5 Great Romance Films on Netflix

Today is Valentine’s Day, and what better way to celebrate than by watching romantic films? Even if you aren’t going to spending your Valentine’s Day with someone you love, you can celebrate by appreciating the great love stories from cinema. These are some of my favorites that are available on Netflix instant for you to watch tonight (I also just realized that four of the six films I chose deal heavily with death. I don’t know what that says about my relationship with romantic movies, but these are all really excellent, regardless).

The Apartment, 1960, dir. Billy Wilder

I developed a small crush on Jack Lemmon after watching this film for the first time. I say small because he is and always will be John Gustafson, the grumpy old man, to me, but he is so darn charming in this movie it’s impossible to not fall a little bit in love with him. Shirley Maclaine is equally as charming, and you spend the entire film rooting for them and detesting Fred MacMurray. The story is smart and quick- a young man works his way up the business ladder by letting his superiors use his apartment for evenings with their mistresses. This leads to a romantic complication.  When Jack Lemmon’s character comes to the realization of said complication, the look on his face is heartbreaking. A great film, with one of the best endings to a romantic comedy of all time.

Amélie, 2001, dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet

I can confidently make the claim that there isn’t a single movie in the world more charming than Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amélie. Amélie is a young Parisian girl doing her best to help those around her, and in doing so she finds herself falling in love with a photograph of a man she finds in a photo booth.

SWAYZE DOUBLE FEATURE: Dirty Dancing, 1987, dir. Emile Ardolino/Ghost, 1990, dir. Jerry Zucker

I couldn’t make a decision, so here’s two Swayze features, both are modern classics. I, ashamedly, didn’t see Ghost until last year, but I cried like a baby. That final scene really is as romantic as it’s given credit for. I’ve seen Dirty Dancing numerous times, but I just recently watched it again and remembered how great it really is (and Patrick Swayze is REMARKABLY sexy in that movie, I mean, it’ll make you weak in the knees).

Sabrina, 1954, dir. Billy Wilder

Bogart, Hepburn, Holden- it’s star-studded! My favorite Hepburn film that I’ve seen. It’s still bizarre to me that Audrey Hepburn was often put in the role of awkward, gangly brunette who isn’t immediately seen as beautiful. She’s one of the most iconic American beauties. This is a great film, though. I haven’t seen the remake with Harrison Ford and I don’t need to- this one is perfect. Isn’t it romantic?

Rent, 2005, dir. Chris Columbus

Rent is indubitably my favorite musical. I’ve never cried so hard at a musical (the I’ll Cover You reprise? I was a human waterfall). It’s full of love stories, Mimi & Roger, Collins & Angel, Maureen & Joanne, Mark & his film, it’s a perfect musical. Jonathan Larson was a genius, and his story is heartbreaking. He died unexpectedly of an aortic dissection the morning of Rent‘s first performance Off Broadway. Larson was a straight man who wrote such a touching story of addicts, homosexuals, and struggling artists in 1989 at the height of the AIDS epidemic. The fight for gay rights is, unfortunately, still an issue today. Here’s hoping that soon equal rights will actually mean equal rights and love will mean love and anyone can marry whoever they want regardless of gender.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Annie Hall (one of my favorite films of all time, the story of a break up), Love Story (sad sad sad sad sad), Big Fish (just the scenes between Ewan McGregor and Alison Lohman), Frances Ha (I would definitely include this in a Galentine’s Day list- seriously the best friendship story)

GOLDEN GLOBE NOMINATIONS

GG

I woke up this morning to news that the nominees for this year’s Golden Globes had been announced. The Golden Globes are great; they’re probably my favorite awards show. Most likely because Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have hosted for the past few years and nothing in the whole world could top that (the only thing that has ever come close is Neil Patrick Harris). I’m sad that this is their final year hosting, but the list of nominees is tremendous and I just want to spend some time talking about that.

Best motion picture — drama

“Boyhood”
“Foxcatcher”
“The Imitation Game”
“Selma”
“The Theory of Everything”

Being from a small town in Alabama, we don’t get the limited release features that come around. So, sadly, the only film on this list I’ve seen as of yet is Boyhood, and my God, it was brilliant. I’ve wanted to see Foxcatcher for a few years now, and I think it will be nothing short of a vision. The Imitation Game has been on high buzz since it was released, and I’m highly intrigued by it. I am personally interested in Selma because it was filmed in my home state and takes place in my home state and all of that. Every time I see a commercial for The Theory of Everything I cry, and I love Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne and I just think it will completely destroy my emotions. So, as you can tell, I’m not very qualified to be making picks, but I’m going to do it anyway because I love awards season. And, honestly, the only movie on this list that I think I could even possibly like more than Boyhood is Foxcatcher. So.

Best motion picture — musical or comedy

“Birdman”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Into the Woods”
“Pride”
“St. Vincent”

OBVIOUSLY I’M GOING TO PICK THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL because Wes Anderson is my all-time favorite and I’m so proud of all the awards he’s been nominated for in this year’s Globes. Could this lead to his first Best Picture nom? Let’s hope so. Birdman has been at the top of my must-see list all year, but it hasn’t made it’s way to podunk Alabama yet. As a musical theater nerd, I’m super excited/nervous about Into The Woods. I fear it won’t be as upsetting/depressing as the original stage play, which is the best part about the stage play. The trailer for Pride looked decent enough (though it was a little heavy on the emotional resolve that inevitably comes in the end) and St. Vincent looks good. Birdman is the likely winner. Again, I’ll make another post when I see more of these films.

Best actress in a motion picture — drama

Jennifer Aniston, “Cake”
Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything”
Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”
Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”
Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”

I have only seen Gone Girl as Rosamund Pike was the perfect Amy Dunne. I’m not even going to go into the others because I haven’t seen them, but I will! You have my word.

Best actor in a motion picture — drama

Steve Carell, “Foxcatcher”
Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game”
David Oyelowo, “Selma”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”
Jake Gyllenhaal, “Nightcrawler”

I have no comment on any of these because I, unfortunately, haven’t seen any of these. However, I’m shocked that Jack O’Connell didn’t receive a nomination for his performance in Unbroken, which has been heavily talked about. WHERE IS COOK’S NOM, GLOBES?!

giphy

Best actor in a motion picture — musical or comedy

Ralph Fiennes, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Michael Keaton, “Birdman”
Bill Murray, “St. Vincent”
Joaquin Phoenix, “Inherent Vice”
Christoph Waltz, “Big Eyes”

The resurgence of Michael Keaton makes me happy all over, but man, oh, man I want Ralph Fiennes to win for The Grand Budapest Hotel. I am in favor of all things Wes Anderson, yes, but Fiennes was so hilarious and charming in TGBH and he deserves it.

Best actress in a motion picture — musical or comedy

Amy Adams, “Big Eyes”
Emily Blunt, “Into the Woods”
Helen Mirren, “The Hundred-Foot Journey”
Julianne Moore, “Maps to the Stars”
Quvenzhane Wallis, “Annie”

Sorry, this new Annie looks awful and I can’t understand why Quvenzhane Wallis was nominated. I cringe at all the television teasers for the movie, and I have nothing against Quvenzhane Wallis! I just have things against unnecessary remakes and… I feel like there had to have been a better candidate for this category. Actually, I KNOW there’s a better candidate for this category and it’s JENNY SLATE FOR OBVIOUS CHILD. I was really crossing my fingers for this nomination, either for her or for director Gillian Robespierre (Obvious Child was her directorial debut! And it was so good! SO GOOD). Jenny Slate is one of my favorite people, and she deserved this.

Best supporting actor in a motion picture

Robert Duvall, “The Judge”
Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood”
Edward Norton, “Birdman”
Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher”
J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

I normally don’t like Ethan Hawke (with the exception of Reality Bites) but I loved him in Boyhood. He was perfect! He didn’t get a whole lot of screen time, but he lit it up whenever he was on screen. Moving on.

Best supporting actress in a motion picture

Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
Jessica Chastain, “A Most Violent Year”
Emma Stone, “Birdman”
Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods”
Keira Knightley, “The Imitation Game”

Okay, Meryl Streep. This is getting out of hand. You know in football when a team gets so far ahead of their opponent that they start to play terribly just so the other team doesn’t feel so bad? I think it’s about time Meryl Streep started doing the same. Like, maybe Meryl should be the next lead in Transformers. Or maybe she could be the romantic lead in the next Adam Sandler film? Y’know what, screw that, those films would probably get Oscar nominations if she was in them. It’s a lose-lose.
The only film I’ve seen in this category, again, is Boyhood, and Patricia Arquette was my favorite part of Boyhood. That scene where she breaks down crying at the kitchen table affected me more than any scene in any movie from this year. So excellent and emotional.

Best animated feature film

“Big Hero 6”
“The Book of Life”
“The Boxtrolls”
“How to Train Your Dragon 2”
“The Lego Movie”

The Lego Movie. No question. One of the best and most funny movies I’ve seen all year.

Best director

Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Ava DuVernay, “Selma”
David Fincher, “Gone Girl”
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, “Birdman”
Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”

Oh, Wes Anderson, how I hope you’ll win this! You deserve it! You’re the best, most uniquely original director ever and I love you so much. The hard part here is that a couple of my other favorite directors are nominated- David Fincher and Richard Linklater. But I don’t care, I’m sticking with Wes.

Best screenplay 

Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Gillian Flynn, “Gone Girl”
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, “Birdman”
Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”
Graham Moore, “The Imitation Game”

Do I even have to say who I want to win? WES.

Best original score 

Alexandre Desplat, “The Imitation Game”
Johann Johannsson, “The Theory of Everything”
Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, “Gone Girl”
Antonio Sanchez, “Birdman”
Hans Zimmer, “Interstellar”

I’m such a huge fan of Reznor and Ross’s collaboration with Fincher, and their score so perfectly summed up the terror of Gone Girl.

Best original song 

“Big Eyes,” from “Big Eyes”
“Glory,” from “Selma”
“Mercy Is,” from “Noah”
“Opportunity,” from “Annie”
“Yellow Flicker Beat,” from “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part I”

I have no input on this category. I love Sia, but I’m torn because she sings that damn song from Annie, a film that I can’t understand why is nominated for anything (I know, I haven’t seen it yet, but I have a strong gut reaction when it comes to these kinda things).

Best foreign language film 

“Force Majeure Turist” (Sweden)
“Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem Gett” (Israel)
“Ida” (Poland/Denmark)
“Leviathan” (Russia)
“Tangerines Mandariinid” (Estonia)

I want to see Ida so bad, and I just saw that it’s on Netflix so I’ll watch it here soon.

TV

Best TV series — drama

“The Affair”
“Downton Abbey”
“Game of Thrones”
“The Good Wife”
“House of Cards”

~I don’t watch any of these shows but I know I should~

Best actor in a TV series — drama

Clive Owen, “The Knick”
Liev Schreiber, “Ray Donovan”
Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”
James Spader, “The Blacklist”
Dominic West, “The Affair”

~Same thing I said before~

Best actress in a TV series — drama

Claire Danes, “Homeland”
Viola Davis, “How to Get Away With Murder”
Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife”
Ruth Wilson, “The Affair”
Robin Wright, “House of Cards”

~I guess I should note that these squiggly lines mean that I’m saying this in a sing song voice~

Best TV series — comedy

“Girls”
“Jane the Virgin”
“Orange is the New Black”
“Silicon Valley”
“Transparent”

I’m just so happy that Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory weren’t nominated! Modern Family is the Meryl Streep of television comedy, and The Big Bang Theory is the dog shit that Meryl Streep stepped in. Anyway, Girls is one of my favorites, I’m such a huge, huge fan, and I always root for it. I desperately need to watch Jane the Virgin because I’ve only heard great things about it. OITNB is also one of my favorites, but it doesn’t compare to Girls, and I wasn’t as impressed with Season 2 as I was with Season 1 (I did love it! Just not as much). I’ve watched a few episodes of Silicon Valley and thought it was funny (I love Martin Starr), and Transparent is another need-to-see. Anyway, WHERE IS VEEP?

Best actor in a TV series — comedy

Louis C.K., “Louie”
Don Cheadle, “House of Lies”
Ricky Gervais, “Derek”
William H. Macy, “Shameless”
Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent”

LOUIE LOUIE LOUIE LOUIEEEEEE.

Best actress in a TV series — comedy

Lena Dunham, “Girls”
Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”
Gina Rodriguez, “Jane the Virgin”
Taylor Schilling, “Orange is the New Black”

Queen JLD deserves this one. Selina Meyer is such a great character and she plays it perfectly. Veep is one of the best!

Best TV movie or mini-series

“Fargo”
“The Missing”
“The Normal Heart”
“Olive Kitteridge”
“True Detective”

True Detective, because there was nothing on television in 2014 that I loved more than True Detective. It’s brilliant.

Best actor in a mini-series or TV movie 

Martin Freeman, “Fargo”
Woody Harrelson, “True Detective”
Matthew McConaughey, “True Detective”
Mark Ruffalo, “The Normal Heart”
Billy Bob Thornton, “Fargo”

I am ALWAYS rooting for McConaughey. And, subsequently, True Detective.

Best actress in a mini-series or TV movie

Maggie Gyllenhaal, “The Honorable Woman”
Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story: Freak Show”
Frances McDormand, “Olive Kitteridge”
Frances O’Connor, “The Missing”
Allison Tolman, “Fargo”

Jessica Lange is THE head bitch in charge, and if she doesn’t win this the world is off its axis or something.

Best supporting actor in a series, mini-series or TV movie

Matt Bomer, “The Normal Heart”
Alan Cumming, “The Good Wife”
Colin Hanks, “Fargo”
Bill Murray, “Olive Kitteridge”
Jon Voight, “Ray Donovan”

~no comment, ugh, I need to get to watchin’ this stuff~

Best supporting actress in a series, mini-series or TV movie

Uzo Aduba, “Orange is the New Black”
Kathy Bates, “American Horror Story: Freak Show”
Allison Janney, “Mom”
Michelle Monaghan, “True Detective”
Joanne Froggatt, “Downton Abbey”

I know I said I’m always rooting for True Detective, but Uzo Aduba is who deserves this. Crazy Eyes is a much better character than Monaghan’s Maggie.

I feel very under-qualified to post my opinions about the Globes, but I have these opinions and I wanted to post them and it’s my blog! So. I will update this once I see more of the films and whatnot.

What are your opinions on the Globes this year? Who do you think got snubbed? Jenny Slate did!!!!!

Let’s talk about it.

MY, OH, MY IT’S BEEN TOO LONG

Hello, internet! My laptop charger broke and I was without my precious MacBook for nearly a month, but I’m back and better than ever. Other than that, life has been tremendous. Being without a computer was quite wonderful, honestly. It gave me time to do things other than stare at a screen for hours on end. So, I’m going to recommend some things that I enjoyed during my absence from the internet.

1. Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion

I finally read Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem (happy belated birthday to the truly inspirational Didion- she just turned 80 and is still as stylish and lovely as ever) and it blew me away. Her prose will make you want to be a better writer. It will also make you want to read everything she’s ever written.

2. Twin Peaks (TV series, 1990-1991)

Shamefully, it took me until 2014 to finally watch Twin Peaks in its entirety. It’s still haunting me. David Lynch has a way of doing that- peering into the darkest places and making you feel terror that shouldn’t exist outside of actual nightmares. The scenes with Bob have given me nightmares like nothing else.

3. Yes, Please by Amy Poehler

Yes, Please is so incredible and honest and my, God, we are lucky Amy Poehler exists in our lifetime. I suggest you read this one right away. It’ll make you want to take the world by storm and experience everything.

3. The One I Love, 2014, dir. Charlie McDowell

I saw the trailer, which reveals little but intrigues a lot, and was transfixed. Mark Duplass tweeted that it was finally available on Netflix and I watched it immediately. You need to do the same before you hear anything about the plot. It’s the most uniquely original film I’ve seen in quite some time. I was entertained from the first scene. It should also be noted that Ted Danson is in this for little bit, which makes The One I Love well worth watching just for that. His stepson, Charlie McDowell (son of Malcolm McDowell and Mary Steenburgen), directed the movie, and Mary Steenburgen’s voice is featured in one scene. It’s a family affair!

5. “Birthday” by Selena Gomez
My friend Rachel heard this song while shopping in Forever 21 and immediately reported back to me on how girly and fun it is. It’s been our car ride go-to, and it really is the most girly and the most fun.

“WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE SCARY MOVIE?”

Netflix is filled to the brim with great horror movies right now, and I, of course, am long overdue to recommend some movies to you. So, grab yourself some candy corn and a bottle of Oktoberfest and start setting up your Netflix queue because I’ve got 20 great movies you need to be watching this month.

Scream, 1996, dir. Wes Craven

Scream is my personal favorite horror movie. It’s the horror movie for movie buffs. It’s super, super 90s, which is always welcome in my book, and Matthew Lillard is in it, which is also always welcome in my book. Scream was written by Kevin Williamson who writes a lot of great horror/thriller genre titles including The Following and Stalker. Williamson is responsible for a load of 90s excellence namely ScreamI Know What You Did Last Summer, and, surprisingly, many an episode of Dawson’s Creek. While the first installment of Scream is the best, the entire trilogy is on Netflix and it’s a top notch trilogy… just leave out Scream 4. I like to pretend it doesn’t exist.

Cabin In The Woods, 2012, dir. Drew Goddard

Cabin In The Woods takes a wicked awesome turn not even half way through the movie. It’s written by Joss Whedon, who many people think turns everything he touches to gold.

Black Sunday, 1960, dir. Mario Bava

lot of Mario Bava’s films are on Netflix right now, but Black Sunday is the creepiest. I mean, just look at that picture. Those are the most terrifying eyes I’ve ever seen in my life! No Steve Buscemi jokes, please. 😉

The Blair Witch Project, 1999, dir. Daniel Myrick & Eduardo Sanchez

Okay, The Blair Witch Project gets a lot of flack, but it’s a classic. It defined the found footage genre and terrified the pants off a ton of 90s kids. I remember seeing the trailer and hearing my cousin and her friend talk about wanting to go see it and being scared for my life that the witch that took the three filmmakers that went out into those woods was going to somehow make her way to me because I wanted to be a filmmaker at the time. It’s scary, and yes, at times goofy. But when they get to that house at the end… all bets are off.

Carrie, 1976, dir. Brian De Palma

I’m just going to say this: the scene where Piper Laurie is going after Sissy Spacek with that knife STILL permeates my nightmares.

Evil Dead II, 1987, dir. Sam Raimi

Bruce. Campbell.

Grave Encounters, 2011, dir. The Vicious Brothers

It’s going to become aware that I really really like found footage films. They bring the scares, and Grave Encounters is no different. A television production crew (think Ghost Hunters) travels to an abandoned mental hospital and some scary stuff happens. See photo above.

The House of the Devil, 2009, dir. Ti West

The thing I liked about this movie is the fact that it looked and felt like a late 70s/early 80s horror film. It was shot on 16mm which did the trick, but the absolute coolest thing is that they promotionally released it on VHS. In 2009! So cool. The story was captivating until the end (the end disappointed me, but this is a great watch. Greta Gerwig is in it and she’s great).

Insidious 2, 2013, dir. James Wan

James Wan has directed so many of my favorite horror movies of the past decade. Insidious 2 is frightening, and the story is unique.

Let The Right One In, 2008, dir. Tomas Alfredson

A modern classic vampire story.

Night of the Living Dead, 1968, dir. George A. Romero

The definitive zombie film. Forget The Walking Dead (seriously).

Paranormal Activity 4, 2012, dir. Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman

Okay, so look. I know a lot of people hate on the Paranormal Activity franchise, but there is absolutely nothing better than going to the theater to see one of these films on opening night and getting jump scared over and over again. I thought Paranormal Activity 4 was great; I think all of them are great. Disagree all you want. They’re fun, fun movies.

Red State, 2011, dir. Kevin Smith

Red State was a pleasant surprise. Kevin Smith, who you probably know better as Silent Bob, wrote and directed this film and just released a new horror film, Tusk, that I’m psyched for, especially after seeing Red State.

V/H/S, 2012, dir. Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, David Bruckner, Tyler Gillett, Justin Martinez, Glenn McQuaid, Radio Silence, Joe Swanberg, Chad Villella, Ti West, & Adam Wingard

Until I saw V/H/S, I hadn’t ever seen a film that I wanted to turn off within the first 20 minutes because I was shaking-scared. There’s something about V/H/S that just crawls under your skin. I highly recommend it, though, because it is freaking horrifying. I’ll admit right here right now that when I went to google a photo to use for this movie I was scared because I knew I was going to use a photo of the “I like you” girl and I didn’t want to look at her because she gives me nightmares.

V/H/S 2, 2013, dir. Simon Barrett, Jason Eisner, Gareth Evans, Gregg Hale, Eduardo Sanchez, Timo Tjahjanto, & Adam Wingard

Remember what I said about V/H/S? Yeah, same goes for V/H/S 2.

You’re Next, 2011, dir. Adam Wingard

Adam Wingard directed and Joe Swanberg wrote You’re Next, and they both directed shorts in the V/H/S movies, so I had high expectations for this. It was good, not great, but highly entertaining and a good one to keep in your queue for a Halloween movie marathon.

Dead Silence, 2007, dir. James Wan

A. Ventriloquist dummies (which were made terrifying for all children of the Goosebumps generation, thanks R.L. Stine) and B. Mary Shaw, who is the Woman in Black but more visible due to more camera time, and scarier. I mean, she’s a ventriloquist with like a million dummies!

Bad Milo, 2013, dir. Jacob Vaughan

Horror comedies are the best, and while nothing can trump Shaun of the Dead, Bad Milo makes a valiant effort. It stars Ken Marino and Gillian Jacobs, and that simple fact makes me very, very happy.

Rosemary’s Baby, 1968, dir. Roman Polanski

I’ve mentioned Rosemary’s Baby before in my 1960s film recommendations post, and I’m mentioning it again because it’s that good. Just watch it. If you haven’t yet you’re a fool.

Zodiac, 2007, dir. David Fincher

Let us list the terrific components of this movie, shall we? David Fincher. Jake Gyllenhaal. Robert Downey, Jr. Chloë Sevigny. Mark Ruffalo. True crime. It’s all there, and it’s all perfect, which explains why this film is the best feature film adaptation of a true crime book to ever exist. I challenge anyone to challenge that, because I want more true crime films.

10 MOVIES FROM THE 1960S STREAMING ON NETFLIX/HULU THAT YOU NEED TO WATCH

The 1960s were an EXCELLENT time for film. It’s when the world was introduced to the French New Wave, it’s when Stanley Kubrick really found his voice as a filmmaker, it’s when the cult film really came into being, and those are just a handful of landmarks in film history that happened in the 1960s. If you haven’t seen many films from the 1960s, what’s wrong with you? Get to it! You have a plethora of fantastic choices at your fingertips through the beauty that is Netflix and Hulu, and I’m here to give you some recommendations.


10. Cléo from 5 to 7, 1962, dir. Agnès Varda
Available on: Hulu Plus

If you want to really experience Paris, France in the 1960s, the movie you need to watch is Cléo from 5 to 7. Cléo, a French singer, is nervously awaiting a biopsy from her doctor. To distract herself, she travels around Paris for two hours.


09. Persona, 1966, dir. Ingmar Bergman
Available on: Hulu Plus

Want to watch something that really messes with your brain? Persona will do the job, for sure. A nurse is delegated the task of looking after an actress who can’t speak. The nurse begins to feel the actress’s personality molding with her own. It’s exceedingly trippy and bizarre and beautiful. One of Bergman’s best.


08. Valley of the Dolls, 1967, dir. Mark Robson
Available on: Netflix Instant

Sharon Tate, God rest your beautiful soul, you were captivating in Valley of the Dolls, a 1967 film about women trying to make it in New York and Hollywood. Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll.


07. Week End, 1967, dir. Jean-Luc Godard
Available on: Hulu Plus

One of the most interesting and original movies available to view currently, married couple Corinne and Roland Durand decide to take a weekend trip. The trip takes a turn for the worst due to a series of car pileups, traffic jams, and everything else you could possibly think of. Along the way, though, they run into various characters from history and literature, and that’s where the real fun happens.


06. Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 1961, dir. Blake Edwards
Available on: Netflix Instant

Oh, Audrey. Her most charming and acclaimed role as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s is not my favorite performance of hers, but this film is extremely important and wonderful. Holly is a complicated character- when in public she’s flighty and sociable, but behind closed doors she’s a bundle of neuroses.


05. Rosemary’s Baby, 1968, dir. Roman Coppola
Available on: Netflix Instant

“This isn’t a dream… this is really happening!” Rosemary and her husband Guy move into a new apartment. After Rosemary becomes pregnant, things start getting weird.


04. L’Avventura, 1961, dir. Michelangelo Antonioni
Available on: Hulu Plus

Simple plot: A woman goes missing and while searching for her, her best friend and her boyfriend start to fall in love. Antonioni puts his glorious spin on the story and the directing is impeccable.


03. Breathless, 1960, dir. Jean-Luc Godard
Available on: Hulu Plus

Godard’s seminal classic and a great collaboration between Godard and Truffaut. Jean-Paul Belmondo is Michel Poiccard, a criminal on the run from the police who is trying to persuade his American lover, Jean Seberg as the adorable Patricia Franchini, to join him in fleeing France.


02. A Hard Day’s Night, 1964, dir. Richard Lester
Available on: Hulu Plus

Do I really need to explain? It’s the Beatles’ first and best movie. It’s hilarious and full of happiness.


01. The Graduate, 1967, dir. Mike Nichols
Available on: Netflix Instant

My all-time favorite movie, The Graduate is perfect filmmaking. It never once loses your attention. It’s perfect. Dustin Hoffman is Benjamin Braddock, a recent college graduate who finds himself in an affair with his father’s business partner’s wife, Mrs. Robinson. Things get confusing when Benjamin starts to fall in love with Mrs. Robinson’s daughter, Elaine.

THE BRILLIANCE OF BOYHOOD

Boyhood is extraordinary. It’s heartwarming (that scene where Patricia Arquette says, “I just thought it would be better!” made me teary eyed in a major way), sometimes painful to watch (Marco Perella’s Professor Bill Welbrock is quite possibly the baddest movie villain of the year), and perfectly timed (the 12 years isn’t overwhelming or boring, it’s a perfect portrait of a life). It’s the most beautiful cinematic adventure I’ve ever taken, and I just want to talk about how great it is.

First of all, Richard Linklater (Dazed and ConfusedA Scanner DarklySlacker, The “Before” Trilogy) filmed the same people for twelve years. That’s the line that’s used to captivate you. It works, I mean, c’mon, no one has ever done that (I hear your “BUT WHAT ABOUT THE 7-UP DOCUMENTARIES! Those don’t count, y’all, he checks back in with those people every seven years, which is what Linklater did with his Before Trilogy, so shut your pie holes, that’s not the same thing). It was a twelve year long process. They would film for intervals of time every year for twelve years. It’s a film that shows the actual timeline of one family’s life: son Mason Jr. (Ellar Coltrane), daughter Samantha (Lorelai Linklater), mother Olivia (Patricia Arquette), & father Mason Sr. (Ethan Hawke). Something that is absolutely brilliant, in my opinion, is that Linklater would mold the story around certain aspects of Ellar Coltrane’s life at the present time. So, I’ve hypothesized that Mason’s interests in arrowheads and photography and the like really stem from Ellar Coltrane’s interests at the moments when they were filming. It’s extremely honest and true to the times, as is evidenced by the absolutely terrific soundtrack. The film opens with Coldplay’s ultra-2000s song “Yellow”, and then shortly thereafter, the character of Samantha is singing Britney Spears’ “Oops… I Did It Again”. Brilliant. I can’t get over how much I loved it. There’s a scene early on where Olivia is reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets to Mason and Samantha, and later on in the film you see them attend a book release party for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Little things like that warmed my heart like no other movie ever has.

I have some questions though, and these are what I’m really here to get down to business about:

01. Does anyone else find it absolutely bonkers that Ellar Coltrane and Ethan Hawke look so eerily similar? It’s NUTS. Because 5 year old Coltrane only looks slightly like Hawke, but the older he gets, ESPECIALLY 18 year old Coltrane, the more he looks like Hawke. It blew my mind before I even went to see the movie (this film has been on my radar for a long time. I’m so happy that I was finally able to see it tonight).

02. POTENTIAL SPOILER: When 8 year old Mason gets his haircut and goes to school, a girl named Nicole passes him a note that says, “I think your hair looks kewl”. When he moves into his dorm in college, he meets a girl named Nicole who, to me, looked similar to that girl that passed him the note! I could be wildly off, and the idea that she looked like the girl from before could just be my brain playing tricks on me hoping for a connection, but does anyone else know if this is a proven theory? There’s only one person credited as Nicole. Help! I’m so curious about this.

03. SPOILER?: An interesting tidbit from an interview with Simon Crook of Empire Film: “Still, we can’t resist asking… Sequel, then? ‘What, if we just kept going?’ Linklater looks horrified, puffs out his cheeks. ‘Well, he’s gonna be in his freshman year of college now, so I know what Mason’s life will be for the next few years. But after that?’ He pauses, has a little Linkthink and starts laughing. ‘You know, I was just thinking: wouldn’t it be great if Mason left college, got on a train, and met this girl in Europe…'” Did Mason grow up to be Jesse, Ethan Hawke’s character in Linklater’s Before Trilogy?? That’s what Linklater muses could happen.

I truly don’t have anything left to say about this film, and this is a very jumbled and unorganized blog post because I’m just so excited about this movie. It’s excellent, plain and simple. Just go see it immediately.

Boyhood is in theaters now, and is expected to be released on blu-ray and DVD in November of 2014.

It is also rumored to be released through the Criterion Collection (as it should be).

I WATCHED: PALO ALTO

When James Franco’s collection of short stories, Palo Alto Stories, came out in 2009, I bought it. I read the first story, Halloween, and felt that it was reminiscent of the UK show Skins, which is a show that I love (it’s on Netflix, you should watch it, but only watch the UK version. Trust me. Don’t even consider starting the US MTV remake, it’s appalling.). I didn’t finish the book, which is a problem I have, starting things and not finishing them. At any rate, the movie came out in the height of the pretentious James Franco phase (which may not even be a phase, at this point? I don’t know. I keep telling myself it is because I’m a Franco-fan. At least I think I am. I could just be a Franco-fan by proxy because I’m an enormous Judd Apatow fan and he’s part of that crew, but I don’t know. All’s I know is I’ll defend Franco. As you’ll see. In this blog post.) I got around to watching the film adaptation of Palo Alto Stories, titled just Palo Alto, tonight, and I was so pleasantly surprised. I was really expecting it to be just the a film that reeked of pseudo-intellectual bullshit, but it wasn’t that. It was very raw and it offered a pretty harrowing view of fictional California teenagers, though I think I can say that there’s more than probably some acute truth in the depiction of privileged west coast teens. They smoke, they drink, they make huge mistakes to which their parents inflict no real consequences on them. This is something that baffles me. I know there are people in this world whose parents have no response of authority or guidance when their child does something that is so clearly wrong. For instance, when Teddy, played by Val Kilmer’s son Jack Kilmer, is the perpetrator of a hit and run whilst driving under the influence, he receives no punishment from his parents, not even a slap on the wrist. I get that this is a film and that it’s fictional, but there are people like that in this world! Parents who don’t care what their children do. That’s foreign to me, because my parents couldn’t possibly care anymore than they do about me and my behavior/reputation. I’m so thankful for that because that’s the kind of upbringing all children deserve, and I think it’s why I know right from wrong and how to carry myself.  But I digress. It’s a very aesthetically pleasing film. Director Gia Coppola, niece of Sofia Coppola, is understandably influenced by the films of her familial predecessor. Palo Alto is enormously evocative of The Virgin Suicides. Even so far as literally in some scenes, you can see that Emma Roberts’ character April has a Virgin Suicides poster on the wall of her bedroom. It’s dreamy in the same way that Sofia’s films are dreamy. Very muted color scheme, which makes every scene feel somehow simultaneously warm and cold. Palo Alto has been compared to Harmony Korine’s Kids and Gummo, but I didn’t get that vibe. The shock factor wasn’t there, and I think that’s the whole motivation behind Korine’s films. The only similarities between Korine and Palo Alto, in my opinion, was the unflinching depictions of misspent youth.

Apart from Emma Roberts’ stunning performance as the vulnerable April, who falls prey to the seemingly charming but ultimately presumptuous Mr. B, played by James Franco, the star and most alluring character is Nat Wolff’s Fred. His energy radiated on screen and despite his extreme self destructive and threatening presence. He’s violently selfish and narcissistic. The whole time I was watching the film, I wanted to know more about Fred. Is he on a steady drug cocktail that leaves him aggressively frantic or is there something wrong with him? What is he drinking out of that flower vase that still has flowers in it- WHY is he drinking out of that flower vase that still has flowers in it? He has no backstory, and I love that. I think an interesting turn the movie could have taken would have been to further develop Fred as more of a main character. Then again, maybe the reason I was so drawn to Fred was because he was such an elusive character; here one scene, gone the next. Perhaps, if the film would have followed that character arc more closely, we would have discovered he was a psychopath. He shows no remorse toward his habit for destruction, a habit that annihilates not only his surroundings but the people he holds close to him, and he shows no remorse. He shows the signs for a psychopath or sociopath, conclusively putting his character in a box and leaving him in a position where the viewer would be less enchanted by him. Fred was more interesting than Teddy. I was uninterested in Teddy’s story immediately after his arrest. While Teddy’s story became less and less interesting, Fred’s became more complex and interesting, and I’m left now wondering what became of Fred. The film concludes with a powerful scene of Fred racing the wrong way down a street screaming “I’m not Bob”, a mantra described earlier in the film that encourages one to turn away from death and not walk into it, arms open. It’s a powerful scene, and really solidified my opinion that Fred was the most entertaining, interesting, most perfectly underdeveloped and unpredictable character.