Movie quotes

Blue Jay MOTD

Blue Jay (2016)

Blue Jay was directed by Alex Lehmann in his fictional feature debut, from a screenplay by Mark Duplass. It stars Duplass and Sarah Paulson. The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 12, 2016.

The film was released on October 7, 2016, in a limited release prior to being released through video on demand on October 11, 2016. (from Wikipedia)

Blue Jay (2016)
Written by Mark Duplass
Directed by Alex Lehmann
Movie of the Day

Meeting by chance when they return to their tiny California hometown, two former high-school sweethearts reflect on their shared past. The film marked the Duplass Brothers’ first film under their four-picture deal with Netflix. Netflix financed the film without seeing a script, but just reading a 10-page outline of the story. This allowed for a true independent film experience.

The film had no script. The actors were given a summary of the movie and their characters and the rest was improvisation.

Blue Jay was the first feature film for director Alex Lehmann. He also served as the director of photography and cinematographer of the film.

The film was shot over the course of seven days in and around Crestline, California. It was filmed on a canon camera without built-in recording or built-in power source.

The film’s score was composed by Julian Wass.

One of my best friends recommended Blue Jay to me. I’ve said this before, at lyriquediscorde, but any and every movie she has ever recommended to me has ended up on my list of all-time favorite movies (if you want some recommendations by her, too, you should follow her movie Instagram – breewatchesmovies.

Here are some of my thoughts on the movie, written originally after seeing it for the first time.

Blue Jay MOTD LD

Nostalgia has plot holes, but oh how I have such a soft spot for it. How many times have I thought about what it would be like to run into a past love, to have a day to spend together, to talk and re-connect, and share a moment again. Not just any past love, but one that mattered, one that had real significance. But, given that opportunity, is it not potentially loaded with emotional landmines that can, or most likely will, go off unexpectedly?

This movie hit very hard. I had a nostalgia reuniting situation a few years ago, and it was full of wonder and magic and passion – at first, but eventually all it had was a hell of a lot of landmines, and boy did they go off. Would I do it again? At one time I would have said yes, but now, where I am in my life, my answer is no. Would these two characters do it again? Yes, I think they would. I really do.

Blue Jay Movie MOTD

This film reminded me at times of the second installment in Richard Linklater/Ethan Hawke/Julie Delpy’s “Before” series, as well as Graham Greene’s book, “The End of the Affair”. The former because of the reconnecting of past lovers, and the day spent together, though to me “Blue Jay” had more hope and joy to it, even in the sad moments, than “Before Sunset” did. The latter (“The End of the Affair”) in the reveal that what you assume, and what you decide to say, is not always what you want, or mean. I do not want to spoil anything, but there is a moment where you see that things that happened, and things said, were not as true as they seemed at the time.

Sarah Paulson and Mark Duplass are two favorite actors of mine, and they were brilliant in this. They had chemistry and ease and emotional deft that brought these characters immediately to life for me, and also pulled my heart around for the entirety of their day/night together. I felt so much watching this film. I laughed, I cheered, I sang-a-long, I hurt, I cried — a lot, and I felt — a lot, too.

I think what hit me the most was how lost Amanda seemed to be, in her life, and in herself. Jim is lost, too, but he seemed more cognizant of it, more recently aware. But, I felt like it was all hitting Amanda. Maybe seeing Jim joggled some of that in her; the experience of hearing her voice on the tape, coming head-on with her younger self, as well as her first love. That resonated with me as I find myself wrestling with my own lost self, and traversing my way through it.

I loved the way these two connected to music in this, and how music played a part in their relationship, and their meeting up again moments. I love the black-and-white filming of it, the way it added to the starkness of winter in this small town, and the bleakness of being lost and being back home again. And, I loved both of these characters so much. When the movie ended I wanted so much more, but at the same time was good with where they left it.

The film plays out like a play. I’d actually love to see it performed on-stage, preferably with Mark and Sarah. I can’t imagine anyone else playing them.

The choice to have the movie shot in black-and-white was a brilliant one. I think it adds to the intimacy and almost too close look into these two people’s lives. It strips away the distraction of color and just focuses on these two characters – just as a play, in a small theater, with two actors on a stark and nearly empty stage would.

Mark Duplass Sarah Paulson Blue Jay MOTD

“No More I Love You’s” by Annie Lennox scene

Booksmart MOTD

Booksmart (2019)

Booksmart was directed by Olivia Wilde, from a screenplay written by Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Susanna Fogel, and Katie Silberman. The film stars Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein, who play best friends on the cusp of high school graduation, and changes that will separate them. They have spent their lives goal-oriented, focused, and driven, avoiding anything reckless or non-academic. They decide to break the rules on their graduation eve, and the film takes us along for the ride.

Booksmart Movie Poster MOTD

Booksmart (2019)
Written by Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Susanna Fogel, and Katie Silberman
Directed by Olivia Wilde
Movie of the Day

I was lucky to have seen a preview showing of Booksmart a few weeks ago. But, in order to both support women filmmakers and also share the movie with my daughters, we went to see it again today. What a perfect way to start June off – a Summertime feel of a movie starring awesomely talented women, written by awesomely talented women, and directed by an awesomely talented woman.

Booksmart is clever, funny, well-written, and original in its take on the teenage/coming of age/one night left/party genre. It defies expectations while still visiting those well-trodded teen tropes that we all know and love.

I love the young women in this film who are taking agency of their sexuality and sex, their life choices, and their futures. I applaud a real look at best friends-friendship, the good and the bad. I think it speaks a lot to relationships and intimacy, the give-and-take between people, and how it is to be a best friend/in a best friendship.

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At times, it reminded me a lot of the best friend I grew up with. The intimacy we shared, and the struggles. It definitely made me miss her, too.

The leads in this are fantastic. I’ve been a fan of Kaitlyn Dever since the film Short Term 12, and have enjoyed her in other movies such as Laggies, and The Spectacular Now. And Beanie, she stole the movie Ladybird in so many ways, to me. I can’t wait to see what both actors do next.

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I’d also be remiss to not mention the comedy brilliance, and overall glow, of Billie Lourd. I’ve had my eye on her since her stints on “American Horror Story” and “Scream”, and because of her family ties (Carrie Fisher – a forever favorite, and inspiration, of mine). Billie is outrageous in this film, in the best kind of way.

The love and laughter and awkward moments and heart in this film are what makes it so enjoyable, and what will stick with me for a long time to come. I love that there was no real difference in the characters experience with love and sex, regardless of their sexuality. It was great to see an awkward bathroom-at-a-party sex scene with two girls, sex that wasn’t “lesbian for the male gaze”, but sex that felt like real first-time clumsiness and nervousness. I like that the movie flips stereotypes on their heads, even if the film has received criticism for having everyone be “too nice” to each other (I really don’t see it that way).

All in all, this movie is great fun. A good time. Full of heart and laughter and bittersweet joy. I know I’m going to add this to my movie collection when I can and add it to my roster of movies that make me feel good.

Also, yay women filmmakers and writers and actors – if you want to see more like this go out to the theaters and support movies like this – so we can get more, and more. 

Go see Booksmart right now in theaters – and take your best friends along with you!

 

Daydream Nation MOTD

Daydream Nation (2010)

Daydream Nation is a Canadian drama that was released in 2010. It stars Kat Dennings and was written and directed by Michael Goldbach. The movie premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival to positive reviews.

I saw the film first on Netflix, in 2012, and it quickly became a favorite movie of mine.

Daydream Nation (2010)
Written and directed by Michael Goldbach
Movie of the Day

“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

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A quirky town shadowed with a darkness that is reminiscent of a Stephen King novel “town”, or maybe a darker Stars Hollow (Gilmore Girls), or a little lighter/a little less weird Twin Peaks. The town boasts a white-suited serial killer legend and an industrial fire that endlessly burns. Caroline (Kat Dennings), the sarcastic, well-read, whipsmart protagonist has just moved to this town and informs us at the start that this is the year where everything happened.

DN Movie of the Day

Caroline played brilliantly by Kat Dennings (sarcastic, well-read and whipsmart is so Kat Dennings jam) is bored, lonely and more than a little lost when she decides to shake things up in her life. She instigates an affair with her young-ish, attractive-ish English teacher (why is it always the English teacher? Played by Josh Lucas), while the resident “misfit boy” (Reece Thompson) in town pines away for her, and tries clumsily to win her heart.

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I know, I know, the summary does come off as a bit contrived, and perhaps it is, but the writing, dialogue, and execution is refreshingly realistic, well-written and witty. The teacher/student affair has been done ad-nauseum (including it always being an English teacher), but in this case, we see the teacher’s side of things, what issues are going on with him that fuel an inappropriate relationship, and how both sides of the dysfunction really play out. The “lost boy”, too, is more than he seems, as is his family, especially his single-mom, who teeters on the line of a desperately lonely woman and an aggressively protective mother. Andie MacDowell is fantastic and heartbreaking, as is her “lost boy” son, Thurston, played by Reece Thompson. When Caroline genuinely falls for Thurston, it is not a moment of predictability, it is a real moment of “YES” because you see why it happens, and as a viewer, you are feeling it, too.

Daydream Nation MOTD

The last act of the movie has the most “happenings” (Caroline is right, this is the year when everything happens), and at times is slightly dizzying. It works, though, as the chaos, like everything else in the movie, is believable, and you feel like you are running through it all with the characters. The ending had me teary-eyed and wanting, desperately wanting, for the story to continue; to me, that is the best kind of ending.

Other Kat Dennings films I love: Defendor, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Thor and Charlie Bartlett.

Musically speaking (and with me, the music matters), Daydream Nation has a great soundtrack (something else I have always loved about indie movies). The soundtrack includes songs from some of my favorite artists, Emily Haines, Stars, Devendra Banhart, and Sebadoh.

“Telethon” by Emily Haines and the Soft Skeletons

Chasing Amy MOTD

Chasing Amy (1997)

Chasing Amy is a rom-com dramedy indie gem written and directed by Kevin Smith. It was released in 1997 and is the third film in Smith’s View Askewniverse series. The movie stars Joey Lauren Adams (who the movie is partly inspired by), Ben Affleck, Jason Lee, and of course Jason Mewes (Jay) and Kevin Smith (Silent Bob).

The film won two awards at the 1998 Independent Spirit Awards (Best Screenplay for Smith and Best Supporting Actor for Lee). (from Wikipedia)

Chasing Amy (1997)
Written and Directed by Kevin Smith
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“Since most of these people are cheering for the home team, I’m going to root for the visitors. I’m a big visitors fan. Especially the kind that make coffee in the morning before they leave!” – Alyssa Jones

Alyssa Chasing Amy

I’ve always loved Alyssa (the film’s “Amy”), her spirit, her fluidity, her sense of self, her persona, her humor, and her heart. When I first saw Chasing Amy in the ’90s I remember wishing I could be like her, seeing her as brave and bold in ways, and about things, that I was shy and insecure about.

I feel closer to her now, and was once in a relationship much like the one she is in with Holden, and have had to defend my past before, too – I think she’s such an important female character (is she the first bisexual female film character?) – cheers to Kevin Smith for writing her, and for Joey Lauren Adams portrayal (and part inspiration) of her.

Alyssa is on my list of fictional characters I relate to the most. Not that I share all her experiences (some, but not all), but her way of living and loving, her take on things, and her reactions, I feel completely. This is, and always will be, my favorite Kevin Smith film, one that makes me laugh, cry and feel (a lot).

There is something about this scene, the vulnerability in it, and that moment where you know that what is being opened up will change everything. It could have been terribly cheesy, but it is not, not even at all. To me it is believable, relatable, and painful in that way that when I first saw it I watched it through my fingers, with my hands covering my eyes, dreading what the outcome would be.

I think there is this universal feeling to it. That feeling of falling into an impossible situation, and having it burn you so deeply that you feel there is no way you can keep your feelings inside any longer, and that risk, that utter and complete risk, of telling someone you are in love with them in the face of rejection.

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Beyond this scene, there are so many other things I love about Chasing Amy. Alyssa is one of those characters that I relate to on an under the skin level, one of a few that I feel in a visceral way. I love how complex they wrote her friendship with Holden, and her own self-actualized journey, and reality. I love the friendship between Holden and Banky, as well, and the wit and pop culture peppered into a very real love story.

Chasing Amy Movie of the Day

Like most of Kevin Smith’s films, the movie is hilarious, but also heartfelt. He has a knack for making you laugh until you fall over, and also FEEL in big capital letters.

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Drinking Buddies MOTD

Drinking Buddies (2013)

Drinking Buddies was written and directed by Joe Swanberg, and was released in 2013. It stars Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick, and Ron Livingston, and centers around two co-workers at a craft brewery in Chicago. The movie delves into the complexities of love and friendship, and the complications that can arise in both.

The movie premiered at the 2013 South by Southwest Film Festival. It also screened at the Maryland Film Festival that same year. (from Wikipedia)

Drinking Buddies (2013)
Written and Directed by Joe Swanberg
Movie of the Day

“That’s the problem with heartbreak, to you it’s like an atomic bomb and to the world it’s just really cliche, because in the end we all have the same experience.” – Kate

Drinking Buddies Olivia Wilde

My best friend told me about this movie, recommending I see it, and she has never steered me toward a movie I didn’t end up loving. Drinking Buddies was no exception.

Seriously, if she tells you to watch a movie be prepared to add it to your “favorite movie” list immediately.

My first watch of this film hit me hard on so many levels, and in a very personal way. It is a very honest look at relationships and friendships, but also it is about finding yourself and knowing yourself, and understanding where you belong. Those are hard “knowings and understandings” to get to in life. Perhaps the hardest things we will ever do (if we choose to, at all).

Drinking Buddies LD

There are no easy answers in the film (or in life, really). There is no actual closure, or any “everything is tied up” at the end. To be honest, I am okay with that because that’s how life is, and it makes the film even more relatable and real.

Even if sometimes I’d like it to be easy, that I’d like closure everywhere it’s needed, and want everything tied up in a pretty bow at the end (and in the middle, too), I know that isn’t reality and its comforting to have that kind of discomfort in this film. It ultimately makes me feel less alone, I think.

Drinking Buddies

m rewatching the movie today and am curious how it will affect me this time around.

The cast in Drinking Buddies is incredible, and are some of my favorites – especially Olivia Wilde and Jack Johnson. I wish there were more films with both of them, especially more films of the real life/indie variety like Drinking Buddies.

Side noteDrinking Buddies is available to stream, and on DVD, through Netflix. It is also available to rent on Amazon and YouTube.

Kodachrome MOTD

Kodachrome (2017)

Kodachrome is a Netflix Original Movie which was released in 2017. The Film stars Ed Harris, Elizabeth Olsen, and Jason Sudeikis. The story is set during the final days of a well-renowned and admired photo development system known as “Kodachrome”. A father and son hit the road in order to reach the Kansas photo lab before it closes its doors for good in order to develop rolls of Kodachrome film that the father, Ben (Ed Harris) has in his possession.

The key here is that father and son are deeply estranged, and the father, a well-renowned and admired photographer, is dying of Cancer. Time is running out on all counts, for Kodachrome, for the father/photographer’s life, and for forgiveness.

Kodachrome (2017)
Written by Jonathan Tropper (Screenplay)
Based on an article by A.G. Sulzberger
Directed by Mark Raso
Movie of the Day

No matter how good something looks, you can’t beat the real thing.” – Ben

Ben Kodachrome

I’ve been itching for a road trip something fierce lately, so revisiting a recent favorite road trip movie seems in order.

Kodachrome Movie of the Day

I love road trip movies. They are one of my favorite genres (or sub-genres) of film. I was discussing the appeal of road trip stories in movies and I came up with one of the main reasons I love them so. A typical movie is only an hour and a half to two hours in length, which is not a lot of time for real character development. But, put your characters in a car, somewhat isolated from anyone else sans a roadside gas station attendant, bartender, or waitress/waiter, and you are allowed some space and time to explore characters, personalities, nuances, and relationships. It also makes it all the more believable when bonding happens, or attraction, or even healing.

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Also, admittedly I love a good road trip movie because I love a good (or even mediocre) road trip. Since life and responsibilities limit the amount of time I can hit the road for anything other than the daily commute, road trip movies let my gypsy soul live vicariously.

Kodachrome is almost completely a road trip story, from start to finish, which is one of the reasons I love it so much.

It is also a movie about redemption and forgiveness, and the consequences of the “artist’s life”. Questions of family, of truth, of authenticity, of self, and of letting go of the past are all themes that weave throughout the story. And although the film centers on photography, music plays a significant role, as well.

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Matt Ryder (Jason Sudeikis) is a record exec on the almost-outs. His character, at the start, reminds me a bit of Dan (Mark Ruffalo) in another one of my favorite films, Begin Again. They are both about to lose their jobs, they both love music and have an ear for it, and they are both lost internally, and to some degree externally, due to break-ups, and a past that has a hard hold on them. Matt seems to even teeter on that drinking problem that Dan (Begin Again) personifies, it just never takes full center stage in Kodachrome.

The “music business” is not the only way that music plays a part in Kodachrome, though. Mark’s record collection in his aunt and uncle’s home (Mark’s home since his mother died when he was an adolescent) sparks both memories that Mark shared with his father, as well as sparks a conversation, and connection, between Mark, and his father’s nurse, Zooey (Elizabeth Olsen).

A connection that starts to grow as the movie, and the road, unfold.

Zooey Kodachrome

My one complaint lies with the character of Zooey. I wish they’d developed her as an individual more, instead of just affixing damage to her, and hinting at issues.

Too much of the time she felt like a plot device to both Matt, and his father, and it didn’t have to be that way. Elizabeth Olsen is a fantastic actor (one of my favorites), and quite capable of nuance and complexity of character. And, it was there. You could see it. I just wanted it unpacked more.

Zooey is important to everyone in this story. I wish they’d let her be important to herself in the film, as well.

Ben Kodachrome 2

Ben and Matt’s relationship is the real core of Kodachrome. There are moments when I hate Ben as much as Matt does for the obvious abandonment and neglect he gifted Matt as his father.

Other times, I feel for Ben deeply and want him to find redemption, and want Matt to forgive him. Ben and Matt’s story tugged on me because of my own abandonment issues with my absent father. I couldn’t help but root for them to heal before it was too late.

Overall, I really enjoyed Kodachrome. I loved the road trip setting, the subtext of art and the “artist’s life”, and the story of a child and estranged parent having a chance at a connection, and redemption. I loved the way Music was used and enjoyed the soundtrack, both Agatha Kaspar’s score and songs by Pearl Jam, Galaxie 500, The Indians, Graham Nash, and others.

Oh, and Live…

I even enjoyed the burgeoning, maybe love story that unfolds between Matt and Zooey, even if I wanted more of Zooey beyond her relationships with Ben and Matt. I was still rooting for them, as a “them”, somewhere down the “road”.

Zooey and Matt

Side note: Kodachrome is a Netflix Original, and available to stream, and on DVD, through Netflix.

Reality Bites Movie of the Day Lyriquediscorde

Reality Bites (1994)

One of my all-time favorite movies is Reality Bites, a movie written by Helen Childress and directed by Ben Stiller. The film was released in 1994, my 25th year.

Today is my 50th year, and my love for this movie is still going strong.

Reality Bites (1994)
Written by Helen Childress
Directed by Ben Stiller
Movie of the Day

I loved Reality Bites from the first time I saw it in the theater (opening weekend). I have lost track of how many times I’ve seen Reality Bites. It is one of those movies that I often re-watch when I need to cheer up (i.e. “comfort food” movies), when I spend time with friends who love it like I do, or when I just have a Laney, Vickie, Sammy, and Troy Dyer craving.

Reality Bites Lyriquediscorde MOTD

1994. 25. My life had some look-a-like similarities to the characters in Reality Bites that year. I was renting a small apartment, smoking too much, drinking coffee way, way too late most nights, and rocking Laney’s (Winona Ryder) ’90s hair.

I was in flux at the time, halfway out of a relationship and halfway in one, in that on the cusp of getting back together “place” that I would find myself in, over and over again, during my twenties. I had a two-year-old daughter, and most days I had no idea what I was doing with my life.

Reality Bites Laney and Troy

I wrote a lot in journals, I worked at a record store, I faltered in relationships, and I had some amazing friends.

The halfway out of a relationship boy said I reminded him of Lelaina, especially in the scene in the gas station mini-mart, when Laney and her friends dance to “My Sharona”.

He told me he always felt held back, and that I was overwhelming to him. I had too much energy and enthusiasm, to an embarrassing degree. He’d go on to say I loved too big, too. That I did everything too big. I suppose I should have listened, that I should have realized that this was part of what I ended up despising, how cold and collected he seemed, how much of his emotions seemed in constant lockdown, and how much he despised any and all of my emotions.

Laney and Troy Lyriquediscorde MOTD

I’ve definitely had my share of guys like Troy (Ethan Hawke). In the years that would follow Reality Bites, I would find myself falling for the intellectual slacker, the unmotivated musician, the underemployed (or unemployed), the boys who were irresponsible, often addicted, and hopelessly attractive to me. They were full of passion, good in bed, and were the kind of boys that you could have all-night conversations with, night after night after night.

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There’s no point to any of this. It’s all just a… a random lottery of meaningless tragedy and a series of near escapes. So I take pleasure in the details. You know… a Quarter-Pounder with cheese, those are good, the sky about ten minutes before it starts to rain, the moment where your laughter become a cackle… and I, I sit back and I smoke my Camel Straights and I ride my own melt.” – Troy Dyer

They weren’t good at the real life shit though. They never had money for dinner, or for rent. They were afraid of commitment, or so into “us” so fast that they became unhealthily obsessed and jealous. Most of them were weak, not physically so, but emotionally, not one to stand by my side when things got rough or needed to be faced. They needed me to fix them, to be strong for them, and to take over all the things in life they didn’t want to do.

Vickie and Laney Reality Bites

Most of them turned out to be nothing but nightmares and heartache.

And yet, even knowing that now, knowing what most Troy’s are like from first hand, and heart, and experience, I still sit here watching, at 50 now, knowing that if I was Laney I would fall for Troy, that I would choose Troy. Every single time.

Wouldn’t you?

I think about Lelaina now, today, on my birthday Saturday afternoon, and I still relate so much. Under skin that has lines now, and hair that grays quickly, I don’t feel all that grown-up, no, so much of me still feels like that 25-year-old who was confused all the time, who didn’t know what she wanted to be, or where. I look in the mirror half expecting to see a younger me, the me that still sneaks into so much of my thinking, feeling, and writing, but instead, I see this older woman who resembles my Mother, and my Grandmother.

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“I was really going to be somebody by the time I was 23.” – Laney

I’m not afraid of aging, I’m not afraid of age, but I don’t feel much like this reflection that seems to be me. I think I thought I’d really be somebody by the age of 50, and 40, and 35, and 25, and maybe even 23.

Do we ever arrive at that “somebody” we think we’ll be?

Lelaina and Troy’s relationship stayed with me, and always will, as a defining kind of way to live and love. It became a flawed ideal of what I wanted out of love, and in some ways, I have found it at times, maybe not with all the elements of it, of their fictional love story, but definitely the sensibility of it. When I sit back and look at it, really take it in, I know I still want a “you and me and five bucks” kind of love. I don’t know how to not want it, no matter how naive it is, or doomed.

Maybe it’s part of why I like to say Troy Dyer ruined my heart.

Movie of the Day Reality Bites LD

Vickie (Janeane Garofalo) is more than just the stereotypical best friend character that we see all too often on film, especially in the romantic comedies and “coming-of-age” drama/dramedies. No, Vickie is more than that, she is complex, she has her own goals, her own struggles, her own insecurities, and is far more important to the story than just as a plot device to move Lelania’s story along.

Vickie Reality Bites MOTD

I love her friendship with Lelania, and the moments we get to see this, like in the car, singing together, and at the diner, talking about life and death, and everything in-between. Their love and friendship are believable and beautiful, and at times reminds me very much of my closest friends and our friendships.

Watching it now it makes me miss having a best girlfriend close by, the kind you spend so much time with, live with, or might as well live with. I miss having that kind of confidante, someone to drive around with playing music loudly and singing-a-long to. A best friend to share my secrets with, go on adventures with, stay up late drinking coffee and making each other laugh.

Sometimes the worst part about growing up is growing apart from your friends, or being long distances away from them.

Vickie and Laney Reality Bites

25 years is a long time, and not so long, as well. I still feel like Lelaina, but I also feel like I’m Laney with some years behind her. I’m still a mess, but I know myself more. I still have vulnerability and tenacity, I still want to create something and be something more than my “job”, and I still am full of flaws, but maybe those flaws are part of what makes me creative and make me, well…me.

And sometimes I just really want to dance around to My Sharona.

“My Sharona” by The Knack

Side note: Reality Bites is available to watch on Netflix (DVD only, US), Starz (cable and streaming), and to rent on Amazon and YouTube (US).

Top 51 Favorite Movies – 1-11 – Film Listography

Film Listography Lyriquediscorde

My Top 51 Movies of All Time
Movies 1-11

Inspired by List your Favorite Films of All-Time
Film Listography : Your Life In (Play)Lists

Listen to my Favorite Movies in Music here on Spotify and YouTube

Revisiting my Film Listography Book to start a new Daily Movies feature. The first list is “Favorite Films of All-Time”, a hard category to narrow down. I feel like this list is always growing as I see new movies, and more often than not, revisit or discover older movies. I know this list will evolve and change over time, but some of the top favorites I know will always be there, especially the Top 5.

I will be breaking up the list into ten movies at a time, starting today with the first ten movies, and ending Friday with the last ten – fifty movies all together.

1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Written by Charlie Kaufman, Pierre Bismuth & Michel Gondry
Directed by Michel Gondry

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Favorite Movies Movie 1

“I can’t see anything that I don’t like about you.” – Joel

“But you will! But you will. You know, you will think of things. And I’ll get bored with you and feel trapped because that’s what happens with me.” – Clementine

“Okay.” – Joel

[pauses] “Okay.” – Clementine.”

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is my Favorite Film. It touches on something in me that is almost impossible to articulate. Its impact often feels beyond words. Since the first time I saw it, I’ve felt a deep connection/kinship with the character of Clementine (Kate Winslet). The way I relate is both in good ways and bad. Sometimes there is so much raw truth reflected at me it hurts to watch. But, I keep watching because I’ve never found a Film yet that hits me the way this one does.

Most of the time Clementine and Joel (Jim Carrey) gift a strange comfort to me. A comfort that makes me feel less alone in my own flavor of fucked up girl-ness. I get Clementine. I get Joel. I get what they have, what they lose, and what they fight so damn hard to hold on to in the end.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a love story to me. The most real kind of love story. So perfect in all its glaring, messy imperfectness.

Flawed characters. Love that knows no limits. Love that persists despite seemingly impossible challenges, like erased memories. A story filled with alternate and intersecting realities. Impulsiveness, passion, confliction, loss, restlessness, joy, bliss, forgiveness, and love. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind speaks to my persistent nature, my hopelessly romantic side, and the ways I’ve been broken, and pieced back together by love, life, and self-reliance.

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The Film touches on loneliness, too. Loneliness pervades every character, and at times directs their decisions.

We are shown Joel’s loneliness from the start, his grief, and his somber solitude. When he says “Why do I fall in love with every woman I see who shows me the least bit of attention?” illustrates his loneliness and self-doubt. I think in many ways Joel feels invisible, and desperately wants to be seen.

Clementine runs from loneliness, trying to keep just enough steps ahead that it doesn’t touch her (even though it is what fuels her running). She changes her image, she erases Joel from her memory, she exhibits many markers of borderline personality disorder, especially in her need for attention and love, even though she shoves it away at times. Loneliness is weaved into all of Clementine.

Another thing to contemplate about Clementine. I’ve seen references to Clementine as being a “Manic Pixie Dream Girl”,  a descriptive that has some personal pain to it for me. I know in my life I’ve tried to be that. Maybe not exactly Manic or Pixie, or a Dream Girl, but I’ve tried to be the “Cool Girl”, the kind referenced in the book “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn. Thing is, that kind of fake self cannot be sustained, and I think eventually the “Girl” in that facade fights it, resents it, and runs from it. I think if anything Clementine is seen as an “MPDG” by Joel, at first, and maybe for a while, but that shatters and she pushes back at it and eventually runs. I think at the end, when they are face to face in the hallway, after hearing on the tapes what became of them once, it is impossible for her to ever be anything but Clementine. I think if anything this film takes that notion of an “MPDG” and lets us see it fall apart.

What happens after the credits roll? Do Clementine and Joel survive? Do they live to repeat the same mistakes that had them trying to erase each other from their memories? What happens to Mary? Does she leave town, change her name, try to forget and move on? What about Patrick and Stan? Is Patrick running a Pyramid scheme business? Is Stan working in a Psychologists office, or in some other cutting edge, scientific field? Did Dr. Mierzwiak retire?

We can answer these questions in our imaginations? If you are like me, I root for Clementine and Joel to make it. And maybe you hope Mary finds something she doesn’t need to forget about later. I know I do.

What I know for certain is that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind will always be my Favorite Movie and that each time I watch it I see and feel another something, and I start thinking again about layers of the story, and how it relates to me, to life, and to love.

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2. Lost in Translation (2003)
Written & Directed by Sofia Coppola

Lost In Translation All-Time Favorite Movies Movie 2

I just don’t know what I’m supposed to be.” – Charlotte

You’ll figure that out. The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you.” – Bob

Does age really change how you see the world, and yourself in it? Does it get easier, as Bob suggests to Charlotte? Do we believe him, or is he trying to convince himself that life has gotten easier?

One of the things I love the most about the relationship between Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) and Bob (Bill Murray) is the way it illustrates that at any age we are all confused and still searching for ourselves, and for connections with others. That never gets easier, in my opinion, but the possibility of connecting never goes away either. The latter, it makes it all worth it, for those moments shared with another, sometimes unexpectedly.

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Trying to articulate the reasons and whys of my love for this movie always trips me up and has me uncharacteristically without words. It is a feeling, the way I find myself “lost” in the movie every single time I watch, and how completely emotionally moved I feel for Charlotte and Bob. Every time I watch I feel more.

At the end of the movie, Charlotte and Bob embrace, and Bob whispers something inaudible to the “audience” to Charlotte. I’ve always wondered what was said, and through the years, and re-watches, I’ve decided on various things that he was saying. The one I tend to come back to most often is “I love you,” in some way, or another, whether it is followed by “but I can’t”, or “maybe someday”, or “let’s find each other again”, it does almost always include “I love you”.

3. Almost Famous (2000)
Written & Directed by Cameron Crowe

Almost Famous All-Time Favorite Movies Movie 3

I always tell the girls, never take it seriously, if ya never take it seriously, ya never get hurt, ya never get hurt, ya always have fun, and if you ever get lonely, just go to the record store and visit your friends.” – Penny Lane

I was on a late night flight from Miami when I first saw Almost Famous. It was one of those flights that are undersold, so I had three seats to myself. I lay down with half-working headphones watching the film thinking that I would drift off to sleep. The movie captured me though, and I lay there wide-eyed watching, falling hard and fast for Penny Lane (Kate Hudson) and William Miller (Patrick Fugit) and Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup). Music has always led my heart and narrated my life, so music stories are a love of mine, and without a doubt or a moment’s hesitation, this one is my favorite.

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Over the years, and over many re-watches of both the released version, and the director’s cut (the latter my preference), I have found myself toggling between who I relate to more, Penny or William, and whose stories speak to me the most. William is a music lover, a writer, a weirdo and an outcast in his life. He seems so often torn between what he wants to do and what he thinks he is supposed to do, and he loves in that open heart so easily broken kind of way. He never seems to belong anywhere completely, though he has moments when where he feels like “home“, most often when he’s on the road with the band and Penny. I have felt, and still do feel, so much of those sentiments and conflicting feelings about where I belong, if I belong, and which path to travel.

Almost Famous Movie 3

Penny though, well she has that bottomless heart, that nearly unbreakable sense of hope, that love of music and the makers of music that I can’t help to relate to. There’s the pain, too. The heartbreak of trying to “project” someone else’s dreams, the ache of being someone’s temporary choice, and the pain that comes with loving an artist.

She believes in the music with all of her being, believes in the fantasy it promises, the life it seems to offer, the love, but she seems to not see the magic within herself. I want Penny to write a novel, or put a band together, take her own show on the road, and not just be someone’s band-aid to fix or facilitate them with. I know it has taken years and years for me to learn to be my own project, and even still I fall for the music and the music makers.

Almost Famous All Time Favorite

Though I vacillate between my big love for both William and Penny, and how they both relate to who I am, most days I’d rather not be either. But I would like to ride Doris (the tour bus) along with them both, and with Stillwater, and the other band-aid’s. I’d like to spend a month or so on the road with them, write on the bus, write stories and maybe some songs. I’d like to sing a song with Jeff (Jason Lee), and take photos with Penny, try on clothes with Saphire (Fairuza Balk) and Polexia (Anna Paquin), get ice with Russell, dance on the empty stage post-shows and just take off on a gypsy-soul musical sabbatical from my life for a little while.

When I feel this way, when I long for just that, I return to some of the songs from the soundtrack and pop in my “bootleg cut” director’s cut version of Almost Famous, and make it my escape for a few hours.

4. Reality Bites (1994)
Written by Helen Childress
Directed by Ben Stiller

Reality Bites All-Time Favorite Movies Movie 4

“You see, Lainie, this is all we need. . .couple of smokes, a cup of coffee. . .and a little bit of conversation. You and me and five bucks.” – Troy

Reality Bites was released about twenty-four years ago. When it came out I was just twenty-five. I was in flux at the time, halfway out of a relationship and halfway in one, in that on the cusp of getting back together place that I would find myself in, over and over again, during my twenties. At twenty-five, I had a two-year-old daughter, and I had no idea what I was doing with my life. I wrote a lot in journals, I worked at a record store, I faltered in relationships, and I had some amazing friends.

Laney Reality Bites Movie 4

The halfway out of a relationship boy said I reminded him of Lelaina, especially in the scene in the gas station mini-mart, when Laney and her friends dance to “My Sharona”. He told me he always felt held back and that me and my friends were so overwhelming in energy and enthusiasm, to an embarrassing degree. I suppose I should have listened, that I should have realized that this was part of what I ended up despising, how cold and collected he seemed, how much of his emotions seemed in constant lockdown. How he shared himself with other women (and men), but never me.

Reality Bites Troy and Laney Movie 4

I fell for boys like Troy in the years that followed. In the twenty-four years since Reality Bites, I would find myself falling for the intellectual slacker, the unmotivated musician, the boys who were irresponsible, often addicted, usually jobless, and hopelessly attractive to me. They were full of passion, great in bed, and were the kind of boys that you could have all-night conversations with, night after night after night. They were not good at the real life shit though. They never had money for dinner, or for rent. They were afraid of commitment, or so into me and us so fast that they became unhealthily obsessed and jealous. Most of them were weak, not physically so, but emotionally, not one to stand by my side when things got rough or needed to be faced. Most of them turned out to be nothing but nightmares and heartache.

Reality Bites All Time Favorite

And yet, even knowing that now, knowing what most Troy’s are like from first hand, and heart, experience, I still watch and know I would still fall for Troy, that I would still choose Troy, that he is still my god-damn ideal.

When I watch Lelaina now,  I still relate so much. Under skin that has lines now, and hair that greys quickly, I don’t feel all that grown-up, no, so much of me still feels like that 25-year-old who was confused all the time, who didn’t know what she wanted to be, or who she wanted to be with (though I’m lucky to finally know who I want to be with, and finally be really in love). I look in the mirror half expecting to see a younger me, the me that still sneaks into so much of my writing, but instead I see this older woman who resembles her Mother, and her Grandmother.

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I’m not afraid of ageing, I’m not afraid of age, but I don’t feel much like this reflection that seems to be me. I think I thought I’d really be somebody by the age of 48, and 36, and 25, and maybe even 23. Do we ever arrive at that “somebody” we think we’ll be?

I was really going to be somebody by the time I was 23.” – Lelania

Twenty-four years is a long time, and not so long, as well. I still feel like Lelaina, but I also feel like I’m Laney with some years behind her. I’m still a mess, but I know myself more. I still have vulnerability and tenacity, I still want to create something and be something more than my “job”, and I still am full of flaws, but maybe those flaws are part of what makes me creative and make me me.

Reality Bites My Sharona Favorite Movies

And sometimes I just really want to dance around to My Sharona.

5. A Place In the Sun (1951)
Story by Theodore Dreiser and Patrick Kearney
Screenplay by Michael Wilson and Harry Brown
Directed by George Stevens

A Place In the Sun All-Time Favorite Movies Movie 5

Every time you leave me for a minute,
it’s like goodbye.
I like to believe it means you can’t live without me.” – Angela

Growing up, I inherited a love of film and music, and nearly unshakable insomnia, from my Mother. I would find myself tossing and turning throughout the night, and I would lean my head towards the door, straining to hear whatever film my Mother was watching in the wee hours between late at night and early morning, out in our living room. Quite often it was a classic film, black and white flicker on a screen with some of the classic Hollywood actors keeping her company in her own sleepless hours. Sometimes I would creep out into the hallways, each step I’d take care as our hardwood floors were prone to creak, and I would try to remain unnoticed, craning my neck just so, in order to catch glimpses of whatever film was playing.

Often she pretended to not notice me there, though I know now she was never fooled. And, after a while, she would shake her had at me and say, “just come in and join me.”

A Place In the Sun Movie 5

Elizabeth Taylor was one of my early favorites. Her stunning looks and demeanor took my breath away. All dark hair and pale skin, and sparkling eyes that I would later learn were an unusual shade of violet. She had this air of melancholy about her, and a strange mixture of innocence and worldliness that seemed to emanate from every pore. I was fascinated by the roles she played, and by the way she carried herself in all of the varying characters, I found myself devouring in those long, still hours of no longer night and not yet morning.

A Place In the Sun All Time Favorite Movies

During my adolescence, when a theatre teacher told me that I reminded her of a young Elizabeth Taylor, I was dumbfounded, and nearly burst into tears right there in front of her. I never saw myself as anything like her, nor would I again, but for that split-second, I felt as if her mystique has slipped momentarily underneath my skin, and shone out of me, as those old films had glowed out of our rabbit-eared second-hand television.

A Place in the Sun is about impossible love, bad timing, deception and loss. It is based on the novel, An American Tragedy, so I suppose there is no mistaken this for a Hollywood ending “they lived happily ever after” kind of number. This film definitely doesn’t end happily, though I suppose there are moments “in the sun“, and those stolen confessions in the moonlight when two people end up in each other’s arms, whether it should have ever happened, or come to be, at all.

A Place In the Sun Favorite Movies

Love ending at the electric chair, well, I suppose that it does deserve the title of tragedy, doesn’t it?

6. Chasing Amy (1997)
Written & Directed by Kevin Smith

Chasing Amy All-Time Favorite Movies Movie 5

“Even if we never talk again after tonight, please know that I am forever changed because of who you are, and what you’ve meant to me. Which, while I do appreciate it, i’d never need a picture of birds bought at a diner to remind me of.” – Holden

I’ve always loved Alyssa (the film’s “Amy”), her spirit, her fluidity, her sense of self, her persona, her humor, and her heart. When I saw Chasing Amy in the 90’s I remember wishing I could be like her, seeing her as brave and bold in ways, and about things, that I was shy and insecure about. I feel closer to her now, and was once in a relationship much like the one she is in with Holden, and have had to defend my past before, too – I think she’s such an important female character (is she the first bisexual female film character?) – cheers to Kevin Smith for writing her, and for Joey Lauren Adams portrayal of her.

Alyssa Chasing Amy All-Time Favorite Movies

Alyssa is on my list of fictional characters I relate to the most. Not that I share all her experiences (some, but not all), but her way of living and loving, her take on things, and her reactions, I feel completely. This is, and always will be, my favorite Kevin Smith film, one that makes me laugh, cry and feel (a lot).

There is something about this scene, the vulnerability in it, and that moment where you know that what is being opened up will change everything. It could have been terribly cheesy, but it is not, not even at all. To me it is believable, relatable, and painful in that way that when I first saw it I watched it through my fingers, with my hands covering my eyes, dreading what the outcome would be.

I think there is this universal feeling to it. That feeling of falling into an impossible situation, and having it burn you so deeply that you feel there is no way you can keep your feelings inside any longer, and that risk, that utter and complete risk, of telling someone you are in love with them in the face of rejection.

Beyond this scene, there are so many other things I love about Chasing Amy. Alyssa is one of those characters that I relate to on an under the skin level, one of a few that I feel in a visceral way. I love how complex they wrote her friendship with Holden, and her own self-actualized journey, and reality. I love the friendship between Holden and Banky, as well, and the wit and pop culture peppered into a very real love story.

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7. Before Sunrise (1995)
Written by Richard Linklater & Kim Krizan
Directed by Richard Linklater

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I believe if there’s any kind of God it wouldn’t be in any of us, not you or me but just this little space in between. If there’s any kind of magic in this world it must be in the attempt of understanding someone sharing something. I know, it’s almost impossible to succeed but who cares really? The answer must be in the attempt.” – Celine

My most memorable of memories, the kind that sticks deep inside like soul-taffy, are of moments of connection with people that include music, passion and conversation. I am a word addict, just as I am a music junkie, and a damn hopeless romantic, so the three blended up, shaken and stirred up together is just sheer bliss to me. I have had those moments with people, wrapped up in talks that last for hours and hours, carrying one day into the next, the kind that has you never wanting to stop, never wanting to hang up the phone, or say “we better call it a night.” Time means nothing, anything past the two connecting mean nothing and all there is to matter is the space between the words, the pauses to breathe, the burning glances and the exchanged thoughts.

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Celine and Jesse, in Before Sunrise, have that, and then some. They have a stolen night that turns into a beyond words memory filled with words and passion, music and poetry, sex and love and the stuff of what one hopes can last forever. I have had a few of these moments, a few memories like this, and even the ones that never did last, well, I would not trade them for anything. Celine and Jesse were a promise to me, a hope of sorts, and a cinematic portrayal of a love I have always wanted, though perhaps never quite found, or held on to, until NOW.

Before Sunrise Favorite Movies 6

8. Garden State (2004)
Written & Directed by Zach Braff

Garden State All-Time Favorite Movies Movie 7

Fuck, this hurts so much.” – Andrew

“I know it hurts. That’s life. If nothing else, It’s life. It’s real, and sometimes it fuckin’ hurts, but it’s sort of all we have.” – Sam

The very first time I watched Garden State my overwhelming thought was “where has this movie been all my life?”. Everything about it, the pain of living, the feelings that go on when you are grieving and starting over and waking up, the relationship between Andrew and Sam, the connecting force of music, the neverending search for meaning, the complicated dynamics of family and home, mental and emotional issues, and love. This is an amazing movie, layered with so much of everything, with some brilliant performances.

Garden State Movie 8

I love the relationship between Sam and Andrew, how much they grow and change, teach each other, and heal each other, in such a short span of time. I love how real their love feels, flawed and raw and wonderful. This movie gives me hope and that kind of comfort that none of us is alone in this world.

There are moments within the movie that bring me to a mess of ugly tears, the kind that is hard to breathe through, and leave me sobbing. There are also moments that make me laugh loudly and fill me with joy. These are two flawed people who have been struggling with different emotional and mental issues that have kept them from certain things in life, love being one of them. Watching these two people find each other, open each other up, and fall in love is so meaningful to me.

Garden State Movie 8 All-Time Favorite Movies

What makes us different, our unique moments (like Sam’s above) are what help us get through the hardest days in life. The scene above always reminds me to be fiercely myself and to find things to laugh about every day.

The ending kills me. It rips me apart and leaves me in a state of messy tears like I mentioned before. It hits on airport goodbyes I’ve dealt with in my life, and times spent wishing someone would come to stop me at the airport, tell me they love me, that they want to try to make it all work. The scene also makes my heart soar and makes me believe in love like that – like Sam and Andrew’s, and like the love I have in my life right now.

9. The Big Lebowski (1998)
Written and Directed by Ethan and Joel Coen

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“That rug really tied the room together.”  – The Dude

Stories in Los Angeles, unexpected character connections, and the wit and dark comedy of the Coen Brothers are some of the elements of this film that I love. There is something more, too – maybe it is the actors (so many in this that I love), the music connections (see if you can spot Aimee Mann and Flea), the friendships, or maybe it is the “follow your bliss” simplicity of “The Dude” himself. At first blush, his slacker nature seems rooted in laziness, but I think under the surface there is more to it – a simplicity that he fights for, and is often unable to sustain, that draws me in.

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The music in the film is brilliant, and the visuals – especially in the dream sequences – are breathtaking. Though it is The Dude (Jeff Bridges), Donnie (Steve Buscemi) and Walter (John Goodman) who are the stars of the film (deservedly so), some of the supporting cast are just fantastic – especially Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Julianne Moore.

This is a movie that never fails to make me laugh. My favorite, funniest moments? There’s two that stick out most – the whole “tied the room together” (re the rug) or the Dude’s distaste of The Eagles.

10. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
Written by Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson
Directed by Wes Anderson

The Royal Tenenbaums All-Time Favorite Movies Movie 9

“I think we’re just gonna to have to be secretly in love with each other and leave it at that, Richie.” – Margot

A family full of misfits, outcasts, and broken souls. Wes Anderson has a style that is immediately recognizable, and a knack for creating characters that are not just unique and unusual, but completely unforgettable. There is something iconic in the characters and the story in this film, something that transcends the movie itself, imprinting differently than cinema usually does, connecting almost the way that music does.

I love the juxtaposition of mood and feeling, to color hues and music and visuals. At times everything is falling apart while the music and colors may suggest otherwise, yet together it all works to deliver both hope and hopelessness, love and loss, heartbreak and happiness. The Royal Tenenbaum’s is my choice for best Wes Anderson, though I love all of his films – this one though, I think it will always be my number one.

The music is magic. But, then again, that can be said about all Wes Anderson movies. I’ve heard that he picks the music first, and then builds the scenes around them. I love thinking about that process – I hope it’s true.

Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow), Etheline (Anjelica Huston) and Royal (Gene Hackman) are my favorite characters, though all of them have their moments. At the end of the film, I always find myself wanting more of the family’s story. To see what happens to them next.

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11. Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
Story by Truman Capote
Screenplay by George Axelrod
Directed by Blake Edwards

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“I’m like cat here, a no-name slob. We belong to nobody, and nobody belongs to us. We don’t even belong to each other.” – Holly Golightly

My feelings have changed, or perhaps more my perspective, about Holly and the entire story of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, since I first saw it as a preteen girl. Back then I saw Holly as a hero, someone to idolize and to hope I could grow up and be just like when I embarked on adulthood and living on my own. Although I do wish I’d struck out more independently when I originally left home (don’t move out with a boyfriend/girlfriend first thing, boys and girls. No, really), I see a lot more clearly the sadness in Holly, the loneliness, and more than that, the self-destructive behaviors. It’s clearer to see as an adult, especially as an adult who has been sad, lonely and who has indulged in self-destructive behaviors. off-and-on, in her life.

All that said, I still love Holly, and the movie (albeit, I could do without the miscast of Mickey Rooney as her Asian neighbor – that just makes me shudder.) I do wonder how the movie would play out if it had been made now. Would Paul have been gay, as he is in the novella? Would they have gone off together as friends? Would it be the same without that iconic kiss in the rain?

I can’t imagine a different version. I cannot imagine Holly not being played by Audrey Hepburn either, or Paul being anyone but George Peppard. So, for me, it will always be this version that I love.

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Songs from My Top 50 Favorite Movies – Film Listography

27 Dresses LD Movies

27 Dresses – LD Movies

Lyriquediscorde Movies

27 Dresses was released in 2008. It was directed by Anne Fletcher, and it was written by Aline Brosh McKenna. It is one of my favorite “Rom Coms” from the early aughts. It has more storyline than just boy-meets-girl, though there is that. The Movie also delves into tricky family dynamics such as sibling rivalry, the loss of a parent at a young age, and the challenges of being the oldest, and being the youngest. It touches on selflessness, and relationships between women, as well. It isn’t as heavy as all that sounds though. It also has plenty of light moments and laughs.

27 Dresses LD Movies

27 Dresses (2008)
LD Movies
My Favorite Rom Coms

Let’s start with the boy-meets-girl part though. Jane, played by Katherine Heigl (my favorite role of hers after Izzie Stevens in “Grey’s Anatomy”) is seemingly in love with weddings and wedding planning, though she strangely does not work in the wedding industry. Jane is also in love with her oblivious boss George, played by Edward Burns (whatever happened to Edward Burns? I really enjoyed him in movies like She’s the One and The Brothers McMullen, from the 90’s). Jane accidentally meets Kevin at one of “two in one night” weddings she’s a bridesmaid of. He’s an anti-wedding and seemingly anti-love reporter. They bump into each other. Literally. I suppose in some ways they have a “meet cute”.

27 Dresses Jane meets Kevin

Enter Tess, Jane’s younger sister. She’s played by Malin Akerman, one of my favorite underrated actors (check her out in the Movie Final Girls, if you haven’t already). Tess comes off as clueless and selfish. She’s barely in town an hour and she catches the eye of Jane’s boss. They have a whirlwind romance and become engaged. And, of course, Tess asks Jane to help with the wedding, which becomes whirlwind, too – 3 weeks of a whirl.

Tess and George 27 Dresses LD Movies

Tess and Jane have a complicated relationship, even more than most sisters tend to experience. Their Mother died when they were both young, especially Tess, and Jane has spent most of her life taking care of Tess.

In the meantime, Mr. Anti-Wedding, “Sort-of-Meet-Cute”, decides to write a story about Jane without her knowing (add to the list of secrets and bets unknown to the lead – a big Rom Com trope in the 90’s). He spends more time with Jane for the story. I’m sure you can guess where it all goes from there.

Benny and the Jets 27 Dresses LD Movies

Music is weaved well into 27 Dresses, as well. A matter of fact, Music is a big part of my Favorite scene in the Movie. It is actually in my Music Moments In Movies Favorites list. Jane and George wind up rained out in a bar, get drunk, and start singing Bennie and the Jets. It is their “moment”.

I especially love the misheard Lyrics part.


“Bennie the Jets” by Elton John
Jane and Kevin

Second favorite part? The Bridesmaid Montage. I’m pretty sure every Rom Com has to have a Montage. The Montage is also where the title of the Movie comes from – the 27 Dresses.

27 Dresses LD Movies Bridesmaid Montage

Beyond these fun favorite scenes, my other big reason I’m a fan of 27 Dresses is Jane, and her moments of vulnerability, as well as her moments of not being “good”. Jane is selfless all the time until she finally snaps. Even though it is cruel when she does, it is part of what humanizes her and has me caring about her.

My least favorite part of 27 Dresses? The lack of characterization of Casey, played by Judy Greer. She is almost always the “best friend”, often the “best friend” who is less than the lead, often even she is mean (Casey in 27 Dresses), or sometimes she becomes the villain (13 Going on 30). Judy even wrote a book about her “co-star” status, I Don’t Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star. I wish Casey had been more fleshed out, and less of a stereotyped character. But sadly this is another almost-always Rom Com trope.

Jane and Casey 27 Dresses LD Movies

The Soundtrack features a surprising array of Artists and Bands including Regina Spektor, Cocteau Twins, Elton John, Feist, Gene Loves Jezebel, Kasbian, Michael Jackson, Shakira, The Turtles, Chaka Khan, Amy Winehouse, Ray Lamontagne, and more. The score is by Randy Edelman.

“Be Here Now” by Ray Lamontagne

All in all, though, I do enjoy 27 Dresses and have watched it multiple times. It is one of my go-to Rom Coms. For a mainstream Movie, it goes beyond the surface, and it is Female-Directed and Written, which makes me happy.

What do you think of 27 Dresses?

27 Dresses Poster LD Movies

Eternal Sunshine LD Movies

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – LD Movies

Lyriquediscorde Movies

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind came out in 2004. It was directed by Michel Gondry, and written by Gondry, along with Pierre Bismuth and Charlie Kaufman. The Film follows an estranged couple who have erased each other from their memories. The ensemble cast includes Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood, and Tom Wilkinson.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Lyriquediscorde Movies

The title of the Film is taken from “Eloisa to Abelard” by Alexander Pope.

How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot! 
The world forgetting, by the world forgot. 
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind! 
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Lyriquediscorde Movies

The Film plays at times like a psychological thriller and uses nonlinear narrative storytelling to explore the nature of memory and romantic love. Time and Alternate Reality shifts, and the realm of the unconscious play a significant role, as does the idea of memory.

The movie won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, and Kate Winslet received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. Since its release and initial recognition, the movie has developed a cult following.

Ahead may contain spoilers – Spoiler Alert from here on.

Clementine Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind LD Movies

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is my Favorite Film. It touches on something in me that is almost impossible to articulate. Its impact often feels beyond words. Since the first time I saw it, I’ve felt a deep connection/kinship with the character of Clementine (Kate Winslet). The way I relate is both in good ways and bad. Sometimes there is so much raw truth reflected at me it hurts to watch. But, I keep watching because I’ve never found a Film yet that hits me the way this one does.

Joel and Clementine Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind LD Movies

Most of the time Clementine and Joel gift a strange comfort to me. A comfort that makes me feel less alone in my own flavor of fucked up girl-ness. I get Clementine. I get Joel. I get what they have, what they lose, and what they fight so damn hard to hold on to in the end.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a love story to me. The most real kind of love story. So perfect in all its glaring, messy imperfectness.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind LD Movies

Flawed characters. Love that knows no limits. Love that persists despite seemingly impossible challenges, like erased memories. A story filled with alternate and intersecting realities. Impulsiveness, passion, confliction, loss, restlessness, joy, bliss, forgiveness, and love. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind speaks to my persistent nature, my hopelessly romantic side, and the ways I’ve been broken, and pieced back together by love, life, and self-reliance.

Clementine and Joel Loneliness LD Movies

The Film touches on loneliness, too. Loneliness pervades every character, and at times directs their decisions.

We are shown Joel’s loneliness from the start, his grief, and his somber solitude. When he says “Why do I fall in love with every woman I see who shows me the least bit of attention?” illustrates his loneliness and self-doubt. I think in many ways Joel feels invisible, and desperately wants to be seen.

Clementine Loneliness LD Movies

Clementine runs from loneliness, trying to keep just enough steps ahead that it doesn’t touch her (even though it is what fuels her running). She changes her image, she erases Joel from her memory, she exhibits many markers of borderline personality disorder, especially in her need for attention and love, even though she shoves it away at times. Loneliness is weaved into all of Clementine.

Clem ESOTSM LD Movies

Another thing to contemplate about Clementine. I’ve seen references to Clementine as being a “Manic Pixie Dream Girl”,  a descriptive that has some personal pain to it for me. I know in my life I’ve tried to be that. Maybe not exactly Manic or Pixie, or a Dream Girl, but I’ve tried to be the “Cool Girl”, the kind referenced in the Book Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Thing is, that kind of fake self cannot be sustained, and I think eventually the “Girl” in that facade fights it, resents it, and runs from it. I think if anything Clementine is seen as an “MPDG” by Joel, at first, and maybe for awhile, but that shatters and she pushes back at it and eventually runs. I think at the end, when they are face to face in the hallway, after hearing on the tapes what became of them once, it is impossible for her to ever be anything but Clementine. I think if anything this film takes that notion of an “MPDG” and lets us see it fall apart.

Joel Eternal Sunshine LD Movies

But there are more characters than Joel and Clementine. The others tend to be forgotten when this Film is referenced. Look up Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and you’ll see that pages and pages of Clementine and Joel will show up, screenshots, Movie stills, photos, fanart, even the posters tend to have the two of them only. But, there are other stories and characters that are integral to the plot, and to the story of Clementine and Joel, and how they get to their ending/beginning.

Mary Eternal Sunshine LD Movies

Mary (Kirsten Dunst) is a devoted employee of Lacuna and is devoted to Dr. Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkinson). We don’t realize how devoted, or how complex, her devotion is. We also do not learn how important Mary is until the end. Mary plays a key role in how Clementine and Joel ultimately end/begin.

Mary is also the key to proving that erasing memories of love completely is impossible. Remnants remain, and at least in this Fictional reality, we all return back to that person we love and sought to forget every time.

Stan and Mary Eternal Sunshine LD Movies

Stan (Mark Ruffalo) is devoted to Mary, though I don’t think she realizes to what extent. Despite his devotion, though, he keeps a secret from her for what seems like complex reasons. Stan is not as integral to the main plot, but his relationship with Mary, and also his acquaintance to his co-worker Patrick (Elijah Wood) help to move the plot along. Does that make Stan a plot device? Partially, yes, but the writing and characters are so rich in this that it doesn’t feel stilted or flimsy as most plot devices tend to be.

Patrick Eternal Sunshine LD Movies

Patrick could also be construed as a plot device. He is manipulating the “matrix”, to borrow from another film, to cheat the outcome of a relationship he wants with Clementine. He thinks if he repeats all the same things that Joel did, she will fall in love with him like she did with Joel. This brings up another “truth” in this Fictional reality, that it is not just the actions of love and relationships that are important, or even necessary to the love, but the people. It’s an interesting thing to think about.

Joel and Clem Eternal Sunshine LD Movies

When I think of the relationship I’m in, and the man I love, I know that it isn’t the details of it all. Even though the both of us cherish these small things – memories, inside jokes, tokens, and gifts, places we’ve been, Music we’ve shared – it is that we have these things together, he and I, that makes them part of our love. Isolated, these are just items and moments, they don’t define the love we feel, but they are part of it. If we took all those away I believe we would still love each other, and we would start building new ones together.

They are the limbs of us, the dressing, the socks, and hat, they are part of us, but we can live without them. Love is like that, too. I think that is some of what is conveyed here within this unconventional, flaw-filled, love story.

Eternal Sunshine LD Movies

What happens after the credits roll? Do Clementine and Joel survive? Do they live to repeat the same mistakes that had them trying to erase each other from their memories? What happens to Mary? Does she leave town, change her name, try to forget and move on? What about Patrick and Stan? Is Patrick running a Pyramid scheme business? Is Stan working in a Psychologists office, or in some other cutting edge, scientific field? Did Dr. Mierzwiak retire?

Clem Eternal Sunshine LD Movies

We can answer these questions in our imaginations? If you are like me, I root for Clementine and Joel to make it. And maybe you hope Mary finds something she doesn’t need to forget about later. I know I do.

What I know for certain is that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind will always be my Favorite Movie and that each time I watch it I see and feel another something, and I start thinking again about layers of the story, and how it relates to me, to life, and to love.

“Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometime” by Beck
with Scenes from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

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