“There can’t be anything in the film that tells you one way or another because then the ambiguity at the end of the film would just be a mistake … It would represent a failure of the film to communicate something. But it’s not a mistake. I put that cut there at the end, imposing an ambiguity from outside the film. That always felt the right ending to me — it always felt like the appropriate ‘kick’ to me….The real point of the scene — and this is what I tell people — is that Cobb isn’t looking at the top. He’s looking at his kids. He’s left it behind. That’s the emotional significance of the thing.”—Christopher Nolan on the ending of Inception | Screen Rant
“Youth isn’t just about running pell-mell at the sun yelling, ‘Damn it all to hell!’ Youth is about asking yourself who you are, what you can accomplish. It is about fervently drawing pictures every day, on the one hand thinking, ‘They’re all right, I’ve got something here,’ and on the other hand wondering if your work will be accepted by others, and worrying that it may all be an illusion and that you really don’t have any talent at all. This anguish in the midst of uncertainty and impatience is what youth is all about.”—Hayao Miyazaki (via corcordium)
“We had to write reports on what we wanted to be, and the boy next to me wrote a composition on how he was going to be a movie director. And I got so angry at him because movies seemed too good for us, like, they came from magical people in Hollywood and, here he was — the guy that cheated off me during the test — how could he be a movie director? And then I thought, “Well, I must be this angry because that’s what really I want to do.”—
Amy Heckerling, director of Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Clueless in These Amazing Shadows (via kimbrulee
“A conversation is held under the presumption that you have something of value to give to the other person. And if you don’t, you might as well be farting on a public bus.”—
My Shakespeare professor, who was one of three teachers who influenced Robin Williams’ character in Dead Poets Society. He said Keating jumping off the desk was taken directly from his own lecture, and that he worked with Williams one on one for certain mannerisms.
I always know a professor is great when I feel guilty walking into their class unprepared for the day’s topic.
If you decide to watch a movie on Valentine’s Day - and we here at BWDR obviously strongly recommend that you do - choosing one can be a bit of a minefield. The straight-forward Hollywood rom-coms of the past twenty years (at least) are usually god awful, the predictable and sappy ones often make you want to burn out your eyes (The Notebook, The Proposal, etc) and the indie ones, if well-made, are often tremendous downers or, worse, mumblecore and meandering.
And don’t even get me started on the anti-Valentine’s people who will seek out purposely anti-romance films just to prove that love sucks and people suck and nobody will ever be happy in this huge world of jerks (Thelma & Louise, The War of the Roses, The Break-Up).
But never fret! There is hope! There are actual movies out there about love that are well-worth watching with your significant other. Here, then, is a list of a few films you should at least consider watching this February 14th, in alphabetical order, as well as the reasons why:
It is not an overstatement to say that, without Annie Hall, many popular romantic comedies made since its release would never – could never - have been made. Quite simply, Annie Hall changed what a romantic comedy was (and beat out Star Wars for Best Picture in the process). From the wonderfully authentic, improvised lobster scene, to Alvy and Annie’s split-screen psychoanalytic sessions, to the frequent head-on addresses to the audience (breaking down that illusive fourth wall of cinema, and doing it so damned humorously) and its non-linear, fractured narrative, Allen re-invented what a romantic comedy could do. And that’s why, 35 years later, we still need the eggs.
The Apartment (1960)
Billy Wilder made romantic comedies like they really meant something. And he never made a finer one than The Apartment. From Jack Lemmon’s opening monologue to Shirley MacLaine’s famous final line, the film is full of intelligence, humor, romance, chemistry, and charm.
No matter where you are in life, one of these films will speak to you. When I was in high school, Before Sunrise made more sense to me than I knew how to articulate, though now it seems a little silly at times - especially considering how much sense Before Sunset makes to me in my early 30s! Two wonderfully talky films featuring two people talking about love in honest, sentimental, naive, and learned ways. “It reminded me how genuinely romantic I was, how I had so much hope in things…”
Crazy, Stupid Love (2011)
Hey girl, this is the most recent film you’ll find on the list and thus one that I can’t wholly guarantee will stand the test of time. However, I’d guess it has a pretty decent shot of holding up over the years. Because it gets a lot of things right about love, in all its various forms (unrequited love, first love, mistaken love, lasting love) and, when a film can do something like that - and make you laugh at the same time - it’s a film worth seeing.
Clementine: This is it, Joel. It’s going to be gone soon. Joel: I know. Clementine: What do we do? Joel: Enjoy it.
The Fountain (2006)
A philosophical art-house love story dolled up as a time-bending science fiction epic. The Fountain tells three stories as one larger story, a man’s quest for love and immortality that spans 1,500 years and takes us all the way from the ancient jungles of ‘new Spain’ to a futuristic world on a dying nebula star somewhere in the far reaches of our universe. The thing that connects these things, these stories, is the relationship between a man (Hugh Jackman) and a woman (Rachel Weisz), and the love that seems to tie them together eternally.
The worst possible moment to begin falling in love with someone is undoubtedly when your airplane is just about to crash into the ground, but that’s precisely what happens to Peter Carter (David Niven), a British WWII pilot who finds connection with June (Kim Hunter), an American radio operator he manages to contact from his plane in the brief moments before he is forced to jump into the night without a parachute. They say their goodbyes and that, sadly, should be that. Except that Peter survives the crash, due to a rather sizeable heavenly mistake. And in the hours he lives out while the “other world” attempts to correct its error, he reconnects with June and finishes falling in love with her. Thus, when the heavens come calling for Peter’s life, he protests to the celestial courts, claiming he can no longer proceed with his initial fate, that the love he’s found changes everything. And while all this sounds rather silly and fantastical, in the famously capable hands of Powell & Pressburger, the whole things winds up being an insanely gorgeous and romantic meditation on life and love.
Out of Sight (1998)
Looking back, it’s rather extraordinary how much Out of Sight was able to accomplish, and all without a great deal of attention paid to it at the time. Not only is it the best film Steven Soderbergh ever made, it’s also the sexiest one George Clooney ever made, the best adaptation of an Elmore Leonard novel ever made (sorry Quentin), and the only film to ever make Jennifer Lopez look talented. Though the film is many things at once, it’s anchored by an intelligent and incredibly sexy cat-and-mouse love story between a criminal on the run (Clooney) and the federal agent (Lopez) hoping to take him down.
From the swelling strings on the soundtrack which veer wildly from anxious to romantic, to the gorgeous, washed out cinematography and the beautifully painted screen wipes, Punch-Drunk Love is a film immersed in the feeling of love. Yes, there are other threats in the film, the dark moments Barry Egan (Adam Sandler) must get through on his way to happiness, but through love, he feels he can make it: “I have a love and it’s given me more strength than you could ever imagine”.
The Science of Sleep (2006)
Wonderfully enchanting and hypnotic, Michel Gondry’s film is filled to the brim with dream-laden whimsy and innocent romanticism. The Science of Sleep follows its own inner logic, a logic shot through with love, nostalgia, and dreams - and all the innocence, wonderment, and inherent sadness that necessarily entails.
Two For the Road (1967)
Stanley Donen’s Two for the Road is a treatise on love and its many complications. It might not warm your heart entirely - honest films about marriage rarely do - but Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney, as an unhappy couple revisiting a road trip they took as young lovers, make you feel just about everything that one feels throughout the course of a relationship: love, lust, excitement, frustration, confusion, warmth, sadness, familiarity, betrayal, happiness, and loneliness. The narrative slips and slides through time and back again, tracing the highs and lows of Hepburn and Finney’s relationship, juxtaposing scenes of past delight with those of present despair. Think a slightly less depressing Blue Valentine, set mostly on the roads of France, and you’re almost there.
And speaking of France: a wall-to-wall French musical (no spoken dialogue!) set near Paris and starring a luminous Catherine Deneuve as a young woman falling in love? It really doesn’t get much more romantic than that.
Miss Pascal, I've been odd, and I, I know I've been odd, and... I want you.
There there are many reasons, there are so many influences in my life, that are telling me, at times, quite literally, that I should come here and bring you these, but I'm doing this because I want you.
Well, the silent pictures were the purest form of cinema; the only thing they lacked was the sound of people talking and the noises. But this slight imperfection did not warrant the major changes that sound brought in. In other words, since all that was missing was simply natural sound, there was no need to go to the other extreme and completely abandon the technique of the pure motion picture, the way they did when sound came in.
I agree. In the final era of silent movies, the great film-makers--in fact, almost the whole of production--had reached something near perfection. The introduction of sound, in a way, jeopardized that perfection. I mean that this was precisely the time when the high screen standards of so many brilliant directors showed up the woeful inadequacy of the others, and the lesser talents were gradually being eliminated from the field. In this sense one might say that mediocrity came back into its own with the advent of sound.
I agree absolutely. In my opinion, that's true even today. In many of the films now being made, there is very little cinema: they are mostly what I call 'photographs of people talking.' When we tell a story in cinema, we should resort to dialogue only when it's impossible to do otherwise. I always try first to tell a story in the cinematic way, through a succession of shots and bits of film in between. It seems unfortunate that with the arrival of sound the motion picture, overnight, assumed a theatrical form. The mobility of the camera doesn't alter this fact. Even though the camera may move along the sidewalk, it's still theater. One results of this is the loss of cinematic style, and another is the loss of fantasy. In writing a screenplay, it is essential to separate clearly the dialogue from the visual elements and, whenever possible, to rely more on the visual than on the dialogue. Whichever way you choose to stage the action, your main concern is to hold the audience's full attention. Summing it up, one might say that the screen rectangle must be charged with emotion.
Sonny: Alright, listen to me. You pull up right where she lives, right? Before you get outta the car, you lock both doors. Then, get outta the car, you walk over to her. You bring her over to the car. Dig out the key, put it in the lock and open the door for her. Then you let her get in. Then you close the door. Then you walk around the back of the car and look through the rear window. If she doesn’t reach over and lift up that button so that you can get in: dump her. Calogero ‘C’ Anello: Just like that? Sonny: Listen to me, kid. If she doesn’t reach over and lift up that button so that you can get in, that means she’s a selfish broad and all you’re seeing is the tip of the iceberg. You dump her and you dump her fast.
Hey Elaine, Its Scott. I completely understand your reluctance to post your films on a blog for all to see if you're not comfortable showing them, but is there a website I could go to to see them? If not, I understand. Being a filmmaker myself, I am really interested in finding other people who make films to see theirs and discuss the process and the ideas behind them. Anyway, if you're interested, let me know.
I’d much rather not post those links on here, but I might change my mind in the future. Thanks for your interest though.
“I think we ought to be personally responsible. I think if you can take care of yourself, and then maybe try to take care of someone else, that’s sort of how you’re supposed to live. It’s not a question of asking other people for help or being rescued or anything like that. I think we’ve sort of gotten used to someone looking out for us, and I don’t think any other person is necessarily going to be counted on to look out for us. I think there’s only so many people that can take care of themselves, and can take care of other people. And the rest of the people … they’re useful in terms of compost for the whole planet, you know.”—Bill Murray (via bunkercomplex)
Hey there. Anonymous again, but you can call me Scott. Have any of those films you made in college been uploaded onto any website, like Youtube, or Vimeo? I'd love to see them. And as for the writing, do you write screenplays? Geat picks by the way. I really dug Eternal Sunshine, and I've heard great things about 81/2, I'll have to check that out. Here's an other wrench for ya. What is the most recent movie you saw that reconfirmed your love of film? And why?
Yes, I have some of my college films up, but I’m reluctant to post them up on here.
I write a lot a lot about things that happen to me that I want to remember. Mostly they become part of short stories or screenplays. I’ve dabbled in the screenplay format, but I can’t get past 50 pages, so they’re mostly short films, ideas for tv. I like to write to music videos too.
The most recent film that reconfirmed my love for film…Scorsese’s Hugo. I went in not knowing anything about the film or book (only saw the trailer) and was pleasantly surprised. It had sold me on the use of 3D (which I wasn’t a fan of until Hugo) and I just loved seeing Méliès films being re-awakened on the big screen (along with Buster Keaton’s, Weine’s…). And I think of the kids watching this and being fed this film history (eat it, kids!) and maybe seeing for the first time the first films ever made. I wasn’t exposed to that as a kid, though I wish I was.
Any film that reminds me how magical filmmaking is definitely reconfirms my love for film, and Hugo was one of those films last year. Thanks for the questions!
You have the greatest film related blog I have ever seen. Please keep at it. Also, do you make films? And just to throw a wrench in your day, what is your favourite film of all time and why? In great detail if you feel so inclined, though I will accept a one word answer if you don't have the time.
You are too kind! Why are you anonymous, the good people need to know that I didn’t write this sweet message to myself!
I made films in college, when I had real summers and vacations. Haven’t had time to film anything lately, but I write a lot.
Favorite film of all time, just one film…too difficult to say really. I think most of my favorite films have to do with dreams or memories or films and filmmaking so: 8 1/2, Sherlock Jr., Millenium Actress, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, CQ. I couldn’t pick just one.
Thank you for your lovely message, Anonymous. I’ll stop blogging when this stops being fun and film will never not be fun for me.