The Blues Brothers (1980)

The Blues Brothers
Directed by John Landis
Written by John Landis and Dan Aykroyd
(number 268)

I first watched this movie some summer when I was around 16 and mum and dad let me have the portable tv in my room and I watched all these awesome classic movies late into the night. This was one of those and it came on and I was just like “I don’t know what this is, but it’s brilliant!”

I’ve loved it ever since. Elwood and Jake slope and grift their way through some amazingly silly situations and somehow make it all look cool. There are some amazing cameos, Twiggy, Carrie Fisher, Frank Oz, Aretha Franklin… so many. So very many amazing people.

The soundtrack is epic, I can sing along to most of it and I have it on cd in my car. The actors, the silliness, the coolness and the soundtrack all combined to make this movie the deserved cult classic that it is. It’s just so much fun to watch.

There are some impressive stunts, impressive car chases and pile ups and dancing too. In contrast to Seven Brides which had musical numbers that came from nowhere and seemed bizarre, this movie’s musical numbers all seem to make sense. At least half of them are actually framed as performances, which helps.

Does it make me love the people? Absolutely. You get the cool as ice intro to Jake being let out of prison and the first thing he does when his brother picks him up is give him a big warm hug. It’s beautiful

Bechdel test:

Best line:

Elwood: It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark… and we’re wearing sunglasses.
Jake: Hit it.

OR

Rollin’ rollin’ keep them doggies rollin, Rawhide!

State of Mind: always a swingin good time

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Sunday Crafting

I have spread the crafting bug… coming up to visit Anna and she’s busy with a cross stitch project. It turns out watching TV with someone crafting makes my fingers twitch, so I started a project of my own.

A little punk purple love heart for my emo 🙂

jennitalula skull

I started it Friday afternoon and it’s almost done now. Just need to do the last outline in another colour. Very satisfying weekend project and a nice distraction from the emotional trauma of Buffy Season 5.

Update to include a picture of the finished project!

jennitalula skull

Things I Love Thursday

Dance Central: I come home, I dance for 20 – 30 mins, I feel good about exercising and I sleep better at night. Plus it’s good for my heart! Yay! Plus tonight I danced to Everybody by the Backstreet Boys and now I’m basically the member of a boy band.

Reading: Really enjoying re-reading the Princess Diaries books. They’re so fun and funny, and ultimately really comforting which is apparently what I really need right now.

LARP: Only spend one day at the Hyrdra LARP convention but it was a lot of fun. I played in a silly game and then helped run/created chaos in a slightly less silly game. Good times. I’m especially pleased with the times I laughed so hard it hurt, people saying that it was fun and other people saying they want to play in the re-run.

Mostly I’m really really excited because I have the long weekend plus one day off work and Anna’s coming down and then I’m going up to Auckland for Anzac weekend so, I get lots of my lovely girlfriend and sleeping in and chocolate!

Honourable Mentions: My rainbow umbrella, being asked if I’m the Queen of Coats, warm blankets, hot chocolate, easter bunnies, marshmallow eggs, raving with people about True Detective, warm socks, Batman lego sets and awesome music.

Old school jam for music this week, Girl by Tori Amos because it’s an epic and wonderful song.

Amelie (2001)

Amelie
Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Wtitten by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Guillame Laurent
(number 204)

I remember seeing this film at Reading Courteney Central not too long after it first opened (I think?) and the whole cinema laughing their asses off at the revenge she takes on her neighbour as a young girl – ruining his reception for only the goals of the football game.

It was a pleasure to watch this with flatmates, especially since Blair hadn’t seen it before and began yelling at the screen during the football sequence.

This movie introduced the world to Audrey Tatou, and she is filmed to be incredibly luminous and adorable. She’s our point of view character but she’s also filmed as a sort of quirky goddess, adorkable before Zooey Deschenal got her own TV show about it.

As well as lovingly filming her, it’s a visual love diary of Paris, especially Montmarte and it always makes me long to go there and explore. Eat fresh bread and cakes, drink wine in the afternoon and sit in a cafe, writing. Someday… Mmmm creme brulee…. This film also gave me a serious love of photo booths and the photo strips that come out of them, as well as making me want to do a strange scrapbook of torn photos. Never take life too seriously, eh?

I love the magical realism of this film. The bright, immersive colour palette, the music and the intense emotions of it. It’s easy to see myself in the hopeless dreamers, the girl who lives so much in her own head that she’s afraid to live. I have been working very hard on this in the last few years: trying not to let my imagination run away with me, making up stories which I start to half believe… but also in being brave and pursuing what I want. It’s seldom easy, and they are careful to show that it’s not easy for Amelie either. She is emotional and terrified and her strategems are used to entice and also distance. When it comes time to step outside her comfort zone she is nearly paralysed. But she gets what so many of us would love: a pep talk from a wise and respected older person who inspires her to get out there and do it.

If you have a wise and respected older person willing to give you perfect advice at just the right time to inspire you to action that’s awesome, but for most of us that voice has to come from within. But hey, life’s not really like the movies is it? The first step has to be believing that you are worthy of having love in your life, pursuing it and being loved. Being open and vulnerable to being and accepting love, even if it scares you.

Bechdel test: Yes, first very early on when Amandine is teaching Amelie to read, later when she talks to Philomene about the prank with the gnome, when femme!Bredotaeu hits on her, and there’s several other instances of small talk. It is a pity, that in a film with so very many named, interesting and complex female characters that they are frequently only talking about men, but maybe that’s the downfall/cost of it being a romance? There are several scenes of men talking about things other than women though…

Best line: Without you, today’s emotions would be the scurf of yesterday’s.

State of Mind: Charmed. As ever. Now, if I wasn’t so sleepy I’d go out there and seize the day in some way 🙂

The Magnificent Seven (1960)

The Magnificent Seven
Directed by John Sturges
Written by William Roberts
(number 225)

Richard came by to watch this movie with Blair and me.

Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, James Coburn and Charles Bronson head up a posse of awesomely cool dudes to protect a poor Mexican farming town being menaced by a gang. It’s a remake of The Seven Samurai, and it was again remade as Battle Beyond the Stars, The 13th Warrior, Galaxy Quest, The Three Amigos! and A Bug’s Life

It’s a good story. As Blair sagely observed, good stories will always be with us, reincarnated and told differently.

Richard pointed out that the guns they use are appropriate for the time period. I like the movie because the characters are clever and funny, and the action is legitimately exciting. My favourite character introduction possibly ever for film is James Coburn’s napping cowboy being called on to prove how fast his knife throwing is. He’s like, the essence of cool, and he shows off his impressive skills at the same time.

The film is rather long, and we had a brief intermission while Richard took a call and I hung out my laundry, and not all of the movie is riveting. However these old Westerns work best with a bit of ‘breathing time’ and I wouldn’t trade in the down time moments for anything. The hired cowboys bonding with the children of the village, or falling n love with a girl, having nightmares, it’s all colour for their characters and I’m happy to have it.

Does it make me love the people? They’re hard men, happy to kill without much remorse, but they’re doing such a good thing – going and keeping the bandits away from poor honest farming folk who just want to work the land, etc etc. So yes, it does.

Bechdel test: Nope, only one named female character, and she’s the beautiful love interest – albeit a spunky type one.

Best line:

Petra: He said he’d punish me for being salacious but I don’t care.

Calvera: Generosity… that was my first mistake. I leave these people a little bit extra, and then they hire these men to make trouble. It shows you, sooner or later, you must answer for every good deed.

State of Mind: it’s long but good. It’s essential viewing. It’s awesome if you like Westerns.

Flesh (1968)

Flesh
Directed and written by Paul Morrissey
Produced by Andy Warhol
(number 478)

Penis, raw naked penis. The abrupt jump cuts. Microphones in the shot. Real sex. No apparent script. Sequences in silence… the movie looks like a movie made with friends. A documentary made by someone very much in love with Joe Dallesandro, which possibly isn’t far off the truth.

Joe Dallesandro is treated as a sex symbol which is revolutionary even now. It’s so rare to see a male photographed in this kind of way. Especially on this 500 list! It feels out of place, a bit.

This is a story about Joe, whose wife kicks him out of bed to go get some money. He heads out onto the street and starts hustling. Mostly for older men, one of which just seems to want to draw him. One of whom is extremely devoted and wants to hold him all night. The movie is incredibly disjointed and extremely seventies in feel.

There’s a rather disturbing scene with the go go dancer, Terry, relating about a time she was raped, and how awful it was and then she goes ‘but it was fun’. Joe sort of calls her out on it laughingly and she said ‘not at the time, but looking back on it’. That was pretty jarring in an otherwise lovely sequence.

I wonder how many of them where high during the filming… probably most of them..I feel like this is a movie I need to research to fully understand it. It’s a snapshot of such a different time and place, and it feels a bit alien.

Does it make me love the people? I like the sequences where it’s just natural conversation, which is a fairly large chunk of the movie. I especially liked the sequence with Candy, Jackie and Terry. They seemed to really like each other and there was a lot of laughter. It’s hard not to like Joe when he’s the central character and followed so lovingly by the camera. He really is beautiful.

Bechdel test: Yep, Geri and Patti have long rambling conversations, sometimes about Joe sometimes but about marriage and other things. Also they then are shown having sex. It’s nice to have some lesbianism in this movie project! heheh.

Best line:

Terry: I don’t want to learn too much, because then I won’t always be happy. I think the more you learn, the more depressed you are.

State of Mind: It was both easier and harder to watch than I expected.

Things I Love Saturday

Some weeks, man. Am I right?

This was a week. You shall have to forgive me for this being published on a Saturday morning, but here in bed with chocolate ready to eat and heaps to do but time to do it in I feel a lot more like making this list than I did after work on Thursday.

Anna. Having my girlfriend around puts me into this instant state of calm. I don’t know how she does it, or if it’s anything that she does at all, but nervousness and my usual constant worry buzz of my brain just sort of fade away and I relax. I adore her ❤

Books: I’m reading some very excellent books at the moment but this week I put them down and started to read the Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot because I just wanted the comfort of them and I’m really loving it. Most of the way through the first one and I suspect I’ll read them all over winter. I also bought a very excellent comic called Rat Queens which is about a violent, rude and drunken group of D&D style adventurers who just happen to all be women. I’ve read the first section of the first volume and I love it.

Baths: it’s getting colder which means baths, plus I’ve been stressed out. A hot bath takes all the tension out of my legs, arms and torso (not necessarily my shoulders and neck, but it helps) and allows me to fall asleep a lot easier. I bought some cheerful citrusy bubble bar from lush and mmmmm so good.

Dance Central on kinect: come on ride the train… heheh I love playing this game. It’s silly good fun and exercise which I need and I get to feel totally ridiculous which, to be honest, is pretty good for the ego. Reconnecting with inner child, etc.

Honourable Mentions: My Sheriff’s secret police hoodie, chocolate easter eggs, hot seafood chowder and warm crusty bread, Chester the pillow kaiju, my windows tablet, a tidy room, decluttering, crafting projects, new warm socks, my lovely family and my fantastic friends.

Summersong ~ The Decemberists (not that it’s been very summery this week, but…)

How about you? What are you grateful for today, after this week?