For those of you who might not know, I was recently laid off from a job. This means that I have a lot of time on my hands, and I need a way to occupy myself. So a new, hopefully improved Screen Dialogic may be returning soon. Right now, I’m working on a new script (and looking for a new job!) that I’m hoping to get finished before I go down to Austin next month, so I will delegating that task with this. I have plenty of new ideas for posts, and as I write this, I realize I really miss blogging.
Last Sunday (9/12/10), I had The Cleveland Show idling on my TV and came across this cutaway. When Cleveland finds out his parents are remarrying, it cuts away to a writing teacher saying, “Here’s what we call an uh-oh moment!” It sends up screenwriting gurus and their lack of credentials, and the teacher bears a striking resemblance to Robert McKee. Watch:
For this installment of Friday Morning Tunez, I’m choosing not one, but two songs by the Brooklyn-via-Syracuse University band Ra Ra Riot. I’ll be going to see them for the second time tomorrow night at The Cracker Factory, so might as well post their songs.
The first video is “Can You Tell”, from their first album The Rhumb Line. This video won Best Music Video at the 2009 Finger Lakes Film Festival (where my film, Strong Enough For A Man screened, thank you very much). This song got me through this past summer:
The second video is for their song “Boy”, which is featured on their 2010 album The Orchard. It’s a catchy song, and I dig Wes Miles wearing an Empire State Games shirt in the video. There are better songs on this album, IMO (“Foolish” and “Massachusetts” especially), but this a great song nonetheless.
Daddy Longlegs tells the story of Lenny (Ronnie Bronstein, director of Frownland), who kidnaps his two boys (Sage and Frey Ranaldo) out of desperation. The movie is based on an episode from the childhoods of directors Josh and Benny Safdie. Here are Josh and Benny talking about both their experience and Daddy Longlegs on Campbell Brown last January:
According to the Summer 2010 issue of Cinema Scope, the Safdies kept notebooks titled Go Get Some Rosemary (the film’s original title) where they would collect their childhood memories. Later, they wrote a 45 page script “that had every scene from the movie in it”. The Safdies were helped along by their father/former kidnapper, who gave them 300 hours of home movies from their childhood.
Today’s selection is “Love Song for the Dead Ché” performed by The United States of America, and appears on their one and only album, released in 1968. I feel weird posting two psychedelic era tunes two weeks in a row, but I’ve had this song stuck in my head all week. It’s a gorgeous, melancholy song.
François Ozon’s latest film, Potiche, debuted to great anticipation Saturday Night at the Venice Film Festival.
Potiche deals with Catherine Deneuve having to take over an Umbrella Factory after her husband takes a leave after being taken hostage. Ozon says he was inspired by the 2007 election between Segolene Royal (whom Ozon supported) and Nicolas Sarkozy. The Associated Press summarizes the beginning of the film:
The movie strikes a comic tone from the start, with opening credits that evoke the opening sequence of the 1969-74 American sit-com “Love American Style.” Deneuve’s Suzanne is out jogging in a red track suit with triple white stripes down the side, her bouffant tucked into a hairnet. As she performs calisthenics, small woodland creatures catch her eye and appear to greet her: She is clearly a woman without a care in the world.
Ozon’s been downhill since the high water mark of 2003′s Swimming Pool, which this blogger saw as a horny, newly minted college graduate. Time To Leave and especially Angel had their moments, but Ricky was, at best, disappointing. Ozon is at his best when he’s oversexed and camped up, and the trailer above evokes the tone of an earlier, campier, Ozon film, 8 Femmes. Hopefully this is a return to form for Ozon.
This installment of “Friday Morning Tunez” features Wendy Flower singing “The Paisley Window Pane” with The High Llamas and Jane Weaver in the UK in 2007. Wendy originally recorded this song in 1969 as part of Wendy & Bonnie, a duo that featured her sister, Bonnie. Wendy & Bonnie recorded one album, Genesis, released in 1969. It’s great music, made all the more remarkable by the fact that Wendy and Bonnie were just 17 and 13, respectively.
Wendy & Bonnie’s label went under soon after the album came out, and their producer getting poisoned to death by morphine definitely didn’t help matters. Such a shame, because their music certainly fit in well with the zeitgeist of the time. Decades later, the band began to gather a following with groups like Stereolab and Broadcast (two favorites of yours truly) embracing their music. In 2003, The Super Furry Animals sampled their song “By The Sea” for their song “Hello Sunshine”.
So here for your listening enjoyment is “The Paisley Window Pane”:
I’d like to say Happy Birthday to two wonderful writer/directors, Joe Swanberg and Chad Hartigan!
Joe Swanberg has two movies coming down the pipeline. But if you really need a Swanberg fix, Joe will be appearing in Adam Wingard’s A Horrible Way to Die, which will be premiering at the Toronto Film Festival on September 14th. Here’s a trailer of the film:
Joe and his wife, Kris, also have a personal collaboration forthcoming, as they are expecting a baby boy later this year.
Chad Hartigan’s wonderful debut, Luke and Brie are on a First Date is currently available at Amazon.com’s Video On Demand, and will soon be available at Netflix. Here’s a trailer for that film:
Monika Bartyzel writes about Mulholland Drive for the current installment of the Cinematical Movie Club. Bartyzel’s essay uses the postmodern theory of Jean Baudrillard, Frederic Jameson, and Jacques Lacan to explain the movie. I would like to extend Bartyzel’s discussion by offering some other points of view on the film.
Mulholland Drive is not a favorite of screenwriting gurus. In particular, Linda Seger expressed disdain for the film in her book Advanced Screenwriting: Raising Your Script to the Academy Award Level. In that book, Seger criticizes a lot of more offbeat films, but she reserves a special ire Mulholland Drive, which for her embodies what she calls “The Condescending Stance”:
“Some writers figure that they’re so much smarter than the audience that they write deliberately obtuse films to stroke their own egos. In their minds, they’re superior to their audience. They think that their movies always work and that any percieved unclarities, not the writers’ art or craft.
Why can’t anyone figure out
Mulholland Drive? Is this a good thing, that it never adds up in spite of so many moments of brilliance? Some critics and audience members loved the fact that it seemed like a puzzle. We’ve been watching movie puzzles for years, and are mesmerized by their complexity. But even the critics couldn’t put this puzzle together in a coherent way. The pieces didn’t fit to create a whole.”“