Until recently, I’d never seen a Mike Leigh film. I’ve been familiar with his name for ages, though. Back in my teens, I worked at a hip indie video store that had a ‘Directors’ section—Allen, Godard, Rohmer, Scorsese, Truffaut, Verhoeven, the list goes on. Anyone with a substantial filmography worth exploring was represented, Leigh included.
Continue reading ‘Life is Sweet’ & ‘Naked’: My Mike Leigh Entry Point
Blue Jasmine (2013)
Written and Directed by Woody Allen (Duh)
Woody Allen is my absolute favorite filmmaker, so it’s kind of funny that I’ve never reviewed one of his movies on here (not counting my brief glowing endorsement of Zelig in my 10 Films Every Libertarian Should See list). I guess I just don’t really have much to say about his films, which isn’t true, but fuck you I just don’t feel like it. Basically, I like, or like like, or love all his movies, and I definitely have lots of things to say about them, but where to start? Do I just do a series of lists, each covering a different decade? I guess. That’s probably the best way to go about it. But fuck you, that sounds like a lot of work. So I’ll just review Blue Jasmine for now, and do all that other stuff in the future, which most scientists agree is far, far away and not at all worth thinking about.
Continue reading Blue Jasmine: Woody Allen’s Most Visceral Film In Damn Near Ever
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 10 Films Every Libertarian Should See
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.)
Continue reading I Don’t Like Jokes, I Don’t Think They’re Funny
Just a Bunch of Footage
Security camera footage is not a movie, but screened at a film festival with a name like ‘Big Brother’s Kung Fu Grip’ (or some artsy crap) it is. Andy Warhol filming the Empire State Building for nine hours is a movie—the video the real estate agent showed you of the interior of the house on Maple is not. It’s all about context and intention.
Continue reading The Idea of What a Movie Is: A Very Greg Journey Through Film