Tuesday, June 18, 2013

FRANCES HA | First Viewing. Second Posting.

I have seen FRANCES HA twice. Not on purpose.  Not really.  It just kind of happened.  And now I'm going to milk the experience for three blog posts.

One about how the second viewing made me realize the film was a bit screwball-y, one about the ways in which it is screwball-y (coming soon), and this one.

This post is about the first viewing.  I saw it with a friend, and afterwards we walked around NW Portland, and talked about it.  I can't remember what she said precisely, but she noted that initially she wasn't sure where the story was going, but when she learned that Frances was 27 years-old, the story took on some necessary gravitas.  Then she used the word "sad" - I'm not sure what specifically was sad, if it was that Frances, or her situation, or something else, but I remember the word was sad.

The reason I don't remember the details is that I was a bit... What's the word? Concerned? Shamed? Self-conscious?  All of the above?  Because my brain turned into a bit of a Tilt-a-Whirl, instead of asking what I wanted to know ("If you think that's sad, what must you think of me?!?"), I just said something like, "Uh-huh."  Or maybe, "Yeah."

The thing is, I had found the film personally resonant in some ways.  I am similarly adrift.  I am also minus the trappings that make up the lives of most adults my age.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying, "I am Frances Ha."  I'm very clear on the fact that I'm no longer 27, I'm not a dancer, I don't live in NYC, and I don't look like I live in an Urban Outfitters ad.  However, there's a lot associated with youth that doesn't ever really end.  Whenever I see a real or fictitious 20-something struggling through some Big Life Choice, all I can think is:  Brace yourself.

We age, but we don't really mature.  Or rather, nothing ever gets locked down and secure.  Settling down/in is a myth.  We are all continually struggling to understand our place in the world, attempting to make good choices regarding boundaries, navigating insecurities, attempting to bolster our talents, etc.  And once we get one area sorted, we're pushed forward to a whole new slew of challenges.  And, the moment we think we've graduated from one area, that's when divorce or death or one of their friends will show up and send us back to remedial school.

But my friend had said, "Sad."  Which had made me think, "Oh, shit."  Because maybe it's not We, but Me.

Maybe my theory about maturity is something I have created as a salve for my under-achieving, rudderless and tractionless ways.  Maybe I am sad.  Maybe that's what people see.  Maybe that's what defines me to the outside world.  I don't know.

I do know that if that's what I am right now, then that's what I am right now.  I can't change that with a wish, a mantra, or a purchase.  I suspect the only way out is through, so I'll just keep showing up each day and see what happens.

Released: 2013
Writers:  Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig
Director: Noah Baumbach
Leads: Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Adam Driver
Genre: Comedy, Screwball
Plot summary and reviews of FRANCES HA @ Rotten Tomatoes.

Monday, June 17, 2013

FRANCES HA and MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING | 2013 | Portland and Screwball

Last week, much more of my time than is probably healthy was devoted to anticipating MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. And somehow I got it into my head that it would be starting at Cinema 21 that weekend, and so I showed up, asked for a ticket to the next showing, and plopped myself on a bench in the lobby to wait for my friend to arrive.

I heard Bowie coming from the auditorium, and actually thought, "That's weird, FRANCES HA had the same music."

Yep, I'm that sharp, sometimes.

And then someone else tried to buy a ticket for MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, and the box office lady told her it wasn't playing yet.  I texted my mistake to my friend, and when she arrived we decided to watch FRANCES HA. First time for her, second time for me.

Yikes. This story is way boring. Hang in there, it might get better soon.  Better-ish.

After texting my friend, I tweeted my irritation with Portland.

At the time there was only one theater in town showing FRANCES HA, and the next weekend there would be only one theater showing MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.  Other cities, cities I've had flings with, were showing both movies that weekend.  In multiple locations.

But at some point, for some damn reason, I chose to dance with the one that brung me, and I was (am?) committed to Portland.

It turns out, Portland knew best.

Although I had been delighted by FRANCES HA the first time I saw it, it wasn't until the second viewing that I saw it's totally a Screwball Comedy.  Probably only if the definition of the genre is interpreted very generously (kind of like BRIDESMAIDS, HARVEY or FOR A GOOD TIME CALL), but Screwball nonetheless.

Because Portland made me cool my heels, I will soon be writing a post about how FRANCES HA is Screwball-y and I will be re-reading MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING before Friday.

So, thank you, Portland.  Your slow pace has helped to make me thoroughly, nerdily undateable due to my film blog writin' and Shakespeare readin' ways.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Screwball to Have a Scorsese Summer?

I recently came across this article, "Martin Scorsese's Film School:  The 85 Films You Need to See to Know Anything About Film," and it put me in the mind of a Summer Project.

I have seen more than half of the films on the list, but there are others on the list I know I should see, but will instead choose to watch one of my favorite films again.  And again.  And again.  Although I have a wide variety of favorites, that's still a rut.

Which made me think I should turn Screwball Study into a Scorsese-y Study for the summer.

What's stopping me?  Why am I not committing to this?  Once upon a time, I'd have done so in an instant, and I'd have gotten the job done.  Lately, many of my initiatives have stopped before really starting, and now I'm hesitant to start, hesitant to have another thing unfinished.  Yep, it's happened enough that I no longer thrive on the bright possibility that This One will make it over the finish line.

So, instead of bunting and trumpet fan-fare, I've chosen a soft launch.  Which means, probably, no launch.  Probably.

Let's see what happens...