All of the following appear on a U.S. Postage Stamp but…
A. Wilbur the pig from Charlotte’s Web
B. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
C. Fox in Socks
D. A Wild Thing from Where the Wild Things Are
E. Babar the Elephant King
Film Society 4: Garden State
Like you, I’m weary of the term “game changer,” but this 2004 film, written and directed by then Scrubs start Zach Braff, and co-starring Natalie Portman, Peter Saarsgard, Armando Riesco, Ian Holm, Jean Smart and a pre-fame Jim Parsons marked a real shift in cinema and the way it was marketed. Both the plot and the marketing are driven by a soundtrack that felt hand picked but became a blockbuster hit and directly lead to future chart toppers like the Juno sdtk. Released at the liftoff of social networking, it also helped make rock stars out of bands who only a few years earlier would have remained pet bands for smart kids.
Braff’s Andrew Largeman, a struggling LA actor with a guilty past and a belly full of meds that have numbed him beyond the capacity to love, is his generations Ben Braddock. There are several parallels to the first Film Society selection, Graduate (including Simon and Garfunkel on the soundtrack) and we will discuss them all among many other things including the real practical appeal of silent Velcro. Discussion points will be posted on Monday, June 1 at noon.
Here’s the trailer:
Here’s Sia’s “Numb”
Here’s The Shins’ video for “New Slang.” (It will change your life).
Here’s Stephen Holden’s original New York Times Review:
Here’s a picture of Natalie Portman, someone you will never really meet in a doctor’s office but still one of the great manic pixie dream girls in cinema history. Nobody that good looking handles dead hamsters but she is so good she neutralizes the clichéd role, doesn’t she? Or does she? We will discuss MONDAY at noon EST.
The answers btw to the last two trivia questions were b and all of the above.
Happy birthday to Howlin’ Pelle Almvist, Noel Gallagher and Ted Levine who played the serial killer in Silence of the Lambs. None of them are very twee but lambs are.
Also of note, Jeff Buckley was pronounced dead today in 1997 after drowning down in Memphis while recording the follow up to the still perfect Grace album. RIP Jeff. I met you once and sold you a Marlon Brando biography but I’ve listened to your album probably 5,000 times. Eternal life is on your trail.
Buckley is also not very twee (you could make an argument I suppose), but his absence is still very sad, all these years later. The kind of event where you can say you remember where you were when you heard. I was in Scottsdale Arizona trying to write a bad spec script for Friends and listening to a lot of Ween. It was 102 degrees and I was miserable. Romy Schneider also died on this day back in 1982 a suspected suicide.
She is a Twee icon in that she made films in the 60s now that are now fashion touchstones and it’s cool to drop her name as in, “That look is very Romy Schneider.” She had a long how you say, “l’amour fou” with actor Alain Delon, another Twee icon who would be if he’d ever made a film and only appeared on the cover of The Queen is Dead (but he made a lot of of films)
Happy 56th birthday to “The Modfather.” Weller and the Jam broke the rules and unabashedly embraced 60s pop and soul as well as the modernist aesthetic at a time (the late 70s) when punk gear, spiky hair, bondage gear and anti-fashion was de rigueur. They looked sharp. The Jam looked sharp. The Style Council weren’t half bad either for a while. His solo stuff is mostly popular in Britain but I like “Wild Wood” a lot. But it’s really all about blasting the Jam when required isn’t it? Favorite Jam song: “I’m Different Now.” Jam ballad that can make me cry: “The Bitterest Pill.” Best Jam cover: “Batman Theme.
Also enjoying a birthday today, we hope, is Dimitri Martin who is a very boyish and quizzical 41. Here was one of the people I had to sort of write about in Twee even though I don’t really consider him like… a scream. You have to respect his fan base and his contribution to new or indie comedy which def. has its Twee trappings. Well you don’t have to but I did.
I have a 75 year plan for posting this Film Society discussion. It’s all written here in my spiral notebook. Longhand. #TweeFilm
Opens wight he sound of a fuse. A revolution starts mid decade. The scenes later where they are shooting off fireworks out of the car is so Kerouac-ian. It’s a revolution that doesn’t scorch the past.#TweeFilm
I watched the Criterion but I didn’t listen to the commentary, although I did once (when writing book).#TweeFilm
Breaking out of a voluntary hospital. Making life harder than it needs to be for style points. So Gen X and such a future Anderson trope.#TweeFilm
Luke is great. “I gotta do it this way. I gotta…”#Twee Film
Dignan has mapped out the rest of his life in a spiral notebook. A 75 year plan. A precursor to Owen’s character in Darjeeling v. much. The romances are very Darjeeling incidentally. Luke and Inez the housekeeper’s brief affair is much like Schwartzman’s dalliance with “Sweet Lime.” These women know they are dealing with boys “trash in the wind” as the translator says. Not men. They know it won’t last. Was not made to. Which is odd at the end… well I won’t spoil it if you haven’t seen it (but then why are you here?)#TweeFilm
And so the resurrection of 60s baroque and later British pop begins with Love’s pounding “7 and 7 Is.” The short that’s on the Criterion has an even better sdtk but you won’t hear me complain about this and “Alone Again…” off Forever Changes and to this day Love is underused. Some good creepy stuff that could add to many moments on film.#TweeFilm
Robbing his mother for the coin collection and the gift earrings is such a thumbed nose at Tarantino whether Anderson knows it or not.#TweeFilm
The grave little sister who is wiser than the much older young adult male is a Twee cinema Trope. See Gregory’s Girl previous and 500 Days… later.#TweeFilm
Mr. Henry’s shark tooth necklace. That’s all except to say James Caan looks like he’s having a ball here#TweeFilm
The letter Owen writes “Grace” at the end (read in voice over) is so so Salinger. Does Wes Anderson use email?#TweeFilm
The shooting off guns is another (perhaps unconscious and certainly affectionate) reaction to post Tarantino film. They are wearing safety ear-covers!#TweeFilm
What about the cultural divide, between the whitey white Luke and the hotel staff who are so much more poised, graceful, secure and as the translator says “serious.” Anderson is certainly not disrespectful or disinterested in his minority characters and this isn’t me defending him. He gets the bad rap is all. Yes, they are plot devices and the romance resolution is tacked on to the end and we won’t get into Darjeeling but he gets it. When Hackman calls Danny Glover “Coltrane” in Tenenbaums, is that racist or a sly comment on racism and it’s absurdity. Discuss#TweeFilm
When Dignan punches Andy (Luke) I get very Sam Shepardy vibes. Real blood ruins the sort of “no one here is really going to get hurt” vibe.
Paper route!#Twee Film
So again are the jumpsuits Devo or Beastie homages?#Tweefilm
Applejack, sweet fucking wheels, Applejack!#Tweefilm
A film loneliness and the difficulty of maintaining a sense of childhood/brotherhood “He thought he had a team he “turns out to be a man alone”#Twee film
Dignan: “Now we are in the real world we don’t settle our problems with hugs.” Ah, but we do.#TweeFilm
Kumar!!!! Welcome to your life as a Wes Anderson mainstay. There’s no turning back.#TweeFilm
Does this film owe a little to Spike Jonze’s “Sabotage” video from the previous year? Don’t we all?#TweeFilm
“Scarecrow! Bird dog!”#TweeFilm
It owes a little to Dog Day Afternoon too. It is a Tarantino heist gone bad film but the bridge; the one to make it safe for the uncool/TWee.#TWee Film
Dignan is the happiest prisoner in cinema history. Belt buckles! If only there was an Etsy.#TweeFilm
Already Anderson is establishing his thing for happy endings/reunions.#TweeFilm