Filmstruck4: The Movies That Define Me

So the “Filmstruck 4” challenge of picking four movies that define you went around this week, and I spent a good amount of time trying to pick mine. (It is HARD) And I think I managed a pretty decent stack. It was tough to narrow down but I think I did it:

Sabrina (1954) – Directed by Billy Wilder

Sabrina.jpg

When I think about Sabrina I get a dreamy look in my eye, and when I analyze the movie, it really gives me everything I’ve come to love in romantic comedy. The top shelf antics of the super rich, a transformation of a mousy girl into a gorgeous image of feminine perfection, (OK, this movie’s idea of “mousy” is Audrey Hepburn with a ponytail wearing a slightly ill fitting jumper, but you know, context!), family complication, and William Holden in a white dinner jacket.

It also kicked off my love affair with black and white films and Audrey Hepburn in particular, so that’s pretty important, plus it has my favorite dress in all of cinema history.

The Little Mermaid (1989) – Directed By Ron Clements & John Musker

The Little Mermaid

This was the first movie that I ever saw in a theater, remains my favorite Disney movie, and has some of my favorite Disney music. (Including the platonic ideal of an “I Want” song.) Every time I watch it, I’m reminded of my deep and abiding love for this flick.

The Princess Bride (1987) – Directed by Rob Reiner

ThePrincessBride-web_original.jpg

“Are you kidding? Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles…”

So much of everything I am and do is defined by The Princess Bride. From taking fairytales seriously (but not too seriously!) to tongue in cheek camp humor, to Mandy Patinkin and Billy Crystal, plus countless familial inside jokes that revolve around seeing this movie far too many times, (we text one another when someone finds it on TV so that we can all find a television and watch it immediately. I never said this was healthy.)

Dogma (1999) – Directed by Kevin Smith

Dogma

Long before I accepted my destiny as a fangirl, I was a Kevin Smith superfan, and long before I accepted my own shades of grey relationship with Catholicism, Dogma at least got me asking questions about it. It’s also got my all time favorite Ben Affleck performance, (second only to Shakespeare In Love) and is probably the reason I’ve always considered him a character actor rather than a lead. I have a real love for Alan Rickman’s Metatron too, and actually it’s the character I think of first for him. (With apologies to Professor Snape and Mr. Gruber) I also think it’s Smith’s best directing work, (Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back is a close second.) and has my favorite Silent Bob lines. No monologues, simply, a gruff, “No Ticket,” after throwing Loki off a train and a simple “Thanks,” to God and Metatron after his and Jay’s commedation in the finale.

I could only pick four, which is why there is nary a Star War nor a Batman on this list.

Runners Up: Star Wars, Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, Legally Blonde, West Side Story, Gone With The Wind, Batman Forever & The Sandlot

Snoochie Boochies

Continuing with this weeks theme of “gateways,” I’m going to talk about one of the biggest ones for me.

And no, that wasn’t a joke about Kevin Smith’s weight.

But let’s talk about Kevin Smith, the View Askewniverse, and the glory of Jay and Silent Bob.

I first came upon this Universe the way a lot people do. I saw Mallrats on TBS some rainy Saturday. I was maybe 11. I thought it was the funniest movie I had ever seen. A few years later, I found Dogma, and oh my God, did I love that movie. There are a lot of things about that movie that really speak to a fifteen year old liberal Catholic who still really, really loves the Church. It encourages questioning, but doesn’t dismiss faith and belief (or ideas as Smith would prefer you refer to them) as stupid.

Also, it had my all time top of the line Celebrity Crush Matt Damon in it as a sarcastic exiled angel of death who deconstructs the Walrus and The Carpenter as an indictment of organized religion.

Which is just objectively amazing on any and all levels.

When my dumb teenage brain finally put together that, “Hey, those Jay and Silent Bob guys are in both those movies,” and Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back, came out, well, that changed everything. Also, I watched a Clerks: The Animated Series marathon on Comedy Central one weekend. I eventually, like many artsy teenagers went through a phase where I thought that Chasing Amy was the deepest and most sensitive movie of all time. I tried to watch it again recently, and oof, it’s tough to get through. Although Jason Lee is pretty dope and the “Chasing Amy” speech that Silent Bob gives might be Smith’s best non joke based monologue. Clerks remains one of my favorite movies ever, because there’s just something really, really magical about it, and if you’ve ever worked retail, I just, it’s just amazing.

Clerks II doesn’t really hold up. I mean, I own the DVD. I’ve watched it more than once, but it’s just a tough watch, despite Jeff Anderson being completely wonderful.

Over time I’ve kind of outgrown Smith’s work. It just doesn’t really fit into my life and point of view anymore. I still haven’t seen Red State, and I probably won’t see Tusk. (Though I might carve out space for Yoga Hosers…) But it holds a special place for me, especially because Kevin’s personal story showed me that this was something that someone like me, who thought like me and had a background like mine could really do this. There’s a place in the world for characters to sit in a room and talk about pop culture in crazy minute detail.

That’s been an incredible gift to me.

Also, I’ve been spending the past ten years trying to curb the potty mouth I gained by watching all of Kevin’s movies as many times as I did in high school. Seriously. So much cursing.

Note: After I finished writing this post yesterday, Kevin announced that he has the funding together for Clerks 3, and it’s hard to not be a little bit underwhelmed by this. I don’t know if it’s a sign of maturity or what, but there was a time that this news would have sent me reeling for weeks on end. As it is, I’m kind of interested in seeing what Dante and Randal are up to, but mostly just, kind of over it. But still I mean, The View Askiewnaverse was a really big part of my life for a while, so I’ll definitely be checking out the movie.

Things I’m Obsessed With Right Now

Hi Guys! I was going to write a whole beautiful post about Into The Woods, my brother, my friends and theatre for today, but then last night I decided to go to a dive bar with some guys from Little Shop of Horrors…so that didn’t happen.

So instead, here’s a list of things that I’m obsessed with right now:

  1. Little Shop of Horrors: If you’re from the Northern New Jersey/New York area, you should come see my show next weekend! More info Here!
  2. Sailor Moon, (duh!) But specifically Sailor Moon Crystal and the Manga. I’m enjoying the 90’s anime too, and it’s starting to pick up again, now that we’ve finally met Sailor Jupiter, but it’s long man. Opening the floor for suggestions of other anime and manga things I should be checking out.
  3. Still in Sailor Moon, friend of the blog Nikkisee’s Crystal recaps are among my favorite things to read when they come out every other Monday. Here’s this week’s, you should read her stuff anyway.
  4. Kate Leth’s Tumblr, and her podcast Less Than Live, and  just Kate in general, and just Tumblr in general. I have one now! I don’t use it much, I’m still learning, but follow me!
  5. Listening to various Guardians Of The Galaxy playlists on Spotify. The speculative ones about what people think might be on “Awesome Mix 2” are the ones I like best so far.
  6. My favorite summer drink, The Madras. It’s vodka, orange juice and cranberry juice. It’s super refreshing and cute and pink and you don’t have to decide is you want a screwdriver or a vodka cranberry!
  7. Chris Pratt
  8. Half baked theories about how Guardians is going to connect to the mainline Marvel Universe. My friend Greg and I declared that it’s probably through Skye’s dad, who also might be Coulson. Or something with The Collector
  9. Chris Pratt’s abs
  10. Avoiding Doctor Who spoilers at all costs. Also, deciding if I want to do the premiere in the movie theaters, or if I want to stay home and watch the pre and post show hosted by Chris Hardwick in real time.
  11. Chris Hardwick. (POINTS!)
  12. Ranting about the moving of Jupiter Ascending to February.
  13. Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman costume. I love it. She should look like Xena. Why do so many people think that’s a bad thing?
  14. Kevin Smith’s Fatman on Batman podcast. I get giddy everytime I listen, because I’m a huge dork. I’m not doing a lot of Bat-fanning these days, so it’s nice to listen to some of the biggest names in the fandom talk about it every once in a while.
  15. Chris Pratt’s arms
  16. Gail Simone’s twitter. She’s so cool.
  17. Fan art featuring The Robins. I spent like an hour when I got home last night just looking at hilarious fan art of Damian and Tim squabbling, and Dick telling them to cut it out. Also sometimes Jason and Stephanie are there. But not always.
  18. Yale Stewart’s JL8, which I’ve been obsessed with since last fall, but has yet to waver.
  19. Dancing Baby Groot (I am a human being with a soul after all)
  20. Her Universe’s Captain America Dress, which I really, really need to order, because I’ve been obsessed with it for a while now, and I love what Her Universe is doing for women in geek culture. Their stuff is so cute and fun and so spot on fandom fantastic. I hope they get DC licensing soon, because I would buy the shit out of any of their Batman merchandise.
  21. The Into The Woods trailer, which I think I watched 7 times this weekend, and I will write about tomorrow!

Anyway,  that’s where my head is at the moment.

Bats Like Us, Baby we were born to run

There’s a little nugget of information floating around the net right now, that I can’t ignore. Also, it’s important to note that it has actually been months since I wrote about Batman.

I'm proud of me too!

I’m proud of me too!

But how on earth was I supposed to ignore that fact that Gotham City has officially been placed in New Jersey by an old DC Universe encyclopedia?

You have to understand how great this news is to someone like me.

I mean, someone who has lived her entire life as a New Jersey resident, and loves Batman. (As I may have mentioned a million times) Someone who takes pride in the famous residents of her state, be they real, like Bruce Springsteen, Kevin Smith or The Cake Boss or fictional, like Holden McNeil, that guy who lives in the bottom of the ravine in Garden State, and now Batman!

Look, that the Caped Crusader is one of us kind of makes a lot of sense. We’re notorious for our short tempers, our low tolerance for bullshit and our inability to deal with our feelings in healthy head on ways.

We elected this man!

We elected this man!

Bruce Wayne’s Jersey Strong-ness makes perfect sense. Also, he fights the mafia. We have that here!

In case you were wondering

In case you’ve been asleep for the past ten years, there was a fairly successful television show about it.

We also have muggers and well, maybe we don’t have flamboyant idiotic criminals with stupid aliases, but most of the other stuff, we totally have.

Wait! These guys could totally be Batman villains!

Wait! We have those too! Please beat them to pulp for us Batman!

And so, in my small way, I am deeply excited to welcome The Dark Knight to the pantheon of amazing fictional New Jerseysians.

I bet Brody from Mallrats is about to explode from happiness right now.