Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Fistful of Reads 2015: Hunger


February has come to a close, and my New Years' resolution to read a book a month has lasted yet another month, so yay for me!  I also want to thank the bloggers who continued this month to play along, and we have a new one too!  We'll start with links to their reviews first.

Chris reviews A Thousand Years of Good Prayers by Yiyun Li

Bubbawheat reviews The Heart Does Not Grow Back by Fred Venturini


And now, for mine:

Friday, February 27, 2015

The 1939 Fisti Awards


[Images May Be Enlarged by Clicking on Them]

1939.  This is a year that is considered by many to be the greatest in all of cinematic history.  It's the year that brought us many cinematic treasures and the year that has brought us one particular film that is often touted as the greatest cinematic achievement of all time; Gone with the Wind.  One of the first things you'll notice as you view the Fistis for this year is that, well, Gone with the Wind is not a Best Picture nominee.  In fact, it's not even in my top twelve of the year.  Many are going to balk at this, especially when they see some of the films on that list, but Gone with the Wind is a film that I admire more than I love, a film that has never rested on me as a brilliant film; a good one, not a great one, and more of a spectacle for the eyes than the mind.  I do not expect everyone to agree with me, but that is why personal awards are so important, because this helps us articulate our own feelings on film.  I love this year.  It's so rich with a wide range of themes and emotions, and it represents why classic film is so, well, classic.  So, without any further explanation, I present to you the Fisti Awards for 1939!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Thursday Movie Picks: Father-Son Relationships


It's Thursday, so that means it's time for Thursday Movie Picks!  I love the theme this week, as it's a theme that hits very close to home for me and is one that often stirs in me something very primal.  I find a deep connection to films on the subject, and narrowing down my three films was hard, but I decided to go with three different types of films to cover the subject.

And the theme of the week is:

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Fistful of Thoughts...about making history, staying pressed, beating dead horses and how Oliver Stone just said "fuck you" to Edward Snowden!


Oscars were Sunday, and a lot of puking happened, so this had to wait until today, but I hope to be back on track with making these a Monday habit come, well, Monday.  Anyways, there's a variety of stuff to talk about today, and I'm dying to know what you guys think about all of this, so let's dish!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Blind Spot Series 2015: The Public Enemy


It's February, which means it was time to scratch off another Blind Spot, and this time I went way back to a classic film that inspired many other, better, classic films (but more on that in a minute).  It also starred one of the greatest actors of all time, is heralded as one of the greatest films of all time, and is pretty recognizable on name alone.

Lord help me for not loving this one.

Monday, February 23, 2015

A Fisti Oscar Recap!

"Hold on, you mean Richard Linklater wanted one of these?"

It's been a long weekend.  Oscar weekend is pretty much what I live for every single year.  As you know, this blog is all about following these awards and pitching our two-cents about everything, and every year gets even more and more exciting; and the most exciting things are when you actually have a pony in the race with a chance at actually WINNING THAT RACE!!!!  Last year, I was all in for Gravity, and BAM, it may have lost the big prize, but it cleaned up everywhere else.  This year was special though.  My #2 of the year (Birdman) was neck and neck, seemingly, with the most overrated film of the year (Boyhood) and so settling in to watch Boyhood fumble so hard was just glorious.

Well, it would have been glorious, had I not been dealing with puke.

Yeah, this weekend was long, not because I was amped up for Oscar, but because all three of my children have been taking turns puking all over different areas of my house, and last night, about twenty minutes into the Oscar ceremony (which I actually was going to be able to watch live due to using my children's sickness to get out of other family obligations), my daughter puked all over EVERYONE in the bed.  So, I watched Oscar in a very stop and go fashion.  I did get to semi-live tweet, which was nice, but I'm bone tired (since the puking didn't stop until about 3AM).

I also missed the entire red carpet, which I never do.  Like, I hate those E! people, but I always spend Oscar Sunday with a lot of beer and my comfy pants while I ogle all the pretty dresses.

Don't judge me.

So, this morning I was honestly going to just list the winners and then go back to bed, but I'm up and I really spent all season fleshing this shit out to the point that I'd almost feel like Richard Linklater if I went all '12 Months a Blogger' only to crash on the big night and give you nothing.

So here it goes:

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Final 'to the wire' Oscar WINNER Predictions!


Alright, so the realization that I'm not going to be able to watch The Oscars live tonight due to family obligations is starting to set in and make me rather...irritated, but whatever.  I've been holding off on posting my final winners predictions because I really needed to mull this stuff over.  As you guys are all aware, I've kept pretty close track on the way that the awards all season have played out on my Awards Tally Page, and so it's time to see if this has paid off at all.

So let's look at each category and see what the crystal ball has to say.

Open letter to Xavier Dolan...


Dear Xavier Dolan,

 I’m not quite sure how to do this.  I’ve never written an open letter before and yet, you’re most likely never going to read this so I guess I shouldn’t feel much pressure.  Still, I want to get this out in a way that says exactly what I want it to say, and so I’m feeling the pressure.  In dedicating this week in your honor, I’ve come to realize something.  Whether it’s the way you work with your actors, the way you frame your scenes, the way you select and incorporate your music or the way you flesh out every single character, you make movies that I want to see.

 No, you make movies that I NEED to see.

 As a cinephile, I’ve seen a lot of movies.  I’ve explored many different actors and directors and their filmographies and I’ve become attached to lots of different works, careers even.  There is something special about the way you make movies, something special about the attachment I have to your work.  This may sound hyperbolic, but you are my favorite thing about modern cinema, and there’s a very specific reason for this.

 History has taught us that certain names will become legend.  We will think of film and we will think of their names.  Charlie Chaplin, Martin Scorsese, Alfred Hitchcock, Jean-Luc Godard, Woody Allen, Terrence Malick; these are names that are synonymous with film, and I feel like you are among those greats.  The reason that those names, those directors, are legendary is because they did something that no one else was doing at the time.  They ushered in a new era of filmmaking.  Whether they were genre specific or universal in their scope, they fathered, birthed, a new idea of what film was.  They changed filmmaking as a whole, and because of their influence we have so many brilliant directors who have taken their lead and carried it further.

 This is what you are doing, and this is why you’ll be remembered.

 From your very first film, it was obvious that you had talent, but what was even more apparent was that you had a distinct vision, and that is something that separates you from the pack.  Vision, I feel, is the most important quality to discuss when looking at directors.  We can love films for many different reasons, but there is a very specific reason why someone like Ron Howard or sadly even Ridley Scott (what happened to him?) will never be ‘remembered’ in the same light as some of their contemporaries; they don’t really possess vision.  Yes, they can make a great film, and they can exhibit great directorial style (Scott, in particular, has had tremendous success with Science Fiction), but at the end of the day they make movies that anyone else could have made.  They don’t inspire as much as they entertain.  Charlie Chaplin; he inspired.  Jean-Luc Godard pretty much created a new breed of French cinema.  I am convinced that you, Xavier Dolan, will be remembered in this light.  Your films are unlike anything else anyone else is making right now.  They are uniquely your own, and they are bound to inspire others to play with your ideas, play with your tones, play with your techniques and, because of you, we are bound to experience some incredible cinema in the years to come.

 And yet, there is another reason that you are going to be remembered so fondly.  Next month you will be 26.  26!  Next month I’m going to be 30.  What you have done, at such a young age (‘I Killed My Mother’ was released when you were only 20) is remarkable.  Charlie Chaplin, despite toiling away for YEARS with short films, didn’t make his name legend until ‘City Lights’, which was released when he was 42.  Scorsese was 31 when he made ‘Mean Streets’, and 38 when ‘Raging Bull’ made him a certified cinematic legend.  Terrence Malick didn’t give the world ‘The Thin Red Line’ until he was 55!  At 26, with 5 films under your belt, you have become possibly the youngest ‘game changer’ to ever grace us with your talents.

 And yet, there’s something else.  I know that this next reason is going to be somewhat personal, but the obvious fact about cinema is that it is personal, and we all have our favorites because of those personal reasons.  You see, Xavier, you are a director who gets me as a movie lover.  I absorb your films into my skin, into my soul.  I walk away from them changed, the themes you present stirring in the pit of me.  I don't know you, and yet I know you.  You don't know me and yet you know me.  That's the power of film; the power of your film.

 I feel as though you’re my spirit animal.

 Watching your talent grow and mature with each passing film is such a remarkably rewarding experience.  From your bursting potential in ‘I Killed My Mother’ to your absolutely perfect balance of themes and vision in ‘Mommy’, your career is the most passionate, exciting and inspiring of any of today’s working directors.

 And for this, and every other reason I’ve highlighted this week, I thank you.  From the bottom of my ‘movie loving’ soul, I thank you.

                                                                                                                   Sincerely,
                                                                                                     Andrew ‘Fisti’ Ellington

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Top Ten Characters Created by Xavier Dolan...


So, in exploring the works of Xavier Dolan this week, we come to the obligatory Top Ten post.  Since he’s only made five films, we obviously can’t do a Top Ten Films, but that’s ok because there is something a little more specific I want to talk about today.  One aspect of Dolan’s films that strikes me with such intensity is his ability to create such beautifully authentic characters.  His films are embodied by richly textured characters that create such a well-rounded study of human interaction.  It doesn’t hurt that he has coaxed some remarkable performances out of his actors, but this list is less a look at the best performances and more a look at the best characters.

In many respects, it could also serve as my list of favorite performances, especially as we reach the Top Five (and pretty much in that order as well), but this isn’t about that.  This is about the remarkable characters that, on paper, Xavier created, and on the screen, he directed.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The art of cinematic musicality...



Continuing with our Dolan Appreciation Week, we're going to discuss music in film for a moment.  A lot of directors have been known to use music as an emotional medium within the fabric of their storytelling, and Dolan is one of them.  Wes Anderson and Sofia Coppola are two that come to mind almost immediately.  It's only natural to want to use music in a way that evokes passion and the intended emotional response to a particular moment, because music is a very passion inducing art form.  Music, maybe even more so than any other artistic medium, reaches to the pit of a person.  It's a guttural response, and nearly always immediate.  A song can instantly take us somewhere, bringing such rich nostalgic memories.  A song can make, break or completely create a mood within our souls.

For me, Dolan is probably the best filmmaker working today to incorporate this aspect of filmmaking into his work.  He understands how to connect a song to a moment and make it mean something so much more than the stroke of obvious.  He can frame a moment with the right song, and the way he allows those songs to linger, to complete, to drape an entire scene is magical.

It's no surprise that he has recently directed a music video (I'm surprised that this is his only one).  It's a stunning composition of using the elements of the song itself to coat the imagery in every frame.


College Boy by Indochine

So, I wanted to highlight a scene per film that spoke to his incredible ability to use music in a powerful and progressive (in regards to storytelling) way.  I was fortunate, almost, that I could actually find four of the specific scenes I wanted to.  Unfortunately, with 'Mommy' being so new, there are VERY few clips available online, but it possibly works out for the best since the three scenes in particular that I wanted to use (because they are the most powerful) are incredibly 'spoilerish'...so this will do. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A visual review of the works of Xavier Dolan...


It's time for another batch of Visual Reviews, and since this is Dolan Appreciation Week, there really is no better place to start!

For those unaware of what my Visual Reviews are, this is where I take a director's entire filmography and choose five images or gifs from each film to describe the film.  If you click the link above you'll see directors like Fincher, Campion and Anderson getting the full treatment.  Now, it's Dolan's turn.

Dolan is an extremely expressive filmmaker, and really those are the best kinds of directors to feature in this manner, because there are so many visual blessings in their films.  Narrowing these images down was brutal, but here we go:

Thursday Movie Picks: Oscar Winning Movies


It's another Thursday, and so that means it's time for Wandering Through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks!  This weeks theme was a very open one with so many options that I almost felt like I needed to give it a theme on top of a theme to shrink my pool a little bit or give these some connective tissue.  So, here's what I came up with.

The theme of the week is:

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

"We still love each other, right?"


Being a parent sucks.

I don’t even know if there are words that can fully explain all the ‘meanings’ in that statement I just made, but really, it truly sucks.  It’s the hardest, most heartbreaking, completely emotionally obliterating thing that anyone can go through, but the biggest reason it sucks is the fact that you asked for it.  You wake up every single day asking for more because the moment those kids are no longer in your life is the moment you just…die.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

10 Directors who Love Actresses


So, let's just call this my Valentine's Day post...

The subject of misogyny seems to be brought up a lot, especially since the Oscar nominations announcement, and the debate is out regarding fair treatment of actresses (with regards to getting good parts) in Hollywood, but in respect and honor of our week’s honoree (Xavier Dolan), I wanted to focus on directors who love their actresses.  The thing is, while there aren’t a huge majority of them, there are directors (extremely talented ones) who focus their strengths primarily in female driven films, stories about women, about their struggles and triumphs, and do so with a great sense of finesse, vision and intention. 

So, today, let’s talk about the directors that every actress should be dying to work with.

I couldn’t decide if I wanted to make this a list of ten or a list of five.  I came up with a tentative list of 11, which could have been chopped down to 10, but I almost wanted to remove the women from the list, namely because I wanted to highlight men who prefer to tell women’s stories, but then that left me with only 8 and so I started overthinking things and then I just said, forget it…let’s do 11!

Monday, February 16, 2015

I love the way you hurt me…


There are a lot of directors who try and replicate the great tension building aspects of legendary master Alfred Hitchcock.  In fact, Hitchcock’s name has become synonymous with the thriller genre, and his knack for building said tension and creating such moody atmosphere and capitalizing on key moments has made many a director restless in their attempt to capture just a mere essence of his mastery.  Many have tried, many have failed, but every once in a while a film comes out that feels truly Hitchcockian, like a film the master himself would have made had he had the time, money and lack of censorship restraints.

‘Tom at the Farm’ is that kind of movie.

Xavier Dolan has made a real name for himself exploring the relationships between mothers and sons and the plight of the misunderstood gay man, and he fuses those two together in this rapturous thriller adapted from Michel Marc Bouchard’s stage play.  What he does here though, is make this film about so much more without making it ‘feel’ like it’s about too much.  The explorations of grief, universally felt, and the decline into reckless and even obsessive abandon is so brilliantly fitted into the fabric of the film itself that the audience is almost blindsided by their existence.  Dolan has been accused of being melodramatic and too obvious in his progression of points, but here Dolan shows a very mature and very unique side to his filmmaking ability.  Nothing is forced, nothing is pushed too hard.  He shows incredible restraint in his dissection of themes, allowing everything ‘unsaid’ to do most of the talking.

While not a perfect movie, ‘Tom at the Farm’ shows Dolan’s incredible range as a director, and I hope that he pushes himself to explore, and perfect, this genre in the future.

A Fistful of Thoughts...about birds, happy people, idiots, "winners" and getting spanked!


It's Monday, and so far I'm keeping this up, so yay for me, right?  Anyways, this is a fun one.  Some great links for you guys today (assumed great, since I haven't read them yet) and some pretty great subjects to ponder.

Today also starts a special week here at A Fistful of Films...a week we're calling Dolan Appreciation Week.  Starting this afternoon, we're going to have a series of posts (spread out from today through Friday) that are in honor of Xavier Dolan's incredible talent.  No, he's not featured in today's Fistful of Thoughts, but that's merely because I'm saving all Dolan talk to...well...exclusive Dolan talk.

So be on the lookout for all that goodness.

Moving on...

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Vengeance is mine…


When you practically open your film with a homeless man stabbing another man in the face in a public restroom, you pretty much set yourself up for one of those expected crazy horror-type movies, and so within the first twenty minutes or so of ‘Blue Ruin’ I was, wholly, anticipating some sort of Rob Zombie, homeless man on a rampage, blood soaked yet entirely forgettable and pointless lesson on gore and how to coat every frame with it.

Yeah, ‘Blue Ruin’ is not that kind of movie.

That isn’t to say that ‘Blue Ruin’ isn’t a terrifying film, but it is a smart kind of terrifying, a film that understands the strength of subtlety, and despite a pretty abrasive and blunt opening (like, that bathroom scene is remarkably intense), it shows so much restraint in the building of each moment that the bigger moments truly explode with impact.  This is one of those films that makes good on the slow burn, allowing us to soak in the anticipation of the inevitable and then, it just takes your breath away.

Monday, February 9, 2015

A Fistful of Thoughts...about blonde bombshells, blowjobs, "winning" and consequences!


So, I'm thinking about trying to make this a Monday thing, but we'll see how long that lasts for.  I almost skipped today based on the fact that it literally took me two hours to piece together my BAFTA post, and I was tired (and had so many other things to do, which I'm putting off again for this), but whatever...let's just ignore the screaming children, lunch, work and whatever else is supposed to be happening right now.

Let's talk about blowjobs!

My live tweeted BAFTA thoughts...


So, last night I was babysitting duty while the wife and girls went to a party, so I decided to educate the boy on things that men do in this house...watch Awards Shows.  Yup, no football here (although I did admit to watching the Super Bowl last week), it's straight up celebrities and red carpets and awkward speeches!

I think he enjoyed himself.  Luckily for him, he fell asleep before Eddie Redmayne gushed all over the podium.  

So, I also decided to completely live-tweet, since I had no real distractions, which was...not as fun as I thought it was going to be.  But, regardless, I figured I'd use all my tweets as my BAFTA post, since they pretty much sum up my thoughts.

So...here we go:

Friday, February 6, 2015

You’re gonna hear me squawk…


When I was in fifth grade, I won the lead in our school’s production of ‘The Life of Johann Sebastian Bach’.  I was a young kid who felt somewhat like an outcast, who didn’t really have many friends and didn’t really fit in anywhere.  I hated sports, I was mostly picked on by the jocks, the few friends that carried over with me from Grade School had found other pockets of peers to sit with at lunch and I mostly stayed to myself.  I didn’t really know that I could sing (it was a musical) or that I could act until we were brought it for tryouts (it was pretty much mandatory that everyone in my grade go and read the same lines and sing the same song).  I read my lines, I sang my song, and then I went back to class.  Then, two weeks later, I was sat down in front of the whole grade and handed a script and told that I had the part of Bach.

WTF.

The whole process was new to me, but it was exciting.  It was electric.  I learned my part and every other part in the entire play.  I became sort of this celebrity in the school, especially after rehersals started, because I just went for it.  Even the jocks, the same kids who used to kick me at recess, steal my books and call me names, were inviting me to sit with them at lunch.  The coolest kid in school’s girlfriend, who played my wife in the play, even gave me a kiss during rehursel’s even though it wasn’t part of the script.  The big night, which was strategically placed on the last day of school, went incredibly.  I got a standing ovation (which, like, was going to happen even if I sucked because it was school and parents do that kind of stuff) and after the curtain dropped every other kid in the play came over to tell me how incredible I did and how awesome the whole thing was.

Then I woke up the next morning, the debris of my life as an actor floating into thin air, and I went on with the life I had before I became famous, because with Bach in the past (recent, but still past), I was now back to being me, which was a nobody.

The origin of nothing and how nothing got here…


Brit Marling is one of those new cinematic talents that I’ve actively tried to campaign.  Her story is so inspiring and her talent in front and behind the camera is very obvious and varied, which is nice.  She basically got tired of being offered stock roles because of her appearance and decided to take her career into her own hands, writing and producing her own films.  Those films, ‘Another Earth’, ‘Sound of My Voice’ and ‘The East’ are all very good, very different and pretty inspired works.  She has this knack for developing interesting stories and characters and bringing them to life on screen. 

‘I Origins’ reteams her with her ‘Another Earth’ director, Mike Cahill.  Because of this, I was excited, for ‘Another Earth’ is still my favorite Marling film, and the idea of the two of them reteaming for another dose of science fiction felt fresh and exciting.

I didn’t realize that Brit Marling didn’t write or produce this film, so maybe that’s why it’s so awful.

Dear America…


I’m white. 

As a white male, I know that I have privilege in this country that others don’t, and I know that I don’t carry over my shoulder a legacy of oppression and a stigma of stereotype, at least not an overtly harmful one.  I don’t walk into a place of business and get racially profiled (at least not by the majority) and my skin color or gender will not hinder me from the things in life that I want to attain or achieve.  I also know that I am judged, due to the color of my skin, by those of a darker complexion, and I do know that, while racism still exists (I mean, you cannot deny that), prejudice also exists, and that knows no color.  I know that not all white people are evil, and I know that not all black people are ‘part of the solution’.  I know that white man does not save the black man (stop white washing history, Hollywood), and I know that not all white people are entirely ignorant.

Not everything is black and white.

So, despite the reviews and obvious critical attention, I was weary of ‘Dear White People’.  The reason for this was that I was not in the mood to sit through nearly two hours of being told that I was ‘the problem’. 

Much like Gillian Robespierre’s smart look at another controversial subject, abortion (and yes, I’m talking about ‘Obvious Child’), I thank the heavens that Justin Simien’s eventual observations are intelligent and balanced.  The exploration of race relations is so clever and smart, that despite some glaring flaws, this biting satire actually says something truly profound about a subject that we see continually regurgitated on screen.

The fog lifts, often too late…


History is not my best subject.  I hated it in school.  In fact, I got in trouble a lot for goofing off and making fun of history.  It was also so stuffy and boring and just uninteresting to me.  As I’ve gotten older, and now that I have children (who I also home school), history has come back to haunt me.  It has become this thorn in my side, as I attempt to try and teach something I’m having to learn myself.

Pay attention in school kids!

Anyways, there is some history that we aren’t taught, sadly, and in films like ‘The Retrieval’, we are given a chance to learn something we may have completely taken for granted.  Slavery isn’t an unfamiliar subject, not in the least, and film tends to attempt to depict it in various forms time after time, but some aspects of slavery, the grittier, more awful aspects, are often avoided.  Most films on the subject focus on the liberation of slavery; the eventual abolishment or the fight for freedom, but rarely does a film dwell within the realm of slavery and stay there.

In Chris Eska’s ‘The Retrieval’, there is no liberation, there is no light at the end of the tunnel, there is just that looming feeling of inevitable injustice.

Love isn’t all that strange, when you think about it…


The beauty of a film like ‘Love is Strange’ is that it says so much without appearing to say a whole lot.  I know that that sounds, off the bat, like a criticism of sorts, but it really isn’t.  This is a film that rests very easy, never forcing any of the film’s narrative themes, but gently coaxing from them so much depth that we don’t even realize what it is we are taking in, but we are taking it in.  While our focal point is centered on the unfair situation that newlyweds Ben and George find themselves in, so many little, subtle things are floating around the surface and popping up for our interpretation and contemplation.

Prejudice, aging, respect, infidelity, economy, grief; all of these things are explored in subtle ways, sometimes in just a passing comment, but are fully represented when considering the context.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Thursday Movie Picks: Romantic Comedies


It's February, which means that we've already had a full month of Wandering Through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks!  This has been so much fun, and I'm looking forward to playing along for another month.  In case you missed them, here are the previous themes and my corresponding posts:


And so, now we move on into January with a pretty popular film genre...

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A film to kill…a film director or two, an entire cast and all the crew over!


You ever watch a movie that makes you question other decisions or even other opinions you may personally have felt justified or validated over time?  You ever stare into the soul of your television screen and ask yourself, “is all I thought it was really not what it is at all?” 

Despite the above paragraph sounding like the ponderings of a profound, intelligent and poignant cinematic experience, they aren’t.  They are the ponderings of a grown man confused that his twenty-something self actually defended a film that, judging from this awful sequel, probably sucked pretty hard.  I haven’t seen ‘Sin City’ in years (like, not since 2005), but my recollection of it was that it was inspired, entertaining and fresh filmmaking, with an engaging story and a cast of memorable characters and nicely done performances.  Like, wasn’t Rourke up for Oscar consideration for it?  But, ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’ is so incredibly AWFUL that I’m second guessing any positive thoughts I ever had for the original.

Help me; was the first one good or have I just grown up?

There are two sides to every story…


Watching ‘The Double’ was a very strange and conflicting experience for me.  I found myself trying desperately to like what I was watching, but the more I saw the more confused and detached I found myself, and confused and detached are never feelings I want to have while watching a film.  Comparing this to the borderline masterpiece that is ‘Enemy’ was also hard not to do, considering the obvious similarity in central plot point, and yet the two are so vastly different that it almost felt a shame to be making any kind of comparison.


Regardless, my feelings for this film can pretty much be summed up in the tweet I ‘tweeted’ mere minutes after starting the film:



 To some, this will probably sound like a great thing, but for me, it left me unfulfilled.  Cronenberg is not a director that I always respond to.  In fact, I rarely respond to him, and the 90’s film in particular that I got serious vibes for was ‘Naked Lunch’, which is a messy, messy film.  This film’s tone is so deadpan that it feels stagnant, and it tries (I mean, really…so many ‘let’s laugh at the fact that he didn’t get what he ordered’ moments) to emulate comedic cleverness in a way that feels fresh, but it fails.  It’s like David Cronenberg found a long lost Billy Wilder script and said, “I can do this”, but he can’t.

To Kill a Mockingbird; Part Two?!?!?!


I was going to save this for A Fistful of Thoughts on Monday, but, like, OMG!  This news, that Harper Lee (who famously wrote one of the most important novels of all time and then, well, disappeared) is releasing a sequel to her famed novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, was just too incredible not to discuss now.  Apparently this was originally written BEFORE she wrote To Kill a Mockingbird, but under the influence of her publisher, she developed a novel based on the flashbacks incorporated in her book; Go Set a Watchman.  After the success of To Kill a Mockingbird, she became basically a recluse, but reportedly she recently found her original manuscript for Go Set a Watchman and is now going to release it...50+ years after publishing her first and only novel!  I'm so excited for this, but weary as well.  Lee is 88.  Why in the world come out of hiding now and release something that you really don't need to release and have never cared to release prior to this?  I mean, Lee has been adamant about remaining silent, refusing to talk to reporters and even publicly denouncing a biography made by someone she claims duped her and her sister.

And then there is this:

Some critics and observers were skeptical of Ms. Lee’s role in approving the deal. All of Harper’s communication with Ms. Lee about the new book came through her lawyer, Ms. Carter, and her literary agent, Andrew Nurnberg, including the statement she gave expressing her delight that the novel would finally be published, according to Jonathan Burnham, senior vice president and publisher of Harper. “We talked to her through her lawyer and friend Tonja Carter,” Mr. Burnham said, adding that he was “completely confident” that Ms. Lee understood and approved of the deal and that speaking directly with Ms. Lee “wasn’t necessary.”

I'm wondering if this is the case of a poor old woman being manipulated by strong voices who want to profit off of her name, but regardless, I can't wait to read this.

Like, I want this NOW, but apparently I'm going to have to wait until July.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Fisti Awards Page


So, you may have noticed that the Fisti Awards Pages are gone, and that's because, as I mentioned a few months ago, I'm cleaning these up a bit.  As awards were added to each page, the pages felt cluttered and hard to get through, and I wanted each film year completed to be easily accessible.  So, this post is going to serve as the base page where all links to posted years are going to be found.  After the Oscars (Feb. 22), I'll start posting each completed year and, as new years are completed, they'll get posted as well, with links attached to this page.  You'll be able to get to this page anytime you like by clicking on the image on the right side of the blog.



1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924
1925, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929


1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934,
1935, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939


1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944
1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949


1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954
1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959


1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964
1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969


1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974
1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979


1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984
1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989


1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994,
1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999


2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004,
2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009


2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Fistful of Thoughts...about people that kill people, people that kill animals, people that fuck animals and George Clooney!


So, first of all, I did watch the Super Bowl yesterday.  I don't care much about sports, not even like a little, but I was in a room full of really devout Seahawks fans and I grew up in New England so, for the evening, I was a hardcore Patriots fan, and that last interception to win the game was, in a word, magical.

And then I got to do this:


I'm pretty sure my friends won't be talking to me for a few days.