Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Naked Lunch (1991)

Today's movie is Naked Lunch.  I often have that on the weekends.  Let's talk about this film. It is bizarre but it is awesome.

It starts with Bill, who is an exterminator.  His friends and wife have been using his bug powder as drugs.  Bill is called in by the cops and a bug, which talks out of his butthole, tells him to kill his wife.  It only gets weirder from here.

Bill does end up killing his wife, Joan, but by accident.  He tries the bug powder drug and decides to play William Tell with her and shoots her in the head.  This seems kind of out of the left field, but there's a reason from this.  The author of the book, William S. Burroughs, accidentally shot his wife playing the same game.  So this event actually happened.

Bill leaves home and goes to the "Interzone" - Morocco, which he also does in real life.  This film was made during the Gulf War so it was actually filmed in Toronto. Just fyi.  Also fyi- Jaime from Mythbusters worked on the props in the movie! He built the mugwumps!

Bill becomes a writer and writes lots of reports on his typewriter.  During his drug episodes, the typewriter turns into a beetle looking thing with a talking butthole.  We also learn a lot about Bill's thought process. The real William S. Burroughs was an openly bisexual drug enthusiast, and the film is a semi-biopic about him writing the book.  The real book is about... I don't know.  All of the people in the film are also based on real people.

Bill meets an American couple in the Interzone, Tom and Joan (the wife, Joan, looks exactly like his wife, Joan). She seems like an important character that we will look out for.

After Bill's typewriter eats Tom's typewriter (yes eats) Tom kidnaps Bill's typewriter for revenge and destroys it.  Bill and Joan use an Arabic typewriter to write some smut and it turns into a wily humpcrab and gets tossed off the balcony by some dominatrix looking lady.  What we don't know yet is that the dominatrix is actually Sheriff Brody in disguise and he is a drug lord.  (Random thought. He also played the Captain on Seaquest 2032 and I loved that show when I was little. Does anyone else remember that show?)

Crap I thought I could explain this film and I can't.  It's really easy to dismiss it as being about drugs.  Well it is about drugs, but it's also a lot more than that.  It's more about the difficulty of the creative process.

After Tom destroys the typewriter, Bill's adorable boy toy Kiki takes him to an elven kiln where they make him an oddly shaped typewriter with +5 writing power.  Look at it! It's like a doctor told it to open its mouth and say ahhhh.  This is so funny.

This thing is called a mugwump.  Wait, wasn't Dumbledore a mugwump? Yes, he was a Supreme Mugwump until the Ministry of Magic booted him. A mugwump is an amphibian like creature, like a murloc except it has no spines.  It also has tubes that drip out jizz, you know like a man has a tube, I'm just gonna stop here. The jizz gets you high.  The mugwump produces the jizz at a high rate in the midst of the creative/writing process.  It's like mana for writers!  It can also make jizz without it, but at a much slower rate.  Bill finds many of them chained up surrounded by junkies.

Can Bill stop the drug lord?  Well no he doesn't want to.  I will give this film a 9/10 because it is the most creative film I have seen in a long time.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Les parapluies de Cherbourg (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg) (1964)

Today's film is The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. This movie is colorful and beautiful.  I love the jewel tones of Genevieve's house.  What's unique about this movie is that every single bit of dialog is sung, like an opera!

The first exposure I had to this film was while watching Futurama.  Fry's dog waits for 12 years for him to return, which he never does.  The song playing during the final scene is from this film.  If you listen, the music is repeated several times during Genevieve's speaking/singing parts.

The plot is pretty straightforward.  Genevieve loves Guy, but they are both young.  Genevieve lives with her mom and works at her umbrella shop, while Guy has been drafted into military service.  Since there was a war at the time, Guy expects to be gone for two years.  Since this is obviously Genevieve's first love, she is totally devastated.

Two months after Guy's departure, Genevieve discovers that she's pregnant.  Meanwhile, her mom's umbrella shop isn't doing too well.  They're running short on money, and it's probably because her mom, Emery, wears a brand new outfit every single scene.  I think she's spending way too much money, and when forced to sell her jewels to pay off debts, she doesn't want to.  She relents and decides to part with her pearl necklace, which catches the attention of a handsome jewel dealer, Roland.  Later, Roland confesses to Emery that he fell in love with Genevieve at first sight and would like to marry her.  Both of them are afraid to admit that she's pregnant to him.  Roland states that he's going away for business and will return a few months later for her answer.

A few months pass, and Genevieve is getting big! There is no way to hide her pregnancy any longer, and she is worried about what Roland might think.  Guy, the father, knows about the pregnancy and talks about it with her through the mail.  Roland doesn't care that she's pregnant, and wants to raise the baby as his own.  He loves Genevieve no matter what.  Genevieve is impressed and flattered.  She knows the baby needs a safe and secure household, and who knows - Guy could be killed in the war any day now.  Then, what would become of her?  She does what she thinks is right and accepts Roland's proposal so she and her baby can live the life of luxury and never have to resort to selling off possessions just to not lose their house.

Soon, Guy's military service is up!  He happily returns to Cherbourg, but Genevieve is not there.  Where is she?  Her mom has sold the umbrella shop and moved away.  Guy learns from his family that Genevieve married Roland and had her baby.  She didn't even bother telling him herself.  Guy is very depressed.

Later, Guy marries his friend Madeleine out of desperation, knowing he can't have his true love.  He has a son with her. He buys a gas station, like he promised to do with Genevieve.  Years pass, and a rich older Genevieve stops at his gas station with her daughter, Francoise.  Guy has named his son Francois.  She asks him if she wants to see his daughter, and he says no.  He's never seen her before and it would hurt too much.  They both quietly and uneventfully part ways.

Even though every line is sung, this film is more realistic than most romance movies because most people don't end up with their first true love, and they have to make the most of what they do have in life.  I will give this film an 8/10.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Frank (2014)

Today's movie is Frank, mainly because I heard good things about it, and wanted to know why Frank wears a giant fake head.  Turns out he's crazy. Could not see that coming.

Our main character is Jon, a keyboard player who dreams of being a big time artist.  By chance, he gets invited to play for a strange band led by Frank, who wears a giant fake head.  Strange doesn't even begin to properly describe this band, and Frank isn't even the worst person in the band. The worst person is the ill-tempered Clara who uses her rage and hatred to control Frank. Also in the band are two angry French people and Don, who invites Jon to travel with them.

After playing together, they travel to a small island near Ireland to record their album, which takes an extremely long time due to Frank's demand for everything to be perfect. After running out of money, Jon offers to use his inheriterance to keep staying on the island recording, but that does not speed anyone up. Meanwhile, Jon records everything on Twitter and youtube and gets the world involved in watching their antics.  They get invited to play SXSW (south by southwest, a huge festival in Austin) but it ends up being a disaster.

Even though the movie is funny, there are a lot of heartfelt moments, and we wish the best for Frank.  Jon thinks that separating him from Clara is in his best interest, but he can't cope without her.  He loses his fake head and runs back to his parent's home without telling anyone.  His parents explain to Jon why he wears a fake head, and that he never had any trauma in his life that leads him to great music.  He acts this way because he's mentally ill.  A lot of people are mentally ill without any trauma or reason, that's how they are. It's an illness. His parents accept him and want the best for him. Jon takes Frank back to Clara, who sings to her without his giant head.

This movie is very unpredictable and sweet. I will give it an 8/10.


Sunday, April 5, 2015

North by Northwest (1959)

Today's film is North by Northwest, a film so great Kayne West named his daughter after it.  There is so much happening in this film! A lot of it went by in a blur for me. Every minute something new is happening.

First, Roger Thornhill is a regular guy.  But he is kidnapped by bad guys and almost killed. Now the cops think he is a drunk driver and a thief, and won't believe him and do really shoddy detective work.  Roger does his own detective work but then ends up being framed for murder.  The CIA knows he's innocent and use him as a pawn against the bad guys.

ahhh a plane is chasing me!

So now Roger has to elude both the bad guys and the cops! And the government helps, but not really.  Roger goes all across the country and even gets chased by a plane with a machine gun.  Then he almost falls off of Mount Rushmore! So much is happening! More exclamation points!! I will give this film a 9/10.