January 13, 2017

This Week in Aaron, #14

Weddings and Stuff

There are some movies that are just perfect. One of those is My Best Friend's Wedding. I don't remember the first time I watched it, but every single time I see it, I'm reminded of just how pitch perfect it is. No, it didn't win any Oscars, but it has well-constructed comedy, genuine drama, musical numbers, and Julia Roberts - I don't know what else you could need. I've been thinking about it because I went to a wedding last weekend! Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, the wedding I went to lacked any of the hysterics and hijinks on display in My Best Friend's Wedding. In fact, the entire affair went off without a hitch. The ceremony was beautiful, the reception was perfect. I got sufficiently drunk and danced with the bride, the bride's mother, and several bridesmaids. If that's not a success, I don't know what is. 

The day before the wedding, during the rehearsal, I was talking to the bride's grandmother. As we watched the wedding organizer explain the route the bride and groom would walk, grandma smiled and said, "It's so fancy! Not like my wedding." She explained to me that her and her husband went to the courthouse with only two friends, took their vows, signed their marriage license, and went back to work after lunch. "It was a different time," she said. I think a lot of people feel this, not just during weddings, but every day. The change that our society has undergone, especially in regards to technology, has far exceeded the pace at which people have grown accustomed to it. This dissonance breeds frustrations and these frustrations lead to cultural and societal divides, not unlike the ones we are experiencing today. I've heard and read plenty on what we should do to conquer these divides. The most convincing, I think, is the call for empathy. However, this empathy must come from all sides in order for it to be successful. Far too often, those already at a disadvantage are expected to be empathetic to those resisting change. It must be the other way around. Those resisting change should be learning to embrace it. Believe me when I say, there are people out there that will help with that process. Grandma said, "It was a different time," but she also said, "But things are better now." Things are better now, but things should be better for everyone. 

What I Watched This Week

Dangerous Liaisons (1988). Starring Glenn Close and John Malkovitch, this adaptation of a French play sizzles and sears with dramatic tension and incredible performances. It also features a phenomenal script and impressive costume/set design. I watched this, hungover, on the flight back to LA and I was enraptured the entire time. 

I'm Not There (2007). If you ask most people who are interested in film, they'll tell you that 2007 was an incredible year. That year, we saw No Country for Old Men, Zodiac, There Will Be Blood, Juno, Atonement, Michael Clayton, and more. It was such a stacked year that an honest to god masterpiece like I'm Not There seems gets left out of the conversation. Todd Haynes' unconventional biopic about Bob Dylan is a remarkable piece of filmmaking that left me wondering, "I don't know how this got made, but I'm glad it did."

The Lady Vanishes (1938). A film like only Alfred Hitchcock could make. It's the kind of story that starts of so small, so inconspicuous, that by the time it reaches its conclusion, you never once questioned the massive increases in tension and thrill. 


What I Read This Week

Jeff Sessions Has Spent His Whole Career Opposing Voting Rights (The Nation). 
Why Trump's Conflict-of-Interest Plan Won't Prevent Conflicts of Interest (The Atlantic). 
You Talkin' to Me? An Interview with Martin Scorsese (Film Comment).


What I'm Watching This Weekend

Hidden Figures (2016). The story of the three African-American women behind the launch of Astronaut John Glenn into space. You must have seen the trailer by now, but if you haven't here it is. 

The Parallax View (1974). Directed by Alan Pakula, this political thriller stars Warren Beatty as a reporter investigating a secretive organization. This film is the second in Pakula's "Political Paranoia trilogy" including Klute and All the President's Men.

Julieta (2016). One of the greatest (and coolest) directors of all time, Pedro Almodovar, has a new film out based on Alice Munro short stories. Those names may mean nothing to you, but I promise, it's very exciting. 


Stuff That Made My Week Better

I got my screening tickets for Sundance! At the end of the month, I'll be heading to Park City, UT for the annual Sundance Film Festival. I went for the first time last year and absolutely loved it. I got tickets to see the following movies:

Golden Exits, Axolotl Overkill, Novitiate, Call Me by Your Name, Their Finest, Ingrid Goes West, I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore, Beach Rats, Columbus, and Roxanne, Roxanne.

If you're interested in reading about these movies or any of the others in the Sundance line-up, you can do so here.