WEIRDLAND: August 2006

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Story about a Hollywood passion

"They were the cutest and most laid back couple in Hollywood.
All bets were on that this famous pairing would last the distance." (Cosmopolitan, Sept. 2004)

From Veronica to Justine

I've been a "Nony" passionate during enough time to miss some kinda 90's movies that these days are not very frequent in the HW mainstream canons. For me, Winona's most relevant roles have been Veronica in "Heathers" (89) and Kim in "Edward Scissorhands" (90).

Donnie and Veronica

Extracted from an article of "The Independent":
"There is something subversive, quite un-American, in the way the film portrays adults – parents, teachers, counsellors – prioritising conformity, fearing any spark of individual thought, shepherding their charges into the path of least resistance. This is not a movie which celebrates images of authority. 'I'm very proud to be an American,' counters Kelly. 'I believe that part of being patriotic is the ability to be critical of your country. I think it is an outrage that we are so dysfunctional and it is a shame that, especially after 9/11, we can't wake up to that. To change things requires honesty – you have to look at yourself carefully in the mirror. The film definitely comes out of an anger and a disappointment and a wish for America to be a better place. And I think what we need is more art, more films, more literature to inspire debate on how to fix things and make it that better place'.

[...]'It is a feast of ideas and information' agrees Kelly, completely without guile. 'The story was conceived from a stream of consciousness, yet there was an inherent logic to it. There were rules of the game, there was a language. I did the Annie Wilkes test.' I frown and he fills me in: 'Kathy Bates's character in Misery who is furious at the way the Saturday morning serials cheated. How they would end with a car exploding off the side of the cliff and the next week begin with the hero managing to jump out just before it bursts into flames.' He demonstrates Annie's outrage loudly: '"He didn't get out of the cock-a-doodie car!"[...]

Donnie's Classmates: Cinema's messed-up teenagers
by Nick Hasted

1) Rebel Without a Cause (1955) A boy from a "good" home who almost goes bad, Dean brought the delinquency of the previous year's inner city school expose The Blackboard Jungle into the heart of the post-war suburban dream. His self-destructive extra-curricular activities, from knife-fights to chicken runs, shook parents. But it was Dean's squinting, inarticulately yearning performance – a callow copy of Marlon Brando – that defined adolescence's hormonal helplessness.

2) If... (1968) McDowell's Mick Travis ended the best years of his life by taking to the roof of his repressive English public school with a Bren gun, and mowing down the staff and prefects. Previous evidence of maladjustment included swigging vodka and having sex with a girl. The articulately anti-authoritarian opposite of Dean, Travis caught the mood of May 1968's teen revolutionaries.

3) Carrie (1976) High School Gothic, as Sissy Spacek's Carrie White endures the puberty from hell. After her first, unrecognised period leaves her bleeding and tearful in the school shower, a psychotically Bible-bashing Mum and bitchily bullying classmates doom her tentative attempts at teen acceptance. True to Stephen King's novel, Carrie's miserable hormonal pressure-cooker eventually blasts her Prom Night to smithereens, as telekinetic powers splatter the assembly hall with her enemies' entrails. Just the sort of apocalypse every 14-year-old wants after a bad day at the gym.

4) Over the Edge (1979) In the middle-class town of New Granada, everything's safe and secure for the commuting adults. But for their kids, sex and drugs at the recreation centre is their only fun. And its threatened closure leads to nihilistic revolt. Dillon's beautiful young Richie is Dean for a disaffected, post-Watergate America, doomed by a need "to be left alone", and shot dead as he makes a run for freedom, waving a bulletless gun.

5) Heathers (1988) The heroes here are victims of teen movie myths. Slater's JD (the D is for Dean) is the cool maverick who seduces Ryder from the side of her fellow Heathers, a hierarchy-enforcing clique of überbitches. Rebelling in a society that now expects him to, JD's serial-killing spree, disguised as a teen suicide epidemic, delights TV news crews. Ryder, finally tiring of "cool guys like you", shoots the boy, and goes to the prom with the disabled girl. But, last seen battered, bloody and lighting a fag, she's a cool school rebel, too."

Veronica Sawyer (from "Heathers"): "Heather told me she teaches people real life. She said Real Life sucks Losers dry. If you want to fuck with the eagles, you have to learn to fly".

Whimsical resemblances

A rabbit near him



"In a funny, moving and distinctly mind-bending journey through suburban America, one extraordinary but disenchanted teenager is about to take Time's Arrow for a ride.

October 2nd, 1988: just another ordinary day in Donnie Darko's teen-aged existence. He's taken his medication, watched Dukakis and Bush debate, and had dinner with the family. Then an outrageous accident occurs, which just misses claiming Donnie's life. As Donnie begins to explore what it means to still be alive, and in short order to be in love, he uncovers secrets of the universe that give him a tempting power to alter time and destiny. [...]

The question became: what is Donnie Darko? Is it a look back at the underbelly of the Ferris Bueller and Back to the Future era? Or is it a wild journey into multiple realities and multiple outcomes? Is it the story of an increasingly cynical, hypocritical society on a crash-course with apocalypse? Or is it a fairytale about a teen hero who changes the world around him? Is this the cosmic death knell of the Reagan Era, or a portrait of a troubled community redeemed by the hand of God?

The surprising answer is that Donnie Darko is all of these -a deep inquiry into the recent past and the possibilities for the future all wrapped up in the story of a teenager unlike any you've met before. Writer/director Richard Kelly purposefully wanted Donnie Darko to be vast enough to mean different things to different people. But he offers this guidance for the mind-blowing ride ahead:

"Maybe it's the story of Holden Caulfield, resurrected in 1988 by the spirit of Phillip K. Dick, who was always spinning yarns about schizophrenia and drug abuse breaking the barriers of space and time. Or it's a black comedy foreshadowing the impact of the 1988 presidential election, which is really the best way to explain it. But first and foremost, I wanted the film to be a piece of social satire that needs to be experienced and digested several times."

* * *
James Duvall, who plays the mysterious apparition Frank. "Frank is really Donnie Darko's guide," explains Duvall, "the one who helps him find his fate and his destiny. He might be an alter ego, or another person, or a hallucination, but that's really up to people to decide for themselves."

The Daily Cavalier article

"On Oct. 2, 1988, 16-year-old Donnie Darko hears from an evil bunnyman named Frank that the world will end in approximately 28 days. The same night, a 747 jet engine plunges from the sky into Donnie's Middlesex, Va., bedroom, where he would be crushed to death were he not busy sleepwalking through a nearby golf course. Meanwhile, the Dukakis-Bush race heats up, and "Back to the Future" has turned time travel into something feasible.

Pay close attention. You might miss something.

From 26-year-old Virginia native Richard Kelly comes an ambitious and highly imaginative directorial debut. "Donnie Darko" is the story of an emotionally troubled teenager who gets progressively more unsound and destructive as the movie goes on. But its psychological thrills comprise only one of the various elements of "Donnie Darko" - it's got suburban farce, sci-fi futurama, black comedy and coming-of-age dramedy carefully knit into it too.

"Donnie Darko" was released in October of last year and has since gone on to win several esteemed nominations and awards, including a Grand Jury Prize nomination at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival. Although the film takes place in Virginia and was written and directed by a Virginian, it has never been actually screened in Virginia ... until today!

Thanks to the efforts of the Virginia Festival Film Society, the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University's OFFScreen, "Donnie Darko" will be shown at 7 p.m. this evening at Vinegar Hill Theatre. As a special treat, Kelly will be in attendance to discuss his film after the screening.

A graduate of Midlothian High School, Kelly grew up in Richmond's southside suburbs in the late '80s. Those of us from that area will recognize in "Donnie Darko" the all-too-familiar characters of high school in central Virginia - the hickish bullies, the small-minded Southern Baptist gym teacher and the disturbingly conservative PTA. Poor Donnie. No wonder he needs therapy.

Played by promising young actor Jake Gyllenhaal ("Goodbye Hello," "October Sky"), Donnie is a sharp, perceptive 16-year-old with a penchant for profanity and somnambulant migrations. He is messed up in the head, but only as messed up as everyone else is in this claustrophobic suburban nightmare.

The film gets weird fast and quickly gets weirder and weirder as Donnie becomes more entrenched in paranoia and delusory visions. But nothing is as it seems, and even the most insignificant of details are worthy of a closer look as the stupefying climax approaches. [...]

Kelly wrote "Donnie Darko" in six weeks, after graduating from the University of Southern California Film School. Although he had few contacts in Hollywood at the time, Kelly had great material and incredible luck. In Drew Barrymore he found an enthusiastic producer for his debut film, as well as a competent actress who could give star power to the vehicle." [...]

complete article here

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Decisive Aura of Maggie

"Secretary" by Steven Shainberg, is one of those films I can't live without. I am sure that the wedding dress model she'll choose for her desponsory with Peter will fit her like a glove, but this time Peter maybe serves her some tiramisu spoonfuls instead of the milkshake. Lee Holloway is my heroine.


Maggie Gyllenhaal (Sherry Swanson) and director Laurie Collyer at Premiere of "Sherrybaby" 29th August, IFC Center, N.Y. -More information here and here, and the last photoshoot in Marie Claire September 2006. Do you notice a vague resemblance to Claudette Colbert, specially the 30/40's retro hairdo?

Last survey I took

I'm reposting the answers to the Film Narrative blog film survey:

1) What film made you angry, either while watching it or in thinking about it afterward?
“Crash“, while watching and hours afterwards, right now typing this.
2) One of your favorite movie lines:
“ Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff” -by Harvey Pekar
3) Describe a perfect moment in a movie: the telephone scene between George Bailey & Mary.
4) Most exotic or otherwise unusual place in which you ever saw a movie:
In my brother’s bedroom, it’s a total inusual exotic place.
5) Is it possible to know with any certainty if you could like or love someone based partially on his or her taste in movies? If so, what film might be a potential relationship deal-breaker for you, or the one that might just seal that deal?
Deal-breaker: Rambo movies fan (any of the saga), seal the deal if he loves “Detour”.
6) The scene you most wish you could have witnessed being filmed: the dance scene in the bar of “Moonlight Mile”.
7) Ideal pairing of actors/actresses to play on-screen siblings (or parents and children):
Gena Rowlands and Laura Linney.
8) Your favorite movie poster/one-sheet, or the one you’d most like to own: I own a one-sheet of “Secretary”.
9) With total disregard for whether it would ever actually be considered, even in this age of movie recycling, what film exists that you feel might actually warrant a sequel, or would produce a sequel you’d actually be interested in seeing? I’d like to see a sequel to “Fallen Angels” (Kar Wai Wong)
10) Your favorite political movie: “Arlington Road”
11) Favorite special effects moment: “Matrix”, when Neo is deprogrammed.
12) What is the movie you’ve encouraged more people to see than any other? Possibly “Donnie Darko”
13) Your favorite movie theater: Oscar Cinemas Les Gavarres
14) Your favorite film made for children:
"The nightmare before christmas"
15) Your favorite character name: Betty Etamble
16) Your favorite film of 1970s, -80s, -90s: “Taxi driver“, “Videodrome“, “Fight club”
17) Your favorite movie based on a book you've read: “A clockwork orange”
18) Your favorite book you'd like to see as a movie and who should direct and star:
“The killer inside me” (Jim thompson) translated to screen by Darren Aronofsky, starring Peter Sarsgaard.
19) Describe a moment in a movie that made you weep: when Holden commits suicide in “The Good Girl”
20) Describe a transcendent moment in a film (a moment when you realized a film that just seemed routine or merely interesting before had become something much more):
When Leonard in “Memento” talks about his dead wife to Natalie, and flashs of her are shown in slow-motion.

Potential Ladies' Man

And I still haven't looked through the Jake and Kendra gallery, folks.