Friday, March 6, 2015

Foxcatcher - When Creative License Changes History

All I had heard about Foxcatcher, was how three vastly different actors, came together to give performances that should have won awards. I was told by some that despite the "depressing" ending, the movie was one of the best of the year. What I also heard, was the guy who the movie is about, the man who wrote the book, was disgusted by how this film ended up. As someone who followed this story as it unfolded, I feel like the participants were wronged.

Mark Schultz is a simple man. He's not the smartest guy in the world, but he's hardly the mentally challenged character, that Tatum plays. His brother Dave, was a gregarious man. Fun-loving,  intelligent and nothing like the sad sack he's portrayed like in the film. He was also the buddy to du Pont in real life, not Mark. Then there is du Pont, who despite quite possibly being clinically insane, wasn't nearly as outwardly odd in interviews and footage, until he snapped. All this doesn't come close to what truly bothered me about the film. The false ending, which in reality takes place six years after Mark leaves Foxcatcher.

The truly interesting part of this story, takes place after Dave's murder. The fact that a white man of wealth had committed the act of murder and the police did nothing. They allowed him to hide in his house and performed hostage negotiations, despite there being no hostages. All this happened, while his still, very successful, Foxcatcher farms was putting out Olympic quality wrestlers, such as Kurt Angle. Anyone who followed the real story, understands that 90% of the film is fiction, which I felt really takes away from the story. Aside from being painfully long and boring, it's inaccuracies are something I just couldn't get past.

I have always been OK with creative license for the purpose of drama, as long as it doesn't change the events. Take a movie like Argo for example. The dramatic ending was actually, not at all the close call that was detailed in the film, but the panic and fear of being caught, wouldn't have translated had the timeline been two hours apart, as in real life. Then there is American Sniper, which I haven't seen, but know enough, that I'm prepared to see a version of a "true story," that is completely distorted. The book depicts Kyle as a sociopath (and remember, he wrote it), while the movie shows him as one who was just following orders. Subsequent articles written by other snipers who knew Kyle, shine a much darker light on him, both before and after his tours. While I don't believe the film's intent was to do anything more than show the effects of PTSD, it has turned Kyle into a cult hero. One that others who have performed his duties, neither revere or feel is warranted. In an age, where the most watched news source, has been cited as being 60% false and the average news, somewhere in the 45% range, maybe we need to stop blaming the entertainment industry and look at ourselves and our growing inability to tell truth from fiction. Or better yet, our desire to even care what is true or not.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Quickie Review - Finding Vivian Maier

While I thoroughly enjoyed the film, especially the first 15-20 minutes, I was a little bothered by the way the film played out. The interviews with the clearly disturbed brother, sister and the mother, who obviously, was in for a cut, didn't need to be in the film. Then the woman who suggested abuse, yet seemed to have her life defined by Maier, as she tried to muster every ounce of emotion and fake guilt. Her friend, more than happy to be party of the charade. People who talk about abuse for the first time, usually don't do so on camera. The fact these scenes were so prominent, shows that they felt wronged that they were not rewarded. Maloof on the other hand, seems to disappear from the documentary during this part, almost hiding away from the fact, he went from complete praise, to even making money off of her, to destroying her personal legacy. He almost mentions the family of boys taking care of her rent, as an afterthought. Her burial spot, never shown, yet a video of her basking in the happiness of the boys detailing the spot. I feel as if Maloof brought us something wonderful, in allowing us to see her brilliance, but in the end, let her down, by never defending her privacy.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Free Writing - Take 75

This will be a short one, I promise. If I am on edge the next six weeks, please don't be offended.  I might not be my normally chipper self and there may be times I may lean towards the side of sarcasm or plain old crassness. I do sincerely apologize. I'll admit, that the public version of Facebook is making me truly despise some people I genuinely like. It's not my place to condemn those who feel it necessary to boast about their activities supporting things I want the world rid of or to constantly tell us all what we can see by stepping outside or maybe even gazing out the window. It's winter folks and this is what winter was when we were kids. Our parents didn't complain and we didn't know it was bad, because we went to school. Our parents weren't assholes like we are. They didn't sue the school when the bus skidded into a tree and they didn't pay others to shovel their walk. Hell, we reveled in this weather as teens, as it paid for our underage drinking a pizza binges at Albanese's. Back to my point. I'm not sick and nobody I know is sick, but something is going on in my life that will cause me a little more stress than I'm used to (and I'm used to quite a bit). So bear with me. If I offend you in any way, let me know privately. Please and thanks.

Monday, March 2, 2015

February Movies

February's List. #30 was actually movie #63 for the year.
  1. The Town That Hated Sundown - Remake or Sequel? Solid start, but completely fizzles.
  2. Boyhood - Long-winded tale of growing up with a very misogynistic angle.  
  3. Filth - Scottish film with James McAvoy as bad cop. Heavy, but not the Bad Lieutenant.
  4. Trance - Great cast flounders in another Danny Boyle debacle, but words.
  5. Odd Thomas - Yelchin and my new bae Addison Timlin shine in Koontz adaptation. 
  6. Detention - Cross between Easy A, Scream & Hot Tub Time Machine. Good fun!
  7. Fighting Express Trilogy - I'm counting this as one, because I watched it in FF. Awful.
  8. Under the Skin - eerily though provoking with Oscar worthy performance by Johannson. 
  9. Killer Mermaid - aside from a tiny bikini and shorts, this one is as bad as it gets.
  10. Gone Girl - Wonderful acting can't help poor script and silly premise. Ending is a mess. 
  11. Virunga - Documentary on the preservation of Congo's Mountain Gorilla's and so much more.
  12. Thale - Noregian fairytale with slow beginning and cheesy ending, but solid guts. 
  13. Enemy - Simplistic tale of infidelity, made out to be much more complex than it is. 
  14. Friday the 13th: Final Chapter - Re-Watched. Silly fun. Forgot how lame 80's horror is.
  15. Wicked Little Things - Surprisingly strong cast carries this above par. Simple, yet effective.
  16. ABC's of Death 2 - Pretty awful sans four scenes. F, S, T, X. 
  17. The Man From Nowhere - Korean action masterpiece. It's what taken wished it had been. 
  18. White Bird in a Blizzard - Great cast in one of the worst movies ever made. Ridiculous ending.
  19. Hellraiser - Re-watched. Wonderfully creepy, but hilarious at times, especially Higgins.
  20. Dazed and Confused - Re-watched. Still probably the best Linklater film. Timely and timeless.
  21. Starry Eyes - Could have been a modern day Repulsion, but goes the demonic route. Meh!
  22. White Zombie - Poor Bela. First Zombie film ever is true to mystique, but lacks decent story. 
  23. Only God Forgives - Winding Refn and Gosling miss, but Scott Thomas is Razzie material. 
  24. Crazy Eights - Cast of up and comers (if it was 1990) can't help this horrid film.
  25. Omnivores - Wonderful Spanish horror, with a fatal flaw keeping it from brilliance.
  26. Solaris - Tarkovsky crawls us through this simple look at human's ruining humanity. 
  27. Open Grave - Silly plot that never takes hold due to horrible acting and script.
  28. The Hours (parts, reason behind it) - Incredible performances with standouts Moore and Harris
  29. Whiplash - I'm in a minuscule minority, but one of the worst movies I've ever seen. 
  30. Annabelle - Ten times better than The Conjuring. Thrilling and even has a few legit scares.

Free Writing - Take 74

The clock ticks the weekend away, but it doesn't matter. This was a vacation for one, but a realization for me. A realization that I'm in more pain than I care to admit. That the simple act of sitting is becoming an issue. People laugh when they hear me complain, but they don't realize what this time last year was like. Wincing in pain as I walked over to demonstrate some sport for my kids, collapsing in sweat as I got home. I'd trade that pain for an hour a day with those angels. No beers and buddies to bounce my woes off of. Deaf ears surround me, both literally and figuratively. Even those on the other side of a phone, whether it be voice or text, seem uninterested in my plight. I can't say I blame them, as it's not a very exciting story. Movies, always dear to my heart, have taken the place of Friday and Saturdays laughing over shots of Jameson or whatever my friends poured me. I don't watch movies like I used to. They are no longer simple entertainment, but something I break down constantly. Going back in my mind. Tonight, I wanted to take a nap and I literally thought out an entire movies and ran it over in my mind, changing lines, characters and results, I couldn't stop thinking and then it came to the end and I was unhappy. I would have rather slept. Two hours I thought this through, thinking maybe this is the idea that lead me to writing it out. It wasn't. Even my title was comical and my inspiration a pop culture icon, famous for who knows what. I would love to know one of these people to understand what makes them tick and how one can be so calculating to maintain fame for doing nothing. Filet mignon for dinner, so incredibly odd in my mistake cooking it, yet it tasted perfect, with the onions and spinach. All three in a bite, tasted like a gourmet steak sandwich, sans the bread. It's not 5AM, I took out the garbage in a tee shirt just two hours ago. Snow angels tempted me, but I feared I'd be stuck. Darwin Award, my fond farewell.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Whiplash aka Varsity Blues With Drums

I couldn't wait to slip the DVD in. I clapped as JK Simmons accepted his Oscar and couldn't wait to see this fine actor take control of a movie and make it his. My father had raved about it just the night before. I was so excited for this. Nothing I'd heard would have prepared me for what I was about to see.

Twenty-five minutes of instrument tuning and practice and then the movie begins. We realize something right away and my mind, a very experienced movie mind, started to map out the formulaic plot. Simmons, the strong coach/teacher, Teller the nervous, yet oddly bordering on cocky teen. His caring father, depicted as weak (because we all know, if you're not the coach or the teacher and the mom isn't there, you're either weak or abusive). The kid gets his shot. Yes, we never saw the reason coming six miles away. The blood squirting from his fingers...over and over and over. Wait for it, the coach shows he's human, the kid feels the shift of control, but this isn't real life, this is a movie, so the emotional coach was only using this to fuel his passion or someone else's. Then it happens. The made up story becomes reality as I'm writing it down. I then pause the movie and write down three more scenarios. Not only do they happen, but they happen in order of how I wrote them and within 30 seconds of each other. I then jot down the final scene. It happens as I scripted it, down the to the sudden black. No fade, just black. I was wrong about the location, but hell, that would have been cliche.

Whiplash let me down. Simmons is awful. He's R. Lee Ermey's drill sergeant in Full Metal Jacket without the fear behind him. He's the football coach with the perfect team. yet he wants to have the Heisman winner or the state championship or whatever it is he wants. He wants perfection, but doesn't ask if from the pretty girl, the fat kid, the faggot, the Irish kid...of course, being very careful not to play the race card of course, because of...Jazz? Who knows?

So there we are, the lights dim and the rest of the crowd is standing applauding. It's what you do at shows, whether it's Lincoln Center or the elementary school's spring concert. "Everyone was wonderful, especially you honey," says grandma. Hell, that would have been a better title. If you ever want to see a movie that encapsulates every cliche known to movie making, see Whiplash.  I'm actually going to say these words.

Drumline with Nick "fucking' Cannon is a better movie.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Free Writing - Take 73

I'm in the need for coffee, so this will be short, maybe five minutes tops. I just wrote about Solaris and might tweak it a little before hitting send or share or however I post my much ignored movie rants. I'm just so tired of people with some college philosophy or psychology classes writing about movies and metaphorical symbols and lions and tigers and bears, oh my. I'm seriously tired of $3 words and empty thoughts. I don't care that you used Sanskrit to declare your love for a Russian space movie. It impresses nobody, but yourself and one or two of your hipster fuck friends. I really am tired of the week old jokes you all think are new. You regurgitate last years hilarity with a coffee shop twist and your carefully manicured messy "do" and trust me when I tell you, we're laughing at you, not with you. I'm so tired of reading shit writing (yes fuckers, my own included) and sappy poems about how much you wanna fuck your mother, but hiding it inside some riddle of some strangers bosom or thighs. I'm so fucking sad, I misspelled bosom and had to correct it. I swear, tonight on Facebook it was like a hipster suck-fest, with people bitching about how much they hated the dress fucking color debate and the two llamas (the greatest story ever told, haha), yet they couldn't stop posting about how they hated it. Here's a thought, you know what I hate. Hypocrisy. Stop doing what you hate and thinking you're being clever, you only-eating-gluten-free-pizza-because-it's-trendy motherfucker. I'm serious, as I get further away from those I knew, it's a minor miracle I didn't just haul off and bash some of these fake bastards in the jaw. OK, I guess this went over five minutes, but someone requested that I get more into my anger, because I've become a boring fucker. On a side note. I'm really tired of people who are awful fucking parents, parading that shit down the sidewalk, like it's some pride banner. Listen, outing your kids failures, sickness and fears isn't good parenting unless you're doing it out of pure love. Don't post something for likes using your family, you desperate for attention cunts! You know what happened today when my good parent friends had something happen to their child? They disappeared from Facebook. You know for how long? I don't know, they haven't returned yet. Lesson! Enough yelling and screaming. Spring is in the air. I know, because my hands aren't aching from the soon to be arthritic claws they will become from the hours of typing, pushing and clicking. I need a night of getting drunk with people who know how to laugh and don't point out the irony of how some fucker wrote about it in 1829 < random date with know symbolism, metaphor or meaning. Oh yeah and that biatch better be ready to drink all day and night and talk about books, movies and cronuts (which I've never had) over some pizza and sushi and maybe even a sushi pizza. She'll know when she reads it I don't mean bitch in that sense, so fuck you people who don't get it. I'm a feminist more than you are, because I'm not a douche about it, picking on the inclusion or exclusion of a certain type of female. I love them all and hate them all equally, so leave my girl Patricia Arquette alone. And fucking leave Kanye alone too, just because! and fuck Beck and his "I'm so different my flannel and knit cap hurts." I'm gonna start dressing like fucking Bach. That's right fucksticks, I'm bringing sexy Bach. Fuck You!