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May 13, 2008

leaving normal...

Leaving Normal is reminiscent of those Hallmark movies my mom used to make me watch on Sunday evenings. Though sometimes cute, it was way too cheesy for me. The idea could've been portrayed in a more effective way, with characters who were less neurotic and more accessible. It surprised me that this was the last movie of the semester, it seemed like a strange fit.

My favorite movie from this semester was probably The Grace Lee Project. It kept my interest for the whole film, and Grace Lee's mission seemed so heartfelt. Her presentation of the topic was excellent.

May 12, 2008

It's a tie...!

My favorite road movie from this class would have to be Girl on a Motorcyle or Vegabond. I liked these two movies because I had never seen or heard about them before. I wouldn't have seen them if it was not for this class and they were unlike any movies I have ever seen. It seems like movies are losing originality in plot and these two movies were unlike that. Girl on a Motorcycle was a little cheesy and the male gaze in the film was absolutely ridiculous but I enjoyed watching something and being able to analyze it with the tools we were given in class. Vegabond was...well I will just call it interesting. You never knew how the main character was going to act, and you never knew her next move. This was a difficult blog because I will always like Easy Rider as well....but Girl on a Motorcyle and Vegabond were new to me and I like older movies.

Little Miss Sunshine

Overall I was quite disappointed like many others with Leaving the Normal. Being that our papers were based around this particular concept in terms of being disconnected with the road I was felt that more of a message could have been conveyed to the audience through the title.

After reflecting on the course of the semester I must say that my favorite road film including one of my favorite movies of all time still would have to be Little Miss Sunshine. The internal struggles that are occurring simultaneously and continuously colliding is constantly keeps me thinking in terms of connecting the characters to the concept of "leaving the normal." The end of the film brings about such a rewarding feeling showing that it is impossible to completely leave normality behind and emphasizing the strength and bond of family that is can be created despite differences and constant struggle. Through struggle we are capable of reaching stability in our lives.

"Set it Off" and "Easy Rider"

Leaving Normal was an okay film. I honestly am having trouble even specifying the details of the movie even though I attentively watched the entire thing. I did find it kind of boring and slow at different parts.

I would have to say my all time favorite road film is a toss between "Set it Off" and "Easy Rider". I guess I enjoy the rebellious aspects of the road film. "Set it Off" demonstrates the oppression and struggle it takes to move up a class or try to make a better life for yourself when you live in the ghetto. I enjoyed the passion of these girls and the motive of the film. I also enjoyed "Easy Rider" because of the rebellious lifestyle Dwight and Billie choose to live out on the road, and the way in which society tries to place them back into society.

I loved this class! Thank you Prof Zita!

May 9, 2008

Leaving, Leaving Normal

I didn't not like Leaving Normal. I thought the characters where very one dimentional, the writing was incredibly bad (I understand that parts were supposed to be cliché), and the stories that were constructed seemed incredibly inconsequential and bland. The main character, Marianne, had this supposedly strange and influential back story, yet I feel I don't understand what happened at all. How long was she even with her abusive husband? Christine Lahti, whom I have enjoyed in other shows, was able to bring punch-up the humor a little bit, but still, I felt all of the comedy was incredibly stressed. In the end, I didn't care about who was doing what, where the baby was, if Marianne will get with Harry (Who plays a super creepy guy in Twin Peaks!), or what will happen to their lives.

My favorite film would probably be Priscilla, Queen of the Desert for many reasons. I felt it was an incredibly well thought out story, and used many interesting actors (action stars!). Many of the scenes in the film are very memorable and used great cinematography. I think as well, the story never treaded into dubious water in regards to drag queens, homosexuality, and sexism.

February 3, 2008

Terror On the Road

Bonnie and Clyde is my favorite road movie. While the film lacks cinematic excellence, the film was a fantastical (for the time) journey of death and deception. While the film followed a rather patriarchal form, Bonnie was allowed a gun and helped create a means of terror in her own right.

Favorite Road Movie

Hey All --

My computer crashed 10 days ago and I finally got everything up and running. Better late than never, I guess.

My favorite road movie has to be Little Miss Sunshine. While it is a fairly paint-by-numbers dysfunctional family comedy (all the dysfunctional family member archetypes are present -- loser father, uptight mother, odd kids, gay brother, outspoken eccentric grandfather), there is something so genuine about its portrayal about how the road effects family dynamics (first making things more dysfunctional, and then eventually finding some sort of function within the dysfunction) that the charm of the film cannot be denied. I was so taken by the film that it became one of the handful of films that I saw multiple times in the movie theater (granted, they were 3 free advanced screenings put out by Fox Searchlight...but I did attend multiple screenings).

-Monica

February 2, 2008

Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson..

The Graduate has to be my favorite road film. Although a lot of it is not based solely on the road, Benjamin Braddock is on a journey to find what is missing within him. Confused on what to do after graduating from college, he finds himself in an affair with Mrs. Robinson, a family friend, only to find out he is in love with her daughter. The road is a major part of this movie seeing as the daughter, Elaine, moves away to go to school and Benjamin must do what is in his heart and follow her across the country. Despite many set backs (Elaine finding out about the affair, her father banning Benjamin from seeing her, Mrs. Robinson sending threats his way), Benjamin travels worlds away to confess his love to Elaine in hopes of marriage. The final scene in the movie consists of Benjamin driving his red convertible quickly down the road in hopes of stopping Elaine from marrying someone else. When he finally arrives, after some turmoil, he and Elaine hop on a bus and ride their way out of town with no one to stop them from being together and starting their life together, on the road.

January 31, 2008

Sarah's Favorite Road Film-Little Miss Sunshine

Alright, I'm finally getting this blog thing figured out after a few hiccups and losing my work. Better late than never I guess.
My favorite road movie is definitely Little Miss Sunshine. I have only seen a few road movies that I can think of and didn't fall asleep while watching (I have a bad habit of falling asleep during movies). There are several reasons this is my favorite road film, as well as one of my favorite movies in general. Little Miss Sunshine is the quintessential disfunctional family hitting the road. The problems that the family encounters while on the road--the broken down van, the Grandpa's overdose, the son's emotional breakdown-- can all be related to and make me feel like my family is more "normal." I guess I have always felt like my family appears like the normal suburban family on the outside, but a much more disfunctional family once you peer inside. The antics in this movie hit home in more ways than one and make it a lovable film. Not only is the movie a road trip to the Little Miss Sunshine Pageant, but also a trip to bringing the family closer together and working out some of their issues. Who doesn't like watching an entire family dance to a routine composed by their drug-abusing grandpa and throw the rules of society out the window?

January 30, 2008

Favorite Road Movie- National Lampoon's Vacation

National Lampoon's Vacation is one of my favorite road movies. To me, it is a classic that reminds me of my childhood. I remember watching this movie when I was younger with my family. I love comedy, and I always have. The movie is great because it involves a family that seems pretty normal and once they get on the road everything goes wrong. When I was younger my own family took many semi-similar road trips, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin all the way to Orlando, Florida to visit Disney World. Nothing ever got as crazy on our road trips as the Griswald's family trip to Wally World, but there are certain parts that I can relate to. The movie is nice because even though every possible thing that could go wrong, does go wrong, they are a family and they end up achieving their goal together, no matter what they have to do.

Favorite Road Movie- National Lampoon's Vacation

National Lampoon's Vacation is one of my favorite road movies. To me, it is a classic that reminds me of my childhood. I remember watching this movie when I was younger with my family. I love comedy, and I always have. The movie is great because it involves a family that seems pretty normal and once they get on the road everything goes wrong. When I was younger my own family took many semi-similar road trips, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin all the way to Orlando, Florida to visit Disney World. Nothing ever got as crazy on our road trips as the Griswald's family trip to Wally World, but there are certain parts that I can relate to. The movie is nice because even though every possible thing that could go wrong, does go wrong, they are a family and they end up achieving their goal together, no matter what they have to do.

January 29, 2008

Back to the Future 1

My favorite road film is Back to the Future, the original. I love Michael J Fox at that age, and I love Marty McFly's accidental journey back in time that teaches him who is family really is and what they're made of. I also love time travel.

My Favorite Road Trippin Film

My favorite road film has got to be "Dumb and Dumber" by a long shot. It has Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels in it and combined, they do some of the funniest, dumbest, and most creative things I have ever seen. They start off, Harry and Lloyd, in their hometown where their dog-washing buisness is failing and they are being kicked out of their apartment. Lloyd finds a briefcase at an airport that belongs to another group of people that are doing dirty buisness and he decides to try and return it to the girl who dropped it off, as she is very attractive to him. The whole movie is just their trip going from point A to point, well, they want to go to Colorado and that's all they know. All the while they are being followed by the "bad guys" who are trying to get that briefcase and they are having the funnest time. It is such a great movie because of all the funny things they do and say. They never seem to see the obvious answers that are right in front of them for the entire film and because of that it just makes me laugh. They are the best of friends and they only have each other. It's a story of friendship and fun from their naive point of view and when you have finished the movie you feel good from laughing and because it has a happy ending. "Dumb and Dumber" is such an original movie that cannot be topped because with all the places they go and situations they seem to find, no other movie is as funny.

road movie

One of my favorite road films is Transamerica. For an independent film, I felt that it had a very developed storyline. It moved along at a nice pace, and it even manages to meld comedy and drama into the perfect combination. My favorite part about watching this film is the believability of the main characters. Bree and Toby are people I felt I could meet in the real world.

Favorite Road Film

My favorite road film is Diarios de Motocicleta, or The Motorcycle Diaries. I saw it during a Spanish course last year, and the film has been one of my favorites since.

There are many reasons I was drawn to this movie, but I think the driving factor was the realization the main characters came to regarding culture and serious needs of so many people who are less fortunate. Two college guys were simply looking for fun and adventure, touring the country before graduation. On their trip, they found something so much more profound that a great majority of the world has never been exposed to; something they didn't expect to find.

From region to region, these men were immersed in different cultures and getting an experience they would never imagine from their upbringing, and finding things that education leaves out. They encountered personal stories that never get exposure, and through it all, something more important was pounding at their door. The main characters experienced an entire continent full of underprivileged citizens living in poverty, people with ailments and no means to get help. Entire regions were in dire need of anything they could offer, and through their journey, these two men each realized what their call in life was.

I'll stop myself before this gets too long. But I absolutely loved this film, and have been trying to convince any of my friends to buy a beater motorcycle with me and road trip through the country.

Favorite Road Movie

My favorite road movie would have to be Set it Off. This movie had a lot of action and drama. I was particularly drawn to a few scenes that were very emotional. I thought this was an unpredictable movie, but that is what made this movie one of my favorites. I like how the women in this film are strong, and they each have a very significant role.

January 28, 2008

Favorite Road Film

I'd have to say that my favorite road film is Almost Famous. I enjoy Almost Famous because it does a fabulous job portraying the evolving relationships between characters and within characters.

Favorite Road Film

My favorite road movie would have to be Transamerica. It's about a male-to-female transsexual who has been waiting to get her final surgery. Right before she is able to get it, she finds out that she has a son she never knew about. The film is about her struggle with Gender Identity Disorder and how it affects her family, life, and future. I like it because it gives a unique perspective on gender identity, and it also shows how her son is affected by her sex-change. Both characters evolve throughout the movie and in the end, neither would be where they are without the other.

Matt's Favorite Road Film

It's always hard to pick a favorite anything, but when it comes to road films I'd have to say that my all time favorite would be Five Easy Pieces starring Jack Nicholson. It's not just one of my favorite road films, but it's also one of my favorite films in general. I was thrilled to see that one of our textbooks actually discusses this film. The reasons I enjoy this film so much basically circle around Nicholson's character Bobby and his wonderful performance. He is a man who's always hitting the road, never content in any particular town of lifestyle. He doesn't deal with his problems, he simply runs away from them and the one true home he essentially has is the roads that lead him from town to town and lifestyle to lifestyle. Nicholson is at the top of his game here in one of the more complext performances I've ever seen. The films tragic ending is simply him continuing to run from his problems by abandoning his girlfriend and hitting the road.

Favorite Film

It is difficult to isolate my favorite road film, somewhat because there are great options in the film selections from this course, but I am also having trouble thinking of others that I have seen with the course's films in mind. Out of the courses films, my favorite would be The Adventures of Pricsilla: Queen of the Desert. This is an obscure film that my sister and I rented when I was in middle school or so and I haven't thought about it in a long time. I love that Guy Pierce and the 'bad guy' from the Matrix go on a road trip adventure to make it to a drag show gig.

So many films,

So little space to write about them. Instead, I'm picking a Favorite-favorite to rant about:
Los Diarios Motociclos. A very literal road-journey of Che Guevara's education of the people and Latin American classes. Also beautiful in terms of scenery. A quote: ¿Cómo es posible sentir nostalgia por un mundo que nunca conocí?

"How is it possible to feel nostalgia for a world I have never known?"

Continue reading "So many films," »

Favorite Road Film

My favorite road film would have to be Thelma and Louise. I watched this film for the first time last semester in a popular culture and politics course. It is also one of the reasons I was interested in this course. The two lead actresses are amazing in this film and have such an incredible onscreen chemistry that is easy to believe in their friendship and in the things that they get themselves into on the road.

Boys on the Side/Set It Off

I have two favorite road movies (so far), they are; Boys on the Side, and Set It Off.

Boys on the Side is a great women's road movie that displays women from very different walks of life"coming together to form a bond much stronger than a mere friendship - but a sisterhood.

In addition, I enjoyed the movie Set It Off because it is a different style movie, the four women are not portrayed in the "typical female role" that has been previously set. These women take on the action of robbing a bank which is typically seen as a male role.

The movies themselves are very different, for they depect females in very different aspects, but overall have the same concept of women on the road becoming closer/working together/sisterhood.

January 27, 2008

Little Miss Sunshine

My favorite road movie is Little Miss Sunshine. It is the movie that comes most readily to my mind when thinking of profound, transforming road trips. I have not seen many road films and look forward to taking a larger bite of the road movie cake. Little Miss Sunshine combined the ideals of a "normal" family, love, independence, bitterness, confusion and desire. This movie allowed for the family to grow and develop together and apart. I enjoyed the balance of humor and seriousness throughout the entire movie, I believe that it set the tone for a tale full of turns and bumps.

This movie epitomizes the power and influence the road may have on human relationships.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

While I don't know if this exactly qualifies as a road movie, this movie came to mind immediately. I first watched this movie with my dad because he wanted to share one of his favorite movies with my siblings and I. I fell in love with the humor and sense of adventure portrayed in the film. The constant setbacks and mishaps experienced by the two main characters in their quest to make it home for Christmas made me cry with laughter the first time I watched this movie, and the heartwarming ending played into my love of 'happily ever after' endings.

Lord of the Rings

I have to say that my favorite road movie would be the Lord of the Rings trilogies. While I don't know if these movies actually qualify as "road movies", the stories themselves have important significance to me. I've heard them since I was fairly young and have always been a Lord of the Rings fan. The movies intertwine at least three different storylines of different characters all traveling down their own paths, while trying to reach the same goal.

Darjeeling Limited

I would have to say that the Darjeeling Limited is my favorite road movie. Every element of this movie comes together perfectly to make a completely wonderful film. Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, and Jason Schwartzman all deliver great performances as the three brothers who are traveling through India on a spiritual journey in hopes of becoming closer friends. Wes Anderson's movies are always visually beautiful, and Darjeeling Limited is no different. With its highly stylized colors and settings, an interesting world is created that keeps the viewer captivated. I also really enjoyed the soundtrack to the movie. The reason this is my favorite road film is because I loved to watch the way the relationship between the brothers evolved as they traveled through India. I thought it captured the complex relationship between siblings perfectly, and my attention was held completely from the beginning until the end of the movie.

Finding My Own Road Movie

I had a hard time trying to come up with a list of road movies that I have seen from which to chose my favorite. I was only able to think of the typical few like Thelma and Louise. So I did an internet search to find a list of road movies hoping to refresh my memory. I came across this site: http://www.hackwriters.com/roadone.htm. The author does a good job of going through the genre of road movies historically and pointing out which movies are road movies and which just involve a car or a road but don't really fulfill the journey implicit in the idea of road movie. Of these movies I would have to say that my favorite now that I have been reminded of it is Sideways. It is about a weekend trip two middle aged men take to Napa Wine country. The movie has Sandra Oh, one of my all-time favs, in a supporting role and won an academy award for best adaptation of a screenplay. I especially appreciate the way the film deals with depression as an obstacle to be overcome and in the end part of the journey the two men are on.

A Goofy Movie

My favorite road movie (probably the first road movie I encountered) is A Goofy Movie. It is a cartoon featuring Goofy, the slightly embarrassing, clumsy dad and Max, Goofy's teenage son. After Max gets in a bit of trouble on his last day of school, Goofy decides Max needs to join him on a family road trip to Lake Destiny, Idaho. Goofy fished at Lake Destiny with his dad when he was a kid and he thought it was the perfect trip to reform Max. Max definitely did not want to go. The movie is really entertaining and shows the different worlds that teenagers and parents sometimes live in. Throughout their road trip, Goofy and Max take detours and have unexpected adventures. They begin to appreciate and understand one another. They end up becoming friends and very proud of eachother. (I like the music in the movie too, lol).

Follow That Bird

The first road movie that came to mind, was one I used to watch as a child. The 1985 movie Follow That Bird, was an excellent road movie about Big Bird trying to get back to Sesame Street. Big Bird is adaopted by a family of dodo birds and after realizing he did not fit with this family, he ran away and began his trip back to Sesame Street. Although this is a children's movie, I've always enjoyed it because of the message it portrayed. The movie makes it clear to all that family is where the heart is whether you're different or the same. Also, understanding who you are can be a long journey. By using cute sing-a-long songs and the rest of the Sesame Street cast, the director, Ken Kwapis, displayed a great message for children as well as adults to understand and enjoy.

National Lampoon's Vacation

One of the funniest movies, and my favorite road movie is National Lampoon's Vacation. This is a classic family road trip, which I am sure almost anyone can relate too. The movie stars, Chevy Chase as the father of the Griswald family. Throughout the film, he tries to bring his family together by driving across the country to the best theme park in the United States, Wally World. Everything that could possibly go wrong does; they do not get the right car, every hotel is awful and low budget, they steal, a family member dies, and much much more. The end is the best part because once they finally make it to Wally World, they park there car and run as fast as they can to the entrance with the Olympic music playing in the background. At this point, there is nothing worse that could happen to the family but unfortuantely the theme park turns out to be closed for two weeks due to restorations. Chevy Chase's character ends up doing the unthinkable and the family gets what they want, or do they?

The Sure Thing

My favorite road movie is the very 1980s The Sure Thing, starring John Cusack as Walter "Gib" Gibson, a college student spending his winter break traveling across the country to meet a girl who "loves sex" and is the titular "sure thing." His journey to no-strings-attached sex is complicated by Allison, a classmate and Gib's English tutor, who ends up in the same carpool, also headed to Los Angeles to visit her boyfriend. Their constant bickering gets them kicked out of the car, but they eventually make their way to L.A. Once they get there, of course, they realize they've fallen in love with each other in true 1980s movie fashion. This movie certainly isn't high art, but it's one of the more entertaining '80s teen movies, and it was directed by Rob Reiner, who would go on to direct The Princess Bride two years later. Gib and Allison's mishaps on the road are exactly what you would expect to happen to a pair of bickering college students stranded somewhere in the middle of a cross-country trip and there is some particularly inspired dialogue along the way. It may not make any overarching statements about the human condition, but it is entertaining enough to merit multiple viewings.

Road Trip.

My all time favorite road film would definitely be 'Road Trip'. I say this because I find all the characters to be very unique and obnoxiously hilarious. I realize that everyone has different tastes in movies, but sometimes I think we can all appreciate a really dumb movie? The whole plot involves a series of antics in which this group of guys from Ithaca University decide to take a random road trip right before finals to intercept a tape on the way to someone's girlfriend in which he is cheating on her. And along the way they steal a bus, stay at a frathouse, and blow up a car. Honestly, reading this over it sounds pretty lame. Despite that, I still think it's hilarious.

*I apparently also have problems finding the italicize option? i would also appreciate some help. thanx.

Tumbleweeds

This is my very first film class, and unfortunately I'm not extremely well versed in the industry, however I enjoy watching movies and want to expand my horizons and hopefully learn lots of new things. When i thought about my favorite road film the only movies that were coming to mind were silly, cheesy ones such as Vegas Vacation and Crossroads, with the ever entertaining Britney Spears. However then i remembered a movie I saw a few years ago called Tumbleweeds(1999) with Janet McTeer. Although it didn't pop into mind right away, I would consider it my favorite road film because of the attention to detail and great actors. It is about a mom, Mary Jo, and her 12 year old daugther, Ava, who drive from place to place across the country escaping from Mary Jo's serial failed relationships. Nevertheless she continues to get involved with dead beat, often abusive men and uproots her daughter when things go sour. They drive and they drive...clearly Mary Jo feels safer on the road and for her it is symbolic of freedom without the threat of oppressive men. The road however takes a toll on Ava and they finally settle down in San Diego. One of the reasons I liked this film was that I felt at the end of the movie Mary Jo learned from her time on the road and begins to break the habit of choosing "bad boys"...she no longer feels she needs a man to be worth something.

(I'm not very computer saavy, so I apologize about the movie titles not being Italisized, but I couldn't find the italics icon. Help!)

Road

Well.. I have never seen a hollywood road film. Therefore, I can't comment on my favorite hollywood road movies. But, I have seen few bollywood road films. And the one that i like the most, not my favorite, is Road. It is about this two couple just driving by and giving a ride to a hitch hiker and the story starts from there. I like this film because it is directed by one of my favorite filmmaker and because the film sends an important message, which is not to give ride to strangers especially when you are traveling in a deserted place. I remember that when I was in India, I would just hitch hike and take many rides from other people, so I think it is important to send a message that not to trust strangers in a deserted area.

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

My favorite road movie is Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore because it shows the struggle of a single mom. In this movie Alice's husband dies and she is left to take care of her son Tommy. She decides to pack up and return to California, but with not much money she picks up jobs as she travels across the country. It's hard to raise a son and teach him right and wrong when she has to work so and not have much time to spend with him. It's a really good movie and it's also cute how she is able to find love again when everything comes together and she becomes more grounded.

R.V

My favorite road movie is RV. The movie is about an overworked family man Bob, played by Robin Williams who decides to take his Wife and two children on a road trip to Colorado in order to spend some true quality time together.

Little Miss Sunshine

I haven't seen very many road movies, I just didn't encounter them very often in the past. That is one reason I am very excited to take this course. The road movie I have seen recently that I really enjoyed was Little Miss Sunshine. I really like movies that aren't so packed with plot points that you can't appreciate the acting or editing. Little Miss Sunshine gives you time to digest and appreciate the events as they happen. The issue of feminism is addressed most obviously in the daughter's desire to participate in a beauty pageant where stereotypical femininity is being thrust on six and seven year old girls.

Continue reading "Little Miss Sunshine" »

Boys on the Side

My favorite road movie is Boys on the Side. It is a wonderful women's road movie that shows women from different walks of life, coming together and bonding as they build new selves on their way to California. These women reach such a wonderful understanading with one another, they have not only trust but a sisterhood.

O Brother Where Art Thou

Although this is not a "women's" road movie, I have to admit that O Brother Where Art Thou by the Coen brothers it is my favorite. I would have to say that I like this movie so much because of all of the parallels with and allusions to Homer's The Odyssey. I love movies where there are connections between the film and some sort of source, be it literary, musical, historical, or other film. It's just very interesting to me to look for all of the connections and see the similarities and differences between the original source and the film. I also enjoy this movie because George Clooney is one of my favorite actors, but also due to the stylistic elements and music in the film. I love the grittiness in the film's footage as well as the humor that runs throughout the movie.

January 26, 2008

Y tu mama tambien

I would say my favorite road film is the mexican film Y Tu Mama Tambien. It is about two friends who go on a road trip to the coast with a woman they met at a wedding. The two boys try to seduce the woman, and tensions flare between all three of the characters. I love the movie because it focuses on sexuality, and the sexual tensions and growth between the three characters. I especially love the interaction of the two boys, who at the end kiss and wake up in bed together. Their friendship ends after this road trip.

I feel that the story tackles ideas of friendship and sexual attraction and the repression of feelings. As I understand it, the interaciotn between the two friends hits a hard point because of the sexual tension between them, and maybe the feelings between them ran deeper than they expected or felt. The movie is a fascinating look into sexuality through the use of a road trip: characters that are traveling away from their environment, who are getting to know each other, growing as people all the while enjoying the scenery around them. This movie just focuses more on sex, and sexual interaction, and the ways that those affect people's lives.

Favorite Road Movie: Rain Man

My favorite road movie would have to be Rain Man because it deals with an adult with autism. Because my brother is also autistic, I was able to really relate to the character Charlie Babbit and see how he matured over the course of the movie.

Elizabethtown

Though not inherently a "women's" roadfilm, I would consider Elizabethtown to be my favorite. Released in 2005 by director Cameron Crowe, Elizabethtown details the journey of Drew Baylor as his life is turned upside down in a matter of days. I am particularly fond of the style the show is written in - at times it is unclear whether the audience should be laughing or crying. Drew's father dies, but he manages to find an ecctrinc lover, take is first road-trip, and discover who he really is (all in 123 minutes!) The most poignent moment of the entire film, for me, is when Drew embarks on his journey from Kentucky to Oregan with his father's ashes in tow. He is able to make peace with his father, whom he had been neglecting for several years while he was becoming a successful businessman. Drew selects certian destinations where he sprinkles some of his father.

I believe Elizabethtown is so alluring, and the perfect roadfilm, because it has a storyline that is easily relateable. Everyone hits bottom at some point, but Drew slowly accepts his failures and moves forward in his life, a lesson that any viewer can benefit from.

Children of Men

Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men is not only my favorite road movie, but may also be the most thematically rich motion picture of the past several years. One of the film's central topics is the dubious displacement of culture--this thrust is pervasively emphasized by its (often overlooked) adherence to the conventions of the traditional road movie. In the most basic sense, the film reflects on both escape and self-discovery as springboard motivations for the bureaucratic protagonist Theo Faron, who embarks on an extensive and tragic journey through the distraught wasteland of 2027 England toward what could very well amount to be an utterly illusory salvation for the human race (to find a cure for women's infertility). The political backdrop concerning the rights of foreign refugees, the futile collection of world art removed from any possibility of historic appreciation, and even the recurring animal and shoe motifs all contribute to Children of Men's meticulously detailed and coherent atmosphere of a world subverted by and dependent on the roles of one's predecessors and one's descendants; an elaborate conflict between the obligation to acknowledge one's roots/primal call and the inevitable desire for movement/progress.

After each of the film's explosively violent incidents, the soundtrack mimics the experience of one's ear's ringing. At one point, the character Julian tells Theo that this is "the sound of the ear cells dying, like their swan song. Once it's gone you'll never hear that frequency again. Enjoy it while it lasts." Fittingly, Julian's ally in the fight for immigration reform, Miriam, comments later in the film: "As the sound of the playgrounds faded, the despair set in. Very odd, what happens in a world without children's voices." Furthermore, the looming promotional presence of "Quietus" suicide kids implies a widespread demand for, literally, silencing oneself. Perhaps the cause of infertility that the film is unwilling to explain is a metaphorical lack of compassion/communication between humans. How can anyone love each other, let alone procreate, when indifference and violence destroys the most essential of human connections? That is, the ability to listen.

Note: This scene contains strong violence, language, and spoilers.

January 25, 2008

A Sad Affair

As far as films go, I'm partial to road movies. Looking for a favorite turns into grabbing one at random... Factory Girl. And yes, I know there have been numerous accounts stating the controversy of the script, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that it’s a slightly fictional story. The buzz of Edie Sedgwick, the dazzling young socialite who drops out of art school to move to New York where she takes her claim to fame as the muse to Andy Warhol.

The script follows Edie through the highs and lows of the 1960’s pop art scene; one that she quickly falls into. No matter how off the exact facts are of that time in history, Edie’s character in the film can arguably correspond to the actual fashion industry “It? girl. And as Andy’s constant companion, Edie’s story develops in the film through Warhol’s own image and obsession with her enchanting spirit.
As with most films like this people are sure to find fictitious moments within the script of Factory Girl as well as with the cultural icons that are involved. In any case, people can be sure to agree that this film makes a distressing account about fame and all its rises and consequent downfalls into obscurity.

It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World

This is not quite the conventional road trip movie that comes to mind. To most people, a road trip constitutes a movie portraying a family on vacation in their car, traveling across the country. Quite boring indeed as one may find more pleasure in eating the popcorn instead of watching it.

This movie, It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963) is quite different as it is a road trip film that is based on a group of strangers traveling around the country, chasing a prize. The movie starts with a group of people who stop to help a motorist who tells them of a monetary prize worth 350,000.00$ and yet are not really told where it really is. They are given obscure details of the exact location and that is sufficient to ignite people into a frenzied madcap pursuit for the prize. The group of people tear across the country in their cars, obliterating any obstacle that stands in their way. Eventually, the group do discover the prize however, loses it to Spencer Tracy who he himself, wants to keep the prize. However, he loses it too due to clumsiness and all the cash comes flying out onto the streets. It is really a movie worth watching as there are no artificial stunts or computerized images, its all pure adventure.

張惠妹

The Doom Generation

My favorite road film is The Doom Generation by Gregg Araki. It's a movie about a girl played by Rose McGowan and her boyfriend played by James Duval, and a hitch-hiker they pick up played by Johnathon Schaech. The film attempts to blend sexuality and the post-modern view of a generation that is doomed. The three characters drive around trying to escape old homicidal lovers and explore their own sexuality. Compositionally, the movie looks very B-ish, and has repeated themes of the number 666 and uses primary colors. I think a lot of people dislike this movie because the acting is really odd, and the movie seems rather pointless, but I think it's both entertaining to watch, and says something kind of unique about a generation.

Motorcycle Diaries

The film Morocycle Diaries would have to be my favorite road film. The plot is based on true events of Marxist Che Guevare and his political development. The film focuses on a journey across South America in 1952 by Ernesto Guevara (Che) who is completing his medical degree and his friend Alberto Granado who is a biochemist. They travel on an old motorcycle to Venezuela and meet many people along the way that show the two friends the injustices occurring in the world. Motorcycle Diaries is rich in Latin culture with the film being in Spanish and integrates both comical and revolutionary content. It is the perfect film to watch when feeling insignificant. The prominent quote in the movie always leaves me wanting to experience new things and create change,

let the world change you and you can change the world
.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

My favorite highway movie is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, based on the book by Hunter S. Thompson. Las Vegas is a city which encompasses the American ideals of living fast and taking risks. The film demonstrates the American dream of excess in psychedelic imagery. The drug-induced visions are blurred with the realities of American culture and the international and domestic tyranny of American militarism. Americana as the great "Melting Pot" is difficult to define and I think Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas does a good job of addressing the internal struggle for Americans to unify under one culture.

Lydia

It Happened One Night

I would have to say that my favorite road movie is It Happened One Night from 1934. I'm a huge fan of the movie classics. This is such a great film in my eyes. Its about a young woman running away from what her father wants for her. Along the way she just so happens to fall in love with someone who would probably be the last person to please her father. Not only does she fall in love, but what handsome man is that she falls in love with? Thats right Clark Gable! I just love the storyline because its not too complex and is a fun movie. It has all the things a great movie should have: comedy, money, love, and Clark Gable! I think we all have wanted to run away from something at one point in our lives. This movie gives those types of things a light hearted feeling towards running away. Sure some unfortunate things happen along the way but in the end love conquers all.

January 24, 2008

Cap ou pas cap?

Unfortunately, I have seen only two typical road movies, The Wizard of OZ and Little Miss Sunshine. When I was younger I found the Wizard of Oz not particularly invigorating. Little Miss Sunshine had such strong stereotypes it made me feel like it was over done, over acted, and over written. I would have liked it much more if it didn't scream its point at the audience every five minuets. I saw it also as quite unrealistic that after such ordeals they would come together and all their family issues would be resolved. I could comprehend improvement, perhaps, but not utter perfection as portrayed in Little Miss Sunshine. Alas, I sometimes find it hard to suspend disbelief as I should.

This, however, is not what this blog is about. I very much enjoyed the French film Jeux d'enfants (poorly translated in English as Love Me if You Dare). It's not the typical road film where pavement rules your will. It is about two people on two separate highways of life that become controlled by a game they play. Asphalt is traded in for a token and 100 mph turns into 100wpm. The fast talking pair intertwine themselves so fully into the game that despite its destruction of their lives, they cannot help but obsess over its forbidden return.

January 23, 2008

Dorothy Gale and the fantasy utopia of Oz.

My favorite women's road movie is "The Wizard of Oz." I like this movie for a number of reasons. I love that it is playful and colorful at first glance but addresses serious issues of personal identity. Dorothy Gale is suddenly taken from her comfortable life on the farm and transported to the mysterious fantasy land of Oz. She is left alone to find her way home, but along the way meets three characters also on a journey. Each character struggles with issues of self esteem and are in search of personal identity. The movie explores issues of friendship, self-esteem, and support for yourself and others. Each character contributed different skills that helped them all to survive the journey. They relied on one another for support and encouragement. This allowed for success in each character's journey. They were forced to use what they believed to be their personal weaknesses and realize them as strengths. Dorothy learned valuable lessons on her journey through Oz that helped her to develop as a person.