Most of my posts here have been straight looks at films with little authorial input on my end. My personality can probably best be understood through my content choices. For this post, I wanted to mark down a few observations I’ve made while working on a fiction project over parts of the last three years. This is NOT an advice column but instead a brief piece regarding thoughts running through my mind as I attempt this novel. Continue reading »
Inside Llewyn Davis, the latest triumph from the Coen Brothers, takes place over a week in 1961. It possesses the sort of intelligent eyes that revere the elements of the period without wading through amber-hued nostalgia. Like A Serious Man, Llewyn Davis unfolds with loose narrative ambition, stringing a character study together through the threads of music and strange circumstances as opposed to plot checkpoints. The Coens, as they’ve often done with such skill, drop us into a fiction and let us sink into the setting until it becomes a vivid reality. Continue reading »
Maybe you remember the marketing, bright trailers with Pan Am planes taking flight and Leonardo DiCaprio wooing a succession of young babes. Maybe you remember the opening credit sequence, an animated wonder backed by John Williams’ bouncy jazz score. Maybe you remember snippets, scenes, moments, and images that passed through your consciousness during a late-night cable showing. Maybe you remember seeing it in a theatre over a decade ago, a holiday blockbuster poised for big money and a cache of awards. Continue reading »
It's still early in Wes Anderson's The Royal Tenenbaums. Most of the film to this point has been a series of static shots, exquisitely composed to resemble live-action scenes from a decades-old children's book, supplemented by the omniscient narration of Alec Baldwin. Anderson blows through exposition with an efficiency rarely seen, cramming dozens of almost invisible but telling details into each frame, laying the foundation for his story as an author of a successful fiction series might drop important backstory into the early chapter of his latest novel.
I’ve heard at least three different adults tell me they’d rather kill themselves than die without grace. The catheters, tubes, wheelchairs, and dementia of advancing years leave the young and middle-aged alike terrified and assured in their defiance of accepting bodily decay. Their logic makes sense to a degree; generations raised on the Stones and New Hollywood can’t possibly see themselves as drooling, limping wrecks straining to remember the broadest details of their lives. But consider how many suicides befall the world’s octogenarians. Every generation gets old; we may look upon black and white photos of the Greatest Generation in their youth with suits, sweaters, and dated slang and have little trouble imagining them growing into stooped bodies and white, thinning hair. We forget how they once danced, rebelled, looked toward the looming future and scoffed at the disdaining eyes of 19th-century born traditionalists. The old and the dead swung to newest sounds and made love in cars with their lithe bodies and youthful clumsiness. Every generation gets old, decays, dies. Continue reading »
The way a man sees a woman holds considerable merit when we attempt to see the man. Do we look for women we find attractive or do we look for women to show off? Do we see women as tools for our growth or do we see them as equal partners? Do we hope for their happiness or use them to build up ourselves? Continue reading »
A.I. Artificial Intelligence is many things--a retelling of Pinocchio, a meditation on what makes us human, a story of childhood innocence struggling to survive the cruelty of the adult world--but above all else it is a story about love. All of its other themes and influences are subservient to this; indeed, they are tools used to deepen the film's thematic core.
In posts on Revolutionary Road & Mad Men, I covered some of the anxieties parents face as they attempt to reconcile their flaws alongside the need to guide their children through life. In a season one exchange, Roger Sterling laments how the current crop of 20-somethings have no one to look up to, prompting Don Draper to quip “Because they’re looking up to us.” It’s a line that can connote flip humor or the sort of grim honesty reached between a slug of scotch and a gaze out the window. Continue reading »
When Mark Zupan was 18, he passed out drunk in the back of his best friend's truck. That friend, who was also drunk, never realized Mark was in the truck bed, even after the accident, which launched Zupan into a roadside canal, where he was found 14 hours later hanging onto a branch. His neck was broken, rendering him a quadriplegic.