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The marie antionettes of this world…

Yes I am a sucker for television series’ and get hooked on them the exact second I start to watch them and now I have another guilty confession and that is the lives of New York’s elite, yes I hate to admit it but it is those girls and boys that make up Gossip Girl. There is so much wrong with this show, yet I love it to pieces and have watched the whole first season in less than a week. Oh I feel guilty already for even bringing this up and so so embarrassed. Yet, it is highly addictive in an incredibly lame way. Firstly, the most horribly lame thing about this show is the opening I guess you could call it credits in which we hear the ambiguous narrator Gossip Girl say: “xoxo Gossip Girl”. Oh it’s really enough to make you sick. The other thing that really bugs me is Dan and his so called under-privledged family living in a loft in Brooklyn wah wah. Under-privledged my ass, well maybe compared to every other spoilt brat in the show but still their loft is amazing and I would never even consider them to be under-privledged. However, what I do like is the storyline, originally I considered it as so lame that Serena (or S as everyone refers to her as, “the it girl”) left New York for a year because she slept with her best friend Blair’s boyfriend wah wah wah- they were always going to get over that. However, things are a lot more sinister than they appear especially with the arrival of Georgina about three quarters through the season her arrival foregrounded by a mysterious array of gifts sent to Serena including cases of champagne, cocaine and porn. This definitely heats things up a bit. Except the show is slightly pathetic and so are all it’s characters so scared of this Gossip Girl where all of them use Gossip Girl to send out ludicrous rumours, which in some cases are very true or very false. The bitch of them all is Blair who uses Gossip Girl to get back at people some in the most bitchy way but some for people that she actually cares out to protect them, maybe she’s slightly nicer than she pretends to be and maybe Chuck the ultimate sleeze isn’t as sleezy as he appears. As for Dan or as Gossip Girl refers to him as Lonely Boy isn’t as much of an outsider as he appears. Everything is slightly all over the place and I find Nate so incredibly boring that his role in the show becomes completely redundant, except for playing the somewhat ‘nice guy,’ but I think Dan kills him on this front.

New York's elite

What is even more exciting or not is the adults whose lives are even more ludicrous than the teenages including drug abuse, affairs with groupies and that never0-ending class battle between the rich and the poor. It’s that typical mixture of teenages with parents even more messed up than they are, who are only interested in class standing, with exception to Dan’s dad who is the reformed rock star and actually seems to give a damn. Serena’s mum is sympathetic, yet still goes for the rich man with Chuck as the son. Sorry if I’m ruining this for anyone. I’m sorry but it’s so unrealistic there hasn’t been this many problems with parents and children. Yet I guess this is what makes it such a joy to watch we love the drama as much as we want everything to be happy we want everything to fuck up and then watch them suffer to life again. It is a tv show it’s not reality. We wish we were the characters but at the same time we recognise that we would hate them if they actually existed. I just know that if I ever met someone like Blair (and I have met a few kind of like her) that I would despise her and that if I met a Dan I would probably fall head over heels in love with him and want to kill Chuck Bass. Yet, there are times when I love Blair when I think Chuck is awesome and when I completely hate Dan. And that’s the fun of tv shows we watch everything fall to shit and we watch it recindle as we restore our faith in characters or perhaps change our minds and just when we do we find out that really they haven’t and we go back to hating them. Who will end up with who? I secretly can’t wait to find out!

the dude abides

Just to make myself clear I am a massive fan of the Coen Brothers, I love Fargo for Francis McDormand’s “oh yeah” and the stunning cinematography, I love Blood Simple (their first movie) because it is the precursor of what is to follow and I love No Country for Old Men because it manages to create this unbelievable amount of suspense without using music; the silence is mortifying. Yet, I’ve got to say I have this crazy guilty pleasure for The Big Lebowski- A comedy about the white Russian drinking lazy Dude. The Dude is played by Jeff Bridges who convincingly plays someone without a job that spends all of his time bowling and drinking white russians, however gets caught up in a ridiculous situation due to the fact that someone pees on his rug and he wants it back- “It really tied the room together.” This mess includes one million dollars stolen from a charity organisation, an eccentric feminist artist (played by Juliane Moore), porn stars, pyschotic Germans and a teenages homework paper. It’s a bit of a mis-match really but it ties together so coherently a well as well as that rug tying the room together. It’s really one of those quotable movies where afterwards you sit around and just quote everything that is rememerable, anything that comes to mind. However, what I really love about this movie are the hallucinations and dream sequences in which the Dude gets carried into these alternate universes. These are almost musical numbers where the Dude dancess and prances in a world of bowling and women to Kenny Rogers’ I Just Dropped In (To See What Condition my Condition was in). The cinematography is amazing as the Dude’s shadow emerges from behind a gleaming wall, and the sexual undertones of the bowling pin and balls, even the women’s breasts are bowling balls. Jeff Bridge’s lame dancing and fixated eyes make the sequence ever so more realistic in a completely unrealistic way, the whole sequence is really quite unbelievable and almost verges on tacky but that’s really the charm of it.

In terms of the other performances my favourite would have to be Juliane Moore who plays Maude Lebowski (the Big Lebowski’s daughter) a feminist artist who is really just hilarious exaggerated by her entrance into the film flying over a painting naked and splattering paint followed by her explaining that

Maude Lebowski: Does the female form make you uncomfortable, Mr. Lebowski?
The Dude: Uh, is that what this is a picture of?
Maude Lebowski: In a sense, yes. My art has been commended as being strongly vaginal which bothers some men. The word itself makes some men uncomfortable. Vagina.
The Dude: Oh yeah?
Maude Lebowski: Yes, they don’t like hearing it and find it difficult to say whereas without batting an eye a man will refer to his dick or his rod or his Johnson.
The Dude: Johnson?

Do you like sex?

In conjunction with her is The Dude’s bowling mate Walter (John Goodman) who is a Vietnam Veteran and fake Jew who takes both very seriously and is slightly insane, actually more to the point extremely insane. He makes every situation worse yet still thinks he is right about everything and as he pulls his gun out because another bowlers foot was over the line it’s completely hilarious- He takes his bowling seriously. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is as good as he always is convincingly playing the nervous secretary of the rich Lebowski abiding and repeating everything he says, I would refer to him as the Big Lebowski’s bitch. There’s heaps of other characters to that really tie the whole movie together but I think you should just watch it to see.

The dude abides

The Coen Brothers really make this movie excellent and everything works together so well from the coreographed dance sequences to the subtle humour that I think I haven’t fully grasped yet. There are so many pop culture references and movie references from the musical to the gangster film to the pronographic to the Western (the narration). The film really encompasses it all in a dorky and suprising coherent way.

Sing a song, dance a dance

I have found a general theme through these blogs that lead me on to believe that my favourite films are those that have a really good soundtrack, are about music content wise, or are indeed musicals. However, just to clear this up and I do not care if you hate me forever, I really dislike Grease, yes kill me now. Nevertheless, the point of this blog post is the wonderful musical Singin’ in the Rain, (1952) directed and staring Gene Kelly, and also directed by Stanley Donen. To tell you the truth I have no idea why I was not exposed to this film earlier because I loved nearly every single bit about it. It was colourful, funny, had great songs and was about movies, which is something that I also love movies about movies. Due to the fact that at the moment I am studying Authorship and Narrative with particular focus on the filmmusical I have been handed articles that say Singin’ in the Rain is the only filmmusical that matches those of Ernst Lubitsch, whom was a Classical Hollywood director, who if was not born the filmmusical probably would not exist. However, this is not the point Singin’ in the Rain is pure glee, you cannot help but smile at these glorious characters who you know like singin’ in the rain, which makes me extraordinarily happy. I have a lot of favourite parts, but I will go through a few, firstly is the character Lina Lamont played by Jean Hagen. Her character is absolutely hysterical. She plays this ditzy yet manipulative female actress who has the most horrible high pitched voice you have probably ever heard, and therefore career is ruined when sound is introduced to the cinema. I love her because she has this high sense of superiority, when really everyone is absolutely irritated by her, and really cannot stand to be around her. My favourite scene with her is when she is getting trained by a voice coach, very much My Fair Lady and says “Can’t” in this very ugly over Americanised way as the voice coach hopelessly tried to make her say “Can’t” softly. It really is a lovely moment.

lina lemont

lina lemont

My second favourite part of this film is a scene when Cosmo Brown climbs up walls and jumps all over things like a crazy lunatic. Cosmo played by Donald O’Connor brings this hyper sense of energy to the film, which makes it shine¬† and honestly I love him, because he almost seems invincibly happy and go-lucky. Seriously, if the film in general does not leave a massive smile on your face his performance alone will. The next awesomely wonderful bit is the broadway scene at the end of the film, which could be summed up as an explosion of colour, dance and happiness as our main character gets whooshed into this magical world of broadway, it truly is marvellous, from the fashion of all the ladies in the background to the magnificent colour clash of the green dress, yellow vest and bright pink background that makes you feel like you’ve personally been taken into this magical world of happiness and wonder. So, yes maybe I am getting a bit carried away, I know some people that would absolutely hate this film because it is in fact too happy, yes he does sing in the rain and enjoys it. However this really is the spirit of the characters in this film, it’s all about living to be happy, which is something that I love.

i love the colour clashes so much

i love the colour clashes so much

Other things to mention are the “Good Morning” song, which makes you want to become a morning person, and where Charlie’s Angels obviously stole that flip over the couch dance move from tut tut tut. And actually according to imdb (the love of my life) there is a continuity error, where two people on the couch actually swap places which I will have to watch out for the next time I watch it. Also, of course the “Singin in the Rain” song, and how could I forget. My friend Holly perfectly summed up this scene by saying “I want a yellow raincoat and umbrella and go swinging around poles down the street.” That is what I think this film does it doesn’t cause you to think deeply about life or to ponder on lifes misfortunes but it makes you want to embrace life, and to ask yourself why aren’t I as happy as these people? Well yes none of us are famous movie stars but…. So I’m kinda semi assuming that everyone on this planet has seen this film since it was made in 1952 and yes I know that I am drastically behind the times, however go see this film, it will make your day!

little dialogue, so so much emotion

They say that a good movie draws you in within the first fifteen minutes and keeps you in throughout the entire film, making it seem like that hour and a half or so went for ten minutes, oh did the movie just end? This is the exact effect that happened to me while watching Samson and Delilah, an Australian film directed by Warwick Thorton. I had been wanting to see this film since it won the Golden Camera Award at Cannes. I seriously was not disappointed, which I told my mum after exiting the film, that this was most definitely not overrated, not in the least.

media release poster

media release poster

The thing that tells me this film is so unbelievably fantastic is that so much is conveyed without dialogue, in fact the film barelly has any dialogue in it and the character’s emotions are very much conveyed through action and the very clever and skillful cinematography. One of my favourite parts of this film is near the beginning where Samson throws a rock into Delilah’s back, an ‘obvious’ sign of affection. So yes, there are light-hearted parts to this highly captivating, yet depressing film about aboriginal teenages that slowly get destroyed by drugs, deaths and violence. On the whole if this movie does not make you cry I will be shocked! The scenes are touching and so well put together, with a large use of silhouetted images, conveying the dark shadows that lie over these characters and the dark world in which they live, even though it is very much bright and sunny on a daily basis, this is not their life. One scene that makes you realise just how desperate these teenages are is when Delilah tries to sell her art work to people sitting in cafes and they all just look at her disapprovingly, because she is covered in dirt and obviously homeless, this long shot that pans across all these people looking at her with disgust makes me realise just how lucky we are. They do not even have a house to live in. The film is so well done, where everything is true to the story, and done so realistically, where you feel this stabbing pain in your chest when you realise that Samson’s brain is so fried that he does not even realise that Delilah is being dragged away into a car by thugs. The background simply blurs as he stumbles on, petrol in hand. Oh and do not worry I am not ruining any substantial plot details.

one of those rare lighter parts in the film

one of those rare lighter parts in the film

This film also does extraordinarily well at capturing the context in which these two individuals are unfortunately placed as the beginning of the film shows the routined lives of these two individuals, a simple repetition of the same events everyday, where they do everything they can to somewhat survive in this tiny outback town, made up of a few houses and a lot of dust. The wide birds-eye view angles of the town truly capture the desperate nature of these people on an everyday basis. This mixed with Delilah wheelchairing her nana back and forth along a dusty road and forcing her to take her tablets every morning establishes her character as someone who has grown up too quickly, who has had to look after someone, when perhaps she is the one that needs to be looked after. Even though there is very little dialogue this film uses music very well to not only express the routine of their lives through ‘the verandah band’ but also music as a metaphor for peace, whenever either of these two people hear music they are spellbounded into this exterior world, a world where everything seems just that little bit better. This is so wonderfully shown in a shot that shows Samson dancing in slow motion, the camera close up on his body as he is absorbed into the music. It is moments like this that make you realise how special this film is, one that is also so close to home in an Australian context also makes it that little bit better, it is always good to see a well made Australian movie, well it gives me hope anyway.

Delilah played by Marissa Gibson

Delilah played by Marissa Gibson

Now that I think back on this film it makes me feel this little sense of shame that I have ever complained about anything in my whole life, because I have never experienced anything has horrible as these two teenages, stuck in the middle of no where, ostracised from the only place that represents a tiny bit of safety, that really is not even that safe. Without dialogue you feel these two individuals love in these dire circumstances as they watch each other and in some ways look after each other in the best way they can, well in Delilah’s case anyway. I look back at this film and realise just how brilliant it is because it has so little dialogue and so so much heart at its very core, because without the strength in character that these two people have I do not know how they would ever have survived.