Archive for the ‘I Heart This’ Category

Some are great standalone lines. Some are perfect in the context of the situation, in the film.

“This is Hollywood. We don’t like liars.”
Knocked Up

“I’m sorry.”
“I’m glad to hear it. I wish it were enough.”
Johnny Skidmarks

“There’s something about collaboration that brings out the worst in writers.”
Starting Out in the Evening

“You’re still the nicest person I ever met, even if you’re not dying.”
The Good Life

“You mustn’t kid Mother, dear; I was a married woman before you were born.”
The Women

In House of Games, written and directed by David Mamet, it’s the climactic confrontation scene. Mike starts out thinking he’s still scamming Maggie. Soon, however, he comes to understand that she knows everything, and her intention toward him at this point is potentially homicidal. You can see the realization dawn on him, and he says,
“You’re a bad pony, and I’m not gonna bet on you.”

“I like it. I want more.”
Christopher Walken in Brainstorm. For some reason the delivery of that line just knocked my socks off.

“What fresh hell is this?”
The character is quoting Dorothy Parker, though it sounds like Shakespeare.
War of the Roses

“You can dance to anything.”
A Home at the End of the World

Kid to mother “Why can’t you make anybody love you?”
Later she tells him, “It’s not my job to make somebody love me. Love isn’t a trick you play on somebody.”
The Buddy System

A falsely imprisoned alleged terrorist, to a fellow convict –
“You’re better off being guilty. Al least you get some respect.”
In the Name of the Father

“If you saw that on television you would laugh.”
Knocked Up

Joey is in the hospital, victim of an attempted murder by a hired killer his wife hired because of his constant cheating. His mother visits, scolds him, hits him.
Joey: “Hey, Mama, please, I got a bullet in my head.”
Mama (swats him again): “You should have two bullets in your head. Three bullets. Four bullets.”
I Love You to Death

The cop thinks a killer is putting on airs, and takes him down a peg.
“You’re about as mysterious to me as a blocked toilet is to a fuckin’ plumber.”

“We came over to sit. That’s what people do when tragedy strikes. They come over and sit.”
Lars and the Real Girl

A Gypsy to a cop who is threatening him –
“By jeez, you’re a brave man. I wouldn’t argue with you sir, I wouldn’t. For you’re a brave man always.”
Into the West

“When you throw a stone into a lake, it’s not happy until it hits the bottom. Make sure he doesn’t drag us all down with him.”
Into the West

“You want me to stop smoking pot because there’s an earthquake every ten years?”
Knocked Up

“If my life were a movie, this would be the end.”
The Good Life

“I lied to you when I said that I would never lie to you again.”
The Good Life

“If we don’t meet, this allows the possibility that it could have been perfect.”
Bad Timing

about the French-
“They have a whole relationship to dairy products which I don’t understand.”
French Kiss

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The name by which I first knew this film isn’t what appears on the picture above. But it’s the same. Actually, it’s been known by several titles:

Tabor ukhodit v nebo (the approximate Russian)
Gypsies are Found Near Heaven
Queen of the Gypsies
Gypsy Queen
Gypsy Camp Vanishes into Thin Air
Gypsy Camp Vanishes Into the Heaven
Gypsy camp vanishes into the blue
Gypsies Go to Heaven

I saw The Gypsy Camp at the Fox Venice Theater, so it was in the late ’70s or early ’80s. My first thought was, “I can’t live without this music.” But of course it was not available. Movies on videotape were possessed only by people who owned editing studios. And it was made in Russia.

Years later, when VCRs got popular, I even wrote to the Russian embassy to see if they could help me get a copy of the film, or at least of the soundtrack. No luck. And after a whole lot more time, when I finally got online (years later than most of my contemporaries), I searched for The Gypsy Camp, but no luck then either.
Finally I found a press release about how hundreds of Russian films were scheduled to be released on portable media. They were gradually being converted, one by one, and according to the schedule, the one I wanted would be released in a couple of years, in the summer of 2004. But then when I checked again in the fall of 2004, it wasn’t available yet.

When it finally came out, the only source was a pretty dicey-looking outfit that I didn’t want to give my credit card number to. Eventually, it showed up on eBay, but only on DVD, which I didn’t have the technology for, but I bought it anyway, figuring I’d go over to a friend’s house and watch it. Months went by and it never seemed to be the right time for that. Then one day my housemate brought in a DVD player

So finally, I watched The Gypsy Camp again, and yes, you can repeat a peak experience. It is so damn gorgeous to look at and the music is deliriously wonderful – it’s every bit as good as I remembered it being 25 years ago or more. Just fabulous.

Of course there are plenty of parallels between Gypsies and the homeless folk and vehicle dwellers I knew from Venice Beach. They only own what they can carry, the food supply is undependable, they have to deal with the weather as best they can, and put up with criminals in their midst. And of course they can be killed with impunity. The way the soldiers in the movie treat the Gypsies could be a template for the LAPD and their ilk, in their treatment of the homeless. Go in and bust up their shelters, throw their bedding and other possessions in a pile and burn everything, put pressure on everybody in the whole group so they will betray anyone the authorities are looking for, make them keep moving, provide no public toilets and then bust them for pissing in the alley, provide no washing facilities and then tell them they stink, and on and on.

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A Home at the End of the World

I watched this because I listened to the audiobook of the novel and loved it, and when I found out there was a movie too, and that Robin Wright is in it, that really put the icing on the cake. I liked her ever since 1984 when the soap opera “Santa Barbara” started on TV.

Michael Cunningham wrote the novel and the screenplay. Cunningham is obviously an expert on the folks who practically invented the concept that, as the film’s tagline puts it, “Family can be whatever you want it to be.” This work comes from a mind saturated with Bloomsbury lore–Cunningham also wrote The Hours, a novel about Virginia Woolf that was made into a movie.

One of the central figures of Bloomsbury was the painter Duncan Grant. Apparently nobody ever said a bad word about Grant. He seems to have been universally loved by males and females alike, and the character of Bobby in A Home at the End of the World is what I imagine Duncan Grant must have been like.

When Bobby is nine, his big brother Carl gives him some windowpane, and they trip in the graveyard. Carl is a really beautiful guy, a true bodhisattva, and his relationship with his brother is probably the one he’s most present for. Of course Carl dies horribly and far too young. But rather than being messed up by that tragedy, Bobby incorporates Carl’s spirit into himself, and becomes exactly the same kind of loving and lovable person. (Carl is played by Ryan Donowho, who was in Michael Pitt’s band Pagoda, and for some reason that doesn’t surprise me.)

Bobby seems to be about 14 when he picks a friend and gets him stoned, out in the midst of lush nature, ahhhhh…..  He lends Jonathan his dead brother’s jacket, and Jonathan lends Bobby his jacket, and their bond is cemented. Jon’s mother Alice walks in on them getting stoned, and to Jon’s flabbergasted astonishment, Bobby induces her to join them. It’s a lovely scene, mother and son handing off a doobie to each other. Even more mind-boggling, Bobby slow-dances with Alice. Then they all dance. This is a dope-positive movie, and there aren’t enough of those.

Bobby pretty much joins the family. When Alice discovers that the boys are fooling around, she’s okay with it, but Jonny is uptight. Bobby is totally comfortable with the relationship. “It’s just love, man.” When somebody else is fretting about something or other, Bobby is likely to say, “This is perfect.” His best line is, and these are words to live by, “You can dance to anything.”

Now they’re grownups. Jonny (Dallas Roberts) has moved to New York. Bobby (Colin Farrell), who looks a lot like that iconic photo of David Foster Wallace, has stayed with his friend’s parents. But they plan to move to Arizona, and the father gently suggests that Bobby needs to be on his own. So he calls Jonathan, who is by now a full-fledged bisexual living in New York with an artistic wild woman named Clare (Robin Wright of course.). These are the kind of people who listen intently to Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne,” several times in a row. The three of them form a coalition, and Bobby learns that Jon and Clare have talked about having a baby. Clare talks Bobby into losing the hippie look. She cuts his hair, then takes him to bed. It’s his first time with a woman, and his reaction is a bit extreme, unless you factor in the feelings he might be having about betraying Jon. Of course Jon has male lovers, but the woman he lives with is a different case.

And sure enough, Jon is upset with the new closeness of Bobby and Clare. He goes to stay with his parents for a while, and won’t even take Bobby’s calls. But then his father dies, and Bobby and Clare arrive in Arizona to reclaim the lost member of their triad. Clare is pregnant and wants them all to be a family. So they reconcile. Her inheritance will buy them a house.

They abandon New York City and fix up a house in the country, and open a café in town, with Bobby as cook and Jonny as staff. The baby is born. Jon fears that he has AIDS. There’s another exquisitely beautiful, wild, life-affirming scene where the two men dance. They are so hot together, it’s just magical.

There’s a lot of detail passed by in the movie that was probably in the novel – like, who is the baby’s bio-father? And does Jon ever actually get tested for HIV, and does Clare know about his worries; and if the little girl is his, shouldn’t she be tested too? Anyway, Clare and the baby get ready to go on a trip. Everybody pretends to believe it’s just temporary, but she’s leaving Bobby and Jonny alone. But we know Jon is going to die, so she’ll end up back with Bobby and a nuclear family eventually.

People who create unorthodox families are incredibly brave and admirable. It’s mean-spirited to be irritated with these characters because they couldn’t make it work perfectly, all the time. On the other hand, they did make it work amazingly well for an astonishing amount of time, which is more than most of us are equipped or inclined to do. So, bless them.

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