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Friday, October 24, 2003

Amy:

I did it. And it was easy enough. There are times I feel like the computer generation has passed me by. But then, I do all my ordering, invoicing, monthly reports, etc. on my computer accounting program, so I can't be THAT dumb! Oops, sorry about the "THAT" -- I was just trying to, you know, "emphasize."

Now, let's see. You're "itching to get this party started," but I have to pick the topic (or movie), right? Hmmmmm... Let's see. Well, I guess right at the moment my brain has the following movie thoughts:

1. I liked Julie Roberts in "Erin Brockovich." It's probably my favorite role she's ever had? But when I saw Laura Linney in "You Can Count On Me," I knew I had seen the REAL best actress of 2000. She was outstanding. And very "real." I know if I had a sister, I'd want her to be just like Laura Linney in that movie (or you, Amy).

2. I love John Sayles more and more with each movie he makes. His movies are so consistently good, he gets major stars to play in them for "scale" -- knowing the movie won't be a big hit, and will not be very "commercial." He's been making these "large cast" movies for years, and they simply get better as time goes on. The first Sayles movie I saw was "Return Of The Seacaucus Seven." Lately, I've liked "Lone Star" and (especially) "Sunshine State." His movies are obviously shot on location, and the locations are such a major part of the stories that I believe you could say the Texas border town in Lone Star (where all the action took place) was, in fact, the lead character in the movie. Or that Florida itself was the lead character in "Sunshine State." Much as people have said that New York itself was a character in "Midnight Cowboy." Same is true of Sayles' movies. Sayles is sort of the "independent" version of Robert Altman (whose movies are never real big hits either). BTW, Edie Falco is another actress who SHOULD have AT LEAST been nominated for best actress in 2001 for "Sunshine State." But since nobody sees John Sayles' movies, they're always overlooked at Oscar time. Too bad for Sayles, but like Woody Allen, actors & actresses line up to work for scale in his films -- which tells the whole story right there.

3. I like & respect Michael Moore even more now, since I read "Stupid White Men" this summer, and recently saw him at the Butler University Visiting Writers Series. I was impressed with his answer to the question, "Who were your inspirations in life?" He cited his parents, and Stanley Kubrick. I cheered his selection of Kubrick, but I was the only one. Now, obviously this was a political crowd and NOT a movie crowd, but I would've thought at least one other person would've known who Stanley Kubrick was. And you know, at first that seemed like an odd selection -- since Stanley Kubrick never made a documentary (the way Michael Moore does). But the more I thought about it, it makes perfect sense. Michael Moore uses images to affect our core beliefs in the same way Kubrick did. e.g. Even if you were pro-war, you had to have taken a step back when Vincent D'Onofrio shot his seargent, then himself, in "Full Metal Jacket." And let's face it, "A Clockwork Orange" was basically one big tug at the emotions & beliefs of the audience. It's certainly not a movie you can have on the TV while you're trying to do other things -- Kubrick literally "commands" the viewer's full attention. Likewise, Michael Moore's "What A Wonderful World" scene in "Bowling For Columbine" is a knock-off of Kubrick's final bomb-dropping scene from "Dr. Strangelove." For me, it was the most powerful scene in "Columbine." (although the "Brief History of America" scene was the funniest) Another Michael Moore scene which had that effect was at the end of "Roger And Me," when the black family is being evicted from their home -- Christmas tree & all -- as Roger Smith babbles that dribble about how wonderful the Christmas season is to the GM shareholders.

As far as your question about "The Natural" -- It's been a looooong time since I've seen this movie, I only saw it once, and I wasn't particularly impressed. So, I'd have to see it again in order to answer your question. But since you don't want to discuss it, I guess I won't.

I really (I mean REALLY) don't want to answer your question about a single moment in film history which I relate to on a gut level. My God, I'd have to think about that for days, nee weeks. And just as soon as I come up with my answer, I'll think of another moment I like even better. I guess if you forced me at gunpoint to pick a film moment, I'd at least start with that scene in "2001: A Space Oddessy," where the caveman throws a bone up into the air, and it comes back down as a spaceship. It's Kubrick's way of bypassing literally thousands of years of development in one second of film, as if to say, "Okay folks, we've seen how weaponry & technology first began, now let's see where we're going; we don't need to rehash any other moment in history -- we all know about Hitler, the Spanish Inquisition, etc., so we won't cover that material again now." I love that, and consider it the finest moment in film (at least until I think of a better one, but Kubrick was on the mind, okay?). It set Kubrick a notch above all other directors -- just in those couple seconds of film. It's as if he trusts us to make the mental connection. If you don't get it, you won't get the rest of the movie, so you may as well back out now. I like that. So many movies pander to the "lowest common denominator" in our society.

As far as my excitement with "A Clockwork Orange" in college: I think it was just that -- excitement. I was so enthralled to find a movie which treats the audience like adults, doesn't pander, and creates some real opportunities for discussion. Plus the fact that (as mentioned above) you can't watch it idly. When it's on, your attention is "focused like a laser beam" on the movie.

Andy


Wednesday, October 22, 2003

PS
Also, do not cut and paste what I have said, and do not post in all caps. This is what we're trying to avoid. Just, you know, make reference to stuff I've said, so that I know what you're talking about.

I really wish you would get to work. I'm itching to get this party started. Let's start with something we both love.

You pick.

In addition, please answer the following question for me: In "The Natural" what the hell is Barbara Hershey's problem, and why does she shoot Robert Redford other than FOR NO GOOD REASON? (But I don't want to discuss this).

I know - what single moment in the history of film do you most relate to on a gut level? What felt "real" about it?
Okay... This should be pretty easy for you to figure out what to do when you get here. Pick a topic. Like what the hell was wrong with you in college that it was impossible to sit through Clockwork Orange with you without you jumping up in front of the tv every five minutes and going "In the rated X version, this is what happens...." Perv.

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