A Book Of Its Time: “We Don’t Need Roads”

Way long ago, back in my Tulane days, one of my favorite things to do on a weekend was to go to McAlister Auditorium and see whatever movie was playing that night. It didn’t matter if the film was 2001 or Brazil or Flash Gordon or Highlander II, everybody went to see it.

I still remember the experience of seeing Back to the Future there. It was and is one of my favorite movies, and I will always maintain that Christopher Lloyd’s Emmett Brown is one of the great screen performances. I knew the original film so well that I was lip-syncing it during the screening at McAlister. But somewhere along the way, I forgot what I was doing and just got caught up in its magic all over again.

Fans of Marty and Doc know that feeling well. And they know that the story behind the film, and the franchise to follow, is a compelling tale in its own right. Now the tale has finally been set down in print, in an excellent new book.
Continue reading

My Favorite Movie

Even today, there’s still something to be said for the experience of seeing a movie in a theater.

I know that more or less goes without saying, but every so often I repeat said experience and remember why it matters, without entirely knowing how to articulate it.  Times like that, it’s better just to let the movie speak for itself.

Which is pretty easy when we’re talking about my favorite movie.
Continue reading

The Voight-Kampff Self-Test: Rethinking Blade Runner

“If only you could see what I’ve seen with your eyes.”

-Roy Batty

Even at the time, it seemed all too fitting that my first experience with Blade Runner came as an undergraduate.  There’s something in the film’s mix of genre tropes, in a visual universe that’s at once startling and familiar, and in a philosophical subtext that’s so blatant it’s practically text, that appeals to the young intellect trying to assert itself before it’s really earned the right to do so.

But that I still revisit it today, some 20 years on, suggests that there’s something more to the film, something in the alchemy of all those elements.  Why does Blade Runner still have that hold on me?  Why is its power stronger now than when I first saw it? Continue reading

“…And All The Men And Women Merely Players”: Rushmore Considered

There are two things about my brother Chris that must be made clear.  One: if he recommends a movie to our family, then it will be a very, very good movie; and Two: one of his absolute favorite filmmakers is Wes Anderson.

And so it was that Christmas Eve found us together, watching Rushmore for the first time.  Though I’ve loved every Wes Anderson film I’ve seen, I’ll admit that I haven’t seen nearly enough of his work to justifiably call myself a fan.  Of course I’ve never let that stop me, but after seeing his second feature, I feel a little more qualified to keep saying it.

Continue reading