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About John

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  • Birthday January 26

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Katy, TX

Previous Fields

  • About my avatar
    Modern Times
  • Favorite movies
    In no particular order: Dekalog, Ikiru, Magnolia, Au hasard Balthazar, Winter Light, The Third Man, All About Eve, Late Spring, The Man Who Planted Trees, The House is Black, City Lights, The Night of the Hunter, Rosetta, and The Sun Shines Bright
  • Favorite music
    Sufjan Stevens, Radiohead, The Decemberists, Fiona Apple, Elliot Smith, Pearl Jam, Sleater-Kinney, Ben Harper, The Who, Sigur Ros, Bob Marley, Brandi Carlile, Otis Redding, Bob Dylan, Billie Holiday
  • Favorite creative writing
    Dostoyevsky is my favorite, though I also enjoy Flannery O'Connor, George Eliot, Nikolai Gogol, Graham Greene, Charles Dickens, Mikhail Bulgakov, Wendell Berry, Cormac McCarthy, David Foster Wallace, and Marilynne Robinson
  1. John

    Spinning Plates

    I suspect this documentary would be of interest to several around here. While I had some issues with the structuring, its interest in three groups/families of restauranteurs in three very different restaurants led to some interesting conversations around the value and function of gathering for a meal around a table, the importance of meaningful community, and the relationship between innovation and the fundamentals of table fellowship. If this all sounds vaguely (or not) ecclesiological, well, that's where it sent me. Anyone seen it? Thoughts?
  2. Au hasard Balthasar (Bresson, 1966) Certified Copy (Kiarostami, 2010) City Lights (Chaplin, 1931) The Decalogue (Kieslowski, 1989) The Immigrant (Gray, 2014) Late Spring (Ozu, 1949) The Man Who Planted Trees (Back, 1988) The Son (Dardenne, 2002) The Sun Shines Bright (Ford, 1953) The Third Man (Reed, 1949) Darren, "This Land is Mine" is worth your while. A really interesting film. I had similar aspirations for a Renoir study a while back, and have recently been toying with giving it another go.
  3. John

    Hail, Caesar! (2016)

    I enjoyed the film, though it did feel a bit uneven in places. It spurred me to write about it.
  4. John

    Wendell Berry

    I've read four of the Port William novels (Hannah Coulter, Jayber Crow, The Memory of Old Jack, A Place on Earth), and none of them gets within even forty years of 2008. Indeed, all of the novels that I know of were published before 2008, making the Wikipedia claim a strange one. I have heard there's a recently (2012) published collection of Port William stories (A Place in Time) that has a story set in 1991.
  5. John

    While We're Young (2014)

    Great connection, Darren. I thought of Tenenbaums several times when Stiller was on screen, but hadn't made that specific link. That particular moment between Stiller and Grodin was when the film took a real turn toward the positive for me--the vulnerability of Stiller's character brings a real sense of humanity to the film, just like that moment in Tenenbaums. This also struck me as something of an All About Eve for documentarians.
  6. John

    Hard to Be a God (2013)

    Whew, what a difficult film to watch. That said, German accomplishes something pretty interesting here--he offers what is essentially a material vision of humanity, focusing on the concrete world, and especially the tangible details of bodily solids, liquids, and gases. The immersive sound design and the crowded frames bring us this troubling vision in unrelenting and innovative fashion. And yet . . . the question of deity continually breaks in. Not that German ever offers a moment of release or transcendence. Rather, the film seems to push so hard in the direction of the material and the imminent that the question of deity seems to naturally insert itself into the proceedings. That it does so in the midst of this painful vision of "human" life makes it all the more significant. Let me also say simply that I've never seen anything like this. I've seen it compared to Fellini's SATYRICON, and while I think that is helpful in part, German's film (and particularly his framing/sound) move beyond the bounds of Fellini's film. I'm not sure I've seen a better example of mingling disgust and wonder.
  7. John

    The Mend (Dir. by John Magary)

    Thanks for the heads up, Darren.
  8. John

    The Public Cinema

    Great news, Darren.
  9. My journals go back to 2003, and I've averaged about 190 per year in that time, from a high of 260 in the last year before we had kids, to lows of 133 & 134 in the year I wrote my dissertation and last year, when we made a major move to a new city. I can see staying steadily in the 150-200 range, as I suspect adding more films than that would cut into my thinking/writing time, which I already feel is limited.
  10. These are my favorites... -Certified Copy -Poetry -Once Upon a Time in Anatolia -Another Year -The Kid with a Bike -Lucky Life -The Tree of Life -Two Days, One Night -The Immigrant -Nostalgia for the Light -A Separation -Tuesday, After Christmas
  11. John

    The Immigrant (2013)

    So my copy of the Blu-ray arrived yesterday. I'm really looking forward to seeing this again.
  12. John

    Newport Beach FF 2015

    SUNNY IN THE DARK is one I've had on my radar. Director Courtney Ware premiered a short film called BLUR last year at the AFI Dallas Fest that had a nice visual sensibility. SUNNY is her first feature, and I've been wanting to check it out.
  13. John


    Good stuff, Jeffrey. I appreciate your attentiveness to the specificity of the song, as well as the spiritual turn it takes as it nears its end. SK don't often invoke explicitly religious themes, but when they do I find myself nodding along (see Sympathy off of their album One Beat for another great example). One editing note on your piece: the drummer's first name is Janet, not Karen. I am digging this album as well. I probably haven't gone two whole days without listening to it since it came out. I am captivated by the tight and purposeful arrangements of these songs. These ladies are going somewhere on this album, and every time I feel like I'm just trying to keep up with them.
  14. John

    Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell

    You can find a song from the new album, called "No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross", here.
  15. John

    The Public Cinema

    This is great news, Darren. A truly fantastic idea. And I hope I can find my way to Knoxville again to join you all for a screening.