Friday, March 30, 2007

Friends of the Experience ~Finale

April will be action packed: Oscar predix, several reviews requested during this fundraiser, and the return of one popular series & two well received projects that have prompted many of you to say "hey, what happened to...?" But until then --wrapping up March!

The fundraiser is over. The goal achieved!

Today we'll return you to the originally scheduled programming. You opened your pocketbooks and hearts --sweet e-mails, even from those who couldn't contribute. I appreciate the love --and a great sum of $2140 was earned. This helps keep the roof over my head as I continue the journey transitioning out of corporate America and into freelance America. I have to flit back and forth between these worlds like most people pursuing creative careers do. But all the time I feel more like an actual writer which is fulfilling. Thank you for your part in that: the support, being part of a great community of movie lovers, the interesting suggestions, comments, and conversations.

Here is the final installment of the "friends of the experience" for the fundraiser. I'd also like to give one huge round of applause to all of the anonymous donors.

Aaron runs the best-titled live journal on the planet Sarcasm with Light Cream Sauce (hee) and he reads TFE daily but I don't think I've ever mentioned his favorite film
Paddy Chayefsky's Network. I've seen it more times than I can count. I think it's about near perfect. The dialogue sparkles like something out of William Congreve and the performances are incendiary. I know that having this as my favorite is a bit cliché, but I can't help it. Network's complicated blend of social commentary, sarcasm and unspoken pain gets me every single time.
I have seen Network only once and long ago. But someone else requested it for a review with their donation so I'll be going there soon.

Kat from Australia has been reading since she chanced upon the site looking for Moulin Rouge! information. She talked a little Oscar before getting to her favorite movie and brought up this interesting note about the year's movie slate. Focus Features has wayyy too many actresses to push this year. Think on it: Evening, Atonement, Reservation Road, Eastern Promises. How will they decide who to push? Good point Kat. Should be interesting. Anyway, she writes
My favourite film (or one of) is His Girl Friday. Not only does it contain the most hilarious rapid-fire non-stop dialogue I've ever heard on screen, its also really romantic. Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell made an incredible team.
I'm not as crazy as the rest of the movie loving universe about that one. I'm really not sure what the disconnect is because I love Roz, love Grant, love screwball comedy (now that the musical is back, it's the genre that I most miss) and love rat-a-tat-tat comic pacing. If I had my way ALL modern comedies would speed up. Perhaps I should give it another go soon?

Joel in Australia is studying film and television at university. His three favorite films are Se7en, Magnolia and Heathers. Light stuff there Joel ;) Like many readers he started reading initially due to Oscar coverage but includes this cute switcheroo note
To be honest, i was actually more excited about your film bitch nominations that the oscar nominations! Aside from my the films I mentioned, I'm a big fan of Chistopher Guest's movies, and love trashy 'so-bad-they're-good' films like Showgirls .

Anyway, look forward to more film experience and 2007s film bitch awards!
As am I. I think I've now sufficiently recovered from last year's Oscars to really dive into 2007 now. Plus, I will be posting some retro thoughts on Se7en soon as well.

Garen is currently at university in Boston. He sometimes reviews operas and writes
Whenever I see a movie I find myself asking, "What would Nathaniel think?" (WWNT?)
My mainstream fave film is Mary Poppins. I loved the film and Julie Andrews as a child. I randomly saw it again in college and now consider MP to be an absurdist masterpiece. I love the little tangents such as Admiral Boom and larger ones such as "Step In Time" that seem to be haphazardly inserted to deviate from the plot. It's so strange, and so complex, and I find something new to overanalyze every time I watch it.

Outside the mainstream, Joseph Losey's Don Giovanni is without contest my favorite film. Most people regard Zeffirelli's La Traviata as the gold standard of opera films, and it is amazing, but Losey's is so underseen and just as fantastic, if not more. Diva lovers of the world are missing out if they haven't seen Kiri Te Kanawa and Edda Moser rip Ruggero Raimondi's Don G. to shreds in this film.
Various smart critical types tell me that Mary Poppins is a terrible film --but I'm probably with Garen on this one. As for opera. The only opera film I've seen is La Traviata which I saw at the Maple Theater in Michigan --the first arthouse I frequented regularly. But this week I went to Madame Butterfly at City Opera --part of my slow efforts to get better versed in cultural canons (I've seen only four operas *hides in shame*) The second act --wow.

David from Connecticut says he's seen too many movies in his lifetime to name a favorite. But he gives it a shot anyway
...a dozen films in no particular order that I might show as a mini-festival at jewel-box movie theater (a place like the Paris in New York). Several of these films deal with romantic relationships and not necessarily happy ones:The Double Life of Veronique, Two for the Road, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Children of Paradise, Two English Girls, Maurice, The Seven Samurai, Local Hero, Sense and Sensibility, The Man Who Would Be King, Petulia, and Vincent, Francois, Paul and the Others (a forgotten gem by Claude Sautet).Bonus Costume Drama Double Bill: Far from the Madding Crowd and Topsy-Turvy
I would be buying tickets to that mini-festival so fast, wouldn't you? Plus anybody who programs a bonus 'costume double' is...well... awesome.

John from Minnesota, who writes about politics on his blog has enthusiastic words 'bout the site and happens to adore three actresses which get a lot of play here: Streep, Kate, and The Bening. He writes
My favorite movie is Casablanca, but that's everybody's favorite. If I had to select one to highlight, it would be the pop culture punching bag The English Patient. Thanks to its ubiquity with Oscar and the Seinfeld episode, people seem to have forgotten that behind its exquisite desert landscapes and haunting score is a love story that's twisty, heartbreaking, and terribly effective. Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche, and Kristin Scott Thomas are possibly the most beautiful trio of paramours I've ever seen committed to celluloid, and for me, at least, this is one of those rare times where Oscar was right in jumping on the band wagon (unlike say, 1988, 1994, 2001, well, you know)
I do know. I wasn't part of the Patient bandwagon myself though I'm no hater either. I was pulling for Fargo big time --one of the many futile hopes I've had on Oscar night.

THANKS AGAIN TO EVERYONE! I'm glad the film experience means something to you.

Questions for Comment
What would you program for a mini film festival?
Mary Poppins: Absurdist? Or just absurd?
My His Girl Friday disconnect --ever experienced that? What movie does everyone love that you just can't get attached to?


Alanna said...

Re: Mini film festival: I once had a marathon in my apartment that I called "Cronenfest," in which we watched three wonderfully grotesque David Cronenberg movies: The Brood, ExistenZ, and Crash. I'd love to have another Cronenfest, perhaps with Scanners, The Fly, and A History of Violence.

Dame James said...

I once had a mini film festival which we called "Bad Movie Festival". We watched "Gigli", "From Justin to Kelly" and "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen". I know it's sad to say, but the Lindsay Lohan one was the best of the bunch.


I once held a Holly Hunterpalooza for friends living out loud, home for the holidays and raising arizona i think we watched.

Anonymous said...

Everytime I think of The English Patient - film or book - it takes my breath away. One of the greatest books ever written (that I've read anyway), and miraculously, adapted into one of the finest epics in all of film.

And they say first-class lit rarely makes first-class film...

Anonymous said...

Funny story...I actually know Garen (from the description you gave, it must be him) and I never knew we were both such avid readers of the experience. You're bringing people together!

While I have only ever seen one opera (i'm young goddamit), I can concur on the English Patient. Although I get made fun of mercilessly for it, I am also quite a fan of Cold Mountain (no matter how ridiculous Nicole Kidman's accent is, Jude Law was perfection as Inman; one of my favorite oscar nods in the past few years). I think Minghella is one of the most underappreciated auteurs with a real cinematic vision (along with PTA, Cuaron, and Mendes) who work too infrequently for my tastes. Although I do hate his son as an actor:-P

J.J. said...

Mary Poppins: Neither absurdist nor absurd. Just practically perfect.

Network is the greatest film ever made. Would love a review from you. It deserves its own blogathon -- movie bloggers and TV bloggers unite! Consider it.

Beau said...

Shrek. Never got the appeal. I'll see the third, just like I saw the second, but I'm part of a very small minority who thought Monsters Inc. was the better film that year.

Shrek introduced pop-culture references into animated films, and as a direct result, I really don't feel that it's going to age well. Perhaps it's just me.

And, since I was hardly aware of what was going on in adult cinema circa 1994 (I was only seven at the time, so that makes sense), I wasn't around to witness the whole 'Pulp Fiction' phenomena. 12 years later I viewed the film, and I personally find it to be overrated. But this happens generally when a film builds up such a reputation for itself, (as a result, I've managed to stay away from a LOT of the biggies. Film Production major, and I've yet to see any of the Godfathers, Citizen Kane, Requiem for a Dream or Apocolypse Now. I know, I know, blasphemy... but you'd rather that than watch a world renowned classic and admit to saying, 'Yeah... I'm just not a big fan." You might as well have DUNCE written all over your forehead.

...of course, the fact that I haven't seen them anyways might make me a larger dunce than I care to admit.

J.D. said...

Ziyi. Who else? I've tried it many times, but I'm planning on doing a complete one (minus RH2 and TMNT) soon. And then, maybe, along with it, a Gong Li Festival. I need to see her brilliance more. SO, that's, what, 20+ films? A challenge.

Never seen Mary Poppins, want to, but it doesn't seen "absurdist," whatever that means. Julie Andrews is not absurd, she's just cool.

Pedro said...

I can't get attached to Casablanca. I found it interesting but not great (for me, it is not even believable in some parts). That's maybe because I am not a big fan of romantic movies.

Cinesnatch said...


Anonymous said...

I often have mini retrospectives. This weekend, celebrating the 30th anniversary of Reds I'll be holding a bit of a Beatty event.

Just finished watching McCabe and Mrs Miller, it's Shampoo and Heaven Can Wait tomorrow, then Dick Tracy and Reds on Sunday.

Loving it so far.

Anonymous said...

I recently had a mini-Inarritu "festival"...over three straight nights. Amores Perros, 21 Grams, & Babel.

I couldn't get into Lost in Translation or Sideways. Sideways was really puzzling to me because I LOVE all of Alexander Payne's other films. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

Re: His Girl Friday. Darling, if the witty, rapid-fire comic dialogue and perfect timing don't get you, then try focusing on the fashion. Rosalind's got some fab, très chic ensembles going on. Complete with perfect hats. "Does anyone still wear hats?"

Glenn Dunks said...

I would totally put on a Fossethon in my house. First Cabaret, then... let's say Lenny for a musical break and then finish it off with the piece de resistance: All That Jazz. What better way to end a marathon than on a big fat juicy metafilm high.

As for Mary Poppins, I haven't seen it (blah, whatever), but have you guys seen this:

It frightens to bejesus outta me.

As for the "disconnect" phenomenon, I've had that quite a few times. Annie Hall is the first that comes to mind but there are plenty of others. Some such as Straw Dogs seem popular but I consider it one of the very worst movies I've ever seen.

gabrieloak said...

Well, it's probably not fair to post another mini-festival since you've already posted by favorite dozen but I would also love to watch several films and TV shows featuring Alan Bates. I still can't accept he's no longer with us. The festival would include Whistle Down the Wind, Nothing But the Best, Georgy Girl, Zorba the Greek, Women in Love, The Go-Between, Far from the Madding Crowd, Butley, King of Hearts, The Fixer, An Unmarried Woman, The Mayor of Casterbridge, Oliver's Travels, Gosford Park and others.

Garen said...

Re: Kamakazi Camel. I <3 scary mary.

Anonymous said...

I saw Poppins upon it's initial release on big screen at the age of seven or so. I remember that she scared the hell out me when she floated down from the sky like that. But I calmed down a bit when they sang songs.

gabrieloak said...

Had a big disconnect with Borat.