Franck Tabouring’s Top Ten of 2007

10. KNOCKED UP
I did some thinking before adding this one to the top ten list, but then again, I simply had to. I truly loved Judd Apatow’s “The 40 Year Old Virgin,” but this year’s “Knocked Up” is so much better for so many reasons. Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl form one of the best on-screen couples I have seen in a long time, and they play their roles delicately and with electrifying enthusiasm. On top of that, Apatow’s writing is top-notch and the thematic behind the film, though treated with a lot of silly humor, has quite a dose of truth to it. “Knocked Up” is a fine pleasure to sit through, and one of just a few films that made me laugh on a continuing basis.

9. AWAY FROM HER
Sarah Polley’s “Away From Her” is the perfect film for those desiring a dramatic love story. Blessed with a solid script that explores the devastating impact Alzheimer’s can have on a relationship, the movie completely avoids saccharine elements and never drifts away form its main thematic. Besides Polley’s subtle direction and a serene soundtrack, the film features a wonderful ensemble cast, including the charming Gordon Pinsent, Olympia Dukakis and Julie Christie, who earned a Golden Globe nomination for her compelling role as a wife who slowly succumbs to the Alzheimer’s disease. The excellent writing largely contributes to the magic of the movie, but it is Christie who will steal your heart and make you scream “Oscar!” A powerful movie indeed.

8. RATATOUILLE
Besides “Toy Story,” “Finding Nemo” and “The Incredibles,” Brad Bird’s “Ratatouille” is one of my favorite Pixar films and undoubtedly the best computer-animated movie of the year. The script tastes just as delicious as a wonderful glass of French wine, the humor will have you rolling in the aisles, and the main characters are sincerely wonderful. Plus, the movie will definitely inspire you to cook and appreciate the deliciousness of food. From a technical perspective, “Ratatouille” looks even sharper than previous Pixar flicks, making most of the characters and decors seem more realistic than ever. Continuous action and fun are included on the menu as well. Bon appétit!

7. EASTERN PROMISES
Here’s a solid film that seriously kept its promises. Following the success of “A History of Violence,” Viggo Mortensen and David Cronenberg team up again for another nail-biting thriller that includes an all-star cast including Naomi Watts, Vincent Cassel and Armin Mueller-Stahl. “Eastern Promises” is one of those dark films that pull you straight into the middle of the action and keep you hostage until the very last scene. Steven Knight’s haunting script and Cronenberg’s first-class direction perfectly harmonize in “Promises,” making it one of only a few movies this year that succeed in completely ensnaring its audience in a powerful tale of murder, deceit and retribution. Watch out for all those twists in the plot. They will knock you flat!

6. MICHAEL CLAYTON
Many of you may disagree with me on this one, but Tony Gilroy’s political thriller “Michael Clayton” is yet another film that really left a strong mark on me this year. I understand the story is rather complicated and often feels too rushed, but Gilroy proves he’s a dab hand at writing compelling scripts that can take your breath and bound you to your seat for two full hours. His direction is smooth and keeps the plot moving at a fast pace all throughout, and his characters, though mostly intricate, are fascinating to observe and analyze. George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson and Sydney Pollack all deliver first-rate performances, transforming “Michael Clayton” into a gripping thriller with tons of suspense.

5. ATONEMENT
How could you not fall in love with this film? Following the marvelous reboot of “Pride & Prejudice,” Joe Wright’s “Atonement” is the epitome of a movie in which the story, cast, camerawork, editing and soundtrack perfectly harmonize. Ian McEwan’s novel serves as a strong basis for a brilliantly adapted screenplay with spellbinding characters, setting off a poignant intrigue that will keep you guessing until the end. With “Atonement,” Joe Wright turns filmmaking into poetry, creating a mixture of beautiful images and powerful emotions that will pull you straight into the action. Keira Knightley and James McAvoy share a magical chemistry on screen, bringing their subtle characters to life with intense passion and commitment.

4. INTO THE WILD
If you were seeking an adventure in theatres in 2007, then I’m sure you saw Sean Penn’s latest marvel “Into the Wild.” Based on a novel by Jon Krakauer, the film focuses on a young man who abandons everything he has (including his identity) and embarks on a perilous trip all across the United States, hoping to hitchhike to Alaska where he plans on surviving for several weeks. “Into the Wild” is a wonderful tale about a brave man who seeks adventure in his life and sets out to discover who he really is. Clocking in at 140 minutes, the movie is a suspenseful ride and an inspiring reflection on life with many surprises, great humor and heartfelt drama. Sean Penn proves yet again he’s a dab hand at directing and lead actor Emile Hirsch delivers his best performance yet. This is one of those films you could go on watching for hours. It’s a gripping journey indeed.

3. JUNO
“Juno” is undoubtedly the most original movie of 2007, captivating audiences young and old with its incredibly refreshing humor and yet another wonderful ensemble cast. Screenwriter Diablo Cody has created some of the funkiest dialogues of the year, and you’ll instantly fall in love with her unique characters. Helmed by Jason Reitman, “Juno” will make your hearts fill with warmth all while you’ll have a hard time recovering from rolling in the aisles. Ellen Page’s stellar performance ranks among the best of the year, while the film’s soundtrack has all it takes to be voted best of the decade. The songs are as expressive as the dialogue, and together, they tell a deeply moving and deliciously funny story you’ll want to experience over and over again.

2. NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
Critics across the U.S. named “No Country For Old Men” best film of the year, but I have to rate it second best. Joel and Ethan Coen’s adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s vibrating novel is a unique experience and one of the most exciting thrillers of the year. Screenplay and direction reach perfection, and the film is a definite must for those seeking a mesmerizing thriller with complex characters, challenging dialogues and a dose of social commentary. Poetic at times but mostly threatening and dark, “No Country For Old Men” is a daring film that you won’t be able to shake off once it penetrates your mind.

1. THERE WILL BE BLOOD
The nation’s top film critics were right: “There Will Be Blood” is Paul Thomas Anderson’s masterpiece. Based on the novel by Upton Sinclair, the film follows an ambitious oilman’s quest to drill for oil on the property owned by a healer for the Holy Spirit. Although the film is unlike anything Anderson has ever done, it’s still a fantastic tale of greed, vengeance, family, religion, ambition, betrayal and violence. Lead character Daniel Plainview is probably one of the most ruthless and fierce monsters you’ll ever encounter in a film, shamelessly exploiting people to enlarge his oil business. Daniel Day-Lewis plays Plainview with passion and an incredible sense of reality, delivering the best performance of the year, if not of the decade.

The best & worst movies of 2007, By Jean-François Tremblay

TOP 10

Eastern Promises: a great masterpiece. Evocative, ruthless, dark and mesmerizing, it all applies to this powerful movie, which lingers long after it ends. Viggo Mortensen gives a phenomenal performance while Armin Mueller-Stahl, Vincent Cassel and Naomi Watts also make very strong impressions. This is one of those films you find even better every time you replay key moments and bits of dialogue in your head. The sharp script has a great moral complexity, which director David Cronenberg augments with a sustained formal mastery, creating a film whose tone, mood and exploration of human nature is much richer than your average crime drama. (1st).

The Jane Austen Book Club: what a wonderful treat. Maria Bello has long shown that her talent matches her considerable beauty, and she’s sensational here – rarely has guarded eagerness been better portrayed. Her pairing with the steadily surprising Hugh Dancy creates the most romantic screen couple of the year; you really want these two to end up together, and they do. This is a great example of why pigeonholing films as “chick flicks” is stupid, unless you consider the term to mean a superior film in thoughtfulness, writing, characters and performances. Anybody that overlooks this Club is missing out on a great movie. (2nd)

Evening: exceptional filmmaking, intricate and touching. Powerful emotions are bursting at the seams in this wonderful film by director Lajos Koltai, who tells us an engaging, heartfelt story about embracing the past, the present and the future. It’s as women-centric as can be, but guys should not dismiss this gem on such grounds: the ability to be moved is universal. The beautiful Claire Danes gives a tremendous performance. Toni Collette is simply exquisite, while Hugh Dancy and Patrick Wilson also shine in supporting roles. (3rd)

300: among the many highlights in this movie, an emissary is kicked down a bottomless pit, a warlord threatens of arrows so plentiful they’ll blot out the sun, a hunchback driven mad by resentment is lured to the dark side with promises of all that he’s never had, and a beautiful queen exerts deadly retribution on the lying slimeball who violated her honour. What more do you want? 300 is a striking visual spectacle full of lush, painterly images, ones that steadily and brazenly embrace its “freedom isn’t free” ethos. (4th)

Dan in Real Life: quite simply one of the best movies about family in the past several years. Peter Hedges gives us a film that’s witty, affecting, moving and also funny in small, simple measures. The score is a sweet melody and there’s a memorable rendition of “Let my Love open the Door”. Steve Carell is perfect and Juliette Binoche is truly charming. (5th)

L’âge des ténèbres: Sharp, biting satire of the highest order, turning an only slightly magnified mirror on many of our societal ills. Sometimes we laugh so that we may not cry, and there are many good laughs in this tremendously accomplished and relevant film from Denys Arcand. The fantasy scenes are amusing and sexy while the medieval interlude, if you will, reveals both the delectable pleasure and the profound absurdity of escaping into fantasy worlds, whatever they are. The first scene, with Rufus Wainwright, is a musically sublime piece of opera, a hypnotizing entrée en matière. Marc Labrèche is remarkable as Jean-Marc, always hitting the right notes. (6th)

Music and Lyrics: this delightful romantic comedy starts with a deliriously enjoyable parody of a 80s pop music video, an unusual but brilliant start that put a huge smile on my face for the whole movie. The pairing of the charismatic Hugh Grant and the adorable Drew Barrymore, who have fantastic chemistry, creates a tremendously appealing film. (7th)

Surf’s Up: the film’s mockumentary approach (I loved the footage of penguins inventing surfing) is part of the reason why it’s as good as it is. Too many animated films these days overstay their welcome and become irritating one way or another, but not this one. Surf’s Up is perfectly content being a well-spun, simple story with cool characters, lots of humour, an easygoing charm and a great message, gently told, about what’s really important in life. (8th)

Dead Silence: underrated and quickly dismissed, as is often the case with genre efforts. This was the most stylish horror film of the year, with impressive sound work, a really well-done gothic look and a gripping tale about a spooky dummy and the vengeful ghost of a chilling ventriloquist. (9th)

The Mist: It’s the Twilight Zone meets “Lord of the Flies” in this exceptionally well done adaptation of the Stephen King story, where ordinary people are trapped in a quickly worsening nightmare. While carrying intimations of class conflict and a political subtext, the film also shows the disastrous divide that can develop out of religious extremism. The mist and its deadly creatures from another world bring a creepy feeling of desperation and fatality – and then the cavalry’s too late, leading to an extremely bleak ending. (10th)

Honourable mentions

The Kite Runner, Rise: Blood Hunter, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, The Nanny Diaries, Hitman and Fred Claus.

Worst 5

Vacancy: the couple’s bickering is incredibly annoying, the plot is dumb, the execution is boring and the villains are beyond ridiculous.

Nitro: rarely have I seen something so profoundly bad, so disarmingly ludicrous.

Les 3 petits cochons: I’ve had my fill of this brand of dishonesty, vulgarity and tired bickering. The fact that this vacuous project was not roundly trashed as a disgrace but instead considered relevant, funny and realistic was almost as disheartening as the film itself.

Halloween: Rob Zombie’s latest is boring and uninspired, all mechanical murders and no tension. An ill-considered attempt to reinvent an all-time horror classic.

Saw IV: this once promising franchise, which in hindsight peaked with Saw II, gets even more convoluted, while going even further down the gutter. Simply abysmal.

Why Violence Must Be Used To Kill Bill

My name is Rob Carr. I attend a small college in Manchester, NH where I just completed my first course in the art of film. Attached below is my “thesis” for this class. To make a long story short, on the first day of class my professor used the word gratuitous and said an example of gratuitous violence would be Tarantino’s “Kill Bill”. I disagreed and decided to prove that the violence in QT’s film was warranted with my thesis, entitled “Why Violence Must Be Used to Kill Bill.”

Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill: Vol. 1” opens with violence. It also ends in violence. And the middle is, for the most part, full of violence, too. The story line goes as follows: a pregnant bride-to-be wakes up from a four-year coma to realize that her former partners in assassination have massacred the wedding party, so she vows to get even. Some film critics have said that the violence with which the Bride goes about exacting her revenge is gratuitous, but that is only because they do not understand the length Tarantino goes to ensure that the violence is just the opposite. He uses different cinematographic techniques, creates a sense of irony, forms characters, and instils his own stylized violence as a way of masking violence not directly pertaining to the plot. All the violence in Tarantino’s movie is functional. It serves to advance the plot and the film’s main theme: revenge and the effects on the avenger.

Tarantino has two major influences that are relived through his works: spaghetti westerns and kung-fu classics. Taken from directors like Sergio Leone, Tarantino uses the idea of the anti-hero protagonist. The anti-hero acts usually on selfish desires and in ways that society sees as ethically in the wrong (or at least in opposition to how a true hero should act). In spaghetti westerns of the mid 20th century, the heart of the film’s plot often relied on the effect this flaw of character had on the anti-hero.

The Bride in Kill Bill is so much related to the anti-hero of Leone’s films that it would be folly to reject the idea that Tarantino did not want his viewers to experience the same effect in his film. (It’s probably not a coincidence that the massacre, which represents the birth of the motive in Kill Bill, takes place in the American desert, also the setting of westerns.) The style of combat and the weapons used in “Kill Bill” quite obviously are taken from the kung-fu movie genre. In fact, it could be said that Tarantino’s film is simply a modern-day western that replaces guns with samurai swords, deserts with Japanese skyscrapers, and Indians with backstabbing assassins. It is from these influences that Tarantino gains a motive for the film’s violence and a violent style that he molds to make his own.

In order to fully understand the violence in “Kill Bill”, one must analyze not only the violence itself but the scenes preceding the violence. Before both major battles in the film, Tarantino quickly flashes three images. The first is a scene from the wedding massacre; it shows a blood-soaked bride being pummelled by her fellow assassins. The second flashing picture – also set at the wedding – is a close up of the target’s face. These first two flashes serve not only to place the Bride’s soon-to-be victims at the scene of the bloodbath wedding but also show their part in the Bride’s attempted murder. Other than sharing a setting, the first two shots have another cinematographic effect in common: they are filmed through a red lens.

The color red symbolizes two things. The first and most obvious is blood. It serves to symbolize not only the blood shed by the Bride at the hands of her former partners, but also to foreshadow the blood of the victims to be shed at the hands of the Bride. The second symbol that the red lens brings to the forefront is the Bride’s emotion during the flashback: rage and thus a need for revenge.

The third flash before the violent act comes in the present, and it too is a close-up of the antagonist’s face. This close up, immediately preceded by a close-up from the past, is a way of showing that, although four years have passed since the massacre, there is no forgetting and certainly no forgiving the crime they committed. Right before the Bride kills Copperhead, she says “We have unsettled business, and nothing you could’ve done in those four years can change that.”

The next step in the violent act committed by the Bride is an obvious result of her flashback and growing rage. In both the major fights of “Kill Bill: Vol. 1”, the Bride initiates the action with a quick, forceful, and violent attack. After Copperhead opens the door to her suburban home, the Bride throws her back inside with a kick to the chest. In the nightclub the Bride slices off the arm of one of O-Ren’s assistants, Sophie, who also had a role in the wedding massacre (Sophie’s own three-flash scene – two in a red lens past and the third in the present – comes a scene earlier when the two meet in the bathroom). The scenes preceding what are to be the two most violent scenes in Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” are his attempt to try to tell us something about the motive behind the Bride’s violence: these killings aren’t done for show. They are done as an act of revenge.

The music played during the flashback is also an important piece in Tarantino’s plan. The loud, screeching horns led by a fast-paced beat (similar to the famous sounds of Morricone found in spaghetti western films) are meant to intensify the feelings of the Bride and to warn the viewer of the impending action. This quick but complicated flashback scene is the director making a statement of approval for the use violence to exact the Bride’s revenge. It is Tarantino’s way of reminding the viewer of the story he has been telling throughout the narrative, and its placement – immediately preceding the Bride’s violence – is no accident.

The fight scenes in “Kill Bill: Vol. 1”, especially those with Copperhead, Cottonmouth, and the Crazy 88, are used by Tarantino to show the desperation of the Bride to exact her revenge. All these battles are excessively lengthy and the Bride always comes away from them wearing not only the blood of her victims but doused in her own blood as well. The Bride slices her way through all 88 members of O-ren’s gang in addition to her personal bodyguard before her battle with the Japanese crime boss. The emphasis on the blows she takes from her opponents and her condition afterwards is, combined with the detail that she always travels to meet her opponents, shows how far – both literally and figuratively – she is willing to go to kill the backstabbing assassins on her list.


Despite all the violence in his film, Tarantino does attempt to mask the graphicness of some of the scenes not pertaining directly to the Bride’s vengeance. He uses a Japanese-style anime cartoon when recounting the early life of O-Ren Ishii, possibly the most violent series of events in the whole film . Although the characteristic Tarantino blood fountain is still present in the cartoon, the director realizes that this graphic scene does not need to be shown in real-life because it does not advance the plot; it does not directly comment on the Bride’s revenge or emotional state as a result thereof.

Quentin Tarantino uses many other cinematic and plot techniques as an attempt to dull the necessary violence in his film. During the narrative Tarantino frequently flashes back to the wedding day massacre in black-and-white. “‘Black-and-white did make the movie go down easier’ with the motion picture association”, said Quentin in regards to the movie’s R rating. The black-and-white scenes, while reminding us that the action takes place in the past, show the viewer that it is not the actual violence, but rather the act of the massacre itself, for which the bride seeks her revenge.

Another peculiarity in the film can be used to comment on the Bride’s revenge. Throughout the film, Uma Thurman‘s character is hardly ever referred to by name. On the few occasions where her name is mentioned it is bleeped out; the audience simply knows her as “the Bride.” Tarantino doesn’t want us to know the Bride’s name. He doesn’t want us to know the real character, only her intentions. (This changes in “Vol. 2” when Tarantino reveals his characters as human beings and not just the sum of their motives, and thus the Bride’s name is revealed.) This small but compelling technique might be the biggest hint as to what the director really wants his audience to think about while watching “Kill Bill: Vol. 1”: the cause and effect of revenge, not so much the actual characters.

The amount of violence in “Kill Bill” is underscored because the style Tarantino brings to it creates a feeling of the fantastical. Victim’s blood comes spurting out of necks and torsos like water shoots up from the Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas (and with about just as much emphasis). But this style of killing only happens to minor characters like Boss Tanaka (after questioning O-Ren’s ancestry) and members of the Crazy 88, who had nothing to do with the wedding massacre. Copperhead and O-ren, the two members of the assassin team who the Bride crosses off her dead-list in “Vol. 1”, die real deaths. Their blood is not shot fountain-like into the air, it is simply spilled on the ground, their eyes widening and sinking deeper into their skulls, as the camera zooms and holds their dying face, a symbol of the anti-heroic victory for the Bride.

There is a lot of blood in “Kill Bill” but it’s all spilled with style, and all of it serves to advance the plot and the theme of revenge. Tarantino says that he used three different shades of blood throughout the film, each carrying its own implications. Film critic Tom Carson, speaking to the unparalleled amount of stylized violence and cinematic effects in “Kill Bill” says:

“…any film this into dousing audiences with not just blood but mood blood… owes more to “The Wizard of Oz” than to Peckinpah. It’s just that Uma Thurman as the Bride – Tarantino’s track-suited, sword-wielding answer to Dorothy – spends the movie hunting down and killing the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion for wronging her.”

Carson knows that Tarantino’s fourth film is more about the art and motive than the killings and bloodshed.

Tarantino also uses ironic settings in “Kill Bill: Vol 1” as a way to detract from the film’s necessary graphic violence. The first scene (the battle with Copperhead) is set in an upper class, suburban neighbourhood. The most ironic shot in “Kill Bill” comes during this fight. In the foreground the viewer sees two women, duelling with knives among a shattered coffee table and glass shelving, while in the background through a large bay window a school bus drops off a little girl who skips her way across the bring, sunny street into the home. The second fight is set in a Japanese nightclub with a young group of girls singing pop songs for a full dance floor. The irony produced by the setting and its impact on the violence shows that it is not the bloodshed but the motive behind it that is to be the focus of the film. Other settings, too, create an ironic effect that dulls the violence in the film. The sword-fight with O-Ren takes place in a snowy yard, where the bright red blood of O-Ren contrasts highly with the ground, signifying a victory for the Bride. And of course, there’s the flashback to how the story all began four years ago: a wedding massacre.

Another source that Tarantino makes use of is the use of women – both as protagonist and antagonist – in “Kill Bill”. “‘It just hurts more to see two women fighting… a fight between two guys… doesn’t have to be about the choreography. But if you take that and put in women, the more brutal they are to each other the more you wince'” , said Tarantino in an interview with The New York Times. Using women allows Tarantino to put more emphasis on the motive behind the fight scene than the fight scene itself and to create what Roger Ebert calls a “virtuoso celebration of fight choreography”

There is no denying that “Kill Bill: Vol. 1” is a violent film, but after analyzing the function of the violence there is also no denying that the violence is useful. Director Quentin Tarantino uses violence to show just how far the Bride will go to exact revenge on those who have wronged her. Tarantino knows that the violence is needed to advance the plot, and attempts to masks violence when it does not serve that purpose. When the violence serves a semi-effective role in the film, he creates a sense of unreality and irony which intensifies the emotions but covers the violence in the scene. The only times Tarantino uses real, graphic violence is to kill the major characters – those who had a role in the wedding massacre – because he knows these killings advance the theme of revenge. Kill Bill: Vol: 1 is a film that perfects the use of violence to advance the plot. As film critic Leonard Maltin wrote, Quentin Tarantino’s film is “operatically violent”

DVD NEWS 176

Quentin Tarantino‘s latest masterpiece, which remains the best movie of 2007 so far, is coming to DVD on September 18th – UNRATED AND EXTENDED!

Dressed in the excessive and sensationalistic style of the cult exploitation genre, Kurt Russell stars as a deranged stuntman turned psycho serial killer who stalks his victims from behind the wheel of a roving, revving, racing death machine, but when he picks on the wrong group of badass babes, all bets are off in an adrenaline-pumping, high speed vehicular duel of epic proportions.

Nearly 30 minutes longer than the original theatrical version, the Unrated & Extended cut includes footage never-before-seen domestically, including the conspicuous ‘missing reel’ of Butterfly’s lap dance (!), and a black-and-white segment in the second act, offering a prelude to Russell’s Stuntman Mike character.

Special Features

· Finding Quentin’s Gals

· The Guys Of “Death Proof”

· Kurt Russell As Stuntman Mike

· Introducing Zoe Bell

· Quentin’s Greatest Collaborator: Editor Sally Menke

· “Double Dare” Trailer

· And International Poster Gallery

5-25-77

“Because to everyone else, movies are something to do when you’re tired of real life. To you, real life is something to do when you’re tired of watching movies…”

This is my first time writing about a screenplay… Maybe because it’s the first time I had the chance to read one before seeing the movie.

It’s the story of Pat, a 17 year old from Wadsworth, Illinois, Population 750, at the edge of nowhere, U.S.A. It all takes place on the titular date, one week away from graduation, and the opening day of a little space opera called “Star Wars”. This means a lot to Pat, as he’s a total movie geek who’s not only into the magazines and the toys, but who’s been making home-made movies since he was a kid, trying to emulate “Planet of the Apes”, “2001” and other movies which blew his mind. He’s a “moonwatcher”, a dreamer, just waiting to go out to California and make his dreams a reality… He’s pretty driven already, but somehow he feels this “Star Wars” movie would fire him up even more, he just knows it!

Yet getting to see it will be harder than he thinks, as his whole world seems to be determined to stop him from getting to the Genesee theatre, be it Bill, his flaky best friend and his ever unreliable ride, Linda, his supposed-girlfriend, his boss at the amusement park or the assorted freaks and geeks and jocks and cheerleaders at school who can’t seem to understand his enthusiasm for this stupid little sci-fi flick…

5-25-77 was written by Patrick Read Johnson, who’s pretty much his protagonist. “Most of this is true,” states the first page, “the rest is even truer.” However accurate this is, what’s clear is that the script does feel true, “lived in”. The period is very detailed, and the characters are well rounded out. And then you’ve got Pat, a character many will relate to. Well, I certainly did! I was making clumsy little movies with my dad’s camera in high school, and movies grew more important to my life every day. To me, “Star Wars” wasn’t that much of an influence, maybe because I’m too young and only caught on to the first (technically second) trilogy on TV, but I could switch it around to “Pulp Fiction” and this would be a good approximation of my teenage years. Pat might have been making little space movies with models, I was making low-rent Tarantino flicks with toy guns. All the same, what matters is the love of movies, and that dream of making them.

Reading Johnson’s script made me a bit nostalgic. You see, I eventually took college film classes, and made one or two shorts I’m pretty proud of, but besides that I’ve pretty much put the Hollywood dream on the back burner. I guess spending all those hours doing this website proves I’m still enthusiastic about cinema, but in the end I’m only writing about the work of others… so far! Hence, I’ve got to admire how Johnson made it happen, against all odds. Some might argue that directing movies like “Baby’s Day Out” or “Angus” doesn’t qualify as making it, but not everyone is like Orson Welles and makes a “Citizen Kane” right out of the gate. Yet with “5-25-77”, Johnson has something special in his hands. Done right, this could be better than Cameron Crowe’s “Almost Famous”, a movie somehow similar in tone: hilarious at times, touching at others, always sincere and heartfelt. I’m certainly looking forward to this one, and you should too.

“They’re not just movies. They’re dreams! Made by people who still have dreams– for people who still need them!”

Jean Carlo Lavoie’s reviews

PAN’S LABYRINTH

Del Toro is an erudite creator to whom the images and icons of past ages are the manifold fragments of an occult and mystic Truth.

APOCALYPTO

The intentness that Gibson applies to his filmmaking elevates it over the standard height of ordinary action films.

MIAMI VICE

Mann delivers a less moving, but clearer movie than Heat about the essential affinity between cops and crooks.

LADY IN THE WATER

The eagle! for God’s sake! the eagle! Such be the flight that my soul aspires to take on the day of my death.

SILENT HILL

Gans’ camera is to filmmaking wonders what Trinity running up walls in The Matrix is to action.

KING KONG

A monster of a review of a monster of a monster movie by Jean Carlo Denham Lavoie!

THE BROTHERS GRIMM

The mark of the greats.

SKY HIGH

Nothing new, but it’s sympathetic nonetheless and there are a lot of comic twists on the codes and themes of comic books.

FANTASTIC FOUR

How does a succession of images, characters and dialogue this banal and naive not provoke boredom?

LAND OF THE DEAD

It’s George A. Romero’s turn to pick up the torch again to once more bitchslap us across our fat little bourgeois faces.

HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE

The discovery of the mysteries of the castle will have the viewer transported once again by the master’s enchantment.

Also:
JEAN CARLO’S TOP TEN FILMS OF 2006
JEAN CARLO’S TOP TEN FILMS OF 2005
The Films of John Woo
Bava on the couch

mythespop.com


Huston, Welles and Lavoie

Jean-François Tremblay’s reviews

SUNSHINE CLEANING

I have a low tolerance for a certain kind of film that specializes in quirkiness obviously, patently meant to get your sympathy.

NOTHING LIKE THE HOLIDAYS

This is an observant, heart-warming film.

QUARANTINE

For a decent portion of its running time, it is as nerve-wracking and pulse-pounding as they come.

IRON MAN

As superhero movies go, it ranks among the very best efforts of the genre.

HITMAN

Sometimes feels like an empty vessel type of shoot’em up, but it has dazzling action and a surprisingly compelling central relationship.

HALLOWEEN

In short, we see way too much of Michael, and that robs him of the mystique he had in John Carpenter’s 1978 classic.

HOSTEL: PART II

Worth seeing for horror fans, but a lot has been lost from the standout original film, most importantly the crucial element of surprise.

RISE: BLOOD HUNTER

Lucy Liu is absolutely remarkable here, revealing a depth of emotions rarely hinted at in her previous work.

SPIDER-MAN 3

The main problem is not the number of villains or the abundance of special FX, but rather that it all amounts to so little in the end.

FRACTURE

Sometimes the line is very thin between tedious and quietly gripping, and this film has a little too much of the former.

DEAD SILENCE

Laden with atmosphere and a sustained sense of dread.

WILD HOGS

William H. Macy has never approached such unbridled zaniness, and he’s a riot.

BLOOD AND CHOCOLATE

For a while, there is poignancy in the story of these star-crossed lovers and how it impacts the werewolf clan.

BLACK CHRISTMAS

Fails to commit to a specific tone: at no point is it self-conscious enough to be amusing or dark enough to be disquieting.

NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM

Cheerful, upbeat and quite enjoyable.

LET’S GO TO PRISON

While lowbrow, it still delivers enough funny moments to stun gun its way to a rating.

FLICKA

You’re bound to be touched someway, somehow by this delightful story of a girl and her beloved four-legged friend.

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE BEGINNING

Focuses a little too much on the deranged Sheriff, to the detriment of the chainsaw-wielding maniac.

THE WICKER MAN

Cage is not the best casting decision, but he’s saddled with streaky dialogue and a few scenes that are just plain silly.

THE DESCENT

A film of rare intensity – the ferocity of the crawlers when they attack will leave you breathless.

THE LAKE HOUSE

Hints at a more upbeat mood, but the movie falls prey to a formula that locks them into mournful star-crossed lovers.

THE BREAK-UP

Peyton Reed’s non-romantic, misguided semi-comedy is not that movie.

POSEIDON

Large-scale entertainment that’ll leave you in shock at the devastation, but also in awe of the moviemaking.

BLOODRAYNE

Overall I enjoyed BloodRayne a good deal, and it’s certainly not as atrocious as many people would like you to believe.

RUNNING SCARED

A dynamic remixing of the timeless themes of good and evil, suffering and retribution, and love and commitment.

FIREWALL

If ever a movie needed an explanatory sheet about what the hell is going on, this one would be a good candidate.

THE MATADOR

An unassuming, low-key dark comedy whose highlight is a most interesting performance by Pierce Brosnan.

THE ICE HARVEST

Echoes the too-much-money- will- bring-you-hell storyline of Fargo and the disregard for Christmas goodwill of Bad Santa.

SAW II

Don’t trick yourself out of such a treat this Halloween!

SHOPGIRL

Anybody who’s ever loved (and possibly lost) can empathize with Mirabelle’s longing.

JUST LIKE HEAVEN

Jean François and Kevin love the Reese – but what do they think of the movie?

BAD NEWS BEARS

Virtually every development feels like a watered-down version of the previous film, which was funnier.

DARK WATER

However efficient it is as a horror movie, it’s not the kind of stuff I’d want to see again.

HERBIE: FULLY LOADED

The film was shot in 2004, so at least we get a much better-looking Lindsay in comparison to her current appearance.

THE LONGEST YARD

The football game is shown with bone-crunching energy, but the screenplay involves too many odd or overly quirky characters.

HOUSE OF WAX

This is just your basic slasher film with the volume once again cranked up to deafening levels.

A LOT LIKE LOVE

Refreshingly approaches characters and situations without straining to get easy laughs when bright smiles are more satisfying.

MISS CONGENIALITY 2: ARMED AND FABULOUS

Shows that female buddy movies can be just as cloying as the lesser examples of their male equivalent.

HOSTAGE

A stylish and very well done entry into the genre.

CONSTANTINE

Constantine is not captivating, but it has a few neat turns and some inspired visuals.

ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13

A whole lot of people get killed and a whole lot of stuff is destroyed, but not much sense is made of it all.

RACING STRIPES

What it attempts to do, it does with flair and only a few false notes. It is certainly comparable to Babe.

BLADE: TRINITY

This time it makes us care more about its main character and it offers an involving connection to our world.

SAW

Extremely intense and definitely not for everybody.

TAXI

If you like your laughs served with a generous helping of action, you could do a lot worse than Taxi.

PAPARAZZI

A violent and rather clumsily told revenge fantasy.

OPEN WATER

This is a film that hits hard, with a finale of the kind that stays with you for a long time.

ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF ROB BURGUNDY

Jean-François and Kevin agree that Anchorman is an hilarious must-see!

THE CLEARING

It uses an incomplete jigsaw puzzle to set up its psychological portraits, but it remains a noteworthy effort.

THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK

Science-fiction and action fans will love these Chronicles.

RAISING HELEN

Kate Hudson really is the glue holding this film together.

GODSEND

A very underwhelming horror movie, feebly evoking The Omen.

JOHNSON FAMILY VACATION

It feels disconnected and the laughs are few and far between, with some objectionable parts.

SCOOBY DOO 2: MONSTERS UNLEASHED

Primarily an action romp for kids, but there’s a charm to this bunch that is enjoyable and a few quiet moments that work.

SECRET WINDOW

David Koepp has put together a very good terror film.

CLUB DREAD

A hit-and-miss hybrid of a movie [that] wants to be both funny and scary.

THE BLUE BUTTERFLY

A moving experience of poetic beauty.

BARBERSHOP 2: BACK IN BUSINESS

Feels a bit like a hairdresser tinkering endlessly with your haircut when you thought the first go at it was just right.

ALONG CAME POLLY

The film leaves an impression of being drawn out but is saved by the chemistry of Stiller and Aniston.

PETER PAN

The film as a whole equals less than the sum of its parts.

HONEY

The charm of Honey is in the resiliency of the title character.

Also:
2004’S BEST & WORST BY JEAN-FRANÇOIS TREMBLAY
THE BEST & WORST MOVIES OF 2005 BY JEAN-FRANÇOIS TREMBLAY
THE BEST & WORST MOVIES OF 2006 BY JEAN-FRANÇOIS TREMBLAY
THE BEST & WORST MOVIES OF 2007 BY JEAN-FRANÇOIS TREMBLAY
2008’S BEST & WORST BY JEAN-FRANÇOIS TREMBLAY
2009’S BEST & WORST BY JEAN-FRANÇOIS TREMBLAY

Ah-nuld: Tha feilmohgroaphy

Oh, Arnold, you! I have to admit, when I review the big guy’s movies, I’m hardly objective. I’m almost homo in my love of his screen persona. Regular visitors of this site know, for instance, that my very favorite movie just happens to be “Commando”, the movie I feel showcases the Schwarzenegger attitude the best. I also have much love for “Predator”, “Total Recall” and the “Terminator” movies, but that’s no biggie; Arnold did star in some of the very best sci-fi flicks of the last two decades. What really puts me in the fanboy zone is how I also gleefully enjoy even his lesser films, including his comedies. And, Lord forgive me, I thought he was kinda cool (no pun intended) as Mr. Freeze in “Batman & Robin”.

I can’t help it. I love the bodybuilder body, I love the square jaw, I love the menacing stare, I love the cigars, I love the cheesy one-liners, I love the Austrian accent, I love the way Schwarzenegger defies logic and does all those impossible things. I love the whole package and when I watch one of his pictures, I always have a blast, no matter how uneven some of his movies have been.

EARLY WORK
Never mind stupid “Hercules in New York”, the bit parts, the TV stuff and the bodybuilding documentary. We all know Arnold became Arnold when he starred in:

1982
CONAN THE BARBARIAN
[ The film opens with the Nietzsche quote “That which does not kill us makes us stronger”, and Crom damn it if the brutal tale which follows doesn’t make a strong case for it. Conan goes through all kinds of hell, watching Thulsa Doom (James Earl Jones) and his snake-cult slaughter everyone he loves, being enslaved, pitted in gladiator death matches, bred like an animal and eventually even crucified! Conan certainly comes out of all this suffering stronger – and mad as hell! This is a ruthless gore-soaked revenge story, but one that unfolds through high adventure, fantasy, romance and some deadpan humor. Add great imagery, a rousing score and a great physical performance from Arnold Schwarzenegger and you got one kick ass flick. ]

1984
CONAN THE DESTROYER
[    Way cheesier and less cool than the original, notably because instead of being an epic tale of revenge, it’s just an ordinary sword and sorcery quest that happens to feature Conan.  It’s still an okay, rather action-packed piece of heroic fantasy, despite somewhat ridiculous sequences like the fights between Schwarzenegger and rubber creatures.   ]

1984
THE TERMINATOR
[ I hadn’t seen the original in years and I’m surprised by how well it holds up despite some dated special effects and distracting ‘80s music and hairstyles. Schwarzenegger is at his iconic badass best as the killing machine and there’s tragic emotional resonance to the story of a man who travels back in time to save a woman he loves even though he’s only seen a picture of her. Cameron can craft thrilling action scenes like the best of them and this is a practically uninterrupted chase/shoot-out, stopping only to sketch out an intriguing post-apocalyptic possible future. Trivia note: I noticed for the first time that the blue-haired punk the Terminator kills in the first scene is played by Bill Paxton! ]

1985
RED SONJA
[ In this unofficial spin-off to the Conan flicks, Ah-nuld plays Kalidor, another barbarian-type warrior who helps the titular heroin played by Brigitte Nielsen – as far as I know the only woman to have not only co-starred with but fucked both Stallone and Schwarzenegger. ]

COMMANDO

1986
RAW DEAL
[ Hardly a classic, but an okay ’80s action B-movie, like “Action Jackson” or “Cobra” or whatever. Arnold is kicked out of the FBI because he’s too much of a badass, he ends up as a small town sheriff and goes after the Mob and… Well, you know, asses get kicked, bad guys get shot, etc. Highlight: Schwarzenegger shooting motherfuckers while driving a convertible with the Stones’ Satisfaction blaring out of the speakers. ]

1987
PREDATOR

THE RUNNING MAN
[ This is one of the worst adaptations ever, totally perverting the Stephen King novel, but as a dumb 80s action flick, it’s pretty damn cool. Not much grim sci-fi allegory stuff, it’s mostly an excuse to have Arnold going mano a mano with colorful TV bounty hunters. ]

1988
RED HEAT

TWINS
[ Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito are twins! Heh. ]

1990
TOTAL RECALL

KINDERGARTEN COP
[ Schwarzenegger goes undercover as a kindergarten teacher! Heh. ]

1991
TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY

1993
LAST ACTION HERO

1994
TRUE LIES

JUNIOR
[ Schwarzenegger gets pregnant! Heh. ]

1996
ERASER

JINGLE ALL THE WAY
[ Schwarzenegger struggles to buy an action figure during the Xmas holiday season! Heh. ]

1997
BATMAN & ROBIN

1999
END OF DAYS

2000
THE 6TH DAY

2002
COLLATERAL DAMAGE

2003
TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES

2010
THE EXPENDABLES

2012
THE EXPENDABLES 2

2013
THE LAST STAND
[ I was relatively excited for this first starring role in some 10 years for Arnold Schwarzenegger. Relatively, because I somehow skipped it in theatres so I must not have been that excited… Having now seen it, I can’t say I regret waiting for the DVD. This is a badly paced, oddly lifeless, ultimately pretty dull movie. And Arnold is barely in it! It takes a simple plot – bad guys want to help an escaped drug lord cross the border into Mexico, Sheriff and his deputies want to stop them – and stretches it out needlessly. And while there are ultimately some bloody shoot-outs, they aren’t awesome enough to make up for how long it takes to get to them. ]

ESCAPE PLAN

2014
SABOTAGE
[ A DEA squad steals 10 million dollars from a drug cartel during a raid, which is then stolen from them. Six months later, somebody starts killing each member of the squad one after another… And we couldn’t care less. For one, all the DEA agents are total assholes, so we’re not rooting for them to survive or to find and stop the killer. Plus it’s such a dumb fucking script! Add direction that recalls that of a bad DTV movie and you’ve got a real recipe for disaster. I’m a lifelong Arnold Schwarzenegger fan, but since he’s returned to Hollywood a couple of years ago, beside the “Expendables” franchise, he’s made some pretty awful movies. ]

THE EXPENDABLES 3

Gilmore Girls Season Two

(Previously, in Season One)


2.1 – “Sadie, Sadie”
LUKE: But who knows how long you’ll work after you’re married.
LORELAI: Excuse me?
LUKE: Oh, but you probably already talked about that, right?
LORELAI: Uh, no, but I do think he and my father have come to an agreement on how many goats I’m worth.

You know what’s not so great about a perfect season ender? It’s a tough act to follow. This first episode of Season Two is okay, but it’s kind of a back to normal thing, not the emotional high that came before.


2.2 – “Hammers and Veils”
LORELAI: And you know, as my mouth was opening my mind was screaming, ‘Don’t do it, I mean it, you’ll regret it!’ But did my mouth listen?
RORY: No.
LORELAI: No! And it opened and the words came out, and Emily was Emily, and my mouth was stunned. And my mind said ‘I told you so.’ And then my mouth got mad because no mouth like’s to have it’s nose rubbed in it. And now my mind and my mouth aren’t talking, and it’ll be weeks before we can get the boys together again.
RORY: Your mouth has a nose?

We’re still kinda spinning wheels, but there are some nice sparks here and there, especially the latest developments in Lorelai’s lifelong tug of war with her mother. I might have said this before, but I find it quite amazing when the two of them have an ugly fight and you can feel how it shadows the fights they had when Lorelai was a teenager…


2.3 – “Red Light on the Wedding Night”
Rory: Is it right to be sampling wedding cakes when Sookie’s making ours for free?
Lorelai: What is right anyway, you know? Who defines right? And if eating cake is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Whoa, it’s kinda whack how they rush into this wedding thing then make it go away just as fast. I mean, they could have gone the whole season jerking around with Lorelai’s commitment issues…. Oh, well.


2.4 – “The Road Trip to Harvard”
Lorelai: They’re taller.
Rory: Not this again.
Lorelai: There’s more of them!
Rory: Mom, the flowers on the wallpaper are not growing or reproducing.

Road trip it is. Some amusing bits at the B&B from hell, plus sweet stuff at Harvard. Still, kinda feels again like filler before we get to the heart of things. Where’s Max? How is he holding up? Need the info!


2.5 – “Nick & Nora / Sid & Nancy”
Lorelai: Ugh, Jess, let me give you a little advice. The whole ‘my parents don’t get me’ thing, I’ve been there.
Jess: You have, huh?
Lorelai: Yes, I have. I’ve also done the ‘chip on my shoulder’ bit. Ooh, and the surly, sarcastic, ‘the world can bite my ass’ bit, and let me tell you, I mastered them all, in heels, yet.

Enter Jess, Luke’s bad boy nephew. Wonder if he’ll come between Rory and Dean…


2.6 – “Presenting Lorelai Gilmore”
Lorelai: Are you two completely out of your mind? There is a ceremony going on in there. Young girls in ugly dresses and stupid fans are parading around in circles for God knows what reason, and you two are ruining it.

Rory in a debutante gown and long gloves, coming down ballroom stairs? Aww… I’m liking these guest appearances from her dad too, yet another way of completing that big puzzle that is Lorelai’s life.


2.7 – “Like Mother, Like Daughter”
Rory: Mom, come on, what happened. Did you talk to him?
Lorelai: I did. I told him that he was completely out of line with this treatment of you, that you are not a loner freak, you have plenty of friends, and you don’t own a long black leather Matrix coat, and they should fall down on their kneesocks everyday that you deign to show up at that loser school.

Rory’s accused by the Chilton honchos of not socializing enough, so she “mixes it up” with some of the other kids… who happen to be the Puffs, the most popular girls of the school. Ooh, more Mean Girls vibes!


2.8 – “The Ins and Outs of Inns”
Lorelai: Are we late?
Luke: We’re two minutes early.
Rory: We should get a prize for being on time.
Lorelai: Hey, Luke, let’s go back to the diner and have pie as a reward!
Luke: Then we’d be late.
Lorelai: A funny conundrum, but I want pie!

Lorelai and Sookie find it more complicated than expected to open their own inn, and Jess is causing more trouble for Luke – and Rory?


2.9 – “Run Away, Little Boy”
Lorelai: I mean it. Today is the day we finally spring for the Powerpuff Girls shotglasses.

Rory, Paris and the gang are mounting a production of “Romeo & Juliet”. Meanwhile, the Lorelai-Luke thing is still veeeeery slowly evolving…


2.10 – “The Bracebridge Dinner”
Rory: Oh, we have to rent Godfather 3 on DVD.
Lorelai: You’re kidding.
Rory: In the audio commentary, Coppola actually defends casting Sofia.

It’s the snow! And sleighs! And Old English! Kind of a gimmicky episode, but pleasant enough. Rory’s not very nice to Dean, though, making pretty eyes at Jess and stuff…


2.11 – “Secrets and Loans”
Lorelai: You had no right to bring it up!
Rory: Why?
Lorelai: Because I told you not to, that’s why!
Rory: But -.
Lorelai: No, there are no buts! There will be no buts here! There’s ‘I’m sorry Mom’, there’s ‘I screwed up Mom’, there’s ‘I’ll never do it again Mom’, but there are no buts!
Rory: But –
Lorelai: Out!

Big fight between mother and daughter… But they make up soon enough, heh. Oh, Lane’s a cheerleader now. Crazy.


2.12 – “Richard in Stars Hollow”
Richard: Who’s going to help Rory get into Harvard?
Lorelai: Reese Witherspoon.

Interesting episode, showing how retirement can make a man feel obsolete. There’s some funny stuff with Rory and Paris, too.


2.13 – “A-Tisket, A-Tasket”
Lorelai: He seems cool because he’s got this dangerous vibe and this problem with authority and he’s seen a lot of Sylvester Stallone movies.
Rory: Oh my God.

I’m liking the antagonism between Dean and Jess. With a gal as lovable as Rory, no wonder guys are fighting over her! Good stuff between Sookie and Jackson as well. It’s an older, more “ordinary” couple… realistic. Hopeful.
Also: You know what’s kinda funny, considering the quote above? Milo Ventimiglia, who plays Jess, also plays Stallone’s son in “Rocky Balboa”. Heh.


2.14 – “It Should’ve Been Lorelai”
Lorelai: Or we could sit in the corner, you know the mafia table, so that no one can come up behind you and whack you with a cannoli.
Rory: Whack you with a cannoli? Oh, because he left the gun and took the cannoli.

Man, the WPM is insane on this show! They just throw all these references, asides and witticisms at you at high speed and you just have to try and keep up. Loving it.


2.15 – “Lost and Found”
Luke: Six windows, all on one side, three o’clock in the afternoon, we’re sittin’ in an oven.
Jess: So we get curtains.
Luke: Well, you’d have to help me put them up.
Jess: Great! Then we can hold hands and skip afterwards.
Luke: Stop saying that!

Dude, I just understood something disturbing. Why is a girl (like Rory) more attracted towards a bad boy (like Jess) than a good guy (like Dean)? Good guys are boring! I’m not a bad boy, but I’m not a good guy either, I’m just some dude so… I don’t know what that means.


2.16 – “There’s the Rub”
Lorelai: Now, let’s talk about what you’re gonna do tonight. Throwing a party, I hope? Inviting hundreds of bikers and lowlifes who are gonna trash the place?
Rory: I am going to do laundry, watch TV, order Indian food and go to bed early.
Lorelai: And then come the bikers and lowlifes who are gonna trash the place?
Rory: I may even fall asleep on the couch with the TV on.
Lorelai: When do the bikers and lowlifes get to trash the place?
Rory: You’re all packed.
Lorelai: Rory, you have to do something bad when Mommy’s out of town. It’s the law. You’re seen Risky Business, right?

Hey, so the Palladinos are getting the show taken away from them after Season Six… I’m so behind! This is still early in the series, good stuff, I’m thinking it’s still got quite a way getting better… But I love these characters and all the banter. Yeah.


2.17 – “Dead Uncles and Vegetables”
Lorelai: It’s repetitive.
Rory: And redundant.
Lorelai: It’s repetitive.
Rory: And redundant.
Lorelai: We certainly are entertaining, Mac.
Rory: Indubitably, Tosh.

Town stuff, the return of the long-haired hippie, Sookie is sucked into “Emily World”… Plus, Luke has to take care of the funeral and burial of an uncle and he starts wondering whether, he being as much of a grumpy loner as the old fart was, he’ll also die alone. Yeesh.


2.18 – “Back in the Saddle Again”
Lane: I’m not going to be a salesperson. I want to do something cool!
Rory: Then sell refrigerators.
Lane: So not funny.

Grampa Gilmore gets involved with a school business project and finds his match in Paris. Meanwhile, Dean is more of an over-attentive doormat than ever… Not that yo can’t understand his aching for more attention from lovely Rory.


2.19 – “Teach Me Tonight”
Kirk: I don’t know if you know this about me, but I have a very creative mind.
Lorelai: I did not know that about you, Kirk.
Kirk: It’s true.

“a film by kirk” is one of the funniest sequences on the show so far, with artsy B&W cinematography, the always entertaining Jon Polito and great use of the song White Lines. Otherwise, I still love Rory, like how she’s a perfect student but also interested in the punk movement, old movies and the town’s bad boy, heh.


2.20 – “Help Wanted”
Lorelai: I need real food, peasant food, hearty bread, meat, cheese, little pickle chips, sauce, a special sauce. This is the food that sustains me, this is the food of my…
Rory: Oh my God, just eat the burger already!
Lorelai: How crabby!
Rory: I’m not crabby.
Lorelai: I didn’t even get through my special sauce speech. That’s crabby.

Lorelai helps her dad settle in her new office, doing secretary stuff, while Rory is getting used to her cast – but not to how everyone blames Jess for it.


2.21 – “Lorelai’s Graduation Day”
Rory: Okay, just let me take a shower and get the horrible smell of this horrible day off of me, and then we’ll go anywhere you want, my treat, and I won’t enjoy it. And then we’ll come home and I’ll go straight to bed and I’ll have a terrible night’s sleep, okay?
Lorelai: Sounds great.

Wow, good little girl Rory is full of surprises, cutting school and going to New York to hang out with a certain bad boy, ooooh. Meanwhile, Lorelai graduates from community college. Will Rory make it back from the Big Apple in time?


2.22 – “I Can’t Get Started”
Lorelai: Mom, look, isn’t Rory pretty?
Richard: Apologies all around. I could not get Adamson off the phone.
Lorelai: Dad, glad you’re here. We’re just talking about how pretty Rory is. Big eyes, baby. Give him the Bambi face.

This season-ending episode is full of big moments: Sookie’s wedding, Paris running for school president, Lorelai and Chris getting it on… and Rory kisses Jess! Ohmygod. I can’t wait to see what comes out of that.


NEXT: SEASON THREE (or not — I am watching it (and Season Four, Season Five, Season Six, etc.), just not writing these meaningless blurbs anymore…)

UPDATE:
But I did jot this down after watching the Series Finale:

[ Gawd, I haven’t cried this hard since… well, the “Six Feet Under” finale. There’s something about spending years and years with characters you love, they become as close as friends and family and when you have to say goodbye… A perfect ending to a near-perfect series. ]

Gilmore Girls Season One


1.1 – “Pilot”
Rory: You’re happy.
Lorelai: Yeah.
Rory: Did you do something slutty?
Lorelai: I’m not that happy.

In this first episode, the supporting characters are a bit too broad, there’s some unnecessary sitcomish beats and the tone hasn’t been perfected yet, but Lauren Graham’s wisecracking MILF and Alexis Bledel’s witty teenager are instantly adorable and their hyper caffeinated banter is as hilarious as ever.


1.2 – “The Lorelais’ First Day at Chilton”
Rory: Yes, but I’m going to be wearing shoes. Nobody’s going to see my feet.
Lorelai: Okay, but everybody knows that private school girls are bad. And bad girls always wear red nail polish.

More coffee, more banter, more grandmotherly intrusion. Plus the introduction of queen bitch Paris, Lorelai starting to fall for Luke and a fuzzy clock that doesn’t purr on time.


1.3 – “Kill Me Now”
Lorelai: I’m talking about that you take my sweaters and you wear them and you stretch them out.
Rory: I couldn’t possibly stretch them out! Your boobs are way bigger than mine.
Lorelai: That is not true.
Rory: Yes it is.
Lorelai: Your boobs are totally bigger than mine!
Rory: You’re crazy!
Lorelai: Do you want to measure?
Rory: What?
Lorelai: I’m serious. Why don’t you get the measuring tape right now?
Rory: I am not going to measure my boobs.
Lorelai: Because you know that you are totally bigger.
Rory: I’m going inside.

Already, the show is flowing more smoothly, the comical supporting cast feels more natural and the tragicomic spine of the series is becoming clearer. Oh, and did I mention that I love Rory and Lorelai? Seriously, they might be my favorite TV duo, like, ever. Love them.


1.4 – “The Deer Hunters”
Rory: Oh my God! I just got hit by a deer!
Lane: You hit a deer?
Rory: No a deer hit me!

Not the best episode, but fits are thrown, coffee is had and, well, a deer is hit (or the other way around).


1.5 – “Cinnamon’s Wake”
Rory: Philadelphia? If you could live in any city in the world you’d pick Philadelphia?
Lane: M. Night Shyamalan lives there.
Rory: Who?
Lane: The guy who directed The Sixth Sense.
Rory: But what would you do there?
Lane: Hang out with M. Night Shyamalan.

Gotta love the random pop culture references. The little romantic interests that are developing are nice too, especially the way Rory is all flummoxed when the boy she likes is around.


1.6 – “Rory’s Birthday Parties”
Rory: Mom’s famous for her blowouts.
Lorelai: The best one was her eighth birthday.
Rory: Oh yeah, that was good.
Lorelai: The cops shut us down.
Luke: The cops shut down an eight year old’s birthday party?
Rory: And arrested the clown.

I’m increasingly enjoying the quirky folks of Stars Hollow, who conveniently pop up in every other scene, Springfield-style. But of course, the core of the series is in the three generations of Gilmore girls/women, from now sixteen Rory to spoiled rich Grandma Emily. Movies are awesome, but it’s great in long-form television how more and more pieces are falling into place, making you better understand these characters and where they’re coming from.


1.7 – “Kiss and Tell”
Lorelai: One of us has to do laundry tonight.
Rory: Why?
Lorelai: Because I haven’t had any clean underwear for three days.
Rory: So right now under your skirt you’re wearing…?
Lorelai: Not underwear.
Rory: Mom!
Lorelai: It’s kinda nice, actually — breezy.

Rory’s first kiss, Lorelai freaking about it and a LOT of junk food, even by Gilmore standards.


1.8 – “Love & War & Snow”
Rory: It’s Mr. Medina.
Lorelai: I know.
Rory: My English teacher is on my couch.
Lorelai: It was the snow. You know how I get, it’s like catnip. I was walking, he was there, his car was broken, we had fiesta burgers… it was the snow.

love love love Rory. Lorelai, too. Love them! Alright, these blurbs are boring, but I can’t put into words my ridiculous obsession with this show. There are funnier, smarter, more exciting series, no doubt, but there’s no other girls like the Gilmore girls. You just wanna jump into the screen and hug them, then go out and have coffee and exchange snarky banter and… Aww.


1.9 – “Rory’s Dance”
Lorelai: (shouting) C’mon already!
Rory: (from in her room) I’m primping!
Lorelai: You’re sixteen, you’ve skin like a baby’s ass, there’s nothing to primp!

Small quibble: the continuity is a bit iffy at times. Like, big development between Lorelai and her teacher dude one week, then we don’t even hear about him in the next episode? But as I said, small quibble, when said ‘sode in itself is great, the most touching so far. Loved Rory’s timid attempts at defining her relationship with her “gentleman caller”, loved when Dean put Chad Douche-Murray in his place, loved the emotional fireworks at the end between mothers and daughters.


1.10 – “Forgiveness and Stuff”
Lane: You got Dean a book?
Rory: Yeah, Metamorphosis.
Lane: Metamorphosis!?
Rory: It’s Kafka.
Lane: Very romantic.

A Very Special Episode of Gilmore girls, with an aborted Christmas party, a trip to the hospital… and a little harmless (?) flirting between Lorelai and Luke. Whatever happened to the teacher dude? Beats me.


1.11 – “Paris is Burning”
Rory: Every time Mom stuck her finger in his cage, he’d bite her.
Lorelai: And laugh.
Luke: Hamsters can’t laugh.
Lorelai: Oh, this one laughed – trust me.

Hey, teacher dude. Plus more touchy-feely stuff. The show’s still funny, but the relationships are digging in deeper and tears are threatening to come as frequently as laughs.


1.12 – “Double Date “
Lorelai: Who the hell is that anyways?
Rory: Claudine Longet.
Lorelai: The chick who shot the skier?
Rory: Uh, sure, why not.
Lorelai: Wow – Renaissance woman.

Sookie and Jackson, eh. Lane’s cool, too, little music geek. Then there’s Luke… Cool too!


1.13 – “Concert Interruptus”
Louise: I find your mother completely fascinating.
Rory: Funny – so does she.

There’s kind of a “Heathers”/”Mean Girls” thing going on between Rory and her “friends” from school. Then they go to see The Bangles!


1.14 – “That Damn Donna Reed”
Sookie: Well, you call someone and say “Can you come over and help me look for my loose chick”…it’s a little…
Lorelai: A little what?
Sookie: Sounds a little like code for “I’m not wearing any underwear”.

The thing with TV series, for better or worse, is that stories go on and on and on… I know, because I’ve been watching Season 6 of Gilmore Girls, when it’s all about the upcoming wedding between Lorelai and Luke, and now that I’m going back to the early episodes from years earlier, the seeds are already there. And then you got something totally out of left field: Christopher…


1.15 – “Christopher Returns”
Lorelai: Did you just curtsy?
Rory: Shut up!
Lorelai: Sorry, milady.

Rory’s father pops in, then there’s a big mash-up with Lorelai and her parents and Christopher and his parents and… Eh, not good.


1.16 – “Star-Crossed Lovers and Other Strangers”
Lorelai: Wow, it’s gonna be just like Lady and the Tramp. You’ll share a plate of spaghetti, but it’ll just be one long strand, but you won’t realize it until you accidentally meet in the middle. And then, he’ll push a meatball towards you with his nose, and you’ll push it back with your nose, and then you’ll bring the meatball home and you’ll save it in the refrigerator for years and…
Rory: Mom!

I’m fascinated by the writing on this show. It’s not groundbreaking or anything, but it’s amazing how precise yet effortless it feels. Take the Lorelai-Luke thing – we know they’re meant to be together, but the writers find all these little ways to postpone it (re: exes returning). Lorelai’s relationship with her mother is also effectively running on a thin thread of love and hate… And how about Rory getting her perfect romantic moment, then blowing it. Things flow, back and forth… That’s life for you.


1.17 – “The Breakup, Part 2”
Lorelai: I think what you really need to do today is wallow.
Rory: Wallow?
Lorelai: Oh yeah, get back in your pajamas, go to bed, eat nothing but gallons of ice cream and tons of pizza, don’t take a shower or shave your legs or put on any kind of make up at all and just sit in the dark and watch a really sad movie and have a good long cry and just wallow. You need to wallow.

First love, first heartache… Hard. But when your whole town’s got your back, it’s not so bad, right? Meanwhile, Lorelai’s libido is flying out of bounds and- wait, about Rory’s heartache? It IS so bad. Poor girl!


1.18 – “The Third Lorelai”
Madeline: (to Paris) Looks like we’re going to have to do the Pink Ladies makeover on you.
Louise: We’ll turn you from a sweet Sandy to a slutty Sandy. Dancing at the school fair with high heels, black spandex and permed hair.

Ooh, a fourth generation of Gilmore girls! Enter great-grandma Lorelai! Plus, more of Paris and the Mean Girls. Good times.


1.19 – “Emily in Wonderland”
Rory: I like this song. It makes me gloomy.
Lane: Gloom is good.
Rory: Really gloomy.
Lane: Like Joy Division Gloomy? Nick Cave gloomy? Robert Smith gloomy?
Rory: Johnny Cash gloomy.

It’s an obvious thing, but when you think of it, it’s pretty unusual to have a show where the two main characters are a mother and a daughter. What’s more, the grandmother is also a lead. This makes for a very interesting intergenerational dynamic. Yeah.


1.20 – “P.S. I Lo…”
Lorelai: I’m not even talking specifically about Dean. I mean just generally in life. For example, say you’re dating Taylor Hanson.
Rory: Why am I dating Taylor Hanson?
Lorelai: It’s a hypothetical scenario, go with it. So, uh, you and Taylor have been seeing each other pretty regularly. .
Rory: How did I meet Taylor Hanson?
Lorelai: You went to his concert, you got backstage, your eyes met across the crowd and you’ve been seeing each other ever since.
Rory: Hanson’s still together?
Lorelai: They’re the new Bee Gees. So. .
Rory: And why would you not stop me from going to a Hanson concert?
Lorelai: Hey, someone’s trying to make a point here.

Man, sad Rory is the saddest thing in the world! She’s usually so sweet and upbeat, it’s killing me to see her all bummed down. Damn you, Dean!


1.21 – “Love, Daisies and Troubadours”
Dean: Your boyfriend’s waiting.
Rory: He’s not my boyfriend! I hate him!
Dean: Whatever.
Rory: Dean!
Dean: What?
Rory: Stop!
Dean: Why?
Rory: Because I love you, you idiot!

I don’t know if the writers’ goal was to end the season in a way that makes it IMPOSSIBLE not to want to run and get the next DVD set, but it sure accomplishes that. You get not one but two of those perfect rom-com climaxes, and then it’s over! Can’t wait to see what’s next.

NEXT: Season Two!!!