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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 | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 

 

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Which screenplays are most quotable?

"Inside out FTW. 'I loved you in Fairy Dream Adventure Part 7. Okay bye. I love you!'" - Teppo

"My number one that I now say whenever the occasion is delivered by Carol: 'It will get ugly. And we are not ugly people...'"- Jones

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Entries in 10|25|50|75|100 (169)

Friday
Jan292016

Retro Sundance: 2006's Quinceañera

Dancin' Dan continues our classic Sundance celebration with a tenth anniversary of a film that should really have a bigger fan base.

Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland's Quinceañera is one of those films that is inextricable from the story of how it was made: The two moved to the Echo Park area of Los Angeles, a primarily working-class Latino neighborhood that was rapidly gentrifying. After being invited to their neighbor's fifteenth birthday party - a Latin American right of passage known as a quinceañera - they were amazed by the elaborate ceremony and thought it would make a great setting for a film. Later, when thinking about making a drama partially based on their experience as a white gay couple in a gentrifying neighborhood, the idea resurfaced. And the rest, as they say, is history: Quinceañera won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for dramatic feature.

Both of those awards make total sense after watching the film, which is a low-key crowd-pleaser that isn't afraid to tackle some big, complex issues head-on. Thankfully, the film isn't primarily about the white couple moving into the under-privileged area, but rather about Magdalena, a pregnant virgin, and her cousin Carlos, who is gay. Both have been thrown out of their homes for the seeming sins of their lives, and move in with their uncle (or tio) Tomas. The building where Tomas lives has recently been bought by a white gay couple, James and Gary, who move in and waste little time in starting up a ménage à trois with Carlos.

These three separate story threads - Magdalena's, Carlos's, and James & Gary's - combine to make Quinceañera not so much a coming-of-age story, but a coming-of-home story, looking at what makes us feel a sense of belonging both in life and in a specific place. And it's the film's sense of place that really makes the film resonate. The whole thing feels authentic, between the location shooting, the mostly non-professional (though quite talented) performers, and the cozy-looking living places. Everything has a lived-in feel that is more rare than it should be in films, and Glatzer and Westmoreland (who gave us Julianne Moore's Oscar-winning performance in Still Alice, just before Glatzer passed away) keep what little quirk there is grounded enough that it never grates.

This is a small film with a lot on its mind, and it stays true to its modest roots all the way through. It's a Feel-Good Movie that you really can feel good about.

Happy 10th Birthday, Quinceanera! Remind us to throw you a huge party in five years. You'll surely be just as wonderful as when you first premiered.

Thursday
Dec312015

To Gong Li on Her 50th Birthday

One of the screen's all time great beauties turns 50 today and she's still completely ravishing. Gong Li holds the fascinating distinction of being the only Chinese cinema star that Oscar has ever been consistently interested in. Despite Oscar's historic (and frankly bizarre) resistance to Asian cinema, even in the foreign film categories, an incredible six films from her resume have been nominated for Oscars.

Alas she has not been nominated herself, though she was "in the conversation" as it were on two separate occassions.  A Gong Li beauty break and those six of her most famous films after the jump... 

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Saturday
Dec262015

Team Experience: The Best of 'Doctor Zhivago' (1965)

With Star Wars: The Force Awakens breaking box office records daily we thought we'd look back at another colossal hit, which is celebrating its 50th birthday this week. Though it places in the the ten all-time biggest movie blockbusters, David Lean's adaptation of the best seller Doctor Zhivago is oddly among the least celebrated/remembered of those record-shattering successes. But it wasn't always so. Drop it right between 1939's Gone With the Wind and 1997's Titanic and you have the complete trilogy box set of 3 hour plus epic doomed romances that movie audiences obsessed over and obsessed over and obsessed over. (Binge screen them all now and you'll be done in about 11 hours!) 

Though Omar Sharif (who plays the title character Yuri Zhivago) recently passed away, the other three members of Zhivago's political/romantic quartet are still very much with us: Julie Christie is, of course, one of the all time greats and though she's resistant to working much since her last triumph in Away From Her (2007), Lara is just one of many standouts in her great filmography; Oscar nominated Tom Courtenay co-stars as Pasha, Lara's idealogue husband (and you can and should see Courtenay in theaters now as Charlotte Rampling's confused husband in 45 Years); and Geraldine Chaplin (who did fine work recently in the Dominican Republic Oscar submission Sand Dollars) completes the romantic quartet as Zhivago's wife Tonya.  

For the 50th Anniversary, four members of Team Experience agreed to share their favorite scenes after the jump...

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Tuesday
Dec152015

Happy 25th "Mermaids" 

Rachel Flax would never approve of anniversary postings.. But Rachel Flax, portrayed by Cher at the tail end or her weirdly brief A-list actress run, didn't always know what was best so celebrate we shall after the jump...

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Thursday
Dec102015

Team Experience: The Best of Brokeback Mountain

Ten years ago Brokeback Mountain arrived with truly bracing power.

10 years later Brokeback Mountain has lost none of its power

It was the rarest of things: an honest to god "instant classic". The phrase is overused but once in a while hyperbole proves true. The Oscars were stingy with it (just three prizes) but ten years on the film is as sturdy and majestically irreducible as the mountains that haunt the protagonists. When you're watching it you're breathing rarified air - not from the high altitudes of Wyoming but further on up, think cinematic heaven. The invaluable Ang Lee won his first Best Director Oscar for the film and it's easy to see why given the sensitivity of the performances (early career peaks from four promising ascendant stars), the classicism of the filmmaking, and his unshakeable hand as he sutures the neo western to the romantic tragedy with the thread of American masculinity.

I asked our contributors if they had a favorite scene they'd like to share with us and here were their responses.

FAVORITE SCENES IN BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN

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