“Boredom’s the first step on the road to relapse”

Addiction is one thing, but this is definitely something else. Since I’ve been on my winter break, I’ve watched massive amounts of movies that put my “summer of boredom” to shame. And I have been to theaters the past two weeks more than I have the entire 2011 year, up until the winter. It’s basically like the title says, being home makes me very bored, and being bored puts the movie addiction into serious relapse. Having said that, I have a ton of options on what to blog about, but today I thought I would share the two movies that I watched today, and maybe have a (yeah right) in depth analysis of them. One I have seen one too many times, and the other I saw for the very first time tonight. So, let’s begin, before you ex out of this and move on to see what girl uploaded photos onto Facebook.

Win-Win

I heard a lot about Win-Win when the awards season was really starting to kick in. My cousin highly recommended it to me, and being that I respect my cousin’s tastes, as well as the fact that I really enjoy Paul Giamatti, I thought I would give the film a look-see. Needless to say, it was a really good choice.

Win-Win probably has one of the best scripts of the year (neck and neck with “Young Adult”). It’s really funny and never goes to the sappy and corny sides of things even though it has the subject matter that is made for such trash. Its story is similar to “The Blind Side”: A talented boy who strives to be an athlete is taken in by a family who is not his own, and through this “adoption” the boy has a chance at greatness. Now where Blind Side had me running away at the sight of the same old song and dance inspirational sports movie, Win-Win has a much deeper and sharp plot. The good news is this is not really the kind of sports movie where Giamatti gives the big speech before game time, or we find out that the boy is illiterate and never had his own bed before; the script/story treats the audience like they’re intelligent adults and gives off one of the most honest and true stories out there. All of the dialogue feels real, and you’re never rolling your eyes at how the characters talk and interact with each other. All the characters and scenes serve a purpose, and more so, they are all written well. A drug addicted mother or an old man with dementia aren’t played with over the top gusto or stereotypically portrayed like they normally would in a poorly executed Hollywood film; they just feel like real people.

Giamatti and Amy Ryan give off their usual amazing performances playing the family that take the boy in (Giamatti also serves as the boy’s coach), and the boy that plays the star wrestler really carries his own scenes, even when it is just him and Giamatti or him and Ryan. Again, I’m never a big fan of delving too deep into what happens and spoiling things if you haven’t seen it yet, but Win-Win is this years anti-“The Fighter” and you will definitely enjoy all that it has to offer.

Clerks

Okay, honestly if you have never seen Clerks before, I really do not think you should read my blog any longer. In the ’90s there was a long period of generation X films. These films portrayed the kids of the ’90s similar to how the Brat Pack portrayed kids in the ’80s. This new generation were kids that were fueled on massive fusions of old and new pop culture, and were usually, in these films, wasting away at some dime-a-dozen job. Movies such as “Singles”, “Suburbia”, “Can’t Hardly Wait”, “Reality Bites”, “Empire Records”, and then much later “American Pie” were able to leave a stamp on a generation just like “Breakfast Club” and “Sixteen Candles” (yes I like Sixteen Candles, and Pretty in Pink while were there) were able to leave a stamp on what the ’80s meant to teens/young adults. But, these gen. X films all started with Clerks.

Now, if you want to get super technical, gen. X films REALLY started with Richard Linklater’s classic film, “Slacker”, but the problem is Slacker did not get as well known nor as much recognition as Clerks. (If you have not seen Slacker, do so…It’s an experience)

But, either way, Slacker is what gave Kevin Smith inspiration to make Clerks.

Now, there are a ton of films growing as a pre-teen/teen (roughly age 11-18) that really influenced how I wanted to make films and also what kinds of stories I wanted to tell. Clerks is at the fore-front of my memories on really being influenced. I had seen the first one in hiding from my mother’s watchful eyes similar to when I first watched Pulp Fiction. And then when Clerks II came out, it was the first time I really had to sneak into a movie. Needless to say, Clerks really hooked and fascinated me. The music plays out like an old Tony Hawk video game, and the shots/camerawork make you feel like your friends made a movie they want to show you. But, besides that, its dialogue is what really sets it apart from others. Here you have these 20-somethings just wasting away at a convenience store, and at first sight one would think they are only of the average mind (more likely below-average). But then upon closer examination, these clerks are having deeply intellectual conversations such as whether or not the second death star in Return of the Jedi housed innocent contractors that were unjustly killed in the Battle of Endor. This is really what makes Clerks special.

The Generation X culture were the bricklayers to this generation’s hipsters. The same people that would be practicing grunge music in a Seattle coffee shop talking about the newest Nirvana single with a shit job and very little future are now out in the East Village talking about the newest crap that spewed out of Lars Von Trier’s mouth while wearing unnecessary fedoras, and the oddest assembly of thrift shop clothes the eye has ever seen. This was what Clerks represented and also what Slacker(s) stood for; a class of people who were of high intelligence and cultural awareness, but wanted nothing from life but to relax and shoot the shit. They had a fair amount of intelligence in film, and frequented dark and shabby bars and house parties. Love or hate Smith, but never argue that Clerks truly was the first of many stamps on the ’90s culture. From the last big push of cigarette appeal to life before cell phones, and to when roller blading was coming into its own. Without Clerks we would not have a lot of what shaped ’90s comedic filmmaking, and we definitely would not have many of the great comedic filmmakers working today.

That’s all I got for now (yeah just a thousand-plus words). Just keep on watching, guys.

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