I love movies, sometimes I write them, but my first love wasn’t movies it was books, and lately I’ve turned my attentions there, having discovered the joys of writing prose.
I read early, at age 3 — at the eight grade level, or so the story goes, though I remember reading The Little Engine That Could (kindergarten level, I believe), and having a whole world open up to me. It is the genius of children’s literature that it says so much about the journey that lies ahead. The Little Engine That Could taught me boundless possibility, Where The Wild Things Are put me in touch as it did with the absolute validity of my own wild and untamable nature, And Oh, The Places You’ll Go?, which I read as an adult, taught me the most fundamental lessons about navigating the narrative arc of a life. Hats off to Dr. Seuss, who also penned this indispensible little dittie: “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind”
But enough about Seuss, and enough about books. This post is about film, my second but no less beloved child.
I fell in love with film in my mid-twenties when I started writing screenplays. I came at it through an interesting doorway, having realized that the legal career I’d set in motion wasn’t right for me. After several long walks and some jottings in my journal, I heard a clear, strong voice, voice of God, if you will, say “you will write for film.” I obeyed. First the conversion, then the understanding.
Tags: Film & TV, Frances Ha, Mud, Stuck In Love, The Culture
Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t seen the last two episodes of Girls, you may want to see them before you read this post.
I like Lena Dunham. I liked her feature Tiny Furniture. I like (make that love) that after the major publishing houses duked it out in a bidding war amongst themselves, she sold her book of yet to be written for a whopping 3.7 Million dollars. And I love that she bagged her Grammy winning boyfriend while being shamelessly, unabashedly, “you might be over-sharing a bit” zaftig. Oh, and did I mention that she’s all of 26?
But Girls, the show Dunham created, stars in and helps executive produce? I hate it, the way you hate a train wreck you can’t look away from — which may explain why I’ve seen every single episode, even though, in the immortal words of my absolute favorite person, they make me want to “barf up.” That is, until last week, when Girls turned the corner into something resembling truly great television. Don’t get me wrong. It was still depressing as all get out. But this time it was depressing in the service of a higher good, namely, the hope that, if you face your hard truths, your life might turn out truly good.
Tags: Film & TV, Girls, Lena Dunham, The Culture
The Academy Awards were yesterday and I was glued to my TV screen like a crackhead fixed on crack. I’m addicted to award season, to the camaraderie, the unapologetic display of creativity over profits only, the Cinderella at the ball rise from obscurity (or the Hollywood “working classes”) that happens each year (think Jessica Chastain last year or Jennifer Lawrence the year before. Both women have catapulted to super-stardom in the milliseconds since and both were nominated this year for a Best Actress Academy Award, with Lawrence bringing home the Oscar Gold). This year’s Cinderella moments belong to the writers and directors, most notably Chris Terrio, who won the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for Argo, but also director Behn Zeitlin, his co-writer Lucy Alibar, and his star Quvenzhané Wallis, who went from obscurity this time last year to suddenly being on everyone’s lips.
Tags: Academy Awards 2013, Film & TV, Film Narrative, Oscars 2013, The Culture
In what may be the surprise upset of the Oscar season, Kathryn Bigelow and Ben Affleck, who brought us the brilliant Zero Dark Thirty and the very accomplished Argo, respectively (two of the best films of the year), were overlooked in the Best Director category. It would have been nice to see Marion Cotillard receive a nod for her beautiful, heart-wrenching and revelatory performance in Rust & Bone, but you can’t win ‘em all and the Oscar Winner (for Vie en Rose in 2008) will no doubt be nominated again one day, for her remarkable work in some other remarkable role.
I might quibble with a nomination here or there — most notably Ang Lee for Best Director for the exceedingly mediocre Life Of Pi – but with the exception of the Bigelow and Affleck snubs, the list holds up. Tommy Lee Jones received a well-deserved Best Supporting Actor nomination for his performance in Lincoln and, in what may be the most delightful nomination of the year, the adorable, talented Quvenzhané Wallis was nominated in the Best Actress category for her remarkable work in Beasts Of The Southern Wild, becoming, at 9, the youngest actress to ever receive a Best Actress Nominee…and she was only 5 when she landed the role.
Here is a complete list of nominees in the acting, directing, screenwriting and best picture categories:
Tags: Academy Award, Film & TV, Oscar Nominations 2013, Oscars, The Culture
A few weeks ago, we posted an early review of Zero Dark Thirty, as the press and the creative community in Hollywood were getting their first look. The film, a cinematic masterpiece from Academy Award winning director Kathryn Bigelow and journalist and Academy Award winning screenwriter Mark Boal, hits theaters today. It stars Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke and Jennifer Ehle. For a great insider’s look at the film, read this interview with Jessica Chastain which appeared in last week’s Huffington Post.
Tags: Film & TV, Jessica Chastain, The Culture, Zero Dark Thirty