FUNNY HA HA: DISCUSSION POINTS

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Another great post-college search of a film a la Reality Bites, Kicking and Screaming and later Tiny Furniture. “I’m just walking the earth…,” Marnie says.#TweeFilm

There’s a lot more about this in the book but Dollenmayer/Marnie is very much a muse. It’s her film, and wouldn’t exist without the person/actress (person first)#TweeFilm

More awkward pauses and laughter than any previous film in history most likely, but it freed cinema for awkward pauses and laughter and character is never broken. It’s some kind of feat. And it does real real.#TweeFilm

“What’s your deal?” “I’m sorry, that’s such a terrible question.”#TWeeFilm

Cassavetes gets mentioned much in discussion but this and some of the other Mumblecore remind me of the Warhol talkies I loved so much as a kid and felt cool for renting.#TweeFilm

Relate-ability is key: Marnie is looking around for the right person, both worthy of her and genuinely interesting. How aware is she of her attractiveness? Shit if I know but it doesn’t seem like much. “90 percent of the guys you know are head over heels in love with you,” she’s informed and seems genuinely surprised. Pointing out faux naiveté is a tool of the Twee hater though.#TweeFilm

“I’m like eggplant retarded.”#TweeFilm

Things to do: “become a better cook, learn to play guitar, go to museums, go without drinking one month, fitness initiative…” who does not own one of these lists… now probably on their phones.#TweeFilm

“We’re all gonna die someday.”#TweeFilm

One of the more convincing depictions of unrequited lust in film.#TweeFilm

Dollenmayer had offers after this film finally (finally) found its audience and seemed to have about the same interest in being a star as Marnie has in half the men in her universe.
I wonder what it would have been like if she’d made films like Gerwig made Lola Versus and Arthur etc.#TweeFilm

This is probably the more important film, well it definitely is, but I prefer Mutual Appreciation, the follow up. Just a preference.#TweeFilm

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FILM SOCIETY DISCUSSION – TINY FURNITURE 2010

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The Criterion Collection, if you have it, is key for the Paul Scrader interview. He
gets it. “It’s a good film that pretends to be an amateur film. In many ways Tiny Furniture is an old fashioned film that’s wearing these new raggedy clothes.”#TweeFilm

Dunham a Mumblecore fan but she’s more immediately accomplished than them. On a different level. Maybe it’s New York City and the artists parents. Maybe it’s just talent and really good taste in film (M. core and obviously mainstream and indie and cult). She’s more like Tarantino than she is like Bujalski.#TweeFilm

There’s an immediacy to it from the start. An explosive sort of one minute she’s not here the next she’s here kind of debut that only happens a few times in pop: Kanye, Amy Winehouse, Dave Eggers.#TweeFilm

The entrance is key. The tone of her voice. The lack of irony. The believablility and the comfort. “Honey, I’m home. Family?”#TweeFilm

Like many Twee heroes, Braddock, Grover from Kicking and Screaming, she’s just graduated College and has no idea what to do with herself. Dunham smart to put herself there, even if technically she was there, in real life. #Twee Film

She sleeps, and sleeps, like Braddock. She “smells a little stale.”#TWeeFilm

The advent of YouTube as the new diary, I think this is the first film where its discussed and more than that, there’s some kind of currency to it. It’s like “I saw your band. I heard your demo,” used to be, now it’s “I saw your clip.” The first time the “stars” who are not real stars are represented on film. Karpovsky who I interview in Twee, is the Nietzschean Cowboy. He is a star. “He’s a little bit famous.”#TweeFilm

Future Ray and Future Jessa are just different enough from their soon to be much more famous incarnations, but both so watchable.#TweeFilm

Another dead hamster. Garden State homage? Gilda. A Radner homage. A double homage.#TweeFilm

“Do you want to go to the Odeon and order everything on the menus?” Yes please, Jemima Kirke.#TweeFilm

Picnic at Hanging Rock, Christiane F, the signals here are “We know everything and if we don’t we can find out about it.” It’s empowering and paralyzing at the same time; unlimited pop culture/cult culture knowledge.#TWeeFilm

“Sitting on a crate of onions reading Austerlitz so he’s really literary. “#TweeFilm

“I took three Klonopin and woke up next to a spoonful of peanut butter…” how can you write that line and not become very, very famous?#TweeFilm

“I am a young, young person who is trying very hard!” Dunham, because she is brave, and politically sound can confess her fear. Even when I graduated, you could not, you simply could not admit you were terrified and lost, esp. in Downtown New York City. You had to know where you AND your art were going.#TweeFilm

The best movie ever to contain a sex scene in a large tube. “You don’t have AIDS do you?#TweeFilm

The younger sister relationship is grating but I suspect it’s supposed to be.#TweeFIlm

The shorts on the Criterion show where some of the more hysterical and less
plot driving moments of Girls come from. Hooker On Campus. #TweeFilm

GARDEN STATE: DISCUSSION POINTS – FILM SOCIETY

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May be first film of its kind to speak to the routinely medicated generation.
It’s all about fighting numbness, trying to not be crazy but also, not feel nothing as a trade off.#TweeFilm

The first film of its kind to speak to the social networking generation and speak, I think honestly.#TweeFilm

Which casual plane crash scene is better this one or Fight Clubs?@TweeFilm

Braff has a great emotional poker face. We believe he is feeling (or as I said fighting to feel something) but it’s hard to gauge exactly what it is. He doesn’t try to act with his eyes, he acts by not acting with his eyes. He sort of acts with his forehead.#TweeFilm

A Twee Trope, the fascination with/terror of 70s music. From Baumbach to Coppola (Sofia) to the more celebratory Anderson and Superbad it’s ALWAYS there.#TweeFilm

Kenny the cop. “I had to grow up man. It’s time to grow up.”@TweeFilm

Ian Holm, reprising his role in Alien as Largeman’s Dad. He has milky fluid instead of blood.

The new rebel. Even his cycle has baggage, a sidecar. Uneasy rider, etc. etc.#TweeFilm

Silent Velcro. I love Armando Riesco. We did theater together back in the day. He gave me an interview for the book. He had no idea he was going to be in a classic. This was just a gig for him.#TweeFilm

Caring is Creepy.#TweeFilm

Why Jersey? Could it be anywhere U.S.A? Or could this only happen in Jersey? Explain.#TweeFilm

The most famous scene in the film begins with him being humped by a dog. Enter Portman. Exit light. “Are you really retarded?” It should absolutely not work but there is something to be said for charm, real charm elevating some writing to the iconic. “You gotta hear this one song. It’ll change your life.” And James Mercer’s life. This is the moment the Strokes truly died and have walked the earth as brain eating zombies for a decade.#TweeFilm

Adults are idiots. Another twee trope. The doctor with diplomas on the ceiling.#TweeFilm

“Okay, sometimes I lie. It’s weird man.” When has a leading woman ever said that, by the by? Again, charm sells “tickle” the blanket and the handling and burying of dead hamsters and the figure skating video that makes her look like a Sendak drawing.#TWeeFilm

“You’re like really Jewish.” “You’re what Grammy Hall would call a real Jew.” A secretly bold line…#TweeFilm

“I look forward to a good cry.” I think she is lovable in this because of the way she processes her pain; head on. It helps her see the world around her. “you’re in it now, aren’t you,” she asks him. She doesn’t need to navel gaze so she can look at other things, people, hear things, like.. .the Shins… seek inspiration, despite the pain, the literal disease.#TweeFilm

Hello Nick Drake, welcome to round two of your resurrection.#Twee Film

Sex is weird scene. A Twee trope. The creepy hotel room peep hole sequence. The only scene that wigs me out in a film that includes a stoner grave robber.#TweeFilm

Saarsgard probably got his star made here (as the stoner grave robber). I’ve never seen him better in anything.#TweeFilm

Jean Smart. Jim Parsons. Both excellent.#TweeFilm

I don’t even mind the heavy metaphor: literally screaming into the void or crevasse. The Rain washing them clean. The Friends =worthy ending.#TweeFilm

“This is good, this doesn’t happen often. “ “We need each other.” If you can achieve an sustain emotional authenticity you can get away with the soundtrack swell ending, a la the end of Girls season 2 (or the twelve out of a million Hollywood films before it that pulled it off).#TweeFilm

This ending vs. the Graduate. They are both still messes, only slightly less so. Will they make it? Shes she save him from the Mom-guilt? Can he feel now? I’m glad they end with ellipses…#TweeFilm

Does silent Velcro portend to the app gold rush?#TweeFIlm

Also this soundtrack is not that good if you really listen to it. Coldplay were a lot better back then anyway.#TweeFilm

“The Only Living Boy In NY” – I still play that one. I still feel that one sometimes.#TweeFilm

FILM SOCIETY VOLUME 4: GARDEN STATE

Film Society 4: Garden State

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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:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u82n0e1mgmQ

 

Here’s Sia’s “Numb”

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfPEh53w6s4

 

Here’s The Shins’ video for “New Slang.” (It will change your life).

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYwCmcB0XMw

 

Here’s Stephen Holden’s original New York Times Review:

 

http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9904E6DC123DF93BA15754C0A9629C8B63

 

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.

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“DYNAMITE, POLE VAULTING, LAUGHING GAS, CHOPPERS” (BOTTLE ROCKET DISCUSSION POINTS)

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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

Bob Mappelthorpe!#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

FILM SOCIETY 2: OBSERVATIONS – BAUMBACH FEST

Kicking and Screaming 1995 and Greenberg 2010

Kicking and Screaming

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“Cecilia Ann” #TweeFilm

Is Jane a Salinger-esque character? She is not a manic pixie dream girl. She goes her own way (to Prague) and leaves Grover behind, but she certainly is a dream girl.#TweeFilm

She criticizes his work in workshops. There’s a similar scene in Wonder Boys – god, I forgot about college writing workshops how brutal they were – best friends and worst enemies were made – “It had slight had the feeling of being written in one night.”#Twee Film

“Oh I’ve been to Prague… I know that thing.” – Gen X’ers prided themselves on knowing “that thing” – carrying books around we haven’t read. Knowing about records we haven’t heard. Covering of bases. I = guilty.#TweeFilm#Poseur

Listing all the Friday the 13th –movies. An obsession with trivia – covers up life’s scarier issues – similar scene in Reality Bites from the year before – Good Times episodes, I think.#TweeFilm

“Monkeys, Monkeys, Ted and Alice.”#TweeFilm

The lease challenged generation in history? “I wish we were just going off to war.” Eigeman says#TweeFilm

What would you rather do fuck a cow or lose your mother?”#TweeFilm#donotanswer

Eigeman: “I’m nostalgic for conversations I had yesterday. I think I’m reminiscing events before they even occur. “ This line haunts me still.#TweeFilm

Sexual timidity. “Come on and be romantically self destructive with me.” Another great line, uttered, I believe by Perry Reeves – aka Mrs. Ari – “You pussy why don’t you take off your skirt.” Role-reversal = a Twee cinema trope, see Gregory’s Girl.#TweeFilm

While in Eastern Europe Jane, we learn via voice mail, takes a trip to Auschwitz. Unlike Grover (Hamilton) she wants to understand existence in an active not a passive way.#TweeFilm

Elliott Gould! Another twee trope: aloof relationship with parents – adults in general. Good line: “I’m not really ready to accept you as a human being – the thought of you and mom is disgusting enough.”#TweeFilm

Grover (Hamilton) wants to break free – wants to give up knowing “that thing.” These are heroes who are not heroic but understand heroism. They want it but are inert. “Put me on a plane – let me go!” This will be the first in a series of failed escapes for the guy I fear#TweeFilm

I wonder if Chet is still there. Eric Stoltz gave me a great interview. This film would probs not exist without him. Story in the book.#TweeFilm

Greenberg – 2010

Is Gerwig acting different than Mumblecore? Did she go pro, take lessons, pick up tricks or ticks?#TweeFilm

Stiller in Chas T mode not dick in zipper mode. I like this Stiller. Permanent Midnight Stiller. Underrated.#TweeFilm

These guys are Kicking and Screaming guys grown up “It’s weird aging right?”
“Youth is wasted on the young.” “Life is wasted on people.”#TweeFilm

Florence like the Kicking and Screaming kids NOW “out of college for as long as I’ve been in and nobody cares if I get up in the morning.”#TweeFilm

God I remember walking in LA. Missing Persons were wrong. Greenberg walks in LA.#TweeFilm

Letters of complaint: Starbucks, American Airlines , Mayor Bloomberg, Pet Taxi #TweeFIlm

He plays her “It Never Rains in California” – she doesn’t remember when they used to play it on the radio when it rained. Probably never listens to terrestrial radio. “You have to see past the kitsch.” She thinks she can… Twees can/must#TweeFilm

“I’m really trying to do nothing right now.”/“That’s brave at our age.”#TweeFilm

Baumbach claimed this is a misunderstood comedy. All you have to do is watch first (oral) sex scene. “Do you hear a train” COMEDY!#TweeFilm

Mix tapes!#TweeFilm

“I’m impressed by you.” She says . Why does she like him? Does she like him because Baumbach wrote her liking him? Why is he likeable? #TweeFilm

“You kids are mean speech..” should be carved on a statue somewhere in BK. Also small rock snob gripe: these kids would not be listening to Korn, it’s not 1998.#TweeFilm

Florence with child the whole time – metaphor – with child with him/he’s a child – I think very deeply#TweeFilm

Thing in the pool looks like Gorey’s The Doubtful Guest – is that on purpose?#TweeFilm

What do we think of James Murphy’s sdtk. Subtle – comes to life when real songs come on ‘ Steve Miller, Wings, Albert Hammond, Galaxie 500 Sonics….#TweeFIlm

“Hurt people hurt people….” – she gets into his brain when he’s high, finally and he doesn’t even know it.#TweeFilm

Graceful ending. He puts up a picture for her. A carpenter. Simple child drawing. Like the end of Bright Lights Big City. Bread.#TweeFilm

Great prescient opening lines “Are you going to let me in…”#TweeFilm

Great closing line: “Okay this is you…” #TweeFilm

Best line of all (especially because it’s uttered in Musso and Frank): “Sit on my dick!”#TweeFilm

FILM SOCIETY 2: NEW AND IMPROVED

NOTE: I will begin tweeting and posting at exactly noon on the 22nd. At the risk of over-tweeting, I will wait until there is a dialogue going so mark your calendars.

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It’s a Noah Baumbach double feature for next week’s Film Society selection: Kicking and Screaming (1995) and Greenberg (2010). Kicking and Screaming features about a half dozen future indie film icons including Parker Posey, Josh Hamilton and Eric Stoltz (the latter two were good enough to speak with me for my upcoming book). Greenberg stars, of course, Ben Stiller in the title role and is the mainstream breakout performance for “Mumblecore” star Greta Gerwig (who would go on to date Baumbach and co-write and star in the stellar Frances Ha – 2013). Jennifer Jason Leigh (then Baumbach’s partner), Rhys Ifans, Mark Duplass and Brie Larsen have key roles and James Murphy, then of LCD Soundsystem composed the soundtrack.

The films, shot 15 years apart, are sort of book ends, some of the tentative college graduates characters in film one will surely grow up to be 40 something, emotionally fragile Roger Greenbergs once life kicks them around some.

Once again, we will discuss the best/worst moments, the best lines, the performances, the music, why they are/not twee and how they hold up.

Greenberg is screening on Netflix and Kicking and Screaming is available on iTunes and Amazon Instant Video but so is the Will Ferrell soccer comedy that stole its title so don’t get confused because I will not be discussing that film with anyone.

Here’s the Kicking and Screaming trailer

Here’s Janet Maslin’s original review in the New York Times:
http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9E06E2D81539F937A35753C1A963958260

Here’s the Greenberg trailer

Here’s A.O. Scott’s original review in the New York Times.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/19/movies/19greenberg.html?pagewanted=all

REMEMBER: Use the hashtage #TweeFilm.