Posts tagged film
Posts tagged film
Here’s a thing I wrote!
“I’d just like to see Maureen Stapleton’s Emma Goldman clomp around modern-day Philadelphia teaching these people what real suffering is like.”
Quentin Tarantino’s slavery spaghetti western Django Unchained delivers all of the usual Tarantino goodness: brilliant dialogue, over-the-top cartoonish violence, fantastic performances from Tarantino regulars Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson, and a whole lot of controversy. More impressively, the film’s soundtrack is the usual combination of familiar tunes from Tarantino’s cinematic inspirations, as well as a few original tracks from John Legend, Rick Ross, and RZA. While we’ll have to patiently wait for another year or two before those musical sequences to end up on YouTube (only to be likely taken down because of copyright infringement), let’s take a look back at Tarantino’s catalog and take a listen at the songs we’ve come to associate with the modern-day auteur.
Here’s something I probably spent too much time on.
‘Tis the season for tear-jerking movies. While the biggest hits of the holiday (and Oscar) season go for broke when it comes to grabbing the audience’s emotions, there are very few that manage to pull at the heartstrings of the average moviegoer with subtlety and nuance. Director Travis Fine and actor Alan Cumming fully admit that their new film Any Day Now (which opens today) reads, at least on paper, as the kind of emotionally manipulative film that only serves to induce sobs. The film, based on a true story, focuses on a gay couple, Rudy and Paul (played by Cumming and Garret Dillahunt, respectively), who attempt to retain custody of their foster child, a young boy with Down syndrome who has been neglected by his drug addicted mother. It’s heavy stuff, for sure, but it’s hardly sensational.
Inspired by gritty character-driven dramas of the ’70s, Any Day Now invests the majority of its running time on its two leads, not only examining the familiar rushed nature of their courtship, but also their mutual desire to protect and love the son they have come to know. Working from a script originally written decades ago, Fine not only examines the social conditions of the ’70s but brings light to an issue that is still politically relevant today. Cumming, who delivers the performance of his career, plays Rudy in a refreshing manner not typically seen on film: at times he is a flamboyant drag queen, at others a tough, streetwise man with a gruff exterior.
I sat down with Fine and Cumming to discuss their film, how they managed to keep the emotional content in balance, and what they hope the audience will see in the coupling of its two leading men.
I cut out the parts in which Alan Cumming casually mentioned his foreskin, but the rest of it is pretty good, I think!
It’s that time of year again: when I am preemptively pissed that Kirsten Dunst doesn’t have any Oscar nominations.
This is probably one of the dumber things for which I am responsible.
It’s that time of year again: Boss’s Day. (What’s that, you ask? When is Employee’s Day? Everyday is Employee’s Day! Now shut up and get back to work, you peons!) (Yes, one could say I am blogging like a boss today.) To celebrate, here’s a list of the best bosses in movie history. “Best,” of course, is a relative term, but hey, this is the internet and all I know is that I’m the boss of listicles today, so deal with it or you’re fired.
I WIN AT BUZZFEEDING.
There is a certain nighttime culture among gay men, especially those who live in urban areas like New York City, in which courtship has been replaced almost entirely with methods by which people can find and sleep with each other with the least effort possible. In an age when Grindr is a popular app found on many gay men’s iPhones, it’s hard to remember that hook-up culture, which is in no way exclusive to gay men, has existed in the days before we were connected via wires and computers. Keep the Lights On begins in 1998, a no man’s land in which homosexuality was becoming more and more accepted by the mainstream (Ellen DeGeneres, who famously came out of the closet the year before, became one of the first post-Stonewall and post-AIDS role models for gay people in America), and its main characters meet for the first time after interacting through a phone sex hotline. What was intended to be a one-night stand (“I have a girlfriend,” Paul tells Erik, “so don’t get your hopes up.”) evolves into a tumultuous ten-year relationship as the pair deals with Paul’s crack and sex addiction.
It’s not a cheery Hollywood story, but it does unapologetically depict gay culture on the precipice of the new millennium (and later, after times—if not particularly attitudes—had changed). It was also based on elements taken from Sachs’s actual life. “I was coming out of a relationship,” Sachs told me, which is not a startling revelation. Sachs’s former partner, the literary agent Bill Clegg, famously battled a drug addiction which he chronicled in his 2010 memoir, Portrait of the Addict as a Young Man. Rather than using his own film as a cathartic revenge tale, however, Sachs found that his story was a relatable one, sorely missing not only from the collective narrative of the gay experience but also as one that transcends sexual preference. “I think the distinctions between gay and straight communality have blended in the last twenty years. I think a lot of films don’t tend to reflect that, either.”
Keep the Lights On is in my top five favorite movies of the year. I talked to co-writer and director Ira Sachs and one of the film’s stars, Zachary Booth, about making the movie.
The Steel Magnolias Stress Scale, Defined