media list - october 2023
[2023/10/07] STOP MAKING SENSE
this is a couple of firsts for me: first concert movie i've seen in full, first movie i've seen in the city i've newly moved to, and probably the first movie where i've seen someone's passion for music so beautifully demonstrated through a non-stop electrifying high-energy performance the likes of which i've never seen. i also really loved it! i'm somewhat new to talking heads but you can read more about my experience with the band over at this article!
and then on the SAME DAY as stop making sense i went to see this movie at another theater under the same chain. it released way earlier this year in other regions, but i guess the uk release only happened this month, so i got to see it in all its theateriness.
what got me interested in watching this movie, aside from the legitimately interesting subject matter, is the fact matt johnson directed (and stars in) it. he's the guy with the sweatband. i already knew about this guy through NIRVANNA: THE BAND: THE SHOW, specifically their infectiously catchy wii shop wednesday skit. so it's very surreal, and very cool, to see that one of those two guys made a biopic about the rise and fall of the blackberry phone company.
this movie comes as a haunting parallel to the more optimistic and success-story-ish biopics of this year (TETRIS comes to mind, that movie stank comparitively). anyone who remembers blackberry phones remember how they were annihilated and wiped off the face of the earth when the iphone and other smartphones began dominating the market, so this film has that constant sense of unease and dread about what could possibly have gone so catastrophically bad behind the scenes. however true it may be, it tells a story of one guy's meticulous passion for designing tech and Doing It Right, which ironically becomes his downfall. it's a daedalus-icarus situation, flying too close to the sun etc etc and it's really fascinating to just watch play out over the years it depicts, particularly as someone born just early enough to be conscious for the iphone's pivotal release and who witnessed blackberry's demise in real-time.
i'm telling you, if you're gonna watch a biopic, watch this one.
[2023/10/09] THE ROOM
alright so this is a weird one.
a couple days after the other two movies i saw, the same theater chain was hosting a one-night-only screening of THE ROOM for its 20th anniversary. and it's like, wow, ok, i know of this movie's impact but never saw it before - this would be a great opportunity to watch it for the first time AND get a unique experience all in one! thing is, GREG SESTERO was also gonna be there. like, one of the stars of this cult-classic tragic movie, who wrote the book that got adapted into a weird buddy comedy biopic about its production, was gonna be there in person. i don't wanna gush too much over it because it's not like the Biggest Deal Ever but it's definitely a surreal experience to go watch a movie and while you wait for it you get a bluray signed by one of the guys in that movie. kinda thing that's never happened to me before, and certainly a strong way to experience THE ROOM for the first time.
it's also really strange to have never seen this thing before, having a passing knowledge of some memetic scenes and lines but not really knowing so much about it, when you're in an audience full of people who are there as established fans ecstatic to see this iconic Beast of a film and one of its stars on stage, who know all the funny scenes and quote the funny lines out loud. before the movie started the staff handed out spoons to us in the crowd, and then during the movie people started throwing them at the screen. it took me until about halfway in to realize why they were even doing that, and then it became pretty funny. but it's still strange! i've never been in such a rowdy, passionate audience, especially for something i'm a newcomer to, but i won't complain. it was a lot of fun, and people obviously had a great time, and it made THE ROOM a lot less boring when basically every scene got some sort of laugh for one reason or another.
THE ROOM is astronomically terribly produced, it's an enigma how a final cut was even produced, and it's a hell of a lot of fun seeing it for the first time and spotting so many errors and issues that any "normal" film wouldn't include. it's a testament to the difficulty and struggles of organising and producing such a massive project, simply for how much it obviously gets wrong, and i sorta love it entirely for that. i imagine any film student would and probably should watch this just to understand how much Can go wrong when the director is a real-life vampire.
[2023/10/15] TRUE STORIES
there's still a hell of a lot i could say about this movie, but the main article i wrote about it is over here. still, i wanna recommend this movie to anyone passively reading. it packs so much into one film, appealing to the confused neurodivergent folks of the world (like me!) while utilizing some super good cinematography and an incredible soundtrack from literally talking heads.
[2023/10/28] ONLY YESTERDAY
i watched this movie for the first time in 2020 and didn't get it At All. now i've returned to it and it's perhaps one of the most relatable i've ever watched.
ONLY YESTERDAY shows a city livin' office lady reconnecting with the countryside as she reflects on her own messy imperfect childhood. what i mainly connected with was the representation of a childhood that really wasn't great, and sorta sucked, and i think it's suggested that it's due to the protagonist being autistic?!?? there's a scene about 2/3 into the movie where she (as a kid) is struggling with math homework and totally doesn't understand it. her sister tries helping and says it's RIDICULOUSLY easy like she should TOTALLY know it, but even when she visualizes the topic it makes no sense to her.
and, like, i relate to this a heavy amount. i was never very good at math in school, and got especially confused by stuff like multiplying and dividing fractions, so seeing this character have the same experience of finding it useless and confusing and unnecessary really felt like i was being pointed at directly. like, "yes YOU this is YOUR movie this is how it was for YOU". other moments like the pineapple scene, where this girl's super excited to try something new for the first time but when she and her family have it, and there's this awkward tenseness and everyone's let down by this pineapple except her, pretty heavily felt catered toward me and my own memories. there's some difficult emotions in there!
overall i love the movie and its sincerity regarding this subject. as it's a ghibli film, all its artwork and animation and music are top-notch. i especially love the background art in the scene where the main character arrives from her train and gets picked up in a car at like 4am. the whole sequence is jaw dropping and i love the movie for that alone.
[2023/10/XX] FLATMATE VARIETY PACK
alright so i recently moved for university, which also means i now live in a student dorm and i've got flatmates. recently we got a HDMI cable for the communal flat kitchen TV, so folks are able to hook up their laptops and use streaming sites or plug in a DVD player. what this means is that i've been watching a Whole Lot of movies and TV shows with them, varying between mediocre to pretty good to hilariously bad. i can't go over ALL of what we've watched but i can sum it up a little:
PITCH PERFECT: very campy cheesy comedy that i maybe wouldn't have ever watched without other people getting me to watch it. i liked it!!
SCARY MOVIE 2: this is absolutely a relic of its time and i respect the craft but uh wow this is another one i'd only watch With people to laugh at how sorta janky and 2000s-y it is
AIRPLANE: okay this one's pretty good, i can imagine its comedy hit harder when it initially released but it's a comedy classic and it's very easy to see why!!
ROBERT THE DOLL: we watched the first one on a whim because it was on netflix and looked stupid, and that first one was really boring, but four movies in it's become a whole world war 2 nazi germany saga and it's kind of fucking incredible. for how lame it is. you'd think the story goes completely unhinged with its sudden dip into WW2 shit but it still somehow manages to be ridiculously dull and slow? even on 1.5x speed every scene in every movie is a drag and constantly trying to fill time. these movies are maybe up there with THE ROOM, but at least THE ROOM has more intrigue.
AMERICAN PSYCHO: i'd only seen this once before and never realised until this rewatch how funny it is. like, there's so much comedy and it's not even because of internet memes this is just a really well-made dark comedy about stupendous masculinity and its morbid effects on weird wall street guys. i do hate what redditor dudeguy weirdos have done with this movie though, guys should never be allowed to watch this movie i don't think
THE SHINING: it's the fucking shining dude. we technically watched this on november 1st but it was a delayed halloween thing so i'm still including it!! real good movie if you wanna feel weird and unnerved, it's an absolute juggernaut of atmosphere and tension and it's sorta perfect for halloween even if it's all psychological horror instead of spooky skeletons and whatnot.
[2023/10/XX] THE SIMPSONS TREEHOUSE OF HORROR I-IX
so my flatmates also got simpsons DVDs and we watched a handful of episodes so it got me in the mood to watch all the halloween specials. not all of them though! i'm not crazy!
while it would have been easy to watch Just the golden age era specials, i wanted to go ahead a little and watch up to the 19th special. my reasoning for this is literally just because i remember watching it as a kid, it was torrented on a hard drive me and my sister would use to watch stuff on the home PC alongside some other episodes from the same season. i believe they were all season 20 episodes, the most recent at the time i saw them as a little babykid in 2009, so they're REALLY mediocre including this treehouse of horror episode. but i'm nostalgic for it! that's spooky right!
these were overall a lot of fun to go through, it was a nice way to see the evolution of the show through its first 20 years and how the humor sort of falters in the 2000s. i wouldn't say it gets offensively bad, but it's clear to see the mild decline in quality. the only reason i didn't continue past season 20 is because, from what i remember, it got REALLY bad when they started doing HD 16:9 episodes. according to a recent super eyepatch wolf video, the show has regained some amount of writing strength in its most recent seasons and is now "good" again, but i think the overall message was that the simpsons episodes we find "good" are just the ones we like more. apparently there's some good stuff tucked away in a sea of Just Okay television, but for me the simpsons really is the kind of show i just remember watching occasionally as a kid and remembering chunks of.
that said, these episodes all got me to laugh at Least once, and despite its mediocrity my favourite is still treehouse of horror IX just because i remember it well and it was the first time i heard a talking heads song. the one where homer becomes CGI is a very very close second, though!!!