What movie was that...?

28 January 2012

Oscars 2012

This year has brought with it some very fine films, but for some reason the geniuses of the dear old Academy of Stupid Decisions and Idiotic Oversight have chosen to ignore many of these films. After the shock of bewilderment began to melt away and my brain really started hurting, I decided it was time for the OMFBC awards to present much deserved justice. Before that, I will be presenting my opinion of the Academy Awards in the classic OMFBC form I have present in years past:

The form is as follows:
Deserves it- Of the nominees, the nominee that actually deserves that award (or just deserves it the most).
Doesn't deserve it- The nominee who, upon reading the name, causes me to spit out my beverage and curse, and not in a good way.
Screwed- A worthy performance/film/filmic component that was scandalously overlooked.
Special Notes- May be italicized as well.

Without further ado, I give you the Best Performance categories as well as Animated Feature.

Best Actor, Lead:
Deserves it- Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Mad Props, Mr. O
Doesn’t deserve it- Brad “What do you mean? Of course I’m acting!” Pitt, Moneyball: Your subdued turn in Moneyball has inexplicably captivated the Academy, but you didn’t fool me. All you did was blend your Tobey Maguire-esque blank stare with your Ocean’s 11 eating thing. Genius.
Dumbass alert- Also, if you were going to nominate Pitt for something, why not the film over which everyone is gaga, Tree of Life? Pitt was actually quite good in that film, despite the film falling apart on itself during the last 20 minutes. What are you, new?
Screwed- Dominic Cooper, The Devil’s Double. Cooper’s crazed layers were a wonder to behold in an otherwise steaming filmic pile.

Best Actress, Lead:
Deserves it- Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Need I say more?
Doesn’t deserve it- Michelle Williams: I love you very much, Ms. Williams, but this wasn’t your best. Which brings me to my next category…
Screwed- Michelle Williams, Meek’s Cutoff AND Blue Valentine: Off all 3 of her magnificent performances this year, Marilyn gets chosen? Either of these other roles would have been nigh impossible to beat.
Also, what about Saoirse Ronan's amazing turn in Joe Wright's ass kicker Hanna, another film inexplicably  absent from every deserving list?

Best Actor, Supporting:
Deserves it- Ugh, Christopher Plummer, I guess.
Doesn’t deserve it- Jonah Hill, Moneyball: Did I miss something? Moneyball was the watered down movie about the Oakland A’s record setting season, right? There wasn’t another, much better film that also came out this year bearing the same title?
Screwed- Albert Brooks, Drive: So, everyone raving about the quality of Refn’s magnificent film was, apparently, not a member of the Academy.

Best Actress, Supporting:
Deserves it- You know what? Out of sheer spite, I am casting my vote for Melissa McCarthy. Not only was she hilarious and hands down the best part of the film Bridesmaids, but these other noms are simply eh.
Doesn’t deserve it- Jessica Chastain, The Help: The Help was a canker clinging to Hollywood’s carcass this year.
Screwed- Charlotte Gainsbourg, Melancholia: You were truly sublime, Ms. G.

Best Animated Feature:
Deserves it- Rango: Rango is like the Michael Shannon (remember the 2009 Oscars?) of this category this year. Nothing else has come close, but sadly, its genius will leave empty handed.
Doesn’t deserve it- Kung Fu Panda 2: Come on, Academy! You effed up the Best Original Song category by not nominating Jonathan Keevil, and now this?.
Screwed- Tintin (shouted at the top of my lungs with Wrath of Khan-like vehemence)!

So there's the first installment of "OMFBC gets his hate on at the 2012 Academy Awards". For those of you who are interested, I am compiling the first ever OMFBC awards, complete with the usual suspects (categorywise) and maybe a few surprises. I will not be limiting my filmic nominees to simply those films released in NYC and LA sometime during 2011 (which is a bullshit rule that cost Ryan Gosling a much deserved nom for his amazing turn in the brilliant film, The Believer), but I would love to hear your thoughts and votes for the films you loved this year. I have not seen all the films, so I may end up including a list of films that are exempt due to my ignorance (tear/sniffle). I will be away on a work convention for a few days, but more will follow.

21 January 2012

Conan O'Brien Can't Stop

First of all, let me apologize for the dead air on OMFBC, but I was on my honeymoon. Desolee.

directed by Rodman Flender

Okay. Rodman Flender is no P. T. Anderson (Flender’s highest achievement is Idle friggin’ Hands), and his doc chops carry no flash and pizzazz, but his glimpse into the world of late night host Conan O’Brien is both telling and astonishing. And hilarious. Can’t Stop was filmed during O’Brien’s involuntary hiatus from television by way of the actions of a-hole NBC television execs, and as O’Brien develops and ultimately embarks on a relatively grueling national tour, what Flender captures behind the scenes is the most telling. As O’Brien performs for his audience of friends, family, and coworkers (in addition to his actual packed house performances), complains about not having a time off one minute then organizes a secret show on one of his only days off, we see a man with serious issues struggling with a compulsion that seems, somehow, very familiar. As a film, Can’t Stop is nothing special, but as a character study, it’s a must see, a portrait of a fanatic unwilling to draw the line between business and pleasure, private and public, a man full of paradoxical desires who refuses to reconcile these two worlds. Yeesh. It seems the more behind the scenes comedy docs I watch, the more I discover how truly dysfunctional and dark comedy is.

01 January 2012

The Evan Glodell Interview: aka the Proudest Moment of My Life!

The time has come for OMFBC to take it up a notch, to turn its shit up to 11, and what better way than to give the world something truly excellent? An interview with one of cinema's finest new talents, ramshackle genius Evan Glodell would be the perfect choice, you say? You read my mind! Glodell, if you read OMFBC, was the subject of 2 consecutive film reviews for the most magnificent debut in years, the ruthlessly breathtaking Bellflower, a film that should be on every film lover's must see list. After consuming the trailer for months on end, then finally getting to see the film in theaters, I decided last month that I would reach out to Mr. Glodell and see if I could maybe, possibly, perhaps conduct a smallish interview with the man himself. Good fortune favors the bold, or just the effing lucky, but either way I hold in my hands the very interview for which I had hoped. Enjoy, and watch the hell out of this film!

Evan Glodell’s responses are in bold (obviously, BC. We get it).

1.Like another indie genius, Shane Carruth, you began a very logical, very mathematical endeavor (engineering) before moving to film. Was the desire to make films always there, or was this the result of wanting to simply do the exact opposite of something so concrete?

I never knew I wanted to make films. I always had intense images in my head and wanted to get them out, but I couldn’t draw or do any of the traditional arts so I just ignored it. I was good at building things and couldn’t seem to help always having a project going on (whether I wanted to or not), so I thought I should be an engineer. Upon arrival at engineering school I quickly realized it wasn’t the life I wanted. I left after a week, and with that life plan out of the way for the first time, I suddenly had a thought that I could build the images in my head with my hands in the real world and record them with a camera – an idea I had never had before, so I decided to move to LA and figure out how to become a filmmaker.

2.What inspired the Coatwolf Model II?

Tons of playing with cameras and the curiosity of what a moving large-format image would look like.

3.I read that you made your first flamethrower when you were 12. Have you made any other crazy contraptions?

I had a sort of a precursor to the Medusa car when I was in middle school. Someone gave me an old three wheel bike. I took the basket off and welded a second chair to the back so my friends could ride with me. Then I put a deep-cycle battery and an electric motor on it, headlights, a car stereo and a high voltage electrocution system in the chair on the back to eject unwanted passengers (older neighborhood kids would jump on and force me to give them rides places). It was awesome. We were so little that it would run all day and take us around. It was like we had a car all through middle school.

4.Aside from the obvious filmic references (Mad Max, The Road Warrior), what films did you think about as you were writing and filming Bellflower?

I know I was heavily influenced by tons of movies, but the way my mind works it was never conscious.

5.It’s interesting to think of an apocalypse as a positive thing, a cure for the maladies of the world. If there was an apocalypse, what would be the first order of business for Evan Glodell?

I think I would try and start my own society and run things a bit differently than we do now. I imagine it would be difficult, though.

6.Do you have a favorite film?

I really like films that are heavily writer/director driven. Seems like the closest you can get to being inside someone else’s head.

7.Were all you working as actors prior to this?

I was mostly making no-budget short films and doing whatever side projects I had to do to stay alive. I think each one of us has a slightly different version of that story.

8.What’s the craziest criticism of your film you have heard so far?

Haha. Everyone who worked on the film tells me to never tell anyone this because they think it’s insane, and that I am insane for thinking it. Right before we went to Sundance, I saw The Room for the first time. It messed with my head really bad. What many would consider to be the worst movie ever made, is very similar to Bellflower. I read up on it a bit, and he (Tommy Wiseau) says it was supposed to be a joke. But coming from a person who spent years making a movie about having his heart broken and being confused as hell about it – I can tell you that is exactly where The Room came from. So people think it’s funny, but when I watched it, it just made me depressed as hell and sad for the guy to made it. Finally, a couple people who didn’t like Bellflower started comparing it to The Room to bash on it. I am with them all the way on that (I proved my friends wrong!). If I had made the very first version of Bellflower when I was 23, it would have been a prettier version of The Room, but with kids instead of a creepy guy.

9.Do you have any tattoos?

Yes, two. I have a tattoo inside my mouth that I got when I was 18, a lot of my closest friends have the same one. And I have Coatwolf tattooed on my arm. A lot of us have one of those as well. I got it after years of struggling trying to make it as a filmmaker. It was one of those times when I was feeling like it wasn’t going to work out and I was a fool. Then I had this intense thought that as long as you are questioning yourself and your goals in life then you haven’t really tried. It was supposed to be a commitment to filmmaking at all costs. I would do anything I had to and really try instead of worrying whether I would succeed.

10.As you were writing the initial script for Bellflower, did you talk about it with other people, or keep it to yourself until you had finished it?

My friends are unbelievably supportive of me and let me rant to them for hours about ideas I am working on, even though some part of them probably wants to choke me out to get me to shut up. So all the people around me knew all about it and gave their input.

11.How did the creative process change your original story? In other words, is the Bellflower that I saw in the theatre the same Bellflower you always had in your head? If not, how did it change and why?

This is a tricky question.  The movie that was playing in my head years ago when I first had the idea looks and feels exactly like the movie that now exists. There were a lot of changes every step of the way. The script was rewritten many times over the years. Changes happened during shooting and editing, but I think it was always this exact film that I was trying to make. The most significant change happened a year before we started shooting. I had an epiphany of sorts about life. A big part of what I learned was how to forgive people and I understood for the first time that my life was caused by me. I wasn’t a pawn, being victimized by acts sent from god or some magical place. I saw the part I played in the relationship that caused me to write Bellflower and I immediately called “her” and apologized and explained that I now understood it wasn’t her fault – the way things played out. That was the biggest change, I got the script out and had to show my character's  contributions to the downfall of the relationship, but still keep the story of my character starting out confused and getting to that realization on his own. I haven’t told anyone this before, but at the end of the movie, my character’s last line is “I fucked up.” It was supposed to be “It’s not her fault. It’s not Milly’s fault.” I tried to deliver the line dozens of takes and it was too hard for me as an actor (I really suck at acting sometimes), so I went back and re-did the end of the scene with the line that’s there now.

12.What’s your favorite brand of whiskey?

I like all kinds of whiskey. It seems like the more expensive ones taste better, but certainly the whiskey I have consumed the most of is “75 South” because it’s about ten dollars for a giant bottle at the grocery store.

Bellflower is a film unlike any other, deeply personal, intensely visionary and viscerally poetic, a film that bottles lightning for all to experience in their own way. Watch it. Brace yourself, but watch it nonetheless. And thank you to Evan Glodell for finding the time in his (deservedly) busy schedule to respond to the likes of good old BC.

PS All I wanted for Christmas was a signed one sheet of the Medusa car with the explosion behind the mountains. Instead, I got something even better.