It's been about a month since I finished the 2 year long count down of the 100 albums and movies that made me love music and film. So what now? Well first let me tell you about why I did the countdown.
I consider myself a writer. However 3 years ago I found that I wasn't writing. The countdown became something to force myself to write at least twice a week. And it was a success. While working on the countdown I was also working on scripts, articles for various websites and other things to make sure that I was constantly active.
Right now I'm working on a few scripts about nostalgia so to help myself work on these projects I'm focusing on nostalgia pieces on this blog. Random essays about my childhood, reviews on books and movies, music and books from my childhood and really anything else that celebrates the past.
I hope you enjoy it!
Thursday, April 3, 2014
1. Harold and Maude
I’m staring at my computer and trying to figure out what I can say about this movie. This is my favorite movie and has been since the first day watched it. I’m torn with do I break down every piece of this movie or do I stay subtle? Well I guess we’ll figure it out, but just in case, potential Spoiler alerts in this.
I’d heard about Harold and Maude for a few years in high school. It was my film teacher’s favorite movie. He also was a huge fan of Cat Stevens (who did the soundtrack) and would constantly play the song “Sing Out, Sing Out” for us in the TV studio. I already loved aspects of this movie before watching a single frame.
Finally my senior year he showed our film class the movie and it changed my life.
Harold and Maude tells the story of Harold a kid in his 20’s who is obsessed with death and his relationship with the 80 year old Maude. Harold drives a hearse, fakes various suicides to terrify his mother and attends various funerals. While attending a funeral he encounters Maude.
Maude is a free spirited woman who believes you should live your life to the fullest but try not to live past 80. Harold and her bond and she opens up his life with the importance to love and happiness. Harold falls in love with her and decides to propose to her on her birthday. However Maude has already committed suicide, she’s turning 80 and that’s a long enough life.
The movie ends with Harold driving his hearse off a cliff. While you think that he’s dead it’s revealed that he jumped from the Hearse and dances off playing the banjo. Maude’s lesson that life is important and you shouldn’t waste it has finally sank into Harold.
The motif of suicide and death is wonderful. Hal Ashby is able to take a dark subject and make it funny as well as romanticizes it.
However the star of this movie is Maude’s speeches. To write about them would cheapen their beauty. I’m just going to end with this speech which I think is the end all most beautiful piece of cinematic dialogue ever put on celluloid.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
1. The Format: Dog Problems
I think everyone has a musical soulmate. That is to say, everyone has a special person in their life that opened their eyes to cool music. Some people have multiple musical soulmates. I probably had about three. The first would have been my cousin who introduced me to Green Day and the Offspring, the second would be my best friend Jeff who introduced me to a ton of great pop punk bands and the last was my friend Lauren who introduced me to all the indie bands that changed my life.
Lauren was a grade ahead of me and when she went away to college discovered tons of awesome bands. Every Summer we'd do a mix tape exchange to introduce each other to new bands and one that first mix tape she gave me was an acoustic demo from a band called The Format. I immediately loved the song and when I heard that The Format's new album Dog Problems was coming out (and featured the studio version of Snails) I went out and bought it having no clue what to expect.
From the very opening note I was hooked. Suddenly the first song just leads directly into the second song and I was completely invested it. That album never left my car, I'd play it for everyone. It never seemed like anyone had the appreciation for the album that I did. The word Love doesn't do justice for it. I wanted to listen to it over and over again, I memorized it word for word and learned every song on guitar.
I don't think I'll ever be as obsessed or captivated by another album again. As much as I have enjoyed the music Nate has made with fun. it seems like Dog Problems was this perfect moment where ideas, lyrics and music all combined in a perfect 12 song moment.