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.



Down Periscope

I own this movie in a Target double feature with Pushing Tin. I have no idea who put those movies together. Pushing Tin is really depressing, and this movie is the exact opposite. It’s pure goofy delight. Kelsey Grammar manages to be both the straight man and the craziest character in a cast of nut bars. Look, I love submarine movies, and there aren’t nearly enough submarine comedies. Get on that, Hollywood.

Dr. Strangelove

Do I really need to explain why I love this movie? It’s brilliant.

Empire Records

Is there a more 90s movie in existence? I love every character, and virtually every scene. Gina taking the mic the end is one of the most triumphant moments I’ve ever seen in a movie. Too bad Coyote Shivers is a piece of shit who keeps trying to run for LA City Council. Happy Rex Manning Day, y’all.

The Empire Strikes Back

Here’s the thing. I don’t love the original Star Wars. I get it. I appreciate it. But I’d argue Empire is why the franchise is what it is. It took a popular piece of pulp moviemaking and turn it into a juggernaut. It’s a perfect film. It services and elevates every character, every story. The door opening to reveal Vader in Cloud City may be the best shot in 11 movies.

Eurotrip

This is my Holy Grail of bad movies. The opening is absolutely brilliant. Nerdy guy’s beautiful girlfriend breaks up with him at high school graduation. Then at a crowded grad party, Matt Damon performs a catchy song about how he’s been sleeping with nerdy guy’s girlfriend behind his back for years. The rest of the movie is a series of moments that feel like they belong in a better movie. It skates up against brilliance over and over again and fails almost every time. There should be college courses about this movie, breaking down why it fails so spectacularly, despite having a really solid base.

The Fifth Element

Luc Besson is an artist of high concept cinematic action and this is his masterpiece. It’s exciting, weird, and hilarious. I fucking hate Chris Tucker, and he’s at his obnoxious height here, and I somehow don’t hate him. That alone is worth the price of admission.

Fight Club

Like a lot of aimless middle class kids, this movie defined me for years. In film school, I would watch it whenever I was having trouble editing. I watched it at my grandparents house, and when they tried to judge me for liking it, I just sat there in my smug superiority because they say violence and masochism and I saw the depth beneath it. I wrote my college admissions essay about Tyler Durden, so no wonder I was only accepted to the one school that didn’t require an essay. His middle children of history speech was so true for someone ready to graduate high school pre 9/11. But by the time I graduated college, we were at war, and I had seen it so many times, it kind of wore on me. I went to a theatrical screening of it, where I got to meet Chuck Palahniuk, and I gave him a copy of a film I made based on one of his books. I still have his office number saved in my phone. There, in a theatre full of fans, what should have been the ideal setting, I was bored. That’s when I realized I outgrew it. I haven’t watched it since.

Finding Nemo

I worked as a projectionist in an 8 theatre multiplex. All eight projectors were in one big room, so when I started a movie, I had to turn up the sound in the booth to make sure it was playing okay, then turn it back down. The monitor knob in the biggest theatre was broken, so I had to keep the sound on for the duration. I had my head between two giant film platters when I heard Albert Brooks’s heartbreaking wail “Nemo! Nemo, no! NEMO!” I stopped what I was doing and ran over to the big theatre to watch Marlin desperately swimming to find his lost son. This is Pixar’s best movie by far. It’s beautiful. I love father-son stories. Nemo screaming at his dad to finally just listen to him cuts me to my core.

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1 Comments:

Blogger R.C. said...

I had pretty much the same experience with Delores Claiborne. I also found my first crush in David Duchovny, between Don't Tell Mom and Beethoven (we can psychoanalyze my childhood crush on the Bad Guy another time).

March 30, 2020 at 2:58 PM  

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