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Binky International Film Festival: Day Six

Hello and welcome to Day Six of “Binky International Film Festival”! I hope you’re all enjoying the holidays. This time of the year is the time where friends and families gather, the time for joy and celebration. So I thought it would be the right time to take a look at some of the most depressing movies of 2011. 🙂 Hey, it’s easier to discuss these movies when we’re in a festive joyful mood than when we’re actually really depressed, right?

There are quite a few “Depression-Inducing Flicks” that came out in 2011 but I only had the energy to see four of them, because I still like my life and I don’t want to kill myself just yet. Watching this type of movies can be draining… But somebody’s got to do it. So let’s take a look at these four flicks and nibble on those Zolofts, shall we?

“Depression-Inducing Flicks”

Monogamy

Release Date: March 13, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 96 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Dana Adam Shapiro & Evan M. Wiener
Stars: Rashida Jones, Chris Messina, Meital Dohan

I saw this movie because I have such a girl crush on Rashida Jones and because it was part of my “Relationship Breakdown” movie night (this and Blue Valentine will make you want to swear off romance forever), and even though this movie isn’t bad, I kinda regretted seeing it because it’s just so sad. I feel really sad for Rashida Jones’ character, who loves and trusts her fiance implicitly and has faith in their relationship, when all he does is become obsessed with a woman he doesn’t even know. What is it about human nature to be dissatisfied of the good thing we have in favor of something that may only appear exciting and unknown? This movie does make me think though, and makes me realize that part of our problem as a society is our lack of gratitude and appreciation of the good things we already have and tend to take for granted. But still, I wish it could’ve just gotten that message across without making Rashida Jones cry.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Melancholia

Release Date: November 11, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 136 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Lars Von Trier
Stars: Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Alexander Skarsgard, Kiefer Sutherland

I watched this movie because it had gotten a lot of praise, not just from critics but from celebrities I follow on Twitter as well. Sure, the Cannes Film Festival premiere of this film was overshadowed by director Lars Von Trier’s idiotic comments about Hitler (yes, that’s the way to get you working in the film industry, Lars, insult the Jews. Nice going), but no matter what your feeling is about this “eccentric” Danish director, you can’t deny he has made some pretty interesting films so far. Dogville was an example that he might just be a genius. Melancholia, however… Okay. How do I put this. I can’t in all honesty say it’s a bad movie. Because it’s not. It’s visually stunning, it’s obvious that Von Trier is a true artist, and Kirsten Dunst’s performance is absolutely poignant here, especially considering she had been to rehab for depression. But I just can’t love this movie or rave about it because it is so nihilistic and non life-affirming that I just want to throw shit at Von Trier after I saw it. I get it, Lars, life is meaningless and then we die. But that’s why we turn to pop culture, to distract us from all that. Come on, at least spread a little joy!

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

We Need To Talk About Kevin

Release Date: December 9, 2011 (NYC)
Approx. Running Time: 112 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Lynne Ramsay & Rory Kinnear
Stars: Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller

If your child grew up to be a teenage sociopath who decided to wake up one day and killed a bunch of his classmates in a high school massacre, should you blame yourself? What makes a psychopath, nature or nurture? Those are the questions that this jarring movie asks, as it follows Eva (Tilda Swinton), who’s trying to slowly put her life back together after her son Kevin commits a massacre that took the life of several of his schoolmates. The movie goes back and forth in time, chronicling Kevin’s life from when he was a baby up to the moment that he decided to do the unimaginable. Tilda Swinton’s performance was just so heartbreaking and, even though he only played a small role, Ezra Miller’s chilling turn as Kevin once again cemented him as the young star to watch. It is hard to watch this movie, because of its heavy subject matter but it’s worth the extra trip to your therapist just to see their amazing performances.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Angels Crest

Release Date: December 30, 2011
Approx. Running Time: 92 min
Director & Screenwriter(s): Gaby Dellal & Catherine Trieschmann
Stars: Thomas Dekker, Joseph Morgan, Jeremy Piven, Kate Walsh, Mira Sorvino, etc

They say that nothing is more painful for a parent than having to bury your own child. So the premise of this movie, in which the disappearance of a three year old ripped through a small community, is already depressing by default. Watching a young – very young I might add – father lose his son that he loved very much is hard enough, seeing his growing realization throughout the movie, that he may not have been the best father and that he has indirectly caused the death of his child, is even harder. It’s always sad when you see people with the best intentions fail not because they don’t love enough or care enough but because they don’t know enough. And that’s what this movie is all about. I would’ve loved it more if the ending was a little bit uplifting, but since it was even more heartbreaking… I say don’t watch it unless you’re in a very emotionally stable state.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

And that concludes Day Six of Binky International Film Festival! Sorry for backing out on my words earlier about posting this on Christmas Day, I didn’t count on my flu getting even worse, not better. But I shall get over this soon (I hope). In any case, I will try to post the next four days of this festival before New Year’s Eve. Come back tomorrow for Day 7 where we’ll be taking a look at my personal favorites of 2011 in the “Repeat Viewing” genre.

Till then!

Binky Bee

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I Heart Quirky Girls

Quirky.

The dictionary defines the word as: a peculiar trait, idiosyncrasy, original, individual, unusual, peculiar, odd, strange, eccentric and unpredictable.

In other words, quirky defines me.

That’s probably why the main characters in my novels are usually quirky, because let’s face it, every writer is narcissistic enough to always insert a piece of themselves into everything they write.

Or maybe it’s just me.

As I’m writing Sara Beth and The Magic Nails, my newest novel with five quirky main characters, I would take a two-hour break everyday from writing to watch my favorite movies featuring quirky girls I love and I can relate with the most.

So I thought today I would share with you my five favorite quirky women (in no particular order) that help inspire me in writing my novel.

1/ Amelie Poulin in Amelie

Audrey Tautou as Amelie Poulain in Amelie

Audrey Tautou as Amelie Poulain in Amelie

I love Amelie Poulain because she’s not just quirky, she has such a good heart that just wants to see other people happy. She may be shy, introvert and lives in her own reality but she goes out of her way to touch the lives of the people around her in the most inconspicuous and genius way. She even devises an elaborate plan just to meet the man she’s secretly in love with, the man who is just as much of an oddball as she is. And in turn, the people whose lives she touched help her to be brave and go after her own happiness. The movie just makes me all warm inside and gives me hope, that even oddballs can make a difference in the world, and of course find each other and fall in love.

2/ Summer Finn in 500 Days of Summer

Zooey Deschanel as Summer Finn in 500 Days Of Summer

Zooey Deschanel as Summer Finn in 500 Days Of Summer

I love Summer Finn not just because she’s played by my girl-crush Zooey Deschanel and because she’s an avid The Smiths fan. I love Summer because she reminds me of myself, and her relationship with Tom Hanson in this movie is the kind of loving but damaged, passionate but heartbreaking relationship that I think we all can relate to, the relationship we thought was the be-all-and-end-all and yet as it turns out, it just wasn’t the one we are willing to settle in. Summer is the kind of girl who does what she wants, says what she feels like and is not afraid to admit failures when she needs to. I love that about her. She makes me feel that it’s okay to not know what you want for a time, life is about the journey and not really about the destination.

3/ Claire Colburn in Elizabethtown

Kirsten Dunst as Claire Colburn in Elizabethtown

Kirsten Dunst as Claire Colburn in Elizabethtown

I love Claire Colburn not just because she’s outspoken and assertive, but also because she’s very creative, persuasive and she’s willing to take a chance on a total stranger she meets in a flight just because she finds him interesting. I also love her offbeat way of getting to know a man she finds interesting: instead of going the normal first date, they have an all-night phone conversation and finally meeting halfway in the morning to watch the sunrise. But the thing I love most about her is of course the effort she makes in guiding the grieving Drew Baylor home, by creating him a special “map”, complete with mixed CDs and interesting places to see and things to do. She makes me realize that sometimes it’s okay to take a chance in life, with someone you don’t really expect anything from.

4/ Sam in Garden State

Natalie Portman as Sam in Garden State

Natalie Portman as Sam in Garden State

I love Sam because she’s not only quirky, but she’s also a truly amazing girl. First, she admits openly that she likes to lie, even telling Andrew Largeman that she sometimes hears herself say something and thinks, ‘Wow, that wasn’t even remotely true’. Second, she can laugh at herself and her condition. She doesn’t let being epileptic stop her from living her life and enjoying it to the fullest. Third, she actually picks up a guy in the waiting room of a clinic by asking him to listen to The Shins. How is that not amazing? Sam, just like Claire Colburn in Elizabethtown, became the catalyst for change for the man who eventually falls in love with her. The movie inspires me to just laugh at myself and enjoy life, even if it’s filled with challenges

5/ Celine in Before Sunrise

Julie Delpy as Celine in Before Sunrise

Julie Delpy as Celine in Before Sunrise

I love Celine because she is idealistic and romantic, and she dares to take a chance on a romance that she knows isn’t going anywhere. She doesn’t let it stop her, even though she knows a future with the man she meets on the Euro train is wishful thinking and she’s enough of a realist to understand that – she decides to spend one night with him in Vienna anyway, not caring of what comes next, just excited for the adventure that lays ahead of her. I wish sometimes that I was more like her, I’m just too much of a control freak to live in such abandon. This movie of course has amazing conversations between Celine and Jesse, and even though it doesn’t end with the traditional Hollywood happy ending, this is still a cherished love story between two people who just happen to find each other at the right time.

Those are the quirky girls that inspire me as I continue writing Sara Beth and The Magic Nails.

Who are your favorite quirky characters?

xoxo

Binky Bee