Amoeblog

Home Movies: Rachel Getting Married (2008)

Posted by Charles Reece, October 12, 2008 09:25am | Post a Comment
            Life sucks, Brendon. That's your lesson. Go enjoy it. -- Coach McGuirk

So, I'll go ahead and use the fussy distinction of my esteemed colleague, Mr. Brightwell, and call Jonathan Demme's new film cinéma direct, rather than cinéma vérité. It's grueling enough to deserve the trachel getting marriedhree accent marks, however. Unlike the use of the shaky-cam in Blair Witch Project or Cloverfield, Demme and his cinematographer, Declan Quinn, always keep the camera in the objective, 3rd-person tense. They also thankfully keep it more transparent than the nauseating narcissism of Paul Greengrass's camera work. While moving room to room, the audience floats along, but when the wedding party guests are talking, Demme and Quinn fix the shot, even remembering that modern cameras can re-focus on stuff in the background without having to move. Contrariwise, I remain skeptical of any definitive ability to distinguish between direct and vérité when it comes to fictional films. The direct documentary is akin to the transparency of classical Hollywood, I suppose, but expert editing, grainy textures, and perfect-looking people tend to call attention to the artifacts in a realist drama. Whatever you call it, Rachel Getting Married is realism at its squirm-inducing most direct.
 
Jenny Lumet's script rarely hits a wrong note in analyzing a particular bourgeois Connecticut family's power struggles that are inherent to most families. Whereas my family get-togethers center on frito-pie and football, Rachel's wedding involves Indian attire and cuisine with Robyn Hitchcock and Cyro Baptista supplying the entertainment. All attention is being paid to Rachel until her younger sister, Kym, shows up with a weekend pass from court-mandated rehab. What follows is the gentrified version of the Oedipal Complex. The sisters compete for dad's affection using what they have: Rachel is the perfect daughter with some undefined perfect job, perfect friends (successful musicians and writers) and a perfect fiancé, whereas Kym is the classic second-child fuckup, with drug addiction being her defining characteristic. As with the thespian drug addicts in Hollywood who regularly meet at a little café on Vine, just South of Sunset Blvd., Kym's addiction isn't so much a cry for help as an egotistic need to be noticed. Hers is the kind of bottoming out that leads to a memoir featured on Oprah or as a writer of forgettable sitcoms; i.e., dependency as a privilege of the leisure class. Her sister isn't any less egocentric or any more likable: just as Kym is trying to get the family to acknowledge the way they all play into her addiction, Rachel interrupts with the announcement that she's going to have a baby. Score one for sis, and the cycle repeats. Mom got sick of their shit some time ago and left to live her own life; every narcissistic flower has roots. Dad's so castrated that he's always on the verge of singing, "mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey."
 
Anne Hatheway Rosemarie DeWitt Rachel Getting MarriedBill Irwin Rachel Getting Marrieddebra winger rachel getting married
 
The squeamishness comes from the way the mise-en-scène makes you one of the guests, eavesdropping on conversations that you shouldn't be hearing. As with real weddings, you're sometimes placed at the center of attention only to recede into the background in another scene. Sitting through a friend's wedding is bad enough, but two hours at a stranger's is debilitating. And Demme's film is so formally precise that you really feel like you're there. After twenty minutes of family friends talking about the bride and groom at the rehearsal dinner, I felt like covering my eyes when Kym brings attention back to herself by bringing up her drugged exploits in a 5 minute toast to her sister. It's not as uncomfortable as Capturing the Friedmans, but I don't plan on ever sitting through either film again. In scene after scene, the family refuses to properly address a past tragedy that structures much of its current crises, but the familial dynamic is never simply reduced to the tragedy. Anyway, kudos to the filmmakers for creating pitch-perfect quotidian misery. This is a good character study, even if I don't see much of a point to realistic character studies. Life itself already has enough pointless empathy without aesthetic realism giving us more.

The Guardian

Posted by phil blankenship, October 11, 2008 03:50pm | Post a Comment
The Guardian starring Martin Sheen & Louis Gossett Jr  The Guardian HBO thriller

The Guardian plot synopsis

Vestron Video VA 4162

Hold That Pose

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, October 11, 2008 12:45pm | Post a Comment
Mastering the guitar requires much more than technical prowess; knowing how to pose with your instrument can be just as important. Here we have a group of photos with fellas that have obviously spent some time mastering said pose.

MIssissippi Fred Mc Dowell In London volume two lp cover  Chuck Ragan Los Feliz LP coverClarence Carter Touch of Blues LP cover
Gary B.B. Coleman One Night Stand Lp coverGary B.B. Coleman Dancin' Away My Blues lp coverSnooks Eaglin Baby, You Can Get Your Gun! LP coverLonzo & Oscar Country Comedy Time Lp coverJoe Hughes Texas Guitar Master lp covergus van duser & Billy Novick These n That n Those lp coverJames Peterson Rough and Ready Lp coverGuy Mann Dude LP coveramazing russian flying v action shot

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The Onyx Cafe

Posted by Whitmore, October 11, 2008 09:43am | Post a Comment

I remember the worst cup of coffee I ever had. It tasted like mildewed cardboard run through a stale pack of Marlboros. The coffee was barely warm, I think it was heated -- I use the term loosely -- in the sun on the dashboard of a rusty old Buick in a jar of baby formula gone bad. And I also remember the name of the girl who made my double latte that day, it started with a B (I'll only use an initial to protect her identity!) So because it was the Onyx Café, I went behind the counter and re-made my own cup o’ joe. Now I must say in defense of my second home -- aka the Onyx Cafe, most of the time the coffee was pretty good. I just happen to have fonder memories of the dreck I was occasionally served in a place that I loved.

Anyway, it’s been ten years since my ol’ caffeine watering hole has closed. And today, Saturday October 11th, there is a reunion of sorts happening all day long at the Tribal Café located at 1651 W. Temple St. (between Union and Glendale, close to Downtown L.A.) (213) 483-4458 Music, BBQ and all that kind of stuff, and it’s free!

AMOEBA MUSIC WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP 10:11:08

Posted by Billyjam, October 11, 2008 09:22am | Post a Comment
                                       Amoeba Music Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five 10:11:08


1) Madlib The Beat Konducta WLIB AM: King of the Wigflip (Rapster/BBE)

2) The Streets everything is borrowed (Vice)

3) T.I. Paper Trail (Grand Hustle/Atlantic)

4) Murs Murs For President (Warner)

5) Bishop Lamont The Confessional (mixtape CD)

Thanks to Scott who works in hip-hop at the Hollywood Amoeba Music store for this week's chart, which has the great new album from LA beatmaster/producer Madlib The Beatkonducta on Rapster/BBE as its number one. WLIB AM: King of the Wigflip, also selling well at the other two Amoeba stores, is a hip-hop feast of cool beats with a ton of talented guests joining the gifted producer, including emcees Murs, Defari, Prince Po, Oh No, and Guilty Simpson (whose name is truly accurate this week with the latest OJ news). My personal favorite tracks are "Life" featuring Karriem RIggins (former Common/Kayne sideman), "I Want It Back" featuring Oh No with Madlib as The Professionals, "The Way That I Live" with ATL female vocalist Stacy Epps, and especially all of the Madlib solo/guest-less joints on this album including "The New Resident" and "Disco Dance." Madlib is such a talented producer that I even don't need to hear any emcees or singers on top of his beats.

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