samurai saturday

i used to have a ritual in chicago. i'd get up early on saturday mornings and crawl onto the couch in the living room. i'd turn on IFC, which at the time was showing samurai movies every week. sometimes i would sleep through most of the movie and sometimes i would watch. this went on for months because i love me a good samurai movie with the possibility of a nap. my favorite is seven samurai, because well, duh but i also really love the zatoichi movies too. they showed movies i'd seen and some i never heard of. there was one that was the craziest technicolor i've ever seen and made the whole bloody movie seem like a cartoon. that one may have given me nightmares. so yeah, samurai saturday. everyone's got their thing. for awhile, that was mine. 

i was excited when a friend and i were discussing seeing a movie tonight and she suggested 47 ronin. we'd seen the preview together and it looked awesome. it wasn't. at least we didn't think so but we know better. the real story of the 47 ronin is sad and beautiful and complicated. it is definitely not silly. this movie was silly. pretty but silly. it did not scratch my samurai saturday itch. it was as disappointing as that saturday morning i crawled onto the couch, turned on the tv and IFC was showing the three stooges. 

i have to admit that when i was getting ready to go out, i actually thought to myself, "are we really going to see a keanu reeves movie?" keanu has a tendency to ruin things for me, bill & ted's excepted. and the matrix but really just the first one. oh, and that movie where he played a serial killer. he sometimes looks dead inside so a murderous sociopath didn't seem like a huge leap. here's the thing though, keanu was not the biggest problem. <spoilers ahead>

the ALIEN DEMON MONKS were, in fact, the biggest problem. the crazy mythical beast in the beginning, cool. the witch, while annoying, not beyond the realm of possibility. THE ALIEN DEMON MONKS WERE A BRIDGE TOO FAR. i'm sorry i'm shouting but seriously. ALIEN DEMON MONKS. in an effing samurai movie.

also, love stories rarely work out well in samurai movies. someone always has to commit seppuku and there will always be heartbreak. yes, crouching tiger, hidden dragon managed to do it in a kung fu movie, which is also tricky. but you, 47 ronin, you are no crouching tiger. 

now, i'm watching 13 assassins on netflix, one of the best new samurai movies i've seen. when its over, because it is very, very violent, i may watch an episode of samural jack to cleanse my palate. he may be animated but his heart is pure. and maybe tomorrow i've watch the old 47 ronin and forget this one ever happened.

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oh, right

its october 1. i realized it was october 1 around 9:30 tonight. october, the month that i try to watch a horror movie and write about it, each and every day. the month that makes me fear strangers and scream when i see spiders. the month that i usually end twitchy, plagued by nightmares. you know, october. my favorite month!

when i started doing this crazy october movie a day thing, things were different. horror was having a moment. there were times of the year that you may have multiple movies to choose from at the theater - valentine's day, mid-summer, halloween. it wasn't all great horror but it was almost all fun. then saw ruined everything. horror got meaner, more viscious. or is was PG-13 and lame. yes, there were some really great movies but they were few and far between.

and as i watched less and less horror, i became more and more sensitive. the strict guidelines my mom put in place when i was a child, only movies with monsters, ghosts and other supernatural killers are allowed, seemed smart. the violence has become harder to stomach. 

october was here and i hadn't given it a thought. then, at 9:30, i found myself scrolling through my netflix queue and stopped on the bay. i remember reading a lot of really interesting things about it when i was released. it seemed really odd though. i mean, barry levinson directed it. he made diner. it seems weird, right? OK FINE. he made young sherlock holmes and that's awesome and a little scary. still, huh? once it showed up on netflix, i added it to the queue and sort of forgot about it. but at about 9:35, i pressed played and continued with what i was doing - making necklaces, editing pictures for a shop update, checking out the interwebs... but something weird happened, as low as my expectations were, i was getting sucked in and consumed with dread. i stopped working. you guys, it was good. like so much better than i would've ever guessed.

so, i guess i'm going to give this a shot. i don't think i can watch 31 movies without losing my mind but i'll watch a bunch. i'll write about the bay in the next couple of days and maybe do a little bit of other writing about horror - why exactly i love horror, what i can't stand about the treatment of women in horror, why i love american werewolf in london so very much... if all that and more sounds like fun, visit me at surviving horror all month.

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the shamptons love amy heckerling. clueless is one of those movies that neither of us can resist if its on, despite the fact that we own it. shawn can actually do a pretty good cher impression. alicia silverstone cracks us up. (note to self: write a post about funny blondes.) so, we were pretty excited when we heard amy heckerling was making a movie with alicia and krysten ritter.

imagine sex and the city with vampires. yep. seems like a terrible idea. its ridiculous (12 step style meetings for vampires, a frat boy renfield). has an jam packed cast (malcolm mcdowell, justin kirk, sigourney weaver, richard lewis, wallace shawn) and we loved every silly minute. i highly recommend forking over the $7 onDemand. 

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funny guy

i love mike birbiglia. he makes me laugh and breaks my heart and makes me cringe so hard sometimes i see stars. 

saturday night we watched sleepwalk with me. if its playing in your city, GO! if not, see if you can order it on demand. seriously. 

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the artist

i noticed the artist was plating at the bagdad theater this weekend. i really wanted to see it, we love the bagdad and it seemed like it would be a fun thing to do with shawn's mom. so, we went tonight. first off, i'm certain the bagdad was the perfect place to see this movie - an old movie palace for an old-fashioned movie about movies. beyond that, there's nothing about it i didn't love. there was tap-dancing and john goodman and a cute dog and hats! oh and did i mention the tap dancing? well, there was tap dancing.

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crush month - day 9

this afternoon wil wheaton tweeted a link to this story and to this blog post. i listened, read and knew that i was going to need to watch stand by me tonight. i'd caught bits and pieces of it recently but i hadn't actually watched the entire movie in years. and so i did.

i forgot. i really did. i forgot how magical that movie is. first of all, how can this movie be 25 years old when it made me feel like i was 11 again. i remembered sitting with my best friend marni, underneath the giant oak tree at our elementary school arguing over who was cuter, wil wheaton or river phoenix. we had bought tickets to another movie and snuck in to see stand by me since it was rated R. it was awesome.

it was the summer before everything changed. our elementary school fed into two jr. high schools and this was our last school year all together. marni & i would do to the same school but many of our friends wouldn't. there would also be a ton of new kids in jr. high. things started to get complicated, the way they do. so that summer was it for us. there were no dead bodies but we rode our bikes for miles and miles, we got into a fair amount of trouble, we ate nothing but candy, listened to music and we talked for hours and hours. replace these boys with girls and you've got it.

a magic movie. really and truly. its sad and beautiful and hilarious. it captures those moments, those very last moments of childhood perfectly. 

incidentally, river phoenix breaks my heart now but wil wheaton is still cuter. then again, i always did like the smart boys.

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burning bright

mystery tiger by pearson maron

its been awhile but sometimes i like to watch movies that scare the crap out of me. and then i like to write about those movies. i did that tonight. read all about it here.

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go ask alice

i know, i know. i seem to be in the minority here but i LOVED alice. i liked that alice was an adult. i liked that it was kind of dark. and i loved looking at it. it was lacking in some areas but i was giddy with ideas after watching it. the costumes, oh the costumes. and the giant toadstools. and the enormous fiddleheads. oh, i loved it so. 


and i think i'm finally going to make myself this skirt, which i've been obsessed with for months since i first saw this photo. i even already have the gazillion yards of ric rac, waiting to be hand dyed.



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film fest report #5 - final edition

october 31 is here and here's what i've watched in the last week:

  1. june 9 - blair witchy. and just like blair witch, by the time the kids were getting killed i was ready to do it myself.
  2. popcorn - entertaining and weird. not sure how i've never seen this one before either.
  3. boy eats girl - highly entertaining.
  4. zombies anonymous - lame.
  5. hack! - i loved this completely weird movie. its got winnie cooper! its got drusilla killing someone while wearing a clown suit! most excellent.
  6. trick 'r treat - disjointed but kind of fun.
  7. the house of the devil - retro horror fun.
  8. texas chainsaw massacre: the next generation - renee zellweger and matthew mcconaughey. big terrible fun that has almost nothing to do with the original texas chainsaw massacre.*

total = 44 movies, 37 i haven't seen

* doesn't count because i've already seen it.

today we watch my all time favorite, halloween. and then tomorrow, kids movies. and romantic comedies. and nothing but for the next month or so.

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film fest report #4

and here's the update:

  1. dead mary - eh.
  2. tourist trap - well done 70s horror fun. less brutal than some movies from the same era but really effective.
  3. the initiation of sarah - an abc family "horror" movie. not at all scary but oh so fun.
  4. ghost town - syfy crap.
  5. rsvp - totally fun. jason mewes and glenn quinn are great and a little heartbreaking.
  6. an american haunting - i was told to avoid it but it was on. i should've avoided it.
  7. burke and hare - i liked this and am definitely looking forward to the simon pegg remake.
  8. zombieland - my new favorite movie. for reals.

total so far = 36 movies, 30 i haven't seen

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