When Harry Met Sally… is one of my favorite movies of all time. It’s also incredibly misunderstood. Early in the film, an obnoxious and young Harry, fresh out of college, states that “Men and women can’t be friends, because the sex part always gets in the way.” What follows in the film is a long term friendship that falls into sex, and subsequently romantic love. The quote is even repeated at the film’s end when Harry does, in fact, fall in love with Sally. Many have argued that this is the film’s theme and overarching message. A 2014 blog post by Reuters’ Chlo Angyal and another from 2012 by SplitSider’s Blythe Robertson are two recent analyses that support this theory. Both writers argue that the film sends an unhealthy message. I would agree with them that the concept is bullshit. I’m a heterosexual man, and I’m probably friends with more women than men. That said, I strongly disagree that “Men can’t be friends with women” is the theme or the message of the film.Read More
[Full spoilers for Up follow]
[For the love of God, if you haven’t seen Up, please go watch it right now]
Pixar’s UP (2009) is one of my favorite films of all time. A masterpiece of smart storytelling decisions amount to what may be one of the most dense and tightly paced narratives in existence. Within 96 minutes the film effortlessly blends comedy, tragedy, adventure, and one of the most meaningful examinations of the human condition yet committed to celluloid. And in a format accessible to all ages! In its first 11 minutes, Up exhibits a more thoughtful, true, and heartbreaking love story than most films manage in their entire runtimes. It has to, because while Up is a film about Love, it’s equally about Loss. While these elements to the film are in the text, they’re also supported by an incredibly deep, yet seemingly effortless symbolism that perfectly represents the effect of loss on human Identity.
Up is all about badges.Read More
Charlie Chaplin’s THE GREAT DICTATOR (1940) is one of my favorite films of all time. This has little to do with the distinction of being his first full fledged “talkie,” and more to do with its audacity in having the gall to satirize Adolph Hitler during his rise to power. The film came about a year after the start of WWII, and a year before the Pearl Harbor attack, when the U.S. finally deigned to dirty it’s hands in the matter. But production started before all that in 1938, the year that Germany annexed Austria. This was a year before the start of WWII and during a period when American censors and businessman were still either defending Hitler, or at least adamantly insisting that nobody piss him off. Even United Artists, the production company that Chaplin co-founded urged him to avoid the subject, worried about Hays Code censors and the possibility that the film would never be allowed in theaters.Read More