Archive for the ‘Movies’ Tag

Everybody Wants Some!!   Leave a comment

Fresh off directing one of the most ambitious films ever made, Richard Linklater moves on from Boyhood to young adulthood with Everybody Wants Some!! Titled after the great Van Halen song, Linklater pens a fun and honest look at college life in 1980. Many events in the film are loosely based off Linklater’s experiences as a college freshman athlete.

Our wide-eyed main character Jake starts us off driving down the highway in a ’72 Oldsmobile coupe blasting “My Sherona” before he anxiously arrives at his Texas-based college he’ll be attending for the next four years. Right off the bat we get well acquainted with his housemates/baseball teammates he’ll be living with for the next four years. Linklater smoothly introduces us to a slew of colorful characters that we’ve all probably met before throughout our own college experiences. As different as everyone might seem, there is a fun instant chemistry among the guys. Two evident things they can all agree on is that baseball and chasing tail are the current main priorities in life. One great scene early on is with some of the guys in the car looking for girls to invite to their upcoming party while singing along to every word of The Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight.” I thought if this were today, most people would just be in the back seat texting. This is a time where people engaged with other humans because that’s all there was and I think the film really delivers on romanticizing the benefits of not having constant distractions in our lives. I love that there really isn’t one recognizable actor in this film. They all just look like guys you’d see in college. Not to take anything away from their performances of course, but I’m amazed how Linklater continually casts really genuine people which gives every one of his films a very genuine feel.

I guess “Everybody Wants Some!!” is being compared to his 1993 classic “Dazed and Confused” and rightly so. It only takes place a year after “Dazed” and the loose plot structures are similar. Both films focuses on short time frames. “Dazed” follows several students on the last day of school and ends after a late night party and “Everybody” takes place in the course of a weekend right before classes start. I still feel that both movies have their own swag. College just has a different feel than high school. Some student’s motives are similar like getting trashed and chasing tail, but these characters have more of a sense of who they are or who they’re likely going to be. In high school nobody knows squat. I liked the wise upperclassman character, Finn, who accepts that he most likely won’t play professional baseball but wants to appreciate it while it lasts. Most of the guys are in the same boat as well. They know that they’ve got it good right now being the scholarship athletes they are, but they understand that they’re peons when it’s all over. Call me a youngling, but I also found it fascinating that 18 was legal drinking age in 1980. So of course college wins over high school here.

Everybody Wants Some!! may not pan out to be the cult classic Dazed and Confused has become but I think it’s still a relevant observation of the high rolling college life of 1980. Regardless of the decade you grew up in, there’s a fun atmosphere this movie gives off that’s irresistible. Linklater captures all the subtle details from guys just hanging out talking about records to the cruel hazing that goes on for college freshmen. It also features one of the funnest  soundtracks I’ve heard in years: The Knack, Blondie, Van Halen, Dire Straits, and the Sugar Hill Gang captures the turn of the decade beautifully. And much like the soundtrack Everybody Wants Some!! is a well crafted and sensible adventure of the unknown transitions we all find ourselves stumbling through in life. I highly recommend this comedy as a great end of summer movie watch.


David Fincher: Officially “Sunday Nighted” as the New Scorsese and I Hate Blogging   3 comments

Hang in there Davey...

I really hate blogging, but once in every blue moon I’ll have a thought that’s so compelling to me that I won’t know what to do with it. So probably for the second time in my life I’ll forfeit my pride and join the billions of discontent individuals who have no better expressive outlets than to type away their frustrations for all the world to hear or be jeered. So here it goes:

Tom Hooper, just shy of 40 and a first time nominee has won himself an Academy Award for Best Achievement in Directing for The King’s Speech. The film also snagged three other major awards (Best Picture, Actor, Original Screenplay). Now, I don’t want to take anything away from Hooper’s work or the film itself. I loved everything about it. In fact, weeks leading up to the Oscars I was pulling for The King’s Speech to upset The Social Network, directed by David Fincher, which was probably the best reviewed and what seemed like the most heavily awarded film of the year. I was OK that King’s Speech won best picture, but as they announced Tom Hooper’s name for best director, something didn’t sit well with me. I though this was what I wanted. But I felt enraged and could almost hear Sam Quint from Jaws say out of frustration, “HOOPER!!!” I thought American film lovers just found a new guy to hate for robbing our beloved Fincher of his first Academy Award win. Besides, who is this Tom Hooper? All he’s really known for is directing a few descent mini-series (John Adams, Elizabeth I). The truth is it’s hard to hate a guy we’ll probably forget in a year. All we’ll really remember is Fincher didn’t win.

And it’s a real shame, because although, The Social Network may not be the best picture of the year, prior to its pre-production, the novel on which it was based was clearly on paper an untellable story to translate to film. So considering all that had to be plotted out and orchestrated for a remotely interesting story to come across on screen, you would think that it had no business turning out as good as it did. Fincher turned unorganized facts about an accidental billionaire into a deliberately stunning American achievement in the craft of direction and it truly is a travesty that a Brit swooped in and took an award away from a guy whose had more than just a few cracks at it. It felt like an athlete we were all rooting for had just lost in the Olympics and we’ll probably have to wait another four years for another shot.

I am glad though that Fincher is starting to get the recognition he deserves to at least be nominated, because he’s really been making Oscar-caliber films for over a decade and has always seemed to fly just under the radar. His films Seven (1995) and Fight Club (1999) were instant cult classics and are now are praised as two of the best thrillers of the 90’s, but not much love from the Academy at the time. It wasn’t until 2009 with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Fincher earned his first Oscar nomination, but lost to Danny Boyle’s heavily favored Slumdog Millionaire which also took home the Best Picture category.

I really hope Fincher’s career doesn’t pan out to mirror the legendary Martin Scorsese who started directing in 1963 and built an impressive resume with four Oscar nominations for Best Director but came up short on all of them until he finally won on his fifth nomination with the 2006 mafia crime thriller, The Departed, also a Best Picture winner.

Whether Fincher ever wins an Oscar or not shouldn’t matter and I’m clearly over obsessing about the issue, but he already has built himself a legacy that any multi-award winning director couldn’t buy. Fincher touches the audience in very unique ways that make people say, “Hey, it’s a David Fincher film. I’ve gotta see this one when it comes out.” Let’s hear the Tom Hooper fan club say that much about their front-running director.

And now I’m tired and I feel like I’ve accomplished nothing. And this is why I hate blogging.

It’s the Summer of Western Films!   Leave a comment

Val Kilmer sweating bullets as Doc Holliday in one of his best performances in Tombstone (1993)

As long as I can remember, I’ve never been a fan of the Western genre. It was always something I’d turn on in the middle of on a boring weekend afternoon, and then quickly turn off. Over the years, they’ve grown on me and I’ve wondered why. Maybe I’ve just matured and I’ve allowed myself to try new things. My appreciation and passion for films over the past few years have increased significantly. Not so much in an analytical sense, but just straight up enjoyment.

When you really think about it, was there ever a more awesome time period to live in than the wild west? You wake up to the smell of a died out fire, and amazing desert landscapes all around you. Hunt for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Hit up the saloon for a drink with the locals. Get a real man’s shave at the town barber. Carry a gun everywhere you go, and the best part, you get to ride a horse for purposeful reasons. Yeah, I’m talking to you, cops on horses.

It was truly a man’s time to shine without having to be respectful or respected. Just be who you are, and do what you gotta do to survive. If spitting tobacco everywhere was your thing, then no one was going to tell you off, because most likely, you had a gun.

You just don’t get performances like John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Henry Fonda, James Stewart, and heck, even Roy Rogers anymore. All of which, may not have always given Oscar caliber performances as western movie actors, but there’s no denying when you seen them on screen, you know for sure that they’re completely in love with their character and the fact that they’re in a freakin’ western! I think this is where my passion for westerns has rubbed off on me. When I see John Wayne practically playing the same role over and over again for most of his life, I start believing that he’s pretty much got the life. Why would he do so many if they weren’t so much fun to film?

No matter what the real reason is for my sudden craving for killer cacti and iron spittoons, I’m embracing every bit of it. So I’m dedicating this summer to the Western genre and will try to cram in as many as I can before the Fall, in which by then, I believe the zeal could be gone. YEEHAW!

Posted June 20, 2010 by Nick Vitto in Uncategorized

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