Sils Maria

 

 

This might seem strange to say, but this is the first week in a long time I felt most like myself…at least, the “myself” that has been keeping up this site for all these years.

For much of this year, so many distractions have presented themselves that it felt as though movies were beginning to take a back seat. It seemed like I was beginning to turn into a guy who was more about books and basketball than he was about film. Now perhaps that’s just because there were more exciting things to experience where those two interests were concerned. Perhaps it’s because this year hasn’t given us a whole lot to get excited about movie-wise. Or perhaps, I was just finally getting “movie’d out”.

Whatever the reason, it was seeming for a while as though my enthusiasm was waning. Today though, with a multi-screening week behind me – and knowing there’s another coming up – I feel like I’m back to being the Ryan I know. Thanks for ticking with me…if you even noticed a change

 

#52FilmsByWomen continued this week with MAGGIE’S PLAN directed by Rebecca Miller.

 

Miller is not a director I would have originally thought about for this series, mostly because her filmography is filled with titles that are a bit more under-the-radar. She has directed five films and written a sixth. That sixth (PROOF) is the only one I really have much knowledge of. Of the other five, only THE BALLAD OF JACK AND ROSE and PERSONAL VELOCITY rung a bell.

Then again, seeking out new voices is pretty much what this whole series has been about. More on that later.

MAGGIE’S PLAN is a great film about two things that are becoming more and more prevalent in our lives but don’t turn up in film quite as often as they, perhaps, should.

The first is about the individual want for children. This week, there was actually a great story in one of Canada’s national newspapers about married couples that do not want children. At first blush, it seems like it’s swimming against the tide, but it’s a reasonable position to take for mature adults. Equally mature is the desire to have a child without getting married. It’s a position that is deeply difficult from a practical standpoint, but one that is taken more and more as the years go on.

Maggie is of the latter position, and it doesn’t seem like we see women like her in film an awful lot. For a second, it seems like she is another white hipster who has wants that far outreach her grasp (Greta Gerwig is great at playing such characters). But as the film goes on, we realize that she is quite grounded, and completely prepared to take on this next phase in her life…or at least, as much as one can be.

Seeing her grab on to the next chapter in her life with both hands and succeed despite the crazy circumstances that come along with it is a beautiful thing to witness…and a reminder even though being a single parent is immensely hard, it is do-able, and comes with great reward.

The second is about the dynamic between two households. I know there have been films in the past where children are shuttled back and forth between parents, but I’m having trouble thinking of a good example off the top of my head. What MAGGIE’S PLAN does beautifully in its quieter moments is underline how these three people are all raising these children together. Maggie, John, and Georgette might not love each-other, but there is a beautiful bond between them when it comes to the well-being of their kids.

Miller’s script really understands these personal complexities and intricacies in ways that we rarely see on film…and if nothing else, this movie was a wonderful watch to see them come to life. That’s the sort of thing I will remember most clearly when I think back on the voices I’m listening to thanks to this project.

Right. About that…

When I mentioned the seeking of new voices, it comes back to something I discussed with my friend Ariel Fisher this week. As I told her about working on this project, it occurred to me mid-sentence that what I was exploring was in no ways a genre. You might think for a moment that doing a series like this would provide you with insight into the female perspective or unveil commonalities within the films selected. You’d think wrong. For any common threads to appear, you’d have to at least stick to a common genre – which I haven’t. Some of these films have been very intimate, some macho and posturing, some quite sensual, and some introspective.

Basically, this is my way of closing out an entry where I declare that I am a stupid, stupid man. What that conversation reminded me of was that this project is about listening to specific voices, and seeking out artists I might have previously overlooked. It is not the exploration of a genre.

Don’t mind me – I’m just a big, dumb dude.

 

Here’s the week at hand…

 
Screenings
MAGGIE’S PLAN – As much as I enjoyed it, I must admit that this film might contain the single whitest shot I have ever seen in a movie (The shot used for this post).
SHORTS NOT PANTS: SUMMER 2016 Programme – James McNally pulled together a sweet little Canadian mix for the summer series. A good time as always.
GHOSTBUSTERS – Lots to say about this in the days ahead.

 
Streaming/Blu-Rays/DVD’s I’ve Never Seen
GRANDMA – Between this and her show with jane Fonda, I’m really enjoying this Lily Tomlin renaissance we find ourselves witness to.
A MATTER OF TIME – You’d think the final Vincent Minnelli – where he finally directs his daughter – would be something special. Unfortunately…
O.J.: MADE IN AMERICA – Finished the final episode this week. This is mandatory viewing, people…even if you think you already know it all.
BLACKBOARD JUNGLE – Sorta like DANGEROUS MINDS: SECRET ORIGIN

 
Streaming/Blu-Rays/DVD’s I’ve Seen Before
GHOSTBUSTERS 2 – It felt like this and the ’84 original were on TV all week.
SPY – For Matineecast purposes

 

Boxscore for The Year
130 First-Timers, 84 Re-Watched
41 Screenings
214 Movies in Total

How’s about you – seen anything good?