Tag Archives: Se7en

Food and Film for a Deserted Island

14 Sep

I was planning a different topic for today but at the beginning of the week my good friend SJ emailed me a question that stirred up a lot of thoughts and prompted this blog, which is a bit of a mental jazz riff. Bear with me. 

Her question: “If you could save only one DVD from your sinking ship, to have on a deserted Island that mysteriously has a means to play a DVD, what would your pick be?”

Without even thinking about it, before I was even finished reading her question, a movie immediately came to mind. I was surprised. It’s not my favorite movie by any means, though I do love it. It’s not in my top ten even nor do I watch it often, the way I watch over and over again other movies. I thought, ‘Wait, that can’t be right. You have to give this some consideration. After all, it’s the only movie you may ever seen again!”

I realize there are criteria. I definitely want a movie that’s long, if not epic in length. I mean, I love The General, it’s one of the best movies ever made, it’s in my top ten, it’s a movie I could watch most every day. But it’s 78 minutes long. If I only get one movie for the rest of my life, I want a movie that has a little more heft. I go through my top ten… The Godfather is #1 and seems to fit the bill: it’s amazing, it’s entertaining and yes it’s long. Ok, then. But like many of my top films (KluteChinatown, Se7en, All That Jazz, LA Confidential, various Hitchcock and Spielberg favorites) The Godfather is pretty dark. I love dark. Give me Se7en over Chariots of Fire any day. Every day for the rest of my life, though? Maybe not.

Continue reading and find out the answer here!

A Great Movie You’ve Probably Never Seen, Vol. I

21 Apr

“I’m sure you’ll find this amusing, but I’m afraid of the dark.”

                                      Bree Daniels (Jane Fonda) in Klute, 1971, dir. Alan J. Pakula

Anyone working in movies has influences. I certainly have quite a few. Spielberg and DePalma, for instance, both had an enormous effect on me when I was younger. While I’d loved movies all my life, it was after seeing JawsClose Encounters and, particularly, Dressed to Kill that I started to become aware of the camera, of film grammar (English was already my favorite subject so this was not a huge leap) and the other ways these storytellers went about their craft. Spielberg continues to be an influence, of course, the guy continually blows my mind. And there are many other directors who have had an effect, from Hitchcock to Nolan, Wyler to Nichols, Hawkes to Polanski, David Lean. My biggest influence, though, is Alan J. Pakula.

One of the most vivid movie memories I have is going to see Pakula’s adaptation of All The President’s Men with my mom one evening at the Park Plaza Twin Cinema, about which you’ve heard before. I wasn’t old enough to care about Watergate when it was actually occurring, so when I saw the movie a couple of years later, most of what I saw was new to me. The depiction of the Washington Post newsroom is legendary; the movie apparently caused a huge upswing in applications to journalism school. But more than anything, I was transfixed by the style of the movie and how the filmmaker was able to take something that should have been pretty boring and not only rivet me, but at times really scare me. It was my first experience with Pakula.

All The President’s Men (1976) is the third in Pakula’s “70’s paranoia trilogy”, the others being Klute (1971) and The Parallax View (1974).  I saw these in reverse: President’s Men in the theatre, Parallax a couple of years later on TV and Klute many years later in film school. President’s Men, among many other great achievements, has one of the best screenplays ever written. William Goldman deservedly won an Oscar for the film and I am continually amazed, each time I watch the movie, by both the film and the screenplay. Parallax is a weird, creepy, unsettling film starring Warren Beatty, essentially Pakula’s riff on the Kennedy assassination. It’s terrific. And then there is Klute, one of the best films of all time.

Click here to dive into ‘Klute’!