Tag Archives: Film

october: yellow, anderson and family

I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers”-Anne Shirley

I recently posted my “fall moodboard” which focused on three movies released between 1965-1970. But I realized that that really only applies to September. Returning to school. Air changing. The Breaking Out of the Trench Coat.

October is a different story. Culturally, the beginning changes have already happened (I say culturally because in Georgia is was both 75 and 55 last week). October is aware of its identity as a fall month, while September sometimes attempts to hold on to the last grasps of summer.

In October, my inspiration is Wes Anderson. I am convinced that the man lives in a perpetual October. I actually think there are more yellow/orange skies in Anderson films than blue ones.

I told my brother today that I love the “underrated overrated folks.” My favorite baseball player is Ryan Howard of the Phillies, whose payroll is too high, admittedly, and he strikes out a lot. So people call him overrated, but I think he is wonderful and that calling him overrated looks at only one aspect of his baseball playing skills. He’s also a team leader and a great first baseman.

Another example is John Singer Sargent, my favorite painter. I love the idea that he was marginalized by his peers because he wasn’t on the surface an avant-garde painter. He appeared to be a traditional commissioned portraitist, but later examining of his art, outside the context of the Gilded Age, Sargent reveals a keen knowledge of art history and sardonic awareness of the constructs of high society life.

I feel like Wes Anderson is my “underrated overrated” director. His films are just so quirky that they seem to either be immediately beloved or immediately hated for being so beloved without any qualifications. But I honestly love him, without an ulterior motive to align myself with either the quirky hipster set, or the erudite anti-hipster set, or any set annoyed by any other set. Somehow Rushmore, The Royal Tenebaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve ZissouThe Darjeeling Limited and The Fantastic Mr. Fox are all October for me. So sure of their identities and having an awareness of their place in the world.

One thing about Wes Anderson’s characters that work so well for inspiration is that they all have uniforms. Just in the case of The Royal Tenebaums, Margo has her kohl lined eyes, fur coat, barrettes, and polo dresses, Richie, his tennis sweat bands and suits, and Chaz and his sons have their matching sweat suits.

october: margo tenenbaum

Anderson movies sort of uniforms too. Distant wives/sisters/mothers, over bearing father figures, misunderstood youths. all centering around the family. Anderson prioritizes the family and somehow contradicts the first lines of Madame Bovary by making all of his families unhappy in the same way, where they are disconnected from each other, yet don’t have identities that are not Tenenbaum, Zissou, Whitman or Fox. Maybe I love him because I feel like my largest identity marker is that of my family. A friend in high school once said “Kearneys travel in packs.” And it is so true. My family is very close and very disconnected as the same time. No member of my immediate family is just their familial role to me, there are other layers of that relationship. Though I imagine that it is true is all families. But, like Anderson’s families, we are aware of it.

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In defense of Susan, Summer and Cassie

Or an argument against their characterization as Manic Pixie Dream Girls.

The Manic Pixie Dream Girl is a stock character in film who are usually immature, “girlish” and quirky, who are the spark of life given to shake the (depressed) male lead out of said self-absorbed depression. The female character is static, dull and repetitive and doesn’t have a personality outside of completely the male lead’s fantasy of what a life partner on his journey to self-awareness should be.

I don’t like the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope. Movies with MPDGs (notably Almost Famous and Garden State) severely warped my 15 year old mind concerning what relationships should be like and in the case of Garden State what mental health recovery looks like (see a blog post about this here). It took a while and a good dose of Rosalind Russell, Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep to get me out of idolizing MPDGs and falling in love with self-destructive guys.

But sometimes I feel the MPDG label is applied too liberally by feminist film critics. So I am writing to defend three female characters that have been labelled MPDGs either in formal criticism or just fan ranting. Those characters are Susan Vance, from Bringing up Baby,  Summer, from (500) Days of Summer, and Cassie Ainsworth, from Skins.

Susan Vance as played by Katharine Hepburn in Bringing Up Baby

For those who haven’t seen this movie, here’s a quick recap: David Huxley (Cary Grant) is a paleontologist who has been working for some time assemble a skeleton of a dinosaur, and he has just secured the final bone he needs (the intercostal clavicle) and he is about to get married to a Miss Swallow, who is very uptight. He is also working on his first impression of a Mrs. Random, who has a great deal of wealth that could be given to his museum. He meets Susan Vance (Katharine Hepburn) by chance. Susan is free-spirited and wiley. Her brother has sent her a leopard from the jungle (the titular Baby) and David gets tied up in taking the leopard to Susan’s country home in Connecticut. Hijinks ensue, and Susan tries to keep David around because she is in love with him. But it all works out because Susan’s aunt is Mrs. Random and the museum gets the money and David falls in love with Susan as well.

Susan has been called the original MPDG, and she is a start contrast to the Main Line accented, haughty, domineering women Hepburn is known for playing (Tracy Lord in The Philadelphia Story being her best known). But Susan is not an MPDG.

Susan is not the out of control waif with knowing life advice like Natalie Portman’s Sam in Garden State nor is she placed upon a goddess pedestal by her male couterpart like Kate Hudson’s Penny Lane in Almost Famous.  Susan is a mastermind who is in complete control of her surroundings and is quick on her feet, manipulating her aunt, the town’s constable, a leopard and a yappy dog to arrive at her final plan: a life with the man she has fallen in love with. If anything, to me, Susan is just as in power as Tracy Lord and actually more self-assured.

David Huxley, as well, is not the male counterpart protagonist to the MPDG. He is not looking for himself, or depressed, or seeking something ethereal and problem solving in Susan. Objectively, she creates more problems for him than solves them.

I think the most damning thing to her characterization as the MPDG trope is her self awareness and control, and his lack of romanticizing her. The audience doesn’t get the male protagonist gazing thoughtfully and thinking about the uselessness of his life before her, with his mental health somehow improved because he meets her.

Summer Finn as played by Zooey Deschanel in (500) Days of Summer

This is the one I expect the most disagreement about. But it is also the case where I feel my argument is the strongest.

Before I get into this specific example, let’s establish something. A real person (like you, me or Zooey Deschanel) cannot be a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. That is because real people are not flat. They are not tropes. And while women (and men) can be deceived into thinking that the MPDG is the ideal of what they should be, or should be dating in a heterosexual relationship, that is never going to be what they are or what they get. Because the MPDG is a flat trope with limited motivations and characterizations who is defined by the man who idolizes her. And no person is defined by the way a singular other person views them. In real life, all gazes are equal, except for the prioritized one looking into the mirror.

The summary of (500 Days of Summer) is exceedingly simple. Boy meets girl of his dreams. He falls in love with her.  It doesn’t work out and he tries to figure out why.

The summary of Zooey Deschanel is a little more complicated. She is an actress and musician who has been idolized for her vintage fashion taste, blunt brown bangs and large blue eyes by the white subculture of non-quite hipster indie kids. I am going to admit right now that I have bought clothes because I thought Zooey would wear them, I have cut my hair because of her and I gushed when a lesbian couple told me at a She & Him (her band) concert that I looked like her. My opinion of Zooey is largely positive and that may color my analysis, so I wanted to be upfront.

The way Zooey is depicted in media and thought about is probably the closest thing real life has to a MPDG. She has been called so on a lot of feminist film blogs I read because she tends to play MPDGish characters (though I’d like to know when ones they are thinking of other than Summer. In Elf, Buddy may be the closest thing in film we have to the MPDG(uy). And Trillian from A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is probably a MPDG, but still her character was more dynamic than Trillian from the book.) But I’d like to say again: No person can be a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Zooey Deschanel herself is not one-dimensional, no matter how she is thought about by most 15-25 white not quite hipster indie kids.

However, that does not prevent her characters from possibly being a MPDG. But in the case of Summer Finn, I think the same thing that happens Zooey Deschanel in real life happens to Summer Finn in the film.

There is one scene in the film where the narrator talks about something along the lines of the “Summer Finn Phenomenon” giving examples of her unexplained magnetism, like that when she chose a Belle & Sebastian quote as her senior quote, the sales of their record increased exponentially in her home town. This is not unlike me (and about 12 other girls in my high school) either keeping their brown hair, or dying it brown and cutting their bangs straight across.

The whole movie after the break up leads up to the point when Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) realized that he has romanticized Summer’s existence to fit the mold of who he felt he needed. He was trying to make a real person into a MPDG, which can never work. He was  blindsided by her breaking up with him because he had ignored all of her feelings that make her a real person because in his mind she is the flat, but perfect, quirky girl in his mind. That’s why their relationship didn’t work out.

So yes, the Summer that the audience sees for 488 days is a MPDG. But this is through the lens of the male protagonist, and that lens is condemned by the main females of the movie, both Summer and the protagonist’s younger sister, Rachel.

The saddest thing about this movie is that just like when Summer and Tom go see The Graduate and Summer thinks it is a sad ending and Tom thinks it is a happy ending (a catalyst to her ending the relationship), Tom is once again ultimately oblivious to his nostalgic and romantic lens.  In the last scene where Tom is interviewing for an architecture job, he meets a girl who happens to be named Autumn and Tom gives a cheeky grin to the camera. This is again Tom turning his life into a romantic comedy where the women are secondary characters intended to fill the voids in his plotline. What could’ve been a subtle critique on how culture still pigeonholes what women can be, the writers went instead for a cutesy ending. And I don’t think that critique and the romcom ending have to be mutually exclusive.

But Tom’s perception of Summer does not make her a MPDG. It just makes him kind of misogynistic and short-sighted.

Cassie Ainsworth as played by Hannah Murray in Skins (UK Gen 1)

This one I just don’t really get.

Skins is an UK show about teenagers in Bristol, England. It is very dirty and grimy and the kids have lots of sex and do drugs. And the kids’ personalities are all relatively relatable. So what is lacks in production value, it makes up for with being charming and realistic.

Cassie is the resident kook, who at the beginning of the show has just been released from treatment for anorexia. Supposedly, she will sleep with anyone as one of her many distraction from food. So Michelle and Tony, the it couple, encourage her to deflower their good friend Sid. Of course, Sid is in love with Michelle. Cassie sees this immediately and points out to Sid that Michelle knows. They don’t sleep together but Cassie falls in love with Sid.

Throughout the show, we follow Cassie and Sid’s relationship. But we also see Cassie’s struggle with her family and their obviousness to her crumbling mental health, her strained friendship with Michelle, her developing friendship with eventual roommate Chris and her finding her place in a tight knit group of friends.

Cassie on Skins is quirky and out there and girlish, but the whole point of the MPDG is that she is defined by the male protagonist is his terms. And that isn’t what Sid and Cassie’s relationship is. Also, the premise of Skins is that all the kids are the protagonists equally. So Cassie is given equal weight as her love interest. Another problem of the MPDG is that we don’t see her relationships outside the male protagonist (admittedly, this is one facet true of Summer Finn). But with Cassie, her friendships with Chris and Michelle are some of the most moving of the first generation.

I think Cassie gets the label because of her “oh, wow” moments and her girlish clothes. But being ditzy and feminine are not inherently bad characteristics. Only when they are the only characteristics does the character become problematic. Cassie is also clever and empathetic and strong willed.

But alas, ultimately how I see the Manic Pixie Dream Girl is that we (we being movie watching women) don’t want our characters, the ones we love, to be labelled it by other feminists. So we feel the need to defend (like I just did) our characters that we identify with. And I think sometimes we forget that calling the characters out is not nearly as important as imploring the male screenwriters to write more realistic women, or the male producers and directors to use female written scripts, or the studio execs to employ female producers and directors.

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Merylathon: an update [and a digression about Barbra, and another about hats]

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to watch every movie for which either Katharine Hepburn or Meryl Streep was nominated for an Oscar.

I decided to do Meryl first because I had seen less of her movies. I had already seen Music of the Heart through years of Orchestra classes. I’ve seen that movie/Mr. Holland’s Opus way too many times, The Devil Wears Prada, and Julie & Julia. So I started with Kramer v. Kramer because it was her first Oscar win [and I was NOT watching The Deer Hunter by myself in my room (her first nomination)] and it is my dad’s favorite Meryl movie. I won’t give anything away, but I was especially excited with the ending because somehow in my dad’s description of it I interpreted it ending the opposite way. And of course, Meryl is supporting in this role, but not out shined by Dustin Hoffman [whom I also adore, The Graduate is my favorite movie of all time]
Then I went to Doubt, simply because it was on Netflix instant watch. And holy moley, if Meryl can make me hate her, it just makes me love her more. Possibly her least fabulous role I’ve seen, she plays a nun, she is still Meryl through and through and doesn’t let up until the credits role.
These were all preludes to my now favorite Meryl movie. I think Kramer v. Kramer is better and she is better in it. But five words: Robert Redford sans Barbra Streisand. I could go on and on about how much I hated Katie Morosky in The Way We Were as the only reason to watch that movie is the boat scene, but I digress.
Out of Africa was amazing. I don’t think I can capture how much I loved this movie. But I can capture how much I loved Meryl’s hats.

This is not the first time a movie has been ranked higher in my favorite simply for millinery. See His Girl Friday and A Room with a View

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delicious=george emerson

first I have to say. I generally hate Helena Bonham-Carter. I hate all celebrities that break up celebrity couples that I have deemed to be perfect for each other. Another example it Brangelina. I only enjoy Brad Pitt up until 2005. Though with HBC, I can stand Kenneth Branagh, the other offending party their love-affair because Emma Thompson has found the gorgeous, wonderful Greg Wise.
so until Jennifer Aniston finds love, Brad Pitt is dead to me post-2005.
BUTTTTT, Helena Bonham-Carter, as much as I would want to slap her in real life, is kind of awesome. and I mean it all worked out…sort of. She is committed to Tim Burton. And Kenneth is married to Lindsey Brunnock–who Bonham-Carter introduced him to?…!?

whatevs.point of post. just got over my HBC hating enough to watch A Room with a View all the way through and omg. some where between George, bustle, cool hat, George, Italian murder, Italian piazzas, George, Maggie Smith and another cool bustle I fell in love. with GEORGE EMERSON.
you are a beautiful eccentric.
and now I understand why this is the movie is my mom’s favorite movie that she most wants to live in.

could I have one please? kthx. oh, and that hat. and that hair. and that Italy. that’d be nice.

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golden globe winners-a review

Best Supporting Actress

Mo’Nique for Precious: I can see this fitting in the logic of the Golden Globes but I do not see Mo’Nique taking home the Oscar. Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars is my single favorite category in any award show ever. EVER. I’m very defensive and protective of it. and I’m saying Julianne Moore or Anna Kendrick will rock it out in February.

Best Actress in a Comedy or a Musical
Meryl Streep for Julie & Julia: Of course, Meryl always deserves the Globe. And snaps for surpassing Jack and Angela in total wins! This role definitely has the best chance for a comedic Best Actress this year.
Best Screenplay-Motion Picture
Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner for Up in the Air: Yay. This writing really was amazing and was executed quite well by the cast. I’m still surprised Precious didn’t get nominated for this category. I think it will for the Oscars and may take the Oscar, but if the Academy knows better they will see the genius that is Jason Reitman. [more on that later]
Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Christoph Waltz for Inglourious Basterds: eh. I’m still thinking Stanley Tucci as creepy pedophile man in The Lovely Bones is going to take the Oscar. The preview alone made me hate Stanley. and I LOVE STANLEY.
Best Director-Motion Picture
James Cameron for Avatar: Bull…wait for it…shit. In 10, 20, 30 years, the world will look back at 2009 and say “why did anyone like Avatar?” because by then the graphics and 3-d effects will look dated and old and the acting, writing and directing will still suck, just then every one will be able to see it because they are no longer ooo and awwing over 3-d.
Jason Reitman had the right to looked pissed afterwards. He deserved the Globe and will win the Oscar.
Best Motion Picture-Musical or Comedy
The Hangover: Probably the funniest movie of the year. But not the best movie of the year that was in the category. That would be (500) Days of Summer or It’s Complicated. Since the Academy has been in the mood for changing the rules lately I propose a new category. What is there were separate things for like “funny movies” and then “comedys.” Because granted I laughed three times as much as The Hangover then either (500) or Complicated, which does require skill from the director, writers and actors but it does not make it the best movie. Maybe a sub category in screenplay. Like best comedic screenplay.
Best Actress in a Motion Picture-Drama
Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side: Prime globe material that probably won’t even get nominated for an Oscar. Carey Mulligan is going to take ALL OF Y’ALL. so get ready.
Best Actor in a Motion Picture-Comedy
Robert Downey, Jr. for Sherlock Holmes: Props for the best acceptance speech of the night. The only serious candidate from the comedy category to potentially have a nomination in February.
Best Actor in Motion Picture-Drama
Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart: Best Actor will literally be a race between George and Jeff at this point. My vote is with George. because my heart is with George. swoon. But yay for indie films!
Best Motion Picture-Drama
Avatar: I hate you, Hollywood Foreign Press. You just proved to the world that the Academy is way classier.
Ricky Gervais’ hosting gets a C-, got us through the night without too many annoyances, but I didn’t laugh at all.

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Up in the Air-Review

With all the Oscar Buzz and the promise of George Clooney’s face, I knew I had to go see it.

Though I did not know that I would love it. George Clooney is playing his suave charming self, except more isolated that normal, in a job that requires him to fly around the country and fire people. He also has to take recent college grad Natalie under his wing to show her the ropes after she suggests that the company goes online which would prevent George Clooney’s character from reaching his goal of 10 million frequent flyer miles.
all while he is having an affair with the beautiful Vera Farmiga, who I’ve never heard of but it lovable and hate inducing at the same time.
Anna Kendrick, was absolutely wonderful as Natalie, the girl who has planned her life to a T and sees it falling apart in front her well starched skirt-suit.
and SNAPS to JASON REITMAN. I love him. my vote for best director goes to him. It was shot beautifully and the way the travelling was portrayed as well as the familial relationships was so poignant.
The movie also captured the distance and effort of human connection that is so personified in airports. which I love about airports but not that many people understand.
George Clooney is charismatic and wonderful as always but this may be the best he’s ever been. I’m calling Oscar right now.

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You’re the moon over Mae West’s shoulder [you’re the top] pt. 4

25 Best Movies of 2000’s, according to flippee.

High Fidelity
O, Brother Where Art Thou?
Almost Famous
For how little music I liked that was released in 2000, it was a great year for soundtracks! All three movies have some of my favorite soundtracks of all time. John Cusack is at his adult best in High Fidelity as a jerk who we fall in love with as he reminisces about girlfriends, music and what a lameo Jack Black is.

O Brother Where Art Thou? is probably one of the most creative/best adaptations ever, earning both a stop in our hearts and the 9th grade English curriculum.

Almost Famous, annoyingly pretentious and hipster or adorably endearing and indie? Critics are still arguing. But whatever. I love Kate Hudson and if-you-blink-you-will-miss-them Anna Paquin and Zooey Deschanel. I still listen to the vinyl Bookends so I can pretend that I am Zooey Deschanel. And I dream about a singalong in a bus of ‘”Tiny Dancer.” But I think everyone does after watching that movie.
Gosford Park
The Royal Tenebaums
Altman’s last great film that was his own doing as Prairie Home Companion was tainted by Lindsay Lohan. A great ensemble film, as all of Altman’s best are, Gosford Park is really just so good. You have to watch it multiple times to get all the dialogue. The story line is great and Maggie Smith, Kristen Scott Thomas, Jeremy Northam, Helen Mirren, Derek Jacobi, Emily Watson, Sophie Thompson, Ryan Phillipe (a little random, but he is annoying and supposed to be so it works) and Clive Owen. They are all wonderful and it shows that Altman is an actors’ director through and through.
Ah, Wes Anderson–you are amazing. He may be seen as pretentious and overrated. I don’t care. I love his movies and The Royal Tenebaums is probably his best. It captures what he does best, showing a family in turmoil, with no actually likable characters but the viewer ends up falling in love with all of them. AND ANGELICA HUSTON! Could she be more perfect? I want to look like her now, much less when I’m 60.

Amelie is the best of what it is. What it is in a sweet, endearing movie that doesn’t make much sense plotwise, or logicwise. But with Audrey Tautou’s page boy hair-cut and knowing smile, the viewer willing gives up logic and stick her hand in the coffee beans.
The Hours
Chicago is one of the best movie musicals of our time. I love stage musicals, it’s true. But I really love movie musicals, and that may offend the purists, but I love seeing how a director captures new things from the music and choreography. And this ones works the best. Except for maybe Oklahoma!

The Hours-I really am sucker Virgina Woolf, Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore and Nicole Kidman. WHOA. This movie was made for me. One of the best adaptations of a novel I’ve seen.

Finding Nemo
Lost in Translation
Pixar’s best of the decade, Nemo is both visually engaging and so emotionally endearing! Marlin and Nemo and Dory are so sweet, and they are fish, but some of Pixar’s most human.
Sofia Coppola return to sanity and good movie-making entered her into Hollywood’s favorite circle of directors with a little indie whisper. ScarJo before her chest was more famous than her major acting chops. and Bill Murray is his best role to date.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
I Heart Huckabees
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
The Motorcycle Diaries
Danny Deckchair
Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle
Three of my favorite surreal movies in one year! Sunshine, Huckabees, and Life Aquatic are in my cycle of fun indie films that make me feel like a little hipster. Of course these movies do have cinematic value as well. Jim Carrey when he isn’t funny is at his sweetest and Kate Winslet! If I could two sets of movies to watch for the rest of my life it would Katharine Hepburn’s canon and Kate Winslet’s. she is just so wonderful. Huckabees is trippy, but really humane and fun, and Jason Schwartzman’s character is one of my all time favorites. Then my favorite Wes Anderson film. Rushmore was more influential and Tenebaums was a better movie but Life Aquatic is so funny and quotable, Bill Murray in my 2nd favorite role of his is deadpan and hilarious.

Walk the Line
Reese at her best and Joaquin before the crazy fully settled. I love June Carter and Johnny. They are so damn cute in the most destructive relationship way ever.
Little Miss Sunshine
Stranger Than Fiction

Little Miss Sunshine– My first reaction was GRAPES OF WRATH. Which it totally is. And Steve Carell is so funny when he isn’t being funny. Dwayne is the love of my indie life and I’ve adored Toni Collette ever since she portrayed Harriet Smith in Emma.

Stranger Than Fiction got a lot of crap about being too out there or whatever. But Emma Thompson is so serene as an actress in any role. And again features one of my favorite things, comedians not being funny. Maggie Gyllenhaal could be better. probably had her character been played by Zooey Deschanel. But Dustin Hoffman is sweet too.


Watching Juno now, I don’t like it nearly as much as I thought I did when I was a junior in high school, but is changed what being a teenage protagonist meant. All of the sudden Juno was short, brunette, saucy and pregnant. She wasn’t a fallen Christian girl, or a slut who needed to find the way. She was 16 and pregnant and herself. And that’s why everyone took notice. Not to mention Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman’s stellar performances as the yuppie adopters!
Just recently saw Once, and I felt like I had been punched in the stomach by the gods of music and love. or god of music and love; this movie makes it seem like they are the same. Again like Juno, Once is really real. Guy and Girl aren’t perfect for each other, but perfect for each at that moment, which is a fact of humanity that is glazed over a lot in romances that create the idea of “the one.” Once provides an alternative the cleanliness of that version, something truer and deeper and more congruent with the lives that we lead.
Slumdog Millionaire
Another punch movie. Except Slumdog punched me in the face. Part Bollywood musical, part low-budget endearment, part sappy bildungsroman, Slumdog changed how I looked at movies. Before any indie movie I found was something I happened upon and liked in a little niche of my existence, like Wes Anderson films, that are rarely accepted into the wide canon of great movies, only to be praised by little hipsters. But Slumdog captured the country and made them love and not look away from the torture, game show or Bollywood dance number. Everybody loved to love Slumdog because it was just that good.
WALL-E will forever be known as the Best Picture that shoulda been. Oh well. Maybe it was the shout out to Hello! Dolly or the Fred-and-Ginger dance between WALL-E and EVE or the silence in which WALL-E commits all his actions, but WALL-E felt so retro, except of course it takes place in space and in the future. The retro and modernity gave Pixar their best film of the decade, and Toy Story a run for its money as the definitive Pixar film.
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Two animations in one year and no live action movies. Granted I haven’t seen my pick of Best Picture right now (Up in the Air) yet, but these were my two favorites of the year. Up and Fantastic Mr. Fox were the most humane movies of the year. They addressed human issues of family and loss and love and that’s what I love most about movies. Identifying with the characters, or feeling pathos for them. I felt more connected to George Clooney as a fox than I have a character in a long time. and if you didn’t cry during Up, I’d suggest you go back to your charger or home planet because you are obviously either a robot or an alien.
Still Haven’t Seen
Up in the Air
An Education
A Single Man
Sherlock Holmes

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Could Claudette Colbert get cuter? She rocks the too-short bangs and pencil thin eyebrows harder than anyone could ever dream to. It Happened One Night is one of my favorite movies of all time. and I love the clothes. There are about two outfits in the whole thing though, so you wouldn’t think I’d get inspo from it right? negativo, my friend.
I mean they are travelling from Miami to New York and she has a sweater and skirt and an adorable kid hat. plus her wedding dress. albeit fabulous, I can’t just wear a wedding dress in homage to Claudette. but I do love those pjs!
Of course Clark is looking swanky. I adore him in this. I undercover hate Gone With the Wind. I know. I am a horrible southerner or whatever. But the women are annoying and the men are abusive and/or drips. But Clark is just wonderful in this movie. I’m am a sucker for newspaper men. (Cary Grant in His Girl Friday? yes please)
A recent viewing of this movie has me craving some mens-style pajamas a la these:

some more adorable pjs for you. I LOVE THE BANANAS IN PYJAMAS. so cute


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birken gainsbourg family

Jane Birken, Serge Gainsbourg and their progeny, Charlotte, are beautiful and have of hold on my interest. A few other people do this as being so supremely interesting; Katharine Hepburn, Angelica Huston, Buddy Holly. and I could very well write this post about the Rossellini-Bergman family.

my first exposure to birken-gainsbourg world was the birken bag reference on sex and the city.
which is funny because jane birken supposedly commented on how when her daugther would come to america people would ask her if she was the daughter of the bag.

later, in november of 2007, lisa robinson wrote this fascinating article about the home/world of Serge Gainsbourg for Vanity Fair. now as much as I regret it, I am not a regular Vanity Fair reader. whenever I read it I feel terribly bourgeois. And the text is really tiny. but this picture captured me:

Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg on the set of the movie Slogan, June 1968. By Gilles Caron/Contact Press Images.

They look so supremely happy.

Of course, Serge was a raging alcoholic…but this is right when they were about to get married/just married.

I imagine Jane as sort of backwards Eleanor of Aquitaine. Eleanor was French best known for marrying an Englishman, but a formidable woman in her own right, and Jane was just this flipped. An Englishwoman so intertwined with French culture with a completely French daughter.
Charlotte! my favorite part of I’m Not There, a movie I found pretentious and annoying except for a few select parts. Well those select parts when the little boy obsessed with woody guthrie, heath ledger, cate blachett, and CHARLOTTE.

but seriously. check out that vanity fair article.

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Fantastic Mr. Anderson

My love affair with Mr. Wes Anderson began when, in a fit of insomnia that plagued my early high school, I watched The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. As far as I can see, Anderson is best watched in a dream-like state because if you aren’t there already, he will slowly nudge you until his oddly juxtaposed orchestration of a sixties pop song and denouement in the film finally lulls you completely in the fantasy worlds that he creates.

And creates he does in his new film Fantastic Mr. Fox. This movie is basically Life Aquatic, Tenenbaums, Ocean’s 11 and Old Mother West Wind stories put together.
Once again Anderson focuses on what he does best and doesn’t stray too much. At the center, a dysfunctional, albeit loving, family with a disillusioned patriarch who has seen better days. But in animation maybe Anderson had found the entry point to the mainstream that big name stars haven’t been to give him.
In Fox, Anderson still has the wit and subversiveness that 20-somethings and up love, but the story of a child being misunderstood by his father would resonate with anyone one 12 and under.
Still even the patriarch is slightly more lovable than the abusive Royal Tenenbaum or distant Steve Zissou. That may be, of course, because Mr. Fox, is a fox. And fact: furry animals are just more lovable.
So the acid tongued wife and sassy adolescent get away with unlikeable nature that would be off putting in a children’s movie, but perfect in an Anderson movie, simply because their red fur and awkwardly gangly legs that remind the viewer of Anderson’s skinny chicken legs, are so darn cute.

With everyone Anderson archetype filled by his regulars of over-the-top actors, Fantastic Mr. Fox may be his first non live-action film, but I believe Mr. Anderson could find a long career in children’s movies. For the past decade he’s been making movies for adults for the neglected child within. I wish he would continue to work with Roald Dahl books because this is by far the best adaptation I’ve seen.


Filed under Film