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Send me a year and I will tell you my 3 favorite and least favorite films of that year.



I can’t promise I’ll try, but I’ll try to try.


I haven’t seen anything from 1897 so I’m gonna pretend I read it as 1987.

Wall Street

Good Morning, Vietnam


HM: Plains, Trains and Automobiles

Least favourite:I’m having a tough time thinking of something I’ve seen from that year that I’ve actually disliked, so I dunno, Less Than Zero? I wasn’t too hot on that one, aside from RDJ and James Spader’s performances.

(Source: dellamortes)


Released in 1995, The Usual Suspect  became a sensation and reminded us all how story and filmmaking can trump budget. The film, shot on a $6 million budget, began as a title taken from a column in Spy magazine called The Usual Suspects, after one of Claude Rains’ most memorable lines in the classic Casablanca. Bryan Singer thought it would make a good title for a film, the poster for which he and Christopher McQuarrie had developed as the first visual idea. No Film School’s Justin Morrow take us down the memory lane with this great collection of featurettes containing 1:24:35 worth of documentaries on the film’s production.

In addition, I also highly recommend listening to the commentary with director Bryan Singer and screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie, which was at one point available as Tape Two of a special two-tape VHS. It’s only available on MGM Special Edition DVD (sadly, the Blu-ray release offers nothing beyond the film itself). Purchase your copy at Amazon.

This commentary has long been celebrated as one of the best ever recorded — owing largely to the fact that McQuarrie and Singer (friends since high school) are secure enough in their talents to make fun of themselves and their work. Here we learn that the filmmakers thought of a title and poster tag line (“All of you can go to hell”) before they actually wrote a story; that everyone in the cast and crew (well, five people, anyway) seems to have played Keyser Söze in one shot or another; that McQuarrie was opposed to casting Del Toro as Fenster, and now admits he was wrong; that either Singer or McQuarrie (they start to sound alike after a while) “could have done without the whole flame/urination bit”; that Del Toro had decided he was playing a “Black Chinese Puerto Rican Jew”; that there are numerous editing errors in the film, including magical cigarettes and airliners that change type in mid-landing; that many characters are named after McQuarrie’s friends and/or employers; that the actors were occasionally tense, unable to keep a straight face or, in the case of Peter Greene, “terrifying”; that McQuarrie was once a bodyguard for jewelers; that neither filmmaker knew until after the film was finished that the “greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist” line originally came from Baudelaire, and in fact they borrowed it from people who were quoting Baudelaire themselves; that they had a jolly time writing the cleaned-up ADR for airliners and television; that they never expected the “Oswald was a fag” line to make it to the final film; that the Coast Guard shut down the boat-heist shooting for a while; and that the misleading flashbacks that close the film were added quite late in the game. —Alexandra DuPont

A brilliant in-depth interview with screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie on his break out Sundance success, The Usual Suspects. This interview originally appeared in Scenario magazine, which also published the script. Embedded below: Kevin Pollak sits down with Chris McQuarrie for an intimate one on one interview.

Dear every screenwriter, read this: Christopher McQuarrie’s screenplay for The Usual Suspects  [pdf]. (NOTE: For educational purposes only). The DVD/Blu-ray of the film is available at Amazon and other online retailers.

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It was really tough to make the Japanese public perceive me as a serious actor or director. As an actor, one of the first films I worked on was Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence by Nagisa Oshima, back in the early ’80s. When it was released in Japan, I sneaked into the theater to see how the audience would react. I thought the film was great and my acting was not bad at all. I anticipated that the audience would be impressed by my performance, which was completely different from my comedy persona on TV shows. However, at the moment I appeared on the screen, every single person in the theater burst out laughing. I was devastated and humiliated by the experience, because the character I played in the film was not the kind of person to be laughed at. I swore then and there that I would stick to the serious and dark characters in any films or TV dramas thereafter, and I did. And it took years of playing dark characters, serial killers, and cult gurus for Beat Takeshi to be perceived as a serious actor.

I wear a lot of hats: director, comic, and actor. They’re very different roles. I spend a lot of energy looking for acceptance in these different roles. A comic or TV star who suddenly switches to a film role playing a gangster is laughable. I had a lot of trouble making people believe that the comic Beat Takeshi could play a bad guy. In people’s minds, I’m a comic, so it took a lot of time before I was recognized as a director. I had to be patient until the public accepted me. As a result, my early films didn’t get a lot of attention. As a serious film actor, things didn’t take off, either. Only my comic talents were recognized.

Actually, it was not until around Fireworks, which was my seventh film, that I was recognized as a serious film director in Japan. For years, my films had been treated as nothing more than a comedian superstar’s hobby. Generally speaking, the Japanese tend to respect artists, entertainers, or craftsmen who are masters of one art more than a jack-of-all-trades. On top of that, they can watch my shows every night on TV for free! No one cared to pay money to watch my films on the screen. So they were preoccupied with the idea that films made by a comedian cannot be good. But the moment I won the Golden Lion for Fireworks at the Venice Film Festival, everything changed. The comedian who occasionally made films as a part-time job had turned into a “world-famous cinema maestro" almost overnight. It only proves how the Japanese are obsessively sensitive to the reaction of foreign countries.

-Takeshi Kitano

[A.V. Club]

(Source: onfilmmaking)

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