Carl Bessai's Projects

Read about what Carl Bessai has been up to since directing Cole. The article mentions the movie I wrote while Carl splices film (can you splice digital footage?):

"Then I'm going to stop this nonsense," laughs Bessai, tearing himself away from 15 hard drives full of Fathers and Sons footage that need attention.

His choice of words seems strange, until he elaborates on why he needs to get back to doing more conventional films such as Cole, his upcoming drama, shot in Lytton last summer, about a young man seeking to escape his small-town roots.


10 Worst Netflix Movies

As I finish writing about the end of the world (and hope that none of my movies will ever end up on a list like this) here is the follow up to my last post: the 10 worst movies I watched from Netflix this year. My criteria for this list was that 1. I had to have expectations for the movie (so Transformers and Good Luck Chuck are disqualified) and 2. this had to be my first viewing of the film.

On the titles, I have linked to their Netflix page, and have also updated my 10 best list likewise here.

10. First Snow

Guy Pearce knows he's going to die when it snows. Sounds cool, right? A movie with an incredible preview that never lived up to its potential.

9. Gia

This is the movie that made Angelina’s career, so I was interested in seeing her before the time she became the arch-nemesis of every woman in America. And you know what? I discovered that ‘90’s AIDS movies are awfully dated. Watch Philadelphia again and you’ll understand what I mean.

8. Body of Lies

Um, so Russell Crowe + Leonardo Dicaprio = awesomeness… right? Um… nuh-uh. How could this movie be so flat? It just proves actors do not write the scripts, I suppose.

7. Eagle Vs. Shark

Does the fact that this movie is so unfunny mean that Napoleon Dynamite is unfunny too? I know Jon Heder is unfunny. Normally I like it when people dress up like animals (I’m not ashamed to admit I actually enjoyed The Animal, a powerhouse Rob Schneider joint), but I had trouble watching this one all the way through.

6. Frozen River

This is the movie that inspired me to write this list. It won (or was nominated) for some independent spirit awards, Melissa Leo was nominated for best actress… and I don’t see it, I really don’t. The protagonist was not sympathetic (she shot her husband in the foot! She tossed a Pakistani baby out of her car!), which isn’t Melissa Leo’s fault, but the writer/director’s. The dialogue was stilted and there is perhaps the worst gunfight scene in the history of gunfights. If you have a low budget movie, you really need to make sure your characters and story are pitch perfect, and Frozen River missed on a lot of these things.
As an addendum, there are some scenes where Leo was in her underwear, and I think I remember hearing something about how brave it was of a middle-aged woman to showcase her vulnerability like that. Some other critics commented that it was “brave” of Kate Winslet to not shave her armpits in The Reader. Others thought Kathy Bates was brave for going hot tub naked in About Schmidt. Halle Barry was brave for doin’ it with Billy Bob in Monster’s Ball. Enough! You know who was brave? Lori Laughlin’s stunt double in RAD. You know who’s doublebrave? The dude who got chewed out by Christian Bale. I would’ve pooped myself if I had Batman/John Connor/MomBeater yelling at me like that.

5. The Tracey Fragments

I think Ellen Page is awesome, so I was excited about a Canadian indie film with her in it… after five minutes I had a splitting headache—normally solid director Bruce McDonald uses seemingly infinite split and intercut screens—and had to turn it off when McDonald cross cut Ellen Page running through her yard with a stallion running through a field.

4. The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Arguably the best title ever for a movie (or book), I was really looking forward to this film. Daniel Day Lewis, however, made me feel very very unclean. He was awesome in There Will Be Blood, but as a European womanizing doctor, he made me want to throw up a little.

3. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

This. Movie. Stinks.

2. Serpico

There should be a Serpico drinking game where you have to do a shot every time he switches hats. I bet he wears at least 11 different hats in this movie, maybe 12.

1. The Invisible/Awake

Was this the same movie? I remember seeing the trailer for The Invisible and thinking it looked like a cool idea, so I had some expectations going into it. Arg. I will not get those 180 minutes of my life back that I spent watching Hayden Christenson and Justin Chatwick yell at people who couldn’t hear them. “Step making movies this horrible!! Why can’t you hear me??!! Stop! Just… stop…”


Top Ten Netflix Movies

I’ve reached my one year anniversary with my Netflix subscription and thought it would interesting to do a retrospective of the ten (plus one) best and worst movies I’ve had mailed to my apartment. The criteria I set for this list is that it had to be a movie/show I hadn’t seen before and it had to have arrived in the mail in a little red envelope.

I’ll post the ten (plus one) best here and then get the ten worst up sometime soon.

10. Manderlay

What a great ending. If you felt like you could do anything and not be judged or held accountable for it, would you do it? Say you did, and then found out you had to be held accountable? Devastating.

9. Hot Rod

Are you allowed to be nostalgic for the days when you could ride a dirt bike (before they had motors) and wear a cyber glove while playing Duck Hunt? Watch this movie and allow yourself. Make sure to watch RAD, in which Lori Laughlin from Full House plays a champ BMX rider and has a stand-in who is a man, has creepy long hair and chest hair. Then stir and enjoy.

8. The Killing

The end of this film is like a bad dream. One of those dreams where your legs don’t work. Kubrick has impeccable pacing and is in full control the whole time.

7. Storytelling

If a movie can make you feel uncomfortable, this one is it. This movie is best because of Paul Giamatti, but you also get to see Selma Blair get her comeuppance at the hands of an Autistic ex-boyfriend, which is just… kind of uncomfortable. In a good way.

6. sex, lies and videotape

I am a huge fan of Steven Soderberg and even though this was his first movie, it was the last movie of his that I had seen. Just… how do you make this story up? And how you you tell it like that?

5. Breaking the Waves

I can understand why Emily Watson is awesome after watching this film. When I watch movies, I usually ask myself if I could have thought of it, and the answer with this one is most definitely no. Lars von Trier thinks like no one else and that’s what makes this film great.

4. The Diving Bell & the Butterfly/The Sea Inside

Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful. No film school teacher will ever say again that you cannot write a movie about a quadriplegic (which happened quite a bit to me). Buy both of these movies and enjoy them. It will make you thankful.

3. Let the Right One In

After watching this, I believed vampires could be real. Take that, Twilight.

2. Fitzcarraldo

I was just rereading some Bukowski and he mentions running into Werner Herzog at a screening in the ‘80’s and admits an admiration for a film director who can get in a pistol fight with his girlfriend. Fitzcarraldo is an amazing fit of insanity. Watch the Molly getting tugged up the mountain and don’t tell me you feel a rush. What a crazy and inspiring film.

1. Summer Heights High

Any time a writer can play the most popular girl in high school, a sexually ambiguous theater teacher, and a Polynesian kid who tags “(a picture of a penis)tation” (dicktation!) all over school deserves many many kudos.

0. This is England

The best coming of age movie I have ever seen, and this includes Stand by Me.


A new layout

I've gone Western and I think it is a good move.

Some updates:

1. I'm mid-rewrite for THE END OF THE WORLD AS SHE KNOWS IT. Making changes that will make it awesome.... I hope.
2. "The Black Hole in the Kitchen" wrapped in Minneapolis a couple of weeks ago. Director Elliot Eustis promises awesomeness.
3. Enjoying free cable for the moment.