This is an ever-evolving story of a girl writer and her two greatest loves, the movies and travel. As she hikes the trenches of Hollywood, you're brought along for the ride.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tearjerkers: Sharing Emotions With Fictional Characters

There are times when I don’t feel up to facing the world.  Times when I’m emotional and teary-eyed and the sadness of anything I’ve ever experienced casts a dark, heavy shadow in my brain. 

When I’m in that state, I certainly don’t feel like being around people yet I don’t necessarily feel like being alone either. That’s where movies come in.   To get myself out of a depressed funk, I’d like to say that I watch comedies or feel-good chick flicks. But I’m not a comedy, chick-flick sort of girl in these instances. Misery loves company, they say. And when I’m depressed, I watch depressing movies. I hate to say it, but they make me feel better about my sad, little life. Much better than a forced laugh. Trying to fake myself into a better mood by watching a comedy never seems to work.

Sometimes, emotions have to bleed out of your pores before the sunshine can flow in again. I can identify with the characters and emotional currents of a sad film to a deeper degree when those sad emotions are already churning through my veins. Although our situations may be far different, I can share my emotions and my tears with the characters on the screen. With them, I feel that I’m in good company—even if I’m crying alone. On my sofa. On a Friday night. 

Movies That Make Me Cry (in no particular order):

It may be the nostalgia, but Deschanel's cinematography alone is magical enough to make me cry.

Like Crazy (2011)
Two people in love whose lives just can't get into synch.  It's tears me up inside because I know what that's like.

Elegy (2008) 

Cinema Paradiso (1988)
Beaches (1988)
Beaches is arguably a “chick flick” in many peoples’ books. I take offense to the term chick flick.  I believe it demotes some beautiful films purely because they tell emotional, female-centered stories. It shouldn’t be that way, but then again, Hollywood’s still an Old Boys’ Club. 

The Impossible (2012) 
Fairly certain that almost no one saw this.  Starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, it's a beautiful film about a natural disaster. 

The Wrestler (2008)
The Artist (2011)
When all seems lost, these two characters find a way to meet in the middle.  And they end up together in the end.  A sad film that brightens in the end-- like seeing a rainbow after the storm, only it's all in black-and-white.

Ghost (1990)
If there's any film that makes me want to believe in the supernatural, an after-life, and the hope for everlasting love, it's this one.

Copyright ©2013 by KLiedle

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Power Of Visual Storytelling

Katie's Journey opens on a seemingly ordinary day, but instantly sucks the audience into a little girl's psychological nightmare.  The short which premiered in 2008 was written and directed by Samuel Jørgensen, a native of Sydney, Australia.  It's a showcase of  Jørgensen  talent for visual storytelling.

 Jørgensen, who spent time in Austin, TX before going out to L.A., specializes in visual effects. His expertise shows in his own work as well as the extensive work he's done on other films-- of which there are many.

If you like kinetic energy, sci-fi, extraterrestrial beings and adrenaline-pumping movies, Singularity, an upcoming short film by Samuel Jørgensen will definitely pique your interest.  His hope is to raise enough financing to expand the short into a feature. Written content Copyright ©2013 by KLiedle

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tig Notaro: From Working Comedian To "Semi-Famous"

I first read about Tig Notaro in LA Weekly.  A few months later, she appeared in a profile article in ELLE MagazineIt was the ELLE article where I first read of Notaro's laughably heart-wrenching year that strangely led to a goldmine of comedic material.  It all came to a forefront when Notaro made an appearance at Largo (here in Hollywood) shortly after she'd been diagnosed with breast cancer.  

A working comedian, but by no means a household name, Notaro's performance that night made waves throughout social media.  Aided by Louis C.K.'s reverence for her work [he'd been at Largo that night], Tig Notaro is now seemingly everywhere.  After a year like she had, she deserves nothing but good fortune.  

Once I became aware of her, I sought out Tig Notaro's comedy.  I really appreciate her uniqueness.  She brings a darkly comedic style to her material all the way down to her mannerisms.  The above clip from Conan is a good example of her wry signature style.  

Side note: Two out of the three places featured in the clip are close to where I live.  I've made copies of scripts at NoHo Copy and Paty's is instantly recognizable to anyone who lives in the area.  My headshot is not on the walls.

Footage from Conan via YouTube
Written content - Copyright ©2013 by KLiedle

Sunday, July 7, 2013

League Of Extraordinarly Aging Gentlemen In Hollywood

After reading The Great Gatsby, my 9th grade English teacher had us watch the film adaptation.  To be clear, I’m referring to the Mia Farrow and Robert Redford version, because… I wasn’t born yesterday.  The film adaptation left me both disappointed and confused.  See, I’d overheard my mom and her friend talking about how much of a heartthrob Robert Redford was.  How handsome, how sexy… and I really didn’t get it at all-- even when I saw the younger version of the man.

“Eww, Robert Redford?  He’s got all those pot-marks on his face and like skin cancer, doesn’t he?”  I said with the sly smile only a teenager can pull off.  My mom replied “Honey, you’ll understand when you’re older.” 

And I do.  Not the Robert Redford part of it; I still don’t really get that, but good for him for starting the Sundance Institute.  I do, however, understand the movie star heartthrob part.  Recently, The Los Angeles Times did an article on male movie stars who are aging gracefully onscreen.  I took note primarily because “Oh, shit!,” these are the heartthrobs of the generation a few steps ahead of me.  [I’d say my generation, but I’ve always been attracted to older guys so that’s not entirely true… not technically.]

The Times mentioned Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp and George Clooney mostly.  Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio were the youngest of the older bunch in question.  It was odd in a way because a couple of months ago I was sitting on the back porch of a house where we were filming and Johnny [Depp] sat down for a smoke across from me.  At the time, I remember glancing up at him and thinking, “Crazy, he’s almost 50 and he’s still a looker.”

There are few things about men I understood as a kid.  Like women twice my age, I did understand there was something about Warren Beatty. At thirteen, I went to see Dick Tracy and I came out of the theater with a little girl crush on a much older man.  

 It wasn’t the first time either.  Two years earlier, I’d fallen head over heels over Harrison Ford.  I wanted to become an archeologist, travel the world, and hang out with Harrison.  Sadly, the reality was that I was in fifth grade and the only real thing I’d accomplished that year was getting my mom to let me wear a training bra.  Nor was I good at math or science.  None of this would impress Mr. Ford; I was doomed.  (Maybe Sean Connery would still hang out with me.)

Upon watching Gone With The Wind for the first time as a kid, I just knew Scarlett O’Hara was a moron for not going for Rhett Butler, hook-line-and-sinker.  Clark Gable was ruggedly handsome.  Leslie Howard, not so much.  Obviously.  Come on, Scarlett-- get with the program, but I’ve seen the film multiple times in my life and it ends the same way each and every time.  Scarlett single once again.  Because she’s a moron and a tad too selfish and conniving.

Like any woman worth her weight in estrogen, I was attracted to Patrick Swayze and I've seen Dirty Dancing more than my share of times.  I even recall watching it at slumber parties and girls rewinding the VHS tape so we could watch and re-watch a quick flash of Swayze's bare rear-end.  It's just a glimpse.  I won't tell you which scene.  Most women probably already know.

More strangely, I had my Albert Finney phase.  I thought he was cute and, more importantly, had a super sexy voice.  Albert Finney, folks.  And yet I fail to understand my mom and her Robert Redford.   

It did make me feel better when I learned that Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney had a 
 little flame all their own.  See, I’m not crazy.  Audrey thought he was hot.  Watch Two For The Road and you’ll understand.  Even watch Annie and you’ll sort of get it.  Who doesn’t want a Daddy Warbucks with a voice like Finney?

I also had, shall I say, a fondness for Laurence Olivier.  I read his autobiography and flipped through old photos of him.  Very handsome gentleman, I thought.  And he married Scarlett O’Hara [Vivien Leigh.] She didn’t end up alone after all!  I thought they had the perfect romance until I learned of a rumor that he wasn’t really much a gentleman after all. 

For any woman there comes a time in your life when you’re faced with the reality that, like you, little girl crushes grow old.   

My brother got me Harrison Ford’s autograph a few years ago and I’ll admit, as an adult, it didn’t elicit the same excitement.  Ten years ago, when I first moved to Hollywood, Warren Beatty came into the coffee shop where I worked.   
 The 13-year-old girl lurking somewhere inside my soul was alarmed to see a man who looked like he had just rolled out of bed.  He was somewhat aloof, but very polite.  Glimmers of his handsomeness still stood out amid the pillow creases and lines etched onto his face.  I remember him being disappointed that we didn’t have wheat rolls.  But I was I thinking of how damned good he looked in that yellow fedora so many years ago.  Then, I sheepishly apologized and told him I’d ask my manager that day to order wheat rolls—at his request.   
We got wheat rolls.  I never saw Warren again.  Damn you, wheat rolls. 

At twenty-four, I understood firsthand the charisma of Jack Nicholson.  I was standing and talking with a group of male co-workers on the sound stage where we were filming.  Nicholson came waltzing in wearing a white, terrycloth bathrobe [for the scene.]  He looked at me, flashed a broad smile, and said “Good morning.” My co-workers watched him pass by and muttered later that Mr. Nicholson didn’t even look over at them at all.  Um, you're not female, boys.  And that’s Jack for you.  He may not be classically handsome, but charisma goes a long way.  And the guy’s got charisma.

Not so long ago, I made a male co-worker recoil in horror when I mentioned that Russell Brand was hot in a roguish, dirty sorta way.  Then, my Albert Finney revelation made him nearly fall out of his chair.  As a result, he became utterly confused by the way my brain works. Sometimes I can’t even pinpoint what attracts me to certain men whether it’s a grown woman 'movie star crush' or a man in my personal life.  My former movie star crushes are surprisingly odd, even for someone like me who is well, odd.  Or more pleasantly put… quirky in a Diane Keaton sort of way.  Sometimes they make sense, like Robert Downey, Jr and Johnny Depp. Who's to argue those movie star crushes?  In the end, it doesn't matter because your little girl movie star crushes are yours and yours alone-- even if you shared them with millions of other adolescent girls.  To anyone who's ever had a little girl crush on a big movie star, may all your crushes age as well as George Clooney. 

Copyright ©2013 by KLiedle