It’s pretty rare for me to find myself sitting in the theater, taking in a movie and being totally struck by just how much I’m loving the story to the point where I absolutely MUST lean over to the person next to me to say, “I’m fucking loving this.” That happened to me last weekend at Her. And no, I didn’t whisper the F word into a stranger’s ear. I was totally on a date.
After the credits rolled, I eagerly expressed to said date that the film was my favorite artificial intelligence - human love story of all time. High bar, Liz, high bar. There’s what, 6 movies on the topic? So let me amend my prior assessment. It’s the best “falling in love in less than ideal circumstances” story I’ve ever seen.
Ok, now that’s too broad. Break it down and nearly all romantic movies are based on the trope that the two lovers must conquer distance or time or war or erectile dysfunction to find happiness.
What I need to properly credit Her for filling me with so much joy is a Netflix micro-genre. Short of that, I’ll just go with this: see the damn movie. Not convinced? I’ve made a list of non-spoilery reasons why you must stop hanging out with internet people right now and go hang out with a talking Operating System and a dude named Joaquin Phoenix for a couple hours.
1. In Her, the future is non-judgmental about romantic partnerships. Yeah, it’s that big.
2. If you’ve ever been in love, you know that love is not sex. Not many directors and screenwriters seem to remember this though. Love is that quiet moment at night when nothing is being shared but silence and mutual understanding. Her reminds us that connection is about seeing more than another person’s private parts. It’s about seeing the world together.
3. There’s set design and then there’s art direction. Her is a Master Class in expert art direction. Except the pants. I can’t forgive the pants. Or maybe I can? Maybe I hate them so much I like them?… Hm, think about that.
4. Joaquin Phoenix is raw and pure and pained. I wanted to know him. I wanted to dance with him. I wanted to hug him. I wanted to buy him a belt.
5. Oh my ellipsis, this script. There’s so many gems about life and love and self-discovery in here. I have a feeling there’s a Pinterest board out there right now with quotes written in swirly fonts from this movie. Spike Jonze wrote many a Pinterest worthy line. Bet you never thought you’d read that.
It’s no surprise that I love the Academy Award’s shorts categories. If you’re thinking about heading out to the theaters this weekend to see Her (YES, see it!), Wolf of Wall Street (meh), American Hustle or one of the other big Hollywood pics, maybe consider skipping it and supporting some smaller films from the comfort of your home.
Here’s how you can see the Oscar nominated animated shorts online:
Fun fact about Room on the Broom, Simon Pegg and company put this together for BBC One for their annual Christmas special in 2013. So while it’s seasonal, it’s still a lot of fun.
Behind the Scenes available now - Full film premiering soon?
I hesitated to put this one on the list, but decided to do so, because this video with the behind the scenes of the art has so much personality and love that it’s almost as fun as seeing the real thing.
Get a Horse! is the only big name animated short in the bunch. It’s playing before Frozen in theaters… and it’s fun and harkens to the old days of Disney, but it’s Mickey Mouse, so you better like Mickey Mouse if you’re going to go out of your way to see it.
Unfortunately, no trailer or early access to watch Possessions, a short by Shuhei Morita, is available online. But, early buzz is good so if you see it’s playing at a film fest near you, go check it out.
Did you notice that many of the Oscar Nominated Animated shorts this year are about relationships? New love. Old love. Companionship. Seems like a fitting week to be thinking about those kinds of things. Here a few if you haven’t seen them:
I’m also so very, very thankful for all the nice readers who have taken the time to fill out the Being Geek Chic survey. No pressure, but if you haven’t done so yet, I’d appreciate it if you could take a minute and tell us why you love to read this site or hate to read it. In that cause, you must love to torture yourself with dorky quips.
Can we talk about building community for a second? It’s freaking hard, but hot damn, when you find your army - it’s rewarding. I’ve been doing this blog for nearly 3 years and before that I had another satire blog I ran for about 2 years and it’s the thing that I find so difficult. There’s alot of other really great lady bloggers out there on the internets and if you aren’t reading their blogs, I recommend them. It’s like a dose of joy for me each week and I’m especially happy these ladies are around:
That’s five. I’m only scratching the surface with this short, short list. Tell us about your blog in the comments. How can I know if I like it if I have never visited? Brag about yourself for a minute. I give you permission.
Do something crazy this weekend. Get a tattoo. Have a fruit cocktail. Spend the entire day in your PJs playing Professor Layton. Whatevs. Just enjoy yourself.
My scribblings can be found on the Internets:
Today, I get my geek rant on over at The Mary Sue.
It’s all about the Academy Awards and there general dislike of or refusal to award any geek-centric movies with the big golden statues in recognizable categories.
Here’s a snippet, but be sure to go read the rest and let me know if you agree:
History shows us that the Academy has little to no appreciation for geek-centric films. Here’s a list of notable Academy Award snubs for context:
I just got back from a local showing of the of the Documentary Shorts nominated for the Academy Award this year and it left me feeling…
I was sad, in part, because of the subject matter. Pakistani women trying to find peace after surviving acid attacks and the Japanese salvaging their lives after losing everything in last year’s tsunami are hardly lighthearted topics. However, my real sadness was over the fact that so few people actually see these films. So here I am with a plea…
Please see documentaries. I’m not just saying this because I directed one.
Here’s a list of reasons:
1. It’s better than reality TV (but still reality).
2. These films aren’t made for money, like all the major blockbusters, but rather because the story needs telling. (See: Above)
3. The emotions you’ll feel aren’t created by a writer trying to touch on your soft spots. You’ll cry real tears for real people facing real problems. (See: The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner)
4. I feel they’re even MORE difficult to make beautifully, so when they are, it’s especially sweet. (See: Babies)
5. Enlightenment and knowledge is a gift. (See: The Business of Being Born)
Give docs a chance. I promise it’s worth it.
One of the few female winners at the Academy Awards on Sunday (besides supporting actress and lead actress!) was costume designer Colleen Atwood. She’s a Tim Burton team member whose designed for Sweeney Todd, Edward Scissorhands and for the now Oscar-winning Alice in Wonderland. Her catalog over the last 20 years is definitely Lady Geek of the Week-worthy.
It’s nearly impossible to go to a theater without seeing her work in some capacity. Her awesome leather hat that Johnny Depp wore as the Mad Hatter was splayed all over movie theaters, billboards and bus stops while the film was being promoted. Soon, you’ll see her work on the reboot of Planet of the Apes and watch as she transforms the bodies of the stars into ape shapes. It’s easy to see her work as beautifying or sci-fying an actor or actress, but in reality, her work is much more a study in history, architecture and executing the characters as they are written on the page.
For example, here’s what she said about her vision for the Alice designs:
When you read the script, Alice [Mia Wasikowska] is defined in a different way than you expect. She is someone whose purpose is not just to look pretty in a space and time, but to reinvent the world she’s in. It’s a modern look at a woman in a period. … We left off the apron and we didn’t use a hoop, mainly because it looks stupid when you run. We did the action version of the period piece. The bodice is all antique, using original lace from the period, but the body of the dress is not. And I took a flight of fancy making the dress shorter.
For the Red Queen, Helena’s inspiration was Elizabethan. For the White Queen, Anne Hathaway’s inspiration was much more Louis XVI. So they were two vastly different time periods and shapes. Helena was vaguely trailer trash material, so we used less luxurious fabrics. Hence the gold hearts made out of gold foil, which were a little tacky but still queen-like.
You can get a real appreciation of all the detail that went into the Alice in Wonderland costumes in this video:
We love a lady with style and Atwood is clearly the master. For her incredible talent and her cool Oscar too, Colleen Atwood is our Lady Geek of the Week.