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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R

 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd


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Beauty vs. Beast

It's a tight race this week

Comment Fun

Julia vs. Anjelica vs Dianne vs. Brenda vs. Lena

"all i can remember of julia roberts in steel magnolias is her playing her diabetic meltdown like she was linda blair in the exorcist- Par

""Don't talk about me like I'm not here!" Don't worry Julia, I mostly have nice things to say...- Tom

"wish Wiest would come back to claim her stature as the Walter Brennan of Supporting Actress Oscar winners -- she's one shy of three." - /3rtful

who gets your vote?


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August. It's a Wrap

Some people -- strange and unusual people -- don't spend much time on the internet in the summer. If you're one of those peculiar people and you're just rejoining us for Fall Film Season... here are ten highlights from the month that was!

Actress a Day - I started a new sketch series but I didn't get very far. Certainly not to "daily!"
Cosmopolis, or the Absence of Feeling - Beau took on the challenging new Cronenberg 
Dog Day Afternoon - Hit Me With Your Best Season 3 Finale. My god what a movie. What a good time season 3 was. Thanks for rallying.
Total Recall - I had way more fun writing about this movie than watching it

Melanie Lynskey's DVD Collection - a window into the actress's movie passions
"Growing up Cinephile" - a formative movies memoir from writer/director Lesley Headland (Bachelorette)
Team Experience and the Sight & Sound Poll - reactions to the month's most discussed list 
Cast This: All Female Expendables? - would you want that movie? who would you cast? 

Most Eyeballs: Jodie Foster is Wrong. On the Mandatory Price of Fame
Most Discussed:  Anne vs Amy. Supporting Actress Battle to Come?


How to lure you back daily? Hmmmm. Your input is appreciated. Give us bait by which to hook you little fishy.

Apart from our extra special guest stars Melanie & Leslye, August was a slow month. But prestige film season is upon us and things will heat up as the air cools down. Expect: Q&A sessions (we must!), Emmy Award Hoopla (how should we cover it? I'm all ears), P.T. Anderson's return with The Master, James Bond countdown to Skyfall, Jake Gyllenhaal's return with End of Watch, Finding Nemo, Joseph vs. Bruce/Himself in Looper, Viola & Maggie & back to school with Won't Back Down, Jodie Foster, the return of Revenge and more... What are you looking forward to most in September?  Boss me around a little. It's time for me to bunker down and blog up as we approach awards season.


Oscar Updates: Rule Changes, Germany's Submission, Child Stars

Oscar, continually bewildering himself with rule changesRULE CHANGES & THE BIG SHOW
If you thought you heard paradoxical wild-mild applause at Oscar's new rule changes that was, uh, me. The Art Direction category will now be called Production Design which is all well and good since it's the Production Designer (aka the boss) that wins the prize, not the Art Director (who reports to him/her). The Best Original Song category finally gave up its horrifically unfair voting procedures where you could sabotage competitors rather than voting for them (yuck) by scoring them with low marks and now it'll be a simpler process with a standard five nominees and ranked nomination ballots like all the other categories. I'm going to pretend that this is The Film Experience's fault for our years of bitching about how screwed up that voting process was. Oh shush. It's possible we talked some sense into them... especially since every other site seems to have been asking them to just cancel the category already. I'd rather stick with history and keep the same categories, but treat them fairly. Too bad we can't use a time machine to get Cher her rightful performance time at the 2011 ceremony.

Meanwhile, I know you've heard that Craig Zadan and Neil Meron of Chicago and Hairspray fame will produce this year's ceremony. If they're true to their roots maybe they'll rescue the newly reformed Song category with big ass production numbers? Or maybe they'll hire Hugh Jackman to host again since they'll need a song & dance man to move the High Holy Night along. Yes, Jackman hosting might get awkward if Les Miz is in the (major) running but the Tonys do that all the time (nominees as hosts). Not that we approve...

Oh and while we're on the Oscar topic, I have finished updating the charts. Just in time to alter them again when film festival season [Venice, Telluride, TIFF and NYFF comin' atcha] give us more info on the competition to come.

BARBARA (2012). Germany's new Oscar submission

The drama Barbara, from director Christian Petzold of Yella fame, will represented Germany in the Foreign Film competition. Can the drama about a doctor in trouble with the government in East Germany become their 17th nominee? Their 16th nominee last year was the 3D dance documentary Pina. Barbara stars Petzold's regular muse, the award winning actress Nina Hoss.

Ewan holds his family in the poster for THE IMPOSSIBLECHILD STARS FOR LEAD OSCARS?
Meanwhile Kris Tapley at In Contention weighed in on the somewhat suddenly buzzy tsunami family survival drama The Impossible and Summit's plan for a lead actor campaign for its 11 year old boy star Tom Holland (who plays the child of Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts). With both Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) and Holland's camps planning lead campaigns, might it be time to reinstate the Juvenile Oscar?

Frankly, I don't much like it when children win acting prizes (I know Kris considers this objection "nonsense" but the world would be dull if we all agreed), for a variety of reasons. It's not because they aren't sometimes worthy but because they...

a) ...are usually fraudulently campaigned
b) ...often have an unfair advantage based on general cuteness (nothing wrong with voting with your heart so long as your head is allowed a word in edgewise)
c) ...accidentaly reveal Hollywood's ugly sexism since time and again the Academy has shown that they don't mind snubbing unOscared mature actresses for "thank heaven for little girls" moments but would never ever dream of giving an Oscar to a little boy when there are men who have paid their dues waiting -- don't believe me? Just look at how few little boys have won acting Oscars (i.e. never competitively) compared to little girls.
d) ...are unschooled in acting so it's hard to know how much of their performance we must credit to the director and how much they found on their own in the role.

I think the occassional juvenile Oscar for performances that are just too wonderful to ignore might be the way to go.

How are you feeling about the rule changes and the presence of child thespians in this year's race?


Melanie 'Must Be Going'... With A Playlist

Hello everyone! My little guest blogging stint has come to an end.

It has been really fun, and I want to thank Nathaniel from the bottom of my heart for entrusting me with his wonderful blog for a few posts.

"Hello, I Must Be Going" September 7th in theaters!

So, right now I am preparing for a movie that I'm shooting in October, and one of the things I always do to prepare is to create a playlist for my work. It's a collection of songs that will bring up specific feelings for me, or music I think the character would like, or songs that have an energy to them that feels right for the tone of the film. I usually find that while we're shooting, I will start to listen to one song from the playlist kind of obsessively, and that song will be my "theme song" for the movie. 

When I was shooting the strip club scene in Away We Go, I listened to the Band Of Horses song "No-One's Gonna Love You" so many times that it became the number one most played song on my ipod the next day. Doing The Informant! I only listened to music from the soundtracks to 80s movies. "Love Lift Us Up Where We Belong" became my song for that one.  I have also noticed that I kind of do that same thing in my life... my theme song for the summer has been Conor Oberst's "Lenders In The Temple". I just keep going back to it right now. And crying, because it's gorgeous, and heart wrenching. 

the strip scene in "Away We Go"

My favourite thing about this little guest hosting thing has been interacting with all you smart, funny, film lovers in the comments.

So for my last post I would love to hear any and all of your stories about theme songs! Perhaps your life has a theme song right now? Maybe you like to listen to music at work, like I do, to get you in a certain frame of mind? Maybe there is a movie that uses music in a way you have really loved? My two favourite directors soundtrack-wise are Sofia Coppola (I lost my mind when The Cure's "All Cats Are Grey" started playing in Marie Antoinette!!!) and Wes Anderson (Nico in The Royal Tenenbaums comes immediately to mind). Or, we can be negative too! Maybe there's a song you hate that is used all the time in movies? If you have a story, or even just a random thought, I want to hear it.  And ask away in the comments if you want to know what my song was for any particular movie. Thanks for reading everyone and thanks again Nathaniel!!!

Wishing you all good things.

xo, Melanie

[Editor's Note. Thank you again to fine actress Melanie Lynskey for these amazing peaks into her process (here's a playlist to accompany her post), behind the scenes, into her DVD collection, and especially those love letters to and from her favorite talents in the movie industry. Give her a huge round of applause -- she really went all out! -- and go see "Hello, I Must Be Going" on Friday, September 7th when it opens. It's her best performance yet and a too rare opportunity to see her carry a whole film.  -Nathaniel R]


Unmissables I Nearly Missed on Vacation

Nathaniel, here, returning to home base. I'm baaaa--aack. Did you miss me? I shan't take another day off until late October so I'm all yours again! But before we get started again, hugs and kisses and floral bouquets and firm handshakes to Leslye, Melanie, Beau, Jose, JA and Matt for filling in for the week.

The internet moves with such speed -- except while visiting relatives in internet challenged rural Utah -- that if you're gone for a week you can totally miss seismic events. Here are some webthingies I'm so so glad people alerted me to so that I didn't miss them in my spotty connectivity travels. I'm sharing them on the off chance you missed them. No one should have to!

Revenge came out on DVD! - a magical elf in PR made sure I received mine. Thanks you! The cover of the Season 1 box is Emily in her promotional thematic thorn dress but we all know the true magic of the best nighttime soap in decades and decades is Madeleine Stowe's icy glares... deadlier than any thorns have ever been! If you have any love for Stowe's early 90s heyday (Short Cuts, Mohicans, Blink - holla!) or the art of the prime time soap opera, you owe yourself this series. The first handful of episodes are a bit too procedural repetitive for me but once the gears catch... oh my diva, this is an addictive series. Madeleine Stowe for the Emmy! Damn. She wasn't even nominated. #unforgivable. 

Cooler Cinema on the Sight & Sound List - This handwringing discussion of critical failure online is yet another example that that S&S List is proving to have an unusual shelf life in terms of continually trending topics. While it reads a bit to me like too much complaining about the lack of "instant classics" on the list -- I'm personally glad that canon lists focus on the past as that's what canons are for, to give you a foundation of cultural literacy rather than pat you on the back for your pleasure in the world's current favorites -- there's much food for thought here.

AO Scott's Review of The Oogieloves and the Big Balloon Adventure - Speaking of instant classics -- this review! The punchline is The. Best.

Karen O's Best Original Song Contender "Strange Love" - If Tim Burton's animated expansion of his early short Frankenweenie is as weird/cute/fresh, he might really have something. As usual Rich Juzwiak says it best:

I don't know whether Karen has lost her edge or merely child-proofed it, but the song is pretty fucking adorable.

David Fincher: A Film Title Retrospective - his films always have great credit sequences, don't they? This interview and wonderful quote only add to their appeal.


I don’t know how much movies should entertain. I’m interested in movies that scar.

Finally... two things I forgot to write about that I had totally planned to before I left. 

I had the scoop on the Before Sunset sequel prior to anyone in the States and I stupidly forgot to post anything in my rush to pack and fly (Sorry Manolis!) so The Playlist got their first. Good on them. Word is Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke are already filming their third romantic duet and Before Midnight might be the title. I love that series so much. If it's as good as Before Sunset several cinephiles could well experience the rapture and vanish from the Earth.

Finally Finally there's one more week left in a peculiar challenge set by Lars von Trier who is asking young filmmakers to choose from one of six masterpieces


  • James Joyce's work Ulysses
  • August Strindberg's famous play The Father
  • The Zeppelinfield in Nuremberg, created by Hitler's main architect Albert Speer.
  • Paul Gaugin's painting Where do we come from? Who are we? Where are we going? 
  • French composer César Franck's improvisations. 
  • Sammy Davis Jr. (in general)

...and create a short film inspired by it but NOT too obviously/directly. A collaborative film will be built around the submissions by female director Jenle Hallund in a project they're calling Gesamt. Sounds interesting/weird/Five Obstructions Von Trier'ish. If you're all "why didn't you tell me this two weeks ago, Nathaniel ?!? I could have created a masterpiece" just think of yourself as a reality TV show contestant. They never give them any time to speak of and they manage. Create quickly by the seat of your pants. Create all the (possible) way into Danish film history.



My New Plaid Pants asked a very smart question of Vera Farmiga. What is her deal with playing mother to murderous children? She'll play Norma Bates for a Psycho prequel tv series.
Playbill Megan Hilty continues her Marilynization with the cast recording of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes "Little Girl from Little Rock" ...♥ Hilty!
Advocate Evan Rachel Wood considering the lead in a girl truck driver drama. Although honestly, I can't imagine what a cross between Smokey & The Bandit and Thelma & Louise, as its described, would possibly be like... tonally speaking.

Movie|Line god bless Ryan Gosling. Hollywood was slow to hand Christina Hendricks the leading roles she deserves but her Drive leading man is now providing one. The film, his directorial debut, is a noir called How To Catch a Monster. Now that that problem has been resolved... can someone hand her the Emmy she also deserves?!
Stale Popcorn reacts to the news that his beloved Jamie Bell will appear in Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac

i09 on the desperation Warner Bros / DC must be feeling having let Joss Whedon get away (via their Wonder Woman squashing). Now what to do with The Justice League movie? What to do. Meanwhile...
Vulture Joss Whedon is beginning work on S.H.I.E.L.D. your weekly televised dose of the Marvel Universe and is married to Marvel indefinitely on multiple projects
CHUD apparently Rachel Weisz has been cut out of Terence Malick's To the Wonder entirely. Oh Malick. You're so unpredictable and predictable simultaneously. 
Empire Online Charlize Theron may star in a Marie Colvin biopic. Maybe she wants a second Oscar? Biopics are the way to go. 
Vulture Matt Zoller Seitz on Louie's brilliance

Advocate Barbra Streisand's next album -- just one month away -- is a collection of unreleased material, including "I Think It's Going To Rain Today". That's such a great song but I can't live without Bette's version from Beaches so nothing else will measure up! Do you think this winter holds a major Babs revival what with this CD in the fall and The Guilt Trip coming to movie theaters for Christmas?
Broadway Blog uncovers an old performance duet between Liza Minnelli and Mikhail Baryshnikov. Tom @ The Broadway Blog finds so many wonderful thing.
Interiors on the great Lost in Translation (2003)

Sofia Coppola creates an impossible scenario using the space of the hotel room; she brings two married people, puts them in bed together, and somehow makes their entire encounter feel innocent.

That film sure is aging well, right?