Taking a page from Vern’s playbook, I wanted to put together a list of five movies that I could watch over and over and never get bored. Trust me, I know because I have. Some of them may not be the best films around, but they are ones that forever make me laugh, smile, and cry over and over again. They forever entertain me. Enjoy:
Momento: I have to start of with my favorite movie of all time. Give it up to Christopher and Jonathan Nolan, they have contributed greatly to independent film with this movie. Starring Guy Pierce as a man with a memory disorder that leaves him with only the ability to process new memories, the structure of the story reflects his conditions. We are given bits of the story in short increments that build the story backwards as well as thrilling black-and-white moments throughout that are moving forwards, culminating to the end of the movie that is really the middle of the story. Follow me? What could of have been gimmicky adequately reflects the confusion that clouds the life of this man, his difficulty in connecting with people, and his misguided quest to find his wife’s killer. This is a thinking man’s movie, and one of the best there is.
(500) Days of Summer: You only appreciate the sweetness, funny one-liners, little moments of romance, and innovation of this film the more you watch it. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the quintessential good guy who gets with the girl of his dreams but is ultimately burned. Set to one of the best movie soundtracks, we root for him though in this brilliantly done, out-of-order romantic comedy and feel for him through instances of heartbreak, fallen expectation, learning and accepting that the girl he thought was “the one” isn’t.
Before Sunrise/Before Sunset: I contend that Before Sunset is one of the best contemporary independent films ever, even more so than the first film Before Sunrise (how many times is the sequel better than the original?) But I just can’t watch one without watching the other. These two films stand as some of the most romantic film experiences ever captured. We follow these two people as they wander through the streets of beautiful European cities (Vienna and Paris, respectively) and learn of their hopes, fears, desires, and love for each other that stands over time. In Before Sunrise they meet, and in Before Sunset, they meet again nine years later. Between these two films we get to see how they characters have changed, grown, evolved, and affect one another. It’s not for those who crave action but more so for those who craves beautiful moments of intense connection between two people.
Happythankyoumoreplease: It all starts with a lost little boy on a NYC subway train who is found. We are then brought into a world that writer/director Josh Radnor creates with three interacting stories of 20-somethings who are trying to build their lives and find their happiness - a struggling writer who has been jumping from one woman to another, an alopecia patient searching for someone to love her, and a couple who are hesitant to leave what they know. We care about these characters even when they go down the wrong paths. And just like these characters, we learn alittle bit about what truly makes us happy as we watch.
Bright Star: This has to be one of the most beautiful movies made in the last decade. It’s literally poetry in sight and sound. Based on the true story of the poet John Keats and the love of his life who inspired some of his famous work, we watch as love and tragedy befalls the last few years of his life. I’m drawn to watch this again and again to hear the words of Keats and that beautiful musical composition.
My last day attending screenings at Tribeca was very interesting indeed. I decided to skip Free Samples, a mumblecore-type movie with Jesse Eisenberg and Jason Ritter on my Tribeca list, after I hearing some not some good things in title of reviews (I try not to read them in fear it would affect my opinion). Instead, I “rushed” for a showing of Deadfall, a thriller starring Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde, which I read better things about. Was that a mistake? I’m not sure yet but read my thoughts on the fill below. Later that evening, I attended a special screening of 2Days in New York, the followup to the 2007 film 2 Days in Paris. The writer/director/star Julie Delpy was in attendance as well as Chris Rock who also stars. Their after-film panel was great; I’m so glad that I finally got an opportunity to hear Julie Delpy, someone who is really well known in the independent film world, talk about her process.
Deadfall: I originally passed on this movie about a killer/robber Addison (Eric Bana) and his femme-fatale sister Liza (Olivia Wilde) who, after a casino robbery, split up to make a desperate dash in the cold northern US to the Canadian border. I think I did because I was afraid it was would be a run of the mill B-movie thriller with no grand standout moments. I was mostly right though the film did have some enjoyable moments to like. (SPOILERS) In the moment, we find the two main leads in a car accident that kills their partner-in-crime and getaway driver as well as any hopes of having a clean getaway. It appears to be the dead of winter, and to have the best chance of reaching the border, split the money and make plans to meet up after they have found means to get to Canada. Each experience things in their time apart that changes them. In the case of Addison, for the worst (he steals, kills, and loses a finger, people!) but for Liza it was maybe for the best (she flirts, seduces, and ultimately chooses to live a different kind of life). All in all, Bana says all the right crazy things and makes all the right irrational moves, but like his Alabama accent, it’s not totally believable. Wilde flaunted her sex appeal at all the right moments but her character didn’t have the emotional depth that would believe her change for the better in such a short time. What I did like about the film was the very sympathetic and misunderstood ex-boxer, ex-con Jay (Charlie Hunnam) who by coincidence, get pulled into the lives of the two crooks on the run due to his weakness for Liza. For me, Hunnam carries the film, first playing lover and friend to Wilde’s character, then the direct opposition to Addison, and finally savior to his parents who are taken hostage at the end of the film in a standoff the leaves Addison dead at the hands of his sister. The film did have some great cringeworthy moments needed for any good thriller and a very heavy brother-sister relationship that bordered on incest that I wished would have been explored more to give the film more complexity. My Grade: B-
2 Days in New York: I love Julie Delpy, mostly because she has given me (with Ethan Hawke and Richard Linklater) two of my favorite movies of all time - Before Sunrise and Before Sunset - and my favorite on-screen couple. Because of this, I usually follow Delpy’s film projects closely. 2 Days in New York finds Marion (Delpy) broken up from Jack (Adam Goldberg), her funny, fast-talking boyfriend in the first film 2 Days in Paris and father of her son Lulu, and now in a relationship with the supportive and mild-mannered Mingus (Rock). When her father from Paris come into town, we witness the clash of cultures (French vs. American vs. American minority) and plain ol’ human decency. (SPOILERS) The movie swings from one wild moment to the other, much like its film predecessor - the hilarity that ensures from language barriers, the cat fights between Marion and her slutty sister (in French no less), the lack of boundaries of Marion’s family, Mingus conversations with a cardboard cut out of Obama - all framed as a story we discover Marion is telling her daughter, with the aid of puppets, on how she came into the world. The film does to me often rely too heavily on culture stereotypes for its laughs, and as in the past, I didn’t find Rock completely comfortable with scripted comedy. However, this is a worthy entry in the 2 Days series (can I call it that now?). My Grade: B-
Thank you goes out to the shorts filmmaker I met on the street who gave me his ticket; I got to sit in filmmaker’s row for the film screening which only amplified my experience!
Check out the teaser trailer for this film below:
Post-Tribeca To Do List (continued): 6. Stop watching Eric Bana movies until he proves he can repeat his Munich performance 7. Watch out for more great roles from Charlie Hunnam 8. Brainstorm ways to make Julie Delpy my new best friend