The film is about a teenager who is overwhelmed by the world around him. Craig feels pressure and is stressed because he doesn’t really know what to do with his life. Everyone is telling him to go one way but he’s not sure it’s where he wants to go. When he almost kills himself he decides to check into a mental ward to hopefully calm him down. Hilarity and a heartfelt story follows. That’s the film. Sure this is a story that has been played out countless times, that doesn’t mean it can’t be heard one more time.
Now is where it gets personal. I have never been suicidal or even depressed, but I understand the pressure Craig is feeling. I still feel that way sometimes. Everyone around me seems to know exactly what they are doing while I am standing here freaking out because I don’t feel ready for what’s next. I’m constantly asked what career I am looking at in my future and they don’t seem to like when I reply that I do not know. Craig is overwhelmed in the film because his friends seem to be smarter than him, more on track, and his dad keeps pressuring him to fill out a summer school application that he isn’t even sure he wants to do. College is next for me and I can honestly say I am terrified, but this film inspired me, it calmed me down. It showed me that things will be okay. Craig learned a lot about who he was and what his passions are during his stay, which is something I’m doing with this blog.
The writing is strong thanks to Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. It can be deeply serious and emotional at times while also providing smart and hilarious dialogue. My favorite scene is when everyone sings Under Pressure, a song that captures the message of the movie perfectly. A film like this was able to pull such a moment off. The issues of teen suicide and depression are brought up with Boden and Fleck doing a terrific job balancing the humor and the seriousness of the story.
The writing was brought to life through the fantastic cast. Zach Galifianakis is a hilarious human being (Between Two Ferns). He can nail comedy when he needs to. Seeing him in this film shows the strengths he has as an actor. He pulls off the comedy while also becoming very real during the serious moments. Emma Roberts is finding her stride as an actor as well. She has grown away from her kid friendly up-bringing, approaching these indie roles. She does a marvelous job as Noelle playing the damaged individual who sees Craig for who he is. Speaking of Craig, Keir Gilchrist is incredible playing this confused and terrified teenager. He is believable throughout the entire movie making his resolution satisfying and deserving.
This is a film that has a soundtrack worth mentioning. One of the pleasures of these small independent films is they always have the best music, and this one does not disappoint. Blood by The Middle East is one of my all time favorite songs. Look forward to that style and feel.
I don’t want to say this isn’t for everyone because I truly believe this is. Maybe not everyone feels the pressure It’s Kind of a Funny Story is about. Maybe they know exactly what they are doing. But for me, this film was an enormous help. Even though things are tough right now and happening all at once, what this story is trying to say is that it’s going to be okay. Which is what I needed to hear. I strongly recommend this movie especially to those who feel this overwhelming strain. We don’t need to go through what Craig experienced, we just need to calm down.
Netflix streaming: No
I really enjoyed Wreck-It Ralph, but I can honestly say that I loved this short film more than it. This is one of the most beautiful, stunning, and sweetest short films I have ever seen. I was in tears by the end. It is an incredibly moving and powerful story about the strength of love for hopeless romantics. Disney needs to continue to release shorts before every one of their animated films (preferably all of their films). Especially if it’s as moving as this. So please, enjoy this fantastic short film directed by John Kahrs, a smile or two will follow along with a tear (the happy kind).
Just one of the greatest songs written by Jimi Hendrix. Not really the most uplifting but he tells it like it is. Simply love the gorgeous guitar. Enjoy.
The Shins are one of my top favorite bands of all time. James Mercer is quite a talented man. Thankfully when he isn’t working on The Shins, he has a second band to keep him occupied, Broken Bells. A band that is just as great. So I bring you one of their best songs. Enjoy.
I had grown curious of this movie when I heard that the little girl was being eyed to be the youngest nominee at the Academy Awards for best actress (she has now been officially nominated). The more I looked into the film, the more I yearned to see it. Glad that yearning took place because what came out was a remarkable experience about love, courage and sacrifice.
The film is about Hushpuppy and her father. They live in The Bathtub where a major storm threatens their lives. That’s the movie.
The strongest powers came from the incredible performences. These characters feel so real thanks to Quvenzhané Wallis as Hushpuppy and Dwight Henry as her father, Wink. Henry does a fantastic job as the stern, but well meaning, alcoholic father. He truly cares about his daughter, acting the way he does to toughen her for future heart aches. At times he can become a raging alcoholic but he tries to express his apology by teaching Hushpuppy some sort of life lesson following his outbursts. Henry plays a fragile man who tries to act tough for his daughter and he does a magnificent job for someone who has never had any acting experience.
I understand why Wallis was getting all of that attention. The innocence and curiosity she is able to convey is beautiful. Hushpuppy wants to follow her father’s footsteps but begins to question his methods as the film goes on. She has to fend for herself during the times her father is absent, which makes the film that much sadder because she is still a kid, no matter how tough she acts. But this is about Hushpuppy growing up, learning about a world beyond the Bathtub, a world she may have to eventually embrace. She goes through a change that is incredible to witness.
The Bathtub is just as important towards what it’s all about. This is a town ruled by absolute freedom. Hushpuppy comments that “The Bathtub has more holidays than the whole rest of the world.” These people celebrate simply to celebrate. They have hidden themselves away from a society they no longer want to be a part of. But they can’t hide from the past forever, something Wink had to eventually face himself.
The fantasy element comes from the creatures known as Aurochs that have “broken free” from the ice caps they were frozen in. They were described as the toughest animals to have ever lived and are shown to be something Hushpuppy feared. We are briefly shown throughout the movie the Aurochs journey which parallels Hushpuppy’s story and struggle. The confrontation at the end of the film is amazing.
A component of the film I loved was the outstanding cinematography. I love when a movie uses the camera to express the story. The camera is always presented at Hushpuppy’s eye-level, we see the world the way she sees it. This is to further place the audience into Hushpuppy’s mind because the story is told from her perspective.
The music is also incredible. Composed by the films director Benh Zeitlin along with Dan Romer, they present a whimsical and powerful score. The music plays along with the fantasy themes of the story while adapting during times of sorrow. The music has the ability to stay with you in the best way possible. I’ll have a song from the film in the bottom.
The story is powerful and moving. It is filled with fantasy, excitement and deep sadness. Tears were present. My favorite scene in the film is when Hushpuppy and the children of the Bathtub visit Hushpuppy’s “mom”. The wonder and care placed into that moment is one of the most moving scenes I have ever seen. The same would have to go with the film’s ending.
A funny thing happened when I watched the movie. My little sister, who is 8 years old, had walked in when I started it and she stayed the entire time. She became very concerned for the characters and everything that happened. It was at the end, during the film’s finest and toughest moments, that I noticed she was in tears. I asked her what she thought of the movie when we finished, which she replied, “that was a sad movie.” I think it’s fantastic that my 8 year old sister was able to see the beauty and emotion of this film. I now see her in a different, more awesome light for this appreciation..
Beasts of the Southern Wild is an incredible movie. I felt inspired and deeply moved by the film (the ending shot is super awesome). It leaves a lasting impression on the audience, I seriously could not stop thinking about it days that followed. I hope this doesn’t come off as a depressing film though, sure there are moments that will make you weep, but this is a moving and powerful movie that explains the importance of courage and love. Everyone needs to see this.
Netflix streaming: No
Created by Kyle T. Webster
I love documentaries that focus on abnormal topics. And how abnormal of a topic is a community of haunted houses in Massachusetts?
The documentary is about three haunted houses in Fairhaven, Massachusetts. It is an interesting and fun look at three men who share a common interest while also showing the heartfelt passion for doing something you love. That’s it.
Michael Stephenson had previously directed the documentary Best Worst Movie, another fun look at an abnormal topic (the cult film, Troll 2). Here he focuses on the pros and cons of embracing a passionate hobby. Victor Bariteau is the haunter who is obsessed with creating the perfect house. He spends thousands of dollars to bring his vision to life, a concern that is shown in his wife’s constant worry over the increasing bill. Bariteau has this hobby but takes the fun out of this tradition. He is so drawn to make his night perfect that he never appears to be enjoying any of it. Manny Souza on the other hand understands what this is about. He understands that this can be a fun experience while also presenting a scary haunted house. He was inspired by Bariteau and is always shown to be having a great time working with his family to get the house ready in time. Last is the father and son team, Matt and Rick Brodeur. They are a bit underused compared to Bariteau and Souza (the Brodeur house isn’t even shown that much on Halloween) but their relationship packs a great, heartwarming punch and are still a part of the overall message.
Stephenson used haunted houses and Halloween as an example to show what this documentary is about. Everybody has something they are passionate for. We each have something we want to express or grow on to show admiration. These men show the value and reward for embracing these passions. Finding the balance where our passions always contain that spark of joy and away from obsession, in this case, Bariteau which takes away from the fun. I have always had such a strong love for film and television. This documentary has increased my love and appreciation for this affection with movies which is why I had started this blog in the first place. So thank you.
If you are in the mood for a simple film, The American Scream is a welcoming treat. Stephenson does a great job showing more of the set up than the actual outcome for each house, leaving Halloween night to be a wonderful finale with worthy payoff.
Netflix streaming: Yes
I bring you a classic song along with a classic clip to celebrate our untimely demise, the amazing Ink Spots and the brilliant finale for Dr. Strangelove. These both capture the qualities of an apocalypse: love and wonder. Celebrate your day well and enjoy.