28 September 2016

Who would make the perfect director for an adaptation of 'Dusty Answer'?

For a long time I've been waiting for someone to take up Rosamond Lehmann's highly underrated and obscure, interwar novel Dusty Answer (1927) and adapt it into a film. However, no one so far has seemed to grasp the chance to convey 26-year old Lehmann's first novel onto the screen. I hope someone will, but until then, here are some of my suggestions of some of the directors I would like to see adapting it:

After having watched Todd Haynes' wonderful Carol (2015) - adapted from Patricia Highsmith's groundbreaking book of the time, The Price of Salt (1952) - I think he would be a perfect director for the job. Having an utterly brilliant insight and grasp of period pieces and handling certain tabooed topics with great sensitivity, Haynes would certainly master an adaptation of Lehmann's work in my mind.

But also Joe Wright with his great sense of detail and observant (camera) eye would be able to catch the tone and mood of the novel - as he did so beautifully with the 2007 adaptation of Ian McEwan's Atonement (2001) (which actually references Dusty Answer at some point).

Andrea Arnold is another favorite director of mine and in films such as Fish Tank (2009) and Wuthering Heights (2011) she conveys the troubles and ponderings of the youth in a very tactile, sensual and curious way that would mirror Lehmann's language extremely well.

I would also love to see James Kent give it a try - especially following his success of patiently adapting Vera Brittain's memoir Testament of Youth (1933) onto the screen in 2014. Absolutely breathtaking and I am already a big fan!

27 September 2016

'Bad' Movies that I Enjoy

We all have those movies that we just enjoy despite they're not exactly well-produced, critically acclaimed or even well-liked in public in general. They're not necessarily bad ... they're just not that good either. Sometimes they're so bad they're good. They are the guilty pleasures we put on every now and then just because we are entertained by their obvious campiness or bad production but still find we cannot bring our hearts to actually dislike. Right? I don't even have an explanation why for most of my own choices. 

I guess they are mainly feel-good films, cheesy rom-coms and silly fantasy/action/adventure flicks that play on all the clichés you could expect and with loads of campy acting. There may be little grains of golden moments in-between that you can learn to appreciate, but the overall picture isn't mind-blowing or groundbreaking. Just a bit silly. Still I find myself rewatching them from time to time. To relax, get a nostalgic kick and a laugh - at an ironic stance.

I think it's okay to have these guilty pleasures as long as you manage to be critical of them, not take them too seriously and appreciate the films of a somewhat higher quality as well. I find that you can actually be entertained AND think while watching movies, contrary to some of the opinions I have met which display a rather obstinate snobbery that honestly baffles me, but I guess every man to his taste.

In the case of "Practical Magic" (1998), one of the included movies below, Didion via Bitch Flicks makes a pretty good argument why campy movies such as these can be enjoyed and viewed.

Well, here are some of my favorite 'bad'/campy films, in no particular order. Feel free to laugh at me or with me at the end of the list. Anyways, I'll say we should embrace our campy side more often.

  • The Sheik (1921)
  • The Son of the Sheik (1926)
  • High Road to China (1983)
  • Jumanji (1995)
  • Six Days Seven Nights (1998)
  • The Saint (1997)
  • The Italian Job (2003)
  • French Kiss (1995)
  • Medicine Man (1992)
  • Casper (1995)
  • That Old Feeling (1997)
  • Life as a House (2001)
  • Domino (2005)
  • The Phantom (1996)
  • Death Becomes Her (1992)
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)
  • It's a Boy Girl Thing (2006)
  • Constantine (2005)
  • The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond (2008)
  • Heartbreakers (2001)
  • Sliding Doors (1998)
  • Child 44 (2015)
  • The Man With The Iron Mask (1998)
  • Anna and the King (1999)
  • Just the Ticket (1999)
  • Practical Magic (1998)