All posts tagged: Movie

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 …

Catch-all in 2018

I decided against making resolutions this year, but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t put aside a little time to reflect on Catch-all and consider what the future of this blog should – or could – look like. Because blogging is just a hobby for me, I’ve never been particularly strict about narrowing down my focus (it’s called Catch-all for a reason) and I know that going into 2018 my posts will continue to be just as varied. I do, however, plan to put my media studies degree to use and share more work that examines film, TV, pop culture, music, politics, identity, and representation. With more serious work will also come some fun (I think it’s about time to write about Vanderpump Rules) and I’m hoping to maintain that delicate balance between content that reflects both fierce critical engagement, and lighthearted entertainment. Catch-all in 2017 Most popular posts this past year: Fun with Vinyl Resistance Reading List On America, Mobility, & Freedom in “Easy Rider” PHOTOS: Women’s March Los Angeles Riding the Pacific Surfliner Most …

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 …

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 …

On America, Mobility, & Freedom in “Easy Rider”

“A man went looking for America, but he couldn’t find it anywhere.” Few taglines remain relevant long after a film’s release, but Easy Rider’s ominous warning (“he couldn’t find it anywhere”) maintains its potency nearly 50 years after its debut. In David Laderman’s Driving Visions, he situates the road film genre within an explicitly American context and characterizes Easy Rider (Dennis Hopper, 1969) as “arguably the quintessential, genre-defining road movie.”[1] Following the cult popularity of low-budget biker exploitation films, Easy Rider seems to have borrowed from the aesthetic and tonal vigor of these works, but extended itself to a broader cultural critique that was relevant for a wider spectrum of Americans falling under the banner of “the counterculture.” While the influence of cinema imported from Europe and Asia facilitated the rise of the American auteur, the explosive socio-political context of late 1960’s could also be credited for cultivating unique works which explored social tensions and questions of identity, and more specifically, what it means to be an American. Easy Rider – in addition to preceding …

Revisiting My Undergraduate Thesis Film

As I enter my last year of graduate school, I’ve found myself reflecting on my undergraduate years, almost longing for that simpler time. I’m only 25, yet I’ve been feeling far older, like my age is a scary number that keeps getting larger and larger and more overwhelming. But that’s a different story – one that I may return to in a separate post. This sentimental reflection on my past has led me to revisit some of my older work, such as my senior thesis film, Fruition. So much has changed since I started making Fruition in 2012, and although I haven’t made a notable short film since, I know that my perspective as a creator has evolved significantly. On the one hand, I’m not as naive and am instead somewhat disillusioned and overwhelmed by how little I understand about life itself. On the other hand, I feel more empowered and able to embrace who I am and my unique perspective. I know that I’m somewhat smarter and more equipped to understand others and the world around me. That being …

“Little Miss Sunshine” Turns 10

Little Miss Sunshine was released 10 years ago today, on July 26, 2006. Though a decade old, the film still resonates as a dark comedy about the complications of life at any age. Little Miss Sunshine seems to pinpoint, especially, the fact that going on a trip with your dysfunctional family can actually be therapeutic. As a film it’s funny, sad, and delightfully honest – much like life itself. I recently posted about six of my favorite road trip films, and of course Little Miss Sunshine made the list! So be sure to check out that post if you want to read a little more about why I love this film. Otherwise, to celebrate its 10th anniversary, here are a few stills from Little Miss Sunshine: