad paused mid paragraph and asked "Do you know who Alfred Hitchcock is?"  Nope.  So he explained, telling me stories of great masterpieces far beyond the quality of anything I'd ever seen before.  There was an implied mysticism and an excited admiration in my dad's voice as he told me how great Vertigo was before we finally got back to the book.  I was hooked.

(Probably.  I'm sure some sort of scene like that took place.)

A few years later, I saw North By Northwest.  This movie is totally boss.  It's an action thriller that remains suspenseful in this modern era while steering clear of explosions.  Do you know how hard it is to make an action movie these days without explosions?  Even non-action movies usually have explosions!  Hitchcock did it, like, 50 years ago better than anyone can anymore.  Basic plot is that this businessman gets mistaken for someone else in a restaurant... except it turns out that the guy he's been mistaken for is a government spy and the people doing the mistaking are The Bad Guys.  Shenanigans ensue, and pretty soon our hero is wanted by the cops and some mysteriously evil dudes.  Plus there's a lady and at least one twist.  So good.

You go, Cary Grant

I'm fairly sure I was single digits in age when I saw North By Northwest, which means it was a good 5 or 6 years before I saw another Hitchcock movie.  Madelyn Hartke, token awesome female of my high school social group, decided one day that we needed to all watch Vertigo.  She was enthralled by it, loved it.  If it was a person, we said, she would probably marry it.  We watched movies all the time, I'd developed an interest in expanding the number of classics I'd seen, and plus she was a girl, so it wasn't hard to convince us to put it in one evening.

She did not enjoy that evening.

Danl and I tore it apart.  Dumb jokes flowed like a river out through our mouths as we ripped this classic piece of cinema to shreds, totally destroying any sense of atmosphere that otherwise would have been created.  And for a movie that's so much about atmosphere, that meant there was basically nothing left when we were done.  Needless to say, Danl and I didn't like it.  Madelyn was sore about us not even trying to appreciate the movie she'd been excited about.  Overall, a big failure.

Years later, I'd have to watch Vertigo again for my Intro to Cinema and Media Studies class.  I expected it to be better this time - the atmosphere would be creepy.  I was more mature, more patient with films.  I would be looking at themes instead of looking for dumb jokes.  But sadly, it sucked just as much as the first time I saw it, except this time I didn't have Danl around to help me joke through it.  It's just... It's a weird movie - this is common knowledge.  It's about perception and obsession.  I think my problem with it is just that I find the characters so alien.  I don't identify with anyone, so I don't care about anyone.  That kiss shot is really good, to be sure, but that doesn't mean I like the movie.  There's a certain amount of pure entertainment I expect from a movie, even one that I'm watching in order to think about.  And Vertigo... Vertigo does not reach that level of entertainment for me.

The summer before my Freshman year of college would bring me two more Hitchcock screenings:  Rear Window and The Birds.  I settled into a summer routine that involved watching lots and lots of movies, and it so happened that one of the people I was doing this with had the complete works of Hitchcock lying around the house.

Rear Window came first.  Like Vertigo, this movie had been severely over-hyped for me.  It was one of those titles that my dad had mentioned in a thrilling voice every time I asked for a movie suggestion.  "Oh yeaAH, Rear Window!  What a movie," he'd say.  You've got Jimmy Stewart as this cop (ex-cop?  Private eye?  I can't remember...) who breaks his leg and is confined to a wheel chair in his apartment for a while.  So naturally, he starts creeping on the neighbors.  Specifically, he starts creeping on this lady who he becomes convinced ends up murdered.  Investigations ensue.

After my experience with Vertigo I was skeptical, though this sounded like a better plot.  Still, for most of the movie I held the opinion that I didn't like Rear Window either.  Then came the final scene, and I realized I'd almost never been this tense watching a movie before.  Anything that can make me freak out as much as the last 15 minutes of this movie is very good.

The Birds was different.  This is a strange movie when looked at from the modern lens.  You can tell while watching it that it must have been creepy, atmospheric, and crazy suspenseful when it came out.  It was so widely acclaimed and there's the beginnings of so many modern horror tropes in there, but we all know what's going to happen next since we've spent so long watching all the tropes that evolved from the ones present in The Birds.  And then there's the plot, which goes something like "There's a guy.  Also there's a girl.  Oh, and then the birds start killing everyone all over the world.  Have fun with that."

That... that pretty much brings us up to speed.  I bring up Hitchcock because I've watched two of his earlier films for my film history class the past couple weeks and they are fine like a hot chick in the 50s.  I'm currently in the midst of some deepish analysis of both The 39 Steps and Sabotage, but rest assured I'll report my findings here when I'm done.

Until Hitchcock II!


* I'm so excited for The Hardy Men even though it's probably stuck in development hell.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Toy Story

I rewatched Toy Story last night; I was hanging out with a friend when his roommate came back with a bunch of people and pulled us to the lounge to watch an old childhood favorite.  It was a weird experience.

First thing I noticed was that I could barely remember what happened on a grand scale, but that I could remember each and every shot of the film as it moved on.  I always knew exactly - EXACTLY - what was going to be on the screen next.  Apparently I saw this movie a lot of times.

Second thing was how much Pixar has improved over the years.  I remember Toy Story looking amazing when it came out, but this... This was okay.  Everyone moved just fine.  Sort of.  There was a little bit of uncanny valley going on, and some weird blinking.  The backgrounds were very... barren.  Not much on the walls, and every shot was from very low to the ground.  That makes sense since all the characters are toys, but it made it seem like they'd created a bunch of walls, put wallpaper on them, and then left the world as this bunch of flat surfaces to be populated only with key props as needed.

Third thing was that that next door neighbor kid Sid had a seriously crappy childhood.  I remember being terrified of him, but in retrospect I just feel bad that his dad is an alcoholic, his mom is never around to help her children, he only has one shirt, he sleeps in his bed with all his clothes on and no blankets, eats breakfast in his room (old Froot-Loops)... And he takes out all of his anger on his toys.  Imagine, then, this kid that clearly needs help, a tortured soul, imagine his TOYS - the one outlet that he has - literally RISE UP AGAINST him, tell him he's a bad person, and threaten to kill him.  Yeah.  He's not going to grow up to be okay.  At least his sister might break out of the trap her family has set for her.  She seemed pretty smart, and her abusive older brother stops being abusive by the end of the movie.

Watching the movie with a bunch of physics majors, I also was treated to the many impossabilities of Buzz Lightyear's exploits throughout the film.  Turns out he is a magical space hero after all, because that's the only way you'd be able to trash Newton's laws as thoroughly as Buzz does!

Overall, though, fun times.  Pixar has come a long way since the 90s.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Fuck Blogger

Blogger just ate a post I spent 30 minutes writing.  Anyone know much about Wordpress or whatever the other blogging options are out there?  I've been meaning to switch for a while now anyway.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Academy Awards for 2009

The reason I started this blog was... okay, there were a lot of reasons.  I like to write, I like movies, I like to write about movies, etc.  But one of the more prominent reasons was that every year I wrote a giant facebook note detailing my thoughts on the Academy Award nominations, and I wanted a better place to publish it.  It's that time of the year, so without further ado go check out this link.  I'll be here when you get back.



Okay, ready?

First thing to note is that Steve Martin and Adam Baldwin are hosting.  That's awesome.  I think they're both funny, and they seem to work well together in the commercials.  There's no writers strike this year so we won't have another "John Stewart has nothing to say and it's awful because there were no writers" 2008 disaster.  I don't know, something about the hokey writing for the awards hosts makes me smile even though it's so bad.

Best Picture

Okay.  Guys.  WHAT THE FUCK. You nominated AVATAR?  For Best Picture?  What the fuck?  I understand that you increased the size of the nominations to 10, and that's great since it means sweet films like District 9 and An Education get more respect.  But did you seriously nominated AVATAR?  That movie makes me so mad every time I hear people talk about it being anywhere remotely in the neighborhood of good.  It was so boring for so long.  I want 90 minutes of badassery, not 100 minutes of exposition then 50 of badassery.  Damnit.


Okay, other than that, I love the Best Picture list.  The Blind Side better not win, but I'm happy to see it nominated.  Up marks the first animated movie in freaking forever to get nominated, which is like the one thing about the change to 10 nominees I'm happy about.  We never would've seen District 9 nominated in previous years, but here it is - that makes 2 legitimate action movies nomianted for Best Picture.  That's fine, I just hope I don't live to see the day when something like Avatar is really considred a better movie than A Serious Man by more than the dumb fucks I avoid at school.  Inglourious Basterds, nice.  I still need to see An Education, but I'm always glad to see Nick Hornby do well.  The Hurt Locker is the only one of these I've never heard of, but I guess I'll have to check it out.  Maybe not since I don't tend to like "realistic" war movies, but whatever.  Finally, Up in the Air is supposed to be great (I'm watching it this weekend), and Precious is fine being nominated though like The Hurt Locker it's not my thing.

Best Actor

Honestly, I haven't seen any of these movies.  Awkward.

Best Supporting Actor

Dude, Christoph Waltz for life.  He was so good in Inglourious Basterds; easily the best performance of the year.  That I saw, anyway.  I hope he wins.

Best Actress

Sandra Bullock doesn't deserve this, though I did like her in that role.  I hear the Precious woman was really good.  Meryl Streep is always good (or so I'm told), but I'm a guy and therefore naturally prejudice against Julie & Julia.  Still gotta see An Education so I can make a judgement on the last nominee.  This is apparently a running them tonight.

Best Supporting Actress

Haven't seen any of these movies, but Up in the Air got 2 nominations.  Shit guys.  I need to go see that.  Good thing it's safe on my desktop as I type.  Also Maggie Gyllenhaal is awesome.  Still, I'm not qualified to comment here.

Best Animated Feature

One of these movies was nominated for Best Picture, too.  Guess which one is going to win?  And that's fine by me; Up deserves it.  Never heard of The Secret of Kells.  Something to add to the list of things to check out.  This is how I found The Triplets of Belleville after all.

Art Direction

Okay, now Avatar can win.  Nine and Sherlock Holmes were both real perty, though.  Oh, and brief mention of The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus:  this was the movie Heath Ledger was working on when he died.  And it's directed by Terry Gilliam.  That's a kickass combination to me.


As a probably cinema major, I should know the differences between Art Direction and Cinematography.  But seriously, what are they?  Whatever.  Inglourious Basterds had real cool cinematography.  I think the difference is probably the difference between a movie like that or O Brother, Where Art Thou? and a movie like The Golden Compass or Avatar.  Special effects vs style.  And on that level, Basterds is better than AvatarAvatar will still win, though.

Costume Design

I don't care.

Best Director

Tarantino really doesn't need the ego boost, but he probably deserves it.  It's hard to see the effects of good direction since they tend to present themselves as other departments doing their job rather than the director doing his/hers.  Anyway, I'm again not very qualified to choose a winner here and am again upset that Avatar is on the list.

A Bunch of Awards I Don't Care About

I don't care about them wooooooooo

Except editing.  I care about that one, I just don't watch it very closely when viewing the movies and thus don't have an opinion.

Up should win Best Music.  Avatar should win Visual Effects.  In The Loop should win writing just because I want it to win something.  A Serious Man should win the other writing since Inglourious Basterd's strength was not it's writing but rather the art, direction, and acting and Up... Okay, maybe Up should win.  This one is tricky.  I think I stand by A Serious Man, though, since it's got so much more depth rather than doing one message really well.

That should about do it.  Now to decide on the best Oscar's night drinking game...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Up: Animation Isn't Just For Kids

I've been reading a lot of comics recently.  Comics have always had this thing going on where no one takes them seriously.  You've got all these great stories like Sandman and Watchmen and all the really famous ones like Maus and Persepolis (or however you spell it), but no one respects them because the medium has such a bad rep.  Just because the people who wrote comics in the 30s and 40s made pulp superhero novels doesn't mean that all comics are about superheroes or that all comics are mediocre pulp in quality.  There's some seriously good stuff going down out there and a teeny-tiny audience appreciating it.  Web comics have helped, but there's still very little in the way of comic "books", graphic novels if you will.  Most of the well appreciated stuff is single strip at a time ala xkcd or Questionable Content.  One joke a day, soap opera plots at best (good ones mind you), etc.  I freakin' love those comics, but I still don't see much in the way of more serious stories being told with comics.

Animation, I feel, is in a very similar boat.  People have done awesome things with animation - look at Bugs Bunny, etc.  The Simpsons is a landmark television series.  Disney has (had?) been winning awards for decades by putting out amazing animated movies.  But when you get down to it, there hasn't been a lot of "adult" stories told with animation.  It has the reputation of being a medium, you know, for kids.  That's fine since it gives us stuff like Beauty and the Beast, Toy Story, and so forth, but there's this huge untapped potential for animation that involves telling the same kinds of heart-wrenching, gotta see 'em love stories, fast paced action, blockbuster, cry-all-the-way-through, beautiful tales that you get in great live action film.  Occasionally you get the great innovative piece ala The Triplets of Belleville, but that's not often.  Then you've got all the stuff the Japanese have been up to... In fact, if you speak Japanese, a lot of what I've just said is just lies.  They're way ahead of us in comics and animation.

Whatever.  Animation is a hugely untapped medium for story-telling.  Thankfully, the guys who founded Pixar figured this out back in college and have been slowly getting us, the public, ready to accept animated movies for adults.  There's always been jokes for the adults - pop culture references if nothing else - but Pixar has been pushing the morals of their stories farther and farther with every movie.  The Incredibles was all about suburban life, a topic the depths of which elude most tweens that I know this sort of movie is classically marketed towards.  WALL.E was something special.  That opening sequence could've just gone on for ages... I feel like the world building they did there was for an ageless audience.  Then the lesson about nature was for adults as much as it was for kids.  Still felt kiddy once they left Earth, though.

Up, however...  Up is not a kids movie.  The whole plot is about letting go of the dead.  That whole opening montage of Mr. Fredrickson's life is just... beautiful.  That sequence is probably entertaining for kids, but I just can't imagine the full impact of it hitting anyone under a certain age.  Honestly, I don't believe the full impact will hit me until I'm middle aged at least.  Sure the whole movie is peppered with stuff for the kids.  The talking dogs, Kevin, most of what's going on with the boyscout...  It's all kid stuff.  Not that I didn't like it, quite the opposite.  It's just that's the sort of kid targeted stuff I've come to expect from animation.  I have not come to expect shots like the one of the house floating down through the clouds as Mr. Fredrickson finally lets go of his wife.  That's just... That's just amazing.

So bravo, Pixar.  Your master plan of introducing animation to adults has finally come to fruition.  And I, for one, applaud you for it.  Bravo indeed.  I loved everything about this movie except for the fact that I had to pause in the middle of it.

Before I go, I want to step back to my more broad points about animation to say that I'm sort of lying.  After all, we see more and more CG in every summer blockbuster, and what is CG but animation?  Motion capture is blending the line between animation and live action more and more, redefining what we think of as "cinema" at every turn.  Already we don't notice the line between the real and the computer generated.  And really, who's to say what constitutes "real" on the silver screen?  That sounds like a whole paper all by itself.  In a couple years, maybe "animation" will be the standard for all films.

Anyway, I just hope the ride through uncanny valley isn't too bumpy.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Watching Movies - With Who?

There's something about watching movies that has always prevented me from doing so by myself.  Somehwere along the line it was ingrained in my head that watching movies is something you do with other people, while playing video games and watching TV is something you do by yourself.  As a result, I watch far fewer movies than I'd like.  Occasionally I'm able to find an environment where I'm comfortable watching solo - the inspiration for this blog was that I'd started watching movies late at night over the summer.  But I've never been able to watch them alone at my home computer.

I can identify a few possible explanations for this.  Maybe I think movies are a social experience because I'm more interested in discussing them with people right after they finish, and I can't do that if I watch them by myself.  Though this is probably a lie given how most of my post movie discussions can be reduced to
That was pretty good.
[Random funny quote from the movie.]
Haha!  [Random other quote, possibly in response to the first one.]
Haha!  Yeah.
So... Settlers of Catan, anyone?
Comedies are always better with other people.  It's just easier to laugh when other people are around.  Your laughter fuels theirs and theirs fuels yours in this loop that exagerates how funny everything is.  This is why bad comedians on television still get people laughing at them, and why live readings by David Sedaris are much better than reading his books.

I have this theory that I don't like watching movies by myself is that I don't like pausing movies in the middle, and when I'm by myself I'm always secretly hoping someone will call me up and get me to go do something cool with them.  TV is easier because you only have to commit to 45 minutes, and video games can be left.  This fits in with the other OCD thing I do where in public places I'm always looking at the entrance to whatever room I'm in checking to see if people I know come in.  I'm always hoping for someone to hang out with.  I don't know how accurate this is, since there's been plenty of times I've just holed up for the evening with no intention of seeing anyone and still been unable to put on a movie, but I think it's a start.  I am weird.

The most likely explanation is just habit.  I'm a creature of habit - moreso than anyone else I can think of.  I like the routine.  I'm totally fine if people invite me to do things, but I don't take the initiative towards the new by myself.  And simply put, my routine is that I don't watch movies by myself.  To break that routine I would need someone else to step in and break it for me, but by that point we're at least two in number, and the routine hasn't been broken after all.

Whatever the case, I think it's time for a change.  I'm tired of having an enormous list of movies to see that only ever gets longer.  It's time to sit down, boot up the compy, turn on utorrent, head to the library, badger my friends, or whatever it takes to get me to watch more movies.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Serious Man





So I'm a total Coen Brothers fanboy.  It's cool, I know it's true.  If I watched movies by myself more often, I might need an intervention.  Thankfully, I usually need other people to help fuel my addiction...  Whatever.  The point is that I love their erratic story-telling style in which things often happen for no reason, totally out of the blue.  In which every character is more often than not bat-shit insane in one way or another.  In which we have iPods in the 1960s.  I mean, wait, what?

Doesn't matter.  A Serious Man is a movie about a middle aged Jewish guy in the 60s who just can't keep it together.  Through no fault of his own he just has too many things thrown on to his plate, and all of them just keep dragging him down.  It's horrible to watch, but as someone who is currently experiencing that "too many things" syndrome it was nice to watch this guy be much worse off than myself.  Really just depressing stuff, folks.  And then, in predictable Coen Brothers fashion, everything seems about to get better, then everything gets a lot worse, and then there's a smash cut to credits.  Hilarious.

I don't know, man.  What does it all mean?  I feel like they're almost parodying themselves with the dentist story.  It's this bizarre fable that clearly wants an ending, a lesson, but then provides no such thing.  The story teller just doesn't give his audience what they're looking for; in fact, the teller doesn't give the audience anything.  So what was the freaking point of telling the story?  This is what troubles me about the brothers Coen:  they keep telling these compelling stories, and I keep being unable to make any sense of them.  What were they trying to say?  If they're astute enough to make all the clever jokes that they do and to parody their own story-telling style with the second rabbi, why won't they give us some sort of closure?  "What did we learn, Palmer?"  I don't fuckin' know either.

I guess we can find some sort of moral in that tornado, and the fact that our hero gets that fateful telephone call right as he gives in right at the end of the movie.  But is it enough?  And what was the deal with the opening fable?  Why was that included?

I think I'm not Jewish enough to get all of this movie.  Still loved it a lot, though.  I'm intentionally keeping this short because this is one of the places where I actually care about spoilers (and I have to go to bed).  I'm still kind of just in awe.  If you've got stuff you want to talk about from the movie, though, let me know.  I'd love to talk about more specific stuff.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The White Messiah Fable

Someone on Facebook linked me to this excellent article by David Brooks about Avatar and the "White Messiah Fable".  It's basically what I wish I'd written in my review of the movie, and you should go read it because it's short and interesting.

EDIT:  Credit where credit is do.  "Someone" was Hal Edmonson, my RA from last year and an awesome dude.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Year in Review 2009 Edition, Or "Why Didn't I See This, Either?"

Over Christmas my dad and I sat down (along with some other family spectators) and went over the list of all movies released in 2009 in preparation for the Oscar nominations.  Neither of us could remember many good movies that came out this past year, and with the change in number of Best Picture nominees, we were very intrigued by what would likely be nominated.  Seriously Academy, why would you up the number of Best Picture nominees in a year as bad for movies as this past one?

Whatever.  Just go quickly scan this Wikipedia page so we can all be on the same... page... for the rest of this post.

First reaction:  that list of highest grossing films makes me die a little inside.  Thanks, society.

Let's move beyond that, though, and take a look at the movie list.  Here's all the movies I saw in the order they were released, not the order in which I saw them:

The Class (Entre Les Mures)
Star Trek
The Hangover
The Taking of Pelham 123
(500) Days of Summer
The Ugly Truth
Funny People
District 9
Inglourious Basterds
Taking Woodstock
Where the Wild Things Are
The Blind Side
Sherlock Holmes

And here's all the movies I wish I'd seen but didn't in a similar order:

I Love You, Man
Drag Me to Hell
Up (Why didn't I see this?*)
Public Enemies
The Informant!
The Invention of Lying
Zombieland (Why didn't I see this, either?**)
A Serious Man (Or this?***)
An Education
The Road
Up in the Air
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

I saw a lot of good movies, a lot more than I thought, and I didn't see a lot of movies I wanted to.  I saw a lot of chaff, though.  I'd say my top 5 movies of 2009 were, in best to also good order:
(500) Days of Summer
Inglourious Basterds
Funny People
Sherlock Holmes

It's kind of sad that Holmes made that list.  Of course this doesn't include Up, Up in the Air, or A Serious Man, all of which looked fabulous.  When you add those to the list of movies that I didn't feel motivated to see but that will certainly be in contention for Best Picture (The Soloist, Invictus), you get a list that may actually have 10 good(ish) movies on it.  Not bad.

And now for some related ramblings

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is the project Heath Ledger was working on when he died.  It's a Terry Gilliam piece - you know, the guy from Monty Python that made 12 Monkeys and Fear and Loathing in Los Vegas - so it's probably good.  Should probs see it.

After getting Forgetting Sarah Marshall for Christmas and lamenting my lack of a copy of (500) Days of Summer, it began to startle me how many of my favorite movies are love stories, usually ones that start with a break up.  Those two, High Fidelity, Eternal Sunshine, Harold and Maude... this list goes on.  And they're all basically about the same variation on a theme.  I guess I'm just in to love.  Or maybe it's the way real people interact (or at least the way they think they interact... or the way they want to portray themselves as acting to us... ow my head) is what intrigues me, and that you don't get to see that much in movies that aren't about relationships.  Hmm.  I guess I like Big Fish more than most of the above movies, and stuff like Inglourious Basterds doesn't have much love going on.  Still "hmm" worthy.

I hope Up gets nominated for Best Picture now that they've got 10 to give away.  Animation deserves more respect than it gets.  Comics, too.  Freakin' sweet.

I'm sure there's more to be said, but I've said a lot of it in other articles.  How did you feel about 2009 in terms of movies?  What deserves to win Best Pic?  Other nominations?  You can be sure I'll revisit this topic when the Academy starts doing their thing.

Until next time!


* I don't know.
** Danl saw it without me.
*** It never came out in wider circulation.