Nov. 15th, 2009 12:48 am
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I'll Wait For the Next One - First off, the title of this short is absolutely amazing - it's what the woman wishes she had done in the first place, or is muttering to herself afterward. I think this was one of the shortest fllms we've watched so far, yet it packed one of the most powerful punches of the entire semester. I certainly felt like I'd been socked in the gut by the punchline of the film, I felt the pain and embarrassment of that woman. The director did an amazing job getting the viewer drawn into the story within minutes by using scenarios that we have all experienced - riding down an escalator and checking out the people going up, observing voyeur-like the people making out around us, standing on a crowded bus or subway as some crazy person makes an announcement.

The story takes an abrupt turn when the man begins to make his announcement on the train, and from then on the film is a series of forwards, starting with the very first word of "Hello." Each sentence further defies the stereotype of a random guy making an announcement on a train - you would assume he wants money, but the man says he does not. He reaches for his pocket, and it looks like he may be going for a gun, but no gun ever appears. The withholding of information is excellent, especially since it's so masterfully accomplished only within a few minutes.

I found the man completely sincere and if I had been on the train I would have believed him. I wouldn't have gotten off the train for him, because as sincere as I found him, I'm not a fan of looking for love in all the wrong places with random strangers, but I know that floats some people's boats. I guess I thought he was sincere because what he was doing was so outlandish and potentially embarrassing that you don't do it unless you're serious/desperate/seriously desperate. The bit with the heckler furthered the ruse as well.

And ug, I hate to say it, but he hit that disgustingly romantic part of my soul that I like to pretend doesn't exist unless I'm watching Stargate SG-1 and rooting for Sam and Jack to get hitched and have loads of cute and brilliant babies while they cavort around the galaxy and save the world. (Oh gawd, I have a romantic soft spot, I won't elaborate upon my feelings for Mulder and Scully here because that would just take up the rest of the next week). This is very interesting though, particularly as I hate the majority of romantic and romantic comedy movies (except Casablanca), and I wonder what it is about this short that hit me so hard. Maybe because I find most love stories outlandish and silly, and this was just incredibly sincere, hopeful, tightly written, heartbreaking, and makes what should have been a conventional ending get into a very uncomfortable headstand. A far more devastating critique and blow to the concept of true love than anything else I've ever seen.

Dog - Kind of silly, but when I saw in the opening credits that the film had been made by Australians, I assumed that the movie was about the whites and aborigines in Australia, so I spent the first few minutes confused til I realized the boss's name was Johannes and that it was so very Afrikaans. But I do like how the filmmakers don't spoon feed the setting and time period to the audience and make you figure it out through cues like the boss's name, the accents and the subservient blacks. For someone like me who knows history and whose mother is from South Africa, I was able to quickly place the film, but for a younger audience who can barely locate neighboring states of the US on a map, forget about Afghanistan, this may present a problem: "Oh, a British accent and black slaves - it must be set in the Civil War in the US South!" (I seriously hope it's not that bad).

My favorite thing about the movie was the fact that there were so many possible interpretations of both the motivations of the boss and the ending. The boss beat the dog to teach the dog who's boss, to teach the boy who's the boss, to show the boy how worthless he is, the filmmaker representing the oppression of apartheid through this exchange, to make the dog loyal to the boss, to take something away from the boy that he loved (casual cruelty). I love ambiguous endings, they're basically "choose your own adventure stories." One of the best examples of this ever is in the book "The Giver" by Lois Lowry, with an ending that can be interpreted in three different yet equally valid ways (he lives, he dies, he hallucinates) that reflect the worldview of the reader. Dog allows this same flexibility with a crazy amount of different emotional and psychological ramifications. Does he shoot the dog due to loyalty to his boss? Does he let the boss die due to loyalty to the dog? Does he shoot the dog due to blindly following his boss's instructions? Does he let the boss die because he had it coming and he hates the boss? Does he refuse to shoot the dog but still attempt to reach the boss? Does he shoot the boss? The bullet sound does not necessarily have to be one occurring in reality - it could have been in the boy's mind, the bullet signifying the decision that he makes - or it could have been an actual bullet shot and the sound was overlaid on top of the video as a transitional cut leading to the next scene of the dead dog.

The other great thing about this film was the way that it had multiple endings. The film could have ended after the dog had been beaten and after the dog chases the friend away as well, and I would have been content. This is really nice, especially in contrast to some movies that seem to have reached endings but then forge on ahead for another hour (Case in point: Minority Report). This film reaches multiple endings and is still able to keep on going without overstepping its boundaries because each story that comes after adds on a new dimension that enriches the previous scene.

A Guy Walks Into A Bar - Ahhhhh what a fun film!! I knew from the moment I saw the title that I'd love it, even if I didn't know who Fred Savage was. It was still funny even without that piece of information. Everything was brilliant about this film, from the casting (the girl with the bikini and the tattoos - her name is Texas Terry lol) to the locations (apparently everything was shot on location in SoCal? I think - I tried to pay attention to the credits) and the way the opening sequence was cut. I usually get annoyed when a movie or tv episode starts with a sequence from the end or middle and then retraces the steps it took to get there, but this was done very well by mixing up the timeline, throwing pieces of the past, present and future all together in a nontraditional opening sequence. I loved how this was a homage/parody of the Western genre, especially the way they had Josh walk into the bar like a real badass cowboy. Most of the Western bits were spot on, but the hooker with a heart of a gold has always raised my hackles, especially since Josh is some pisher white Jewish kid from Ohio suburbia and he hooks up with a hardcore prostitute on the road and they live happily ever after? And how is this desirable whatsoever? Hahaha, this is some teenage boy fantasy that works only if I don't think too hard about it.

This is also a coming of age tale which starts out with Josh and his overprotective parents, and culminates in Josh being able to single-handedly kick ass while looking manly and getting the girl. Josh leaves his sheltered home and is exposed to "real life" and "love." He learns and experiences many adult skills such as being resourceful, having incredibly unwise sexual intercourse, dealing with seemingly overwhelming odds and how to deal with an overheated car in the middle of a desert. Just your average skill set. Hey, if he can handle this adventure, I'm sure he'll do great as an actor in Hollywood. He can kick ass while he waits tables.

Everytime I try to forget about 80's and 90's fashion we have to watch another movie with some tart dressed up in a miniskirt and tacky top with puffy hair. Sluts are so much more fashionable these days.

And honestly, I need to stop using up all my good stuff in class and save some for the blog!


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tamar the great

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