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Showing posts from August, 2017

Why I Love James L. Brooks

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"And if things had gone differently for me tonight, then I probably wouldn't be saying any of this. I grant you everything. But give me this: He personifies everything that you've been fighting against. And I'm in love with you. How do you like that? I buried the lede."

James L. Brooks started his career as a news man, something which would inform some of his best work. He worked as a host on CBS and as a copywriter. He worked on documentaries by David L. Wolper. After being let go, he got a job through a friend on a TV show, My Mother the Car. Brooks has worked on so many shows that it would be silly of me to list them all but let me just cover the big ones. He co-created the great show Taxi, the Mary Tyler Moore Show and of course helped to develop The Simpsons into one of the greatest TV shows of all time. He also wrote and directed Terms of Endearment, Broadcast News, As Good As It Gets and my personal favourite How Do You Know? Since I have not watched t…

Why I Love Living Off The Land

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When I first discovered I was a human adult male, I became erect. I say this not to prove a point about my immeasurable masculinity or my credentials as a fully paid up member of the Guild Of Grown Ups Who Have Kids And a Station Wagon. I say this because it's the truth. My adulthood was very important to me. None of my friends understood real world pressure like I did. I knew from an early age that money makes the world go around. Like seriously, just think about that: money makes the world go around. Seriously, lovely stuff. Very insightful. Very real. Very adult.

My first job was in a Centra. Not a lot of people know this but Centra is where I lost my virginity to an overzealous deputy manager. She took me by the Aeros and Wispas. I am a fan of bubbly chocolate so I didn't mind when she forcibly inserted one in my mouth and told me to suck on that baby. She recently got arrested for doing the same thing to a small time neo beat poet from Glenageary.

My second job was also …

Why I Love Sunset Boulevard

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"I am big! It's the pictures that got small!"

Sunset Boulevard, directed by Billy Wilder, is probably the single greatest Noir film ever produced. I didn't include it in Why I Love Noir because it demands its own article. It is a film about obsession, about lost youth and the corrosive effect of fame. It is also a film about films. Along side Singin' In The Rain and Ed Wood, it is among the best films about the creative process of making a movie that has seen lights dimmed and projectors switched on. Sunset Boulevard was released in 1950. Its resonance and power has never faded. What it has to say about fame is far more true today than it was in 1950.

Sunset Boulevard is a story about the death of Joe Gillis. Don't worry I'm not spoiling anything: he's dead in the opening of the picture. (A small piece of trivia: what do American Beauty and Sunset Boulevard have in common? Answer: they are both narrated by a dead man.) Joe Gillis is a failed screenwr…

Why I Love Lana Del Rey

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"Yeah my boyfriend's pretty cool but he's not as cool as me."

Lana Del Rey is one of the coolest damn people of all time. She is exudes it from every word and every look. You know all of those women hating mutants who said that Lana Del Rey was a fake? That she wasn't being real or honest and that she was trying to trick impressionable Pitchfork (some amount of vomit) readers to buy into her con? Well, these people are really, really fucking stupid. The authenticity crowd can eat a bushel of dicks and choke on them. Lana Del Rey has released five albums since 2010, including one EP titled Paradise, included on the deluxe edition of her 2012 album Born To Die. Her music is melancholy, achingly beautiful and all around compelling. Gorgeous winding melodies, and production that is somewhat out of time, neither retro or modern, but some combination of both. Lana Del Rey is herself somewhat out of time, yet is one of the most inspiring and gifted artists of her gener…

Why I Love Prometheus

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"Final report of the vessel Prometheus. The ship and her entire crew are gone. If you're receiving this transmission, make no attempt to come to its point of origin. There is only death here now, and I'm leaving it behind. It is New Year's Day, the year of our Lord, 2094. My name is Elizabeth Shaw, the last survivor of the Prometheus. And I am still searching."

Prometheus is my favourite film of 2012, and on my top ten of all time favourite Science Fictions. Roger Ebert got it right when he said that while, yes it has problems, I don't care about them. So compelling is the story of Elizabeth Shaw, David and the crew of Prometheus that the little flaws don't matter. Prometheus is a film of the same lineage as Blade Runner and Alien. Particularly so with Blade Runner, where it follows up on the themes of creators vs created extremely well. I am not a theist. I am an atheist. But I do believe in Art that deals with spiritual and supernatural happenings…

Why I Love Special Agent Dale Cooper

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"You are awake." "100%" "Finally."

So it finally happened. Coop has returned to us. Some thought it would never happen. Some doubted Lynch and Frost's sincerity that Dougie Coop was a character that they loved and who they wanted us to love. Some very foolish people thought he was, sigh, "trolling" the audience. (Seriously, don't make me write that word again.) Always bet on David Lynch. He never lets you down in the end. As the faithful correctly predicted, the long spiritual journey and odyssey of Dougie Coop resulted in the return of Special Agent Dale Cooper. The return of Coop marks the time when Twin Peaks became the greatest show ever on TV, and up there with the best films of all time.

Feet don't fail me now. Take me to the finish line. All my heart, it breaks every step that I take but I'm hoping that the gates, they'll tell me that you're mine. Walking through the city streets. Is it by mistake or design? I fee…

Why I Love Alan Partridge

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"The torment lasts for hours before I'm thrown into a cold cell and I pick myself up from the straw and filth. Through a hatch comes a tray of food. I paw at it listlessly until I notice that it contains chicken nuggets and what chicken nuggets! These boast all the smoky zing of McCain's southern coating with the tenderest cuts of white meat. The beans are lukewarm but not overcooked, and a generous dollop of smash adds a buttery finish that sets the plate off beautifully. To drink a mug of steaming tea. A really, really good meal."

Almost every night I listen to I Partridge: We Need To Talk About Alan going asleep. If you want to fall asleep laughing, wake up in the middle of the night, start laughing again and fall back asleep with a huge grin on your face, this is the way to do it. Alan Partridge was created by Steve Coogan and Armando Iannucci, with some help from stand up genius Stewart Lee and his partner Richard Herring for the BBC radio show On The Hour, wh…

Why I Love Nicolas Cage

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"Did I ever tell ya that this here jacket represents a symbol of my individuality, and my belief in personal freedom?"

Nicolas Cage is fearless. He is one of the best actors of his or any other generation. Not since Robert DeNiro in Taxi Driver was someone so adept at expressing the scary and low down side of life. He is also adept at small, subtle romantic roles. Nicolas Cage is someone who, even in bad movies, always brings his A game. He takes chances that few actors ever take, especially in otherwise stock movies. Compare him to another great actor, Robert DeNiro, and see how boring DeNiro can be. Nicolas Cage is never boring. It doesn't matter if the film is a standard action romp, he will still treat it like he's working for a surreal auteur like David Lynch. 

We're going to do something a little unusual with this Why I Love article, and take you through twenty of Nicolas Cage's best performances. I will try my best to express why they are s…

Why I Love Twin Peaks The Return More Than The Original

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Twin Peaks The Return is greater than the original show by a long, long way. It is more daring, more innovative, more terrifying and more beautiful. It is more in the style of the criminally underrated Fire Walk With Me and more recent David Lynch work like INLAND EMPIRE, which was until this show his masterpiece. I have previously written a good lot about why I love David Lynch, so let me just say that to me, his surreal, absurd journeys are the highest calling of cinema. They take you into a dream. In that dream you will see things that terrify you, and things that move you beyond measure. Twin Peaks The Return is the culmination of his entire career making these weird and wonderful stories. With only four episodes remaining, I felt it was time to put into words why exactly this show has meant so much to me, and many others who I am happy to call friends. So here it goes.

Twin Peaks is about life and death, about spiritual odysseys and about good and evil. The evil that lurks behin…

Why I Love Batman V. Superman

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"That should be upside down. We know better now, don't we? Devils don't come from hell beneath us. No, they come from the sky."

I used to hate comic book crossovers. I really, really did. When I was writing for the site Batman On Film, I was forced to read all of the BIG EVENT issues so that I could write opinion pieces. Batman R.I.P. was going on around the same time as Final Crisis. As happens with these big crossovers, characters from all the big DC titles mingle together. Instead of focusing on Batman fighting his own set of villains, suddenly he was fighting gods, Gods and GODS, alongside Superman and Wonder Woman. I hated how the integrity of titles was compromised to give DC an excuse to sell more comic books. So it is with this in mind that I came to Zach Snyder's Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. I just knew that it would be terrible. How could Snyder make a story work that has rarely ever worked in the source material? We would get the regular stupi…

Why I Love Suicide Squad

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"I'm bored. Play with me."

I didn't expect to love Suicide Squad. I had heard terrible things and I am not a fan of crossover comic book continuity. It was a wonderful surprise then when I discovered that in fact Suicide Squad is one of the best comic book movies ever made. It is full of fun, with three excellent performances from Will Smith, Margot Robbie and Jared Leto. While there are some negatives - namely the lead villain being The Enchantress with a stock supernatural partner - there are more than enough things for me to say that I loved the hell out of this movie.

Let's start with Margot Robbie, who embodies Harley Quinn with all of the fun loving psychosis that the character demands. Harley Quinn was created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm for the stunning Batman: The Animated Series. She is Joker's other half, a sadomasochistic fiend who was seduced by the Clown Prince of Crime. Robbie plays it so well, bringing the character to life in a way that man…