Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Netflix Suggestion of the Week: 5 Movies about Mental Illness

Since I have seen so many movies this week dealing with mental illness in one way or another, I decided to put together my top 5 movies currently available on Netflix Streaming dealing with mental illness.

I tried to include those that I think make meaningful statements about the mental illness, possible causes (many narrative accounts of mental illness misplace the blame, such as in movies about people with Schizophrenia that blame mothers, when we know that Schizophrenia is a biological disorder,) the mental illness's effects on the person's family, personal relationships, and enjoyment of life.

We used to do exercises in Grad School where we'd watch a movie and write a diagnosis and treatment plan for one of the mentally ill characters.  It was actually pretty fun.  I still do it informally from time to time.

MAN, I'm boring today.  I just had a really tough workout, and I'm exhausted.  Maybe the funny part of my brain is sleeping.  And, also, this has so much to do with my profession that I tend to slip into social-work-speak.

Here's the list.  You can go watch them all right now!

1. Mary and Max
This animated movie sat on my queue for about three years before I actually got around to seeing it.  The description and poster don't make it look very interesting, but it is an absolute joy to watch.  A man with Asperger's Syndrome finds a meaningful relationship and avenue for personal exploration and growth through a pen-pal relationship with a little girl who lives halfway across the world.  It's funny and touching and makes an important statement about why we shouldn't jump toward trying to "fix" people with what we have labeled "disabilities."  It's a really empowering story, and the animation is adorable.   

2. Punch-Drunk Love
This is a very polarizing movie. I know many people who love it and many more who hate it. I think the reason is that the director tells the story of a man who is pushed to the edge of his anxiety through pushing the audience's anxiety in small ways. Brilliant soundtrack. Brilliant acting. It's also frustrating to watch, and forces the audience to become uncomfortable. I adore it.

3. The Hours
This movie is a patient, emotional story of three women from different eras, each dealing with depression in a different context. Famously, Virginia Woolf suffered from a cluster of mental health issues, ultimately resulting in her suicide. This movie is more of a bummer than most that I would suggest, but it's really haunting and poetic in its storytelling. All of the performances are world-class, and no one should not see it. Plus, I think it raises some interesting issues about how the way we think about depression, especially among women, has changed over time in some ways, but in other ways, it has stayed the same.

4. The Machinist
I think everyone should watch this movie, just to see the freak-show-esque images of an emaciated Christian Bale. This movie deals with the effects of acute trauma on mental health. It's quite upsetting at moments, and has a number of really great plot twists. This is Christian Bale at his best.

5. Lars and the Real Girl
This movie made a lot of noise for an indie a few years ago. It's the story of a man (played by the devastatingly adorable Ryan Gosling) who falls in love with a life-size sex doll. It's quirky, and has great moments. It also shines a light on the role of families and friends in helping people with mental illnesses.

There are a few other movies of note that I recommend for those of you who don't limit your viewing only to what's available on netflix. If you get a chance, you should definitely check these out:
6. What About Bob?
7. The Cable Guy
8. The Talented Mr. Ripley
9. Shine
10. The Soloist

Monday, January 28, 2013

9: Love, Marilyn

The final movie I saw this weekend was the Documentary "Love, Marilyn."  I'm really bummed about missing Ginger & Rosa, which was in its last screening this evening, but I ended up getting called away at the last minute, and missed it.  Sad times.

Love, Marilyn was a re-telling of the Marilyn Monroe story, this time through personal journals, letters, and poetry that were recently unearthed. Well-known actors performing Marilyn's writings as monologues were interspersed with interviews with close friends and photos and video of Marilyn while she was alive.

Honestly, I haven't ever been that interested in Marilyn Monroe. She did a few great movies, and was really stunning, but I have always thought of her as being pretty dull.  However, I ended up really liking this movie. I didn't realize how much I didn't know about M.M. It feels like her story is part of our zeitgeist, but there were a bunch of details that I enjoyed hearing about.

For example, I did not know that she had attempted suicide, and was put in a psychiatric hospital for six days and left against medical advice not too long before she died.

That's so upsetting to me.

A few people in the audience scoffed when a statement was read that was put out by the psychiatric hospital after her death, stating that if she had been allowed to stay there, she may not have  died. And, you know, there is some speculation about whether her death was a suicide or accidental overdose, but either way, I wonder. I think the scoffing was at the idea that someone like Marilyn Monroe would be subjected to a psychiatric hospital. I think that's sad. She was suicidal and on narcotics. It's not glamorous, but that's where she would get help for those things. She clearly wasn't getting the kind of help she needed elsewhere.

There was a weird undertone of a romanticizing of her death in this movie. It was really frustrating for me, because I think people don't think of her as having been a real person. And in some ways, it seems like we expect young beautiful women to either die or disappear before they become old and no longer of use to the general public. That really kind of rages me out.

I would like to have seen her old, crazy, chain-smoking and slowly growing mold in her palatial estate.  Receiving the Cecil B. Demille award, or popping up as a cameo in an episode of the Nanny. But, that's probably just me.

My biggest problem with the presentation in this movie was the monologue aspect. There were about 15 actors that read parts as either Marilyn or other key figures, but only 3 of the monologists were watchable, in my opinion. The rest were uncomfortable, in that they were TRYING SO HARD to act.

At one point, Lili Taylor gave a dramatic, anxiety-filled reading of Marilyn's recipe for cooking a turkey.
NO JOKE.  It was embarrassing to watch.

The good performances were pulled off mostly by the actors reading the non-Marilyn roles, such as Oliver Platt, Paul Giamatti, and Ben Foster. The reason for that seems really obvious to me. Marilyn was writing in a journal, and that style of writing really doesn't translate to dramatic monologue very well. Also, monologues are like watching someone go poop: There's a chance it will be good, but usually it just stinks.  (Ba-da-BING!)

Having said that, Glenn Close killed it as Marilyn. They should have just let her do the whole thing.

Some of the more disastrous Marilyns included Lindsey Lohan (in HORRIFYING bleached out hair and prostitute makeup), Marisa Tomei, and Uma Thurman.

A small bit of tension was relieved during the end credits, when they showed outtakes from the monologist's more embarrassing attempts at delivering their lines.  However, that was too little, too late.

It's unfortunate, too, because if I had been watching this at home, I never would have made it past the first 20 minutes, which were the most monologue-filled.  The second half of the movie is where all the good stuff is hiding.

I recommend this movie if you're a die-hard Marilyn Monroe fan, or if you have Netflix Streaming in about six months, because I'm sure it will end up on there.

Peggy's Rating: Three out of Five Stars.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

8: Women in Cinema SHORTS!

Isn't it the perfect time of year for short films?  I don't know why that is.

Maybe it's that the Oscars remind us all that shorts even still exist...

Ranging from boring to confusing to exceptional, the Women in Cinema Shorts reel was pretty standard in terms of selection.  That's not really a bad thing.  I've just come to have specific expectations for these kinds of showcases.

The first film was "Spark," a touching story of two children who meet and share a special moment, with foreshadowing of adulthood looming in the background.  Really, really fantastic.

The second film (Night Hunter) was weird, and I have no clue what was going on. That is the perfect spot to stick something weird that no-one will remember anything about, except that it was weird.  It was a bizarre animation that included some footage of an old actress, and a bunch of shit that was cacophonous and jarring.

The Pompous Man sitting behind me loved it.  Before the screening, he made a long series of condescending remarks to his female companion.  She mentioned that she was going to plan some kind of trip to India, and then he berated her for referring to India generally, instead of regionally.  "It's a big place, you know."

Why this woman goes anywhere with that man is beyond me.  I felt like telling him to hit the bricks on behalf of humankind.

You know what you're supposed to say when someone tells you they are planning a trip to India?  You say, "That's great!  I'm so happy for you."

Anyway, Pompous was impressed.  "Interesting," he whispered in the dark.

What a douche.

The third film (A Cuillin Rising) was really interesting and upsetting, but I really have no clue what was going on.  It was much, much too vague. I got the general sense that there was some family unrest, and maybe a Romeo & Juliet kind of thing going on. But for reals... I didn't get it. It did, however, make me want to watch a feature-length version of it, provided that said version would make sense in some way.

I think number four was Zing.   A SUPER CUTE animated short.  I loved it.  It was bizarre and dark, but had optimism smeared all over it.  Plus, it had a weird-looking old dude, and a tiny heart-warming, but precocious kid with a cat.  How can you go wrong?   Loved it!

Number five was "Us, a Family Album."  This one was strange, because I got the sense that it was supposed to be a documentary, but all the scenes looked staged.  It also had the misfortune of basically being the exact same idea as this viral video, only much less well done.  Sad for them.  But, if it was a real couple, then good for them.  We all love gay people in Seattle.  In fact, it almost seemed like a non-twist to me.  Maybe it came out 10 years too late.

Number six was a really sweet, beautifully shot movie called "The Fisherman" out of Mexico.  A touching allegory about life and death, passing time, love, and memories.  Really excellent.

And finally... (I think... You know, these might all be out of order.  It's a mystery.) The Tram.  AH!  I loved the Tram.  It was the story of a busty, shy, horny female tram driver having an erotic fantasy while driving rigid, humorless men to work. SO FUN. Lots of overt sexuality and super cute animation. Plus, a really sweet ending. It was my favorite of the bunch.

So, there you have it.  Most likely, none of you will see any of these shorts.  But, if you get a chance, go see a short film showcase.  Usually there's one weird one, one stinker, and several that are really great.  That's better than your odds at most feature length films!

Peggy's rating: Four out of Five stars.

7: Vanishing Waves: Or "A Tale of Two Moles"

This weekend marks the end of the Women In Cinema series at the SIFF theaters.  I wish I could have gotten out earlier in the week to see some of these, but I was stuck at work!  So, I'm catching the tail end.  Most of these movies will not be playing at theaters anytime soon, so you may be annoyed with me for making you want to see them. But, it's good for you to learn to deal with disappointment. Let's think of this as a learning experience for you.

I caught the 9pm showing of Vanishing Waves, a Lithuanian erotic sci-fi thriller, this evening.  And I really, really liked it.  Now... I'm about to make fun of this movie.  You may not have noticed, but that's kind of my thing.  But, I want to start out by saying that it was a really well-made movie.  Visually beautiful, artistic, interesting, well-acted, upsetting, frightening at times, and full of innovative imagery.

That having been said... the main character, Lukas, has a GIANT HAIRY MOLE on his neck.

The movie starts, there are lots of scenes in labs, talking about this experiment where they are going to hook up Lukas to this machine that will mind-meld him to a comatose woman, and all I can think about is this GIANT HAIRY MOLE.

Seriously.  It's the size of a thumb-print.  Right there on his neck. With about 80 hairs sticking out of it.

They even had a scene with his girlfriend shaving his head for the experiment... and they shaved off all his hair... except the mole hair.

Later in the movie, he shaved his face... except the mole hair.

I felt like I was taking crazy pills.

Then we meet the comatose woman in this inception-like-but-way-less-cheesy mind world, and ... she has a smaller, but equally hairy mole on her FACE.

So, Mole-neck meets Mole-face, and they decide to roll around together naked on a hardwood floor for awhile.  They have all kinds of crazy sex.  There's a really upsetting food fight scene that you have to see for yourself.

And then it's game on: Mole-neck vs. Mole-face in the race to see who goes crazy the fastest.

You know, no one even seems to notice the giant moles, either. You'd think one of those other scientists would have said something like, "Hey, why didn't you just shave that mole while you were shaving your entire head? How long is that mole hair? 2 inches? Maybe you should get it scanned. It could be cancerous. It looks pretty gross."

But no.

Other upsetting parts of this movie include a few rapey scenes, sudden bursts of violence, a lot of psychosis, and a lot of suspense. If you can deal with those things, you should try to see this movie if you get the chance.

Other awesome parts include a 3-4 minute shot of Mole-neck running nude under a spotlight (really cool!), hypnotizing CGI representations of brain waves and dream images, and an excellent soundtrack.

Peggy's rating: Three out of Five Stars

6. My Worst Nightmare: Proving I'm not cool, once again

I've been seeing trailers for My Worst Nightmare, a French romantic comedy, for the last month. Frankly, it didn't look that interesting to me.

(1) It's subtitled, and comedy+subtitles=crap

(2) Comedy is one of those things that doesn't often transcend culture that well.  I recall a movie night with friends once where I was forced to sit through two excruciating hours of an Iranian "Comedy."  I have no idea what the EFFF was going on in that movie, but none of it even partially resembled humor to me.  Unless you count people screaming at each other incoherently.  I don't.

(3) This movie appeared to follow the Dharma & Greg (but in reverse) plot structure.  Wacky, free-spirited man meets buttoned-down type-A woman... etc. "Will they ever learn to understand each other??"... ugh.

But, despite all that, it was free, so I saw it.  ;)

And, you know, I liked it.  It definitely had some plot problems.  Instead of the traditional 3-act structure, this movie had about 14 acts, none of them were particularly inventive.  It also felt long, and it's only 99 minutes, so that's not a great sign.

But, it did have a lot of dick jokes (a plus, in my book). And I really liked the main actors. I loved Isabelle Huppert in I Heart Huckabees as the French Existentialist Philosopher Katarine Vaubon. And I had never seen Benoit Poelvoorde in anything. I enjoyed both of their performances. Benoit had a number of great lines, and played a totally gross frenchman in a really fun way.

I love movies about ugly non-americans. It makes me feel a sense of camaraderie with the world. We all have embarrassing people among us.

Now, when I saw this movie, I was sitting behind two old ladies, and the three of us cracked up throughout the movie. I mean... it's a ridiculous, low-brow movie. Why not laugh?

However, I walked out behind a group of hipsters who complained loudly about how much they hated it, and couldn't believe that people thought it was funny.

So... apparently I have the sense of humor of an old lady.

I'm ok with that.

Peggy's rating: Three out of Five Stars

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

5. Silver Linings Playbook

So, unless you've been hiding under a rock, I'm sure you've had five people tell you to go see Silver Linings Playbook. Pulling in a solid 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, it's hard to consider this movie anything other than a solid bet.

This movie is currently playing at the SIFF theater, and... I saw it the first weekend it came out! But, guess what? I saw it again for FREE!

The first thing you should know about my feelings about this movie is that I'm a social worker who works with chronic and severely mentally ill patients.  I also have people in my life who are mentally ill, and I spend a huge portion of my time thinking about the problems surrounding relationships with these people and my clients. That is one of the reasons that I saw this movie immediately when it came out. I really wanted to see how they were treating the issue of mental health.

Other reasons include: (a) I'm a giant Bradley Cooper fan, and have been ever since I was calling him "the cute one" on Alias; (b) David O. Russell directed my all-time favorite movie, I Heart Huckabees; and (c) When it was first released, I was bored, and had already seen every other half-interesting movie in the theaters.

The one big reason that I did NOT want to see it is... sigh ... (ok, don't crucify me, people) I think Robert De Niro is one of the worst actors ever. He is awful. And I know you're going to throw a bunch of Taxi Driver and Cape Fear references at me, but seriously? He has done 30 shit performances for every 1 interesting performance throughout his entire career. He has ZERO comedic timing.  No, wait.  He has NEGATIVE A THOUSAND comedic timing. And, if he's not playing a character with some very overt psychosis, he's really not that interesting. I'm also one of those people who hates Raging Bull. So, sue me.  He hasn't made a good movie since 1996, and even then, he had been just rehashing his old shit in less interesting ways for about a decade.

If I'm being totally honest, the only movie I truly love him in is The King of Comedy. De Niro plays the world's worst stand up comic. HA! He definitely pulls that character off. If you haven't seen that, do yourself a favor and hunt it down. It's so weird. There's a really long scene in which Sandra Bernhardt tries to seduce Jerry Lewis, who has been taped to a rolling chair. It's so hilarious in the most upsetting way. I really love that movie.

Anyway, so, back to Silver Linings Playbook. SURPRISE! I liked De Niro in it! Despite the few truly awful scenes (such as the scene in which Jennifer Lawrence negotiates the absurd "parlay"), De Niro was excellent! He was somewhat subtle. He did really well with what he was given, and there were some really difficult scenes. I thought he pulled it off. I almost thought of his character as a real person. And that's an accomplishment for him, if you ask me.

There were a lot of problems with Silver Linings Playbook. It sort of seemed like two different movies got in a weird car accident and became fused together. But, really, I didn't mind. It was entertaining. Yes, it was watching beautiful, midas-touched people trying to sell that they are actually the kind of people who are chaotic and for whom the acts of getting by in life and maintaining relationships are a constant struggle, but I thought they did a decent job. I thought that Jennifer Lawrence didn't seem to be fully invested in the craziness of her character, but oh well.  She was fine.  Bradley cooper was outstanding, as usual.  That boy can act.

I also applaud the writer of the book and the people who turned it into a movie for showing mental illness as a family issue. Families all over the world struggle with the kinds of problems brought up in this movie. How do I help a person I love who seems to be incapable of receiving my help?  How do I find meaning in my life, when I'm in and out of psychiatric hospitals?  How do I maintain relationships with people who constantly cause me pain?

This movie simultaneously brought up these issues, and also offered slivers of humor, and a half-cup of hope.

If you ask me, they could have ditched the love story.  It seemed a bit forced.  But I think the world would have revolted, because GOD FORBID two people of opposite sexes help each other improve and not fall in love.

I recommend Silver Linings Playbook if you aren't that into dancing (seriously, it's barely part of the movie) and if you are the kind of person who can see an empty mayonnaise jar in 5 scenes in a movie, and never find out why it's there.

Peggy's Rating: Four out of Five stars

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Netflix Suggestion of the Week: Sleepwalk with me

I, like any good NPR junkie, have heard Mike Birbiglia tell his hilarious and bizarre story of discovering and learning to cope with his sleep disorder. I also heard Birbigs and Ira Glass pimping this movie to every podcast they could find while it was in theaters last summer.

I was overjoyed to recently see Sleepwalk With Me on Netflix streaming!

I have been eager to see how his comedic one-man telling of this story would translate to a motion picture.  

I'm happy to report that it translated quite well. Mike Birbiglia painted himself as a somewhat pathetic figure surrounded by others who were more capable, direct, and active in their own lives. Mike's big-screen surrogate went through a reluctant journey of self-discovery, highlighted by bizarre moments, many of which happened while he was, himself, asleep. There is a beautiful symmetry in a story about man who is literally and figuratively sleepwalking through life.  

If you aren't familiar with Mike Birbiglia's dry, patient, juxtaposing brand of humor, many of the jokes in this movie may go overlooked. One of the things I like the most about his comedy is that he often neglects the punchline, allowing the audience to make connections and discover levels of irony themselves. This is what makes him such an NPR darling, I think. We snobs love a quiet, literary-esque comic.  

However, comparing the movie to the podcast version above, I must say that the climactic sleepwalking event is MUCH more hilarious in the podcast version. In the movie, it was mostly sad. Many parts were actually more sad in the movie. But, I think that's what makes it such an enjoyable, layered comedy.  

On a personal note, I find Mike Birbiglia to be immensely cute and disarming. I enjoy his self-exploration in this movie. And Lauren Ambrose is an angel that should be in every single movie made. She and I are the same age, and she looks 12. Seriously. It's ridiculous. She gave a delightful and somewhat heart-breaking performance.  

I recommend this movie for a quiet afternoon, or (as a cautionary tale) if you are thinking about taking up a career in stand-up comedy. 

Peggy's Rating: Four (out of Five) Stars

PS: Here are some podcast episodes of a few of my favorite gems including appearances by Mike Birbiglia.  You can find them at the links below, or on itunes:

Monday, January 14, 2013

4: Holy Motors

Before seeing this movie, I found a note on my car stating, "You really are parked like a jerk."

I'm really not sure why this person thinks I give a shit whether I'm parked like a jerk or not, but maybe they were kicked out of meter-maid school and they've been bitter about it ever since. I'm sure they imagine themselves to be some sort of vigilante hero, when really they are just a passive-aggressive asshole. In retribution, I vowed to always park like a jerk whenever possible.

Then I got a milkshake at Dick's and went to the movies.

Holy Motors is a french film playing at the SIFF Film Center. It is essentially a string of vignettes ranging from avant garde to absurd. The main character is Oscar, a trollish man traveling around Paris in a limousine to his appointments, during which he enters into various people's lives at key moments. I know that isn't very helpful in figuring out what this movie is about. But I've already SEEN the movie, and I'm not totally sure I know what it's about either.

I really, really enjoyed this movie. It explained very little about why anything in it happened, so if you need closure, maybe you won't enjoy it as much as I did. But it was visually enchanting, and had a wide range of grotesque and bizarre characters. There was even an interlude during which a delightful accordion band played.

Full of inappropriate humor and touching moments, it was a very entertaining film. Kylie Minogue played an integral part beautifully, and Eva Mendes was featured in one of the most bizarre and hilarious scenes. The two main characters, Denis Lavant and Édith Scob were quietly (and sometimes not-so-quietly) brilliant. 

I feel like if I was smarter and watched this movie 10 more times, I'd come out of it with some profound meaning. But after just one viewing, I feel like I just enjoyed the spectacle, and got some sense that the point  may have had to do with the close connection between beauty and the grotesque.

I think this film is playing for at least another week.  I recommend that you take a date. You'll impress them by being interested in such high art cinema. Plus you'll get to see some penises.

Peggy's Rating: Three (out of five) stars.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

3: The Tin Drum (1979)

The Tin Drum is a 1979 film adaptation of a german post-WWII novel. SIFF showed the Director's Cut on the big screen this weekend, digitally restored and with 20 minutes of unseen footage.

This movie is, I'm sure, some kind of grand allegory. It is widely considered to be a classic, and has a great deal of artistry woven throughout. It is the story of Oskar, a boy who decides to stop growing at age 3, and really, really likes drums.

However, for me, this was basically a movie about a little shit who should have gotten his ass kicked about 30 times. He breaks glass with his obnoxious screaming, bangs on his drum constantly, and doesn't seem to care that he either directly or indirectly causes the deaths of several people.

The movie was fairly entertaining despite having a ceaselessly annoying main character (AND subtitles... sigh), but I feel that it lacked emotional connection. Oskar didn't seem to have much consistency in acting his age, despite having several bizarre sexual encounters that were supposedly age-appropriate (he was 16, even though he was supposed to look 3, however, the actor playing him really looked 9... Yeah. This is what I'm talking about.). There were also some rapey parts that I wasn't wild about, and some things that by modern standards would be considered incest, but I wasn't really sure if they were accepted actions in that time and place. It was all just kind of jumbled, and I wasn't ever really sure what the main character's emotional journey was, so at a certain point, I stopped caring.

On the plus side, the movie was visually beautiful, and was set in pre- and mid-WWII Danzig, which is a pretty fascinating context. Also, there were several scenes in which people are squatting over buckets, either to bathe, or take a whiz. And, there was a little people circus. That's a pretty fun move.

I think, however, that this movie wasn't funny enough to be funny, not sad enough to be sad, not sadistic enough to be troubling, and not fantastical enough to be fully surreal. And, ultimately, I wasn't really sure what to take away from the ending.

Perhaps the point was: Life sucks and people are shitty.
I hate movies with that point.

I recommend The Tin Drum if you like watching sex scenes involving a child (creepy), or if you have Hulu Plus, because it's apparently streaming on there. You won't get the extra 20 minutes, but you probably won't miss it, anyway.

Peggy's Rating: two stars (out of five)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

2: Django Unchained: A Love Letter


What just happened to me?

165 minutes just FLEW by.

I have to admit that when I saw Inglourious Basterds in the theater, I was drunk. However, when I saw it again at home, I confirmed my drunken opinion that that movie sucked ass. It was 20 minutes of genius, followed by a billion years of subtitled hell.

And, the best part of Deathproof was the spoof trailers they showed between it and Grindhouse during the double feature. Actually, I have to say that Deathproof could have been the most awesome, interesting 20 minute short film of all time. But it was 114 minutes.

Srrriously. Longer does not equal better.

So, basically, I haven't liked a Tarantino movie since Kill Bill (that was 2004, people!). And even with Kill Bill, I was annoyed that it needed to be broken up into two movies. Actually, I still am.

So, despite having the best trailer of the past year, I was nervous about seeing Django. But, then a coworker that I think has good taste in movies recommended it, so I pulled the trigger. AND it was totally worth it. I shall elaborate... Hopefully without spoiling anything.

(1) I got to see the underside of Jamie Foxx's nutsack. I don't know if I've ever seen the underside of anyone's nutsack in a movie before, but if I had to pick one person whose nutsack underside I was willing to examine, Jamie Foxx would definitely be near the top of my list.

(2) Christoph Waltz!  I'm so happy that I wasn't made to read his dialogue throughout this whole movie, because his delivery is so fantastic. He is a star, and I'm pissed that the vast majority of his more than 30 years of work aren't in english, because I really don't like subtitles.  

            (a) Subtitles are visually disturbing. Eye tracking is a cinematographic element that is important and often overlooked. In a well-crafted movie, the eye follows certain visual elements in an artistic way to convey emotion. Doesn't it interrupt that flow is the eye is constantly being dragged to the bottom of the screen to read yellow graffiti? Indeed.

            (b) Subtitles ruin both dramatic and comedic pacing. Crapping on plot twists and punchlines alike, subtitles are the explosive diarrhea of information conveyance.

            (c) I like making eye contact with actors while they speak. That allows me to pretend that they are my friends.

Ok... back to the original point...

(3) I am not a person easily shocked, however, not since Antichrist (and those dreaded scissors) have I had to close my eyes as much as in the first "mandingo" scene. It was crazy intense. But, in the same movie, there were scenes that were jubilantly violent, with brains exploding like nickelodeon slime and a wink from Djangles. Truly, this movie ran the gamut of violent expression from that which is inhuman to think about to gleeful ultraviolence. It was really a master class in the subtleties of our feelings as humans about inflicting pain on each other.

(4) Leonaro DiCaprio = Moustache Twisty. Finally no longer cute, homeboy was a total shithead. Almost comically villainish, he stole many, many scenes.

And... (5) Proving that every story is a love story, this movie was touching at moments. It showed love between man and woman, love across distance and over time, and love between races. Even Quentin's telltale microblips of burned filmstock cut in between scenes showed his love for cinema.

Ok... a quick list of the cons: That australian accent?  Really? ; The first act was really oddly paced. ; And what's up with the novelty casting? Seriously? When you have three people in a shot, and one of them is Jonah Hill, the other is Don Johnson, and you don't recognize the third, there is a problem. It's just distracting.

And, finally, a special thanks goes out to my bf, who, despite not giving two shits about movies (He has never even seen What About Bob?), continues to listen when I go on and on and on and on and on about them.

I recommend seeing Django Unchained if you like things that are awesome, and if you have three hours to kill. 

Peggy's rating: FIVE (mfing) STARS (out of 5)