I just launched a new site/podcast over at http://saturnscene.com, and it features interviews with Michael Cera, Paul F. Tompkins, Jen Kirkman and more. I also delve into what makes Paul Rudd amazing, as well as breaking down Lady Gaga’s fear of her creativity escaping through her vagina. See you there!
Archive for the 'general' Category
Apparently my favorite films this year were sponsored by the letter “E,” because the two I enjoyed the most were “Exit Through the Gift Shop” and “Easy A.”
In alphabetical order, my favorite films of 2010:
Favorite films watched in 2010 but not released in 2010:
I’m currently two thirds of the way through Peter Biskind’s Beatty biography, “Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America,” and have found it to be an entertainingly salacious, if not entirely edifying, read. Much is made of Beatty’s sexual prowess, in fact Biskind devotes a whole page to the math of Beatty’s conquests, arriving at the number of 12,775 women, “give or take, a figure that does not include daytime quickies, drive-bys, casual gropings, stolen kisses and so on.” In between the banging, Beatty’s behind-the-scenes filmic history is described in detail, revealing an emotional vampire hell bent on satiating his own needs at any cost. While I find Beatty to be a horribly manipulative and soulless bully, he certainly makes for good bio fodder.
So far my favorite section is where Biskind imbues Beatty with a sexual spidey sense. He is attuned to any and all sex around him, whether it be lurking at a hotel gift shop (Diane Keaton), sitting at a red light across from him (too numerous to mention), or Gary Cooper’s hand under Rita Hayworth’s skirt, as depicted in the following passage:
“One night, when he was still new to Hollywood, he went to a party where he ran into Gary Cooper. Beatty always speaks admiringly about Cooper’s touch with women, saying, “He chased way more pussy than I did.” Cooper was standing next to Hayworth, his hand on her bottom, under her skirt. It seemed to Beatty that Cooper had his finger buried deep inside her butt. How Beatty divined this is not clear. He was becoming adept at interpreting looks and glances, reading people. Wizard of penetration that he was, perhaps he just parsed the language of the bodies, or maybe he was projecting his own fantasies.”
As it turns out, Beatty falls prey to the cliché of the Don Juan - physically loving many women, but only capable of truly loving himself. Though what a list of women! Among Beatty’s conquests are Brigitte Bardot, Cher, Leslie Caron, Julie Christie, Janice Dickinson, Britt Ekland, Jane Fonda, Joyce Hyser, Diane Keaton, Michelle Phillips, and Natalie Wood. While these babes could arguably be counted as some of the most beautiful of their day, to get to the Chamberlainish number of 12,775, Beatty’s standards were lowered considerably. In fact, the term “mustachioed” is used more than once to describe some of Beatty’s consorts.
At one point during the filming of “Heaven Can Wait,” one of Beatty’s collaborators notices that the women hovering around his orbit are less than desirable and confronts him, saying, “‘You’re Warren Beatty, why don’t you get some standards? How can you let some of these girls blow you?’ Beatty looked at him blankly, as if he were speaking in a foreign language, and replied, “Why not?’”
And ultimately it’s a good question, not only because it exemplifies Beatty’s habit of answering questions with questions, but because why would someone who indulges their every whim feel the need to justify their behavior to anyone else?
Richard Linklater (director, Dazed and Confused): Like for most people, Over the Edge hadn’t hit my radar when it first came out. But it’s just a great teenage movie. I was only a couple years out of my teens [when I saw it], and I had some exposure to these planned, suburban communities that had been springing up throughout the ’70s. The movie is a perfect mix of all the conformity and boredom that goes along with the local geography of these places, and the natural restlessness, anger, and antagonisms of the teenage years.
I’d like to think that Over the Edge influenced Dazed and Confused, especially along the lines of its honest depiction of the teens themselves—flawed, romantic, angry, bored. Over the Edge not only has the courage of its own convictions, but it provides the ultimate in teenage revenge fantasies—what so many of us would like to do at that age: firebomb the school with the P.T.A. inside. I’ve always said, half jokingly, that that’s the truest ending to any real teenage movie I’ve ever seen.
My favorite films released in 2009 in alphabetical order:
Favorite Films watched in 2009, but not released in 2009:
For years I’ve been haunted by the image of Philip Seymour Hoffman clad in a black leather jacket, strumming a guitar while walking on top of a semi-truck from the dvd extras on “Punch-Drunk Love.” This banal tableau then takes an oddly perilous turn when PSH jumps back first on to a pile of mattresses atop a car, and then falls about seven feet straight to the ground, destroying his guitar in the process.
My initial reaction was, “What the hell did I just see?” I still can’t figure out how it was done, as everything appears to be in one shot. If it really was Philip Seymour Hoffman taking the fall then my hat is off to him. But what purpose did it serve? For the life of me I couldn’t figure it out. Until now.
It turns out that the video is a note for note remake of a very real commercial where a mattress salesman strides atop a semi while strumming a guitar, jumps on to a pile of mattresses and falls to the ground, destroying his guitar in the process. Aside from the names, the dialogue is exactly the same.
Keep in mind that “Punch-Drunk Love” was filmed back in ‘02, long before the internet video revolution of youtube and the like. Paul Thomas Anderson, will you never cease to amaze?
Some more top films of the year to add to the list:
And then there’s Reprise, a Norwegian film that focuses on two young authors. If you have any sort of literary aspirations, I can’t recommend this more highly. It was released in 2006, though only recently got distributed over here. This means that if you look online you should be able to find it pretty easily.
Here’s the trailer:
Sometimes I wonder what would happen if society ended and the only remnant future generations found was a single film. What would they glean from that? What would it tell them about human behavior in the 20th century?
No film has made me think about this more than “Perfect,” a 1985 bomb that stars John Travolta as a doe-eyed investigative reporter researching the hedonistic subculture of exercise gyms, which he proclaims are “the single bars of the 80s.” Starring opposite him is Jamie Lee Curtis, as the best exercise trainer at the den of iniquity known as The Sports Connection. Travolta’s thrust for the piece (thought not his thrusting, more on that later) bothers her so much that she decides the best course of action is to sleep with him. Interspersed throughout their cat and mouse game of comment/no comment, is some sort of plot involving Johnny interviewing an entrepreneur who had been screwed over by the FBI. Frankly, I’m a little hazy on the details, as I was so bowled over by everything else that happened.
Anyway, this is what I imagine future anthropologists would say:
In a “Perfect” world, it’s perfectly acceptable for a man to look like this:
While women look like this:
Mating is a somewhat elongated process, consisting of many stages.
First the male thrusts his genitalia at the object of his affection:
Then the female does the same:
The male thrusts a second time, just to be sure:
The female thrusts in turn:
Then the two lay down on the floor and pay homage to their god by thrusting into the air:
And then comes the final stage where they change clothes and sit in front of a black, glowing screen:
The female begins typing a query while the male looks on:
The male types his reply:
“I have a pessimistic view of relationships. My view has always been that you talk about it with your friends, you scheme, you plot, and you see psychoanalysts. You see marriage counselors, get medicated, do everything they can, but in the end you have to luck out. It’s complete and total luck. You have all these exquisite needs, some woman has all her exquisite needs, and the odds of all those wires going together are very, very slim. If one of those wires is not there then it gets annoying and she gets dissatisfied, you get dissatisfied. So, to get it all clicking in is a very happy accident. It does happen to people, because there are so many people in the world, which statistically a certain amount of them luck out. They meet someone, fall in love, they are happy with that person, no real friction, but its luck. This is my observation of it, this can be argued, but if you ask me I would say that’s what I’ve learned. All the advice, planning, self help books, anything you do, dating services, you’ve got to get lucky. If you do it’s great. Some people do, but you can see by the divorce rate, the amount of relationships people go through, and the amount of people in unhappy relationships but stay together because of inertia, because of children, fear of loneliness… there are very few really wonderful ones. You have to get lucky.”