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Tuesday
May052015

The Soundtrack of My Life

David Dastmalchian concludes his guest blog takeover with this playlist (which we've helpfully collated on Spotify for you) - you should follow him on Twitter & Instagram ! - Editor

Photograph by Braden Moran

Soundtrack of My Life
-by David Dastmalchian

I read once that memory is like film editing.  We cut and paste the sequences together in a way that make our past fit into the context of our present.  I have this strange kind of daydream that feels like a movie trailer and I’ve been doing it since I was a kid.  I look at a time in my life – or my life as a whole – and imagine it with few words but with a great deal of music.  I change the songs often and the points of focus shift from day-to-day but I will share just a few of the predominant soundtrack jams from the life and mind of, well, you know – me. 

1.  Shine on You Crazy Diamond – Pink Floyd 
My parents used to shoot super 8 films of us as kids in Kansas and my dad had them all edited together onto a DVD a few years back.  There’s no audio so you’re just sitting there watching us all blowing out candles or learning how to swim in silence. Actually, I think there was some bad Vince Guaraldi rip-off jazz that the Costco or wherever people had dubbed in.   I just popped in my Wish You Were Here and listened and watched.  Perfect music to sum up so much.

 2.  The Rainbow Connection – Jim Henson
The Muppet Movie and its effect on my life are no small secret.  I first took to a stage when I was 6 years old in Kansas so that I could strum a ukulele in my overalls and sing this song which says EVERYTHING you need to say about love and imagination.  Beautiful, man.

3. Come Together and Let it Flow – Spiritualized
These anthems of my late teens and early twenties sum up the tracking shot of a dude with blasted pupils, sitting wayyyyy back on a couch in a poster-lined apartment in Chicago and watching the wax slowly melt off the candles.  I believe that I was really trying to find some way to link up with the people around me and only inadvertently succeeded in isolating myself from them all.

4.  Goodnight, Irene – Leadbelly
And old pal of mine used to do a bang-up version of this song when he would play around Chicago – but it really strikes up an image for me of driving across the long expanse of endless highway across my Kansas homeland.   Those early memories of sitting in the back of my parents station wagon and rolling through the wheat-lined roads of the Midwest are some of my most cinematic mental images.

5. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes – The Platters
My mother had a “Golden Collection” of the Platters (one of those record sets you’d order off TV that came with special liner notes and fancy packaging) and I loved it.  We would listen to the records on the old Motorola console in our living room and I would slow dance with an imaginary woman of my dreams – I think at that time it was probably Kristy McNichol or Justine Bateman.  Or Lita Ford. 

6.  Simple Twist of Fate – Bob Dylan AND Joan Baez have versions of this classic jam that sum up the quick cuts of my early 20’s when I was hitch-hiking and riding Greyhound busses from Seattle to Asheville and trying to find my way back to Alaska while riding out the decade-long trip of simpleadventure and recklessness that was starting to ramp up in speed and severity, which leads to…. 

7.   Stuck on You (Failure)
One of those songs that plays perfectly in the long, spiraling overhead crane shot as it comes down to face a guy who thought he knew what he was getting into and didn’t realize until it was too late that he was in way, way, way too deep over his head.

8.  Some transition jams -  Drowning in the Sea of Love (Joe Simon),  Twin Cinema (New Pornographers), Wraith Pinned to the Mist (Of Montreal), Wave of Mutilation (Pixies) and the rising climax leads us to the beautiful moment of finding true love and a family and dancing in the grass to In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (Neutral Milk Hotel).

9.  Which leads to that final deathbed moment.  It’s a beautiful song but sad – but shouldn’t it be sad?  It’s okay for deathbeds to be somber.  I don’t want a marching band playing “Oh When the Saints” – I want all my loved ones crying and lamenting that we won’t be having any more adventures… for a while at least.   Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd) Yes, that IS two Pink Floyd songs on my trailer track list – so sue me.  It’s my guest blog and I can do what I want. 

And now I leave you with this – the trailer for our upcoming release, ANIMALS, which will be in theaters and on VOD on 5.15.15.  For details on where you can see the film, please visit www.animalsthefilm.com   And if you love the song as much as we do, it’s from a band called “Lavendar Diamond”.  Go find and buy all of their beautiful music here:  www.lavenderdiamond.net 

Thanks for reading and THANKS to Nathaniel for letting me sit in the driver’s seat for a day.  It was a lot of fun and I hope you didn’t get too many unsubscribes during my brief tenure.  Now… back to your regularly scheduled programming!

Previously
David What?, What I Learned From Paul Rudd, Films I Love, and Inefficient Filmmakers Guide 

Tuesday
May052015

The Inefficient Filmmakers Guide to Making a Movie in Six Years

One of "Animal"'s incredibly evocative posters.

"Or, How to Have the Most Fun While Having a Nervous Breakdown"
-by David Dastmalchian 

[ICYMI -the rising actor David Dastmalchian is guest blogging today! -ed.]

I have said this in jest many times – and will probably continue to joke about it again and again – but the truth of the matter is that I came dangerously close to having a severe nervous breakdown in the weeks that led up to the filming of Animals.  For the uninitiated, Animals is a feature film that I wrote, acted in and produced.  My close friend and Midwest compatriot, Collin Schiffli, directed the film about a homeless couple who struggle between the reality of their addiction to heroin (and one another) and the fantasy life that they imagine for themselves.  

Although it’s not a “biopic” by any means, the film was definitely influenced by my own personal battles with the same demons as my characters. More...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
May052015

What I Saw | Where I Saw It | Why I Loved It

One of our favorite rising actors, David Dastmalchian, is Guest Blogging! Learn his name. He's working with great people -Editor

Photo by Evelyn Leigh"What I Saw..."
-by David Dastmalchian

There are so many films that have a special place in my memory and their impact on my life was made all the more powerful by how and where I saw them.  My earliest memories of film-going are the Kansas City drive-in’s where I caught second-run screenings from the back of my folks old station wagon of Grease, James Bond flicks like View from a Kill and Moonraker, and being in my mom’s arms at the back of the theater at a matinee with my family of Raiders of the Lost Ark.  I thought the tarantulas in the opening sequence were climbing the walls of the theater… Here are a few spectacular memories that I will always treasure: 

What I Saw: THE MUPPET MOVIE
Where I Saw It: The Oak Park Mall Cinemas (KS)


This will remain one of the most profound movie-going experiences of my life.  The characters, colors, sounds, music, performances all exploded in front of my little face on the big screen as I sat enraptured beside my childhood buddy, Brian Bishop and his wonderful mother, Kathy.  We went to a matinee at the local cinema and this was one of my first ventures into an actual movie theater.  At that point in my development, the whole “suspension of disbelief” in my imagination was so strong that I believed wholeheartedly that ‘Sweetums’ the monster Muppet actually crashed through the screen in our theater auditorium at the end of the film.  For years I would proudly boast that I had seen the film in a theater where a REAL Muppet made an appearance.  The “Rainbow Connection” became my first on-stage performance in a preschool talent show and my wife even chose the song for her processional at our wedding.   The effect of this film on my life continues to this day.  Several times a year (especially in moments of disillusionment with the entertainment industry), I will watch the final five minutes of the film – from the moment that Orson Welles offers Kermit “The Rich and Famous Contract” through the end.  Go do this now.  Bring the Kleenex.  You’re welcome. 

Continue for three more favorite films

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
May052015

What I Learned From Paul Rudd (& Other Cool People)

At the premiere of Avengers: Age of UltronThe Film Experience welcomes rising actor David Dastmalchian (Ant-Man, Animals, Prisoners) who has taken over the blog for a day! -Editor


-by David Dastmalchian

The following are some rad people that I had the chance to work with or work near or at least stand across the street from – and the cool stuff that I learned while watching them.    I’ve kind of fashioned my entire life that way: honing in on the people who are really good at what they do and, well, trying to copy-cat them.

PAUL RUDD.  
LESSON: ‘Keep the scene rolling until they yell ‘cut’.  And be nice to everyone. And always carry cash’. 

It’s very intimidating to work on scenes with an actor who can continue to improvise past the text until every single person within a hundred feet is laughing out loud.  I had the opportunity to work with Paul on his upcoming Ant-Man for Marvel Studios directed by Peyton Reed.  Paul had an extreme amount of physical work to do with his preparation, as well as re-writing the project and he was incredibly focused.  He came to work each day prepared to make the most out of the scripted text – while being simultaneously open to improvisation as soon as the director gave him the green light.  It was amazing.  He is an endless well of ideas and he’s also very generous, so he would turn to me sometimes when he was on a riff and toss me a golden line.  I dropped as few as possible.

More Paul and other cool people after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Monday
May042015

The New Best Actress Field. Who Will Be Nominated?

We saved the best for last. The complete April Foolish Oscar Predictions are up with the Best Actress chart finally complete. As is usual for this beleagured actress psychic, once I've thrown the first charts up in all categories I immediately feel a tidal wave of "no, no, that's all wrong!" though the years have proven me relatively adept at first wave guesswork. At least comparatively speaking.

Which next generation Oscar darling will rise?

After fixing up a chart that included 3 older women who happen to be 3 of the 4 most recent winners (Julianne Moore, Cate Blanchett, and Meryl Streep) I immediately realized that this surely could not come to pass and regretted hitting publish. But you have to get the first wave predictions up eventually, so published it stayed. And a truth: everyone is going to be wrong this year because it looks highly competitive with multiple promising leading roles for women.

THE WORLD IS ROUND, PEOPLE.

Recognizing the over 40s in Best Actress has never been AMPAS's strong suit so surely the tide will turn sharply this year or next after so many older winners and even a year with the oldest lineup of all time in terms of nominees in this category (2013). Perhaps this year's lineup will include none of those darlings and skew very young: Saoirse Ronan, Carey Mulligan, Ellen Page, Alicia Vikander (with 8 movies opening something is going to stick), and Jennifer Lawrence (again)... though I personally hold out hope that Lily Tomlin's bravura turn in Grandma can win some "career tribute" style press and make a play for her second nomination 40 years after her first for Nashville.

Or maybe they'll finally make room for my riskiest hunch, Emily Blunt and give her her first nomination at 32 years of age for playing a young FBI agent up against a swarm of dangerous men. Shades of Jodie Foster in Silence of the Lambs anyone?

Please do check out the chart and let's get busy discussing! 

Rooney: Do you think we'll be nominated again, Cate?

PREVIOUS DISCUSSIONS
Animated Films | Actor | Supporting Actress | Screenplays | Supporting Actor | Best Picture | Best Visuals  | Sound & FX

RELATED
Index of All Predictions, Oscar Dates for Your Calendar, Most Awaited Films of the Year, and all Oscar adjacent articles for 2015

Monday
May042015

Beauty vs Beast: Like Father Luke Son

Happy May the Fourth, everybody! Jason from MNPP here - it wasn't until this morning when Nathaniel reminded us of the annual Star Wars holiday-of-sorts that I looked back through our "Beauty vs Beast" archives and found it to be seriously Skywalker wanting, which is just unacceptable. I was maybe a little too young for the first round of Star Wars movies and definitely a little too old for the Prequels so I've never been as huge a fanatic about the series as some folks, but I enjoy the world enough that the Force Awakens trailer made me a little misty-eyed. I have my fingers and toes and lightsabers crossed that Abrams has made a good movie, one that does justice to what George Lucas accomplished and to what so many people love - the simple story of a boy and his dad, learning to find common ground.

Whose team are you on?
Team Luke Skywalker0%
Team Darth Vader0%

PREVIOUSLY Elvira Hancock might've told Tony Montana they were losers not winners but it turns out he's the only loser in this town - Michelle Pfeiffer pretty handily trounced Al Pacino in last weeks Scarface-off. Said The Pretentious Know It All:

"Admit you didn't vote for Elvira on this blog at your own peril."

Monday
May042015

David What?

Please join us in welcoming the fine actor David Dastmalchian, a busy actor we've been loving since we first spotted him in The Dark Knight (2008) and who you'll soon see this summer in both Ant-Man (2015) and Animals (2015). He's the first of our special guest blogging actors this summer!
- Editor. 

David Dastmalchian © Caleb Condit

Hi!  I’m thrilled to be guest blogging for Nathaniel this week.  I'll take over tomorrow for a day. I’ve been following the the site for a long time and was thrilled when he asked me to Guest Star in anticipation of the upcoming release of Animals (2015) on May 15th.  (Guest Starring is SO much better than Co-starring FYI)   

Let’s see – you may or may not recognize me from my roles in some pretty cool films, some TV shows, a few hamburger commercials… on stage???  I’ve definitely played my fair share of what some may describe as “bad guys” (my sister calls them “psychos”) though I prefer to think of them all as misunderstood innocents trapped in circumstances beyond their control.  

In Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight (2008)I was playing “Guard” and “Montano” in a production of ‘Othello’ at a wonderful regional theater in Chicago (Writer’s Theater) when I had a chance to audition for a bank-robbing clown in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight.  By a stroke of miraculous luck, I was cast as The Joker’s schizophrenic henchman, Thomas, and my journey as an actor changed – my dream of working in film began to materialize and I hit the road.  I was in NYC long enough to meet the love of my life and then moved to Los Angeles where I’ve lived since 2011. 

Tomorrow I’m gonna really open up and pour my soul all over these digital pages – or at least hopefully do fun posts and tell you more about Animals.

And most importantly – teach you how to properly pronounce my name.  David (Day-vid) Dastmalchian (Dast-mol-chin).  The phonetic trick for my last name is to imagine you’re saying “This small chin” but really fast.  Go ahead, try it…

On the set of Prisoners (2013) © Wilson Webb

Until tomorrow...