Thursday, March 23, 2006

Haven't felt like this in a while

I went to Hollywood Video last night to rent three movies. I have this “membership” I pay for that allows me to have “any” three movies I want checked out for like 15 bucks a month. I figure it’s a good deal since they’re got a good foreign films section and there are a lot of older movies I want to see. So far, I’ve rented about 15 movies…of which I’ve still just paid the one time 15 bucks for this month, saving well over 50 bucks.


I rented two more Asian action films last night and was looking to rent Traffic so I could watch it again as a study for a project I’m going to be writing soon. However, while browsing the T movies in the Drama section I came across The Virgin Suicides, Sofia Coppola’s directorial debut in 2000. Some funny stuff about Sofia, she had a little movie called Lost in Translation come out a few years ago to critical acclaim, and she won an academy award for it. Personally, I found it boring and didn’t really “get it.” At any rate, I’d always heard that ‘Suicides was a good movie. The group Air does the soundtrack, of which I own a copy, and the storyline intrigued me. So, instead of getting Traffic I picked up ‘Suicides and took it home.


I popped it into the DVD player and asked Bebe if she wanted to watch it. Of course, she immediately declined saying, “It sounds stupid. I don’t want to watch some movie about suicide. Meh.” I was then informed I was dumb for renting so many weird movies. At any rate, I made some popcorn, got a big glass of water, and pressed play.


First off, this movie takes place in the mid seventies in Michigan, which was a big plus. On the cover of the DVD it said it was a “small sleepy town” but it turns out it takes place in Grosse Point, which is anything but small or sleepy. Grosse Point is where the rich people in the greater Detroit Metro Area live. Some of the other visuals I found interesting as well, such as all the crosses around the house and other kids. Basically, if you live in Detroit, you’re a catholic, and that’s about all there is to it. So the crosses were a nice touch, providing a subliminal message against the serious subject matter of the movie and the ramifications in Catholicism for it. Anyway, as with the soundtrack I’ve listened two so many times, I was sucked in by the glossy music and visuals. I’ll say one thing for Sofia, she sure knows how to frame a shot and to carefully pick the images she uses to establish a mood or feeling for a setting or scene. I felt the same way watching ‘Lost, even though I didn’t like it.


I won’t go into the story too much; unlike I do with action flicks, because I thought it was so good and worth watching yourself. James Woods, who plays the father, did an amazing job with the little things that really fleshed out the character. I found myself feeling so horrible for this man by the end. He was a good man, an honest guy, and did nothing but love his daughters and want the best for them. Unfortunately, the wife controlled things and didn’t realize the concept of the reality of the real life around them.


The final sequence of the movie left me speechless. I haven’t been affected by a film in that manner for some time, perhaps since the ending of Road to Perdition. Sofia captured it perfectly, and delivered it in a manner that truly fit how that part of the story needed to be told. I couldn’t get the movie out of my head the rest of the night, and even into this morning. As a matter of fact, its still there, the imagery, the emotions, the feelings, the visuals, it’s all still there. The movie was sad, yet happy, and gross at the same time, very hard to explain.


I came away with an experience different than what I had expected going in. I planned on watching Traffic again as a study on how to tell a story a certain way, and lucked out with watching a movie that showed be how to tell a story perfectly. The movie was adapted from a book of the same name. It is my understanding the movie takes a different approach to the delivery of the titles subject manner, taking liberties with the time frame of the events, but it’s a movie that has to fit into no more than 2 hours, so things have to be rearranged. I think I’ll pick up the book just to get different spin on the subject manner.


It’s watching movies like this that remind of why I had the passion to make and study film in the first place. While I’m no longer bringing my projects to any form of visual presentation, my mind still works, thinking up new stories, new characters, new creations every day. It’s nice to know you can still create films without having to make them.




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