Tuesday, April 7, 2020

My Beloved Movies: Whhhhhat is a Yoot?

Mean Girls

Sometimes a movie doesn’t hit you until the very end. Not until the younger plastics show up did I truly appreciate what the movie was doing. These girls aren’t particularly mean or awful, they’re just growing up. Tina Fey is a genius.


I absolutely ruined this movie for myself. The special edition let you watch the movie in chronological order if you navigate the menu in the right order. It took me days, but I finally did it. And oof. It’s an hour straight of Leonard sitting alone in black and white. Once you see it in order, it does not hold up. But that’s its brilliance. It’s backwards because it’s the only way to tell this story.

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Sunday, April 5, 2020

My Beloved Movies: A Horse Named Friday

Kindergarten Cop

I think I say “It’s not a tumor” at least once every week or so.

Lawrence of Arabia

This movie is absolutely beautiful. Movies try to be more epic and they always fail.

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Unexplained List: I-I-I Don’t Like Hawthorne

26) Whit
25) Stone
24) Harlan
23) Bill/Brady
22) Nelson
21) Ray
20) Eric
19) Monty
18) Holden
17) Alan
16) Father Brian
15) Walter
14) Steve
13) Scout Master Randy
12) Bruce
11) Worm
10) Jack
9) Mike
8) Will
7) Lionel
6) Eisenheim
5) Henckels
4) Sheldon
3) Jack
2) Aaron
1) Derek

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Friday, April 3, 2020

My Beloved Movies: The Penitent Man


I have what I call the quadrilogy of dumb sci fi movies stupid people think are smart: Prometheus, Looper, District 9, and this. This is the only one I like because unlike the others, once you embrace the dumbness, it gets better. It’s not a deep study of the unconscious or the meaning of dreams. It’s a heist film. And it’s a brilliant heist film. As an editor, one thing in particular strikes me. A good way to build tension is a ticking clock, but every time they go deeper into the dream, you actually get exponentially MORE time. So how do you build tension? You cut back to the van falling from the bridge. Never forget that in the first dream, they only have a matter of seconds. Every time they cut back to the van, my editor sense tingled.

The Incredibles

I used to make DVDs for a college screenwriting professor, so he could use film clips in his classes. After this movie came out, he told me he was considering redoing the DVDs and replacing them all with Incredibles clips. It’s a perfect screenplay. And it’s the only super hero movie I’m allowing on this list.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2020

My Beloved Movies: Open Outer Doors

Forrest Gump

It’s schlocky. It’s problematic. But I didn’t know that in 1994. I’ve seen it to many times and the soundtrack is amazing. I had to include it.

Get Out

I too would vote for Obama a third time if I could. That means I’m not racist, right? See. I totally get this movie. It’s fucking great. Do I really need to explain it?

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Monday, March 30, 2020

My Beloved Movies: Sinead O’Rebellion

Dolores Claiborne

So many kids now won’t know the thrill of catching a movie in the middle on TV. Kathy Bates, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Christopher Plummer pull you in immediately. The way the film uses color to immediately differentiate past from present is brilliant. First time I saw this movie, I looked it up in the newspaper to find out when I could watch it again from the beginning. “Sometimes being a bitch is all a woman has to hold on to.” Dolores’s relationship with the crotchety Vera Donovan is unlike anything seen in another movie.

Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead

“I’m right on top of that, Rose.” Guys, Kelly Bundy from Married, With Children is going to be a huge star some day. This role was brilliant for her career, starting her as a vapid Kelly-type, and ending as a driven career woman. It’s goofy, it’s so 90s, and it’s a surprisingly good movie. I must have seen it a couple dozen times.

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Saturday, March 28, 2020

My Beloved Movies: Poisoned Pestled Vessel

The Conversation

Watch this movie, then read The Conversations by Michael Ondaatje, then watch it again. Coppola shot this movie in between Godfathers, then just handed some rushed footage to Walter Murch and told him to make a movie from it. To read what was shot and to realize it went on to be nominated Best Picture, and to read how he made the story work, it’s just incredible.

The Court Jester

My grandmother had a massive collection of VHS tapes. This was one of my favorites. Danny Kaye’s manic energy pops through every musical, slapstick moment. It’s whimsical, magical, tightly written. I think I’m going to go watch this movie now.

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Thursday, March 26, 2020

My Beloved Movies: In Flagrante Delicto

The Big Sleep

We watched this in film school and the professor asked if it was an accurate representation of what it’s like to fall in love. I responded to my friend sitting next to me, “yeah, I know when I fall in love at least three or four people die.” It’s just a solid film noir, and the clear best Bogart/Bacall pairing.

The Bridge on the River Kwai

I could watch this over and over again. I hate war movies, but this is about so much more. Alec Guinness is amazing, and he plays the obsession and regret so perfectly. William Holden is great as Guinness’s opposite. The whole this is just so damned British.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

My Beloved Movies: Stickley's Our Favorite!

The American President

“America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You've gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say, "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours." You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms.”


I remember seeing the trailer for this movie and thinking it looked really dumb. It wasn’t until I came across the Green Day song “J.A.R.” from the Angus soundtrack that I even gave this movie a second thought. When it came on TV, I figured what the hell. It’s exactly what I thought it was. Fat kid finds the strength to stand up to the bullies and get the girl. It’s been done a thousand times. But this movie shows that you don’t have to be groundbreaking to make a good movie. You just have to be personal. Go deep. Tell your story, and it will touch someone. I cried at least once that I can remember, and I’m sure many more.

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Sunday, March 22, 2020

My Beloved Movies: Reginald’s Tumescent

10 Things I Hate About You

My dirty secret is that I love sappy movies. I love high school movies. I love cheesy romance and children playing out adult love stories like they actually know what they’re doing. This movie came out during a flurry of teen movies, and most of them are utterly forgettable. This one is so clever, so original (despite being an adaptation), and it makes me cry every time. It shines a light on all different types of teens and speaks frankly about issues of love and sex that the others would barely mention. Who would have ever imagined what Heath Ledger would become? And, of course, Allison Janney is a national treasure.

12 Angry Men

This weirdly covers the Sidney Lumet original and the Showtime made for TV version. Take twelve of the best actors you can find and stick them in a hot room. It’s a formula that works as well with Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, and Jack Klugman as it does with Jack Lemmon, George C. Scott, and yes, Tony Danza. I actually saw the new one first, and I was amazed how well it worked with 12 white guys and in completely different ways with a mixed race cast. Seriously, look up the 1997 cast, and you’ll find a lot of names you didn’t even know were working in 1997.

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