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Let’s Get Translatin’ 4! Famous Film Quotes Lost in Translation

25 Things I Love About Buffalo ’66

Ten Great Indie Comedies You Must See

Independent cinema is a thriving new cinematic genre, and has produced some outstandingly funny and very clever films. Not all indie movies are comedies, certainly not, but a hefty percentage are. Here are ten great independent comedies–not necessarily the ten best, but just ten great ones, in no particular order.

Clerks (1994)

“This job would be great if it weren’t for the fucking customers.” It’s impossible for anyone aged 15-45 to not absolutely love this Kevin Smith comedy. As well as bringing down the house with its decidedly unsubtle humour and observations about workplace scenarios and real life drama, it also manages to be an inspiration for budding filmmakers, shot for less than 30 grand with B&W cameras and a tiny cast of unknowns. Well… why not?

Sideways (2004)

Thomas Haden Church, decidedly reminiscent of an entire subculture of American men (no offense intended) and Paul Giamatti, an also dryly stereotypical but impossibly original variation of the schmuck-with-a-book tactic (again, not trying to offend!), make a perfect odd-couple in this honest comedy about a pre-marital weekend-long bachelor party consisting of various wine tastings, gratuitous nudity, and not to mention the sacred bonds of the un-buddy-breakable male friendships that decorate so many films of this cult flavour kind. Read my review here.

Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

In much the same vein as Sideways, this far funnier and hugely honest movie about the imperfections of family is almost perfect in a way. The comedy is fresh, original and extremely well-acted by a great cast including Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Steve Carrell, Paul “I am a false prophet, God is a superstition” Dano, Abigail Breslin, and a far from Glengarry Glen Ross Alan Arkin. You really can’t go wrong.

Garden State (2004)

I only saw this very recently, and it was the film that really got me thinking about doing this list. Zach Braff is surprisingly fresh and different from Scrubs, and Natalie Portman is wonderful in her supporting performance, perfectly placed halfway between Mathilda and Nina Sayers. While the ending is decidedly tacky and annoyingly brief, the rest of the film is smart and well-played, at a pace which makes the awkward humour funnier by miles that what it might normally be.

The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

It was either this or Rushmore from Wes Anderson, and… well, sorry, Rushmore, it’s just plain impossible for you to beat The Royal Tenenbaums. Anderson weaves an honest, magical tale and gives all of his actors something decent to do, as well as paying a glorious homage to great comedic stereotypes. I have a rather foggy memory of this, and I need to rewatch it, but I remember enough to say this is a classic indie comedy, more than worthy of a place on this list.

Eagle vs. Shark (2006)

No, I’m not just picking this movie because it’s a product of the rapidly growing film industry of my home country, New Zealand. It is actually a very witty, quite funny comedy about quirky relationships. It stars Jemaine Clement, whom “you Americans” might recognize from Flight of the Conchords, possibly the most successful byproduct of the Kiwi entertainment industry. It’s certainly not the best film on this list, but a kitsch excersize in low-budget fun nonetheless. Enjoy!

High Fidelity (2000)

John Cusack stars as a record-store owner with a deep passion for music that perhaps exceeds my love for movies. Nick Hornby’s novels are often a delight, and this adaptation is superb, with a cast including a memorable Jack Black. Suspiciously Clerks-like, this tale of friends and relationships is funny and true to the heart, something Hornby has a true gift for.

(500) Days of Summer (2008)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel are two talented actors who manage to carry this otherwise normal romantic comedy to new heights and rise it from a possible daunting rubble. The humour is timed well, and the characters are likeable, setting this rom-com apart from the rest of the clutter and crowd.

Juno (2007)

Decide for yourself whether you love or hate this witty and cleverly scripted indie comedy starring the always entertaining and offbeat Ellen Page and scripted by ex-stripper Diablo Cody, which has caused quite a rift in indie movie tastes between me and friends – I seem to be the only one who likes it. And I stand by that statement.

Buffalo ’66 (1998)

Definitely beyond a shadow of a doubt my absolute favourite indie comedy of all time, Vincent Gallo’s Buffalo ’66 is a film that is rarely mentioned when talking about such a genre. It is a true classic, with ingenious and subtle humour scripted excellently by Gallo, and direction from the man himself that shows true talent, as well as contributions to the music department and of course, the brilliant starring performance that ties the whole film together. Gallo is a very talented actor, and this film is, as he himself has said, his masterpiece, and a masterpiece of independent cinema.

Now it’s time for your opinion! Leave a comment with what you thought of my choices and list some of your own.

Thanks for reading.

Buffalo 66: A Great Way to Span Time

An often underappreciated and overlooked classic, this brilliant piece of indie cinema that is grossly dismissed often as a piece of cult junk is one of many great achievements in low-budget cinema of its era. Vincent Gallo wrote, directed, composed the music for and starred in this often hilarious, slow-paced (except for the dialouge) gem which Gallo described as his masterpiece. However arrogant that may sound, it’s an opinion I’ve come to agree with, especially with the disastrous state of his follow-up film, The Brown Bunny.

Buffalo 66 is about a convict who has just been released from prison who is confused and with no place to go except the darkly welcoming bowling alley and various cluttered hotels. He kidnaps a young tap dancer and forces her to play the part of his ‘wife’ on a visit to his parents. The truth is, he has no wife, but of course, the eager-to-speak Gallo is determined to impress his doubtful and ignorant mom and dad. The plot might not sound the most original of ideas, especially when the predictable fall-in-love card is played, but there are so many other aspects of this movie that it is ignorant and dishonest to call it a piece of romantic garbage.

Gallo’s character Billy has grown up with a pathological fear and/or hatred of women, and it seems that if he ever got into a relationship, his nervous tics and easy aggression would quickly ruin it. Billy and his co-star Christina Ricci’s character Layla are the perfect odd couple. Their relationship is a strange and quirky one, and seems to prove that opposites really do attract. Layla herself is a quiet, sexually repressed young woman who quickly takes to Billy ad eventually begins to seem perfect for him.

What really makes this film tick, and the primary reason I love it so much, is the comedy, however, and all of it is due to Gallo, whose imagination is a furious, electric mix of a vast sea of repressed emotions and furious anger. He speaks fast and in a style which borders on rambling but has a strange comedic overtone which makes me laugh. His contradicting statements (“We’re a couple that doesn’t touch one another”), repetitive mantras (“Let’s span time…”) and narcicisstic reassurance (“I drive luxury cars!”) are huge components of the rich comedy that inhabits this 100-minute miracle, and no doubt they will have you either cracking a giggle or in fits of laughter, or generally somewhere in between. Of course, some people are bound to find Gallo’s sense of humour and self-righteousness annoying, pessimistic and egotistical, and they are welcome to do so, but there is a generation of film-lovers who will tremendously enjoy this little indie gem, especially those who are into cult films, indie films or the Dogme 95 genre, which of course Buffalo 66 is not a part of, but is still an influence on the film itself.

So there you have it. That’s my review. Hopefully it’s inspired you to give this movie a go, or if you’ve already seen it, maybe it’ll provoke some more thought on it. I’ve seen it twice, and still find Gallo hilarious every time. My Rating: 9/10.

Thanks for reading.

100 Things I Love About the Movies

Recently, John at The Droid You’re Looking For made a sequel to his hugely successful “100 Things I Love About the Movies” post, and being a fan of both posts, I’ve decided it’s about time I did my own. It was a very inspirational and thoughtful post, and if you read it yourself it might just make you want to do one of the same. For now, here’s mine:

1: Hi-hi-hi there, at last we meet.

2: The shaking fence in Evil Dead.

3: A rape depicted through the clever usage of a silent movie in Pedro Almodovar’s Talk to Her.

4: Qantas never crashed.

5: Whatever you want, Leo Getz.

6: The stunning ending to Lars von Trier’s Dogville.

7: Dave. Stop, Dave. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it.

8: The best movie cut of all history in Lawrence of Arabia.

9: The theme that plays when we see the man with the Harmonica in Once Upon a Time in the West.

10: Everybody’s Talkin’ At Me…

11: The abrupt ending of Bonnie and Clyde.

12: I’m a star. I’m a star, I’m a star, I’m a star. I’m a big bright shining star. That’s right.

13: The final perfect five minutes of Irreversible…

14: …and how The King’s Speech stole the music!

15: Ellen Burstyn’s monologue in Requiem for a Dream.

16: The hand emerging from the water in Deliverance.

17: The final half-hour of Audition.

18: Jimmy Schtewart.

19: The emotion and raw energy with which Kirk Douglas delivers this line in Paths of Glory: “I apologise to you, sir, for not informing you sooner that you’re a degenerate, sadistic old man, and you can go to Hell before I apologise to you now or ever again!”

20: John C. Reilly shining his flashlight into the camera in Magnolia.

21: Blood Simple to True Grit and everything in between.

22: Hello… Hello, Dimitri? I… I can’t hear, could you turn the music down? That’s great, you’re coming through fine. I’m coming through fine, too, am I? I agree with you, it’s great to be fine. Now then, Dimitri. One of our generals… he went a little funny in the head… you know, funny. And he went and did a silly thing.

23: Tracking shots. All of them.

24: The Monty Python movies (“I fart in your general direction!”)

25: Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television. Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit crushing game shows, stuffing junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourself. Choose your future. Choose life.

26: Jim Carrey in Liar, Liar.

27: Steve Martin in The Jerk.

28: Isabella Rossellini begging Kyle MacLachlan in Blue Velvet (“Hit me!”).

29: In Heaven… everything is fine.

30: Did You Know You Can Use Old Motor Oil to Fertilise Your Lawn?

31: That lucky occasion when you come across a really, really good TV movie (Indictment: The McMartin Trial)

32: Get away from her, you BITCH!

33: I am Death. I have long walked at your side.

34: The most striking and disturbing use of colour in any film, that of Sven Nykvist’s brilliant cinematography in Ingmar Bergman’s fantastic Cries and Whispers.

35: NOT LOVELY, LOVELY LUDWIG VAAAANNNN!!!!

36: The slow-paced and slightly comic final duel in Barry Lyndon.

37: The deadly silent arrival of Martin Sheen into Colonel Kurtz new jungle home, rudely interrupted by an obviously high Dennis Hopper in Apocalypse Now.

38: The first six or so minutes of Persona.

39: This is my rifle, this is my gun. This is for fighting, this is for fun.

40: The haunting piano music that plays throughout the latter half of Kubrick’s fantastic Eyes Wide Shut.

41: A surprise cameo from the greatest stand-up comedian of all time in a non-comedy role in Lost Highway.

42: Tom Cruise’s finest hour:

43: The perfect opening shot of Apocalypse Now.

44: Bernard Herrman’s shrieking violins.

45: Black and White movies in the era of Colour.

46: The nameless dystopian city in David Fincher’s Se7en.

47: Uncomfortably casual nudity in Short Cuts.

48: Marge Gunderson.

49: Nobody fucks with the Jesus.

50: Bring Out the Gimp.

51: Norma Desmond’s delusions of grandeur.

52: The drug deal scene in Boogie Nights.

53: I only got two things in this world: my balls and my word. And I don’t break em for nobody.

54: Robert Downey, Jr. in Natural Born Killers.

55: The “train going into the tunnel” at the very end of North by Northwest, a clever albeit overused sexual metaphor.

56: Ricky Gervais. Always. Always.

57: A movie set entirely within one room (i.e. Buried)

58: Rob Brydon’s cameo in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

59: Nothing’s wrong with it, Tommy. It’s tip top. I’m just not sure about the colour.

60: I am Jack’s _____ ______.

61: Sean Penn in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, oh, and while we’re at it…

62: 80s high school movies. All of them.

63: The epilogue of Pink Flamingos.

64: Clerks. ‘Nuff said.

65: Try getting a reservation at Dorsia now, you fucking stupid bastard!

66: Silencio.

67: Earn this. Earn it.

68: The final shot of the rat at the end of The Departed.

69: Extended Director’s Cuts.

70: I’m mad as Hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!

71: The inability of Jack Lemmon to be able to watch Grand Hotel in The Apartment.

72: Memorable last lines in Billy Wilder movies.

73: We’re a loving couple that doesn’t touch.

74: Sunday nights, where I put aside a few hours to rewatch one of my favourite movies, no matter what it is or how many times I’ve seen it.

75: The creepy hidden camera shots in Michael Haneke’s Cache.

76: Amelie’s strange games with random people in the film of the same name.

77: Go round mums, deal with Phillip, grab Liz, go to the Winchester, have a nice cold pint and wait for all this to blow over.

78: Shelley Winters in The Poseidon Adventure: “In the water, I’m a very skinny lady.”

79: Sidney Lumet. Rest in Peace.

80: The final shocking moments of Planet of the Apes.

81: The meaning of Roger O. Thornhill’s middle initial.

82: Martin Scorsese’s cameo in Taxi Driver.

83: Gregory Peck’s powerful courtroom monologue in To Kill A Mockingbird…

84: …and the uniquely different but still subtly similar version presented by a suprisingly good Matthew McConaughey in A Time to Kill.

85: Dustin Hoffman’s moving turn as Ratso Rizzo in Midnight Cowboy…

86: …and the eerie subtle similarities between Jon Voight’s character in the same movie and Dirk Diggler in Boogie Nights.

87: Mr. Jingles.

88: I just wanted to hold the little baby.

89: You mean the man who inserted rubber fist in my anus was a homosexual?

90: The stunning revelation at the end of Spoorloos (The Vanishing).

91: How quickly a director can take my interest, and how stunningly tight their grip remains on me within the shortest of times, and how it can last seemingly forever, as evidenced by my recent delve into the films of Ingmar Bergman.

92: Hit Girl.

93: Bill Murray waking up to the same nauseatingly repetitive jingle every morning in Groundhog Day.

94: Reese Witherspoon humiliating a disfigured Kiefer Sutherland in Freeway.

95: The little bit of low-budget masterpiece that was Sex, Lies and Videotape.

96: Dogme 95.

97: The Criterion Collection.

98: The little things in movies that so few directors really think to care about.

99: How movies affect my everyday life, the way I do things, the little idiosyncrasies that people rarely notice, and how I think and perceive things.

100: “I’m finished.”