Tag Archives: annie hall
On this episode, I am joined by fellow Smug Film contributors John D’Amico and Jenna Ipcar. We discuss an acting class John took, Jenna’s foray into the films of Steven Seagal, and for our main topic, we tackle the idea of homegrown cinema. As always, we go on tangents along the way, take a quick break for a movie joke by comedian Anthony Kapfer, and then close the show with questions from our mailbag.
If you have a movie-related question you’d like answered on the show, leave it in the comments or email us at Podcast@SmugFilm.com.
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Movie Stuff Referenced in this Episode:
I don’t really get into my political leanings here at Smug Film, for the obvious reason of this being a site about movies, not politics, but also because I hate creating arbitrary ‘dividing lines’ in my work. It’s petty, and I can’t stand when others do it. For instance, I’m a huge Woody Allen fan, I think he’s our greatest American filmmaker, but I cringe whenever he peppers little jabbing jokes against the Right in his films when the story doesn’t even call for it. Those sort of winks to the audience take you out of the film momentarily, whether you agree with them or not. It’s distracting and wholly unnecessary. So rest assured, people who disagree with me politically—there will be no lazy digs, or insults, or other ‘playing to the base’ bullshit in this post whatsoever.
This list will be of particular interest to libertarians, that’s a given, but even if that ain’t your particular alignment, it should at least be a unique window in the the sort of things we, or at least I, care about, both politically and philosophically. And don’t worry, there are no propaganda docs on here; these are simply great movies, many of which (hell, probably all of which) aren’t even made by libertarians. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, they just so happen to contain, within their myriad elements, certain elements that we get a kick out of. Enjoy! Continue reading
SLC Punk (1998)
Written & Directed by James Merendino
I could never identify the groups in my high school. We certainly had some jocks, potheads, and even a few hanger-on goths. But punks, I don’t know. We had a kid with a mohawk; he was a fucking asshole. And we had a bunch of kids who loved punk music—a lot of them had safety pins in their clothes and dyed hair, but they seemed to really like some band called AFI, which I always thought was the American Film Institute. By the time I was in high school, punk music had completely soaked into the mainstream and everybody had heard of Pennywise and Bad Religion. It was in vogue to go see Henry Rollins do his spoken word shows in Ann Arbor, and if you were really cool, you already liked Bad Brains and Minor Threat.
I didn’t care about any of that stuff and I was tired of every local band sounding like Green Day. I was like the James Duval character in SLC Punk—the social diplomat. I could be friends with anybody. I was too busy getting into movies and figuring out my own depression to bother committing to some specific clique. Plus, the fashion of punk seemed so childish to me. It’s music; I don’t wear it, I listen to it. But that being said, we didn’t have nazis or rednecks either. Well, everywhere has rednecks, but our punks didn’t beat them with bats. Our punks were nice kids (except for that mohawked loser) and they got good grades and loved their parents. They went to Michigan State University and were proud to do so.
Jokes, almost inherently, aren’t funny. We all know scores of ‘classic’ jokes from the aristocrats to dead babies to chickens crossing roads. None of them are funny. But, in the right context, we’ll laugh at them, because the joke isn’t what’s funny—the idea of the joke being told is. It’s that extra layer, that prefix, that meta, that deeper meaning, which gives a joke life, and makes it funny, and makes you truly laugh. (Laughing simply because you’re ‘supposed to’ is why sitcoms are popular, despite their unfunniness.)
By and large, the film community has a frustrating habit of undervaluing some of our less conventional actresses. Great talents like Viveca Lindfors, Alfre Woodard, and Catherine Burns tend to promise more than they’re ever really allowed to deliver. We embrace the hell out of our oddball actors like Walken, Goldblum, and Buscemi (and with good reason, what a harvest of incredible parts those three yield), but it seems to me that things are tougher out there for a woman who’s not conventional enough to be a romantic lead.
So, I’d like to take a moment here and profess my appreciation for one of the rare talents of all of cinema, a woman who, despite major criticism, consistently gave some of the best and most memorable performances in film history.