Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hey, Remeber The 80's Blog

The 80's weren't just a time for big hair, pastel sportscoats, cocaine induced mass murdering sprees and Phil Collins. It was also a time for experimentations with abnormal story structure and plot. Let's have a look at a few of the films I've been watching recently.

Jacob's Ladder

This film hit me like a slap on bracelet: stuck to me and never let go. My father recommended this film to me, way back when I was too young to understand that Vietnam never happened. (Although you wouldn't want to say that around a V.F.W.) The film deals with a Vietnam Vet. by the name of Jacob Singer (Tim Robbins) and his otherworldy hallucinations, stemming from an experimental drug the Government slipped into the food supply of his troop.

These aren't just hallucinations though, but rather angels and demons. Jacob believes himself to be experiencing a reality based Dante's Inferno: the seven layers of hell, and he must climb himself out. I really can't delve too deeply into the plot or it'll spoil the entire thing for you. Take the synopsis and run with it. I love this film and the ending will forever bring about a tropical storm to my beautiful brown eyes.

Midnight Express

This film was the second foray into scriptwriting for Oliver Stone. I must say, you can see all of his future potential wrapped up in three scenes that I dare not give away, lest you feel less obliged to rent this film. You'll note one scene was parodied in Ben Stiller's directorial debut, The Cable Guy. (a highly underrated Jim Carrey performance) It made watching the scene, in all its seriousness, a little comic as I've already the preconceived notion of Jim Carrey moaning "OH BILLY!" But what the hell, it's still one damn fine piece of cinema.

You can't go wrong when you've got the director of Pink Floyd's The Wall, another favorite of mine. That's two films that chronicle a man's descent into madness, a theme I love to explore, and experience every weekend. The film is a bit dated, not too much, just a bit though. And a particular "gay" scene is nothing but a bucket of chuckles when viewed in context against something like Brokeback Mountain. But, hey, this was the 80's and people could quit you back then.

After Hours

Mr. Scorsese had a little problem getting The Last Temptation Of Christ produced, when he was sent this script. He loved it but initially passed on the project. Tim Burton was then persued and he obliged. Scorsese then took a break from Christ and displayed interest, again, in this project. Burton politely declined, stating that he would not stand in the way of anything Marty had an interest of doing. I'm glad. This thing is a real gem and it gave Marty the confidence, restoring his love for filmmaking, to proceed with Last Temptation. Things worked out great because this and Last Temptation are Scorsese classics.

Altered States

I'll be honest, I've yet to see this film. I bought it yesterday and ended up doing some busy work without having the pleasure to pop this in. Plus, my DVD player broke and I haven't set up the new one I purchased at Wal-Mart (Sony $39.99!) just yet. I'll do it today after work and pop this bad boy in. It's written by Paddy Cheyefsky, one of the greatest screenwriters of all-time (Network!) so I already know I'll be lost in a trance of blissful fixation once the opening credits begin their steady ascending. Review to follow!

The thing is, only one of these films has an actual release date of a 1980 date: Altered States. Jacob's ladder was released in early 1990 and Midnight Express was release in late 1978. I could make arguments that you are able to round down and up the year to reflect how you hold it in your head, as I do these films with the 1980's. They all have that "glow" look to them that lets you know it's true 80's cinema. They all deal with mental declination and descents into madness. They all question reality and self-conceptualized realities.

Philosophical, enlightening, heart-warming and heart breaking, these films have it all and will provide endless hours of head scratching and soul searching. Hold on to your lugnuts, it's time for an overhaul.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Birfday Bwog

My birthday is Thursday but my mother decided to surprise me with an early present. A "pre-present" if you will. She purchased a $200 blockbuster gift card, which is most excellent since I'll be able to purchase an assload of films now.

Here's what I've already purchased:

Midnight Cowboy
Little Children ~ (whoa, amazing)
Last Tango In Paris
Lost Weekend
The Following
Behind The Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon
Funny Games
Be Kind Rewind
Inland Empire
The Savages
Whose That Knocking At My Door
After Hours

Need less to say, I'm pretty ecstatic about the winter storm that's heading my way right about now. So, Friday, I'll be taking off work which means that Thursday night I'll be isolated in my loft with nothing but my films, my cat and some writing to do. It's pretty radical to have this kind of weekend to look forward to. My friends are all freaking out since they won't be able to go slosh themselves into drunkenhood as they do every weekend, but maybe this time around they'll pick up a hobby!

I put up a new rack to hold my bitchin' collection of spectacular DVDs. I'm up to a "shit-ton" now. Not sure exactly how many, but it's ever expanding, thus, I cannot put a number to it. This blog is going nowhere.

Now, I'm thinking of a script about being snowed in. Or possibly using it as an element in one of the scripts I've already begun. See how I do this? It's like the scene from Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, when the character played by my ex-girlfriend, Kristen Wiig, is berating Dewey, telling him he'll never make it. Dewey tells her he's gonna make it, he's gonna walk "hard, down life's rocky road." He repeats the line and realizes he's got a song! That's how I feel right now, in laymen's terms.

God damn, I feel like a child, but I'm now 25. That's a quarter of my life! Or, maybe even half, who knows! I do have some things to look forward to: my insurance going down, my voice deepening and heck, I may even finally lose my virginity! I must say, though, that Orson Welles made Citizen Kane when he was 25. So, I'll keep my head up and hope that awesomeness will fall into my lap.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Coming Home Blog

That was fun. I thought I'd try to find some small town diner, equipped with wi-fi, in order to keep you all updated. What happened instead is nothing. Literally, nothing happened. I drove around intending to meet all these wonderful people and come to all these insightful epiphanies. None of that. Just a calming, relaxing drive to get away from home for a few days.

Sorry to disappoint but there really wasn't much happening. In reality, I accomplished what I set out to do, but I really could've done just that by staying at home and taking a breather. I do feel renewed, replenished and rejuvenated as I'm now in some sort of flow that's enabled me to turn a higher productivity rate in my work and personal life. So, perhaps getting away did help me do something: realize what I've had all along. Sometimes you overlook things when you get so used to them, having adapted to their presence. Things end up being taken for granted. It's pretty wise to reflect for a moment on the accomplishments you've already acquired and the goals you strive to achieve. So, now that all this existential rambling is done, we can get back to our striving artist blog! Welcome back, Me.

If you're curious as to what the picture above is indicating, I'll tell you: humor. Mainly, dark humor, or black humor or even satire. The picture above is from the Martin Scorsese film "The King of Comedy" and wow is it brimming with hilarity. Some of the humor is so subtle that you won't catch it the first time. It also doesn't help that the lines are spoken with the finesse of a Paul Mitchell hair product, by none other than Method acting wonderboy: ol' Bobby DeNiro. At his truly most despicable, DeNiro as Rupert Pupkin, brings about a sense of disdain for this character that only wants to go one way to the top, the easy way.

I can somewhat relate to this "unrelateable character", as the critics called him. DeNiro's Pupkin believes himself to be worthy of immediately being on Jerry's comedy show, despite what leaps and bounds it would take a normal comedian to achieve. He wants it now, and he'll do anything necessary to get it, except work at it. I can somewhat sympathize with Pupkin; I feel the same way about Hollywood. I think it's no coincindence that upon my arrival home, this is the first film I put in. Fate has a peculiar way of telling me things I need to know, in ways that aren't as subtle as the humor in this film.

I get the message: I've got to work at it. And I will. In fact, I'm heading over to Jaden's site, right now, in order to work on a scriptwriting excercise! Go me and go you. Happy new year. Get down to business. And achieve something worthwhile - all of you!!

Resolutions for the year:

1. Screenwriting Hardcore Extravaganza
2. For the love of God, work out more often
3. Seriously though, stop being so sarcastic
4. Be better organizized, it helps with structure