I wonder if it’s ok to swear in these things. I really love swearing. I really need it to make my points. I guess that speaks to how crass and uncreative I am. For example, I really wanted to put the f-bomb in there, in adjetive form, after “American” and before “Beauty”, but I didn’t because well, I guess I’m trying to be appropriate. I really don’t want to be, but I feel like I should be. Ugg, I really hate that feeling. Oh well, I guess it’s unavoidable.
Ok, here we go. Before I start, I have to say that I love reviewing movies. There is like, nothing that makes me happier. I am a (insert f-bomb that I’m to afraid to insert myself) a lunatic. I am obsessive compulsive about movies. I stop and rewind them, stop and rewind them; I am tearing my family apart (just kidding, my brother thinks I’m funny) because I keep screaming at everyone to shut up. I am a witch, and the protector of movies. I love movies. I just sat in my cold basement with a blanket and my paper and watched a movie and I was so happy. So, so happy. Not bored, or tired, or thinking about or waiting for the future, just blissful, in the moment. Movies are my anti-drug. I’m just so glad I have something that makes me so happy that I can rely on. It makes me feel really good. It makes me feel “alive” which will be a main and very important point I will be touching upon: the concept of being “alive”.
Alright, here we go. I’m honestly just going to look at my notebook and write through in the order of things that I reacted to. Spoilers, obviously, but hopefully not too many. Alright, here we go. I apologize if this seems too much like a stream of conscience; it is.
First thing: American Beauty, on DVD, starts off with the menu, obviously, and it features a plastic bag blowing in the background. Which I just thought was really interesting and “allurring”, and I’ll get into that. I mean, it could have seemed very, “art-school flop”, but it didn’t, to me at least and hey suckaa, this blog is written by me.
(^ I typed “alluring” into Google and this is what came up. Yes, what this girl does to men, movies do to me: make me all hot and bothered, obviously.)
Next thing I realized: I really love the Dreamworks logo/thing. Y’know the ripple in the pool of water and the boy fishing from the moon. It’s really nice. And “Dreamworks”: that’s really a good name, isn’t it? Exactly what I was getting at; movies are works of dreams. It’s funny though, you don’t notice, or pay attention to these things until you become a fanatic.
It starts off with the girl. A beautiful teenage girl, with beautiful pale skin, lying down in a way that is seductive but not purposely so, just effortlessly so, speaking into the camera. I think it is the fact that she is so comfortably speaking into the camera that makes it seductive: her honestly and comfort. That’s another thing: this entire movie is seductive. So anyway, there’s something about watching beautiful, young girls speak into cameras that I find attention-grabbing. Am I lesbian? I’m not sure; I haven’t taken that Keirsey scale test/self-assessment thing, but maybe I will later. Anyway, what I think struck me most, right off the bat, is that this is a movies I could relate to. It’s very themes ran true for me. Except for some things, which I’ll get into, I feel like I could have made it myself. I think, for me, watching the girl peaked my interest because I am a girl and I don’t know I’ve been a crazy feminist lately and for some reason, womanhood, or rather “girlhood” because I think that’s more interesting, really appeals to me. I just feel something very powerful towards female adolescent identity and I think I want to work with it further, so yeah, that’s why I think this sort of beginning struck me, personally.
Then, there’s an above the bed shot.And I just love this because he’s sleeping and he’s so small and we can look down on him like we’re God and I thought it was very striking because you get this powerful, “all-knowing” sort of feeling which is interesting and you also get the feeling, since you’re watching from above, that you’re not watching a fellow human, or contemporary, but a specimen. So this is a very objective shot I think, and I like it.
THEN, there’s a naked man in the shower, which is (insert f-y’know), love because there are ALWAYS NAKED WOMEN in showers which I have no problem with. I’m not one of those, “women shouldn’t be naked so much and portrayed as sex objects” kind of feminists because women are awesome and sexy and should be shown naked in showers as much as possible…it’s just I think men should be too. So kudos, director, which is sam Mendes, by the way. Go naked man in the shower, is the moral of the story.
Ok, so now I’m getting tired of writing, which is a shame, because I have so much to go. That’s the thing, I always have so mucgh to say and then just burn out, whenever it comes to anything. I wish I could record my thoughts just as soon as I though them…it would be so much easier. And better 🙂
Ok so: FIRST THING YOU NOTICE. Stupid, boring, unhappy, conventional, stifled, desperate, “silently screaming” y’know, Suburbia. That’s a big thing and you notice it right off the bat: the pressure to conform and how everyone’s so focused on fitting into this image that they sacrafice their own personal sources of happpiness and there own passions, they sacrafice what makes them feel ahem, “alive” to fit into…”a commercial”. And this really appeals to me, and this movie in general I really relate to mainly for this one, big reason right here. The monotony of suburban life is draining and depressing, but also fascinating. I could speak from first-hand experience, but I’d rather speak through the movie, which I pretty much felt mirrorred my own thoughts in a lot of ways. If I could throw out some keywords, some themes of this movie, just, on a whim, they would be: desperation, loneliness, isolation, identitiy-loss, fear, numbness, social pressure, angst, conformity, all that emo shi- that hey, I may be jaded, but to me, sums up the suburban way of life. Think, SUBurban decay. I mean, I may just be cynical because I came from a boo-hoo, “broken home”, but I feel this movie was extremely accurate, intimate, insightful and personal in a lot of ways. You might not feel this way. It may just be “my type of movie” because of my own personal circumstances but, y’know, whatever. BUT, continuing that previous note, there are also CONTRASTING themes to those I already mentioned, think, “love and hate”, “saddness and happiness”; this movie is full of contrasts and I think the use of contrast is a very powerful thing in art, especially in filmmaking. For example, for the all the desperation and isolation and loneliness there was, there was also the relief of easing those feelings, or the relief for the viewer as he or she watched the characters ease those feelings. Insecurity vs. GROWING SOME BALLS, sadness vs. happiness, emptiness vs. fulfillment, confusion vs. confidence, isolation vs. connection and love, identity crisis vs. self-actualization. Very interesting. I eat tstuff up, if you can’t tell.
(How do I move that dumb picture where I want it? Can anybody help me?)
OHMYGOD, I just realized I have pages and pages left of notes There’s no way I’m getting through all of this.
Alright, I’ll just go quick. I (F’n) love the color red. And red is a prime symobol in this movie, very important and I love that. Aesthetically, I love a lot of the artistic decisions made in this movie. Except, some of the stuff is corny and I wouldn’t have done, like when the boy and the girl walk down that aisle of trees togehter and the camera follows them from behind like come onnnnn. But a lot of the originality I found in other parts of the movie makes up for these moments of uncreativity and lackluster dejavu. Another thing…that lady? Is my mother. Or at least, realllly reminds me of her, in so many ways. She wouldn’t be happy if she knew I was saying that.
Briefly, I think Jane, the daughter, is beautiful; I thought that the first time I saw her and I think it’s sad that she thinks she pales in comparioson o her friend, who is beautiful no doubt, but I was Jane who struck me first. Anyway, I know they’re just characters but I think a lot of people, male and female, underestimate their worth, phsically and…un-physically…you know what I’m saying. Oh yeah…off point but, the cubicle scene. That was cliche. I got the point by then. How many cubicle scenes have ever been done? Note to self: don’t do cubicle scenes…or tree-aisle scenes…
I thought the family dinner scenes were particulary great. I just thought the empty tension was dead on, effective and whatnot and I really liked how in the numerous families whose stories were told, the members were often times portrayed in scenes together, but seeming starkly isolated by way of y’know, body language and stuff. Kudos again, Sam. Well done, I think.
I do have to say that this is a great screenplay…just…pretty solid. (Sorry, I’m really getting tired now :p)
I also have to say that I love the mother character. I loved a lot of the characters but I particualrly love her and the inner battles that she fights with herself and her uneasiness with her emotions. It’s particulary endearing. And I love a strong woman, as you should know by now.
I thought it was great to see the family unravel. Well, actually, the movie starts with the family, and numerous others, already “unraveled”, and it isn’t, “great”, but, you know what I mean (I hope?). I liked the way their own unhappiness with themselves caused them to lash at each other and FURTHER THE DESTRUCTION, SWEEEEET.
One thing I have to say about Miss Sexxipants is that she represents so much more than sex to our main character, and hopefully, this is obvious.
She represents excitement, renewed joy in living, a break from monotony, a new sense of wonder, that “alive” feeling I was talking about, the joys of hedonism sure, but so much more than that. SHE’S. HIS. RESUCE. And I can’t emphasize it enough. It’s funny that the way the movie begins, you think it’s going to be all about her and their relationship, but it’s really not, but she sets it all off and I think she’s just as important for that.
The Roses-I love them. They are sexy and aesthetically pleasing. That is all, really. Red is my favorite color, for a reason. I cannot thing of a color more beautiful than red.
I have to get onto the females and sexuality thing, of course. “It all started when I was twelve”, Little Miss Sexxipants says. It’s the sad truth, well not really the sad truth, but the natural and kind of interesting, when further analyzed truth. Oh, and she’s referring to men, “giving her looks”, by the way. Another thing is, I was at first struck by how comfotable this girl is with older men checking her out, I mean, I don’t like it whan older guys creep on me, is all I can say. But she actually goes onto flirt with this guy, which I think is interesting, and I had to analyze her motivations for doing so, Upon doing so, I realized that when a man checks you out, it’s flatterring to the “ego” and appeals to our innate drive and survival instinct to feel “wanted”, however, in most cases that I know of, it’s not enought to combat the feelings of fear and shame that also, and foremost come with being checked out by and older dude. I wonder why it’s worth it to her, this flattery, and it makes me want to know more about her background more (Daddy issues?). I have no answers for this one, but I’ll continue to think about it. On a further whim, I have to comment on a societal whim and I’m sure it’s been said before, but the heck is it that generally, it’s women who feel shameful when they’re skeezed on, even when they’re not doing anything, even when they’re aware that they’re not doing anyhing? Ok, moving on.
I’m tired now. I’m going to have to cut this baby off.