Thursday, September 17, 2015

Matt Damon, apples

You remember that stupid movie, Good Will Hunting? When Matt Damon shouts through a window to the wealthy college student, "DO YOU LIKE APPLES? DO YOU LIKE APPLES? WELL, HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES!"

What if he didn't like apples? I've never liked apples. What made Matt Damon think he liked apples?

If they guy had yelled back through the window, "I CAN'T EAT THEM. THEY HURT MY GUMS," what would Matt Damon have said then?

And I see that Matt Damon is a racist now.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea, 1976


I saw this on Home Box Office (now HBO) when I was 14. An arthouse movie set in England based on a novel by Yukio Mishima.

With Sara Miles, Kris Kristofferson and Jonathan Kahn.

Jonathan Kahn as Sara Miles son. He runs around with a gang of tweens led by a sadistic tweenage Nietzschean (Earl Rhodes). Jonathan discovers a knothole in the wall between his room and his mother's and starts spying on her which is every bit as perverse as it sounds. She starts sleeping with Kris Kristofferson who plays the first officer on an ocean freighter.

The kids drug and dissect a live cat. A disclaimer at the end assures us that "no living animal" was harmed in the making of the movie, and watching the scene again, I'm sure that was true.

Sara Miles and Jonathan Kahn won Golden Globes for their performances.

Critics at the time complained that the thing with the kids was implausible. I don't know. Weren't there a couple of episodes of Dragnet where teens are led astray by a charismatic classmate?

It might make a double feature with Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, another movie about a boy with mixed feelings about his widowed mother dating a guy played by Kris Kristofferson.

Available on Fandor.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

George Clooney, Up In The Air


I don't think I've seen George Clooney in anything before.

Watched Up In The Air on Netflix only 6 years after its release. Pretty good for me.

I once heard the director, Jason Reitman, interviewed on NPR. He said that his father, director Ivan Reitman, advised him not to try to make a scene funnier or more dramatic. He said it was almost impossible to do. Just stick to the script. You picked it for a reason.

I like advice that tells you to do nothing.

This movie wasn't very funny or very dramatic which is probably fine, but I didn't especially like it. George Clooney flies around the country firing people for companies that don't want to perform this unpleasant task themselves. He brags about his lack of commitment. He has no family and few possessions. All he wants is frequent flier miles. But, as you might imagine, he grows and changes as a character.

$50 thousand-a-year film schools

I was looking at a list of the top 25 film schools. Not sure what their basis was, but okay. Most charged around $50,000 a year tuition. A few state schools were much cheaper, around $17,000.

You could make a pretty good movie for $50,000. Some people in the comments section made that point. In fact, they said that successful film school alumni who returned to speak at their old school told students to drop out and "go make a movie!"

I don't know if that's good advice. It sounds good, but student films are notoriously bad, and I don't know that a film made by a film school drop-out would be much better. You should be able to make a pretty good movie for $50 thousand, but the fifty grand you pay in tuition is going to be in financial aid and massive student loans. If you quit, you won't be fifty thousand dollars richer, you'll just have that much less debt.

It's unlikely you'll make your money back or that anything will come of a movie that cost that little. If you go to film school for a year, at least you'd get something out of it. On the other hand, few people who graduate from film school will end up doing anything. If they dropped out and made a low budget movie, at least they would have something to show the grandkids some day.

I don't know why I'm discussing it. If you have that much money, do what you want. It doesn't matter.

Filmmaking is an old person's art anyway. 80-year-olds make better movies than 20-year-olds. That may only be because the 80-year-old has been working at it longer. I don't know if a FIRST-TIME 80-year-old director with no experience at all in film would make a better movie than a first-time 20-year-old director.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Breaker Morant

I saw the movie Breaker Morant only 35 years after its initial release. Starred Edward Woodward just a five years before The Equalizer.

The movie was set during the Boer War in South Africa. Some Australian soldiers are court martialed for murdering prisoners and a German missionary. And, of course, they were guilty. Their defense was that they were only following orders. They were being prosecuted because the German government objected to the missionary being murdered and there was a danger that they would join the war against the murderous Brits.

It might make a double feature with Judgement at Nuremberg or The Winston Affair.

The Winston Affair starred Keenan Wynn as an Army lieutenant charged with murdering a British officer during World War Two. The Army wants to convict him quick to smooth things over between the British and American troops so they can get on with the war. But defense attorney Robert Mitchum has different ideas.

But movies like The Winston Affair and Judgement at Nuremberg were less ambiguous than Breaker Morant. In one, the defendant was insane, in the other, the defendants were Nazis.

We sympathize with the defense in Breaker Morant, but the defendants were horrible people. The Boers were no picnic either and their being murdered by the Brits shouldn't have bothered me. They were all colonialists, all racist scum.