If you can maneuver around the initial wall of overly-warm sentimentality that stands thick in the middle of Little Boy, and if you don’t mind the multiple themes tossed at you like a juggler trying to impress a children’s birthday party, then you’ll eventually get to a colorful-if-shaky treatment of that most nagging of Christian mandates: “Have faith.”
“Beauty isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.”
So says a particularly incisive fashion designer in Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon. The quote is a bit on the nose, but certainly seems to be the mantra of Refn himself. His films have always been visually striking, even when treading familiar narrative ground. Refn’s ability to marry sound and image, crafting an overall tone that is both jarring and haunting, distinguishes him as one of the most unique directors working today. And while I haven’t always responded to the stories Refn has chosen to tell – and felt them to be somewhat incongruous with the style with which he tells them – The Neon Demon seems like the film he was born to make. Finally, the vapid shallow beauty inherent in Refn’s preferred filmmaking choices matches that of the characters we’re watching. The film is ultimately gorgeous, meditative, and extremely trashy, making it one of the most interesting cinematic experiences of the year.
In this episode, Tyler and Robert discuss the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis and Brad Silberling’s Moonlight Mile.
00:00:44- Intro, The MTOL Top 50 Movies
00:03:50- Finding Dory review, Thank God for Scary Movies, VidAngel
00:20:30- Inside Llewyn Davis
01:09:10- Moonlight Mile
01:41:27- Tragedy, loss, helping, and Tyler has a breakdown
Two specific films in Pixar’s canon seemed least likely to warrant a sequel. One was Up, the other was Finding Nemo. Both had complete stories with what felt like closed loops that would only lend themselves to sequels with the most forceful of contrivances. Not that the rest of Pixar’s stories weren’t complete, they just existed in worlds which begged to tell more stories, unlike the definitive closure at the end of Finding Nemo.
So when Finding Dory was announced, I rolled my eyes. It already felt forced. It felt like they were seeking to capitalize on the appeal of a breakout character to market new toys. It felt, even from the title, repetitive and redundant. But when the credits rolled and the lights came up, those feelings couldn’t have been more forgotten.
It was a day filled with stress and anxiety. Bills needed to be paid with less than enough money. Deadlines had passed without completed work. Conversations had ranged from tense and sensitive to outright heated arguments. I felt incompetent and ineffective in every endeavor I put my hand to, whether personal or professional. I couldn’t turn around without offending someone, being misunderstood, or letting somebody down.
I probably should have taken a walk. You know, fresh air and all that. I’m a Christian, so I probably should have prayed harder about things. Maybe read my bible or listened to a Hillsong CD. But I already felt so embarrassed and even a little ashamed that the thought of trying harder to do the thing I’m supposed to do felt like setting myself up for one more failure. So I did the thing I knew would demand almost nothing from me.
I watched a scary movie.
We at More Than One Lesson are curious what our listeners consider to be the best movies of all time. So, we’re finally asking for submissions, from which we’ll compile a list of the 50 best films ever made. Here’s what to do:
- Make your ten selections. They must be feature length, but can be from any country and any era.
- Put your selections in order, with #1 being your top pick.
- E-mail your list to email@example.com.
We’ll take submissions thru June 25th, so be sure to get them in as soon as you can.