POP ART: Episode 53, Almost Famous/Murmur of the Heart


NEW POP ART EPISODE: A BOY’S BEST FRIEND IS HIS MOTHER: “Your mom kind of freaked me out”. Coming of age can be the most traumatic and difficult time in a young person’s life. Of course, sometimes, this rite of passage can be eased with a little help from…your mother? Sounds like it’s time for Episode 53 of Pop Art, the podcast where my guest chooses a movie from popular culture and I’ll select a film from the more art/classic/indie side of cinema with a connection to it. And this time I am happy to welcome as my guest, film enthusiast Cameron Kanachki, who has chosen the modern coming of age rock and roll classic Almost Famous, while I have chosen the Louis Malle classic French coming of age story Murmur of the Heart, both about teens coming of age with a little help from Mommie, dearest.

And in this episode we answer such questions as: How do Freud and Hegel fit in? Who was originally cast in the Billy Crudup role? Just how autobiographical are these movies? Vice is nice, but is incest best? Where does the famous Supreme Court statement about porn “I know it when I see it” come from? What is Cameron Crowe’s favorite scene?

Cameron, along with moi, is often a guest on the fun LAMBCast podcast. So go to that website and find out what we talk about there: http://www.largeassmovieblogs.com/

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YOU’VE EITHER GOT OR YOU HAVEN’T GOT STYLE: Mistress America and Queen of Earth


First, a word from our sponsors: I am now offering a new service: so much emphasis has been given lately to the importance of the opening of your screenplay, I now offer coverage for the first twenty pages at the cost of $20.00.  For those who don’t want to have full coverage on their screenplay at this time, but want to know how well their script is working with the opening pages, this is perfect for you.  I’ll help you not lose the reader on page one. 
 
Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r
 
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Warning: SPOILERS
mistress 2In Mistress America, the new comedy of manners directed by Noah Baumbach and written by Baumbach and the actor playing the title role, Greta Gerwig, Tracy, a freshman in college who wants to be a writer, has trouble fitting in. She can’t get invited to a party. The snobbish college lit magazine rejects her story. The only person who has warmed up to her, fellow writer Tony, whom she hopes to date, suddenly shows up with another woman on his arm.
Desperate to find a way out of her slough of despair (to use a literary allusion), she finally does what her mother suggests: contact Brooke, the daughter of her mother’s future husband, who lives in New York. And when she does, Brooke takes Tracy under her wing and expands her horizons.
But Brooke is, well, quite a character, should we say. Which is good since, in many ways, Mistress America is a character study.
It’s also a very studied character study.
Critics have said that Mistress America is very quotable. And in many ways, they are right. Just like a play by Oscar Wilde, I could see almost every line possibly ending up in a Barlett’s.
But everything in the movie feels like it’s in quotation marks. The acting, the characters, the story, the mis en scene. It’s like a Restoration comedy that’s been produced within an inch of its life.
That sounds like I’m saying something negative about the movie. But I’m not really. Yes, everything in Mistress America seems punctuated, but still, it’s a thorough joy to watch. It is a rollicking good time. Continue reading

BITCH, BITCH, BITCH: Gone Girl


First, a word from our sponsors. Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r

Warning: SPOILERS
gone girlAmy Dunne, the heroine of the new Gillian Flynn/David Fincher thriller Gone Girl, is the latest in a long line of movie heroines.
Well, that’s not true. I don’t think the line is that long. It sort of vaguely dates from around the 1970’s.
It began somewhere around the mid of that decade with Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and continued on with Diana Christensen in Network; Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction; Annie Wilkes in Misery; Carolyn Burnham in American Beauty; Debbie in Knocked Up (and similar comedies); and many, many, many, many others. Many.
Yes, Amy Dunne comes from a long line of cinematic bitches. However, we may have now reached a new peak in Hollywoodland. Ms. Dunne has the dubious distinction of possibly being the Queen Bitch of all filmdom.

 

No, I’m going to correct that. Using the language of the movie, she is not the Queen Bitch of all Queen Bitches. She is the Queen Cunt of all Queen Bitches. She is one step up from bitch. Continue reading