A surrealist look at the romantic comedy and how each choice creates a new world.
Ivy and Dave are totally hitting it off… until she says the wrong thing and completely freaks him out. TYPICAL. But tonight’s no ordinary night. There’s a glitch in the Matrix, déjà vu in the air, and Ivy gets the chance to see how things will turn out if she plays the dating game differently.
Just a few suggestions if you’ve spent the last 20 minutes listlessly scrolling and need help deciding. (More to come, especially after I make my way through my own Netflix list — including, but not limited to Frances Ha, Belle, Tracks, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen) Enough Said – It stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Enough said, amirite?! Ha! Anyways… it’s an adorable, adult rom-com. Perfect for viewing at anytime with almost anyone. In Your Eyes – I reviewed it here. No need to read the review, though, just watch the film if you’re in the mood for an unabashed romance. Like, Buffy and Angel-type yearning, but with a brilliant sci-fi/fantasy twist. Also, Zoe Kazan! The Intouchables – You will cry all the tears. It’s in French, so prepare for subtitles. This film will make you appreciate your life more. Chocolat – Remember when Johnny Depp used to be hot? Sigh. Those were the days. You’ve probably already seen Chocolat but it’s been a few years, right? This film is so worth revisiting. It’s romantic; it’s moving; and it’s a little bit magical. (Also, if you ever come across the book, grab it! It’s a wonderful read.) The Reader – As great as Slumdog Millionaire is, I thought The Reader deserved Best Picture in 2008. This is not a hungover Sunday film. This is a Thursday night, I’m wide awake and want to watch something moving, film. Kate Winslet is spectacular. Amélie – This may be the most charming film of all time. You’ve seen it already, right? Right!? I’m assuming you all have, but I’m putting it here just in case. It’s also in French so, yes, subtitles… but that doesn’t hold you back, does it? Reading is fun! I wish more stories incorporated magic realism; it’s pretty much the best. Watch this with red wine and good chocolate and maybe someone you adore. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World – Toronto! Michael Cera! Evil ex-boyfriends! Edgar Wright! If you still haven’t caught this cult film, get on it. It’s got action, romance, and comedy in spades. In Bruges – First of all, ignore Colin Farrell’s character’s tirades. Bruges, the city, is lovely. In Bruges, the movie, is also great. It’s a bit violent and drug-filled, but if you’re down with that, jump right in. The entire cast is brilliant as the plot takes you for a wild ride through the titular, sleepy Belgian town. *Disclaimer: These suggestions are for Netflix Canada. Sorry. Maybe your country’s Netflix will have a few of these. I least I hope so, eh?
Written and directed by Sam Esmail, Comet, released December 5th in the U.S. (I don’t know of its Canadian release.) is, according to its IMDb page, a Comedy/Drama/Romance.
“Set in a parallel universe, Comet bounces back and forth over the course of an unlikely but perfectly paired couple’s six-year relationship.”
Take a look and then we’ll talk… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wp9VI8Rg_2UOMG. This trailer is so perfect, so EVERYTHING, that I’m afraid I’m being punked — that it’s actually a short film designed to make hopeless romantic hipster-inclined fools like me work themselves into a tather over the Another Eternal Sunshine Starcrossed Magical Wonder of it all. Sometimes I think my favourite part of the entire filmmaking process/industry/whatever is trailers. It’s such an art. There’s something so magical about a brilliantly cut trailer — and if the film can actually stand up to it (Which is something I feel doesn’t happen nearly as often as it should.), if the film is actually better than its incredible trailer, that is real movie magic. Long story short, I cannot wait for this film. It inspires me to direct; it makes me want to fall in love; it makes me forget about… well, everything. And that’s the point, isn’t it? To be swept away? Some people create art to provoke, to challenge, to confuse. I create art to entertain, to wrap you up in a different world for 20, 30, 90 minutes… And I appreciate it when others do the same (and side effects of inspiration are also greatly welcome). Have you re-watched The Garden State trailer recently? You should. It has got to be one of the best trailers of all time. *Thanks, Cait, for showing this trailer to me.
Now I don’t exactly want to take back my rant on why A to Z deserves another season, buuuut… since I discovered FX(X)’s You’re the Worst I’ve lost my appetite for romcomsitcom works-in-progress. Unlike all of its network contemporaries, You’re the Worst arrived fully formed and brilliant. (And so much closer to my real life than any of the network shows’ shiny, happy worlds.*) Created by the extremely talented Stephan Falk, You’re the Worst — unlike A to Z — doesn’t need time to grow as a series, it’s already a full blown adult — a drunk, whiney, acting like it’s still on the right side of 30 adult, mind, but an adult none the less.
*Don’t get me wrong: I love shiny, happy things. But sometimes, at least these days, I prefer to see fuck-ups like myself onscreen, as opposed to perfectly coiffed lawyers — and their similarly gainfully employed ilk — all of whom never seem to actually work at their jobs.
Sometimes I forget that TV can do new things. There’s drama and there’s comedy and there’s HBO half hour “comedy.” In my brain, that is how I perceive television series: divided into those three categories. Maybe it’s because I watch a lot of network television. Network television doesn’t try many new things. (Sure, there are dozens of examples to the contrary but, in a sea of thousands, the innovative usually drown.) Half hour cable, too, often follows standard sitcom structures: Broad City, VEEP, It’s Always Sunny, Benched… But You’re the Worst doesn’t worry as much about half-hour comedy structure. (Maybe this is the FX’s M.O.? After all, it is the home of Louie.) If feels more like Californication or, perhaps, even more appropriately, like an indie (coming of age / romance / comedy) film allowed to breathe over 10 episodes. It’s looser and darker than a sitcom and it rarely wraps things up all neat and tidy by episode’s end. I love You’re the Worst because it’s about people who don’t want to grow up… but sometimes do… then don’t… and are just generally confused about the whole thing. The writers pass no judgment on their actions — they just let them screw up royally and organically. And it’s really fucking funny. If I could use one picture to describe the show it would be this: That smile is the smile of grownup accomplishment. Feeling shitty about her life, after a huge fight with her best friend, and coming down off a coke high, Gretchen purchases a food processor (the ultimate sign of adulthood) and rummages through her kitchen for ingredients to make something — in continuance on her journey to pulled-together grownup-ity — and finds… vodka and ice cubes. The characters on You’re the Worst are vodka ice smoothies made in expensive food processors: from afar all you hear is the expensive whirl of a responsible kitchen appliance and as you squint to make out its contents: grey fondant to spread over a winter themed birthday cake? caviar paté? it all looks kosher, but up close the truth is evident: they’re merely all thrown-together cocktails full of empty, if occasionally well-intentioned, drunken promises — the first gulp might make your eyes water, but as you near the bottom of the glass you’ll wonder why you ever bothered with fancy liquors and liqueurs in first place when quick, low-calorie friendship was at your fingertips all along. They share my uncertainties about life, writing, marriage, relationships, friendships… This show feels like coming home. I love it. I love it. I love it. And I think you will too.
If you’re in the same corner of the Pacific Northwest as me, just concede to the rainy weekend right now: buy a bottle of whiskey, several bags of chips and settle in and enjoy. Elsewhere? Schedule a time to binge watch all 10 episodes as soon as possible. It’s going to be your new favourite, I promise. And if you need me, I’ll be over here, humbly writing my You’re the Worst season two spec…