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Monthly Musing


Monthly Musing: Of sound mind

May 23
// Andrew Kauz
Welcome to May, everybody! Are you ready for the rain and clouds to go away and to get on with some serious springtime? I am. I'm also ready to read some more great posts from the community, so let's check out the next topic ...

Of sound mind: The Good, The Bad and the Django

May 14
// Nathsies
[Community member Nathsies looks ahead to Tarantino's Django Unchained, taking a look at its script and how its sound and music may help to define it. Want to see your work here? Check out this month's topic and&nbs...

Movies to watch with Mom

May 06 // Jenika Katz
Top Secret! Sure, Mom has her romantic favorites: Dirty Dancing and The Bodyguard were two very well-played VHS tapes in our house. Nothing, however, makes me remember evenings with her like Top Secret!. It's probably not what most people think of when they imagine a movie that inspires parental bonding, but there's nothing quite like laughing at a raunchy comedy with your mother to remind you that everyone, even Mom, likes a good dick joke. Given the nature of the film, I didn't understand a few gags until I was older, but that just made each viewing all the more entertaining. Of course, if your mom is a conservative woman, this may not be the best film to watch with her, but it's still worth a try; your mom's not that innocent, after all. - Jenika Katz Pretty much every Star Trek movie My mom's a Trekkie, in the best way. I think if she wasn't such a workaholic, I'd probably have gone to a convention or two most years. As such, it was a nigh-yearly ritual for me to take her to Star Trek moves as they came out, and it just so happened that they usually came out near her birthday. This began with Star Trek Generations and ended two movies later with Insurrection. We both looked at Nemesis and realized that that noise wasn't about to happen. In fact, one of my greatest regrets of being away from home was that, when the Abrams Star Trek came out, it was the first Star Trek move that I was completely unable to take her to. Oh god, she's reading this and bawling like a baby right now, I guarantee it. Also, for those of you out there with less geek-y mothers, Star Trek, at its core, is about the highest endeavors of the human spirit, and of humanity's best qualities literally saving the universe. If you're interested in a Star Trek movie you can bring Mom to, I'd suggest either the newest one or The Voyage Home, a.k.a The One with the Whales. It's even got an animal-friendly message!- Alex Katz White Christmas/Holiday Inn I'm totally blowing using these for Holiday tradition movies some time down the road, but I think my family's Holiday tradition of watching both White Christmas and Holiday Inn fits better into a celebration of my mother than a Christmas time post. This is because sitting me down and making me watch these films every year since I was young is one of the biggest reasons I have not only a great appreciation for classic musical, Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby, but also film in general. I will admit that some years, schlepping over to my parent's house to watch these seems like a chore, but every time I sit down with my mom and we pop them in it becomes something we share. They're also perfect for watching with your mother. It's all catchy songs, dance numbers and holiday cheer and you don't have to worry about anything getting awkward because of nudity or violence or something. Well, maybe you have to hide some tears at the end of Holiday Inn, but otherwise this is perfect mother/son fodder. I'm sure for you younger types out there this won't hold true as the films are past your mom's time, but for me this is a chance to join in and watch movies that my mom has always loved and that I love now too. - Matthew Razak The Sound of Music I'm not hearing a goddamn word against The Sound of Music. It's amazing. It has Nazis, nuns and Christopher Plummer. It's frequently hilarious and the songs are the catchiest of any screen musical. Julie Andrews is on top form in both voice and charm, all delighted hops and impromptu bursts of song. She's the manic pixie dream girl before such ideas even existed, and it's no surprise that Captain Von Trapp falls so hard for her. True, there are no shortage of sprogs running around, but they're more adorable than irritating and their rendition of 'So Long, Farewell' is charmingly silly. Sound of Music is bright and delightful, totally driven by its massive heart (and lungs) without an ounce of cynicism. That doesn't mean it waters down the terrible reality of its setting though, all taking place on the eve of Austria's occupation by the Nazis. In particular, Liesl's budding romance with Rolfe ends on a note much darker and more tragic than the film is often given credit for. Beneath the gorgeous visuals and uplifting music, there's an honest and affecting drama that gives the film real emotional weight. It's an absolutely perfect choice for any movie geek to watch with their mum, working both as the sing-a-long musical to end all musicals and as a wonderful film in its own right. Plus, it's a brilliant excuse to dress up as a nun. - Xander Markham Little Women My mom is delightfully old-fashioned when it comes to movies. She only has two favorite movies that I can think of, and both are based off of cherished books. Seminal classic Gone with the Wind, and family drama staple Little Women. My mom grew up in a big family with several sisters, and she told me when I was young that she identified herself with the character Jo, played by Winona Ryder, the rebellious yet down-to-earth second eldest sister. I can see the resemblance. One cinematic moment that will forever be imprinted on my mind is a part of the opening of Little Women where Mrs. March, played by Susan Sarandon, is coming home to her girls and she kicks her snow-laden boots against their doorway as she enters. The girls hear the sound of their mother's boots and come rushing to greet her. Just like when my younger brother and I were little, we used to listen to the sound of our mom's car pulling in the driveway, waiting to greet her at the door too. - Liz Rugg Independence Day My mom and I have several movies we like to watch together. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Men in Black, There's Something About Mary, and just about any Star Wars movie are all top picks between me and my mother. But there's only one movie that is the end-all be-all of flicks we like to watch together. And that would be Independence Day. Maybe it's because we both like big dumb action movies, or maybe it's our mutual crush on Jeff Goldblum. I actually think it's because this is one of the few movies that we went to the theater to see when I was a wee lad, and continue to watch together all these years later. I remember once, while watching the movie at home, I told the fighter pilots to "shoot those alien sons of bitches down". I never felt prouder as an American, but my mom didn't appreciate the swearing. We reminisce about it every time we put the movie on, just before kicking back with some popcorn. It's also one of the movies that I absolutely love to watch with her, because we can quote the entire thing now. So mom, when you come out to LA in a few days, I fully expect us to watch Jeff Goldblum be handsome and shoot those alien sons of bitches down. - Max Roahrig Pretty much any Kevin Costner film, and being scarred for life When it comes to film traditions, the only one we have is watching Home Alone and A Christmas Story every Winter while putting up the Christmas tree. It doesn't matter how many times we watch the John Hughes classic, I'll always grin til my face hurts, and she'll always shriek with Marv during the infamous spider scene until her voice hurts, and I look forward to it every year. However, the one thing I look forward to never repeating, is watching Howard Stern's Private Parts autobiography film with my mother. I love that after turning ten, my parents never sheltered me from much, but watching a topless girl straddle a bass speaker while Howard hums into the radio so she can masturbate to his voice has got to be one of the most awkward things a preteen can ever witness while sitting next to his mom on the couch. It was and still is a great movie, but I'm convinced it's why I now need to wear glasses. Something I'll gladly watch with her on any holiday though, is whatever Kevin Costner film happens to be on TBS for the 1000th time. He's always been her innocent McDreamy, and I've got to admit that his films are usually somewhat underrated, so I always enjoy rewatching Costner "casual classics" with her.  - Tom Fronczak

My mom isn't much of a movie person. She rarely sees movies in theaters: they're too loud, for one thing, and she doesn't like that she can't pause them to go to the bathroom or smoke. I still remember the look of horror on h...


Monthly Musing: Everybody plays the fool

Apr 25
// Andrew Kauz
EDIT: Last week for this topic! Get ready for a brand new topic next week, and be sure to finish up any lingering ideas. Well, April Fool's has passed, and we've all experienced the jokes, pranks, and general silliness of th...

April Fools: Not Understanding Your Audience

Apr 06 // manasteel88
At the 2009 festival, I went to a screening of Tony Manero in the Palm Canyon Theater. It is a single staged theater that they lease to the festival to get some added revenue for the year. It's small, but classy with chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. My grandmother and I had staked out a seat next to the aisle so she could get out before everybody else left the theater. The place was packed to the brim full of people. Apparently the film had been featured under the "Awards Buzz" category of the festival and it was getting more than anticipated sales. Like the rest of the films, a man stood up and announced the film and read off the description that was printed for the festival. His description read: "Set in 1978 Santiago, Chile during Pinochet's reign of terror, this disturbing film follows a psychotic petty criminal into the depths of his crazed obsession with John Travolta's character in Saturday Night Fever." What's interesting about that description is the fact that Palm Springs demographic is largely filled with retirees. I can recall somebody making a joke when I was there that Palm Springs is 70% retired and 50% gay. When you paired the words "Awards Buzz" with "Saturday Night Fever," it started to make sense why the place was packed with old people looking for a fun filled movie. So the film was introduced and then just as he was about to wrap things up, he announced that the film's sponsor was here and ready to give a speech. For about 5 minutes, she stood up there telling us how proud she was to sponsor this masterpiece from Brazil. How they had brought the director of the film here and that he was sitting in back ready for our questions after the screening. It was a speech that truly got us to believe that this film could have something. She then sat down and the lights dimmed. The film starts and we see exactly what I would expect from the description. It has some dancing in a place many of us wouldn't be caught dead in. Not as much dancing as you would think or want, but enough. It was a bit grainy, but nobody was too offended by the setting. That is until our main protagonist, and wannabe Tony Manero, Raul brutally smashes the head in of an old lady for her television set. All of a sudden, up pops 5 octogenarian couples heading for the door. Well, pops is a bit much. Slowly rose and left would be more accurate. Raul then kills a few more and with it followed some more of the audience. As the film neared the mid way point, a few more people started to realize that this wasn't going to be the dance spectacular that they thought it was and they left. Then a few more left as a sleazy love triangle showed up and again more followed after he destroyed his friend who dared to want to be like Tony Manero as well. At the end of the movie, we were left with half of the crowd that had shown up. Nobody was sticking around for the question and answer section. This was an odd phenomena that happened twice that year. Two films I had gone to had groups of people storm out of them. Something like this had never occurred in any of my visits to the festival. That first film was the playfully titled The Education of the Fairies. A fun film that I would suggest keeping away from your children, as the two graphic scenes of sex in the film will damper what would otherwise be a perfectly fine movie night. It was actually pretty funny to see the more liberal couples that had just put their hands over their children's eyes for the first part, storm out when the second sex scene popped up. The second was Tony Manero. To see a significant number of adults leave like this just fascinated my grandmother and me. However, with the way that they sold this film it should be expected. It was not a film friendly for many of the demographics in Palm Springs. Especially with how they billed it for them. Raul was brutal throughout the entirety of the film and even I thought it was an all around dud. I've seen some that could bridge interesting parallels between Pinochet and Raul, but that would have required me to ponder upon it later. Unfortunately, the only thing I left that theater thinking about was how we all as a group of people were disappointed by what we had just seen. Some obviously more than others, but it was an experience to see an entire audience show such dissatisfaction to a director sitting among them.

[Here we are, the very first promoted musing blog on Flixist! The honor goes to manasteel88, who wrote a great piece about some weird audience-related moments. Want to see your work here? Check out this month's topic and writ...

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