Ten Feel Good Films

There’s nothing quite like a well made, artfully done, depressing-as-hell film.  It’s what I love.  It’s what I long for when entering a darkened theater — my There Will be Bloods, my Sweet Hereafters, my classic noir, my psychological dramas, my human tragedies.  I avoid musicals and romantic comedies like the plague…these being films most would claim as “feel good”.  But there’s something special about a well done “nice film” that can brighten one’s spirits.  And then there are those off-the-wall comedies that make you laugh over and over.  After watching one of the most draining and harrowing films of recent memory, the artfully done but dehumanizingly humanist IRA-hunger-strike-in-prison drama, Hunger, I realized I needed a pick-me-up.  So what movies make someone like me feel good? 

Well, here’s the Schleicher Spin on Ten Feel Good Films that totally “get me”:

10.  Ratatouille (2007) – Hats off to this rat and the best Pixar film ever.  I frickin’ love this little French rat chef.  It’s all about the story-arc and character development here.

Ah...Paris!

9.  Wet Hot American Summer (2001) – Really, how can you not feel good when a movie has these four words in the title:  WET, HOT, AMERICAN,  and SUMMER?  Yeaaaaah!  Summer camp and the 1980’s rocked, man!  This is the movie that Hot Tub Time Machine wishes it could be. Continue reading

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Spotlight on the Independent Arts: Robbie Gil

***This is the second post in a new feature I plan to showcase here at The Schleicher Spin called Spotlight on the Independent Arts.  

The goal is to give exposure to, encourage collaboration with, and provide honest critiques for independent artists.  I hope to feature filmmakers, writers, photographers, painters and musicians.  As an independent author, I feel it’s important to support and celebrate those working independently to forge their careers in the arts.   

If you are an independent artist interested in having your film, book, music or art considered by The Schleicher Spin for a Spotlight feature, please submit a comment. 

The second entry will focus on independent singer/songwriter Robbie Gil

Independent Singer/Songwriter: Robbie Gil

The Lowdown:  If you’re in the know, the first thing you’ll think of when you hear Robbie Gil is, “Damn, he sounds a lot like Ray LaMontagne.  Hell, they even look a bit alike.”  Continue reading

Spotlight on the Independent Arts: The Skeptic

***This is the first post in a new feature I plan to showcase here at The Schleicher Spin called Spotlight on the Independent Arts.  

The goal is to give exposure to, encourage collaboration with, and provide honest critiques for independent artists.  I hope to feature filmmakers, writers, photographers, painters and musicians.  As an independent author, I feel it’s important to support and celebrate those working independently to forge their careers in the arts.   

If you are an independent artist interested in having your film, book, music or art considered by The Schleicher Spin for a Spotlight feature, please submit a comment. 

The first entry will focus on the IFC film, The Skeptic, written and directed by Tennyson Bardwell. 

The Skeptic

Independent Film The Skeptic 

The Lowdown:  An emotionless lawyer (Tim Daly) inherits the creepy, old house of his recently deceased aunt.  To get away from his crumbling marriage, he moves into the house and quickly encounters strange occurrences and uncovers family secrets which challenge his militant skepticism of all things paranormal.  Continue reading

It’s Oh So Quiet

It’s oh so quiet…and peaceful until…the tourist season.

I could hibernate all winter and all summer long.  Give me the mountains in the fall and the shore in the spring when the noise is low and natural, the locals are talkative and happy to see you, and the hushed streets lay out before you waiting to be strolled.

Spectral Victorian houses taking deep breaths and creaking in the gentle breezes.  An empty beach on a Saturday.  The sun shining.  60 degrees.  Perfect. 

Here are some pics from a walkabout through Cape May, NJ.   Continue reading

Chloe for One

"Um, excuse me, but there's this Canadian out there who wants us to star in his film."

 Here’s the plotline for Atom Egoyan’s latest flick straight from the IMDB: 

“A doctor hires an escort to seduce her husband, whom she suspects of cheating, though unforeseen events put the family in danger.” 

Yup, that’s about all you need to know going into this thing.  The doctor is played by Julianne Moore (stunning), the husband is Liam Neeson (lifeless), and the escort is Amanda Seyfried (all googly-eyed and flippantly seductive).  If you’re a fan of Egoyan, you know he’s going to direct this thing to the nines, dress it up in beautiful cinematography and camera angles (Toronto and Julianne Moore never looked better…and let’s not even go there with Amanda Seyfried) and not even care that he didn’t have anything to do with the screenplay (by Erin Cressida Wilson, remaking the French film Nathalie).  The film somehow manages to be both totally French (in plot) and totally Canadian (in setting, all cold and modern, eh), a nifty little trick that only Egoyan could pull off.  The whole thing is pretty preposterous, but you can’t help but be entertained, and it’s far more engaging than the last time Egoyan was hired to do an artsy piece of trash, Where the Truth LiesContinue reading

Rambling River

At 554 pages and featuring a sprawling story spanning nearly the entire lifespan of its protagonist, John Irving’s Last Night in Twisted River is the quintessential “big, thick novel.”

This was my first stab at reading Irving, though I was familiar with his storytelling through the excellent film adaptations of his celebrated novels The World According to Garp and The Cider House Rules.  Like those works, this latest novel presents itself as an intimate epic, one that looks inwardly at an individual’s entire life amongst an eclectic community of misfits.

The novel opens with a lengthy episode in the titular Twisted River community where a limping cook named Cookie and his young son, Daniel (who grows up to be a best-selling novelist) work for a logging camp.  Through a series of unfortunate (and unlikely) events they become the victims of exile.  Continue reading