Help hurricane victims in Texas…

American Red Cross

(pictures of Houston from the recent Houston Chronicle article on the 10th anniversary of Rushmore)

(more after the break)

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Interview with Derek Hill, author of Charlie Kaufman and Hollywood’s Merry Band of Pranksters, Fabulists, and Dreamers

(buy the book)

Derek Hill is an American abroad, currently residing in rural Ireland. His writing has appeared in numerous print and online publications, such as The Third Alternative, VideoScope, Mystery Scene, Video Watchdog, Images: A Journal of Film and Popular Culture, and All Movie (previously The All Movie Guide). He was also a contributor to the three volume Greenwood Press Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy (writing about the Planet of the Apes film series and Close Encounters of the Third Kind). He’s currently writing a book for Wallflower Press’ Cultographies line about Alex Cox’s seminal 1980s cult film, Repo Man.

RA: Could you briefly describe the book, and tell us what motivated you to write it.

DH: The book is a look at contemporary (mostly) American filmmakers Richard Linklater, David O. Russell, Wes Anderson, Spike Jonze, Sofia Coppola, and Michel Gondry-a sort of new American New Wave if you will. Using the films of Charlie Kaufman as the center-pieces, so to speak, I felt that there were a number of filmmakers who had enough shared themes and comedic sensibilities to be viewed as a movement. It’s an unconscious, unplanned movement, to be sure, but a vital psychological one. I think that these filmmakers are some of the most engaging, imaginative, original, storytellers working in commercial film today. There’s a real sense of experimentation (especially with someone like Linklater or Russell), virtuosic style, and a peculiar mix of angst and comedy that seemed pertinent to these troubled times. There’s a real sense of dissatisfaction with a lot of the characters and the humor running through all of the films. And while most of these films are ostensibly comedies, there’s an underlying melancholy and seriousness in them as well which seems completely antithetical to what’s coming out of the Hollywood machine or even the indie-trenches for that matter. Many of the filmmakers had been written about only in terms of their loose affiliation as directors in the “independent film” scene or whatever… not in terms of their thematic or stylistic similarities. It just felt appropriate to engage them on an aesthetic or thematic level instead of a consumer-oriented level which would be much too broad for what I wanted to do.

(more after the break)

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Rushmore no. 20 on EW’s “Cult 25”

20. RUSHMORE (1998)
An oddball love triangle between a freakishly precocious 15-year-old, a widowed teacher, and a depressed tycoon, Rushmore is a movie that defies its eccentricities. The production is stagey, the dialogue stilted, and the performances gleefully deadpan, yet it is as tender and life-affirming a movie as the irony-drenched ’90s produced.
SIGNATURE LINE ”She’s my Rushmore, Max.” (link)

Thanks to Loraxaeon. Bravo, Max! (Yankee Racers thread)

Jarvis Cocker and “Fantastic Mr. Fox”

From Time Out Chicago:

TOC: Yet you wrote songs for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, appearing in the film as the frontman of the Weird Sisters. Do kids recognize you?
Jarvis Cocker: I had a very specific look going on in that film—giant fur jacket, snakeskin trousers—that I wouldn’t normally wear down the street. That would get me attention, but probably the wrong kind of attention. I’ve been doing some stuff for a children’s film Wes Anderson is doing, an animated feature.

TOC: The stop-motion adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox?
Jarvis Cocker: I’ve written three, four songs, and some of that might become bits of the score.

TOC: Now you’re writing the new Disney songs.
Jarvis Cocker: If you criticize Disney, the next step is “do better.” I get the chance to do it myself and corrupt young minds.

Fantastically Flawed Fathers

Kim Morgan wrote an intriguing piece for the Huffington Post on Father’s Day examining “five fantastically flawed fathers” from film. These include Nicholas Cage in Raising Arizona, Ryan O’Neal in Paper Moon, and of course Gene Hackman in The Royal Tenenbaums.

Wes Anderson taps into that childhood yearning we have for our past, how it’s as rose colored as Royal’s dress shirts but at the same time, lonely, bitter and neglected. Anderson makes something beautiful about all this, without being sloppy and we come to not only adore Royal but trust his advice.

Don’t forget to steal the grandkids and hop a dump truck to show your family love sometime soon!

Vulpes Vuples

The Guardian paper in the UK published an informative article on foxes recently. Natually our man Wes’ new film in production gets a mention:

Did you know?

Wes Anderson, the film director behind The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic, is working on a big-screen animated version of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s story The Fantastic Mr Fox. George Clooney will play the lead role. Naturally.

Other fascinating facts and observations are noted as well:

And their loud love-making – does that not bother you?

Yeah, quite frightening. It sounds a bit like a baby being strangled. It doesn’t sound like either one of them is enjoying it very much.

16 Military Wives

A flashback Tuesday treat: Thought it might be fun to revisit the Decemberists’ video “16 Military Wives” from a couple years ago. This very Rushmore inspired video was directed by Aaron Stewart-Ahn:

16 Military Wives

Adrien in India

“The Darjeeling Limited” has seen a country wide release in India since the last week of April. There have been a handful of mostly positive reviews for the film. Perhaps most of interest is a new-seeming interview with Adrien Brody in the Times of India. Great to see that he is still doing promotion for TDL.

Did you have any strange experiences or comic misadventure of your own?

AB: Yeah, I bought a motorcycle and I was there with my girlfriend and we were riding around a lot. I was passing a took-took, one of those little rickshaws, so I moved to the side, and there was a buffalo there. I jammed on the breaks and we skidded and I almost went head first into the rear end of this buffalo. I was laughing as I almost died because it was so absurd to me. I was thinking, ‘This is going to be the way I’m going to be remembered.’ All the hard work down the drain and this is it. I saw the headline instantly.

40 years ago today

The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.

From his speech, “Beyond Vietnam,” given one year, to the day, before his death:

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life’s roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. [Applause]

A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: “This is not just.” It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say: “This is not just.” The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.

A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: “This way of settling differences is not just.” This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. [Sustained applause]

America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing except a tragic death wish to prevent us from reordering our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood. (source)

Check out Democracy Now! for great coverage of this anniversary and the legacy of Dr. King.