0:48:15 Recent Recommendations
1:05:40 Movie Trivia
1:13:40 Movie Comparison "Game"
0:46:30 80's Overview
0:48:15 Recent Recommendations
1:05:40 Movie Trivia
1:13:40 Movie Comparison "Game"
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Initial Review by Drew
To this day, it is one of the most memorable lines of the 1980s. Why is that? It must be because the film, and its maker, is iconic. It, along with other films, defined a generation and that is its legacy. Many skeptics wonder why it has the echelon and it is my self – deemed task to explain its important place in American culture.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off concerned a high school senior who desires to cause trouble and get away with it. Here was the thing. He did! His philosophy was “life goes by so fast that if you don't stop and look around, you might miss it." That line appeared twice in the film – at the beginning and end. Wise words for an eighteen year old.
With his mantra, Ferris Bueller gathered his best friend Cameron Frye and girlfriend Sloane Peterson and they skipped school in the fictitious suburb of Sherman, Illinois, for a fun day in Chicago. That was the general thought but specific scenes highlight Bueller’s thinking. Take the lunch scene for example. Obviously they have no business being there, but he outsmarted the maître d into thinking he is Abe Froman – “Sausage King of Chicago” – and took his reservation.
Another instance was when Bueller attempted to make Frye feel better about their day and hijacked a German – American parade and sang the Wayne Newton rendition of “Danke Schoen” and then topped it off with The Beatles’ rendition of “Twist and Shout.” That was the pinnacle of the film’s fun as it appeared nearly all of Dearborn Street and its surroundings took part in the celebration. A good song choice to get rowdy.
During all of this, Dean of Students Edward Rooney attempted to catch Bueller in truancy and withhold his graduation for excessive absences. His attempt to achieve that was a hilarious failure. He was spit on, lost a shoe, chased by a Rottweiler, kicked in the face by Jeanie Bueller – Ferris’ sister – , got his car towed, and given a humiliating bus ride back to school. We can tell these events were a preview for Home Alone. Classic stuff.
Matthew Broderick was great at playing Bueller, as it is his best role. Alan Ruck played the great neurotic character that was Cameron Frye but like Broderick, he did nothing substantial afterwards. Furthermore, I cannot name one movie Mia Sara – Sloane Peterson – was in post Bueller. Jennifer Grey, who was Jeanie, did another iconic film but had a much larger role in that than this. Jeffrey Jones – Rooney – went on to star in Beatlejuice but this was his best spot. He was fantastic as Rooney. Whenever I think of a dimwitted school official, Rooney comes to mind. Finally on this list, is Charlie Sheen. His role as the druggie in the police station is his best acting. He stayed up for two or three days straight to get that look and he absolutely nailed it.
The film was peppered with quotable lines. Obviously, the “Bueller” line but there were more.
There is a debate that often transpires as to who is the main character. I am not entirely interested in that as I am about answering why this film and its director are iconic.
John Hughes was known as the director who defined Generation X through his adolescent films throughout the 1980s. When discussing films in the 1980s, or films in general, one cannot forget about him. Whether viewers liked Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is irrelevant because of how the characters were defined throughout the pieces. It all came down to relativity. I am an older Millennial but would much rather be considered a young Gen X – er because of the idiotic stigma that exists in being a Millennial. Younger Millennials have a clue as to why Hughes’ films are important because they cannot relate to those stories; whereas the older generation appreciates them because it described their attitude toward authority. Sure, parents and other authoritative members may never understand the youth, but Hughes’ teen films exemplified that notion to an art and science.
Having stated that, Bueller brought out the fun in getting away with something. The plot in and of itself displayed it but in a more subtle manner, examine how Jeanie left the police station. She told the Sheen character that most guys called her Shauna. When did they do that? I never heard a single character call her “Shauna.” She tried to be cool in front of the guy and it was hardly noticeable, which was ingenious.
There are, however, some hokey moments so it is understood why some may not think this is great but its iconic status is unequivocal.
Bryan, Drew, and Jon got together for a quick recap of Season 2, Round 3. Enjoy
Wake in Fright
Original Review by Bryan
Wake in Fright was resurrected by Drafthouse Films. I’m going to get this out of the way, Wake in Fright is the original “Hangover.” The starting scene of John Grant sitting in a bleak, Australian classroom gave me flashbacks to Bradley Cooper.
Grant is stuck teaching by the Australian government in the no-man’s town of Tiboonda, but he’s headed out of town to meet up with his girlfriend. It’s funny to see Grant turn down a beer on the train the second time through this movie. The revelry on the train foreshadows Grant’s time in Bundanyabba. We’re introduced to Jock Crawford’s enormous appetite to drink by the enormous light he gives John. Jock is dumb, but loves his town!
Two-Up. We have to play this at the Mediocrities, right? John’s tablemate, Doc Tydon, checking the law of large numbers at the restaurant drops some philosophy on us, “All the little devils are proud of hell” and “Discontent is the luxury of the well to do. If you gotta live here. You might as well like it.” More foreshadowing of what is to come in the Yabba. I love the exchange at the table.
The Two-Up scene with John involved has to be one of the best gambling scenes in any movie. There’s chaos, excitement, and anticipation. Fair go! And John is out of there. I had a night like this at a casino near Chicago, anyone who has, can easily to relate to the excitement. According to the Reserve Bank of Australia, 400 AUD in 1971 is 4,089.64 AUD in 2014. Quite a haul.
John’s excitement quickly turns to anger and desperation to leave Tiboonda. John’s out 400, let the spiral of the camera and John begin! John’s personality as he sulks in the bar and hangs out with Tim Hynes is a bit annoying, but come to think of it, he has to feel like shit. Things are low for John as he yaks in the desert instead of getting it on with Tim’s daughter. The single frame shots and spinning from John’s perspective while drunk were quite creative. They gave the viewer a better sense of how John is feeling, assuming one can relate.
In the “cabin” I couldn’t help but be drawn to the honesty and disgustingness of the alcoholic doctor. He’s sloppy, unreliable, and an awesome supporting actor.
When John, Doc, Dick, and Joe go out hunting the movie takes a turn from funny drunk to frightening drunk - someone no one wants to see. But this is a movie and at this point I’m curious how dark this is going to get after they hit the kangaroo with a car. Well, that didn’t take long - we’ve got the mass murder of kangaroos via spotlight. I actually looked this scene up after watching the first time. It was actual killing and was semi-encouraged by the conservation groups in Australia to show how brutal kangaroo hunting is. From Wikipedia...
In addition to the film's atmosphere of sordid realism, the kangaroo hunting scene contains graphic footage of kangaroos actually being shot. A disclaimer at the conclusion of the movie states:
The hunting scenes depicted in this film were taken during an actual kangaroo hunt by professional licensed hunters.
For this reason and because the survival of the Australian kangaroo is seriously threatened, these scenes were shown uncut after consultation with the leading animal welfare organisations in Australia and the United Kingdom.
The hunt lasted several hours, and gradually wore down the filmmakers. According to cinematographer Brian West, "the hunters were getting really drunk and they started to miss, ... It was becoming this orgy of killing and we [the crew] were getting sick of it."
Kangaroos hopped about helplessly with gun wounds and trailing intestines. Producer George Willoughby reportedly fainted after seeing a kangaroo "splattered in a particularly spectacular fashion". The crew orchestrated a power failure in order to end the hunt.
At the 2009 Cannes Classic screening of Wake in Fright, 12 people walked out during the kangaroo hunt.
Director Ted Kotcheff, a professed vegetarian, has defended his use of the hunting footage in the film.
Watching the shooting and the kangaroo fight is tough - it’s real, it’s painful, and it’s dark. I can’t tell if John’s reaction is a drunken way to fit in or he was really ok with it. I’d like to assume the former, but we’ve all been in a place where bad choices are made so we can fit in socially. Obviously most of us don’t go to this extreme.
As Doc and John wake in the morning, we have the same feeling as John - “What the hell just happened?” Unsure if John is going to get it together or things will just get darker, he’s desperate for another morning beer and a few moments later he’s eating roasted wild rabbit roadside. He swears off drinking, catches a ride, and is back in the Yabba. I wasn’t sure if he was going to blow his own brains out right there in the road.
As John winds up back in Tiboonda, I’m still ambivalent about my feelings for him. But I could watch his journey (other than the kangaroos) over and over. A few parts in the middle drug on a bit. I’m stuck between A- and A+, excited for the discussion.
A few fleeting thoughts... The score provided a means to express the hot, expansive outback, never drawing away from the movie. This may be a more effective drinking deterrent than “Just Say No.” If this movie were made today, an excessive amount of nudity, cursing, and violence would absolutely be a part of this movie - and it would severely take away from the darkness we witness from John’s point of view.
Blue Is the Warmest Color
Initial review by: Bobby
"Determined to fall in love, 15-year-old Adèle is focused on boys. But it's a blue-haired girl she meets on the street who really piques her interest."
That is the Netflix snippet on Abdellatif Kechiche's Blue Is the Warmest Color... and after watching, it's one of the most inaccurate descriptions of a movie that I've ever read... which is a good thing. The film is so much more interesting and powerful than those two sentences even attempt to imply.
I suppose the first question would be, what is this movie really about? As much as some people may beg to differ... it's not just lesbians and sex. At its base, it's a love story, about passions colliding from different worlds. What really sets it apart though, is its depiction and relatability of that love and passion... especially all the emotions that come along for the ride. What really worked for me were the slow and believable settings of every day life with Adèle. From walking to, and missing, the bus, to sitting in class and at the dinner table... it forces us to be involved and invested in Adèle as a person, and not just a piece of the story. Also, she likes gypsy music, hates screaming music and likes gyros and Kubrick... sounds like a good and interesting person to me! Anyway, I never felt like she was determined to fall in love, only determined to stay there once she was. She was never focused on boys, but went along with what she thought was normal and expected of her... clearly confused and trying to figure our her sexuality. So yeah, it's Adèle's story of finding oneself, growing, loving, hurting, losing, and living.
We're given the entire process... pre relationship to post relationship. We see the insecure teenager who is trying to fit in with her friends, but clearly doesn't feel completely comfortable with her sexuality. We see instances that push her curiosity, and uncertainty, and we see that develop into a full blown relationship built on time, effort and love. We then see it slowly crumble from such insecurities and uncertainties and how difficult moving on can be.
The great thing about this, is that we are shown all of it. The movie is three hours, but for good reason. Hardly ever does an audience get to be so involved in a relationship at every aspect and actually see and feel the all of emotions and reactions that the characters carry. And it's all given a heightened sense of realism.. through the high school fights and immaturity, dancing, laughing, believable conversations, emotional eating, carrying difficult emotions at work, around others, returning to memorable places and moments, etc. We see a lot of what may seem unnecessary and mundane, but vital to the feeling of the film. We get relationship and sexual parallels within every day settings. We are shown the collision of two different worlds as well... one upper class, liberal and encouraged to pursue a life of passion, the other middle class and conservative, pushed to be practical and do what's expected. Adèle coming out of her comfort zone, as seen when she is trying oysters served in Emma's world. But we see her falling back into what she knows when insecurities creep back, such as making and serving the spaghetti, which she was so used to in her world. Normal things like worrying about the way Emma looks at Lise, or feeling alone and uncertain. Everybody who has been in a relationship can relate to something Adèle does or feels at some point in her story, and that's driven by how it's presented.
One of my favorite things about the movie is that the story is not only told through the characters, but also complimented by the readings, lectures, and, discussions of books that we hear throughout. I'm going back through some of those scenes as I write this so I can better recall what they told us. The first reading we hear talks about the heart missing something, but not knowing what it is (which comes up again in conversation). And the teacher brings up love at first sight... the glance shared between people crossing paths. Which is how it all starts for Adèle with Emma. Is it regret? Destiny? Something else entirely? The first reading also mentions love starting off sincere, but falling into a desire to please. The next lecture mentions being little, not feeling mature or strong enough, and making the choice to not feel little anymore. And more importantly, that 'tragedy is unavoidable.' I think this pretty much tells us that things are gonna get bad at some point... which for me, was foreshadowed with the way difference in taste were so readily presented to us... such as the Strawberry Milk drink, eating the skin, etc. Tragedy was unavoidable.
Next, Emma tells Adèle of Sartre, and how 'define ourselves by our actions' giving 'us a great responsibility,' to which Adèle says she didn't understand. The next talks about vice being natural occurrence, and that everything eventually gets perverted. All of these parallel Adèle's story with Emma. It's also here where we see Adèle become less interested in her classes, a stark contrast to how she enjoyed and paid attention to the discussions before her focus shifted to Emma. From here, we have Adèle reading to her class. First a story of a lamb and wolf... and with every knock, the fear of the wolf coming back. This is at a time where Adèle is doing what she loves, but of course there's the threat of her insecurities and loneliness coming back, along with the scene's focus on her co-worker... leading directly into the party that really starts to stir those feelings. Our final reading is a poem that Adèle has her first graders read entitled "No Need", that seems to say, there is no need to do or be something you're not, when you already have the means to reach the desired outcome. To me, it's Adèle having no need of Emma to continue her story... to move on, to mature, and be happy with herself and her life... even if she still doesn't fully understand yet. I'm sure some of that could be a stretch or just simple taken a completely different way by others... but I thought it was an interesting component to an already genuine and believable story.
Of course, that story was elevated even higher by the directing and acting. First off, the acting was absolutely outstanding. I always feel good when I get through a movie and don't feel like any small roles were completely miscast or misplayed, no bad parts that end up being a large distraction. More importantly, the lead roles were cast and played near flawlessly. Adèle Exarchopoulos, as Adèle, has to jump toward the top of our Best Actress list. She gave us an incredible range of emotions, everyone of them believable... and yet always returning to her base expression of uncertainty and insecurity that was presented so honestly. She apparently received nearly 40 nominations, and deserved every bit of the praise. We can expect to see her in plenty of Hollywood films in the future... starting with a role alongside Javier Bardem and Charlize Theron in an upcoming Sean Penn film. Not to be outdone, Léa Seydoux was also spot on as Emma. We've seen her before (Inglorious Basterds, Grand Budapest Hotel), and she's soon to be the next Bond Girl. It's really difficult to find any fault in how the two leads played their roles, so it's really nothing but praise, as their performances made the movie.
There's also been quite the controversy over how they were treated by Kechiche during filming, although all parties rightfully seem pleased with the result. Kechiche's directing and choices were a big part of that, no doubt. His most notable choice of shots, is definitely the close up. The way Kechiche chose to show their expressions and bodies made every thing feel more intimate and real. Of course, the constant blue tones and dominance of the blue from Emma's hair, Adèle's sheets, the smoke bomb, Beatrice's nails during Adèle's first kiss with another girl... to how the blue seems to be less prominent when she's happy with Emma, only to return again after this go bad. He made good use of the color and it's attachment to emotion. It's also a nice touch that the only artist Adèle really seemed to know/mention was Picasso, having his whole "blue period" and all. In the end, I think we truly get to see the product that Kechiche envisioned... I don't think the mentioning of Kubrick was a coincidence, as he was known for strict directing and a tough atmosphere in order to get every shot just how he wanted. Kechiche even throws in a jab at himself in the end, about ball busting directors. Unlike the actresses, however, he doesn't get all praise. Kechiche is responsible for the gripes I do have.
The sex scenes have been a big topic, of course. For me, there's some good and some bad to how these were done. The good, is that they felt real and intense for Adèle and Emma within the atmosphere of the film. We see and feel Adèle go from curious and unsure to becoming a confident and eager lover. As mentioned before, the close ups, especially of their faces, really bring out the passion and energy of the scenes. On the other hand, a part of it just felt like Kechiche was fulfilling a fantasy of filming/directing lesbian scenes, and this was just his vision of that. If it wasn't for the story and acting surrounding it, it really just would have been lesbian porn. It actually reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend about sex scenes in shows, especially gay scenes. He was hesitant to watch Sense8 because of the multiple gay sex scenes, and I tried to explain that while watching a series or movie, we aren't viewing those scenes in order to get turned on, but to develop/compliment the plot and characters. This holds true here, but it also seemed that Kechiceh put a little extra erotic effort into the scenes that went beyond what was necessary. I think it would have been tremendously beneficial if he brought in somebody to consult on some of the scenes, such as the way George Miller brought in Eve Ensler. Actually having real lesbians on set and helping would have added to the realism and made it feel less like Kechiche's fantasy on film.
Aside from just the sex scenes, spotlighting LGBTQ characters and relationships is something we need to see more of, and I hope it continues as a normalized part of the mainstream film/media market... but directors should make the effort to make sure it's presented as well as possible if it's not something they're connected to and knowledgeable about.
Also, the restaurant scene bothered me some. Blue is the Warmest Color does such a great job of making everything feel authentic, from the characters to the settings, to the conversation. But then, we're placed in a restaurant where nobody notices a woman grabbing another woman's hand and having her finger her... and not subtly under the table. So either the service at that place is really horrible where servers never come around, or they have really liberal policies about sexual behavior in public. The women behind Adèle would have had a pretty good view, too, but their expressions when Adèle left said otherwise. Fortunately the diaglogue and emotion in the scene greatly overshadowed the complete lapse of logic, so it was still a strong portion of the story. Especially seeing how people lie to each other, and themselves... as Emma does about not loving Adèle anymore.
I could probably talk about plenty more... film/culture differences, dialogue, as there are always lines that stand out for me, etc, but we can leave some things for discussion... and I feel like I should wrap this up.
I'm glad I broke the veto record. I've wanted to watch this, but 3 hours scared me off a few times. Now that I've seen it, I have to say Blue Is the Warmest Color is the best movie I've watched so far this year, and deserves the accolades and praise it has received. My heart says A+, but writing everything out keeps me grounded. So, while it isn't a perfect movie, it does most things so well, that the gripes I have with it only barely knock off the plus. It's a solid A.
JUST SOME IDIOTS GIVING SURPRISINGLY AVERAGE MOVIE REVIEWS.
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