Friday, April 18, 2014

Awful Reviews.

Okay, so my TCMFF post is coming soon. It's gonna be like 85,000 words long, so prepare your minds and souls.

But, before I finish that magnum opus, I had to post a link to this site that is literally making me laugh uncontrollably. It's called Awful Reviews and it replaces positive critical reviews on movie posters with negative Amazon customer reviews. And, it is literally the most ridiculous, but strangely brilliantly funny thing I have ever seen.

No Maryland Monroe. I'm literally choking over here.

Stay tuned for my complete coverage of the TCMFF, meeting the Nonfleshies (they were mediocre at best [just kidding! ten out of ten would recommend]), creating nicknames for Ben Mankiewicz, and hanging out with Anna Kendrick in the bathroom at the El Capitan.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Nonfleshies: Together at Last

So, I am ridiculously excited, because today is the day in which I get to meet my beloved Kate, Sarah, Nicola, and Auntie Casey (links on the sidebar). We're in the midst of our five year meet up--literally planned  when I was fifteen. Crazy talk. Anyway, we're going to the TCM film festival together and it's gonna be perfect and I almost want to cry. Part of that is because I've been awake for basically the last five days. Part of that is because I get too excited about things and booked the first flight of the morning from Seattle to LAX (everyone else is arriving on reasonable flights in like eighteen hours). Part of that is because I watched an episode of Elementary on the airplane and Jonny Lee Miller's sad faces are the most devastating things ever. And part of it is because these people are some of favorite people ever and I can't wait to meet them and even possibly let them hug me, even though I hate hugs.

Of course, they might just be insufferable jerks. Time will tell. ;-D


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ah, the teenage years...

Hello, my lovelies. It has been awhile. I've been insanely busy with school and work. I haven't even had time to talk to myself. Honestly.

Anyway, I just felt that in the midst of all this--I simply must dash off a post and thank you for being faithful readers and friends. Tomorrow is my twentieth birthday. Far from hoping to prompt you all to wish me a happy birthday (YOU SHOULD THOUGH), I simply felt this would be a prime time to reflect on growing old.

You all have had the immense privilege of viewing me through my teenage years. This blog has been running since I was 14, and before that some of you knew from other sources when I was 13.

The seven years of teenagedom are an odd time. It's going to be quite strange not to identify as a teenager. It's so easy. It lowers expectations greatly. The last few years, I have had to learn that I am no longer a classic film child prodigy (10-year-old me had it so easy. I merely mentioned that I had seen Citizen Kane and I was hailed as a genius. Oh, man. Those were the days for an attention-seeking egotist).

Thank you all for sticking with me through my odd views on life and film. Some of these views have changed; others have not (Gidget Goes Hawaiian is a feat of filmmaking. THAT IS ALL.)

Currently, I am waiting for the grey stripe in my pixie cut to set. It is my last act of teenage rebellion. Is is a reversion to my youth? A clever commentary on age and maturity? Have I always wanted to be the Bride of Frankenstein?

Unlike in the past, I will not leave with an emphatic all-caps answer. This one is for you to consider.

Thanks ever so! 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Monuments Men (2014): Or JEAN! JEAN! JEAN! JEAN!

 *actual poster


Seriously, SPOILERS!

However, if you've seen any movie like this, then you can probably already guess the spoilers.

Anyway, Monuments Men was an average movie. There was literally nothing in it that hasn't been done better in other movies (especially 1960's WWII ensemble films). The plotting was odd and many of the "epic emotional moments" felt unearned--and that's coming from someone who is empathetic towards fictional characters to the point of utter ridiculousness!

{Note: I don't cry when characters cry. I don't get second-hand embarrassment for fictional characters doing stupid things. I have NEVER had my mood effected by characters' moods. LIES. ALL LIES."

Anyway. The one thing this film did have for a person with an irrational dislike for George Clooney and an overall indifference to everyone else on the poster: Jean Dujardin. JEAN. DUJARDIN.

I went to see it with a friend who loves Matt Damon and George Clooney, which is whatever. But, even she came out of the movie saying that Jean was cooler than George (not as cool as Matt apparently--BUT WE'RE WORKING ON IT)!

Jean's introduction is through one of his awful, life-ruining crooked smiles; and, that is also how he dies.

Yes, you read that right. Jean Dujardin dies.

He dies. Because, that's what happens when I watch movies just for the sole purpose of watching a specific actor (RIP every David Janssen character ever).

His death has no purpose and no meaning. If this was The Magnificent Seven, he would be Britt--except Britt at least died doing something. Jean's character was literally invented for this movie and they still killed him off. In a movie where every minor event is turned into EMOTIONAL MOMENT OF THE CENTURY WITH CLEAR POETIC PURPOSE AND MEANING, his death occurs while he's standing around smiling at a horse in the middle of a field somewhere doing something (it's not made clear).

In fact, all of his scenes amount to him standing around smiling and doing something somewhere for some reason. IT'S NOT MADE CLEAR.

I'm calling it Clooney's Revenge.

He's still angry that Jean rightfully won the Oscar instead of him, so he decided to kill him off in his own movie. THAT MAY SEEM OVERWROUGHT AND RIDICULOUS, BUT I AM SURE THAT IT IS TRUE (or Randolph Scott has returned).

To be more concise, Jean Dujardin was lovely and perfect and wonderful and smiling in his three minutes of screen time and ten lines of dialogue (the moment he got to give the farewell toast before the mission, I knew that he was a goner).

Overall, there has been two specific lines of criticism aimed at this movie. One, that it is too old-fashioned (not showing the real tragedy of war) and two, that it elevates art above people.

When I heard that it was "old-fashioned," I was actually excited. I love classic, unrealistic 1960's WWII ensemble movies. I had hopes. Unfortunately, Monuments Men was old-fashioned in the wrong ways. It wasn't enthralling and charismatic enough to off-set faults like the classic movies. Nope, instead it was hilariously "yay America!" in a way that is rarely seen outside of classic war films. The Germans and Russians are both evil caricatures (of course)--to the point of Jaws-like music playing as the Nazis burn paintings. And, the Americans manage to hang a huge American flag to upset the Russians or something. I DON'T KNOW?! Also, every German LOOKS like a Nazi. Except, of course, for the adorable Dimitri Leonidas (actually British)--but, he's just a German-born American.

And, seriously, the Monuments Men who die are the non-Americans. I mean, I kinda thought it was funny when Hugh Bonneville died--just because he's like the only one left alive on Downton Abbey. (Plus, it was obvious from the start that he was going to die. I mean, he was the alcoholic in need of a redemption story.) BUT, I DRAW THE LINE AT KILLING OFF JEAN DUJARDIN.

The other complaint is that it elevates art above people. I can agree in a sense, because the movie is about ART: NO SUBTLETY INVOLVED. But, I also think that the movie made repeated efforts to show the human cost of the war and how it far out-weighed the loss of art. And, the point that culture and art are important is a worthy one.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is don't get too excited and don't rush out to see this. It's disappointing on all levels.

I'm also saying that you should watch is sometime for free (like from the library or something) and enjoy the Dujardin. 

That is all.

Goodbye, children.

I don't know how to end this post.

Be seeing you.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Eydie Gorme.

I wasn't able to post a proper tribute in August when Eydie Gorme died because of all the craziness with school starting, but I really wanted to do something to remember her special kind of brilliance.

She was exhilarating: beautiful, talented, hilarious, and wonderful.

Eydie was quite immense and brilliant as a solo, but, for me, there is nothing better than watching a Steve + Eydie duet or a Steve + Eydie bantering session. So much greatness.

Because yesterday would have been Steve + Eydie's 56th wedding anniversary, I decided to make a video to remember and celebrate their loveliness.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Alfred Hitchcock: Everything at Once

Here is a little video that I made for my mother, but I thought I would share because I LOVE IT. It is Sir Alfred set to Lenka. Every line coincides with the clip you are watching ("As right as a wrong." heh heh).

Note: Because I made it for my mother and therefore didn't really worry about "refining" it necessarily, there are a few parts where the timing is off, etc.


Reel Injun (2009): The real-life impact of false images

Reel Injun (2009) is an intriguing documentary (available for streaming on Netflix) from Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond. It deals with the way Native Americans and First Nations have been portrayed in Hollywood films from silents to today.

The documentary covers the variety of false images that have been presented about Native Americans and First Nations in film (and also the recent insurgence of films from indigenous perspectives). The documentary accomplishes this through film footage, archival footage, and interviews with many people from inside the community (filmmakers, historians, and activists like Russell Means, John Trudell, Charlie Hill, and Sacheen Littlefeather) and outside (Jim Jarmusch and Clint Eastwood).

The film argues that false images create false perceptions--perceptions that are harmful in real life. 

Although in the film lovers community we would probably immediately agree that film totally has power (why else are we all addicted and held at its mercy?!), there are many others who argue that movies and television are simply entertainment and don't seriously impact a person's worldview or behaviour.

Reel Injun and I would both completely disagree with that!

This documentary quite impacted me, because it reminded me of some memories I had rather forgotten (I am an elderly 19).

As a really young child, I loved westerns. Some of my earliest entertainment memories are westerns. I watched them on TV: Bonanza was my absolute favorite show at the age of five. I loved western movies: Roy Rogers was my favorite person ever! I devoured westerns (I didn't help that I was the girl in the middle of four brothers).

See, my parents were pretty strict about movies in one sense (the modern films I was allowed to watch was closely monitored), but also very open (I could watch anything I wanted made from 1935-1950). My mother was concerned about violence, language, and sex, but otherwise--I could watch anything I wanted. This meant that at a young age, I watched a lot of really great classic films (pretentious movie reviews from an 11-year-old, anyway?).

It also meant that I watched millions of westerns.

These are the westerns from the '30s and '40s. The westerns that are discussed in Reel Injun. They almost universally portrayed Native Americans as faceless, nameless hordes of savages (played by white men in red face). At a young age, I was impacted by these films.

Watching the documentary really reminded me. As a 4, 5, 6, and 7 year-old, I was honestly terrified of "Indians." I held them in the same fear and fascination that I treated sharks. I would have nightmares; I was convinced they were living in my woods (therefore, I was scared to go into them alone).

This perception I had came directly from the movies I watched.

Because I was homeschooled, I got to learn a lot of things before I might have in the public school system. If my mother was teaching a history lesson to my older siblings, it was a very likely that I would get to hear it too. So, even at that young age, I was told true stories about Native Americans. I got to learn about colonization, and the Trails of Tears, and other actual events. Even then, I knew about the true story of Pocahontas and not that Disney nonsense (I wasn't allowed to watch it anyway).

But, the information I received about real humans and real cultures did nothing to combat my fear.

Images are that powerful.

Fortunately, as I got a bit older, I was able to clearly identify the real people versus the false images.

But, that isn't always the case for everyone. Not everyone learns that their perception or worldview is wrong. That can be incredibly difficult for people to even recognize.

And, that's not to say that everyone is going to react like a terrified 6-year-old. For many people, it may manifest in a vague dislike or uneasiness. Or maybe it manifests by treating Native Americans and First Nations as a group of "others," instead of distinct human beings. There can even be a seemingly positive "fascination" that still distorts or disrespects or dehumanizes people and cultures.

These are things that result from false representation.

And, it was interesting. I was thinking how I wish I had told my parents about my feelings. It's strange that I didn't. My other big fear at that time was my house burning down. Every night, before I went to bed, I was so worried that my house was going to burn down. I told my parents--and they acted on it. I was always reassured, we had "fire drills," the fire alarm in my room was tested often, I was taken to visit the fire department.

But, I never told my parents how terrified I was of the"Indians" I saw in movies. And, really, what could they have shown me to change my mind? I had been taught true things; it was the films that impacted me though.

And, because of the continued false portrayal or lack-of-portrayal of Native Americans in Hollywood films--there was no pile of movies I could have been shown to counteract the impact of those other movies.

That is why representation--true, not necessarily always positive, but true representation--is so vital for all peoples and cultures.

I know this is sounding rather melodramatic, especially coming from someone who honestly hasn't experienced a lack of representation in films.

But, take it from a terrified-for-no-reason five-year-old, films have a power to impact for good and bad.

I would never advocate for censorship or that movies should only be used to portray positive, happy stories. But, films should seek truth and understanding even in unreality. 


P.S. I know this is a bit of serious post from me (and those aren't usually the best written or most articulate coming from me), but it was something that was impacting me--and I hope I don't sound too awful or crazy. Thanks so much for reading! :-)


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