Tag Archives: Indiewire

Father of the Bride as it should be watched

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Leo approved.

For those of you keeping track (me), I still haven’t finished watching “Afternoon Delight” but I did get to revisit “Father of the Bride” as it should be watched – on VHS and with a glass of Miller Lite at my side.

Let me be clear, I am talking about the classic 1991 (the year that brought us the equally nostalgic “My Girl” and me the lakeside house in Wisconsin where I have watched it many, many times) version of this film starring Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, Kimberly Williams and Martin Short as Frank, “It’s pronounced FRAHNK Dad.”

I understand that my critical acclaim for this film may be a product of nostalgia and anyone in my generation watching it for the first time now (although I assume this is not possible) would not appreciate the countless “It was then I realized” monologues from George Banks, but I still think it holds up among other films I watched in my formative years.

“Career Opportunities,” which I remember LOVING as a kid, however, does not.

I am sure “My Girl” is also among the films from my early years I would still like, but honestly I think it’s too sad to watch again. Hey, bees, you’re the worst.

Luckily I can see Anna Chlumsky on “Veep” and “Father of the Bride” has a scene set to the song “My Girl,” so I don’t need to go down the road of watching that movie again.

Besides, this week I am actually going to see some new movies screening during the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival.

Demetri Martin’s directorial debut “Dean” is screening Wednesday and I am seeing a Finnish film “Little Wing,” on Thursday.

Martin is one of my favorite comedians and I already know I like his movie. Now he just needs to start a podcast. Oh no, maybe he has one. I am not allowing myself to look that up because there are 87 episodes on my podcast playlist. Help.

I picked “Little Wing,” (similar to my wine selection strategy) because of the name. It’s a coming-of-age story about a young girl who sets out to find her father and the lead actress in the film will be there for the screening on Thursday.

I am not sure I will be able to see any other films as part of MSPIFF, but luckily the Cannes schedule has been announced and I can just jet off to France to see Sofia Coppola’s new film, “The Beguiled.”

While the film looks really dark, it’s one of the things that’s making me happy this week (stealing from my friends over at Pop Culture Happy Hour) as is the fact that “Mustang” director Deniz Gamze Ergüven has a new film, “Kings.”

I still go back to “Mustang” as one my favorite films from the 366 movies in 366 Days challenge last year so I am intrigued by his next project related to the Rodney King trial in 1992.

Among other happiness-makers, I am going to Marc Maron’s show on Saturday and I learned – because of a mention from my other friends over at Indiewire – that Matt Damon has a new movie, “Downsizing.” I can only imagine that it’s a spin-off of “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.”

Here is the actual description of the film, “A social satire in which a guy realizes he would have a better life if he were to shrink himself.”

I always thought my chosen super power would be to be invisible, as long as I don’t inherit any of the fatal flaws that come with having said power, but this makes me rethink my decision. Basically, I just want to shrink down and hang out with Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig (she’s also in the movie) and have Alexander Payne tell us what to do.

(Weird) happiness defined.

Bye!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

American Beauty

Hey hey, I’m on vacation and free from my cube at work for a week.

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I am taking full advantage of my vacation, I guess, since I was awake at 4:30 this morning. At least that left time for me to find another podcast to listen to during my road trip to Wisconsin today.

As far as movie podcasts go I really enjoy the Indiewire episodes  and The Flop House (I really hope they review my recommendation of Career Opportunities soon) and Rotten Tomatoes is my newest fave. Each episode features various critics from the site talking about movie news, new releases and a certain genre of film before answering listener mail, you know, all of my favorite things.

I recommend the Rotten Tomatoes podcast when you can pull yourself away from Serial, but I’m really not here to talk about podcasts (as much as I love them.)

american_beauty_small1I have a lot of new (and not so new anymore) movies to write about, but then I watched American Beauty again.

It’s definitely a film that shaped my love of cinema and, unlike (at least on the surface) its characters, I think it’s a flawless movie.

The development of Lester Burnham’s character over the course of the film, primarily through his own personal realizations and interactions with his family, is what stands out from the film and shows how a simple story can be really powerful.

Lester’s (Kevin Spacey)  narration throughout the film presents the question of whether you should feel bad for him because of what happens in the end or because he seems to be happy in his life again before it happens.

The film explores the concept of happiness through all of its characters. Lester’s daughter Janie (Thora Birch) is going through the struggles of being a teenager; her friend Angela (Mena Suvari) thinks there is nothing worse in life than being ordinary when that may be what she is (and there is nothing wrong with it); and Lester’s wife Carolyn (Annette Bening) struggles in her career and has pushed Lester and Janie away through the process. Did she really want to become a real estate agent because she wasn’t happy in her family life or did that make her unhappy in her family life?

All of these questions are left open for interpretation by the viewer and that’s another one of my favorite things about American Beauty. It’s thought provoking, but doesn’t go so far as to spell out (or try to spell out) how you’re supposed to feel about the film and the characters.

Director Sam Mendes, writer Alan Ball and the cast managed to create a dark film about happiness (one that won five Oscars) and it works. It might not fall under the lighter holiday fare to watch this time of year, but American Beauty is worth another look.

Then you can watch A Christmas Story for 24 hours, I know I will be.

 

 

 

 

I like Steve Jobs and Surprises

 

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I listened to Marc Maron interview Danny Boyle (director of Steve Jobs) on WTF this week and their conversation made me think more about some of my favorite aspects of the film.

It is becoming more of a front runner for me as far as one of my favorite films of the year and it’s largely due to the acting by Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet.

In my last, short, commentary on Steve Jobs I did not focus on Jobs’ relationship with his daughter portrayed in the film. Boyle and Maron talk some about the relationship and how its one of the key components in the story that bring what flaws and weaknesses Jobs has to the surface.

They also talk a lot about Aaron Sorkin’s work on the script and the process to hone it to balance Jobs’ professional and personal life without actually going overboard with the dialogue.

I remember very heated, sometimes lengthy, conversations between Jobs (Fassbender) and Joanna Hoffman (Winslet) as Jobs prepared to launch various Apple product throughout the film but Boyle and Sorkin built in effective pauses to let the moments sink in and show the impact of what can be said without words.

It’s an interesting reflection to have on a Sorkin script (I am still scarred by the verbose Social Network – or maybe just Jesse Eisenberg) but he and Boyle achieved a healthy balance in Steve Jobs.

The film, while still not getting the attention it deserves, has acting nominations for Fassbender and Winslet between the Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globes lists released in the last week.

Strong acting seems to be a common thread among many of the top films whose studios are pushing for a spot on the Academy Awards nomination list.

For example, Johnny Depp made the SAG cut for his performance as Whitey Bulger in Black Mass. I didn’t like the film as much as I thought I would and, despite the incredibly distracting and unnecessary makeup, Depp did shine through.

I’ll leave it to Eric Kohn from Indiewire and Anne Thompson from Thompson on Hollywood  on Screen Talk to better explain the unpredictability of which films will make the Academy’s final cut.

The Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globes lists  have some consistency – but more surprises – which makes me think (or at least hope) that could influence the final word from the Academy. The Academy Award nominees are usually easy to predict by the end of the year, but I’m happy with the unknown for now and how many great films  are on the way to theaters before the home stretch of award season.

In other news, for the first time in a many years I am going to see a movie on Christmas Day. Our selection depends on what is showing at the theater in up nort’ Wisconsin, but I am pretty, pretty excited about it and getting out of town to spend a week with my family.

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