Tag Archives: 50 Day Movie Challenge

paris

50DMC #38: Movie World You’d Like to Live In

The 50 Day Movie Challenge asks one question every day, to be answered by a few paragraphs and a clip, if possible. Click here for the full list of questions.

Today’s prompt: What movie world would you most like to live in?

This answer is certainly Paris, because I am utterly in love with cinematic Paris. I like real Paris, too, but the Paris that’s in the movies is magical. Tip for screenwriters: set your film in Paris, and I am 95% guaranteed to like it. But I’m probably supposed to choose just one film for this question, and I’m not sure I can do that. From B&W French New Wave films with intellectual (or pseudo-intellectual) youths wandering in and out of coffeeshops to Americans in Paris like Funny Face or, well, An American in Paris to more recent depictions like Amelie or Paris, je t’aime or Avenue Montaigne and even Ratatouille, cinematic Paris is heavenly. I want to go to there.

This is the final short in the compilation Paris, je t’aime (directed by Alexander Payne), about a middle-aged American woman traveling alone to Paris for the first time. She narrates her experiences in voiceover as an essay for her French class, in a very American accent. Though you don’t see too much of Paris in this short, and it’s a bit on the sad side, it’s a perfect capper to the film and expresses the way foreigners (like me) fall in love with Paris.

Shortbus

50DMC #37: Couldn’t Watch With Parents

The 50 Day Movie Challenge asks one question every day, to be answered by a few paragraphs and a clip, if possible. Click here for the full list of questions.

Today’s prompt: What’s a movie that you could never watch with your parents?

Going with another sexually explicit film here, with John Cameron Mitchell’s Shortbus. The film is largely set in a free love type establishment, with a sex therapist going there to try to figure out why she’s never had an orgasm (and to, well, have one). Meanwhile, a gay couple struggle with their relationship and one partner’s thoughts of suicide. Mostly, they’re all seeking a human connection. Roger Ebert says, accurately I think, that “it’s not about sex but about sexuality, not about scoring but about living,” but yeah. I could never watch it with my parents. Although, they wouldn’t watch it anyway, so it’s not really a concern.

Here’s the trailer, including an intro from director John Cameron Mitchell:

In-the-Realm-of-the-Senses

50DMC #36: Most Uncomfortable Date Movie

The 50 Day Movie Challenge asks one question every day, to be answered by a few paragraphs and a clip, if possible. Click here for the full list of questions.

Today’s prompt: What’s the most uncomfortable date movie?

It actually took me quite a while to think of an answer to this question, because I don’t really have a good grasp of the concept of a “date movie.” A good date movie is whatever both you and your date are interested in seeing. My boyfriend and I are both into a lot of different kinds of film and will go see just about anything, together or apart. I’ve heard people say they’d never want to see Blue Valentine with their significant other, because of its harsh look at the end of a relationship that started out pretty sunny, but we saw that together only a few months into our relationship, and we both loved it. So yeah.

But I think I found one. And when I ran the basic story of In the Realm of the Senses by my boyfriend, he agreed with me that it definitely sounds like a non-date kind of movie. I haven’t actually seen it, but the gist is this: a rich Japanese man and a maid (formerly a prostitute) begin a relationship at first because he molests her, but soon she is the instigator – fueled by secrecy and then pure passion and eventually destruction, their relationship moves from purely sexual to sadomasochistic, eventually culminating in the woman cutting off the man’s member. Sounds like a porno (until the end, anyway), but it’s a well-regarded art film. But not probably something you want to watch on a date.

Here’s the trailer:

50DMC-West-Side-Story

50DMC #35: Favorite Adaptation

The 50 Day Movie Challenge asks one question every day, to be answered by a few paragraphs and a clip, if possible. Click here for the full list of questions.

Today’s prompt: What’s your favorite book-to-screen adaptation?

Like the “favorite remake” question, this one has a number of ways to approach it. Favorite movie that happens to be an adaptation? Favorite movie AS an adaptation (that is, something about the transition from book to screen is particularly loveable)? The first approach would be way too broad, so I tried to find one that does something interesting with the adaptation itself, which meant I had to have read the book. That knocked off a bunch of possibilities right there. Heh.

For a long while, West Side Story was one of my top five favorite films. It’s not quite that high anymore, but I do still love it a lot, and a good portion of that love is due to the way it takes the story of Romeo and Juliet and plops it into a modern and more relatable milieu. This is, in fact, a thing I like in most any Shakespeare adaptations, and something that’s quite common in stage versions of his shows, albeit they usually keep the language and West Side Story does not. The film version of West Side Story is a double adaptation; directly an adaptation of the 1950s Broadway musical by Leonard Bernstein and Steven Sondheim, which is adapted from Shakespeare’s tragedy. And even though the majority of the adaptation is between Shakespeare and Sondheim, the film has a few changes up its sleeve as well, most notably in the performance of a couple of the songs – the film swaps “Cool” and “Hey Officer Krupke”, which makes a lot more sense in the flow of the story (the ordering in the play is largely due to needing an upbeat song at a particular point for the peculiar pacing purposes of stage productions), and it also has both male and female members of the Sharks performing “America” instead of just female, as it was in the play. I prefer “America” as it is in the play, but swapping the other two songs for the movie as a great choice, and shows that the were really thinking about how this is going to play AS A MOVIE – a key consideration in adaptation that not every filmmaker takes into account as much as they should. Not to mention it looks incredibly cinematic, transcending its roots on the stage.

Both as a movie, then, and as an adaptation, West Side Story hits my sweet spots. Here’s the opening:

The-Thin-Man

50DMC #34: Favorite Series

The 50 Day Movie Challenge asks one question every day, to be answered by a few paragraphs and a clip, if possible. Click here for the full list of questions.

Today’s prompt: What’s your favorite movie series?

My first gut reaction to this question was the Thin Man series, and so I’m going to stick with that. Even though after the third or fourth entry they went downhill FAST, I still find them enjoyable. William Powell and Myrna Loy retain their marvelous chemistry regardless of the quality of the script they’re working with, and that chemistry is a huge part of why The Thin Man is so much fun. Of course, the first two films match them in the story department, and are genuinely among the best films ever made.

Here’s a tribute video to Nick and Nora, pulling from I think all the films in the series.