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Back to the Film

Met with the MIT Prof. this morning about the class I’ll be working on…Indian Popular Culture…mostly it’s a film class and she wants me to lecture one day on the various film New Waves of the ’60s, which should be fun. I’ve been on teaching hiatus due to total burnout, but one class I can do. And combined with the Harvard Extension class I’m T/A-ing (History of Film: 1960 to the Present) , I’m pleased to be getting paid to watch movies again.

Lost in Translation at Last

I plan to finally see Lost In Translation this weekend. I have a feeling I will dislike it. I have a grudge against Sophia Coppola for “othering” women in Virgin Suicides, and I have a feeling I will see more “othering” in this movie, this time of Japan. But at least if she others them I can say she is an auteur showing signs of auteurial obsessions with the same themes. Even if I hate her themes. I go in with a grudge so I can’t say I’m keeping my mind open. But we will see. Expect a report Monday.

The British Are Coming!

“I’m not from these parts, I’m from a little place called England. We used to run the world before you.”

–Actor Ricky Gervais, star and creator of BBC series The Office, on accepting his Golden Globe for best actor in a comedy series, the first-ever British sitcom to win a Golden Globe. Cynthia loves The Office. Cynthia could (and does) watch its episodes over and over and over and over.

UPDATE: Listen to Gervais interview on NPR. “I’m nobody in America, and it feels brilliant.” He is my hero. He cancelled The Office after two seasons because he didn’t want it to lose its freshness, said he has seen it happen too many times in comedy. Not an American way of doing things. Here we wring every dollar out of an idea until it is so worn and desiccated that it’s embarassing to witness.

Movie Mack Daddy

I watched the 1st season of Project Greenlight on DVD and what the fuck was I thinking? Who wants to get inside the horror of moviemaking? Not me. I need no flashbacks to grad school, thanks. I’ll write the screenplay and I’ll critique the movie, but I don’t want to be anywhere near the set unless it’s a very very very good friend’s film and she is DESPERATE for extra hands. But watching the making of someone else’s movie without any of the urgency/obligation of being there is just unecessary torture…like watching a root canal. Unanaesthetized. Day after 20-hour day of stress, stress, and a little more stress thrown in for measure. 

And I have to say I was simultaneously amused and horrified by Ben Affleck, from sexually harassing a female movie exec not only during a group meeting but during the middle of one of her sentences:

FEMALE MOVIE EXEC: the way we should move forward is…
BEN (interrupting): you’re like a strict school teacher, aren’t ya…whip me, i’m a bad boy…

To mack daddy slicing through an excruciating moment by calling Harvey Weinstein on the phone and getting right through and getting an extra million added to the budget.

And then there was his parody of buddy and Greenlight producer Chris Moore’s over-dramatic memo style: (in exaggerated southern drawl): “IF I DON’T GET THE BUDGET TO MAKE THIS MOVIE THE WAY IT NEEDS TO BE MADE I WILL GO HOME AND SHOOT MY WIFE. PLEASE DON’T BE ALARMED BY THIS MEMO.”

Gerry Sucks

I really wanted to like Gus Van Sant’s Gerry. But I couldn’t. It is two hours of boredom. Pretentious boredom. Boredom that is trying very hard to look like Kiarostami and Camus. But fails. There is a trick to portraying pointlessness without making the movie itself pointless…a little like describing boredom without being boring…it can be done, but it is not done here. You can’t just throw together a bunch of Kiarostami-esque car rides, empty landscape, empty conversation, and a random killing and hope that it all adds up to something meaningful. What you end up with is a film that announces “Hi. I’m trying to be meaningful.” And therefore is not.

Scottish Posession

It’s a little disconcerting when you catch yourself midsentence and realize you’ve been talking to yourself for hours. In a Scottish accent.

But I’ve been watching Lynne Ramsay’s Morvern Callar today (a truly great film from my current absolute favorite filmmaker) so I like to think that makes the running Scottish-accented self-dialogue slightly less disturbing. It’s a flight of fancy, an imaginative homage, not a psychotic break. Yes, that’s right.

You need to see this movie, though, along with everything Lynne Ramsay has made. She has a great talent for making dirt beautiful, yet still dirt. Not romanticized, not bullshit magic realism. Dirt.

Mystic River Agreement

Yay, someone other than me didn’t buy the Mystic River bullshit. So many critics–even respected ones–liked this movie that I was starting to feel very alone in my bitterness.

Link stolen, again, from Greencine, the best film site ever.