Sunday, December 27, 2009

YMD and Friends Film Bonanza part 15

Much to her chagrin, Emily Steinfeld is one of two New York artists named Emily Steinfeld. She draws cartoons. Emily also currently holds the title of Friend of Mine With the Worst Hangovers. She wrote us a list:

Bonus Mention:
11. Crossroads dir. Tamra Davis (2002)
“I’m not a girl, not yet a woman.”

Ha! Hahah!! Britney made a movie ya’ll! There are sweatpants, there are Shania Twain sing-alongs, and there are Justin Timberlake shout-outs! Dan Akroyd is her dad! Kim Cattrall is her mom and looks safari-chic! Scary boy! Pregnant girl! Rated PG 13 for Underage Drinking! Important Life Lessons! I still can’t believe this happened.
10. Little Children dir. Todd Field (2006)
“Sarah, on the other hand, was short with curly hair and with eyebrows Brad thought thicker than necessary.”
Silly me, I thought this was going to be a romantic comedy. Kate Winslet stars in a movie where two unlikely (and married) people wind up having an affair after meeting on the playground with their kids. A whole summer is spent in lust, and plans are made to run away together. Do they? I won’t spoil the movie, but much like the book of the same name, Little Children is full of suspense and reveals a gritty, seedy side to suburban living. Side story involves a convicted pedophile living with his mother. This ending came as a horrific shock, and while it certainly isn’t a “feel good” movie I found myself thinking about it for days afterwards.
9. Duplex dir. Danny Devito (2003)
“It’s the leavings of a mouse!”
I don’t expect anyone else to feel the same way as I do about this movie. I caught it once while channel surfing, and was instantly hooked. The acting isn’t that good: it stars Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore, respectively playing Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore (well, not in name). But something about a couple moving to Brooklyn and trying to off their 100 year old Irish tenant really makes me chuckle. The movie is peppered with gross humor such as old lady knicker-sniffing, vomit to the face, and feeding regurgitated hotdog to a parrot. I know, I know. Danny DeVito lends his sweet, dulcet tones to the movie as a narrator (oh yeah it’s got narration), thus truly completing this oddball black comedy that I’ve come to adore.
8. Ghost World dir. Terry Zwigoff (2001)
“Dear Josh, we came by to fuck you, but you were not home. Therefore... you are gay. Signed Tiffany, and Amber.”
I don’t think it’s just the cartoonist in me that loves this movie (Ghost World, originally a comic by Mr. Dan Clowes). You can almost feel the boredom and suffocation of Enid’s life during her first summer post-high school Not really sure what she wants, very sure of what she doesn’t want, and sometimes too damn depressed to do anything about it. Still, it’s fun to watch the adventures of Enid and Rebecca (played by a deadpanning Scarlett Johansson) and they harass people and make up stories about others. Also: Steve Buscemi!
7. Stranger than Fiction dir. Marc Forster (2006)
“You bought me flours?”
This makes #2 for Will Farrell on my list but he does such a good job taking on the role of serious, anal Harold Crick in Stranger Than Fiction. His portrayal of a tax man who must learn to change his habits and step outside his comfort zone is warmhearted and endearing. Maggie Gyllenhaal plays his love interest, a loud and opinionated baker. Quirky and unrealistic, it’s still a good film with a cute story with a happy ending (in a bizarre way).  I don’t want to give it away, but I definitely recommend it for those who haven’t yet watched.
6. Pan's Labyrinth (El laberinto del fauno) dir. Guillermo del Toro (2006)
“Un accidente?!”
I saw Pan’s Labyrinth in the theaters. I walked in not knowing what it was about and walked out knowing that I wouldn’t be forgetting it anytime soon. A fairytale for adults? A twisted, violent, dark fairytale? For every scene that I found completely awe-inspiring there would be another scene that I found gruesome and hard to watch. This at least kept me riveted. An imaginative film set during an actual event in history. Also, that monster—the one with the eyes on the hands? Congratulations, that is the scariest effing thing I have ever seen.
5. White Oleander dir. Peter Kosminski (2002)
“So what if I shove my tits in some stranger’s face? Who cares! So what if I want to shovel coke up my nose—who’s it hurtin’? Well it hurts me! And it hurts Jesus.”
Author Janet Fitch initially wrote the book White Oleander to shed light on a failing bureaucracy in modern-day California, properly known as Social Services. Fitch delivers the story of Astrid, a girl who is continuously denied any real help as she is passed along from one disastrous foster home to another. The movie, though sometimes moving too quickly through scenarios, does a good job of bringing the twisted and complex tale to the screen. The imagery is beautiful and the story interpreted interestingly. Good performances from the cast. Michelle Pfeiffer is the icy, manipulative artist (as well as Astrid’s mother) who is imprisoned for killing her ex-boyfriend. Renee Zelwegger as the sentimental actress Claire, who flip-flops between being a refined, elegant lady and a neurotic mess and eventually offs herself. My favorite, though, is Robin Wright Penn playing the white trash ex-stripper now devoted to Jesus.
4. Igby Goes Down dir. Burr Speers (2002)
“You don't roll like, big rasta spliff joints, do you? Your joints are like salad joints, not like a big, sloppy, bleeding cheeseburger-that-you-rip-into-kind-of-a-joint joint.”
Privileged upper class white boy rebels against his family, friends and educators as a means of separating himself from the bullshit and drama that unfolds in this story. You can’t help but watch as Igby throws himself into situation after situation, each ending up a hot, steamy mess. As the story unfolds you learn that a lot of his behavior stems from his family life, which is chock full of crazy (see: scene where Bill Pullman has breakdown; also see: Susan Surandon sitting on a maid). You feel for Igby but you can’t help but want to shake him sometimes. The cast is full of fun people I love to see on the screen, such as Keiran Culkin, Susan Surandon, Claire Danes, and oh… a little somebody by the name of Jeff Goldblum. Anyone heard of him? Anyone?
3. Elf dir. Jon Favreau (2003)
“You’re not Santa! You smell like beef and cheese!”
Only about twice a decade will a Holiday movie come out that I know I’ll be watching for years to come, and Elf is one of them. I’m also going to be honest and confide that I watch this movie often, and not only during Christmas time. I don’t know what it is: Will Ferrell’s banana-yellow tights? An existential children’s book by the name of Gus’s Pickles? Getting drunk in the mailroom and sharing feelings with an ex-con? In a time where every Christmas movie seems to revolve around similar and tired plots I found Elf to be a refreshing new story with a lot of laughs, not to mention a lot of Maple Syrup.
2. Almost Famous dir. Cameron Crowe (2000)
“I’m a Golden God!”
I’m finding it difficult to sum up this movie, or my feelings about it. Ever wonder what life would be like as a fifteen year-old boy coming of age while moonlighting as a rock journalist? Mystery solved with Almost Famous. It’s got sex, it’s got drugs, and it’s got rock and roll. What I’m talking about is—wait, what am I talking about? The Buzz! The Buzz—and the chicks, and the Whatever. It’s all offshoot of the Buzz!
The fact that it’s based around director Cameron Crowe’s own experiences is pretty cool, too.
1. Amelie (Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain) dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet (2001)
“I am nobody’s little Weasel.”

Truth be told, I did not love Amelie the first time I watched it.  This is because I couldn’t stop thinking about a particular fact regarding Amelie and Nino. The pair spends the majority of the movie passively-aggressively in pursuit of each other: there’s a meeting in a diner, one awkward-as-hell ride through a Haunted House, even a scavenger hunt. At the end of the film they have sex. All the while, however, Amelie only ever says one word to this boy. That word would be “No”. Wait, what?! No means no! “No” does not a romance make! It bothered me the first time I saw the movie but luckily I got over it. Amelie has some of my favorite cinematography, the story is adorable, and a garden gnome is involved. This is also the movie that gave us the charming Audrey Tatou, mind you.

No comments: