To help brainstorm titles for the Ireland pieces I’ve been writing, here’s a list of all the films and TV shows set or connected to the Republic or Northern Ireland that I’ve seen. Is there something Irish that I need to see and don’t have listed? Maybe I’ve seen and forgotten, but either way, let me know!
We Don’t Need Another Hero
Last night my wife and I saw Mad Max: Fury Road. Holy crap.
To have a film look so gorgeous, be so crazy, and retain the right elements and tone of films shot between 1979 and 1985 is a major achievement. Though they’re apples and oranges, I see Fury Road upping the ante for the new films in the Star Wars franchise.
Director George Miller has long been an enigma to me. He studied and completed his residency to become a medical doctor, working on film sets in his spare time. Not only did he eventually write and direct the first three Mad Max films, he also wrote both Babe films and directed the second (yes, the talking pig movies), and wrote and directed Happy Feet (yes, the penguin movies). Lorenzo’s Oil, The Witches of Eastwick, and a segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie are in there, too.
If you like the Mad Max series, make sure to see the documentary Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! It chronicles the early years of Australian cinema in a visually interesting way. The films profiled are so insane and graphic that I didn’t feel comfortable sharing a trailer here. As crazy as Fury Road felt, it’s nothing compared to some of the films from the region in the ’70s.
Nice work Mr. Miller. I’m glad a few more films planned in the series, too. Can’t wait for Mad Max: TheWasteland.
Song referenced: We Don’t Need Another Hero (from Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome)
Have I ever mentioned that I love the 1962 French short film La Jetée by Chris Marker? It’s the main inspiration for 12 Monkeys, but was originally done with still frames.
Here’s a trailer from a recent showing:
Luckily, a dubbed version of the entire film can be viewed on Hulu if you have an account (or a little less legally on YouTube or Vimeo).
Movie referenced: La Jetée
Sound and Fury
If there’s one thing I love, it’s movies. I’ve taken three film studies courses in my life and have made some short (not great) films/videos for classes, competitions, and events. However, I’ve found attending movies in the theater to be a bit of a challenge lately.
My wife, like many others, is a fan of the Hunger Games novels. We attended a screening in the theater of one of the films and discovered, much to our amazement, a newborn baby in a carseat at the night-time screening. The baby was well behaved, but at the slightest peep the parents would make a loud shushing noise, which continued through the entire film. We were expecting a child at the time, so don’t chalk this up to disliking babies – only parents with poor decision-making abilities.
We attended a showing of Selma, the moving story of Martin Luther King Jr.’s march in Alabama. The woman next to me chose to eat popcorn, which she’d popped at home, from a (very loud) plastic shopping bag. Ok, that was fine, movie theater popcorn is expensive. She washed it down with a can of Diet Coke, presumably also from home. Fine, I’ll give her that – nothing goes better with free popcorn than free soda. Once her mouth was devoid of popcorn, she started talking to her friend. Next up, rustling of the empty bag while she looked for items in her purse (note the plural ‘items’) for about 20 minutes. First came the Chapstick, then the tissues to blow her nose, and the Pièce de résistance, an eCigarette! Yes, she was smoking during this movie. I think I wouldn’t have minded one of these, but the pairing of talking, digging, and smoking was just exquisite.
My favorite people are what I call “the narrators” – people who feel a need to audibly ask questions or repeat lines from the film. The night before the 2015 Oscars, we had a chance to see The Imitation Game, the story of cracking codes produced by the Enigma machine and Alan Turing’s personal struggles. A graphic explained that World War II would go one for three more years after the code was cracked in 1942. “THREE MORE YEARS!” exclaimed one woman. Along with 1492, 1776, 1812, and 1865, 1945 is one of the few years you should remember from even the most basic of grade school education.
The demographic for these offenders seems to be over the age of 45 and traveling in pairs. They don’t just stick to the cinema either – they enjoy live theater and really bring out their narration A game for community theater.
Seven more years and I get to do what I want in a movie theater!
Movie referenced: Sound and Fury
I Always Wanted to be a Tenenbaum
In 2009 I volunteered to make an introduction video for an event at Maine College of Art. It took some time to come up with a concept, but after seeing a video by Company of Thieves (see below), I had my idea – a Rushmore parody! Although not common at the time, Wes Anderson’s technique has been mimicked more and more frequently over the years. I was never quite happy with the video quality, but it was it was a fun little project and I’ve always wanted to share it. Music is Painter Man by The Creation – the same band that performs Making Time that’s used in Rushmore.