Tuesday, February 22, 2005

This, That, Other Things

aaaah. S-T-R-E-S-S.
I can't really describe how full my life is right now. Not "full" as in the joyous 'What a full like he led!' But in the overstuffed way. Any helpful suggestions for coping when it's all overwhelming would be appreciated.

Interesting that Alexander Payne won in a landslide in my best director poll about the last few years of filmmaking. I thought Clint Eastwood was the "greatest living filmmaker" (snort)? Before I get hate mail I do want to say that I think he's a talented director. But my gripe with the hype is this: making two very respected films in the past two years does not suddenly elevate you to the best in the business bar none. And I think the PR people responsible should be ashamed of themselves and should also get promotions and hefty bonuses ! ;)

I went to the opera at the Met last night -- "samson et dalila" premier starring Jose somebody (who was --aaaaaiiieyyyaah Bravo!). I am not well-versed / knowledgeable about Opera... the only things I've ever seen so far were PBS things, a children's opera of Hansel and Gretel, and Baz Luhrmann's Broadway/Opera pop collission La Boheme. So, last night was my first true Opera experience and all I can say is "WOW" Talk about spectacle. How is opera not more well loved/talked about? Maybe ticket prices? Because even for a non-opera person I found it very accessible and visually remarkable. (Please note: I'm fully aware that this might have sucked. It's possible that this is like someone who knows nothing about Broadway thinking Phantom of the Opera or other embarrassments like Brooklyn: The Musicalare great musical theater but for a first experience, I loved it.)

I also saw The Gates recently in Central Park. It's sorta divisive I'm hearing lots of dismissals and such but taken for what it is, a happening... a whimsical colorful thing... I found it well worth a visit. The cumulative effect of walking through it is much stronger than the initial sight of it.

I rented "It Should Happen To You" starring Judy Holliday recently too (from 1954) --no one ever talks about this George Cukor comedy but it's really funny, it features Jack Lemmon's debut and if you're in the mood for a whimsical black and white comedy with two great performers by all means give it a look.



adam k. said...

My strategy for when my life is too full is to just go into denial, go online and start reading and rereading The Film Experience. But that's not good advice. Don't do it.

Anonymous said...

Clint Eastwood the greatest filmmaker working? That's crap. Not when you have people like Scorsese, Yimou, Almodovar, Sembene or Ozon actually breathing oxygen in this planet.

By the way the other day I saw some Sergei Eisenstein films on video... why aren't films this brilliant anymore? Ah well, I suppose we still have our Heavenly Creatures and Requiem for a Dreams to please su :)

Btw, am I the only person in the world who is absolutely thrilled with the Cinematography category this year??? Xiaoding, Delbonnel and Deschanel are absolutely brilliant, and they have actual chances of winning this thing!!! That's super. Just put Eric Gautier there and you have a perfect list (or the guy that lensed Eternal Sunshine, whoever he was).

Btw Nathaniel, I already cast my vote for Christopher Doyle in the new poll. He is a movie GENIUS, you'd think he has to win, right?

Oh, and I know this is completely off-topic, but here's the things I would have voted for the Oscars...

Picture: Eternal Sunshine
Director: Zhang Yimou
Actor: Bruno Ganz, Downfall
Actress: Uma Thurman, Kill Bill
S. Actor: Clive Owen, Closer
S. Actress: Cate Blanchett, Aviator
O. Screenplay: Charlie
A. Screenplay: Motorcycle Diaries
Cinematography: Hero
Costume Design: House of Flying Daggers
Editing: Eternal Sunshine
Score: Hero
Makeup: The Passion
Song: Al Otro Lado del Río
Visuals: The Prisoner of Azkaban

Okay that was long. Bye!

Anonymous said...

Oh and my name is Javier. I write from uruguay.

Anonymous said...

I voted for Angelo Badalamenti. Although Chris Doyle was not far behind. His trio that you mention on the site (Rabbit Proof Fence, In The Mood For Love and Hero are lensing at their best).

Rabbit Proof Fence was especially great to me. But I'm australian and biased to that Phillip Noyce masterpiece (...don't hurt me). I think you need to be Australian to REALLY love it. Just like Americans and Gridiron movies...


Anonymous said...

Nathanial, you put too much faith in your last poll results. The sheer numbers of voters aren't even REMOTELY close to putting up an accurate poll. Who gives a shit? Get off your bandwagon of contempt for Eastwood's achievement over Scorsese in 2004.


--I did just say "peace" I'm feeling all 'spread the love'ish since so many people have such hostility towards one another this time of year.

--"Who gives a shit?" you ask. If you don't, why read the blog? And yes I'm aware that my poll results are not "facts" but then poll results never are are they? They're just a general reading of the feelings of the people who took that particular poll


I do think Scorsese deserves it over Eastwood this year. But everyone knows I feel that. I'm not hiding it ') However I think Payne and Leigh are most deserving of the nominees. But I know they can't win and I'm really tired of the double standard that Scorsese faces that no other filmmaker faces.

Nobody demands that Roman Polanski, James Cameron, Clint Eastwood, Sam Mendes, John Madden, Steven Soderbergh, or most of the other recent director winners make a film that's better than Raging Bull in order to win, so why does everyone demand with hostility that Scorsese do that before he's granted an Oscar.

it's bogus bellcurve reasoning and I'm seeing it everywhere in articles and messageboards.

So, I'm just doing my itsy-bitsy part to point out the double-standard.

I have no "contempt" for Eastwood as a filmmaker. I have contempt for the current hot meme that he's the world's best.

Anonymous said...

Alexander Payne is like the Pixar of the live-action film world. He hasn't made an outright "bad" film yet and his worst film is head and shoulders above 95% of what is being made today. Some people didn't feel About Schmidt was up to his usual par (not me, I loved it), but most of them still thought it was a good movie. So lets hope that Pixar and Alexander Payne keep their remarkable streaks alive. That being said, I still appreciate Clint Eastwood's accomplishment because he is championing a genre of film that has been largely ignored today(the intelligent adult studio drama) and thank god someone is. I really enjoyed Million Dollar Baby and I felt that it never really crossed the line into maudlin. It toyed with it for the whole last third, but I thought Eastwood maintained the proper focus throughout the movie.

On an unrelated note, I agree with you on the Gates. They are a work simple whimsy that has lovingly been plopped down in Central Park for the past two weeks. It was especially fun to attend the unfurling of the Gates and see an amazing cross section of New Yorkers and tourists joining in the communal experience of the Gates. I know I sound like a brainwashed Christophile, but that is how I felt at the opening and I am glad I got to see it.


adam k. said...

I'm kind of with Nathaniel on Eastwood and M$B... I did think it crossed into maudlin and even if there are people in the world like Maggie's mother and family and these situations could've really happened, I found that whole angle to be too obvious to be involving. And I think I just don't care much for Eastwood's "minimalism" in general. I guess that's just my own taste. I realize some may love this kind of work but I just can't get involved in it. Plus the grumpy old men/Freeman as narrator thing reminded me of Shawshank, which I also found hideously overrated. A lot of people REALLY love this movie, but I just don't. I found it obvious and manipulative and kind of pretentious despite its good intentions. I once watched Shawshank and Dead Man Walking in close proximity and I must say, there is no comparison. And I don't understand people saying Shawshank was robbed of best picture of 1994. I actually liked Forrest Gump a lot better. To say nothing of Pulp Fiction and Heavenly Creatures (!) which I recently saw for the first time. Some reviewer apparently predicted that Winslet would always be identified with the her role in that and never become famous. HA. God, Kate Winslet is great. Wow, I'm so off topic. I'm done now.

Anonymous said...

While I like M$B more than Nathaniel I agree with his points about Hilary AND Clint (directing, not acting - i thought HE was the acting showcase of the movie). I hardly think 2 great movies in a row and another one over a decade ago constitutes being called the greated working director. Look at the all the alright-to-bad movies he's made inbetween!

That just goes as a plain old slap in the face to directors who a) may not work as often (The Lynchs, Luhrmanns and Leighs) or b) don't work in the Hollywood system (The Almodovars, the Yimous and the Linklaters) and are consistantly producing great-to-excellent work. People say M$B isn't a "Hollywood" movie and well, it may not have been when it was being made but it surely is now!

I think Nathaniel's point on Scorcese is completely correct. It's not Scorcese's fault that they didn't give him a bloody oscar all those years ago, but they didn't and he's moved on from that period of his film-making life (or so I can gather) so why should he continuously have to make movies that are like those from the 70s/80s in order to win (when he didn't win with them in the first place?!?! that makes no sense).

People have complained that The Aviator doesn't have the power and the force of Raging Bull or whatever and, well, duh, it's NOT Raging Bull that's why. It's a biopic on a HOLLYWOOD man, who flew plains, got rich, got laid, and went mad.

I really don't get it though (as i said above) when people say in order to win he should be making movies similar to those from the 70s and 80s... I mean, because he didn't win for them then so why would now be any different?!

Stupidity abounds.


Anonymous said...

Oh, and by the way, nice job with your "# Days To Go" designs, they're fabulous! I was hoping we got a smokin Clive Owen one...?


Anonymous said...

"It Should Happen to You" is indeed absolutely gorgeous. I only watched it by accident, and I was overjoyed at the end of it. Great fun. Judy Holliday has to be among the most underrated actresses ever.