Tag: John C. Reilly

5 Jawesome Things for the week of March 9, 2012

These are the five best things that I came across in the past week. This is now a Friday column, which probably makes a lot more sense than a Thursday column.

1. Reading. It’s Fun-damental!

I finished two books this week: Everything is Illuminated and Wonderstruck. You can read my reviews of them by clicking that link back there. They were very good. And now I’m 100 pages into A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Every once in a while I get caught up in some other thing, some not-reading thing. And I slow or stop reading altogether for a few weeks. I start to get kinda out of whack. Messed up feeling. All over the place. The past few weeks I was in a funk of that sort, so when I started to read the energetic and wonderful Everything is Illuminated I was so happy to rediscover reading. Maybe I’ll learn from this experience. Maybe I’ll keep reading for forever now. Probably not, though. Without those absences how would I remember just how great the process of reading truly is?

2. Warmth

Remember how last week I was so happy that it was snowing? This week I was driving around town with the windows rolled down because it was unseasonably warm and that was pretty great, too. Crank up the tunes, get some fresh air flowing, go somewhere, do something. That’s the ticket. Here’s my current happy-time-driving song of choice:

3. Movies that get better as they go along

I watched two movies in the past week that started off ok and improved greatly with each passing minute. The first was Miranda July’s The Future. It starts off as a pretty straightforward indie-comedy thing with a cute young-ish couple deciding that their lives are going to be over by the time they reach the age of 40 (because then it’s only ten years until you get to fifty and by then you can’t start anything new and you might as well be dead). So they live the next month without any obligations other than to themselves and what they really want to do with their lives. It’s a pretty silly premise that would be cloying over the course of a whole film, but luckily July sidesteps it (or leaps over it) by going all out. Things change in these two people’s lives and the changes are dramatic. It becomes quite sad in a very real way. Time stops. Things happen.

The other film was Roman Polanski’s Carnage. It’s kind of a strange title at the beginning of the film. It’s just two middle-aged couples settling a dispute between their two respective kids. It’s too polite. Things are hinted at and said behind each other’s backs. It isn’t until the second half of the film where the insults start flying and I started laughing. It’s the strangest thing. I didn’t laugh at all in the first 45 minutes or so but in the next 40 I was laughing pretty consistently. It has a dark edge to it that is fun and ugly at the same time. Of course, having John C. Reilly, Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, and Christoph Waltz doing the arguing will help it being awesome. It isn’t a great movie, but it is pretty darn good by the end, if you can stand people being horrible.

4. Game of Thrones on Blu-ray

It looks so good! It has awesome extras! It is one of the best TV shows ever! Exclaim! For your entertainment, the three younger Stark kids singing the opening theme on the second episode commentary track.

5. Awake

This is based strictly on the pilot episode of the NBC series starring Jason Isaacs (hello!) who plays a man that got in a car crash which killed either his wife or his son, leaving the other behind. A silly sentence, you say? Yes, I respond. It is a silly sentence. Doesn’t make any sense, but it works. When Isaacs goes to sleep in one world (for example, the one where his son survived the crash) he wakes up in the other (where his wife survived). He, being a police officer as roughly one half of all TV characters are, has to solve cases in each version of his life, but they overlap, leading to strange coincidences and his partners questioning how he knows certain details. The challenge of this show will be in continuing the incredibly compelling storytelling that they achieved in the pilot episode. I know the crime element will get more air time as the series goes on and they have to do less exposition, though that exposition was handled remarkably well with the aide of two psychiatrists, one in each version of his life. The visual storytelling is really great, too. The mother’s side is warm and nicer to be in, while the son’s side is green and gray, a cooler color palate. This almost makes up for Fox cancelling the show creator’s previous show, Lone Star, last year. Let’s hope he can keep it up and keep it good. Here’s the whole darn thing!

Those were the 5 Jawesome Things for the week of 3/9/2012. What were your Jawesome Things? Leave a comment!

30 Day Film Challenge: Day 17 – Your Favorite Drama Film

Day 17 – Your Favorite Drama Film

This movie often filp flops with There Will Be Blood as my favorite movie of all time. Where TWBB is a focused study of a man grabbing at whatever he can to get rich, Magnolia pulls back and looks at a dozen or so LA denizens and how their lives weave in and out of each other’s. It’s not the first movie to do such a thing and it owes a lot of debt to Robert Altman’s Short Cuts in both its form and function. But there’s a kind of craziness that underlies everything. This being PTA’s third film he is mostly allowed to go all out on the filmmaking front. There’s a couple of multi-minute-long shots, the characters take a break in the middle of the film to have a cosmic sing-along, and then there’s the ending. It’s a pretty audacious piece of work but what makes it my favorite drama film is the characters. Like I said earlier there are about a dozen characters and all of the directorial trickery works to make you care about each and every one of them. From Tom Cruise’s woman-hating public speaker to John C. Reilly’s well meaning police officer to Melora Walters’ junkie caught between love and addiction, each of the characters has a full life which we glimpse for only a day. It is one of the best combinations of script, direction, and acting I have ever seen and it never fails to get my tear ducts working. Sometimes it’s Cruise’s confession at his dying father’s bedside or the heartbreaking date between Reilly and Walters that ends with this line, “Now that I’ve met you, would you object to never seeing me again?” or the final, redemptive scene of the film; they knit together to create a dazzling and desperately human work of art.
Notes:

  • I have, for some reason, only seen this film twice. I feel like I should go out and buy it right now. I’ve talked myself into it.
  • As hard as it was for me to not turn this into a Borzage-fest, it will be just as hard to keep all of PTA’s films off the list. There may or may not be another one coming up soon.
  • There were roughly a billion other films I could have chosen for this spot including films like The Assassination of  Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and most of Borzage’s movies and The Searchers and How Green Was My Valley and so on and so forth.
  • LOOK AT THE AWESOME!