“You can fail at what you don’t love, so you might as well do what you love. There’s really no choice to be made. What do you want to be?”
Over the last couple months, I’ve posted a few videos (click here or here) from Jim Carrey. I’m fascinated by what’s happened to the comedian over the last 15 years. He was the biggest star in the world and, as it turns out, he was utterly miserable being it. A lot of the things he’s been so candid about since “Bearded Jim” emerged on the scene have really resonated with me. The notion that you have to take a chance on people liking you for who you really are or kill yourself and walk around wearing a mask particularly hit me, because I’m quite the mask forger and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned how toxic that can be.
Most of these clips have come from an outstanding Netflix documentary called Jim & Andy, which I could not recommend more. Universal finally gave Carrey the behind-the scenes footage he shot on the set of The Man in the Moon while he stayed in character as the late comedian Andy Kaufman for months. Universal was terrified it would get out and the likable Carrey would be seen as a lunatic. Netflix weaves the footage with Carrey talking about his transformation, and it’s mesmerizing stuff. I don’t think there’s ever been a movie star like Carrey who’s gone through this kind of transformation, and I like him more NOW than I did when he was making me laugh as a kid.
“How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never really been in a fight?” Brad Pitt asks it of Edward Norton shortly after they meet, and people (particularly men) have been asking each other the question ever since David Fincher’s 1999 anarchic masterpiece was released. Based on the equally (and oddly quite wise) novel by Chuck Palahniuk. Fincher’s film is a unique and insightful look at the societal neutering of the American male. I’m going to write this from the standpoint of one…since that’s what I happen to be. Men are hard-wired for aggression. We want to punch stuff. We like to see things blow up, destroyed, and laid low. We’re hunter-gatherers at our core. Now we spend 40 hours a week in a sea of grey cubicles, and our weekends at Bed, Bath & Beyond. There’s something missing. We’re missing a key part of ourselves and it manifests in bottles of whiskey and Prozac. We don’t know ourselves, because most of us haven’t been in a fight. That’s why Fight Club (which didn’t do well in theaters) became a cult sensation. It touched a nerve with men. It was a revelation. Continue reading My Favorite Scene: Fight Club (1999) “Welcome to Fight Club”→
Director Alex Garland’s last film, Ex Machina, is one of the best science fiction films of the last 25 years, so Annihilation has been greatly anticipated by me for quite awhile. This is in spite of the fact that it is an adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer’s novel that I did not care for at all. I found the book’s style of writing in which events leap in and out of the characters inner monologue and the reader has to do a lot of heavy lifting to keep up with a weirdly presented already odd plot to be off-putting. Unfortunately, with a few minor changes to make the end a little more coherent (a little), Garland’s Annihilation is a pretty faithful adaptation of the novel. Continue reading Movie Review: Annihilation (2018) *Enter Area X*→
Emma Stone broke into films using her wit and comedic timing in films like Superbad, Zombieland and Easy A. As she’s matured (and she’ll only turn 30 this year), Stone has shown she also has dramatic chops (The Help), the ability to do deep character work (Battle of the Sexes), amazing versatility (Maniac) and a talent for song and dance that won her an Oscar for La La Land. Stone doesn’t work as much as other actresses of her generation, but following her Oscar success she is now the highest-paid actress in Hollywood and whatever projects lie in her future she has an almost unmatched power for someone her age in picking and choosing the films that will fill out her career’s filmography.
Watchmen is a polarizing film, just as it has been a polarizing graphic novel since its release in 1986. The only graphic novel to make Time Magazine’s 100 Best Books of All-Time, Watchmen is a dense, dense piece of work that lends itself to multiple readings. It has so much happening in every panel, on every page, that a movie adaptation of it was never going to please everyone. Despite my problems with Zack Snyder recently, I happen to think he did about as good a job making a film out of Watchmen as is humanly possible (with the exception of casting Malin Ackerman as Silk Spectre, because she is painfully awful). HBO is going to adapt the series in a much more decompressed format, and that may please more people, but I really admire Snyder’s film. HBO is going to be hard-pressed to find a better Rorschach than Jackie Earle Haley.
The graphic novel spans generations and one of the most brilliant things Snyder did was, after the iconic opening murder of The Comedian (Jeffery Dean Morgan) was to have this five-minute credit sequence that traced the entire history of The Minutemen from their glory days to the current status quo. It sets the tone for the whole film and contains SO much information SO efficiently handed out to the audience, that even though Watchmen is an extremely long film (depending on what cut you’re watching), this probably shaved 40 minutes of exposition off of the theatrical cut. Also a little Dylan never hurt anything. I can’t think of another film where the credits are my favorite scene, but in Watchmen, they are just that brilliantly done.