Greatest film writer of all time, and as far as I’m concerned as culturally important as any movie figure of the 20th Century. He had such insights into beauty and art and articulated them so that audiences everywhere could see what he saw. His passion and cinematic advocacy helped write Bonnie and Clyde, Hoop Dreams, Martin Scorsese, and Hayao Miyazaki into film history. He taught me so much about what movies and art are capable of. I am sad that he is no longer in the world, and happy that he made it a better place.
That moment when you download a 30-track mix and you never get around to listening to or learning the name of the last song, and later on that song becomes really popular and you think it’s the dumbest shit ever while for months and months it sits there on your iPod until you’re shuffling through one day and you see:
Thrift Shop (featuring Wanz)
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
And you are fucking aghast.
Spring Breakers: Notice Me
The camera in Spring Breakers glides. It glides along bodies, along faces, along beaches and along the smoke-filled air.
In the course of the film it glides across three separate social milieus: the church-based community of the small town, the college debauchery of spring break, and the violence and power of the drug world. Each of these environments carries their own rituals, their own codes, their own ways of providing a sense of purpose to the wayward young people who stumble into them.
This movie is obsessed with physicality, the way young bodies channel their energy into movements and poses and defiant stances. Cross-legged church kids sway and clap, full-grown adults denying their chemical impulses in an attempt to convince the world they’re preschoolers. College students at spring break do, well, what college students at spring break do. Drug pushers post-up and flex, intimidating women and their enemies with guns and ice and face tattoos (some of which ain’t make-up).
Just as important is the language each environment employs to assert its ideals, keep its members playing their roles, and justify its existence to itself. Nearly every line of dialogue in this movie is a cliche, a TV slogan or a rap lyric or a piece of slang twisted and bent to fit the situation. There’s isn’t a moment of heart-to-heart sincerity in the film, no scenes where a character attempts to communicate honestly and emotionally. This is a generation who speaks in declarations of independence, pumped-up chants that treat the listener like a mass audience.
Crossing the lines of these communities are the Breakers. The Breakers believe the world belongs to them. The Breakers want their life experience to encompass anything and everything, while paradoxically behaving as if they’re in a video game. They exist in the interim between child and adult, which they take advantage of by adopting the worst qualities of both. They take on pop-culturally generated affectations of masculinity and blackness, knowing that at any moment they can toss them off like yesterday’s bikinis. They act out. They destroy. They’re just trying to find themselves.
Each world carries its own leash. What do you when you find yourself running away from one one place into another, only to find you don’t have the heart for either? When the code of the streets says you need to pull a tech on your childhood friend? When the whole thing is over and you go back to your normal life, what do you bring back?
The human body is at its physical peak in its teens and twenties. Its most impressive act is the ability to bend and shape itself into whatever it wants to become.
There is an alternate universe in which Alan Tudyk plays Michael Scott, Adam Scott plays Jim Halpert, and Mary Lynn Rajskub plays Pam Beesly. Imagine that. IMAGINE THAT IN YOUR MINDS.
In which the Internet finally fulfills its promise of unencumbered capitalism
I have a lot of questions about this.
—Is the movie only going to be made with these funds? A couple million dollars is not a lot of money for a real movie.
—Warner Bros. owns Veronica Mars. At any point they can decide to not make or release this. If this happens, who gets their money back?
—The script doesn’t appear to have been written yet, which seems colossally dumb. If the actors or producers aren’t happy with it and walk away, who gets their money back?
—Does this even have a director? What?
—Do the actors get a salary off this? Did the Internet just by Kristen Bell a new car?
—What if this becomes a runaway success and Warner Bros sees tons of profits? Did a multi-billion dollar corporation just use you to save millions of dollars in cash by doing nothing? Keep in mind that a movie could generate revenue for literally DECADES into the future, all on the backs of your investments, which you won’t even make back.
Best case scenario: This experiment will lead to new and exciting ways of making other people rich. Hooray Internet!!
February 28, 2013 at 9:08pm
jeffwingerspeeches asked: season four focuses on the GD7 dealing with their own histories. S4E4 addresses how they had been awful AS A GROUP to the other students at greendale. making good on their missteps. quit being pessimistic.
Community — “Alternative History of the German Invasion”
The study group spent almost the entirety of this episode gathered in one big cluster, sitting together and walking around together and interacting with other characters together. None of them got their own storyline, instead putting the Germans and then the rest of Greendale against the team as a whole. They all followed the same story arc, had the same goals, reacted to everything the exact same way. The only thing that dictated who would speak at any given time was whether the writers wanted a Troy joke, an Annie joke, or an Abed joke.
There has never been an episode like this. Instead of being about seven unique humans with their own personalities, worldviews, wants, and desires, it was about an amorphous multi-pronged entity called The Group. No individuality, no conflict among the main characters, no interpersonal growth. Just The Group, and Everyone Else.
This is Community Season Four.
February 24, 2013 at 9:43pm
Man Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban get to go to all the award shows.
Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban have been on my TV twice in two weeks.
Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban were at your daughter’s ballet recital.
Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban watched me shotgun a pizza while I shouted “I’m a winner!”
Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban are staring at you as you make awkward jokes.
This is the most excited I’ve ever been for the Oscars, which is to say I’m mildly excited for the Oscars. The nominations and subsequent Guild awards have thrown everything into such a tailspin that we won’t know for sure who’ll win Best Picture until the envelope opens and the name is called. This probably will not happen again for a very long time. Enjoy it now!
Best Picture: I had Argo picked to win before the nominations, and I’m sticking with it now. As a No Guts No Glory pick though, I’ll call Silver Linings Playbook. At once a young and edgy comedy that’s a throwback to old movie-star screwball, directed by a matured indie veteran, and a box-office success.
Best Director: Probably Lincoln by default, but long shot predicting David O. Russell, for the reasons above. Seven acting nominations between his last two movies mean that actors clearly love this guy, and Silver Linings strikes a perfect balance of different tones and genres.
Best Adapted Screenplay: Since Affleck can’t win Director I think Argo will win this one. Lincoln would take it otherwise, but if the Academy gives Argo Best Picture they’ll want to justify it with another big win.
Best Original Screenplay: Kind of thinking Michael Haneke will take this. Members have clearly rallied around Amour in a way they haven’t for the other contenders, and that enthusiasm will overcome its low budget foreign status.
Supporting Actress: Hathaway
Supporting Actor: 50/50 split between Jones and Waltz, gonna roll the dice and say Dr. Shultz
Anyways, the most significant development of the night will be Adele beginning her EGOT campaign in earnest. Prepare yourself.
February 15, 2013 at 11:27am
I wouldn’t want to have sex with the queen but it could be kind of hot if she watched. She has always seemed like she has a “wry” sense of humor and has always struck me as a woman of intense curiosity. How cool would it be to bring a chick back to your place and she sees the queen sitting in a chair in the corner as you frantically undress each other and she stops and says “oh gosh, it’s you!” “It is an honor your majesty!” and she awkwardly curtsies while covering her tits with one hand, “charmed my dear, now start fucking!” At first she is really demure and tries to be as tender and “proper” as possible, missionary only etc. and the queen starts shrieking “none of that, when I said start fucking, I meant start FUCKING!!!” and maintains steely eye contact with her. She then switches into total nympho dirty talk kama sutra mode as the former empress of India purrs in approval. Just think of how powerful your orgasm would be while direct eye contact with the queen. Months later you catch yourself beating off to 20 dollar bills trying to relive the experience
— and she awkwardly curtsies while covering her tits with one hand
Is this really all a joke? I don’t know. But what other explanation could there be? And it’s a pretty funny (if expensive) gag, when you think about it: While everyone is waving to get network and movie executives’ attention to bring back their favorite cult shows, Wahlberg jumps in front of them and says, “Okay, okay, we hear you, we’ll bring back Entourage!” And when these people protest, yelling, “No, not you. We want Party Down!” he puts a finger on their lips to silence them and says, “Shhhh, you’re talking crazy because you’ve been driven mad by the absence of E and the gang. I’m gonna make it all better by giving you the Entourage movie you so desire!” And as the fan weeps and screams, “No, Party Down! Party Down!” Wahlberg pretends not to hear, flashes a peace sign, and yells, “Johnny Drama forever!” As a dad, I’ve used this trick before. My kids say, “We want ice cream!” and I say, “What’s that? You say you want more broccoli? If you say so!” and they yell, “Nooooo, ice cream, ice cream!” and I say, “Boy, you sure do like your broccoli. Enough with the yelling, I’ll get some more now!” and I can drag this on forever. But I would need to actually turn my home into a broccoli restaurant to rival Wahlberg’s gag.
Do people really think the entire world exists in their TV nerd bubble where Community is universally popular and anyone knows what the hell Party Down is?
I don’t like Entourage and I don’t know anyone that does, but people who like it obviously exist and pretending you’re not aware of them just makes you look foppish and smug. Which DOES make other people want to purposely aggravate you just to see how the dorks will react, so maybe this is justified after all.
January 27, 2013 at 11:14pm
30 Rock is ending this week.
I spent the whole weekend revisiting past 30 Rock episodes and now I’m feeling all kinds of emotions. What a great, classic series. Its abrasive wit and balls-out absurdity never got in the way of its characters, who were played with such heart and conviction to their relationships, their quirks, and their bizarre wants and needs. It seemingly discarded all the rules of sitcoms but was powered by a love and enthusiasm for television comedy. I’m so glad it got to have a full life and that it’s going out with such a fantastic run of episodes. Mostly I am incredibly happy this show existed. Lemon out.
KELLY UNDERWOOD IS THE TWO-HEADED BLONDE STARLET I CREATED IN MY LAB
CARRIE WAS LIKE “DID YOU JUST STICK A NEEDLE IN MY ARM” AND I SAID ‘WHAT”
I WAS LIKE “NO KELLY THIS IS NOT A LOCK OF YOUR HAIR IN THIS ZIP-LOCK BAG WHAT ARE YOU EVEN”
Also she says she’s dumb a lot, which is interesting.
I like Jennifer Lawrence a lot as an actress, and I like that her personality has caught on lately as it’s own little pop culture phenomenon. But part of me thinks it’s weird that the source of this phenomenon seems to be her utter lack of self-confidence.
It’s the M.O. for famous young actresses to put on airs of humility, to confess that you get insecure sometimes and you don’t think you’re all that pretty and the world of Hollywood isn’t as glamorous as it all looks, and that you’re really kind of a dork who would rather stay home and eat burgers and watch Breaking Bad. But where Jennifer Lawrence stands out is that I believe that she, in a completely genuine way, hates herself. Maybe not full on self-loathing that leads to depression and malaise, but more in that tiny nagging way that most of us feel at least 50-90% of the time. She seems deeply, deeply uncomfortable in her own skin in a way that’s frankly jarring for such a beautiful woman. She’s stiff in interviews, never knows what to say or how to say it, and constantly looks like she’s hoping for a trap door to slide her away into a hole where can hide out for the rest of her life and never been seen in public again.
And people find this charming! Which I completely get and yeah, I do too. But… isn’t it a little odd? To find someone likeable because of how horrifically out of place they feel every time they’re in public? I understand the why, but still.
I say all of this because I’ve just watched her host Saturday Night Live, and had the rare experience of watching a person’s every endearing personality trait completely and utterly backfire against her. From the moment she rushed through her opening monologue she had the demeanor of someone completely on-guard, tightly-wound, terrified that at any moment she’d screw up and do something dumb on live television. Which anyone should have predicted, because this is someone whose major appeal is that she fucking hates being on camera. But while nerves and self-consciousness play great on late-night talk shows, they’re death for late-night sketch comedy shows. Success at Studio 8H requires a special kind of celebrity: One who’s willing and eager to jump head-first into any ridiculous situation, to embrace the joy of looking stupid in front of millions of people, to dance crazy and say yes and fuck with your image and have no other objective in the world but to entertain the shit out of the American people.
It takes a person who is the exact opposite of Jennifer Lawrence.
For a lesson in contrast, let’s look at Emma Stone. She’s an outstanding actress who caught on with the popular imagination in equally short time, but also carries herself with a remarkable amount of poise and self-assurance. Her personality is goofy and endearing and self-deprecating, but it comes from a place of comfort with herself that allows her to open up, rather than using it as a coping mechanism to deal with her deadly insecurity. Not surprisingly, she is also an outstanding SNL host.
In fact she’s capable of comedic vigor in other, generally humorless settings too.
Look at her up there. Can you *imagine* Jennifer Lawrence behaving on stage with the same assurance, gusto, abandon? Of course Emma Stone is a talent few can match — but you imagine her even bothering to try?
I still like Jennifer Lawrence a lot as an actress and as a person. But I think sooner or later she’ll need to grow out of this a little and start giving a shit about herself. I don’t know if it’ll make her more likeable, but it might make her healthier.
January 19, 2013 at 8:12pm
Do your homework.
The most annoying part of the Zero Dark Thirty debate is hearing politics types who don’t know shit about movies talk woefully out of their depth about movies. This week in people who are probably good, smart writers that don’t know dick about reading a film is Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone, who believes unequivocally that the movie endorses torture.
In all the detective films and books I grew up watching and reading, the meathead cop who uses the third degree is always the villain – or if not the bad guy exactly, the sap, the klutz, who screws things up by swinging a fist when just talking would have worked fine.
In classic detective tales, the thug interrogator is even sometimes introduced as a parallel character to the hero, to show how things aren’tdone – think the Victory Motel scenes in L.A. Confidential, or the cops in Raymond Chandler’s novels. Take the character of Captain Gregorius in The Long Goodbye, who gets tough with Marlowe when he didn’t need to, trying to get him to fink on his friend in a murder investigation.
You mean those morally upstanding guys like Mike Hammer and Sam Spade and Phillip Marlowe and Jake Gittes and the dude from The Big Heat? The guys who, instead of the simple-minded bludgeoning of the police, used their intelligence to be even MORE cold and vicious? By breaking the law and getting innocent people killed and slapping around their sexual partners in pursuit of the truth?
Is he talking about the genre of film noir, which depicted a post-war world of moral uncertainty where corruption and depravity eroded the walls of American institutions of authority? Which is a pretty good way of describing the milieu of the War on Terror?
Those detective stories that were much more viscerally thrilling and identified more with the corruptors than the emotionally detached Zero Dark Thirty ever does? And yet somehow we’re able to watch those without having to crow about them not condemning its characters enough?
Fuck outta here.
And I hope dude never watches the movie version of The Long Goodbye and starts a “controversy” over whether Robert Altman endorses murder. GET YOUR OP-EDS READY, Y’ALL.