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  1. Today
  2. April 15, 2013
  3. Yesterday
  4. Absolutely. I don't even dislike Finding Neverland, but I'm so tired of cutesy-poo 'life' affirming biopics with magical tinkly piano scores and golden-wash cinematography which try to hide all the bodies in the woodshed. The story of Christopher Robin is actually pretty sad and difficult. He was bullied at school because of his father's books, then became estranged from his parents because he married his first cousin, and his child was born with severe cerebral palsy. It is possible that the film touches on these topics, because there are scenes with Christopher Robin in his early twenties, but if so the trailer isn't giving it away.
  5. One thing I found truly unrealistic [MILD SPOILERS] was the idea that Paterson would be unable to write his poems out again from memory; or at least some of them; or at least try. Even his wife, positive and upbeat character that she is, doesn't suggest it. I used to memorise poetry as a kid, and I've scribbled the occasional verse myself, so I know how the cadences of a poem - however 'free-verse' - echo through the cranium. Especially when your brain has created those lines itself, and spent energy on trying to get each line weighted correctly, with the right word in the most telling place. That amount of passivity seemed unrealistic even for him. As to the quality of his poetry - I thought the scene with the girl was perhaps meant to be a moment when he meets someone who has real ability rather than simply inclination. She's young - eleven, I think - but there's a certain life to her poem, and a sense of potential opening up around her that she herself doesn't realise yet. Something that Paterson sees and that possibly makes him reconsider his own efforts. At least, that's how I read it.
  6. Just watched this. It's not great, but it is enjoyable. McAvoy's obviously having a blast, as most actors would with that kind of role(s). I've only seen her in this and The VVitch, but I think Anya Taylor-Joy has real talent - she's got the ability to convey an interior stillness which is important for deeper roles. Disappointed to see her next film is an X-Men spin-off, but hey ho - even Saoirse Ronan has The Host in her resume. It's nice to see Shyamalan enjoying himself, although it definitely feels like he's making B-movies now - I kinda miss the slightly pretentious early works where he was reaching for something a bit more. Nothing about this lingers in the mind like scenes from Sixth Sense, Unbreakable or Signs do. Only mildly intrigued for Glass, but I'll still catch it.
  7. Fair enough. Thanks for the clarification, Darren. I admit, I reacted in a "punchy" way when I saw the tweets Peter shared. I hadn't seen the other one.
  8. Last week
  9. Isn't that the same thing as "desperately clinging for beauty?" I think you've loaded my comment with a lot more criticism than I intended. I also identify strongly with Paterson -- I'm working through PTSD and am a bit codependent and hyper-vigilant (to quote my therapist), which is why the film made me so anxious. Peter might not have seen my other Tweet last night because it was in conversation with someone: "It still might be really good -- just not in the ways I originally experienced it."
  10. A review by Susan VanZanten, a Dickinson scholar who works with me here at SPU.
  11. I'd argue that the American Beauty guy is a bad version. He's detached, desperate to find beauty in really troubling things without honestly engaging with the truth of them. "Hey, the dead body of someone close to me! His head's shot open! Cool! How beautiful!"
  12. A case could be made that there is a good version of this guy and a bad version of this guy. I do not have any good examples of the latter at hand, but surely there are some.
  13. I've filmed more than one leaf caught by a single strand of spiderweb so that it seems to defy gravity. I love those videos. I guess that makes me a ridiculous American Beauty plastic bag guy who's "desperately clinging for beauty."
  14. What I found remarkable about the film was how it, at once, made me feel incredible calm and peaceful while still having this subtle, underlying tension or provocation. That literal "aha!" moment in the conversation with the Japanese man is the moment of catharsis and release of the tension, a further invitation for Paterson into his vocation of "poet." Without that moment, the rest of the film would feel too sparse and inert. I don't see the codependency or terrible writing suggested by Peter's screenwriting friend--that entire interpretation of the film feels like a significant misreading of the characters and their interactions, as well as a cynical evaluation of Paterson's poetry, which I found to be better than average. Like Jeff suggests, I think there's so much more going on under the surface of these characters, especially Paterson and Laura, which is only hinted at through this week-long snapshot of their lives. How did these two meet? How long have they been together? How did their respective backgrounds and cultures and personalities lead them into this routine, a daily office in the vein of monastic life? What about children? I think the film offers hints and glimpses without spelling anything out. I agree that Paterson is "clinging for beauty in the mundane," though I don't think his search for beauty can be considered "desperate." I might be clinging for beauty in the mundane, too. I hope I never give up that search.
  15. It's not mine either. (That'd be Down By Law.) I suspect that viewers' interpretation of Paterson's relationship with Laura, and their perception of Laura, will be very different based on experience. Some find Laura too MPDG-ish. I've met, and call as close friends, several women who remind me of Laure, and they're not behaving like her to get guys' attention or to be liked. They are irrepressibly creative, and constantly throwing themselves with enthusiasm into new kinds of creative pursuits. To the issue of codependency — I don't see it. Paterson seems capable of taking care of himself. He was a Marine, and he still follows some of the rigors of those routines. He is watchful and careful in caring for the passengers on his bus. He listens to, enjoys, and takes action to protect people in the bar. He doesn't need a housekeeper (although he might need a cook). I think he's with Laure because it delights him to support her creativity. And lest we make too much of her "sitting at his feet," hoo, boy. We might remember where she's likely to have come from, and the typical body language and gender-role norms in that culture. We might remember that some couples might interact this way without seeing any of it as hierarchical — it might just be humility and tenderness. Is their relationship perfect? Of course not. It's not hard to imagine what issues they would bring up if they were seeing a therapist. But that's part of why they seem very human to me. I almost always agree with Darren Hughes. But "desperately clinging to beauty in the mundane"? I recognized Paterson more than almost any character I've seen in the movies. He is distracted by, delighted by, beauty in the mundane. And let us remember that, like Alvin in The Straight Story, he has suffered some kind of trauma at war. His response to the near-violence in the bar shows us that. He's walking wounded. I imagine he feels gratitude for even slight experiences of grace. Also, for what it's worth, these poem were written by an accomplished poet to represent the work of an amateur poet. Paterson's poems remind me of poetry by some of my favorite poets, even if they don't remind me of those poets' best poems. They sound like poems by undergraduate poetry students who would make me think "They get it. They're beginners, but they get it." For whatever it's worth: My wife is a published poet who has taught poetry and received endorsements from some of our favorite published and accomplished poets. She likes Paterson. She enjoys his poems too. They're not T.S. Eliot, but they're more complicated than they might seem at first. They demonstrate an awareness of all kinds of "play" between words, their sounds, their meanings, and their possibilities. Paterson is not supposed to be a genius or a great poet. He's supposed to be like the rapper in the laundromat — a guy who, despite the ordinariness of his life, is alive because he is awake to some form of play, and that lets meaning into the incidental. It would seem arrogant and hard-hearted to me to scorn such characters as "not real poets" because they're "not good enough." That would be like condemning James Taylor because Radiohead, or Billy Collins because W.H. Auden. Having said all of this, I do think there is a certain messiness missing in Paterson that I love in other Jarmusch films. There's a "grit" in Down By Law — and even in Only Lovers Left Alive — that I miss here. But they all have a great deal in common — particularly a love of language, of the power of play, and of strangers who speak different languages connecting over a shared love of particularity.
  16. This is not my favorite Jarmusch film, so take what I have to offer with a grain of salt. I have been thinking about Darren's tweet since I saw it, as I felt the same tension while watching Paterson the first time. But Paterson as a character definitely fits into the Jarmusch universe, which is populated by wanderers and dreamers who don't quite fit into what happens around them. Jarmusch films typically operate on two planes at the same time - a mainstream, normal, public stage which constantly runs in the background, and a character self-isolated from that mainstream in a variety of ways (beatnik, lower class, odd criminality, drug induced stupor, being an immortal vampire, etc...). While Jarmusch clearly identifies with this outsider motif, we always have to suspend a little belief to get into the same empathetic space. I tend to think of Jarmusch characters as occupying a bubble in the real world, and because typical narrative rules are suspended in this bubble, they are able to encounter gradations of grace, mirth, and decrepitude which one does not normally encounter "out there in the real world." So Paterson is a lot like Ghost Dog or even Adam (in Only Lovers...). His sense for poetry and desire to write pushes him outside the mainstream flow of life into this calm little eddy Jarmusch has constructed. Laura is beautiful, supportive, and because of that a little impossible to accept as a realistic human. But the supportive encouragement she offers is exactly what any artist longs for, so Jarmusch graciously gives that to Paterson. And it works. And to be fair, I have seen Laura in other women, so she may be less hard to imagine than we think. When she claims she loves his cooking, the smell of the bar on his body, etc... I am willing to accept this claim because elements of that are certainly true. This may be the closest Jarmusch has gotten to a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, but she also makes good sense in context of WCW's Paterson line "Besides, I know myself to be more the woman than the poet..." - there being a subtle collapse in the film between this male and female character. And the genius of Jarmusch is how he finds ways for the bubbles he constructs to overlap with what we feel is more realistic, part of the mainstream plane we inhabit as the audience. He sends us out of the theater primed for a Binx Bolling response to reality. In this case, when Paterson sits on the bench next to the Japanese man reading William Carlos Williams, they have a conversation which ties the entire film into a real state of affairs. William Carlos Williams did write, he wrote Paterson, and people like this Japanese man sit on benches in Paterson reading his words. And people do this because they find something more real and coherent in poetry than they do in the other areas of their life. I guess Jarmusch is willing to risk making a film feel tawdry or cockamamie in order to show us someone passing through that very experience. I write poems. I never share them because I am not very good at it. But I do it to order and catalog what otherwise might vanish. I would not mind meeting my Japanese guy on a bench to push me a bit harder, to take it a bit more seriously. So while I understand how Darren gets anxious during the film, I thought that was an element of the film. An anxiety certainly resolves in that quiet final act. TL/DR 1. Paterson is just like most other Jarmusch characters, living in bubbles slightly overlapping with reality. 2. Paterson and Laura are kind of indistinguishable as characters, which also happens a lot in Jarmusch. And some women do like that bar smell. 2. I write crappy poems, so I identify with the anxiety in the film and wish I could meet a Japanese guy on a bench.
  17. It's not.
  18. I will admit Willow is one of my most favorite movies and my most favorite Val Kilmer role lol
  19. Embedding.
  20. A screenwriter friend of mine also wrote on Facebook a while back: "In 'Paterson', Adam Driver plays a guy who is an absolutely terrible writer, who has a gorgeous Iranian girlfriend, who thinks his writing is wonderful and encourages him, is a wonderful cook, is hugely supportive to him and calls him every endearment there is and sits at his feet and wraps her arms around him, who lets him go to the bar in the evening and loves the way he smells when he comes back, and who lays in bed with him on Saturday mornings, and wants to take him out and watch old black-and-white horror movies with him. "Yeah. So that's definitely a cockamamie work of total bullshit fiction." He later added: "I wondered if the poems were meant to be a joke, and the story was going to explain to him that he was talentless, and that his girlfriend was just being super-nice to him. Honestly...that was meant to be poetry?" One of his friends proposed -- in jest, I think -- that the protagonist's girlfriend was imaginary. My screenwriter friend didn't like 20th Century Women either, though, and I kind of did, so make of that what you will. (I have not had a chance to see Paterson for myself yet.)
  21. : Kasdan favors a strict adherence to the written word — what is on the page is what must be shot. Which is funny, when you consider that some of the best moments on The Empire Strikes Back were, if not improvised, then at least workshopped by Irvin Kershner and the actors (chief among these everything in the carbon-freeze scene leading up to Han Solo's immortal "I know"). NBooth wrote: : With three weeks left in filming, I have no idea how Howard could even attempt to put a distinctive stamp on the movie. Reshoots, NBooth. Reshoots. (See also: the changes between the Richard Donner and Richard Lester versions of Superman II.)
  22. This from the man who directed and shares screenplay credit on Dreamcatcher.
  23. Confirmed. Copy/paste what I said above, but maybe change the typo.
  24. I don't have a clear idea of Howard's style, either. Based on Willow, I think he could do a pretty good Han Solo movie--if he was in on it from the ground floor. With three weeks left in filming, I have no idea how Howard could even attempt to put a distinctive stamp on the movie.
  25. Yeah, the ending and final twist really are kind of rushed; I think they could have worked better with just a little more time. But Guinness is wonderful.
  26. I don't know what Ron Howard's idea of a science fiction universe really looks like...or what kind of individual aesthetic he'll bring to the film, but it seems to me it will be "serious Star Wars", and honestly I don't want Star Wars to just be serious, or epic, I'd also enjoy a couple films that are just fun space romps like Guardians of the Galaxy, which I'd kinda hoped Lord and Miller could bring to the table, even with Kasdan doing the script. There are some elements of that in original trilogy, and Force Awakens, but I think it would have been cool to see Lord and Miller's more comedic touch on the films.
  27. Now streaming via Amazon Prime.
  28. Is this a sign of Ron Howard's decline or what? The fact that he'd take over a franchise spin-off at the last minute so that he could take his marching orders from Lawrence Kasdan -- how else are we supposed to read this? Howard will also, interestingly, become the oldest director of a Star Wars movie ever. George Lucas's four films came out when he was 33, 55, 58 and 61. The Empire Strikes Back came out when Irvin Kershner was 57. All of the other films -- Return of the Jedi, The Force Awakens, Rogue One, The Last Jedi, Episode IX -- came out (or are going to come out) when their directors were (or will be) in their 40s. (Though Tony Gilroy, who did *not* receive a credit for his work on Rogue One, was 60 when that film came out.) Lord & Miller are both in their 40s, too. Meanwhile, Ron Howard is 63 and will be 64 by the time this film comes out. This is, of course, at least the second time that Howard has worked (as a director) with characters created by Lucas, following their collaboration on Willow almost 30 years ago.
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