Movie of the Day #21 – Whip It

I liked the feel of this movie more than the actual film itself.  Some of the dialog was awkward, as were some of the character introductions.  Story didn’t feel so much layered in as stacked on top of each other.

Still…there’s a lot to like.  Surprisingly good direction from Drew Barrymore.

The film also made me miss Austin.  A lot.

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This post was written by Shawna on March 28, 2010

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Movie of the Day #20

I can’t tell you what it is, because it hasn’t come out yet.  But I really liked it a lot.

I’ll tell you what it is…eventually.

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This post was written by Shawna on March 25, 2010

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Movie of the Day #19 – Alice in Wonderland (2010)

I know the name of this series is pretty laughable at this point (since we are, what, 75 days into the year and I’ve seen a whopping 19 films?) but I intend to press on, hoping against hope that at some point I might get caught up.  Yeah, harder now that I have a job, but still possible!

So Jules and I headed out to the Sherman Oaks Arclight to see ALICE IN WONDERLAND on Sunday.  In 3-D.

So…with the very strong exception of TRON:LEGACY, I’ve decided I don’t need to see any film in 3-D at this point.  Not only is it incredibly hard on my eyes, I feel like those damn glasses get in the way of appreciating the art on screen — “is that smudge on my lens? Why is that blurry? Taking the glasses off doesn’t help – it’s a blurry image fer crissakes.  Well don’t touch the lens – even if it is a smudge, you’ll probably just make it worse…yup, it’s worse.  See? Told you not to touch it.”

Yeah, I’ve had enough of that.  3-D for theme park rides: perfectly fine. For 2 hour films: kind of annoying.

Okay, so what about the film itself?  Yeah, didn’t love it.

(Potential Spoilers, if you care about that sort of thing)

The problem as I see it is they tried to make this film a Hero(ine)’s Journey when the original story isn’t, nor should it be.  I mean, I like female empowerment films (to a degree) but this was just silly.  Not just that it FELT like they were trying to justify why Alice has to kill the Jabberwocky…and in the end, they really didn’t.  A) Other than about a minute of screentime, we have no sense of what “Underland” was like pre-Red Queen takeover and post.  Why is the Red Queen any worse than her really weirdo sister the White Queen?  Are we really helping the citizens of Underland trade up here?

Also, Alice decided halfway through the film she’s tired of being a passive protagonist, which I totally understand and get, and so she asserts that SHE’LL be making the decisions for what she should do from now on thankyouverymuch.  But the only decision I ever see Alice really make on her own is to go rescue the Mad Hatter.  Everything else is still more like, ‘yeah, you say i’m supposed to do this, but i won’t do it because you say I should but I’ll do it because…well, I don’t really know why I’ll do it…maybe I’ll wake up from my dream?  No, wait, that’s not a reason anymore, so I’ll do it because…you asked me to?’  What are the stakes?   Alice doesn’t wake up to her true calling until, like, the last 10 minutes of the movie.  That means she’s refusing the call to adventure for an over an hour and a half.  How does she refuse?  Does anyone talk to Alice about her life in the real world vs. Underland? Nope. Anyone try to convince her she’s more powerful in Underland? Not really, though Mad Hatter takes a stab at that, pretty weakly.

There is no cohesive theme.  Kids left the movie loving how it looked and how silly Johnny Depp is as the Mad Hatter (and WTF was that crazy dance he does at the end?? And who chose the music for that!?! It was sooo out of place)

Alice doesn’t become an interesting character until the very end of the film…when she does finally make some friggin decisions for herself (like, not getting married) and decided to pick up her father’s work and explore the world.  There was a potentially really awesome movie idea in there, even spinning out of the original stories, but I think it got loaded down with the emphasis on visuals – very important for merchandising and marketing.

So sad.

Posted under analysis

This post was written by Shawna on March 15, 2010

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A Tale of Two Showrunners

As I do every year, I attended a couple of Paleyfest panels.  I am almost never interested in what the castmembers of these shows have to say.  Thankfully, the creators or showrunners tend to do most of the talking, which is why I keep going back.

In past years I’ve discovered that not only did I like a particular showrunner’s writing, but I liked them as a person — their general demeanor.

I can say that is true again this year for one showrunner.  And for another… let’s just say, I determined that this is a person I never want to work for.

It’s fascinating, really, because when you read someone’s script you may or may not form an image of that writer in your head (depends on how good or interesting the writing is).  Usually you have to read an interview or listen to an audio commentary to really get a sense of who a TV writer really is, or what he/she’s about.

On the one hand, I discovered mad respect and love for Vince Gilligan this week.  I already respected the hell out of his show BREAKING BAD, but to listen to him talk about his show, answer questions from the moderator and the audience and interact with his cast/crew, I realized that he’s the real deal.  He’s a guy you’d trust to lead you off a cliff with his story vision and that it will make you fly rather than fall.

I won’t name names for the showrunner who was a big disappointment to me, but I will talk about why.  I don’t know him personally, and I can’t pretend that these panels give you the full picture of a person, but from what I saw of this person, I deduced that I would not enjoy working for that show, which is sad, because I really like the show this person runs.

So, I’m not sure what the lesson is here, but I think if you are going to be talking about your work in a very public forum, you should try to come off as humble (not arrogant), part of a team (not a sole reason for success), and not make contradictory statements about how you work.  It’s kind of annoying.

Posted under writing

This post was written by Shawna on March 15, 2010

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Movie of the Day #16 – 18

#16 – Trucker (February 7)

#17 – Fletch (yeah, I KNOW). (March 2)

#18 – Into the Night (March 2)

Decided that ‘Temple Grandin’, which is an HBO original movie doesn’t count. Must have had theatrical release, methinks.

Oh, have also watched Season 1 of Breaking Bad (love it), started Season 1 of The Shield (love it) and myriad other tv episodes.  Reading lots of pilot scripts.

And that’s the briefest, lamest blog update I could muster.

Posted under randomness

This post was written by Shawna on March 8, 2010

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