Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Well, these last ten days have been unusually trying for me in order to participate in this challenge. As I begin typing this on Monday, the 24th, I currently don't have a computer and am typing this from the library, and on the limited time that I have here. I've also been posting entries on facebook ahead of time, and when I can on the list, and his hasn't been easy, but I was able to do it, and am currently on day 21, with preparations for the next few days in order to go ahead if need be. Hopefully my computer will return from the shop in the next few days. In the meantime, lets review up 'til now.

DAY 1: Favorite Fim: "CASABLANCA"
DAY 2: Least Favorite Film: "AMANDA"
DAY 3: Favorite Comedy: "AIRPLANE!"
DAY 4: Favorite Drama: "THE GODFATHER"
DAY 5: Favorite Action: "RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK"
DAY 6: Favorite Horror: "CARRIE"
DAY 7: Favorite Animated Fim: TIE: "PRINCESS MONONOKE" and "WALL-E"
DAY 8: Favorite Thriller: "THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS"
DAY 9: Favorite Musical: "NASHVILLE"
DAY 10: Favorite Foriegn Film: "THE DECALOGUE"

And now: Days 11-20!

Day 11: Favorite Kids Movie: "ALMOST FAMOUS"

I hinted that I was going to pick an R rated film for my favorite kids movie, and I did. It's also a stupid R rating, for drugs use/talk, language and brief nudity that I swear to God, took me five viewings before I noticed the one brief moment where Kate Hudson is slightly topless. But, I think about the joy of being a kid when I see this film, and how impressive it can be to see some things like your rock'n'roll icons. I never really understand most of those "summer that changed your life" films, but this is one that I did understand, and I still watch like a kid that's wide-eyed and bearing witness to amazing things. This movie is perfectly fine for kids of any age, whatever the ratings.

DAY 12: Favorite Love Story: "BEFORE SUNRISE"

Here's another movie with a stupid R rating. My real favorite love story is "Casablanca," but it was hard finding my second choice. I came up with about a few dozens choices, and half the time, instead of eliminating films, I usually ended up adding more. I chose "Before Sunrise," first off because it's one of my favorite movies, but also because, I think the movie is the quintessential beginning of every love story, a meeting of the minds. The whole movie takes place in Vienna, where an American boy and a French girl, meet on a train, and on a whim spend a day walking around Vienna talking about, everything from the mathematical impossibility of reincarnation to the meaning of life, and everything in between. It's a movie where the minds meets and have a strange dream-like adventure, the kind that strangers have all the time, some we might even remember, with that guy or girl we might have or should have hooked up with, and sometimes think about what could've been. It's a special movie, and one of the few films I can say this sentence about: "The sequal, "Before Sunset," is even better!"

DAY 13: Favorite Chick Flick: "THE PHILADELPHIA STORY"
 Here's a category that confused me. Again, I made a very long list, completely unsure of what a "Chick Flick," is. I know the term, the and most of those cliched movies that are associated with it, "Beaches," seems to be a popular, a film that never worked to me. I had a long list and tried a few thought about a few creative choices like "High Art," "Lost in Translation," or "Juno", but I'm pretty sure a chick flick involves strong women and very good actresses, and some kind of melodrama over men, love, marriage, and/or womanhood. At least it said something like that on Still,  I think however, "The Philadelphia Story," this wonderful witty comedy of upper crust shenanigans is my personal favorites. Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, and Katherine Hepburn, a drunken party, some classic farce misunderstandings, and some a crazy wedding scene, this comedy certainly has a lot of interesting and strong women, and some head-over-heels lovestruck men who love them. Directed by George Cukor, who was infamous for being a "woman's director," who made movies that glorified womanhood, this is my personal favorite of his.

NOTE: It's now Tuesday afternoon, and I have about an hour or so left on the computer, however, I've just been informed that my computer will be returning to me shortly, so, YEAH!

DAY 14: Favorite Documentary: "THE FIVE OBSTRUCTIONS"
I watch a lot of documentaries, more than most people, but the documentaries that I found myself really loving are the ones that aren't political or journalistic or even muchraking in nature. So, as much as I love Errol Morris, Michael Moore, Alex Gibney, and a few others, they were some of the great directors, most of their films I knocked out. I thought about "Woodstock," for a while here, and a few othe concert films like "Madonna: Truth or Dare," and a few movies like "Bowling for Columbine," and "This Film is Not Yet Rated," which are both funny and fascinating, I just didn't see a major need to watch them over and over again. I finally settled on a documentary that is practically a sociological experiment than anything else. In "The Five Obstructions," director Lars von Trier, who is a little mad to begin with, decides to challenge his idol Jorgen Leth to remake his movie "The Perfect Human," five different times, each under different rules, restrictions and guidelines. It's a reality show for filmmakers, and one of the most intriguing films ever about filmmaking. A must for every film fanatic.

DAY 15: Favorite Play Adaptation: "THE ODD COUPLE"

I wish I could go to the theatre more often. I had to go to recently for a class, but frankly, there was nothing more enjoyable. "The Odd Couple," is personal for me for a couple reasons, one of them being is that I had the honor to perform a couple scenes from it in a Scene Work for Directors class last year. (I had the opportunity to play both Felix and Oscar, in different scenes.) It was unbelieveably enjoyable and challenging. Felix and Oscar are two of the toughest characters in English literature to perform. (Seriously, Hamlet is easier.) But the other reason I love this one in particular is because of how the movie is shot. Most of the movie is shot very similarly to the play. There's only three walls in this fall. Most movie adaptations open up a play from the limitations of the stage, create the world of the play more thoroughly. ("Driving Miss Daisy," for instance invents numerous characters and locations that differ from the original stageplay) I don't have a problem with opening up the play, however, as someone who doesn't get to go to the theatre as often as he'd love to, (And forget about making my way to Broadway on a regular basis) frankly I love that I can basically watch something that's really close to the theatre experience in a movie. (Note: I came close to picking "Arsenic and Old Lace," which is also shot with that 3-wall play technique, but "The Odd Couple," is just a little more personal for me.)

DAY 16: Favorite Book Adaptation: "ADAPTATION."

I don't read as often as I'd probably prefer, I admit that. I haven't read "The Orchid Thief," by Susan Orlean, the movie which "Adaptation." is based on. I do read books that were made into movie i love when I can, like "No Country for Old Men," "Sideways," and "Where the Truth Lies...", and recently Stieg Larsson's Millenium Trilogy has fascinated me. (I've already written a couple blogs on that series). However, "Adaptation." is not only an adaptation of a book, it's a brilliant movie, about how hard it is to adapt a novel into a film, on top of about dozens of other things that crawl into the mind of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman ("Being John Malkovich," "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind," "Synecdoche, New York"), the maddest of the Hollywood's mad geniuses. Also, on a personal note, "Adaptation." is one of the reasons that convinced me to go to film school. I was taking an online film class at CSN, and the final project was to do a complete film analysis on a film of our choosing (pending Professor's approval) and "Adaptation." was my choice. I wrote a 22-page complete analysis that actually involved  voice over narration criticizing the paper as I wrote it, until eventually, I starting yelling at my voiceover within the paper. (If you've seen the movie, you get the joke). It was overly-long, outlandish, and broke basically every rule on how to structure and write an essay. The Professor informed me after that he would teach that paper in the future. It was then that I knew to become a film major. Anybody that lets me get away with that, should definitely be where I start looking for a career. :)

NOTE: It's now Tuesday night, and my computer is back. Yeah! Now, I'm trying to figure out why my Microsoft Office doesn't work, even though I saved a wordpad statement on the desktop that was entitled, "MICROSOFT OFFICE CODE NUMBER!" Happy, but annoyed.


Alright, I'm in the minority on this, but the movies are just godawful, the first being really the worst. I don't like Tolkien's book to begin with, but there's a story there that under the critical eye of somebody who knows storytelling, could really be magic and spellbounding. The problem with Tolkien is that there's no science in this world. What happens, essentially just happens because Tolkien needs to happen there, not because there's any rhyme, reason or logic to the world he created. I get that he was creating mythology, and that's fine, but even the characters, who've supposedly lived in this Middle Earth all their lives aren't aware that, you know, there's talking trees up ahead, or whatever (I know that's the second movie, but still...), or Gandolf can literal appear at one place in an instant after being miles away, but dies when falling into a volcano or whatever, but no he doesn't die..., ugh. It's not told correctly this story, as I blame Peter Jackson for making a literal Tolkien-appreciative adaptation of the book, and the fact that this is just a part one of trilogy! Ugh, makes me want to puke just thinking about it.

DAY 18: Favorite Guilty Pleasure: "SECRETARY"

Oh boy. Well, this is a tricky category. I had a lot of options with this film as well, some were somewhat more embarrasing than even this one. Personally, I think Maggie Gyllenhaal's performance in this film is the best acting performance of the decade. I mean, she outweirds James Spader, in what's basically a weird-off. Well, kink-off. I mean, that alone should've gotten here a nomination. Although, I have enjoyed this film, a few more times than most people have. I had a few other options. "Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead," "Major League," and "Psycho Beach Party", came close. I started disqualifying really well-known and respected cult films like movies like Russ Meyer's "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!", and some of John Waters's better films, and "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." When does it go from cult to mainstream? Hmm, great movies some of those, but too popular. So, with reservations that this movie is on that cult favorite/respected modern classic borderline, eh, well, that's the thing with guilty pleasures, you like 'cause you like them. The same way in Luis Bunuel's "Belle de Jour," the Catherine Deneuve character liked her kinks, ( In that film, humiliation) Gyllenhaal's character likes her, and I like "Secretary," 'cause I like it.

DAY 19: Film that made you cry the hardest: "LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL"

Some of these have been incredibly difficult to make a selection. This was not one of them. I remember it like it was yesterday. I wasn't in the best of moods. I was going through the movie selections at Smith's. I wanted something that wasn't too deep, and funny preferably. Stuff that I didn't have to think too deeply about. It wasn't the best of the days for some reason, and I thought "Life is Beautiful." Good title. I remembered the Roberto Benigni guy at the Oscars, he was funny. This looks like a funny movie. I can use a laugh. I think I also borrowed "Dogma," and "Titan A.E." that day. I know I definitely borrowed "Titan A.E.", I don't remember what the other choice was, I know it was a comedy. Probably not one as funny as "Dogma" though. Maybe it wasn't "Dogma." Anyway, I was alone that Saturday night for some reason, and I put on "Life is Beautiful." I thought I would get a few laughs, and I did. It was very funny, and then... (REST OF SENTENCE DELETED OUT FOR CONTAINING SPOILERS). I wasn't told about that going in. It's one of my favorite movies now, and I can't even think of the film without crying, and thinking about the ending. I cried, for what seemed like an hour that night, and then I watched it again, and laughed and then cried some more.


I have dozens of favorite actors and actresses, and in a similarly strange way, I actually have none. Acting and who's in a movie is really one of the last things I look at and think about when deciding what movie to watch. There's some great actors that I admire, but overall, a lot of acting, in film anyway, is choosing the best takes in the editing room. For the great actors, it won't matter, they'll always be amazing in every take, and there's so many. I mean, I have as much admiration for Elizabeth Banks as I do for Meryl Streep. Julianne Moore, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Catherine Deneuve, Judi Dench, hell, I even like Lindsay Lohan when she's given a good part and is in a good film. There's a talented people in Hollwood, and frankly liking one actor or actress over another is too narrow. Besides, you never know, in a good movie, some actors may completely surprise you. However, the older actors, in the star system of yesteryear, they were casted often based on image, and uptaining it. Parts were designed based on the personalities of certain actors. And I do like certain actors for what they represent, in the personal mystique. Somewhat the image overpowered reality, other times, I think it was close. In that respects, Katharine Hepburn, is my favorite. Smart, powerful, athletic, she didn't willingly wear a dress, and her characters were always deeper that that. I already used my favorite of her films, "The Philadelphia Story," but I thought about films as playful as "Pat and Mike," which is probably one of the films that really shows off a lot of her true personality, and then I thought about "The Lion in Winter," the wonderful performance she gives in that one. But they aren't favorites of mine. So, I went with a personal favorite of mine with "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner." Also, that film has two of my favorite actors in it as well, and while I'm not picking Spencer Tracy or Sidney Poitier for my favorite actor, they deserve to have at least one film on my list. It's a little flawed, and maybe it's story is a little classically don't-piss-too-many-people-off conservative, but it still holds up pretty damn well.

Well, my computer will be up and running on full soon. I'm downloading what I lost and putting it back online as I type. I'm already a couple days in to this week, and I'll still be updating this on facebook as I go. Some of you might have already noticed that I cheated again and picked two films for day 22. I don't know what I'm going to pick for a lot of these next ones, especially day 30, so stay tuned. I'll be blogging a lot of reviews in the next few editions, including a lot of new movies, so keep an eye for that. I'm 1/3 the way there, and many more great personal films I want to showcase. In the meantime, if you haven't seen some of the choices I've made, try and find a copy of one or all of these films. Maybe they might become as personal to you as they are for me. (Uh, more conservative filmgoers, maybe don't start with "Secretary." Check the youtube clip I posted first, and maybe look around at some of the others before making your mind up on that one.)

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