Reckless Review: BROKEN FLOWERS

It’s difficult not to feel bad for Don Johnston (Bill Murray), the protagonist in Jim Jarmusch’s Broken Flowers (2005). Though he made a bunch of money a while back in something to do with computers and doesn’t need to work, he is almost completely alone, even when there are people around. We meet him as his girlfriend Sherry (Julie Delpy) is moving out of his dark, nearly empty, house. As she leaves, she sees his mail on the floor in the foyer, a pink envelope on the top of the stack. “Looks like you got a love letter from one of your other girlfriends,” she says, clearly disgusted. When Don opens the letter, he’s with his next-door neighbor and buddy Winston (Jeffrey Wright), and its contents are a shock.

Bill Murray and Jeffrey Wright in BROKEN FLOWERS (2005)
Bill Murray and Jeffrey Wright in BROKEN FLOWERS (2005)

Don reads that he has a son he doesn’t know about, born nearly 20 years before. This child is searching for Don and may find him. But who is the mother? The letter is unsigned, the postmark too faint to read, and apparently back in the day, Don lived up to the Don Juan characteristics implied in his name…there are quite a few women who could have written it. Amateur detective Winston begins a Sherlock-Holmes-style analysis of the stationery — it’s pink and flowery, and whoever wrote it used an old typewriter with a red ribbon. Don protests that the whole thing is a joke and he doesn’t want to know, but he is overwhelmingly lonely, and as Winston won’t let the mystery alone, Don is soon on a mission to revisit the possible moms. Trekking around the country to unspecified locations, he encounters his former girlfriends’ surprise, rage, indifference, and everything in between. Standouts along the way include Sharon Stone, Chloë Sevigny, the unrecognizable Tilda Swinton, and Alexis Dziena, as Stone’s character’s teenaged daughter, who has interesting fashion sense.

murray-stone-broken-flowers

The film’s pace is leisurely but quietly captivating, as Jarmusch uses suspense-style compositions to create understated tension. He takes the advice “show, don’t tell” and applies in a straightforward style. Murray gives a convincing, melancholy performance, with only hints of the goofball we know is there. Don never says, “I’m lonely,” but we see his life contrasted with Winston and his wife Mona’s. Each ex is a fairly well-sketched person, with her own believable personality — all they seem to have in common is that they were blonde. We get to judge for ourselves whether or not they are telling the truth about their lives — Jarmusch doesn’t weigh in.  “Look for clues,” Winston urges Don, referring to the typewriter and the pink flowers that will reveal the mother’s identity, but what Don is really looking for is the meaning of his life.

Another part of Broken Flowers‘ charm is its remarkable soundtrack. Where you might expect anguished folk-rock or confessional ballads, Jarmusch and music editor Jay Rabinowitz provide an eclectic mix of upbeat, sunny-sounding tunes. There are multiple tracks from both Ethiopian jazz composer Mulatu Astatke and British singer Holly Golightly, with and without the Greenhornes. What this all means for the moviegoer is an excellent if overlooked little gem of a film.

31 Days of Oscar update

Time for an update on the 31 Days of Oscar blogathon (full rundown at the original post). We’re a little more than a couple of weeks out from the first deadline. Publish your post and email me the link by any one of the following dates: January 31, February 7, February 14, February 21 and February 28.

The nominations were announced on Jan. 10, providing as much fodder for blog posts as any other’s, maybe more. Right away, I was aware of what I consider to be one major snub: Ben Affleck for Argo, and now that I’ve seen Zero Dark Thirty, I think Kathryn Bigelow was snubbed as well. Of course, the format of the Best Picture nominations, where 5-10 movies are tapped, virtually guarantees that there will be snubs. Is the Academy crazy, or crazy like a fox? Sounds like an idea for a blog post, speaking of which here’s some topic prompts (new ones at the end of the list):

  • Is there a film, performance or art or technical work the non-nomination of which you feel is a crime? Tell us about it.
  • Sometimes the Oscar seems to hinder, not help, someone’s career, including but not limited to the “Best Supporting Actress Curse.” Discuss.
  • Special Achievement Awards and Board of Governors’ Honorary Oscars…do you dare go there? Who should have gotten a competitive Oscar, and/or who might win an honorary Oscar the future?
  • Spotlight on sound editing and sound mixing, or any other unfairly neglected award.
  • Your favorite/the most influential Best Costume winners/nominees/should-have-beens through the years, or just focus on one.
  • Short films are often given short shrift…throw some love on your favorite.
  • Cinematography and editing vs.directing…the auteur theory, etc. Discuss, using Oscar-winning examples.
  • The Oscars still create the most hoopla, but should we be paying more attention to other awards, such as the Golden Globes or (fill in the blank)?

NEW:

  • The Academy’s rules for selection of the Best Picture dictate that any film receiving 5 percent or more of first place votes is nominated, so that a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 10 are in the running each year. This year there are 9 nominees, but there are still only 5 Best Director nods. Discuss the implications and ramifications of this set-up.
  • Judi Dench famously won a Oscar for her 6 flawless minutes in Shakespeare in Love. If there was an Oscar for cameos, who would be nominated, and who would win?
  • It’s generally accepted that actors and directors, and possibly other filmmakers, may receive an Oscar for a previous year’s, or an entire career’s, work, sometimes referred to as a “cumulative Oscar.” Do you think this is legit or totally unfair? Discuss.
  • Academy…why so serious? Certain genres are overlooked every year, generally speaking comedy, adventure, and science fiction are rarely given nods. Is this due to the overall age of the Academy, or other factor(s)?
  • Final Oscar ballots aren’t due until the Tuesday before Oscar Sunday; this year that is Feb. 19. Any answer to this question is likely to be pure speculation but: Do the other awards influence voting?
  • As reported last year, the Academy is overwhelmingly white, male and over the age of 60. Only 2% of the Academy is under the age of 40. Discuss.

If you’d like to participate, leave me a comment or email me at paula.guthat[at]gmail.com. So far our Oscar bloggers, in addition to myself, Kellee at Outspoken & Freckled, and Aurora of Once Upon A Screen are…

Fernando – Committed to Celluloid
R. A. Kerr – Silver Screenings
Ruth – Flix Chatter
Lê – Critica Retro
Kevin aka “Jack Deth”
Paddy – Caftan Woman
Vanessa – Black & White All Over
Iba – I luv cinema
Le0pard13 – It Rains, You Get Wet
Joel – Joel’s Classic Film Passion
Lindsey – The Motion Pictures
The Gal herself – One Gals’ Musings
Paul – Lasso The Movies
Ivan – Thrilling Days of Yesteryear 
Jessica – Comet Over Hollywood
Kay – Movie Star Makeover
The Lady Eve – The Lady Eve’s Reel Life
Kimberly – GlamAmor

Announcing the 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon

The envelope please…

The winners, the losers, the snubs, the back stories, the gossip, the players, the games…this time it’s all about Oscar!

We’re back! Myself, Kellee (@IrishJayhawk66) of Outspoken and Freckled, and Aurora (@CitizenScreen) of Once Upon a Screen are hosting a new, mammoth blogathon event that coincides with Turner Classic Movies’ 31 Days of Oscar, February 1 to March 3, 2013. It’ll be a month filled with fabulous tales and screen wonders.

But this one is not just for classic film fare; we want to see and hear it all from the golden man’s more than eighty-year history, up to and including this year’s nominees. And you don’t have to stick to just Best Picture or acting winners. Posts about nominees or winners in all the other categories…Original Screenplay, Costume Design, Cinematography, etc….are more than welcome.

The details:

Let us know what you’ll be writing about by email [paula.guthat[at]gmail.com] or leave us a comment.

Submit links to as many posts as you would like by email or by comments in time for any of the following due dates throughout the month. Submissions should include as much information about you as possible: First name, Twitter username, link(s) to your site(s) and email address.

January 31
February 7
February 14
February 21
February 28

We’ll promote entries for an entire week after each due date. If you have a preferred promotion date, please make a note of that as well.  However, we welcome all submissions by any of the dates specified. Don’t forget to include your Twitter handle if you have one.

This is the banner I created for the blogathon. We encourage you display it on your site to help promote this event and cannot wait to hear from you. Happy blogging!

31-Days-450x300

UPDATE: I have so many ideas for this blogathon, far more than I could ever tackle myself, so I offer these as topics for posts or inspiration thereof:

  • Is there a film, performance or art or technical work the non-nomination of which you feel is a crime? Tell us about it.
  • Sometimes the Oscar seems to hinder, not help, someone’s career, including but not limited to the “Best Supporting Actress Curse.” Discuss.
  • Special Achievement Awards and Board of Governors’ Honorary Oscars…do you dare go there? Who should have gotten a competitive Oscar, and/or who might win in the future?
  • Spotlight on sound editing and sound mixing, or any other unfairly neglected award.
  • Your favorite/the most influential Best Costume winners/nominees/should-have-beens through the years, or just focus on one.
  • Short films are often given short shrift…throw some love on your favorite.
  • Cinematography and editing vs.directing…the auteur theory, etc. Discuss, using Oscar-winning examples.
  • The Oscars still create the most hoopla, but should we be paying more attention to other awards, such as the Golden Globes or (fill in the blank)?

That’s all for now…I will add more when I think of them.

Christmas movie mea culpa

About a week ago I put together a Christmas movies poll, partially because I was curious, and partially because my husband and I are hosting Christmas movies at a café here. Wow, did I forget a TON of them! Slightly later, I put up a revised poll, and I still forgot a ton. Friends in real life and online suggested their favorites, which I’m listing here. Some I’ve seen…

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – I think you all know this one.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas – How could I forget this?

Going My Way – Bing Crosby’s Fr. Chuck O’Malley could give Spencer Tracy’s Fr. Flanagan a run for his money as the coolest priest ever.

The Bells of St. Mary’s – Fr. O’Malley is back, in the top-grossing film of 1945, clashing with Sr. Benedict (Ingrid Bergman). Will he convince her to lighten up? Is the Pope Catholic?

…and some I haven’t:

Young At Heart (1955) – “A cynical songwriter upsets the lives of three musical sisters.” With Frank Sinatra and Doris Day.

A Town Without Christmas – A “little boy…writes that he wishes to leave this world so he will no longer be a burden to his divorcing parents, a race begins to find him before he harms himself.” [IMDB]

The Holly and The Ivy – Ralph Richardson and Celia Johnson star in this “heartwarming tale of an English minister and his family reunited at Christmas time. Their story includes a remembrance of their WWII trials.”

We’re No Angels (1955) – “After escaping Devil’s Island, three offbeat prisoners [Bogie, Aldo Ray and Peter Ustinov] help a goodhearted family outwit a scheming relative.”

Holiday Inn (1942) – “The A[staire], B[erlin], C[rosby] of American musical comedy.”

I also have to mention Christmas Under Fire, a 10-minute film from 1940, which I’d never seen before, brought to my attention by @Filmatelist. I say with not one iota of irony: this is why the Allies won the war.

And I am sure there are others. I realize that this poll is deeply flawed. At the same time, I doubt any other Christmas film can top It’s A Wonderful Life, with a healthy 19 votes.

The Top 10 was as follows:

It’s A Wonderful Life 19
The Apartment 11
The Thin Man 10
Scrooged 10
Christmas In Connecticut 9
Love Actually 8
Elf 7
Miracle On 34th Street 7
A Christmas Carol (any version) 7
White Christmas 6

I was happy to see my two favorites, Scrooged and Christmas in Connecticut make the Top 10, I wasn’t really surprised to see Wonderful Life on the top of the heap. There’s many good reasons why. But that it’s a whole other post.

New-to-me photo of Gloria Grahame as Violet in IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE

EDIT: I forgot to say, someone suggested that I should have specified which Miracle on 34th Street I was talking about in the original poll. I completely forgot there was a remake. I love the late John Hughes, but for me, the 1947 version is really the only one.

And the Liebster goes to…

A few days ago I was honored to receive the Liebster Award from Iba at I Luv Cinema and from Ruth at Flix Chatter and I couldn’t be more surprised and grateful. It’s a really cool idea for a blog event.

The rules:

  1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the person giving the award has set for you.
  3. Create 11 questions for the people you will be giving the award to.
  4. Choose 11 people to award and send them a link to your post.
  5. Go to their page and tell them. I think letting people know on Twitter is cool.
  6. NO TAG BACKS. Although I will answer my own questions.

 


First, 11 things about me:

  • My favorite writers of all-time are Jane Austen and Raymond Chandler. F. Scott Fitzgerald is up there too. I’ve read all of their work a few times. I really like Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter.
  • I loathe sushi. I know most people love it, but unless it’s a California veggie roll…seriously, you forgot to cook that.
  • I wish I had time to write a music blog. I like all kinds except heavy metal. Bet you didn’t know I listen to some country (Johnny Cash and The Dixie Chicks). I would be lost without Emusic, the Hype Machine, and SiriusXM channel 35.
  • A movie is a couple hours, but a TV show is a much lengthier commitment. I only watch two shows, Mad Men and The Vampire Diaries. Don’t knock TVD unless and until you’ve actually watched a couple episodes of it 🙂
  • I love anything French, and any book/film about or taking place in France. The 2011 Three Musketeers? Yep, I saw it, it was actually pretty good.
  • Related to that, I want to write about French film and film noir more often.
  • My dad and my husband’s dad went to the same high school.
  • I have three tattoos and am working on a fourth.
  • One of the people I most admire is the inventor James Dyson for his creativity and resilience. Plus, if you have furry pets, the Dyson vacuum cleaner will change your life.
  • I believe in that astrology stuff (I’m a Taurus). It isn’t just your sun sign, it’s where all the planets are in your whole chart. I’ve been a lot happier since I started to rely more on astrology and my intuition.
  • Over the past few years, I’ve lost around 100 lbs. and am still dropping.

 


Now, my answers to Iba’s questions:

1. Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter?
What a question! Wow. While I read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings first, Harry Potter has the slightest edge. Don’t tell my husband.

 

I waited 2 or 3 hours for Christian Bale in BATMAN BEGINS back in 2005

2. What’s the longest you have waited in line for a movie?
Two or three hours. Not long, compared to other people.

 

No disrespect meant, but ALEXANDER (2004) just wasn’t my thing

3. Have you ever fallen asleep in a film? If so, which one?
Never, though I got pretty drowsy during Alexander(2004).

 

Pretty weird, huh?

4. What was your first concert experience?
Andy Williams. I was eight or nine, I think. So hip!

 

Paris 2010. Tim in front of the café Da Stuzzi, aka Café Debussy in INCEPTION

5. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Back to Paris, and I wouldn’t ever leave.

6. Any hidden talent(s)?
Black belt designer/art director and Adobe Creative Suite ninja. I have other talents, but they will remain hidden.

7. Subtitles: Yea or Nay?
That’s a definite yea! Dubbing is horrible to watch, the voices never match the actors, and you can pick up and/or practice another language by watching subtitled movies.

 

With Michael Fassbender and Tom Hiddleston on board, THE ENGLISHMAN’S DAUGHTER is sure to be awesome.

8. What book would you like to be seen made into a movie?
The Englishman’s Daughter by Ben McIntyre. It’s one of those non-fiction novels, about English soldiers who get caught in a French village behind the enemy lines during World War I. That’s all I’m going to say, you should read it! But it’s short and McIntyre’s style is fairly cinematic; it would make an excellent film. I think Joe Wright, François Ozon, or Guillaume Canet (Ne le dis à personne) should direct it, Michael Fassbender and Tom Hiddleston should be two of the soldiers, and all my favorite French actors should be in it — Marion Cotillard, Mèlanie Laurent, Audrey Tautou, Catherine Deneuve, Alain Delon, Jean Rochefort, Daniel Auteuil, Gilles Lelouche, and Gaspard Ulliel.

9. What is the first thing you would do if you won the lottery?
After I took care of all my entire family’s financial obligations, I’d buy a movie theater.

10. Have you ever snuck into a film without paying for it?
Yes, I have. I did actually pay, but I saw another film after the one I paid for. I guess that’s half price.

11. What is your favorite silent film?
I haven’t seen that many, although I’ve seen more in the last six months than I have my whole life. I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for The Artist, the “silent film gateway drug,” but I also love Sunrise (1927) and Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (1919).


And, my answers to Ruth’s questions:

1. Who’s your favorite movie actor who’s currently starring in a TV show?
I guess Jon Hamm or Ian Somerhalder. They have both been in a couple movies. Or maybe Kristen Wiig, although she’s not on TV anymore.

2. Could you date someone who does not love movies?
No.

3. What makes you want to have a movie blog?
I write a column for Examiner about classic movies in Detroit and I wanted to branch out and write about current movies and other classics. Also, it gives me somewhere to put all my movie babble instead of driving everyone around me crazy with it. I have to say, this blog wouldn’t exist without the encouragement of Ruth (Flix Chatter).

Science fiction film, Emma Thompson plays the lead. Call me, QT!

4. Which director/actor collaboration you’d like to see [it has to be people who have never worked together before]?
Quentin Tarantino and Emma Thompson.

5. What dish are you good at making?
Any kind of Italian or Mexican food. I also make a mean potato salad and the best pancakes.

I met Martin Sheen considerably after this picture was taken

6. Any encounter with a celebrity you care to share?
I met Martin Sheen once. He’s about my height and seemed like one of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet.

 

TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY is set mostly in London

7. Since the Olympics is still going on, what’s your favorite movie set in London?
There’s so many…I’ll stick to the most recent one I really liked, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

8. Which is your favorite movie writer [could be a journalist, novelist, etc.]?
Hildy Johnson (Rosalind Russell) in His Girl Friday (1940-above) or Jo March (Winona Ryder) in Little Women (1994).

9. Which do you prefer: sweltering heat vs. cool, rainy days?
You need some of both, and I really like sweltering heat, but I like cool rainy days just that little bit more.

 

I broke the rules on this one…MAD MEN is not a movie. [Image from Down The Retro Rabbit Hole]
10. Favorite outfit/costume from a movie?
The costumes in Marie Antoinette (2006). Myrna Loy’s dresses in Libeled Lady. Peppy Miller’s outfits in The Artist, especially the shoes. And Joan Holloway Harris’ entire wardrobe on Mad Men. I know it’s not a movie, but it’s not often that a fictional character has my body type 🙂

11. Which actor/actress you initially detest but then slowly warming up to? [Feel free to reverse the question, that is an actor you initially love but now can’t stand.]
I never detested Channing Tatum, I just didn’t understand why he kept getting movies…he works a lot. But he was pretty good in The Eagle and hilarious in 21 Jump Street, which is getting its own sequel.


Now…the nominations:

Kellee @ Outspoken & Freckled
Aurora @ Once Upon A Screen
Will @ Cinematically Insane
Joel @ Joel’s Classic Film Passion
Kristen @ Journeys In Classic Film
Terry @ A Shroud Of Thoughts
Steve @ Classic Movie Man
T @ The Focused Filmographer
Ivan @ Thrilling Days Of Yesteryear
Michael @ It Rains… You Get Wet
Tim @ T. K. Guthat

And my eleven questions:

  1. What is your guilty movie pleasure?
  2. What mediocre classic-era film would you like to see remade?
  3. Are there are any modern actors you think could have held their own in the classic era?
  4. What movie(s) do you always, without fail, stop to watch if you happen upon it/them while flipping channels?
  5. Which actor’s or director’s work do you like in spite of yourself?
  6. Who would play you in the movie of your life story (classic or modern)?
  7. Mac or PC?
  8. What’s your (astrological, not traffic!) sign?
  9. What five people (living or dead) connected with film (modern or classic) would you invite to dinner?
  10. Favorite movie snack.
  11. Craziest G/PG-rated thing that ever happened to you at a movie theater.

UPDATE: These hearty souls actually answered my questions:

T @ The Focused Filmographer
Michael @ It Rains… You Get Wet

Future Classic Movies: Round 2

To recap really quickly, the Future Classic Movies (FCM) Blogathon involves predicting films that will still be drawing audiences on TV, or a chip in our brains, or whatever form of communication exists, 30 or 40 years from now. All of the films were made during or after 2000; these will be as old then as the ones we watch on TCM now.

My FCM Round 2 pick is Moneyball (2011). It begins with a playoff disaster. In the 2001 post-season, the Oakland A’s squander their two-game lead over the New York Yankees, who win three games in a row. Their general manager, Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), sits in the home stadium, flicking a transistor radio on and off, almost afraid to hear what’s going on. A couple weeks later, losing his best players on the free agent market, Beane is begging the A’s owner for more money. No way, he’s told. Make do with the lowest payroll in the league. His scouts are all older guys whose info on the players is half speculation and half gossip. When Beane takes a meeting with Mark Shapiro of the Cleveland Indians, he notices that all the older guys always look to Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), a “player analyst” in the front office.

After the meeting, Beane grills Brand (in a parking garage à la “Deep Throat” in All The President’s Men). The latter admits that he has a radical, economics-and-statistics-based system for baseball: buying wins. That is, buying runs. Brand says, “Baseball thinking is medieval. They are asking all the wrong questions.” Beane is impressed. He hires Brand away from Cleveland and together they start to remake the A’s for the 2002 season. But there’s plenty of resistance, naysaying, and defiance from the scouts and the manager, Art Howe (Philip Seymour Hoffman), who is on a 1-year contract and knows a poor season could end his career. He’s downright insulting about this new way of putting a team together. The big scary doubts of the fans on talk radio are interleaved with flashbacks from Beane’s crash-and-burn career and scenes from his current complicated personal life (ex-wife with smug husband, sweet daughter he doesn’t see enough).

Pitt and Hill were both nominated for Oscars and I was surprised by this when I finally saw the movie. The acting in this film is pretty much the definition of natural, which the Academy doesn’t always reward. I definitely agree with whoever said that unless Brad Pitt is in a movie right at the moment, everyone forgets that he is in fact a great actor. He is excellent here. Hill adds little touches — fidgeting, nervous looks — that make his Brand real (though the character is a composite). One of my favorite moments is when Brand is on his way out of Howe’s office and says, “You want this door closed?” Chris Pratt as catcher (turned first baseman) Scott Hatteberg gives an authentic performance as a guy scared out of his mind.

The film’s cinematography is beautifully done by Wally Pfister, probably better known for his work with Christopher Nolan.

I’m not the biggest baseball fan in the world (though I do like going to Comerica Park) but if you like baseball, there’s enough behind-the-scenes intrigue about how deals are done to keep you interested. (“He’s talking to Dave Dombrowski! Wow, Steve Schott!”) Moneyball is really three movies, and Bennett Miller’s command of music, sound and closeups prove that there is crying in baseball, at least for me: the rise and fall and rise of a washed-up baseball player (Beane); a behind-the-scenes history of a baseball revolution; and the eternal struggle of originality and creativity against “we’ve always done it this way.”

Because if The Artist is about dealing with change, so is Moneyball. Or more accurately, it’s about the perseverance, determination and courage to not just adapt, but to change the rules, the situation, the world. That is of course what Beane did — he may have doubts about the new system, but he never really wavers. The film is a dramatization but his concepts were adopted by the Boston Red Sox and, two years later, they broke their 86-year World Series drought. And some underfunded political campaigns have been taking a look at Bill James’ “sabermetrics”, which paved the way for Beane’s system, and applying the former to their election races. And that is some consolation to anyone trying to find their way in a constantly changing world. And that is why, in 30 years, people will still be watching Moneyball, along with these other FCMs:
Big Fish, Happy Accidents, The Namesake, The Science of Sleep, and Walk the LineThe Motion Pictures

The 40-Year-Old VirginImpassioned Cinema

Requiem for a DreamThe Warning Sign

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindPG Cooper’s Movie Reviews

Almost FamousJourneys in Classic Film

City of Life and Death – Mark

Pride and Prejudice and Tinker Tailor Soldier SpyReveal Something More

NorthforkLeft to my own devices

Call for submissions: Future Classic Movies

UPDATE #2 – May 25: I so enjoyed everyone’s posts and enough people asked if they could contribute to FCM that I’m going to do a second round. If you wrote for the original blogathon, and want to write about another movie, please do!

Same concept…Pick a movie from 2000 or later (more than one is OK too), and write about why you think it will endure to become a Future Classic Movie. Bonus predictions could be who will be hosting on this channel and how will movies be delivered to the consumer (hologram, chip in the brain, etc.)

Email me at paula.guthat [at] gmail.com to let me know which movie you want to do (try to pick one that wasn’t done already).

New dates…Put a link to the FCM Round 2 megapost http://wp.me/p243hv-fh somewhere in the first paragraph of your post and publish it on Wednesday, June 20. Feel free to use the graphic below. Then email me the link to your post. I will then compile all the links into one mega post and publish it on Thursday, June 21. Note: you will get a 404 when you try that link, but it’s there. It’s just not public yet.

 

UPDATE: The call for submissions is now closed. Links to everyone’s FCM posts may be found at the FCM Blogathon Mega Post.

 

As a confirmed TCM addict, I’ve often wondered what movies from the 21st century would stand the test of time, like Casablanca, Gone With The Wind or Out of the Past. If there is even such a thing as TV and channels in the future. What would programming look like in 30 or 40 years from now?

And then I thought, why just think about it, when I’d love to hear other people’s ideas. And so the FUTURE CLASSIC MOVIES (FCM) BLOGATHON was born.

Everyone who wants to participate picks a movie from 2000 or later (more than one is OK too), and writes about why they think it will endure to become a Future Classic. Bonus predictions could be who will be hosting on this channel and how will movies be delivered to the consumer (hologram, chip in the brain, etc.)

Post your pick (s) to your blog on Wednesday, May 23 and email me the link to the post. Feel free to use the graphic above. I will then compile all the links into one mega post.

All I ask is that you to link to the megapost in your first paragraph somehow, using this shortlink: http://wp.me/p243hv-dT

So what do you think? If you’d like to participate, please DM me on Twitter @Paula_Guthat or email me paula.guthat [at] gmail.com with “FCM blogathon” as the subject, giving me a couple of choices of Future Classics you’d like to write about. Thanks!

Future Classic Movies: INCEPTION

By Julian Bond

Dreams Within Dreams Within Dreams…Fights in a Spinning Hotel Lobby…LEONARDO DICAPRIO!!

These are some of the many reasons why I believe that Inception will end up being a Future Classic Movie. When the movie first came out a couple of summers ago, everyone flocked to the theaters to catch it due to the super-mysterious plot at the time and mainly because of this being the first follow-up of director Chrstopher Nolan’s since this little old flick called The Dark Knight came. But once the dust settled at this film’s exciting conclusion (oh…darn you spinning top!), the conversations and endless debates on its plot details never seemed to stop.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Leonardo diCaprio in INCEPTION

Instead of being a one-note, too gimmick-ridden film, Inception proved to be a multi-layered film that still drives multiple repeat viewings (with no pun about its main dream plot intended). On top of this, its clever odes to the action, sci-fi, and psychological thriller genres help this go a long way in being a good long-term future classic movie that never seems to get old. Inception to me will definitely be one of those awesome flicks to turn on 10, 20 years from now and be a good way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Along with Inception playing on a future classic movie channel, the one person who I strangely see taking on hosting duties on movie marathons in the future  is actor/comedian Joel McHale of The Soup and Community fame. The man may not a super well-known respected actor and is currently just really known for drawing up goofy laughs, but I see that his years of being a good steady host on Soup could one day translate to a neat little side soundtrack for a nice afternoon movie marathon.

Future Classic Movies Blogathon MEGA POST

To recap really quickly, the Future Classic Movies (FCM) Blogathon involves predicting films that will still be drawing audiences on TV, or a chip in our brains, or whatever form of communication exists, 30 or 40 years from now. The vast majority of the posts involve films made during or after 2000; these will be as old then as the ones we watch on TCM now.

My FCM pick is The Artist (2011). Regular readers of this blog know that I adore this film. It is a little miracle — a silent film premiering in the 21st century. It was made by people who really love movies and stocked their film with tons of homages, tributes and shoutouts to the classics. It has romance, humor, suspense and melancholy. The acting in it is superb. It was beautifully written, art-directed, and shot. There is something about it that makes me cry every time I see it. (I’ve actually plunked money down to see this three times. Once I was actually on vacation.) It was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, and it won five: Best Director, Best Picture, Best Costume Design, Best Score and Best Actor. But none of these reasons are why I chose this film to endure into the middle of this unpredictable 21st century and beyond.

Sometimes it’s all a little too much…Jean du Jardin as George Valentin

Every day our lives get a little more complicated and a little more technological. As recently as 2006, the vast majority people had only a vague idea of what Facebook was. No one had heard the term “social media.” Phones were decidedly dumb; they made calls, and that was about it, at least in the US, where SMS hadn’t yet caught on. Now billions of people are using social media every day. Approximately 20,000 tweets go out every 10 seconds. You can watch a movie, video-chat with someone on the other side of the world, or run a business, all from a smartphone. And the pace of new technology only seems to accelerate rapidly. Economically, the upheaval of 2008 seems to have stabilized somewhat but lots of people lost their jobs and homes, and technology is ending some jobs and creating others. Everything in life is changing so quickly that the term “radical transformation” comes to mind, although nothing is happening quite that fast. I love all the technology, but sometimes even I feel a little overwhelmed, a little bit blindsided…a little bit like George Valentin. He would understand if he was here, because this is what The Artist is at least in part about: coping with change. (It’s about love, loyalty, friendship, the creative process, paying it forward, and really great shoes as well. But I digress.)

The world the characters inhabit is completely shaken with the advent of sound, and they each provide an example of a different coping strategy, from stubborn disregard (George) to grudging acceptance and pragmatism (Al Zimmer, the director played by John Goodman) to leveraging new opportunities that open up and helping others to reconcile themselves with a new reality (Peppy). We’ll all have to adapt, and since we’ll be adapting well into the foreseeable future, this film is always going to be relatable and relevant. There’s a few people out there who didn’t like this film. To those people I say, get used to it…The Artist isn’t going anywhere, and neither are the rest of these picks, all films that I believe will persevere:

Hunger  — ILuvCinema

Children of MenIt Rains… You Get Wet

Gladiator, Hugo, Midnight in Paris — FlixChatter

ZodiacOnce Upon a Screen

Batman BeginsThe Filmic Perspective

Crash, GladiatorThe Focused Filmographer

The Hunger GamesClassic Movie Man

The Girl with the Dragon TattooReveal Something More

Jane Eyre (2011)T. K. Guthat.com

Bringing Up Baby, Casablanca, GoodfellasJack Deth

InceptionJulian Bond

The HoursChampaignMatt

from The Cinementals:

Mulholland Drive — Will

Kill Bill, Vol. 1 & 2  — Jill

O Brother Where Art Thou — Carley

Bride & Prejudice — Jennifer

There Will Be Blood — Drew

The Toy Story trilogy — Michael

Brick — Chris

Update: Two more great FCM choices are in:

Iron ManZombieDad

Sideways — Dan from Top 10 Films

Many thanks to everyone who participated in the very first blogathon I’ve ever run. I hope you had as much fun writing these as I did reading them. To paraphrase a title…there will be more 🙂

 

 

 

 

Metro Detroit Classic Movie Fan – Julian Bond

Bond…Julian Bond…is a huge movie fanatic. When he isn’t managing the Detroit Medical Center’s social media, or hanging out at metro Detroit’s cool spots, he’s writing his blog titled — “no surprise here” — Not Quite 007.  While attending University of Michigan-Dearborn, he was a feature writer forThe Michigan Journal student newspaper.  Says Bond, “I’ve always been heavily into movies, and I was happy to write about them at U of M-D. The best part of that gig was interviewing a few stars including Chris Rock, Tom Cruise — post Oprah couch jumping incident — and my epic face-to-face with the awesome pro-wrestler turned actor, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.”

Sharing a last name with the most famous spy in the world has been “very interesting, to say the least,” Bond says. “All of my Dad’s family, the Bonds, were named, no joke, with the letter J. So every single one of us has gotten the ‘Are you related to the real 007?’ question throughout our lives, and we’ll never get tired of it. Back when I was in grade school, my dad actually legally added “James” to his whole name (which is really Joel), and started using that for postal addresses and even our caller ID. My friends would always get a big kick out of seeing “James Bond” popping up on their phones.”

Even before the start of filming on Skyfall (Bond 23) was in the news, of course I was asking Mr. Bond about his famous “relative.”

Who is your favorite James Bond actor, and why?

I have to go with the original Bond…Sean Connery. Pierce Brosnan is pretty good, Daniel Craig is surprisingly one of the best with his more realistic portrayal. But Connery will always take the win as favorite at the end of the day. Every time I see him in interviews or in other movies, it seems like he’s actually a real-life James Bond, 24/7.

Telly Savalas and George Lazenby in the criminally underrated On Her Majesty's Secret Service

What are your Top 5 James Bond movies?
Such a hard question and I have to cheat just a little bit.

  1. GoldenEye is easily my favorite film of the entire series. Picture-perfect intro (and killer theme song from Tina Turner), great simple story, awesome action scenes, and some pretty good acting. I can honestly watch it over and over without getting tired of it. It barely beats out Goldfinger as my number one pick because this was the first Bond flick that I saw in the movie theaters. The rest I watched on VHS or cable TV, and thus this one holds a close place to my 007 heart.
  2. Goldfinger and Dr. No are two of the best Bond films ever bar none. I think most fans have them on top of their list. Sean Connery is the best Bond, and these are easily the best villains of the series. They also set the high standard for all Bond films, parodies, and anything associated with the name still to this very day. Nuff’ said.
  3. I LOVE Quantum of Solace and don’t think it’s too soon to put it on a best list because it’s SO criminally underrated. I liked it a bit better than theCasino Royale reboot because it has a lot more action and a better villain (that crazy French guy). And as weird as this sounds, because it’s the shortest Bond film in history (running at less than 2 hours instead of the usual almost 3 hour length), there’s a lot of Bond goodness in a lot less time.
  4. Licence To Kill and The Living Daylights, likeGoldeneye, will always have a special place in my heart because they were the first Bond films I ever saw. As an ‘80s kid, I had not yet been introduced to the awesomeness known as Sean Connery. While Timothy Dalton is probably one of the least popular of all of the Bonds, I actually thought he wasn’t that bad, and can hopefully be forgiven for an ultra-corny action scene — fighting bad guys while sliding down a mountain on a violin case.
  5. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is another underrated gem. I place it slightly above the 2009Casino Royale, because of its unorthodox style and one-time only Bond, George Lazenby. It also has the most shocking ending to a Bond movie EVER, with 007 getting married (?!?) and then the infamous drive-by scene shortly after (won’t spoil it here!). I know so many friends who are Bond fans and still have never seen this movie because it doesn’t star Sean Connery and honestly looks sort of odd in comparison to other Bond films, especially with the sight of Lazenby. But all true blue fans MUST see this one here at least once. Again….a CRAZY ending.
Roger Moore and Richard Kiel
Roger Moore and Richard Kiel duke it out in The Spy Who Loved Me

The Bond series is also known for its villains and love interests, any favorites of those?
My favorite villain simply has to be Jaws, the tall menacing dude with steel teeth. The man just would never die. I really disliked the films that he was in, especially Moonraker (James Bond…IN SPACE!!). But he seriously almost stole the show with his crazy appearance and attempts to bite off Bond’s head.

I’m pretty sure the Bond film series is the longest running one, at 49 years and counting. Why do you think it has endured for so long?
Besides the gadgets, the girls, and the guns, the series is always fun and never takes itself too seriously. Even with the edgier series with Daniel Craig, each film still feels like an escape into a cool world of spy fantasy.

If you could have one Bond gadget, which would you choose and why?
I loved the rocket-ppowered jetpack that Bond had inThunderball. It was so freaking cool-looking, even back in the ‘60s. All of the watches and cars were always cool, but the simple design of the jetpack made it seem like it could actually be a real thing. But I also do have to give a shout-out to the villians’ gadgets as well, such as the Golden Gun fromThe Man With The Golden Gun (one shot and you’re dead!), and weirdly enough, the explosive ‘milk cans’ that the bad guy used in The Living Daylights.

With Quantum of Solace, the movie series has used the last of the original Fleming James Bond material. (Some of it got used twice!) Where do you think the series will go from here?
For the next Bond film, I was so happy to hear that Javier Bardem will be joining as the bad guy because he could easily be the best of the Craig-era bunch. For the plot and overall material, I really hope that they expand on the entire Quantum international villain group. I thought it was really cool that they had story continuity from Casino Royale to the literal beginning of Quantum. They tried to do that with the older films with the group SPECTRE and “the guy with the kitty cat” (aka Blofeld, aka the Dr. Evil-looking villain) appearing several times. Then, sadly, they dropped SPECTRE and never mentioned them again. It could be a nice touch to the series to bring back the “guy (or gal) with the kitty cat”, and the entire Quantum group, and create a cool edgier feel with him or her.

Who do you think will be James Bond when Craig moves on? An actor we know now or an unknown…?
I don’t know. Seems like the Bond series has worked because they usually go with a relative unknown. If they chose an established actor, it would distract from the series (i.e., Leonardo DiCaprio as 007). When they get someone unknown, it essentially gives a deserving actor a chance to shine, as the awesome Craig has done so far. Here’s hoping that he has a few more movies left in the tank to keep the series going strong.

Do you watch any other classic movies? What are your favorite movies from the last 10 years or so?
Some of the classic flicks that I love include westerns like The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly and “new classics” like the firstStar Wars. I’m a huge fan of the first Tim Burton Batman with Jack Nicholson and Michael Keaton (sorry, Dark Knight). Some of the newer films that I love happen to be James Bond-influenced: The Bourne series, with its crazy modern-day spy hijinks; Inception, whose overall style and music score reminds me strangely of Goldfinger; and recently X-Men: First Class, which to me and many others was kind of like “James Bond with Mutants.”

So Bond fans, what do you think of Mr. Bond’s favorite films in the series? Who is the best James Bond? Where do you think the series is headed?