Wednesday, March 30, 2016

100 reasons why Mommy is my favorite film of all time: Part X

After discussing reasons 1-10, 11-20, 21-30, 31-40, 41-50, 51-60, 61-70, 71-80 & 81-90, we have finally come to the end of this discussion, the final ten reasons (and by final, I mean the final in this very limited list, since there are many, many more reasons I couldn't fit into these posts).

Monday, March 21, 2016

100 reasons why Mommy is my favorite film of all time; Part I

I spent toughly 12 hours watching Mommy in preparation for this post, and I still don't feel prepared.  By 12 hours, I don't mean that I watched the film 5-6 times...I mean that I spent 12 hours watching it through ONCE, continually pausing, noting and crying...sometimes all at the same time.  With the goal of zeroing in on 100 things about this movie that makes it perfect, I found rather quickly that I was going to have to edit myself A LOT to make this work.  By the time I had finished, I had jotted down 173 moments of note, and a few hours later I starting thinking of others.

But I told myself...I will limit myself to 100.

Now, when I posted my 100 Favorite Films list, it was suggested that I break the list up into smaller posts so that it wasn't so jarring to read, so that is what I'm doing here.  I'm presenting my list in ten posts of ten reasons each.

So, in chronological order; here are the first 10 reasons why Mommy is my favorite movie of all time!

[NOTE:  There are MAJOR spoilers below]

Major Blog News

Alright, so I know that most of you are aware that my blog disappeared last weekend.  It was deleted, as well as my Twitter account.  Many of you were worried and some of you were very kind enough to reach out to me and to ask how I was, to make sure I was alright.  I'm ok.  I'm not great, but I'm ok.  I deleted my blog in a very rash decision to distance myself from it for personal reasons I don't want to really get into, but it ate at me because it felt so...abrupt and I didn't want to go out like that.

Here's the thing...I don't know if I want to do this anymore.

I've had some really alarming personal events take place over the past week, and I'm not sure when things are going to normalize for me...and until they do...I just can't do this.  I love blogging and I love this blogging community, but I have other things that are, at the moment (and really, in every moment) just more important.  

Still, leaving as I did, without a trace...just gone...felt wrong too.

I want to personally thank a few bloggers who truly showed their true colors (in the best way) to me this week, so Josh, Kevin, Mario, Britt, Stephanie, Joel, Mariah and Shane; thank you for caring and asking me how I was doing.

And Sati, I want to especially thank you.  Your email was so sincere and really touched me, and your RF piece was very sweet.  It is because of you that I decide to boot this back up and address this.

So, what's happening?  Well, I'm leaving you for now,  but I wanted to leave you properly and so I had worked up a special collection of posts about a very special movie to me, and it felt a shame to just not post it...and it also felt like the perfect way to say goodbye to you all.  So, immediately after this is posted, those posts will go live.  (for a link to the whole series of posts, click here)  After that, I'll bid you adieu.  I'm going off the grid for a while.  I don't know if I'll come back, or to what extent I will.  I will leave the blog alive and I hope you all keep me on your blog rolls for if and when I post something (most likely a Fisti Awards or something like that), but this is my somewhat farewell to the blogging world.  

Know that I love you all, and I will miss you very much.  

Friday, March 18, 2016

$110 round trip flights to Chicago...anyone interested?

I’m  not even sure how to phrase any of this because I’m still not even sure what I’ve seen here, but what I do know is that this was a complete mess, and  by ‘mess’ I mean M-E-S-S.  Reviewing something like this is causing me all sorts of grief because there is nothing I can say to make any sort of sense out of this convoluted exploitation film.  It’s tacky, it’s offensive, it’s abrasive, it’s vulgar, it’s stupid…there are few things that this movie isn’t.

Oh, yeah, it isn’t genuine.

I’ll try and get to some sort of review in a minute, but I felt like the best way to do this may be to take you through a play by play of how I was feeling while watching this movie.  Like I said, I blame Mario for this.  He had to write a review that made me…anxious to watch this hot mess?  And then he pressured me into doing it immediately.  No, for real.  Like, he literally pressured me into stopping everything I was doing and sitting on the couch immediately to watch this mess of a film; and I did.

And I tweeted him the entire time.*

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Thursday Movie Picks: Intersecting Stories

It's Thursday, so it's time for another Thursday Movie Picks!  I love this theme because there was a time when tapestry films (films with intersecting storylines) was all the rage.  There were so many of them and I remember being enamored with quite a few of them.  That whole concept of how a butterflies wings can cause a ripple in life for so many around it is the concept that drives these films to expose how one person can affect another who can affect another and before you know it, we're all effected. 

So, with hundreds of films to chose from, here's what I've got!

Short Cuts (Robert Altman, 1993)
Robert Altman has a knack for developing interesting stories surrounding many, many characters, but Short Cuts is a prime example of intersecting lives that don't belong together.  These aren't a slew of people in one house but these are people from all over town drawn together by various circumstances, some slight, some severe.  The whole ensemble is, easily, one of the greatest of all time and the way that Altman was able to take this collection of short stories and make them feel unified and cohesive was astounding. 

Go (Doug Liman, 1999)
No lie, I saw Go for the sole reason that I was young, I was in love with Katie Holmes and I took the risk that she'd show her tits.  She doesn't, but that minor loss (which was rectified in The Gift the following year) was made up for by the fact that this hilariously insane drug fueled romp was so incredibly entertaining I couldn't take my eyes off of it.  It's high energy from start to finish and it deserves more of a cult following than I think it has.

Amores Perros (Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu, 2000)
The term 'misery porn' was created for filmmakers like Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu, and for films like Amores Perros.  The film is the epitome of miserable, but done with such gritty honesty.  These three intersecting stories that are pretty much told as three separate stories, each nearly picking up where the other left off (and all connected through a car crash) is as brutal as they come (and be forewarned animal lovers, the dog fight scenes are extremely realistic) but it lingers so strongly because of it.  What an incredible debut that set a precedent for what was yet to come.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Sometimes there are no easy answers; other times there are no answers at all…

There is nothing easy about Beasts of No Nation.  It’s a gut punch from start to finish with no apologies and no answers.  It just moves, at times rather aimlessly, from frame to frame without much of a narrative place to go, and when everyone comes to an end, somewhat abruptly, we feel as though we’ve learned nothing.  Why?  We continue to ask ourselves, “Why?” and yet that question goes unanswered because, in all honesty, there is no answer.  Cary Joji Fukunaga understood that.  He understood that trying to comprehend, reason and answer the questions raised by the atrocities spilling all over the place within this tragic story would defy the reality of the ‘truth’.

We learn nothing because there is nothing to learn.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Now you see me, now you…

When I saw the preview for Ant-Man, my initial thought was, “Why?”.  It just looked so…silly.  Ant-Man, to me, looked like a story that was better suited for the CW, a story that could be better told as a teen-centered television series or, possibly more accurately, as a kid’s Saturday Morning Cartoon.  So, I avoided it.  Some bloggers saw it and loved it or at least really liked it and yet I couldn’t bring myself to care enough to shell out the money to see it on the big screen.

But I have kids and to them this looked amazing and we found ourselves snuggled in the bed (well, they were in the bed with my wife while I sat…on the floor) watching this as a family.

It was pretty cool.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Thursday Movie Picks: Movies Narrated by Narrators That Do Not Appear on Screen

It's Thursday, and it's time for another edition of Thursday Movie Picks.  This week we're talking about films that are narrated by narrators who never appear in the movie.  Yeah, this was a difficult one.  My first inclination was Stand By Me, which is beautifully narrated, but even though we never see Richard Dreyfuss, he voices adult Gordie, played by Wil Wheaton in the film and so he's technically 'on screen'.

So I had to dig deeper and think harder and then I got stumped and then I saw a magical little movie that, thank heavens, had off-screen narration!

So now I have three.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

I was 22 when it happened to me.  It was so weird to have it played back for me so clearly while watching Carol the other night.  It was like this film was taunting me because it knew.  It played it all out in the most identical of ways.  I was staring at Therese staring at Carol and I saw myself, I saw him, I saw his sleeping body and his hands and his mouth and I saw myself falling in love and it made my stomach drop because I hadn’t seen that moment in years.  I had almost forgotten that moment (forcibly, to be honest) because of all that came afterwards, but there it was, in my living room, staring me in the face.  I felt a shiver and I literally looked around to make sure that my wife was still sleeping because it felt like something I didn’t want her to see.

I wanted it to still be mine.

Sometimes life is hard.  Scratch that; all the time life is hard.  That isn’t meant to be some sort of gloomy statement, I promise, but it is a reality.  We live out our days and we try our hardest to reach some sort of happy center and yet there always seems to be something pulling us in another direction. 

Most of the time, it is ourselves.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Tuesday Tunes Tastings

Alright, so this was a mixed week.  I discovered a new talent who has literally taken my breath away, and I was able to indulge in a surprise album from one of the most profound artists working today, but it was also a week where one of my musical idols delivered sub par work, so I'm a little bummed about that.

Alas, here are the six albums I was album to listen to Friday!

Monday, March 7, 2016

It's time to clean up our zoo...

Upon leaving the theater over this past weekend, my eight-year-old daughter pipes up from the backseat and says to me, “I don’t ever want to be like that.”  There was no context given her statement, and it appeared almost out of the blue, since she had been singing along to Demi Lovato for about twenty minutes and we had not been conversing about anything, but I knew what she meant.  From that simple statement, short and sweet, we were able to build a conversation that I’m sure will be one of those long remembered life lessons.
And once again, I have Disney to thank for this.

Prejudice is something that, unfortunately, still exists.  Thankfully, my children have been spared most of this.  We have a very diverse family.  My children have relatives and friends of many different colors, shapes and orientations and there is a unifying love that transcends all of that.  Case in point; recently my daughter overheard someone refer to her cousin as ‘black’ and she literally said to me, “what’s that?”  Children, if preserved as God gave them to us, see no color.  They see no differences.  We are all the same, and deserve to be regarded as such.

Sadly, this world won’t let us preserve them. 

A Fistful of Thoughts...about Twitter meltdowns, blacker-face and free shoes for everyone!

OMG, this week!  The controversy!  The ranting!  The blasting!  The...laughter!

Friday, March 4, 2016

God called, he wants his power back…

You know that moment when you’re staring into the eyes of someone you love and trust and realize for the first time that they’re not who you want them to be?  Have you had one of those moments?  It’s unnerving.  It’s hard to stomach because it unravels quite rapidly in your mind and everything starts spinning and it really does happen like it does in the movies; with tiny flashbacks and rapid recalculations of countless conversations and ‘moments’.  If you’ve ever been in that kind of a situation, then you’ll understand where I’m going with this.

Ex Machina sees us for who we are, and it’s not pretty.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Thursday Movie Picks: Storms/Adverse Weather

Ah, the ocean.  This is what I'm going to talk about today, this humble Thursday morning, for our Thursday Movie Picks.  The theme was storms or adverse weather and my first thought was one that spawned a cluster of films about the tragic beauty of water.

The ocean is a beautiful thing.  In fact, there are few things as visually impressive as the breadth of the ocean.  There are also few things as emotionally captivating as the ocean for the sheer fact that it is as dangerous as it is beautiful.

In fact, it's terrifying.

White Squall (Ridley Scott, 1996)
More people should see this movie.  I'm really shocked it doesn't have a better reputation.  Ridley Scott, back in the 90's, when he was producing movies everyone loved.  Jeff Bridges, in the 90's, when he was hitting home runs left and right.  This is like Dead Poet's Society: The Disaster Movie, and it's so honest and well crafted and just emotionally solid, start to finish. 

The Perfect Storm (Wolfgang Peterson, 2000)
I remember seeing this in the theater with my mother and the two of us losing our breath during the final moments as all was lost (and we knew it) and we couldn't help but be completely overtaken by the finality of it all.  Great cast, spellbinding effects, emotionally gripping; another film more people should remember. 

The Impossible (J.A. Bayona, 2012)
Everyone loved to hate this film, but I personally didn't care.  "F*ck You, I'm Crying" became my go to rebuttal to the hate, and cry I did...over and over and over and over again.  UGH!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Tomorrow is kind of dull…

I’ve made no secret that I’m a tad Disney obsessed.  Being a parent will do that to you.  Well, it can do that to you.  Being a parent usually either makes you Disney repulsed or obsessed, and I decided a long time ago to just embrace it and run with it.  I think my love of movies makes that easier to do.  With that said, Tomorrowland was one of the films from last year that interested me the most.  I have to weigh these kid’s movies right, because I’m bound to see a slew of them over the course of the year and I want to pick the right ones to invest my time and money into, and Tomorrowland just seemed like a no-brainer.

Disney; check.  Interesting premise; check.  Charismatic star; check.  Nostalgic ode to the Disney of yesteryear; check.

Sadly, those checks couldn’t make this movie work.