Monthly Archives: September 2010
I went to a screening of Thank You For Smoking in February of 2006 because I was a big fan of his father, Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters, Kindergarten Cop, etc.) and wasn’t sure what to expect. I ended up really loving the film and actually got to meet Reitman afterwards and told I thought it was an amazing debut feature film and I looked forward to seeing more from him in the future. Jump to over four years later and he’s now a four-time Oscar nominee, twice for directing. Suffice to say, he has not let me down.
I saw this for the first time about a month ago during TCM’s Summer Under The Stars and I was completely blown away by it. It’s compelling and perfectly shot, featuring some truly exquisite black-and-white cinematography. It sinks its hooks into you from the very beginning and doesn’t let up for a minute, ending with one of the most simultaneously heartbreaking and tender finales in cinematic history. It also features one of the greatest on-screen, as well as off-screen, couples, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, in some of their greatest work. It was nominated for thirteen Academy Awards, winning five: Best Sound, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Score, Best Film Editing, Best B&W Costume Design (won), Best B&W Cinematography (won), Best B&W Art Direction (won), Best Supporting Actress Sandy Dennis (won), Best Supporting Actor George Segal, Best Actress Elizabeth Taylor (won), Best Actor Richard Burton, Best Director Mike Nichols and Best Picture. It was up against The Sand Pebbles, Alfie, The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming! and winner A Man For All Seasons.
Last night I watched William A Wellman’s 1927 masterpiece Wings, which was the very first film to win the Academy Award for Best picture. Within the first 15 minutes I thought it was more dramatic, romantic and exciting than most films made today. How wonderful, I thought, a film that was made 83 years ago can still feel so fresh and amazing, positively timeless. (On a side note, this film is not available on DVD and it’s a crying shame. You can vote here on TCM to try to get it released on DVD, and even if you haven’t seen it I urge you to do so).
This got me thinking about how much I love film, and why I love film. The other day someone on Twitter asked me how many films I watched a day and I replied, “as many as possible!” I told someone else that I think I have celluloid in my blood instead of iron. I can’t remember my life before I discovered films; I’ve been watching them always. Recently, I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to watch more than ever; I’ve already seen 271 new-to-me films this year! This is because I’ve graduated from college, but have yet to find a full time job (I substitute teach once or twice a week), I’m single and I’m childless. That leaves a lot of time to watch films. I also live in a household that has TCM, my absolute favorite channel on television.
I haven’t yet answered why it is I love film so much. I think part of it has to do with the escapism film allows. For two hours you’re in a perfect world, or a dystopic world or whatever, and it can be the best place you never knew existed. With each new film you meet new friends, characters that are as dear to you as anyone you’ve ever met in real life or ones you hate more than you ever knew you could.
But I’m also in awe of the people who make the films, not just the actors and directors and screenwriters, but the crew. Every single film you see was put together by hundreds of people, who spent hundreds of hours working to bring this new world alive. It’s just so incredible.
Also, with every film I watch I always think, “This is someone’s favorite movie ever” or “I bet someone absolutely loathes this film!” It’s phenomenal the emotional response a film can get out of people. And then there are people who can’t see the art in any film, who don’t see the point of film at all. Those people make me sad. How could something that brings me and so many others so much joy, mean absolutely nothing to others? It’s unfathomable.
So while I’m at this unique place in my life where I’ve got more free time than I probably will ever again, I’m going to fill it with films. All films. As many films as I can get my hands on, as often as I can stand it. I don’t know that’ll I’ll ever have another opportunity like this, to spend all my time with the love of my life, with film. I just hope film loves me as much as I love it. Regardless, this is how I choose to spend my time, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Looks like it could mean back-to-back Best Actor nominations for Colin Firth at the Oscars, or at least that’s the buzz out of the Toronto International Film Festival.
Here’s the official synopsis:
The King’s Speech tells the story of the man who became King George VI (Colin Firth), the father of Queen Elizabeth II. After his brother abdicates, George (“Bertie”) reluctantly assumes the throne. Plagued by a dreaded stutter and considered unfit to be king, Bertie engages the help of an unorthodox speech therapist named Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). Through a set of unexpected techniques (including diaphragmatic breathing), and as a result of an unlikely friendship, Bertie is able to find his voice and boldly lead the country into war.
The film is set for a limited release on November 26th.
Henry Hill: You’re a pistol, you’re really funny. You’re really funny.
Tommy DeVito: What do you mean I’m funny?
Henry Hill: It’s funny, you know. It’s a good story, it’s funny, you’re a funny guy.
Tommy DeVito: What do you mean, you mean the way I talk? What?
Henry Hill: It’s just, you know. You’re just funny, it’s… funny, the way you tell the story and everything.
Tommy DeVito: [it becomes quiet] Funny how? What’s funny about it?
Anthony Stabile: Tommy no, You got it all wrong.
Tommy DeVito: Oh, oh, Anthony. He’s a big boy, he knows what he said. What did ya say? Funny how?
Henry Hill: Jus…
Tommy DeVito: What?
Henry Hill: Just… ya know… you’re funny.
Tommy DeVito: You mean, let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it’s me, I’m a little fucked up maybe, but I’m funny how, I mean funny like I’m a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I’m here to fuckin’ amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?
Henry Hill: Just… you know, how you tell the story, what?
Tommy DeVito: No, no, I don’t know, you said it. How do I know? You said I’m funny. How the fuck am I funny, what the fuck is so funny about me? Tell me, tell me what’s funny!
Henry Hill: [long pause] Get the fuck out of here, Tommy!
Tommy DeVito: [everyone laughs] Ya motherfucker! I almost had him, I almost had him. Ya stuttering prick ya. Frankie, was he shaking? I wonder about you sometimes, Henry. You may fold under questioning.
Iron Man 2 is coming to DVD and Blu-ray on September 28th. I really loved this film. It had such a great ensemble cast. I thought it was just as exciting and solid as the first film. You can pre-oder the film here.