All posts filed under: Movies

Representations of Urban Space & Masculinity in “Taxi Driver”

Representations of Urban Space & Masculinity in “Taxi Driver” & the Rise of the American Right-Wing Though Martin Scorsese’s 1976 psychological thriller, Taxi Driver, was released over 40 years ago, one could argue that many layers to the film’s harsh societal critiques are just as relevant in today’s sociopolitical climate. By exploring 1970s New York City through the perspective of Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro), an intense man whose past we know little about other than that he served in the Vietnam War, Scorsese and screenwriter Paul Schrader allow the audience to see the world through a particularly conservative lens. In the film, Bickle’s taxi cab works as a device that carries him through spaces he may not otherwise occupy. In this vehicle he’s shielded from that which fuels his fear and contempt. He sees, though might not necessarily be seen. He’s a vigilante on the edge of sanity, a sort of messiah figure who strives to clean up the city, though his racist and sexist rational for this metaphoric “clean up” is never stated …

What “Lady Bird” Means to Me

When I finally watched Greta Gerwig’s beautiful Lady Bird, I felt so much and still do. Unlike Lady Bird I have a wonderful mom who’s kind and understanding, I was never ashamed of my socio-economic status, and I wouldn’t lie to a peer about the house I live in or who I’m friends with. But like Lady Bird I wanted to go to college in New York City despite never having been there, felt stifled by the mid-sized city I called home, and was sure that there were bigger and better things out there for me – whatever that actually means. Lady Bird somehow brought me back to my undergraduate years, when I felt like the world was this new and exciting place to explore and express myself within. Since then I’ve grown to be more realistic and a bit cynical, but seeing Lady Bird’s struggle to figure herself out reminded me of a part of myself I had forgotten. While I’m much more sure of myself than I was in college, I missed the hopefulness I found within my confusion. I …

Tommy Wiseau, Vegan Pizza, & Gifs

I really enjoyed putting together this casual newsletter-style post back in June, so I thought I’d do another! Here’s what I’ve been watching, listening to, reading, thinking about, doing, eating, and fawning over. What have you been into lately? WATCHING Not to be dramatic, but I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t had time to watch much TV or go to the movies. As far as television goes I’m currently watching Stranger Things, Transparent, Golden Girls, X-Files, Master of None, and Star Trek: The Next Generation. I’m basically part-way through all of these shows but haven’t been watching consistently. But I did binge the past 10 episodes of I Love You America with Sarah Silverman on Hulu the other night and I LOVE IT — YOU SHOULD WATCH! This past week I saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi and attended the 30th anniversary screening of Die Hard. The movies I plan on FINALLY watching this week include Lady Bird, The Florida Project, and The Disaster Artist, and I’m hoping to see Call Me By Your Name, Lemon, and Lucky soon. Oh can we talk about The Disaster Artist trailer for a …

Lena Dunham’s Rich White Kids

I haven’t had the time to blog lately, so I wanted to jump back into things with a super short post on Lena Dunham. This is just something I wrote on my notes app one night last week, so my thoughts aren’t fully fleshed out, nor are they particularly well assembled. I was thinking a lot about Lena Dunham after she defended an accused rapist and had one of her Lenny Letter writers quit, citing “hipster racism.” Dunham has been doing and saying problematic things for years, and although I really wanted to be a fan (she’s an outspoken writer/director/producer and I look up to that) her work has consistently rubbed me the wrong way. One of the things that has always made Lena Dunham’s work a bit difficult for me to digest (beginning with Tiny Furniture, even though I enjoyed it overall) is that her very wealthy artist New Yorker background is so much a part of her storytelling. Her film, TV series, and writing is always about white girls, but specifically elitist, posh, rich white girls, which is …

10 Film & TV Costumes for Halloween

Over the years Halloween has evolved into one of my favorite times of year. I’m not the type of person who engages in fan communities and does cosplay, but I find so much joy in figuring out a costume and putting it together. Basically, Halloween preparation is a form of self-care for me – as I’m sure it is for most folks who enjoy this time of year. Even if I don’t have solid plans, I know that I’m going to assemble a costume and wear it somewhere, anywhere, simply because it’s fun and makes me happy. Below are 10 film and TV-related costume ideas that I was inspired by. Some are relevant, others not so much, but they’re all fun and fairly simple to put together. 1. Arthur & Buster from Arthur If you’re around my age and grew up watching PBS, then you probably have a warm place in your heart for Arthur. And who doesn’t love that theme song? ♫ Everyday when you’re walking down the street, everybody that you meet, has an original point of view …

A Few of My Favorite 80’s Movies

Oh the 80’s. It was the decade that came and left just before I was born and bestowed us with vibrant clothes, pop music, and Reagan’s regressive policies. It’s the time that my mom refers to mysteriously and with an air of disdain, telling a curious story from her past and concluding with a sigh, “well it was the 80’s.” And when I watch popular American 80’s movies, I think I catch her drift. Below are five of my favorite off-beat, magical, bizarre, and hilarious movies that are quintessentially of the 80’s. What are a few of yours? Raising Arizona (dir. Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, 1987) Raising Arizona is my favorite Coen brother’s film (followed closely by The Big Lebowski) and a Nic Cage favorite as well. Raising Arizona is charming, hilarious, well written, and perfectly cast and performed. The film’s very particular production design, cinematography, and soundtrack also adds to its magic. And as an Arizonan, I seem to have a warm place in my heart for any movie that takes place there.   The Breakfast Club (dir. John Hughes, 1985) Like …

Brown, Kiddo, & Tarantino

OR: Tarantino’s Leading Ladies: Jackie Brown, Beatrix Kiddo, & Women’s Empowerment On-screen Quentin Tarantino’s body of work – from his feature film debut Reservoir Dogs (1992), to his most recent epic The Hateful Eight (2015) – consists of films that are violent, highly stylized, dialogue-driven, oftentimes problematic, and always provocative. Though each film in Tarantino’s oeuvre is quite different from the one that came before it or followed, numerous qualities of his work remain consistent. In each of his films Tarantino celebrates popular culture by commemorating genres that were once relegated to the margins by Hollywood, such as martial arts cinema, Blaxploitation, and spaghetti westerns. While appropriating genres, Tarantino provides his own authorial stamp by writing dialogue-driven scripts which are benefited by episodic structures. A “Tarantino film,” one can almost always be assured, features revenge at the heart of the narrative and creates pleasure through the irreverent combination of humor and violence. And, with each of Tarantino’s films, the appropriateness of his representations of violence, race, gender, and revisionist history, come into question time and …

Recommended Film & TV Books | Part 1

I’ve been studying film and television in school for some years now, so as a result I’ve amassed quite a collection of film and TV-related books. Here’s part 1 of my recommended media texts list – and you can expect a number of these posts in the future since there are so many books that I’ve found to be truly invaluable. Although I’ve linked each book to Amazon, buy locally if you can find them at your community’s bookstore! Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder: Save the Cat! is, indeed, the last book on screenwriting you’ll ever need. The book includes information on high concept ideas, genre-play, beat sheets, and even a bit of pitching advice. It contains basically everything you need to know about coming up with an idea, writing your script, re-writing your script, and getting it sold. Designs on Film: A Century of of Hollywood Art Direction by Cathy Whitlock: There was a point during college when I thought that I wanted to be a production designer, so my boyfriend got …

Hollywood’s Global Domination

My experience of foreign cinema – or the value that it has provided for me personally – is deeply rooted in my national identity and Hollywood’s history of global dominance. Scholar B. Ruby Rich writes in Subtitles: On the Foreignness of Film, “My guess is that foreign films function as a rebuke for some viewers, offering up evidence that the world is not made in ‘our’ image, and that neither our society nor our language is universal.”[1] While I agree with Rich’s evaluation, I’d like to complicate it just slightly. My argument, instead, is that foreign films function as a rebuke for most American viewers specifically, though not all. In his chapter titled Hollywood’s International Market, from The American Film Industry (ed. Tino Balio), Thomas H. Guback describes how Hollywood began to permeate the global film market after World War I, acting in a moment when numerous countries were economically devastated by the war and left financially indebted to the U.S. As a result, due to the surmounting strength of the American film market, international film …