…and the quest to see everything

Posts tagged “PT Anderson

#FilmConfessions


I have really proletarian tastes when it comes to what amuses me, but something wonderful happened at Twitter yesterday afternoon. I’m writing this for posterity, or to tell twitterless Lars about it.

To me it started with Sasha Stone, the woman behind AwardsDaily. She tweeted that ‘I watch Adrian Lyne movies whenever they’re on TV. #filmconfessions.’ Before I had the chance to ask ‘Who the fuck is Adrian Lyne,’ he of Unfaithlful fame, other confessions started pouring in.

ph. Universal/Focus

Web Producer John Gilpatrick also reminded us that boys DO cry – ‘True story: the first time I saw Atonement, two old ladies, who were strangers, consoled me through the credits.’

Guy Lodge from InContention.com looks back at the past – ‘I think FUNNY FACE is superior to SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN in every respect. ‘

Blogger Marya admits to a guilty pleasure – ‘I saw Ask The Dusk in theaters because I love Colin Farrell. It is not so good. I own it on DVD.’

But as you know, the purpose of any film confession weighs less on supposedly ‘shitty’ movies and/or performances one likes. Everyone has guilty pleasures in film. But the fact that someone either likes Post-Big Fish Burton or post-SNL Eddie Murphy or anything by Pauly Shore, makes it a little boring. Then there’s confessions about movie watching ethics which are just boring. Film confessions, thus, lean more towards the classics you dislike because they’re more fun and contentious and garners more discussion. But despite the petty anger I might get from reading those kinds of confessions, those are what confessions are for, and I begrudgingly accept what I read and the emotions thereafter.

It started when Ms. Stone retweeted John Wilson in writing ‘The Deer Hunter made absolutely no sense to me. I don’t care how many Oscars it won, it was a dreadful film.’

My friend Shane Zeagman confessed to disliking musicals, specifically, ‘I ABHORLY HATE the Sound of Music.’ What a troubled childhood you must have had. Boys are so stupid.

ph. RKO

Anna Long shocked and awed a lot of her followers when she unleashed a list of the people, films and performances she thought were overrated or imperfect, like Stanley Kubrick, Julianne Moore in Magnolia, Citizen Kane – to be honest I’ve never met anyone in person who said they LOVED it – and Jaws. But when wrote said that ‘I have no interest in seeing Gone With The Wind.’ I wanna be as nice as I can, but Article 1 of Film Hate states that four out of five of the things listed above. And disliking Gone With the Wind means that the gloves are off, and I start slapping my sisters-in-law and shooting Yankees. But as Chomsky said, I defend your right to say it.

Number 6 on the Film Hate list is Hitchcock, and I finally found someone who has a strange Hitch opinion. ‘@empiremagazine I prefer Psycho 2 to the original Psycho & was saddened that it wasn’t covered in your Hitchcock sections.’

Ryan Helms wrote ‘I’ve fallen asleep 2 out of the 3 times I’ve tried to watch Gosford Park.’ Loved it thought it was hilarious, but British period film, it happens to the best of us.

Fellow Torontonian Jesse Hawken confessed that ‘Everyone liked American Beauty except for me – I hated it.’ Chile, me too.

I also contributed to this hashtag, possibly too many times. Wayne admitted that he ‘has never seen all of Sunset Boulevard or Chinatown.’ I told him that ‘Faye Dunaway’s performance aside, you’re not missing much in either.’ I kinda retract what I said about Sunset Boulevard, since it’s kind of like Network in a way that Billy Holden is telling a crazy woman that…she’s crazy. He’s always one slap away from Kirk Douglas. In that sense, Mr. Holden’s an auteur, and I’d like to think that that’s all he does in movies, which would be awesome.

Andrew Kim booed me when I confessed about my anti-Audrey stance. And I turned one head when I admitted that I thought ‘I’m sorry, but Blade Runner was two-thirds boring.’

ph. MGM

The best part of this hashtag is reading the conversation between prolific film writer Matt Mazur and Kate Winslet’s first kiss, Melanie Lynskey. Mr. Mazur confessed to his indifference towards Godard and Bresson, flip flopping on American Beauty, his love for Cassavetes, crying during Thelma and Louise and a handful of other 1990’s and early 2000’s classics – that was a good time for women, by the way.

Ms. Lynskey opened up about her indifference towards the Star Wars franchise and her satirical look on Gone with the Wind – ‘I can watch poor little rich girls whine on VH1.’ A love for the works of Hugh Grant and Jennifer Aniston – which got a huge discussion. The actual reason why I’m writing this post is to tell you guys that she replied to the tweet I replied to her. And Heavenly Creatures turned me from an child to an adolescent. I’m not a stalker, I swear! Mr. Mazur wrote that ‘I once broke up with someone I was dating because they hated Altman’s Nashville.’ She replied with ‘if someone hates Nashville they don’t deserve to be loved.’ Classic.

Now go away, Friends is on!

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Blood, this time around


ph. Paramount Vantage/Miramax

The first thing the movie makes me remember is Daniel Day Lewis’ performance as Daniel Plainview. He’s all you see for the first fifteen minutes, even more. It’s funny that a performance mostly known for Day Lewis speaking through the roof of his mouth begins with silence. When he injures himself falling down his little oil well and has to go to a makeshift smelting office place thingy to give them his chunk of silver. He is lying down on the dusty field and seconds later we cut to the office and he’s still lying down, and the audience believes that he slithered his way there.

He asks about HW’s friend/future wife Mary. He then plays around with Mary and tells her that there will be no more hitting. Yet he can’t get no love from her since she feels so uncomfortable.

Also, is that Daniel’s feeling being hurt? He has feelings? He conveys the feeling knowing how distant he is from his real family without the gaping mouth that any amateur would. This scene also subverts Daniel’s image of a family man, an image that he tries to present in his business dealings and one that his competitors have eventually debunked. Yet he stitches his wounds and moves on.

There is subtlety and naturalism to Day Lewis’ work here. His reading of ‘why don’t I own that,’ for example. He makes business talk within a business themed film to be more interesting than it should. There’s also the first time he talks to the realtor, more hilarious since I know what he’s up to.

The movie frames him as a nicer, insecure yet misunderstood guy this time around, although the denouement makes the audience realize that he unfortunately just doesn’t know how to convey his niceness to other people.

I’ve always contended that Brad Pitt gave the best performance that year. The only other nominees I’ve seen are Depp and Viggo, who are worthy adversaries. I always believe in apples and oranges, but there’s something physical and direct about his Day-Lewis’ role and performance. He had a lot to do, did it, won an Oscar for it.

Speaking of performances, adult HW’s closeups are just as effective.

O hai Ciaran Hinds! In all honesty, I didn’t know who Ciaran Hinds was til last year. Oh, that makes it worse!

The movie operates in large strokes, Instead of plot revelations where one thing happens one minute after another, the film focuses on one main action that percolates within five to ten minutes. We see one thing and we see the consequences for the rest of an allotted time. Sometimes, like Daniels’ scene with adult HW, it develops through dialogue, while in others, when a derrick explodes, the film lets nature take control.

Some of its audience might be reductive their perception of a movie by saying it’s two and a half hours of fields or business talk. But the personalities within the movie, specifically Daniel and Eli (Paul Dano) makes it accessible. They declare instead of whisper. And so quotable!

A movie is funnier if you watch it with more people. ‘Just give me the water, Eli’ and ‘That was a hell of a show’ in that straightforward delivery was funnier, as well as every scene where Eli gets owned. I wasn’t laughing the first time I saw those violent moments, I felt Kubrickian shock. I first saw the movie at the VIP section. One of the employees asked me if what kind of food/drinks I wanted, but it was such an ascetic experience that I had to take seriously. This was in March 2008, or February, before the Oscars. This was the most important movie of all time and I couldn’t laugh at anything. This time, I was starving yet I could laugh.

I remember the blues and the warm colours. I should smack myself for forgetting the foliage depicted within the movie. I also don’t remember the movie being this dark looking. And how menacing the first shot is of the mountains. And the symmetry, of course.

And the music. The only ones I’ve retained are the ones in the beginning and its beehive effect and the Cormac-esque fiddle in the end, the latter I haven’t been able to find. I’ve listened to the soundtrack a lot, it gets me through winter. I tried to keep a mental note on which tracks were playing in which scenes.

I am also one of the few people who will defend Paul Dano’s performance, his Eli building on the foundations that Burt Lancaster has in “Elmer Gantry.” He’s supposed to be annoying and over the top. He’s also the reason we have such a bad impression of Daniel, popping up at the wrong time to ask for the money that Daniel already paid to Eli’s brother Paul (Paul Dano). He sermons like Elvis.

I waited two years to rewatch this movie, and it is the best way to rewatch is to let it gather dust instead of watching it to death. Although the movie still fails the Bechdel test.


Milkshake Time at Underground!


ph. awardsdaily

Bechdel test failure “There Will Be Blood” is gonna be on at the Underground today at 9ish. This will be the second time for me to watch what critics acclaim as the greatest movie of the past decade. And there’s something subtle about that last picture that I can’t believe I forget that for the other things that happened. And honestly, I wasn’t gonna watch this, but Elmer Gantry just inspired me to do so. Besides, unlike movies from that banner year like “No Country for Old Men” (better on TV) and “Zodiac,” it’s never on television. Come if you can, and hope I or we have fun this time around!