Monday Movies – My Top 500 – 11-15
(in no particular order)
11. Beautiful Girls (1996)
Written by Scott Rosenberg
Directed by Ted Demme
Another favorite ensemble move of mine, this one full of melancholy, contemplation, wit, wonder and the feel of winter weather. I love the humanity, the flawed beauty, and the truths that surface in unexpected places within this film. It has this string of hope that threads through it, about love and friendship and family and self, that always brings me back to replay it – but mostly its Marty (Natalie Portman) I look forward to, oh, and the Gina (Rosie O’Donnell) rant, too.
“No mater how perfect the nipple, how supple the thigh, unless there is some other shit going on in the relationship, besides the physical, it’s going to get old, ok? And you guys, as a gender, have got to get a grip. Otherwise, the future of the human race is in jeopardy.” ~ Gina
12. Daydream Nation (2010)
Written and Directed by Michael Goldbach
This movie is one of the reasons I adore Kat Dennings, Kat, who plays Caroline, the sharp-tongued, sarcastic witted, well-read narrator who informs us right off that this is the year where everything happened. Caroline’s just moved to a small, very odd town (think a darker Stars Hollow, or a Twin Peaks light) where a white-suited serial killer may or may not be haunting, an industrial fire burns without hope of extinguishing, and the kids in town spend most of their free-time finding things to get high from. Caroline is bored, lonely, and more than a little lost when she decides to instigate an affair with her young-ish, attractive-ish English teache, whilethe resident “lost boy” clumsily pines away for her, girls in school try to slut-shame her, and somehow, despite the possible cliches (this stomps on them), Caroline manages to survive, and find herself somewhat (as much as any of us ever do).
“People will tell you nothing matters, the whole world’s about to end soon anyway. Those people are looking at life the wrong way. I mean, things don’t need to last forever to be perfect.” ~ Caroline
13. Empire Records (1995)
Written by Carol Heikkinen
Directed by Allan Moyle
Empire Records is loosely based on one of the two record companies I worked for (Tower Records) – Empire Records (get it? Empire/Tower?) came out in the mid-90’s and featured an ensemble cast full of soon-to-be-famous, should-have-become-famous, and a couple of why-weren’t-you-ever-more-famous faces. Probably due to my years working at record stores, falling in love or in lust with record store co-workers, nearly living in my record store jobs and finding a definite second-family in my record store jobs, makes this movie hard not to love. I never grow tired of watching it, and tend to relate to different moments more than others at different times of watching it, although it does always make me miss my record store jobs a hell of a lot.
“Damn the man. Save the Empire.” ~ Mark
14. Take This Waltz (2011)
Written and Directed by Sarah Polley
When I first watched this movie it left me without words for a long time, even during that first watch I remember having to stop the film at the halfway mark because I could not breathe, and at the end I found in a mess of tears brought on by both sadness, and a sense of hope. This is one hell of a movie told in such an honest and intimate way, and very much shown through the female gaze. This movie is just one more reason why I love Sarah Polley (who wrote and directed this), and why I also love Michelle Williams (conveys so much emotion with a crazy combination of subtlety and rawness).
“Sometimes I’m… walking along the street and a shaft of sunlight falls in a certain way across the pavement and I just wanna cry. And then a second later, it’s over. I decide because I’m an adult, to not succumb to the momentary melancholy; And I thought that sometimes with Tony, she just had a moment like that. A moment of not known how or why, and she just let herself go into and there was nothing anyone could do to make it any better. It was just her and the fact of being alive, colliding.” ~ Margot
15. Wristcutters: A Love Story (2006)
Written by Goran Dukic (screenplay) and Etgar Keret (short story)
Directed by Goran Dukic
An afterlife for suicides, filled with low paying jobs, grey and mundane (to an extreme) atmosphere, and no smiling – not a place you’d expect to find love and friendship, but Zia, Mikal and Eugene do. This is a road trip movie meets romantic comedy meets black comedy meets almost post-apocalyptic meets Tom Robbins/David Lynchian surrealism, and I love it. This film is full of hope, which for this after world setting, is definitely an exception to the rule.
“Being here with you reminds me of what I was like before my suicide.” ~ Zia
“What were you like?” ~ Mikal
“I was happy…” ~ Zia