Monday, December 21, 2009

Maysles Brothers & The Best Movie I've Ever Seen

We watched a lot of movies this weekend. In fact we saw 4 movies on big screens this weekend. Stagg and I worked the box office at the film co-op and saw three short films by the Maysles Brothers. These brothers were among the first film makers to make non-fiction narratives for big theatres. They are most well-known for Grey Gardens and Gimme Shelter. They seemed to be always at the right place at the right time making a fim about the Beatles first visit to the U.S. and a ditty with Salvador Dali. We saw a film about Joseph E. Levine a producer in the 1950's and it was a great view into the Producers work/life. This movie was 55 minutes long and called Showman. Basically, Levine described his life as "tiresome" and his big thrill was seeing his old schoolmates and showing them up at a school reunion in Boston. We also saw a short crazy film with Salvador Dali making the movie poster for cult classic The Fantastic Voyage. The best of these three films was a documentary about Jean-Claude and Christo making "Valley Curtain". The film was about 32 minutes and it was a blast seeing the labourers hired to install the curtain. It was pretty impressive to see that the Maysles Brothers actually got into the basket with the guys on the wire that drops the curtain across the cliff. The filmmaking was really impressive. It was also quite nice to see just how involved Jean-Claude was in the art-making process. She was a hoot with a cigarette always hanging out of her mouth. The Chicago Film Co-Op is a real gem and has a very different kind of movie experience to offer people. Almost no one was in the theatre that night and afterwards the few of us who watched these films all said to each other..."Boy Chicago really missed a great set of movies tonight".

And as I mentioned in previous post, we saw Avatar. We saw a 3-D iMax version at 1:30 in the morning. A total blast to see all the gamers and die-hards of sci-fi and fantasy who came out to that showing. It was a cold night at Navy Pier. Did I ever tell you? I hate Navy P{ier. Maybe more than I hate Harbourfront in Toronto. At least in Toronto the city and citizens have mildly attempted to have somethign to do down at the tourist trap. In Toronto you can usually get a beverage and go skating in the winter. But mostly it is a typical urban snake-oil. Navy Pier is the same way. I mean how much fucking fudge and popcorn can you eat? You get down to navy Pier and it's just plain boring. Especially in the winter without the chance of at least riding the Ferris Wheel. Nothing was open. We couldn't believe it, we thought we'd get a coffee and some desert to keep us awake and lively like crazy students going to a midnight showing. Zilch. Nothing open. So we killed two hours by going back to the down town and getting some snacks and coffee. Even when we got back to the iMax theatre they didn't have any coffee! What a joke. Man I hate Navy Pier.

But...Avatar was so good it just didn't matter. I was dubious about the 3-D glasses experience, I hadn't seena 3-D movie since I was high with friends Rob and Virginia and we saw a screening of Dial M For Murder. Wow...the 3-D was a lot of fun in this movie of James was just right and not at all distracting. I even felt quite dizzy at one point. At first I thought...hmmm...I'm not sure about this, the opening was a little strangely photographed and I wasn't wild about the voiceover...but then next thing I knew...I was like, holy shit this is awesome!

At one point during the movie...I said to myself..."I must remember to tell people this is the best movie I've ever seen!"

Afterwards...I was like, people will think I'm nuts if I tell them that!

Seriously. This is really might be the best movie I've ever seen. I haven't felt like that since the first time I saw The Matrix and Star Wars. Avatar is truly everything a movie should be and more. I would have been happy if it was just an exciting adventure story. I wasn't super worried about the plot. I was completely surprised that the story was wonderful. This movie was tailor-made for me. It's as if Cameron had been reeading my blog all these years haha. In fact, what it is is that James Cameron and I were so obviously in love with the same stories growing up. Every sci-fi story is in this movie. Every adventure story...I loved jack London and Edgar Rice Burroughs and Avatar has such an homage to those kind of classic adventure stories. And then nevermind that it is fucking gorgeous art work. I will go back just for the artwork in the movie. Every layer is put together in a way we've come to expect from Cameron's grasp of strong storytelling. Cameron's grasp of mythology and power within storytelling that we've all loved in The Terminator or The Abyss is all in this one. It's almost surprising this very movie and story hadn't been written exactly like this before. Stagg said afterwards that his nerves were all jangled because he flet so many emotions and was nervous and up and down all through the movie. It totally was overwhelming and exciting and what a truly beautiful needed meaning this movie offers us. I suspect there will be many cynical viewers over the age of 30 that will snub this movie. Thats's not a movie for old and bitter people. It's a movie for the people who care bout other people and the world.

I remember when I first saw Star Wars. I don't remember anyone over the age of 30 liking that movie. I don't even think my dad ever saw the whole thing but he would just mutter something about it being silly with cartoon monsters. When I first saw Star Wars I had never heard of Abby Hoffman and his famous quote "don't trust anyone over 30". When I first heard tht I could imagine why he said it because something happens to many people when they get older..especially in North America...they embrace a sarcastic attitude towards movies and music and they just forget what childhood feels like. Seinfeld riffed on Abby Hoffman when the tv show had the episode "no one makes friends after the age of 30".

I beleive Avatar is so good it just might loosen up even the most cynical viewer. This movie and it's storyline are long overdue and it's so great to see a re-working of the classic action adventure "going native motif". When I was a little kid and we played "Cowboys" I always played the Indian. The Indians had way better fashions and was smart and lived in the great outdoors...I always hated all the bullshit of civilization even as a young kid. Avatar brings all those playful memories to's every sci-fi and adventure book ever written. Not even Navy Pier could dim the light of Avatar...the best movie I've ever seen!


Doc said...

Hey Candy - I read where Rage just killed the Simon Cowell song for Christmas song of the year.... Awesome!!

(and it sounds like you had a great weekend too)

Candy Minx said...

Yes, the Rage song made number one in U.K. charts! It's amazing to think that really worked out! The band is going to perform a free concert in England a a commoration. Very cool!

Oh we had a blast the past few days Doc. The movies were great. I can't wait to see Avatar again!

* (asterisk) said...

Avatar...? I admit that it has piqued my interest. Good Cameron is good cinema. But is it the best film you've ever seen? Or is it simply one of the best movie-going experiences you've had? I doubt I'll get to see the 3D version, so maybe that will make a difference to the experience -- and hence to my opinion of the film.

Candy Minx said...

*, it is really good. I only expected that it might be exciting action. I didn't expect to like the movie as much as I did. I would have been happy with a good old fashioned action flick. The 3-D seemed almost incedental...except that it was a lot of extra fun thrown into the mix. I have no idea if I would have jumped as much if it was just regular. But considering that Jurassic Park still scares the shit out of me...perhaps the 3-D is not needed.

The characters are really wonderful and I think that is what made the movie so good.

We went to a 1:30 in the morning show. I can't say that it was the movie experience. Thats not really the best time to see a movie. The experience is more like distracting because of a party vibe. I had to work really hard in the first few minutes of the movie because peopel were late...and talking at first. It was quite disruptive between popcorn noises, people shuffling around and my initial reaction to wearing the glasses and feeling dizzy.

I know people who went to this movie with the sole purpose of savouring hating it. Seriously, they resented all the advertisements with slogans like "the best movie ever" ha ha. They said within ten to 15 minutes....they were "oh my god...this is amazing!"

I think anyone who knows me...once they see the movie and realize the plot...they will go "oh no wonder Candy loves this movie so much". I mean by this...that it's everything I like about storytelling. It's everything I believe in as someone who has no respect for "civilization". I have always believed that the notion of civilzation is highly overrated. As is "realism". Ha ha!

All I can say is that watching the movie...I felt like I was 12 years old again. Everything I was into at that age is in this movie. It fucking rocks! Ha ha!!!!

* (asterisk) said...

Well, maybe I should make the effort to see it in a 3D showing. I like escapism and comic-book stuff, as you know, and the graphics and (what I know of) the plot look cool. Intrigued.

Candy Minx said...

I don't want you to go and think, damn that Candy...she totally over rated the movie.

I'll tell ya what...first see it in 3-D if you can. Second...when we picked up our tickets I asked the guy who worked the cashier booth if he had seen Avatar yet. He said yes, and I asked how was it...he got this Buddha smile on his face a real Mona Lisa and said "awesome".

He just looked so sublime...and he was just like a total movie geek. You could just tell. I would take his word over mine.


I also saw a review by a right wing tabloid here in the U.S. and they hated the movie. They absolutely hated "the messages" in the film. Nuff said!

Avatar is for the's for a different kind of mindset of people. It ain't for the suits and assholes of the world...

Gardenia said...

We have planned to see Avatar over Christmas - hope it works out - boy came to visit and his foot was abscessed - had to take him to doc for lancing, treatment - poor thing, anyway we had a good time at Nutcracker before I knew what kind of shape his foot was in - but we have seen the previews for quite some time and were excitedly awaiting the showing! I can't wait to see it! Noticed recently 3D has been a big improvement - a huge leap - I usually get annoyed when a movie is 3D - but its soooo much better the last one was actually quite enjoyable! I loved Star Wars - my son and I never missed a movie!

Sorry your movie experience was not good - I love going to a movie for the whole experience - LOL - popcorn - comfortable seats - huge screen with great sound - no people stomping on toes during the first part - our movie house does not allow people to have tickets after the show begins!

Have fun on your trip!

Candy Minx said...

Oh, Gardenia, I didn't mean to say the experience wasn't good...let me qualify. It wasn't that I loved the movie because of the experience. Big difference. I just wanted to point out to Asterisk that a late movie, with lots of noise...doesn't really qualify as that is why I liked the movie etc.

I really like going to the geek hour shows. The moving and bustling was okay...fortunately it only lasted a few's just that it wasn't ideal. In relation to Asterisk's query that tI might have liked the movie so much because of the overall experience. There was a good chance of the atmosphere totally ruining the movie...but it didn't because the movie was all round excellent.

Anita said...

I can't wait to see it!!! Behzad and I tried to go on Christmas, but the IMAX 3-D was sold out 'til 10:30 (this was at 3) and we had plans that night. We're gonna go next week when everyone's back at work during the day and see it in the IMAX 3-D. I don't want to read your review until then!