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All of the Films I Watched in 2014 — Part 4

The final fifty. Let the revolution begin.

Films 132-101

Films 100-76

Films 75-51

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50. A Fond Kiss (2004) — Ken Loach

Props to a white British man for depicting realistically the horror of your Pakistani family finding out you’re dating a white girl and making it hilarious.

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49. The Kids Are Alright (2010) — Lisa Cholodenko

It’s the parents who are screwed up. Manages to delve into usual soapy territory (adultery, bullying, college admissions, lesbians watching man-on-man porn) while keeping its characters down-to-earth.

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48. Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004) — Quentin Tarantino

A superior sequel. A little less gratuitous slaughter, a little more soliloquies about Superman and four year olds learning about death.

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47. Goodbye, Lenin (2003) — Wolfgang Becker

Just because East Germany suddenly had Coca-Cola, didn’t mean they didn’t have Ostalgie. A wonky satire of Berlin life after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the demands of the West that didn’t suit the needs of the ones who grew up in the East.

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46. Snowpiercer (2013) — Bong Joon-ho

Chris Evans in the best role of his life versus Tilda Swinton in the most hilarious role of her life. A great marriage of classist critique and badass action scenes.

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45. Great Directors (2012) — Angela Ismailos

A kind of narrow view of contemporary filmmaking (only European and American directors are featured here), the documentary still provides a compelling look inside the mind of some of the best directors out there.

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44. Metropolitan (1990) — Whit Stillman

Once you go rich and white, you’re stuck for life. What The Catcher in the Rye if Holden was a little bit more charming and dashed out socialist theories left and right.

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43. The Virgin Suicides (1999) — Sofia Coppola

The trickling in of the environmental degradation (gas mask parties) and the cruelty of high school kids point why the virgins did it, but like the boys trying to understand the girls’ motivation themselves, I can only guess the answer. Runs almost completely on a mood of distant awe.

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42. Donnie Darko (2002) — Richard Kelly

If you’re going to make a metaphor for schizophrenia, a teenager being tormented by his diabolical rabbit BBF is the way to go. Both beautifully lush and disturbing. One of the best affluenza movies out there.

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41. Tokyo Story (1953) — Yasujiro Ozu

The Japanese Fargo. The subtlest passive aggression between parent and child keeps them alienated from each other, leading them to live with the disappointment they have of each other in separation. The feel-good film of 1953.

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40. Monsieur Verdoux (1947) — Charles Chaplin

Chaplin’s bumpy transition to sound is evident here, but seeing Charlie Chaplin being his crazy physical self and deliver some sassy capitalist critique on the stand? What could a movie ever need more than that?

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39. The Bakery Girl of Monceau (1963) — Eric Rohmer

The spiritual predecessor to Submarine. It captures the ennui of wanting to date the girl you saw on the street and stuffing yourself with cookies when you can’t find her. The defining conflict of our times.

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38. The Lego Movie (2014) — Chris Miller and Phil Lord

Able to resonate a complicated theme about “work and play” to kids by using the word “awesome” about a hundred times. Glad this was more than a corporation cash-grab (though President Lego is certainly rolling in it right now).

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37. Obvious Child (2014) — Gillian Robespierre

What would it be like for an immature person who gets a surprise pregnancy? It would be horrible and also really funny. Hope the abortion rom-com is here to stay.

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36. Amarcord (1973) — Federico Fellini

A year in the life of the shenanigans of a Fascist Italian town. Very funny and also very soulful. I wonder if the Fascist backdrop represents the search these characters have in their rush to grow up.

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35. Rebel Without a Cause (1955) — Nicholas Ray

A great movie about life and death and alcoholism and dating. The film is pretty corny, but just self-aware enough to catch itself. Why do we have to play driving to the edge of the cliff chicken? Because we got to. A tragedy that the stars of this movie had to go so young, because all of them are fantastic here.

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34. The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology (2012) — Sophie Fiennes and Slavoj Zizek

The coolest and funnest way to analyze systems of societal control. By filing through our media output, Zizek finds succinct instances of a film advertising or resisting the societal ideology at the time and delivers a Marxist-Freudian-Nietzchean explanation for what it might mean. Not for the die-hard Titanic fans out there.

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33. 12 Years a Slave (2013) — Steve McQueen and John Ridley

The kind of movie that makes you mad that human beings could be capable of perpetuating such racist inequality, and uses every beloved white guy actor out there to do it. This movie doesn’t close with plantation owners getting what’s coming to them, but it does give you a picture of how broken socioeconomic systems can be, and the impact that they have on the people they break.

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32. Hiroshima mon amour (1959) — Alain Resnais and Marguerite Duras

 It’s first a documentary about Hiroshima, then the morning after a one night stand, then a flashback to Occupied France and then an intense psychodrama – all wrapped up in the pain of losing what you love and being humiliated for loving that person in the first place. It’d be a lot more depressing, if it wasn’t so sexy.

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31. Birdman (2014) — Alejandro Gonzales Iñarritu

It’s no Best Picture of the Year, but it’s definitely a hilarious, whirling melodrama of egos too large for this world that utilizes riveting visual techniques to get inside these characters’ heads. And man, do those drums get stuck in your head.

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30. Your Sister’s Sister (2012) — Lynn Shelton

Blew me away with how much a story and character can develop in one setting. Funny and well-acted, watching this movie gave me the realization that one really doesn’t need a large budget to make an entertaining film.

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29. Jackie Brown (1997) – Quentin Tarantino

Could see why people say this is Tarantino’s best. It doesn’t have too much cinematic flair but the characters really ooze out of the screen. They dance around murder, crime and love and the chase Ordell gives Jackie and the rest of the characters is just engrossing to watch.

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28. Citizenfour (2014) — Laura Poitras

A gripping thriller that looks at what the definition of privacy and surveillance are in the wake of the extent NSA’s access to our information. A must-see for any organizer for a discussion about how much careful planning goes into blowing the whistle at a distance from the hand of the law.

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27. If… (1968) — Lindsay Anderson

The movie that fueled the fire of revolution in Europe by shooting a priest in it. It’s a weird, twisted movie that openly defies everything about the boarding school system and has no problem breaking the rules into a million pieces. Can’t believe they were able to get away with that ending.

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26. Breathless (1959) — Jean-Luc Godard

This movie feels a bit like a call to arms for unconventional filmmaking – its jagged camera and brutal protagonist are heavily unsentimental, but the dialogue between Michel and Patricia manages to worm its way into my heart anyway. The style sprints to the finish line and challenges you to catch up.

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25. Gone Girl (2014) — David Fincher

A fantastic blend of satire, melodrama and mystery. This movie understandably has its share of detractors as Amy’s brand of feminism is rather skewed, but the movie reacts to each outlandish twist with a dose of reality that brings each larger-than-life character down to their human levels. As Nick says, “Just because I [did the bad thing that I won’t spoil], doesn’t mean I’m a good person.”

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24. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) — Wes Anderson

Not his best in my book, but pretty darn close. Ralph Fiennes continues to arouse me impress me, the Candyland version of East Europe in the 1930s looks great, and the father-son dynamic between Gustave and Zero is in my opinion, the most fun of Anderson’s yet.

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23. Double Indemnity (1944) — Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler

“I couldn’t hear my footsteps. They were the sound of a dead man walking.” You can’t beat that writing. Despite being about covering up a murder, it has that feeling, as most Billy Wilder movies do, of being a perfect choice for a rainy day.

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22. Boyz in the Hood (1991) — John Singleton

This, to me, is the most compelling way to approach systemic inequality in film. Dig in deep into the personal lives of the characters living with in the inequality and bookend the film with the ones responsible for perpetuating it. One of the last lines: “It’s like they want us to kill each other.” The first shot: Reagan and Bush’s ’84 election poster.

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21. Ali: Angst Essen Seele Auf (1974) — Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Can’t be much wrong with a German move about a brown man named Salem living in Berlin who has love problems and can’t speak gut Deutsch. That aside, the way this film goes into the impotence one feels from constantly being judged is sehr fantastic.

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20. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) — Wes Anderson

The best Anderson film I’ve seen. What starts off as a quirky family drama goes into a raw depiction of loneliness with a  refreshing ending that brings all the quirkiness back and then some.

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19. Lola (1981) — Rainer Werner Fassbinder

This film has a dynamic cinematic quality to it that’s not as nuanced as most of Fassbinder’s other work, but is entertaining all the same. The repartee of neofacism against socialism, Schukert’s gleeful acceptance of his corrupt plutocrat status, von Bohm’s look on his face when he sees Lola in the strip club – this movie’s as fun of a mirror to post-war Germany as it is grim.

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18. The Apartment (1960) — Billy Wilder

A surprisingly light-hearted for a film with a suicide subplot. Loved the performances and the staging here though – Jack Lemmon’s airy goodness works as a hilarious and heartwarming contrast to the droll of the insurance offices and the callous affairs of his higher-ups. If only Roger Sterling was a little more CC Baxter and a little less Jeff Sheldrake, he and Joan could have lived happily ever after.

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17. The Trip (2010) — Michael Winterbottom

Come come, Mister Bond. You know you love this movie just as much as I do. Guts-busting funny, the kind that cleanses your soul after a particularly bad week at the job you never want to go to again. The mid-life crisis theme is pretty compelling too, but I’ll always remember this movie for telling me to go to bed. For we ride at 10! Ish! After the continental breakfast.

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16. Poison (1991) — Todd Haynes

“Just as the outside world shut me out, I too shut out the world.” For a movie filled with abusive spitting, this is a really beautiful film. The links between the parallel storylines, the anxieties of being a gay man in the late eighties, are as chilling as they are evocative, going to show you that a film doesn’t make to make rational sense to make sense.

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15. The 400 Blows (1959) — Francois Truffaut

Beautiful score, beautiful cinematography, beautiful everything. Truffaut steers a ship into Antoine’s life and the audience is just passing by, seeing his life slowly deteriorate until he’s alone in his demise at the end. Despite his bleak outlook, Antoine remains upbeat and opportunistic, which makes this sometimes harrowing film delightful to watch.

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14. Cleo from 5 to 7 (1961) — Agnes Varda

Loved how the film uses real-time to show the effect waiting for the test results has on Cléo’s own view of her mortality. It might mean a serious illness, but she has no way of knowing until seven o’clock, so what does she do until then? Sing pop songs, watch movies, meet with friends – all the things about her youth she might be saying goodbye to.

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13. I Am Not a Hipster (2012) — Destin Daniel Cretton

Saves itself from its title (which isn’t even mentioned in the film – could have used a title change). Starts off kind of funny but depressing, and then focuses on the Japanese tsunami long enough to make you catatonically upset, and then brings in the main characters’ sisters and friends and becomes whimsical and fun. I love the question it presents about art – in the ubiquity of personal projects in the digital age, what is art and what is “fluffy shit”?

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12. Scenes From a Marriage (1973) — Ingmar Bergman

The slow degradation of a marriage charted over the course of years. Small arguments or unfulfilled promises slowly drift husband and wife away, but no matter how far away they’re taken from each other, they never quite lose the other. A must-see for anyone who’s currently in long-term relationship with another person.

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11. Bridesmaids (2011) — Paul Feig, Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig

This is what a movie’s supposed to be. Fun and real. Really fun. I saw it on an airplane and nearly broke my throat trying to suppress my laughter. Would do it again in a heartbeart.

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10. Only Lovers Left Alive (2013) — Jim Jarmusch

The hippest movie of the year. Vampires on the brink of their peaceful existence due to dwindling resources as metaphor for humanity’s impending doom. No matter how many vintage guitars they own, their literal fatigue with humanity has worn them down, keeping them further away from what it’s like to be alive. Good thing they’re not living in the zombie capital of the world.

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9. Slacker (1991) — Richard Linklater

A movie that grows on me every time I watch it. The premise of revolving characters takes a while to wrap one’s head around, but in using an ensemble from a variety of different classes, Linklater shows Austin in all its strange alternative costumes. Whether someone’s getting a cup of coffee, or stealing a television, or heading to the party, they’ve got plenty to say about the world – usually more than the character they’re talking to wants to hear, but it’s plenty for us.

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8. My Dinner with Andre (1981) — Louis Malle, Wallace Shawn and André Gregory

Takes a while to get going, but once Wallace and André butt heads about the state of Western civilization, it’s on! For anyone who likes the talking kinds of film, this is a staple.

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7. Short-Term 12 (2013) — Destin Daniel Cretton

Bolstered by great naturalistic performances and by the hauntingly beautiful projects the teenagers in the psych ward create. That a film this bleak made me smile more times than I can remember made watching this the happiest marriage between viewer and film I’ve had in a while.

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6. One Wonderful Sunday (1947) — Akira Kurosawa

An optimist’s The Bicycle Thief. Over the course of a Sunday in which a couple can’t afford to spend more than 25 yen, they are constantly confronted by the disparate state their lives and country have been left in after the war and grapple with the possibility that this new Japan might not be for them. Knew I loved this movie when Yuzo goes to an opera house and is given a hot meal for the first time that day, but he realizes it’s because he’s mistaken for a yakuza, he rejects it.

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5. A Coffee in Berlin (2012) — Jan Ole Gester

I’m biased because this film is largely set in the same neighborhood where I went to school in Berlin, but watching this gave me the most excitement at the theater this year. A context of Berlin’s frank and aggressively forward culture helps to fully appreciate the humor, but watching Niko fumble through a day in Berlin sober amongst a cast of characters is hilarious no matter what language you speak.

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4. Boyhood (2014) — Richard Linklater

 Linklater takes the theme of time passing, which he’s been tackling from some angle since his first, and stretches it as far as it can go. Some might say too far (it is a little long), but as each moment passes in the film, I found myself wishing the moments in Mason’s childhood would last longer in the way I often wish my childhood did. Even the white savior bit doesn’t mar this from being the best movie of the year for me.

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3. Jules and Jim (1962) — Francois Truffaut

Truffaut has that ability to make tragic stories really fun to watch. Catherine is a bit crazy, but she’s a dynamic personality who’s only allowed by society the ability to define her life within the contexts of her relationships. Watching her choose between Jules and Jim (who are probably the most polite to each other people have ever behaved in a long triangle), is kind of sad, kind of funny and incredibly entertaining.

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2. Paths of Glory (1957) — Stanley Kubrick

A general prosecutes the survivors of his suicide mission to save face. A gripping tale about how egos can cost the lives of others, even when Kirk Douglas comes up with solid evidence to defend their case. A primary influence on The Wire and countless other stories about challenging institutions. The ending makes one of the most surprising turns I’ve seen at a denouement, and the result broke my heart and rejuvenated my soul.

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1. Imitation of Life (1959) — Douglas Sirk, Eleanore Griffin, Allan Scott

The combination of racial, class and gender conflicts in this lush and powerful drama creates a story that is at one time a depiction of stereotype and another a brutal subversion of that stereotype. The kind of movie where you watch characters who feel real grappling with the unfortunate implications of their relationships, and hope that if they can work through them, then maybe humanity can work through them.

That’s all! Hope you’ve got some suggestions for your to-watch list!

All The Films I saw in 2014 — Part 3

Ah. I love the smell of highly flammable sink water in the morning.

Films 132-101

Films 100-75

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75. GasLand (2010) — Josh Fox

Whether Josh Fox sensationalizes the truth or not, GasLand provides ample room for the discussion about the environmental impact of fracking and corporations’ inability to engage in dialogue about it.

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74. The Elephant Man (1980) — David Lynch

Dumbo, but with an elephant who is actually a man. Surprisingly straightforward for David Lynch, but the true-life plot is so surreal that it fits.

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73. Tadpole (2000) — Gary Winick, Heather McGowan and Niels Mueller

A digital home movie about a preppy teenager who’s in love with his stepmother. Hilarious Voltaire quotes ensue.

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72. Computer Chess (2013) — Andrew Bujalksi

A trippy movie about computers performed mostly by actual computer programmers (including Wiley Wiggins, the star of Dazed and Confused). When we created the first computer chess programs, did we create sentient life?

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71. The Ice Storm (1997) — Ang Lee and James Schamus

A 70’s period piece about a family on ice… during an ice storm. Nixon lied to us, so why shouldn’t we cheat on our spouses?

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70. Stardust Memories (1980) — Woody Allen

Made me feel very anxious for the rest of the day in the way most Woody Allen movies make me feel. That withstanding, you can’t beat that use of Moonlight Serenade.

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69. Whiplash (2014) — Damien Chazelle

Definitely not on the bandwagon about this film being the example for achieving greatness, but I am on the bandwagon that this tense, sharply edited and scored battle of egos hits the mark on the troublesome ideology of “Practice makes perfect.”

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68. Apocalypse Now (1979) — Francis Ford Coppola

A symphony of the violent effects of American interventionism. Excluding the ending with Brando, this has my money for one of Coppola’s best films to date.

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67. The Hunt (2012) — Thomas Vinterberg

Even if your small town Danish neighbors love you, the first chance to besmirch your character will be taken. One of those movies that manages to be a repetition of the same scene without feeling repetitive.

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66. The Bicycle Thief (1948) — Vittorio De Sica

A deep look at how the community of Rome’s poor suffers and how a lack of compassion creates a mentality of having to fend for yourself. Sad as hell ending.

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65. Fargo (1996) — The Coens

I’m usually not a fan of the Coens fucking-with-you-ness, but hearing these people with different accents fail to communicate with each other is too hilarious not to be charmed by.

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64. Bernie (2011) — Richard Linklater

A weird but great blend of documentary and drama with one of Jack Black’s greatest performances. The only film to lead to the parole of the film’s subject to live in the director’s garage.

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63. Side by Side (2012) — Christopher Kenneally and Keanu Reeves

A education on digital filmmaking as told by its critics like Scorcese and Nolan and its staunch supporters like Cameron and Lucas. Also gives the industry opinion on the Canon 5D (they’re not about that life).

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62. I Killed My Mother (2009) — Xavier Dolan

A Breathless for the digital age. Proof that the boundaries of filmmaking can still be pushed in visually breathtaking ways (I mean, just look at his eyebrows).

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61. The Double Durum Challenge (2014) — Dylan Freehauf

A must-see for any fans of Mustafa’s and fine döner.

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60. Certified Copy (2010) — Abbas Kiarostami

All of the Before Trilogy film mashed into one a la Alan Renais. Begs the question “What is a certified copy and what does it matter?”

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59. Wild Strawberries (1957) — Ingmar Bergman

A movie that moves me the more I think about it, this film about nostalgia demonstrates some of Bergman’s best abilities to communicate feelings of mortality and relationship ennui and point at something hopeful at the end.

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58. Jodorowsky’s Dune (2013) — Frank Pavich

The hilarious Alejandro Jodorowsky recounts his failed attempt of creating his adaptation of Dune, the plans of which went on to influence some of the biggest sci-fi films of the 70s and 80s. It’s amazing to see how personally attached he got and how he’s able to laugh it off years after the fact.

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57. Minnie and Moskowitz (1971) — John Cassavetes

It’s mind-numbingly frustrating to see these two people who have little chemistry keep running back to each other, but there’s something truthful about it. Sometimes the people who get a rise out of us are the ones we crave.

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56. The Big Chill (1983) — Lawrence Kasdan

Where were all those civil rights protestors when America turned to its neoliberalism ushered in by the Reagan era? Right, they became yuppies. A tender and grounded look at the disconnect between friends who no longer like who they’ve become and are forced to reexamine themselves when one of them commits suicide.

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55. Blue Valentine (2010) — Ryan Cianfrance

The whole reason they don’t work as a couple could be summed up in one line “…I found Megan”.

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54. Clerks (1994) — Kevin Smith

Just because you’re a loser doesn’t mean you can’t have a day of witty existentialist banter and an impromptu hockey match on the roof.

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53. Waking Life (2001) — Richard Linklater

Takes a while to get going, but once the conceit becomes clear, it’s exhilarating to see Linklater take us through this journey of dreams, which as per Linklater’s characters, features more philosophical musing than it does dream-like imagery (although there’s a fair amount of that as well).

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52. Today, Yesterday and Tomorrow (1964) — Vittorio De Sica

Delivers cartoonish characters so hilarious the social critique just trickles in. I’m still not fully sure how the three shorts line up (maybe reaffirms matrimony and religion over money and bureaucracy?), but it’s so funny what does it matter? “Rusconi!”

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51. Say Anything… (1989) — Cameron Crowe

Manages to sidestep the trappings of the “my dad doesn’t like my boyfriend” trope to tell a story about rejecting every corporation out there except love.

Stay tuned next time for the revolution, y’all.

All the Films I Saw in 2014 — Part 2

Welcome back to the countdown! If you’re reeling from the frustration of the Oscars’ apparent refusal to acknowledge the racial climate just as much as I am, then stroll back through memory lane with me and remember all of the voices the Oscars chose to forget this year.

Films 132-101

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100. Love is Strange (2014) — Ira Sachs

While twee and focuses too much on the unlikable family members for my taste, the film is a genuine love story of two older men who are torn apart by homophobia, age and the shitshow that is finding a decently priced apartment in New York.

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99.The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (2014) — Francis Lawrence, Danny Strong and Peter Craig

The Hunger Games gets even darker, pitting Katniss against PTSD, a media circus for a different government, and a Peeta who does Capitol TV interviews. While I’m still skeptical of the need to split Mockingjay into two parts, I can’t say I didn’t love the imagery in the final shot.

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98. Beginners (2010) — Mike Mills

A cutesy but raw portrait of an artist chronicling the deaths of his parents. Mills’ strength is in letting the audience know exactly in what space and time the story takes place, and it oozes out of this tale of Christopher Plummer’s character exploring his homosexuality in the late stages of his life.

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97. Sweetie (1989) — Jane Campion

A beautifully shot film about the secrets we hide to protect our loved ones, because one little revelation just might make someone take their top off in front of a nine-year old boy.

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96. Another Earth (2011) — Mike Cahill and Brit Marling

Proof that sci-fi can be done on any budget, as long as there’s strong characters and a musical saw.

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95. The Grifters (1990) — Stephen Frears

One of the best-written endings in the suspense genre. Angelica Huston was so invested in her scene that she ran from set in tears.

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94. Veronica Voss (1982) — Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Fassbinder’s critique of postwar Germany through the lens of a fading UFA star. Is torturing former Nazi sympathizers justifiable retribution?

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93. Shoot The Piano Player (1960) — Francois Truffaut

A gangster flick more about an artist’s angst and wondering why she doesn’t love you than about running away from gangsters. Can’t say there’s anything wrong with that.

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92. Wandelgeist (2014) — Dylan Freehauf

Life ain’t easy post-grad. But there might be something past that horizon.

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91. The Newton Boys (1998) — Richard Linklater

It’s a straight period gangster piece, which might not groove with people who like Linklater’s usual experiments with narrative, but it’s packed with a strong script, bucketloads of charm and an Ethan Hawke mustache, which is more than enough for me.

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90. Chaplin (1992) — Richard Attenbourgh

Caught in the sentimental trappings of the biopic, but I forgive the overemphasis on Chapin’s romantic life for any scene where Chaplin gets to stick it to the man (especially when the man in question is J. Edgar Hoover).

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89. MASH (1970) — Robert Altman

A macabre satire about the horror of male army machismo that maybe goes too far, which is fine, because it’s hilarious.

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88. Nightcrawler (2014) — Dan Gilroy

Who runs the world? Sociopaths. A scathing examination at media manipulation and what passes for success in this country.

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87. Sandy Stories (2013) — NYU Divest: Go Fossil Free!

The movie that showed me that mobilizing to fight climate change isn’t a pipe dream.

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86. Warsaw 44 (2014) — Jan Komasa

Some of the coolest and funnest action scenes I’ve seen this year. Dubstep shouldn’t ordinarily work in a film about the Polish resistance in WWII, but it does here.

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85. Dear White People (2014) — Justin Simien

An Altman-esque examination at how racial mores pervade our consciousness in our hashtag millennial culture. Not as funny as the trailer led me to believe, but just as compelling.

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84. Million Dollar Arm (2014) — Thomas McCarthy and Craig Gillespie

Jon Hamm in India? Yes please. A sharp script that accurately describes the clash between American and Indian culture and what the phrase “bypassing the system” means in both.

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83. The Double (2013) — Richard Ayoade and Avi Korine

A super mind-bending thriller with a plot that sort of makes sense and characters who are just as confused as you are. Not as accessible as Ayoade’s debut Submarine, but retains his ability to turn an otherwise drab location into a cinematic landscape.

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82. Persona (1966) — Ingmar Bergman

A masterclass in editing, lighting, acting, everything that has to do with telling a story in film. If a woman rids herself of motherhood, who is she? Is she even allowed a voice?

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81. The Square (2013) — Jehane Noujaim

An instruction manual on how to partake in a revolution with today’s technology. Hopeful for change even in the face of unrelenting authoritarianism.

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80. Tiny Furniture (2010) — Lena Dunham

Even though Lena Dunham might not have known the intricacies of digital versus film while making this, she made a movie that fits the aesthetic of low-budget digital perfectly. You use whatever you got to make something, even if you’ve only got a rocking horse and Nietzsche quotes.

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79. Kramer v. Kramer (1979) — Robert Benson

Like a novel in how free the characters are to explore their relationships with each other instead of strictly engaging in conflict. What Mad Men would be if Don Draper spent more time with his children than his girlfriend of the season.

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78. Adieu Au Langage (2014) — Jean-Luc Godard

Also in competition for the weirdest. A jarring but provocative look at how communication is changing due to technology. When wars are fought by machines, movies talk more than lovers do and people look at their phones during most conversations, perhaps the only ones who remember how to show affection are puppies.

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77. Walking and Talking (1997) — Nicole Holofcener

The template feels familiar now, but this tale of two New York women struggling with the potential end of their friendship stayed with me. It might be because of the fantastic ending, or it might be because this is essentially an episode of Girls minus an explicit sex scene.

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76. Tape (2001) — Richard Linklater

Earns its stageplay conventions with the freedom of the camera and the actors’ great ability to lie through their teeth. Even when there’s a taped confession, there’s still no way of knowing the truth.

Come back next time for next 25!

All the New Films I saw in 2014 — Part 1

2014 as a pretty big year for me. Graduation, a stint in LA, finally got a credit card (and finally understood why people complain about interest — it’s because it comes out of nowhere and it’s stupid.) I also shifted my focus from television to film this year. It started as a way of looking for influences in writing for television but once I got started, I found I was watching less pilots and watching more of those classic movies I keep hearing about. I would watch at least seven movies a week and noticed that my ability recall the themes and structure of each film was stronger to recall my ability to recall the episodes of television I binge. (Whenever I want to rewatch the episode of Mad Men where Pete throws out the chicken, it takes me twenty minutes).

I also got to hear a vast variety of different voices during a week, which I’m glad to have done, because otherwise I might have never known what someone from Korea’s view of global disasters will that we will all be living on the same train or what someone from France’s hour and a half-long view of her mortality was. There really is a world of films outside of American cinema and I think it behooves anyone to absorb as much culture outside of their own to get a better perspective of the similarities and boundaries between us all.

So I decided to put a list out of all the films I saw. Some films were understated gems that I thought needed a shout-out, others were just great movies that I wanted to re-iterate how great they were. The list only includes the films I saw during the 2014 calendar year. I didn’t count the films I’d already seen before or the films that were not released in any country yet. Also, the formatting and concept is borrowed heavily from Cut The Crap Movie Reviews (this blogger puts up all the movies that came out in the 2014 calendar year that he saw — definitely check it out).

Without further ado, let’s jump back into 2014!

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132. That Awkward Moment (2014) —  Tom Gormican

Oh, the horror of that awkward moment when the girl you’re sleeping with asks if you’re dating.

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131. Three O’ Clock High (1987) — Phil Joanou

A great premise that loses itself in gags that belong on Saturday morning TV. How Indiewire put this on their “best high school movies” list is beyond me.

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130. A Birth of a Nation (1914) — D.W. Griffith

As good as a movie can be when these guys are the heroes.

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129. Palo Alto (2014) — Gia Coppola and James Franco

Franco steps up to the plate and misses again. Some pretty b-roll though.

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128. Enemy of the Reich: The Noor Inayat Khan Story (2014) — Rob Gardener

If you’re making a movie about a Muslim deciphering Nazi war codes, you don’t need a PBS-style narration to explain every single thing that happens onscreen. Would love to see this as a narrative.

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127. Divergent (2014) — Neil Burger

An unnecessary and convoluted third act spoils what was on its way to being a great movie.

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126.O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) — The Coens

It’s fun to see these actors clowning around, but not really sure why people like this movie.

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125. Ghostbusters (1984) — Ivan Reitman, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis

Great song and plot, but something doesn’t about it doesn’t sit right with me. I get a “big business triumphs all, fuck the environment” vibe from it, but that just might be me reading too much into it.

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124. The Game (1997) — David Fincher

Had me hooked until the ending. I guess you only get to live life like an action movie if you’re rich.

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123. No Regrets for Our Youth (1946) — Akira Kurosawa

There’s some great editing here, but I wish Kurosawa would have taken this compelling historical account in a less straightforward way.

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122. An Affair to Remember (1957) — Leo McCarey

A charming romance, but the movie loses steam for me when their spouses don’t fight hard enough to keep them.

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121. Muppets Most Wanted (2014) — James Bobin and Nicholas Stoller

Not as electrifyingly funny as the original, but the whole sequel is worth it to see Tina Fey sing.

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120. Touchy-Feely (2013) — Lynn Shelton

Missing a climax, but Shelton’s examination of anxiety behind touching and feeling earns its eponym and then some.

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119. Gods of the Plague (1969) — Rainer Werner Fassbinder

It ain’t easy being straight. And hot.

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118. Greenberg (2010) — Noah Baumbach

Maybe I’ll appreciate it when I’m older, but for now, I just feel like it’s a less funny Frances Ha (although not without it’s moments). What Listen Up Phillip would be like if Jason Schwartzman wasn’t successful.

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117. Wolf on Wall Street (2013) — Martin Scorcese

I can’t deny Dicaprio’s presence during this movie, but I still can’t help but feel that the film’s attempt at critiquing Wall Street/douchebags was overshadowed by the jest it takes in the corporate misogyny and manipulation Belfort’s company demonstrates.

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116. Interstellar (2014) — The Nolans

It’s always great to see 70mm and the McConaissance, but come on. The solution to ruining our planet is to go and find a new one? This is probably the least helpful movie in dealing with climate change, although it may be the prettiest.

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115. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) — James Gunn

The Walkman (and Bradley Cooper) sets this superhero movie aside from the others, but it’s hard for me to see the characters’ gungho attitude about blowing shit up as model behavior. I give props to this for subverting all of our expectations that it wouldn’t be just another stupid superhero movie, but do we really need fifteen more years of our Hollywood money going into films that ultimately add up to explosions dealt by “heroes” who later say “That was awesome!”?

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114. Laggies (2014) — Lynn Shelton and Andrea Siegel

SPOILERS: The soapbox will end here, I promise you, but how exactly is Keira Knightley ending up with a rich dude a solution to her inability to hold down a job? That being said, this movie is hilarious and disgustingly accurate in its depictions of Washingtonians.

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113. Arranged (2007) — Stefan Schaefer and Diane Crespo

Two girls from different cultures both search for marriage, but their real struggle is explaining to other people it’s not weird for a Jew and a Muslim to be friends. Some scenes are a misfire, but the chemistry between these two leads is solid the whole way through.

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112. Secrets of Women (1953) — Ingmar Bergman

Four women muse about their husbands while cooking dinner. While it doesn’t have the pop some of Bergman’s later works have, you see some of his iconic filmmaking take form here.

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111. The English Patient (1996) — Anthony Minghella

As sexy as people say, but a bit grandiose. Props for being the first movie I’ve seen where a Sikh man isn’t the butt of everyone’s jokes.

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110. 21 Years: Richard Linklater (2014) — Michael Dunaway and Tara Wood

Could have gone a lot deeper into Linklater’s personal development as an artist, but how can I not gush at the stars of Richard Linklater’s best movies set aside time to talk about Richard Linklater?

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109. The Heart of the City (2014) — Dylan Freehauf

Who said movies can’t be done by one person?

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108. The Immigrant (2013) — James Gray

Don’t feel the hype, but damn, can Marion Cotillard bleed (literally) for her art.

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107. The Invisible Woman (2013) — Ralph Fiennes and Abi Morgan

Fiennes’ directorial debut about the romantic life of Charles Dickens falls into the biopic trap of having a subject too large for one film, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t look great.

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106. Holy Motors (2012) — Leos Carax

In contention for the weirdest movie I saw this year. If I had to guess what this movie’s about, I’d say it depicts how one must play different roles in order to be successful at their job. If your boss tells you to bite Eva Mendes’s hair off, you do it.

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105. School Daze (1988) — Spike Lee

While the narrative gets a little too loose, this movie contains a jaw-dropping musical sequence, savvy racial critique over KFC and Giancarlo Esposito. What else could you ask for?

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104. Catch Me if You Can (2002) — Steven Spielberg

Probably the longest and funnest chase scene ever done.

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103. The Good, the Bad and The Ugly (1966) — Sergio Leone

Really picks up after the first hour (out of three…), this movie stands out through its fantastically timed action sequences and the sobering backdrop of the Civil War. Also, Tuco.

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102. Coffee and Cigarettes (2003) — Jim Jaramusch

Some of the vignettes drag, but that’s what smoking is. Cigarettes and coffee are often seen as bonding experiences, but it doesn’t mean people actually bond. Especially when they’re Steve Coogan and they have their bitch face out.

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101. The Artist is Present (2012) — Jeffrey Dupre and Matthew Akers

Probably not as fun than the actual MOMA show, but is a great introduction to the charming and visionary Marina Abramovic.

That’s it for now! Stay tuned for the final 100!

This is for you, Emma

Get 'em.

                               Get ‘em.

In Emma Watson’s recent speech at the UN, she calls for men to stand in favor of gender equality. She describes her life as a privileged one because everyone from her parents to her teachers cultivated a supportive environment for her in which she didn’t feel her gender was a factor. She calls those people “inadvertent feminists” and states that we need more people like that. Well, you know what Emma? I’m with ya. I’ve been with inadvertent feminism ever since I realized that commenting on a girl’s sexual attributes often had a negative impact on her well-being. I never called myself a feminist, because I thought it would be odd to be both a “feminist” and a “man”, but because “humanist” sounds pretentious and useless, I’m going to go with feminist. I’m themellowdramatist, and I’m a feminist.

For a long time now, thanks to having strong, confident women in my family, I’ve realized that I hate sexism. Out of all the prejudices out there, I think sexism, which the OED defines as “prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex” is the most frustrating. Probably because no matter what country I’m in, what political views the people have, or what television shows they like, I see sexism. I see sexism every day. I see it when I walk home at night. I see it when two men are talking to each other. I see it on Bravo. It’s everywhere! If Ed Wood were still alive, he’d make a movie called “Return of the Sexisms.” If King Kong had to fight Sexism, he’d lose.

Why is it so ubiquitous? There’s a fine line with sexism. There’s nothing wrong with discussing something on the basis of sex — sex is a pretty interesting subject. I get why people would want to talk about the difference between the sexes or sexy things. It’s when the conversation about sex leaves neutral territory that makes it problematic. Take this conversation for instance:

Last weekend, I met a dude, who was a mutual friend of a dude I already knew. New Dude seemed very nice, asked me about my day and what I was doing in LA. Mutual Dude discussed how he and this girl he’s seeing aren’t having sex anymore, despite the fact that he stays over her house nearly every weekend. New Dude expresses surprise that any dude would keep hanging out with a woman once they weren’t having sex anymore. I asked Mutual Dude whether they were having any problems, but before I get an answer, New Dude suggests Mutual Dude force his way “in” to make use of the time he has with her. The dudes laugh. I stop enjoying the conversation, because we are no longer in neutral territory. We are “this is a problematic conversation” territory. The thing I regret the most was that even though I stopped enjoying the conversation, I personally didn’t say anything to stop it.

The fine line between having primal desires and objectification is often described as “consent.” Without the consent of the person one is interested in sexually, any verbalization or action expressing said interest is considered harassment or assault. The concept of being harassed or assaulted appears, to me at least, to be something most people would not like inflicted on them, but for some reason, it keeps on happening. Ask any girl about their routine about getting home at night and you’ll hear a well-rehearsed set of parameters they give themselves not only to be safe, but to get home without drawing any attention from a dude. What kind of world do we live in that normalizes this? I hate living with the knowledge that no woman I know is free from harassment just because she wants to walk down the street at night.

So I’m going to walk this walk. If I hear the same kind of conversation again (seeing as how I’m in LA, I’m sure it’s going to happen any second now), I’m going to explain why that rape joke is not funny. It might not be funny because the girl you’re talking about might be your daughter someday. Maybe that girl has suffered sexual abuse all her life and she thinks assault is a part of a loving relationship. Or maybe there are a bunch of people joking about raping you. None of these possibilities are funny.

I’m standing in solidarity with HeForShe, because I want the catcalls, the rape jokes, the harassments, abuses, comments, everything to be abnormalized. The longer we act on the plane where we don’t treat each other equally, the longer we operate a world that fosters inequality, and it’s just too late in human history to keep inequality going.

People’s Climate March: Time to Stop Upcoming Scorched Earth

Climate change is real. Climate change might not be the best name for it — it actually might have been a term Republicans used to replace global warming because it sounds less threatening — so we might as well call it “Scorched Earth.” If that sounds hyperbolic, consider what’s going on in the world right now: California has been in a drought for three years. The Permafrost is melting (which either means the person who named it was bad at naming things, or global warming is so intense it’s melting something that’s PERMANENTLY SUPPOSED TO BE FROZEN). Warmer oceans make stronger hurricanes, including the current devastation in Mexico by Odile. If we aren’t living in the time of “climate change”, we’re at least living in the time of a “Hotter Earth.” It’s time to make sure that we don’t reach Scorched Earth.

This is where the People’s Climate March comes in. This weekend in New York City, protestors and climate activists from all over the country (some walking all the way from LOS ANGELES) will march through the streets of Manhattan to advocate for climate change reform. At the same time, world leaders will be meeting at the UN to discuss climate change regulation. The march will put the pressure on these big-wigs to make finally make decisions on what to do about Hotter Earth.

The March will be organized by speakers and advocacy groups delivering different sides of the argument in different succession. Starting from who’s the most affected, to the solutions of renewable energy and change in food infrastructure, to demanding a change. All of this can be seen on a pretty map here.

So if you’re in New York this weekend, join the march! Even if you’re not an activist, check it out to see how many people and what kinds of people are dedicating their weekend and lives to this issue. We might seem crazy, but we have our reasons for wanting do something about climate change. Air-conditioning can turn down the heat of Hotter Earth by only so much, but there’s not much we can do to cool down in Scorched Earth.

PS. If you can’t go to the march in New York, look for a march that’s happening near your city! I’m in Los Angeles and I’ll be attending the South California Climate Change Demonstration tomorrow! As they say, there ain’t no power like the power of the people, because the power of the people don’t stop.

Sundays Since I Have Graduated:

Wake up early to beat the hostel bathroom rush and spend fifteen minutes waking up by scrolling on my phone.

Go back to sleep.

Wake up and decide I should do laundry, watch a classic film for research, and write ten pages of a screenplay and then a blog post.

Watch the classic film while eating breakfast.

Wait until I’ve watched half of the film until I actually pack the laundry bag.

Watch the second half before I walk to the laundromat.

Forget to bring the gallon of Tide detergent and waste some precious laundry-tokenquarters on detergent at the laundromat because I’m tired (I’ve done so much work already).

Read something beautiful in a novel while swatting a fly from my head — think I’ll finish 50 pages before I get home.

The fly doesn’t leave me alone — maybe I’ll get to 30.

The fly is gone until I realize it’s in my hair.

Laundry is done — ten pages have been read.

After I shove my laundry in my hostel locker, plan to write a blog post.

Remember I haven’t seen the rest of the last season of Korra.

Remember I’m hungry.

Watch Korra while I eat.

Prepare to write the blog post, but realize I only have five hours until I go to sleep early for my internship the next morning.

Remember the internship doesn’t pay.

Question why I’m spending my parents’ money in a new city without a job.

Check my spam folder to see if a prospective employer’s response got lost.

Check job listings for anything that’s suitable.

Realize everything available would be a hassle to reach by public transport.

Consider getting a car.

Remember climate change.

Ask Google how expensive Teslas are.

Ask Google how expensive bikes are.

Remember the car crash I was in last time I was in LA.

Ask Google if I should leave LA.

Ask Google if my favorite filmmakers moved to LA.

Remember I have to write a blog post.

Consider the opinions I have to express about climate change, the economy, the military-industrial complex, institutional racism, women’s rights.

Feel like I would rather talk about my favorite books and/or movies.

Consider if this is a generational problem or if I’m just selfish.

Get a phone call from a friend and talk to them for an hour.

Make beans and rice.

Watch another classic film while I eat.

Fall in love with the idea of making movies.

Ask Google how the filmmaker got started.

Write furiously on a script. Convince myself it’s perfect for about a minute before I self-doubt myself.

Rewrite furiously.

Hate the rewrite. Hate the script.

Remember that Orson Welles was also horrible when he started making movies.

Reread for things to change — can’t find anything bad but unsure if anything’s good.

Decide I’m going to go to sleep.

Pack up everything in my hostel locker.

Lay on my twin size top bunk bed.

Ask Google if I can make movies outside of LA.

Watch the television cover the developing story about the US’s military intervention in the Middle East.

Remember I haven’t talked to a person in real life all day, despite being in a hostel house of fifteen.

Remember that there are bigger problems than me.

Remember to write about them.

Wonder whether I should write about them on the blog or in a script.

Wonder if I am getting read.

Realizing that I’m qualifying my writing about real problems like climate change, the economy, the military-industrial complex, institutional racism, women’s rights by whether anyone will read it.

Realize that I’m selfish.

Think that things would be better if I had a job.

Recognize I need a structural change in my life.

Wonder what that change is.

The room is so hot that I have to strip to my boxers. Think the change is to move out of the hostel.

Remember that would cost more money than I’m spending.

Think all that matters is my craft. Life will be simple that way.

Remember devoting time to helping others is just as important.

And spending time with your friends.

Take solace in the fact that life is too difficult to find the answers for in your twenties.

Fall asleep.

Film = Art + Commerce

Yesterday I watched the documentary Great Directors (2009) on Netflix by Angela Ismailos, not just to satisfy my love-affair with Richard Linklater, but to get at the heart of what some filmmakers whose work I like feel about film. It’s hard to grapple with the logistics of being young wanting to work in a creative industry, because by nature of doing so, you risk forfeiture of your idealism for the convenience of cold hard terms like “per-screen averages” and “merchandising” and “residuals” (basically all the different terms that mean money). I came out to Los Angeles to be a television writer and I’m discovering that knowledge of the financials of the industry is necessary to be a part of the television conversation. (That and a resumé with seven internships on it.) But the thing about film and television is that the art does not come without the commerce and nor does the commerce come without the art. It’s important to remember that the two are connected, but if one wants to focus on one aspect of the film equation (which surely can stand for the equation of any other artistic medium) over the other, then one should, because failing at what one loves will provide more self-worth than succeeding at what one is unenthused by. 

In Great Directors, the conversation about commerce denotes it as an entity that works in mysterious ways. Stephen Frears talks about the difficulty he had with Margaret Thatcher. Old Margie was Reagan’s BBF in their “small government, big business” bookclub and thus restricted the political edge of the BBC, where Frears was working in favor of creating more creative sectors for business. Now Frears, a super political guy who loved the freedom the BBC to produce any kind of subversive work (they even broadcasted work that was an attack on themselves), felt stifled and worked his way to directing My Beautiful Laundrette (1985), a story about violent crime that was a direct result of Thatcherism. The movie was a success, which meant Frears was creating revenue for England, doing exactly what Thatcher wanted him to do.  The lesson to take from this is: money cares about no one but itself. It’s a greedy bastardo. 

In the documentary, Richard Linklater said he knew that he didn’t want to have a job where he’d have to tie a tie. I understand, mostly because it takes me 20 minutes to make sure the back part doesn’t stick out under the front, but also because there’s something uniform to commerce. If art is the exchange of ideas for feelings, then commerce would be the exchange of ideas for cash and feelings come in many different forms but cash can only come in a rectangle or circle (sometimes a octagon maybe?). The issue however, is not to forfeit commerce to live a life of artistic fulfillment. The issue is to place priorities. A film is always going to be made for the art and the commerce, and to hinge one’s frustrations on the necessities of the dualities is a waste of time. The level of importance one has over the other, however, varies. 

Michael Bay’s Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) is the fourth film in the Transformers film franchise. Each film has received less than favorable reviews, but because they’ve each made roughly five times their budget (a billion a pop), they continue to get produced. Now I understand the logic of give the people what they want, and it’s what films and business in general should be about. But do people really want to see the same big-budget movie of robots crashing into each other four times? With a fifth one underway? They satisfy our urge for epic story-telling, but the notion for what is “epic” for the most part remains unchallenged. Linklater’s Boyhood (2014) is similarly being called epic for its twelve-year filmmaking process, a feat that is something that hasn’t really been done yet in film on this scale. With 4 million dollars, Boyhood brought about something that sparks a new conversation about what is possible through movies. With 210 million dollars, Age of Extinction brought about a conversation that’s been had three times before.

David Lynch describes his approach to watching films as “getting lost in a world and having to feel-think my way through… and have these experiences that I know, I know that feeling, but I don’t know how to put in words. And it’s magical that cinema brought it out.” This is the feeling of watching a film that does not immediate convey its brand, market potential or even it’s politics, for it’s seeking to convey a mood and thought in the hopes that the viewer can connect. The idea of commerce, whether it’s the backer thinking how their money is going to be spent or the audience member reminding his or herself how much he or she paid for the ticket, has been suspended in animation, for it’s the art’s turn to move. This is the secret to film as both art and commerce, because this is what people pay to see. Once the film is over, one thinks back and ascertains will this make money, who will watch this, would I see it again. This is the magic David Lynch talks about.

Now, it’s important to see the perverse side to the magic.  Outside of the what equals film equation, there exists the what equals the function of film equation. For every Bertolucci at the helm of a camera, there’s a Riefenstahl. Stay tuned ’til next time, because I spent all day typing this and my fingers are about to fall off. 

Things to do in LA for screenwriters when they aren’t writing

Today is officially the tenth day anniversary of me being in LA and since I have some free time on my hands (as in I’ve ordered something from Starbucks and I’m using their internet for the rest of the day), I decided to compile a list of helpful things to do in LA if you write when you’re not writing. If the old adage”You’re writing even when you’re not writing” is true, then these are the things I believe will make it even MORE true. 

Take the bus and chat with the person next to you. 

Most LA-ers have the privilege of discussing how much traffic blows because they have a car. That’s fine and dandy for those Rockerfellers, but it can be a little anxiety-inducing for those on public transportation. We may never be fortunate enough to experience needing to pee while trapped on the 405. Luckily for us, the bus system is almost always late! The one time I stayed out in Hollywood past 10 PM kept me waiting for the bus for nearly two hours, which might sound horrible at first thought (and the next thought… and the next thought…) but there was another guy waiting at the bus stop. At first we did the polite nods as you do in LA when you make eye contact and minded our own business, but when thirty minutes rolled by, we were no longer strangers. We were two folks who were both stranded and really really tired. We kept talking and exchanged numbers, and that my friend, made the journey almost worth it. 

See movies all the time. 

Unemployed life is hard and the rejections you face can be demoralizing, but that’s okay, because you’re in a town literally built on the craft you want to build. The cinema culture here is vast and eclectic, and even though Hollywood might be more well known for the commercial features made here, there’s a great selection of independent, classic, experimental, what have you. The Arc Light is expensive, but great if you want to attend 21+ film screenings or if you want to go to Q&A’s for new films. For cheaper shows, check out the Leo S. Bing for four dollar matinees of classics or the Billy Wilder Theatre at the Hammer Museum for screenings from the extensive UCLA Film and Television Archive. The best experience I’ve had here was at the New Beverly Cinema, a theater that Quentin Tarrantino bought out when it was about to go out of business. The reason why is because it shows a double feature EVERY NIGHT of well-paired classics for only eight dollars. Yeah. Not only did I see James Dean movies for the first time on the big screen, I was surrounded by other filmmakers and film lovers who were eager to make conversation. It’s a great and fun way to learn about movies. 

Also, take notes on everything you see. What you liked, what you didn’t. Even if you unwillingly watched your roommate’s Pretty Little Liars marathon, write it down. Make your time count. 

For a comprehensive list of Los Angeles theaters, check out LAist’s list here

Travel around the towns. 

Whether you take a car or have to walk for miles with the sun in your eyes, get a feel of the landscape. LA is a desert with canyons that’s right next to the beach. It’s a unique blend and you’ll want to experience it all. If your boyfriend just dumped you, hop into the Pacific Ocean and let the crippling cold take your mind off of it. If your girlfriend sabotaged your interview so she could get the job, go for a hike at Topanga and oversee your problems down in the city from high above. If you can’t give yourself another perspective, follow the earth to find it. 

But whatever you do, don’t go to Universal Citywalk. 

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DO NOT ENTER. THE JOHNNY ROCKETS INSIDE IS NOT WORTH CANCER.

But most importantly, center your day around why you came here!

Jobs are either internships, low-paying, things you can’t get yet, or extremely stressful portions of your day. If you don’t wish to have the jobs you’re looking to have or keep to be the focal part of your day, then don’t! Write when you can, read up on what you want to learn, eat that great Mexican you keep hearing about, shoot the bull with your peeps. Careers are a big reason why people come out here, and if that’s your goal, all the power to you, but it’s important to keep in mind that there’s more to living than being in an industry. 

The Confessions of a LA-LA Lander

Living in Los Angeles: the first week.

It’s hot here.

At night and in the shade there’s a cool breeze that follows you, but in the sun, it’s merciless heat. This might not be the worst thing if you don’t walk everywhere but if you do…. it’s hot.

It’s also extremely long here. It takes me an hour to walk a distance I could do in 30 by bus and an hour to travel a distance it would take 30 by car. It’s hard to feel like you’re part of the city when it takes you this long to move neighborhood by neighborhood, but the fact is that there aren’t any neighborhoods. West Hollywood, North Hollywood, Santa Monica — these places are all different cities in the county of Los Angeles. To walk from city to city would be madness (take it from a mad man).

The hostel is quiet except for discussions about Ferguson, which are heated. We are strangers bound by our engagement to event miles away and although there are different perspectives on the matter, it remains on our minds. In the current struggles we all face in our careers (some people have lived here for years), this provides a tension we don’t have to feel responsible for.

The online job search is still ongoing. Beginning to realize I put too much faith on the internet, that if I press a few buttons my future will come to me. The city, with its jobs and its people, exists around me, not online. I need to get off the screen if I want to be a part of the scene. (Grocery cashiers can make over 20,000 a year… hmmm)

I feel overwhelmed by the realization that this is the time, this is the time, the time to enter the career and purpose that will define the rest of my life. It’s something so heavy to hold on my own. But I came here for a reason. To work in television. That was always the numero uno end goal. It’s frustrating to me that I feel this goal still might take months even though I’ve been waiting for years, but if it’s the reality, then it it what it is.

ON THE PLUS SIDE: I SAW THIS GUY LAUGHING WITH HIS FRIENDS IN HOLLYWOOD.

LUSCHEK

Señor Luschek was in the flesh. Yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking. Is he really that handsome in real life?

Unfortunately, it’s hard to tell when he has cigarette in his hand instead of a popsicle. But I assure you, it was close. 

Til next time. 

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