Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Christmas miracle!

Christmas has truly arrived because I now have a job. It's a temp job but still. My household can now pay its bills.

To celebrate this fabulous event, I thought I'd do a recap of my favourite Christmas flicks. I did one last year where I lamented the absence of Christmas movies at the cinema. Well, this year we have Arthur Christmas.... and that's about it.

But if that doesn't float your boat, there's these great options, all available to rent at your local video store or pirate online.

Elf - Great idea (a real elf forced to work with department store elves while searching for his father) and one of Will Ferrell's best performances. Also a brilliant take-off of It's a Wonderful Life's suicide-on-the-bridge scene. This is one of those films that you knew was a future Christmas classic as soon as you saw it.

Gremlins - The bit where Kate tells Billy what happened to her father on Christmas Eve scarred me as a kid - and for that reason, this film about furry little monsters wrecking a town's Christmas will always have a place in my heart. If you want to terrify a child for life, rent Gremlins. You'll love it!

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – I’ve seen this practically every Christmas I can remember and it’s still funny. Not clever, mature or sophisticated. Just big laughs, and they keep coming. My favourite scene is the bit where Chevy Chase tries to figure out why his stupendous outdoor lights aren't working…

Scrooged – Bill Murray when he was the funniest man on screen, playing miserly television executive Frank Cross. This is a brilliant updating of the Dickens story with a truly dislikeable hero and a great supporting cast.

Home Alone – A John Hughes holiday movie with an underrated script, this film skirts a lot of potentially dark issues. A child left alone for Christmas, being terrorised by two creepy burglars? My mom practically cries with laughter at the bit where Joe Pesci tries to make it up a frozen set of steps and I don’t blame her. This is Macauley Culkin’s finest hour.

It’s a Wonderful Life – Again, a film which on the surface is loaded with sadness. A depressed man decides to throw himself off a bridge, only to see the effect his life has really had on others. Yet it’s one of the most heartwarming films ever made. Anyone who isn't touched by the scene where George Bailey runs through the snowy streets of Bedford Falls has a heart of stone.

Miracle on 34th Street – I don’t mind which version it is, this is a lovely film with a great story. Can we prove there really is a Santa! This is one film that always makes me choke up. Yes, I am a girl.

Happy Christmas and happy movie-watching!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tiger is heading for the screen! And Puss in Boots already made it....

First up, some good news! Apart from, I have more time to write, which is always good.

My short script Tiger is getting made. I met a director at the Waterford Film Festival who read the script and liked it, and we've been having meetings about it since. The upshot is that we're going to shoot the film next Spring, hopefully in late February/early March.

I'm meeting the director tomorrow to go over the script and break it down, and we're also meeting a possible lead actress and a DoP. So it's all systems go - which means entering the fundraising fray again. Luckily, Director Man reckons it can be done nicely for 3 grand, which is a fairly achievable sum to raise.

If you live in Dublin and want to help out (pretty please!), then you can in one of two ways. Come to a fundraising quiz which we're going to hold at a city centre pub at the end of January. Or, if you know of anyone who has a big, impressive-looking house that we could borrow for two days, give me a call! We won't wreck it, I promise.

In other news, I went to see Puss in Boots yesterday at midday. Yes, I'm unemployed. But hey, there were five people in the cinema apart from me and my sister (she's not unemployed, just on a week off) and there was no idiot kicking the back of my seat. It was great.

As for the movie itself, it's not as good as Shrek 1. But then again, nothing is, including Shreks 2, 3 and 4. What Puss in Boots does have is great characters and great casting. Zorro himself as Puss in Boots, with Banderas spoofing both this and his role in Desperado. His Desperado co-star Salma Hayek as his feline love interest. Zach Galifianakis as the self-loathing, surprisingly touching Humpty Dumpty.

But the best turns for me were from Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris, who play Jack and Jill as monstrous, terrifying hillbillies. They drive around terrorising people in a huge cart pulled by flaming-eyed hogs. They have cool weapons - sort of like Southern-fried blunderbusses. They have all the best lines - and there are some great lines in this movie.

If you have kids, bring them along - but be warned that they will have nightmares about Jack and Jill. If you're sprog-less, go along anyway, you'll enjoy it!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Take a leap...

If this was a movie, things would be going to be a. much worse or b. much better. After being messed around by my erstwhile employer for two months, I became unemployed as of last Wednesday. I have several friends in various levels of depression and one in hospital with multiple injuries. Let's just say that if I was a paid counsellor, I'd have earned a lot of money recently. I haven't been able to save much since September because I was unemployed for most of October. Oh, and we still haven't sold the house...

Right now, getting to the States seems like a dream that's disappearing further and further into the distance.

I choose to believe that this is the point in the movie where things get better. I will get a new job. My friends will get over their various problems. We will sell the house. My Hollywood fund will start to grow again.

It's all too easy to make plans when times are good - there's no challenge in that. The real planning starts when times are hard and you can't see how you can achieve your goal. Like a character in your script, you have to take a leap into the unknown and make a commitment. As Michael Ardnt put it, a kamikaze moment of commitment.

I may not be trying to defeat the Death Star or battling Mr. and Mrs. Robinson. But I'm reassessing my plans - while keeping my eyes on the ultimate goal of getting to Hollywood in 2012. That's my December resolution, and I can't wait to make it come true.

Now to work...