To mark this historic occassion at 11:11 am of 11/11/11 and to continue procrastinating review writing (ugh writer's block) 11 lists of 11 things. Just because. Comment party: Please state your favorite 11 things of today in the comments!
11 Favorite Movies of the Year That Have Already Come Out On DVD (no particular order).
Beginners, Poetry, Heartbeats (Les Amours Imaginaires), Bridesmaids, Jane Eyre, Rango, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, The Tree of Life, Captain America: The First Avenger, ...and is Certified Copy on DVD yet? I mean other than in the UK?
11 Favorite Colours
Purple, Silver, Turquoise, Green, Almodóvar Red, Blue, Black, Burgundy, White, Platinum Blonde, and any color by Krzysztof Kieslowski
11 Prettiest Male Movie Stars of All Time (no particular order off top of head)
Gene Kelly, Jude Law, Keanu Reeves, Paul Newman, Montgomery Clift, Brad Pitt, Alain Deloin, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Gary Cooper, Warren Beatty, Oh and Marlon Brando for a teeny tiny window of time.
11 Young Actresses I'm Currently Most Excited About (off the top of my head: NON-BINDING!)
Emma Stone, Anne Hathaway, Carey Mulligan, Elizabeth Olsen, Kim Ok-Bin, Saoirse Ronan, Ellen Page, Jurnee Smollet, Mia Wasikowska, and Dakota & Elle. THIS LIST IS NON-BINDING. I'm sure I forgot someone truly amazing.
11 Favorite Edibles
Coffee, Cheese, Ice Cream, Pizza, Pad Thai, Flavored Vodka, sun dried tomatoes, sushi, enchiladas, cake, and a tall glass of water
11 Books That Are Closest To Me As I Type
"Made to Stick", "Inside Oscar", "What You See in the Dark", "Three Stooges FAQ" (what the hell?), "Hollywood Madonna: Loretta Young", "The Age of Movies: Selected Writings of Pauline Kael" "Anonymous William Shakespeare", "Swanson", "Eyewear: A Visual History", "Steve McQueen", and "Monsters in the Movies" (by John Landis... more on this one soon)
11 Things I Have Done This Morning That I Already Regret
not writing a review, typing up all these lists.... and running out of time to actually finish them. I only finished 7 of them. I ruined the 11 mania.
Once upon a time there lived a blogger named Nathaniel R who feared all fairy tale reinventions after the gaudiest of poison apples that was Eyesore in Wonderland left him for dead, comatose. But then on the magical day of November the 10th, this trailer for Snow White & The Huntsmen arrived and woke him with something like true love's kiss.
Or is it another trap? Is this another gaudy brain-dead horror malevolently enchanted with a Prince Charming disguise? Dare Nathaniel dream of a happy ending?
- It's never a bad idea to remind us of Madonna's "Frozen" (♥) and that raven form explosion did the trick for an opening and closing gambit.
- Though the title name checks only Snow White (Kristen Stewart) and The Huntsmen (Chris Hemsworth), the trailer promises that this is totally The Evil Queen Show. And we can live with that since Charlize Theron is delicious.
- "Beauty is my power" ...that creepy yet restrained image of the queen bathed in milk (?) rather than something more cliché like a pool of blood after her opening kill... is so "pop" (think Annie Leibovitz photoshoots) but also has a mysteriously disturbing simplicity. Is the whole movie going to be this visually smart?
- My god this movie looks so beautiful. Let's see... [IMDb check] ZOMG, it's Greig Fraser on DP duty. No wonder. Remember what he did for Bright Star? He's our new favorite. And... oh... Colleen Atwood on costumes? Really? They look amazing but atypically less than alarmingly busy and fussed over (thank god) than what she concocts lately for Tim Burton.
- Did we mention that we love Charlize Theron?
- Did we mention that we love Charlize best when she embraces her inner outer beauty? When she does she's monstrously good.
No & Maybe So AFTER THE JUMP...
Strike while the iron is... short-circuiting? The Brett Ratner (producer) / Eddie Murphy (host) Oscar telecast resignations have been the talk of the town... make that both towns and February's Oscar night was starting to seem like an impending disaster.
Despite a fun-to-think-about Muppets Oscar campaign*, many AMPAS voters and Oscar fans will get their wish and see the return of Billy Crystal. He's had the gig eight times in the past (1990-1993, 1997-1998, 2000 and 2004) but apparently eight is not enough. Billy is a good host but we just hope this doesn't mean yet more changes to the show. The last time Billy Crystal spoke about hosting he said he'd return only if they made certain (unspecified) changes to the broadcast. (Sigh) The Oscar ceremony is not broke. It just always thinks itself to be. It's like a beautiful girl who looks in the mirror and only sees her flaws. The only "fixing" the ceremony needs is some good old fashioned self-esteem.
* I was just about to say that we'll still see Muppets on Oscar night, never fear -- I mean they've done the show several times before -- when I saw this tweet.
So now I don't need to. Perhaps this is the best of both worlds!
Robert here with my series Distant Relatives, which explores the connections between one classic and one contemporary film. This week a request from Ryan M. Feel free to make your own requests in the comments.
Tell me how you remember it
Last year I compared Citizen Kane and There Will Be Blood as two films about the consequences of achieving the American Dream. Later I compared The Social Network with Raging Bull as two character studies of antisocial overachievers. But all four of these films belong to a sizable sub-genre, the drama about a man who gets everything he wants and nothing he needs. Of the four, the two that go together most closely are Citizen Kane and The Social Network. Citizen Kane, written, directed by and starring Orson Welles as Charles Foster Kane, a newspaper magnate (and fictionalized version of William Randolph Hearst) follows the life of this giant, his friends, his marriages, his successes and failures, his ascension and fall. The Social Network stars Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg (a fictionalized version of Mark Zuckerberg) as he too rises to great heights and how this affects his friendships, relationships and life.
The natural comparisons are obvious. Both are films about men who set out to do something great, accomplish it, and lose something even greater in the process. They're films about how lonely it is at the top. But, with many films in this mold, the devil is in the details. Structurally the two are centrally related. Neither of them has a single narrator, nor do they have necessarily reliable narrators. Both are told in flashback in mostly but not always chronological order. Both stories are told by individuals attempting to answer a question after the fact. In Citizen Kane the question is the meaning of Kane's last words "rosebud" for a news story. In The Social Network, the question is Zuckerberg's intent to steal the idea of Facebook and force out his partner for the sake of a lawsuit. Now we come to our first juxtaposition of the good old days against the new. But it hardly matters. The point is the device which gives a sense of immediacy and relevance to things already past.
Love and Money
Both of these films are certainly about immediacy. These two men make their living not through oil or sport or some old established profession but through media, new media. They influence the world they control and control the world they influence. In their work they shape public opinion, yet ultimately they cannot find a way to shape it in thier favor. There's an irony to the fact that their talents have won them extensive influence, but that extensive influence cannot convince anyone to love them. And love, and acceptance are what these two men are truly after. Kane's friend Jed Leland says as much, that what he really wanted was to be loved. Zuckerberg too demonstrates his desires through his continual search for approval from Erica, the girl who got away. And perhaps it's just a slight bit of spite toward the Winklevoss twins, members of the crew team, the epitome of Erica's "type' in a mere throwaway comment, that motivates Zuckerberg to be the jerk that he becomes. Much in the same way Kane's initial pure intentions are tainted every so obviously by the way the newspaper business allows him to expose and punish his foster father.
Yet we've barely scratched the surface of these two films. Within these worlds there are also smaller tales of ego-driven misogyny, domination over and objectification of women, of friendships terminated with a termination, of defiance in the arms of authority, of paths never taken. That last one may be a key too. To many, the most memorable moment in Citizen Kane doesn't involve its star at all. It comes in a brief monologue by Everitt Sloane's Mr. Berenstein who speaks of a pretty girl with a parasol he saw once and has never forgotten. These are films about memories, the remembered lives of men who build empires to compensate for the shadows of their pasts. And those pasts are forged by regret of actions not taken or actions not possible (like Mr. Berenstein's lost girl), and the desire to rise above them, take control of a life and become a giant. Citizen Kane and The Social Network are films about men who are giants who can't escape the small truths of their lifes.
Other Cinematic Relatives: Giant (1956), The Godfather part II (1974), The Aviator (2004), There Will Be Blood (2007),