04/19/11

Best Original Screenplay.

I’m afraid of failure and so pathologically engage in distractions from doing schoolwork. Here’s a list of all the best original screenplay academy award nominations from when I was in first grade to the present.

You’ll need a legend:
Bold indicates winner.
Italics denotes my preference.
Asterisks* means I have not seen this film.

1990
Ghost – Bruce Joel Rubin
Alice – Woody Allen
Avalon – Barry Levinson*
Green Card – Peter Weir
Metropolitan – Whit Stilman*

Ghost isn’t actually that good but I can’t deny the fact that I loved it as a kid.

1991
Thelma & Louise – Callie Khouri
Boyz n the Hood – John Singleton
The Fisher King – Richard LaGravenese
Grand Canyon – Lawrence Kasdan, Meg Kasdan

I feel racist not choosing BntH. On the other hand, girl power.

1992
The Crying Game – Neil Jordan
Husbands and Wives – Woody Allen
Lorenzo’s Oil – Nick Enright, George Miller
Passion Fish – John Sayles*
Unforgiven – David Webb Peoples

This is my favorite of all of Woody Allen’s films.

1993
The Piano – Jane Campion
Dave – Gary Ross
In the Line of Fire – Jeff Maguire*
Philadelphia – Ron Nyswaner
Sleepless in Seattle – Jeff Arch, Nora Ephron, David S Ward

Harvey Keitel’s dick. Not in the script but nevertheless.

1994
Pulp Fiction – Quentin Tarantino, Roger Avary
Bullets Over Broadway – Woody Allen, Douglas McGrath
Four Weddings and a Funeral – Richard Curtis*
Heavenly Creatures – Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh
Three Colours: Red – Krysztof Kieslowski, Kryzstof Pieslewicz

All of the movies that I have seen in this category are great. Also this is the year I became cool.

1995
The Usual Suspects – Christopher McQuarrie
Braveheart – Randall Wallace
Mighty Aphrodite – Woody Allen
Nixon – Stephen J. Rivele, Christopher Wilkinson, Oliver Stone
Toy Story – Joss Whedon, et al

1996
Fargo – Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Jerry Maguire – Cameron Crowe
Lone Star – John Sayles*
Secrets & Lies – Mike Leight*
Shine – Jan Sardi, Scott Hicks*

I really like Jerry Maguire too. Otherwise, looks like I was all “fuck movies” this year.

1997
Good Will Hunting – Ben Affleck, Matt Damon
As Good as it Gets – Mark Andrus, James L. Brooks
Boogie Nights – Paul Thomas Anderson
Deconstructing Harry – Woody Allen
The Full Monty – Simon Beaufoy

I just rewatched this and it holds up. Boogie Nights and Deconstructing Harry are also good.

1998
Shakespeare in Love – Marc Norman, Tom Stoppard
Bulworth – Warren Beatty, Jeremy Pikser*
Life is Beautiful – Roberto Benigni, Vinzeno Cerami
Saving Private Ryan Robert Rodat
The Truman Show – Andrew Niccol

1999
American Beauty – Alan Ball
Being John Malkovich – Charlie Kaufman
Magnolia Paul Thomas Anderson
The Sixth Sense – M. Night Shyamalan
Topsy-Turvy – Mike Leigh

Senior year of High school. What a happy time. Not. Thank God for Charlie Kaufman.

2000
Almost Famous – Cameron Crowe
Billy Elliot – Susannah Grant*
Erin Brockovich – Susannah Grant
Gladiator – David Franzoni, John Logan, William Nicholson
You Can Count on Me – Kenneth Lonergan*

2001
Gosford Park – Julian Fellowes
Amelie – Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Guillaume Laurant
Memento – Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan
Monster’s Ball – Milo Addica, Wil Rokos
The Royal Tenenbaums – Wes Anderson, Owen Wilson

2002
Talk to Her – Pedro Almodovar*
Far From Heaven – Todd Haynes
Gangs of New York – Jay Cocks, Kenneth Lonergan, Steven Zailian
My Big Fat Greek Wedding – Nia Vardalos
Y tu mama también – Alfonso Cuaron, Carlos Cuaron

2003
Lost in Translation – Sofia Coppola
The Barbarian Invasions – Denys Arcand*
Dirty Pretty Things – Steven Knight*
Finding Nemo – Andrew Stanton, Bob Peterson, David Reynolds
In America – Jim Sheridan, Kirsten Sheridan, Naomi Sheridan

2004

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – Pierre Bismuth, Michel Gondry, Charlie Kaufman
The Aviator – John Logan
Hotel Rwanda – Terry George, Keir Pearson*
The Incredibles – Brad Bird
Vera Drake – Mike Leigh

2005
Crash – Paul Haggis, Bobby Moresco
Good Night, and Good Luck – George Clooney, Grant Hesloy*
Match Point – Woody Allen
The Squid and the Whale – Noah Baumbach
Syriana – Noah Baumbach, Stephen Gaghan*

2006
Little Miss Sunshine – Michael Arndt
Babel – Guillermo Arriago
Letters from Iwo Jima – Paul Haggis, Iris Yamashite*
Pan’s Labyrinth – Guillermo del Toro
The Queen – Peter Morgan

2007
Juno – Diablo Cody
Lars and the Real Girl – Nancy Oliver
Michael Clayton – Tony Gilroy
Ratatouille – Brad Bird
The Savages – Tamara Jenkins

A three-way tie between the top contenders. 2007. Senior in college. Best year for films ever.

2008
Milk – Dustin Lance Black
Frozen River – Courtney Hunt
Happy-Go-Lucky – Mike Leigh
In Bruges – Martin McDonagh
WALL-E – Andrew Stanton, Jim Readon, Pete Docter

Here’s an idea. Remove “Happy-Go-Lucky” and give Synechdoche, New York an Oscar for breaking my heart.

2009
The Hurt Locker – Mark Boal
Inglorious Basterds – Quentin Tarantino*
The Messenger – Alessandro Camon, Oren Moyeman
A Serious Man – Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Up – Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Tom McCarthy

Another tie! Not to be controversial, but I seriously hated Up. I hated a beautiful film about a house that floats through the world holding an old man who comes to know real values. I know, I’m a monster.

2010
The King’s Speech – David Seidler
Another Year – Mike Leigh*
The Fighter, Scott Silver, et al
Inception – Christopher Nolan
The Kids are All Right – Lisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg*

I can’t choose a winner, I need to see the one about kids first. I heard it was good.

So there you have it. If later, I’m still trying to avoid the crushing weight of my thesis, maybe I’ll come back and do best adapted screenplay. What a blast.

03/30/11

how I spent my writer’s vacation.

Look how cute. Sorry my 95 Saturn isn't a riding animal.

I live in Montana; it’s fucking stupid beautiful. “The last best place,” important writers have said. You can rent a cabin in the woods at Lolo Hot Springs with a weird bunk bed and an electrical outlet for 35 dollars a night. So I cancelled my Wednesday morning class and I fucking drove myself out here and here I am.

“I think I’m in the wrong place,” I told the woman behind the counter at the hot springs. “I have a reservation for a cabin.”

“You’re not,” she said. She was around 40 and pretty. “Cabin 12.” She showed me a map of the layout of the cabins. Remember No Country For Old Men? It was just like that. (Also Psycho: twelve rooms, twelve vacancies…)

pretty deep into that bottle by the time I got around to writing this blog post, not gonna lie to ya.

“How many?” she said.
“Just me.”
“Oh. Just getting away for awhile?” she said, consolingly.
I tried to decide in the moment if telling her I was a writer would somehow make it less weird, and decided it wouldn’t.
“Yes,” I said.

She gave me a ticket for the hot springs behind her, like at a carnival. It said “admit one.” ‘Are you kidding?’ I almost said, but didn’t. She explained that the natural pool was to the left, and the other one, you know, with concrete and lawn chairs, was to the right. She apologized for the chemicals in the pool on the right, which I found touching. Another thing I almost said: ‘Could I have cabin 13 instead? You see, I’m a writer and I plan on scaring the shit out of myself tonight with dark fantasy.’

Look how tiny. Look at the weird bunk bed.

Whatever, there’s already a couple staying in cabin 13, but man, you should see cabin 12. And you will, for I took pictures. I hate bunk beds. Sleep on the top and you’re suspended in space, the dangers of which are obvious, but the bottom bunk feels like the beginnings of a pressure chamber. I’ve been on a kick recently and everything reminds me of Edgar Allan Poe: pits, pendulums, and people encased in walls. The room has a closet. Tentatively, I opened it, and found nothing inside. No dead bodies, no black cats, nothing. I have no one to blame but myself. After all, they didn’t know I came here to write.

misguided optimism.

The conditions are too perfect. I mean, there’s a fucking babbling brook just outside my window; I can hear it still. I’m writing this at 10pm. I got here around 6. Here’s what I’ve done so far:

  • I made house. It took about 9 seconds.
  • I went outside to check out the river but the weather is pretty shitty. Driiizzle.
  • I took some pictures of my room and myself. The pictures feature a room full of promise and a girl dreading her future.
  • There could be no more delaying. I started to write.
  • More precisely, I read everything of the story that had come before. Tonight I am focused on revision of this terrible, bleak tale stuffed with pathos. Incest, suicide, betrayal, you know, a greatest hits kind of thing.
  • I finally started writing. I’d say of the four hours I’ve been here I’ve eked out about an hour and a half of solid writing. Unless you count this blog post, which I don’t.
  • The story’s still not done and it makes me sick to think about it. The original draft was about 14 pages. Workshop made helpful suggestions like “revamp this entire character” and “add a hundred more scenes” and “make fundamental changes to the stories overall arch and structure.” Did I mention my friends are assholes?
  • The story is now 24 pages and I’m only just now approaching the third act. I grew weary. I decided to take a break
  • I decided to take a line break.
  • Whenever I start to feel a little uneasy about writing, I like to pick up the short story of an author I respect in order to really bring the feeling home. Without trying it always turns out to be just the right story to elucidate whatever it is that’s gone terribly wrong with my own piece.
  • I read Joy William’s story, “Substance.” I find often whenever I read one of her stories that I am so moved by the experience I want to get up and tell somebody all about it. This is almost never a good idea. It’s almost as bad as when someone starts telling you about something funny they saw in a television show. Actually it’s probably worse. What I admired about the story was the weight of it, and yet it’s told so swiftly. She reminded me how unswift my 24 pages are and still nowhere near the finish line. The story is on my kindle and it’s impossible to guess how long it actually is in “microsoft word,” you know, the unit I measure my life in.

It’s 10:30 now. I woke up at 11 this morning. There’s no Internet and I am so very alone. This is what I paid for. There’s nothing to do but go back to the writing. Anyway. God help me. I’ll be back to wrap this up later.

sober determination.

Epilogue:

  • I finished a draft of the story before bed, which is to say, I ended it abruptly. 26 pages, suckers. It’s called “Get Well Soon.” And I hope you do.
  • I came to learn real values.
  • I never used my free hot springs pass. Maybe if I had someone with me, but electing to take a bath by myself with a bunch of strangers, I decided, takes more courage than I could muster.
03/25/11

thesis shmesis

school is hard and stressful. I’m trying to think of a title for my thesis and I just keep thinking up old trustys that already exist. it’s weird how I have no imagination. here is the product of my recent brainstorm. the brainstorm was filled with lightning and electricity. tell me know which ones you like best in the comments, and you could be a winner.


A River Runs Through It

Winter in the Blood

Tales From the Crypt

A Tale of Two Cities

Other Terrors Lurk (gospel website)

Lolita By Vladimir Nabokov (alice bolin)

Stop me if you’ve Heard This One

Only the Lonely

Lord of the Rings

The Newer Testament

Life is Painful

How to Win Friends and Influence People

A Contemplation of the Separated Evidence (thesis title generator)

Welcome to the Jungle

Welcome to the Jungle Book

After the Flood

My Thesis

Out After Dark

On the Slip

Instructions on How to Love

A Murder of Crows

Things that are Dead

Except on Fire

The End of the Affair

The Worst

Bury Me With It

Doom Revisited

The Davinci Code

Another One Bites the Dust

I’m Not Gay but My Boyfriend Is

What Not to Wear

Off the Rails

Forgetting Jacob Johnson

Armageddon Days are Here Again

A Loud Alarm

Several Exits

Addicted to Love in All the Wrong Places

She had it Coming

Oh No and Other Poems

The Dog in the Hat in the Nighttime

Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place

It's Not What you Think

 

03/8/11

molly’s favorite animals

1. bears
2. dogs
    a. domestic
    b. coyote
    c. wolf
    d. fox
3. elephants
4. insects/arachnids
    a. ants
    b. spiders
    c. moths
5. horses
6. chimps
    a. bonobo
    b. gorilla
    c. orangutan
7. cats
    a. lioness
    b. house
    c. lion
    d. panther
    e. mountain lion
    f. tiger
8. sloths
9. birds
    a. sparrow
    b. duck
    c. raven/crow
    d. osprey
    e. robin
10. platypus

Honorable mentions:
sharks, donkeys, snails, squirrels, and rats.

Worst animals:
1. lizards
    a. all variety of lizards.

03/1/11

the first day of the rest of your month.

Dear Diary,

The alarm went off at 8:30 or something. I read act IV of Hamlet on my kindle next to a crabby, sleepy bear. I think his stomach hurt; I don’t know. It snowed all yesterday and this morning and then got a little warmer. Slush. Everybody hates the weather. We (the great collective we) seem to remember things going differently last year, a less shitty February. We are not yet consoled by the arrival of March but maybe we’re getting there?

Got myself caught up on the Charlie Sheen thing. Subsequently adopted “I’m tired of pretending I’m not special” as life mantra.

Read an article Alice sent me about how to define a vague relationship or something like that.

Went to Shakespeare class, where once again I failed to have anything valid or interesting to contribute.

I ate a breakfast burrito from the campus cafeteria with the coeds. It was so good. I love breakfast burritos.

Wrote 639 new words for an old story. Concluded it wasn’t enough and I would never amount to anything.

Read an article on why young men suck at everything but getting laid and 6 reasons why humans should be terrified of crows.

Read Kate’s story and the first two chapters of Ted’s novel. I walked around campus holding up Ted’s manuscript in front of my face like some super nerd. Realized what I was doing halfway to the bus but elected not to stop myself.

By 5pm today I had already tweeted 13 times. What on earth about, you might be wondering.

Passed two bums on the footbridge smoking weed and having a blast like they owned the place. I gave one of them a dollar and the other 50 cents and they said without prompting, “it’s cool, man, we share everything.”

Went to the grocery store. Came out at exactly 5:15 across the street from the 5:15 bus stop. A different homeless guy stopped me and started prattling on about could I give him my address and his wife was over there and a broken carburetor, but I was anxious about missing the bus and I literally said to him, “Shut up. I’m going to miss the bus. Here’s a dollar.” Turned out there was no need to be so terse, but pardon me.

The bus was 5 minutes late, just like it always is, and I rode it home without incident. People chitchatted about being sick of the weather. Someone pointed out that it was only March 1st, after all, and the snow was not atypical. This person was not well received.

Came home with the intention of exercising but ate a sandwich instead.

I Read Missoula’s Missed Connections page on craigslist for about an hour and then wrote 180 words of a poem inspired by one of the ads titled, “you have an orange coat.” Decided I will make my students do something similar tomorrow, except not a poem because nobody likes poems. Also, these kids signed up for a fiction class.

Around 7pm I wanted to put on my pajamas and go to bed. I started feeling drained and useless and I wondered what I’d been doing all day. Felt that the beginning of the month was paramount and I wanted to ask something extraordinary of myself.

I mustered up the energy to write this blog post. Had the idea it would be a good goal to write a blog post every day for the month of March but thought better of making any promises. We’ll see how it goes. What do you care? You don’t care.

I switched to the present tense. Or did I?

You’re up to date and I’m writing in real time, which is lame and dumb. Sorreeee!

02/26/11

Oscar Party Tips

Take a shot any time James Franco smiles and the broadcast cuts to a smiling actor in the audience. Watch for it. Remember Freaks and Geeks? His beam is infectious.

Don’t necessarily bother watching all the films. Research Vegas odds and film bloggers to make informed Oscar predictions.

Vow to give everyone at the party a hand job if something unlikely happens. (Past example: If Seabiscuit wins best picture…) Doing this adds a new dimension of hope and excitement. Save it for halftime, when the technical awards drone on and energy lags.

Ugly, Pointless Oscar Photo

Take a shot anytime the winner doesn’t thank God in her speech. (I’ve tried it the other way, and the problem is that it doesn’t happen as often as you might think; you won’t get drunk.)

Question the celebrities’ horrible taste in fashion. Speculate as to whether or not they have a mirror at home. Compare someone’s dress to a multi tiered cake, disparagingly. Talk about their bodies.

Grow wildly jealous of the vapid stars and the glamorous yet undeserved lives you imagine they are living. Pass sweeping judgments on people you’ve never met. Call them mean names for no reason and laugh maniacally with your friends about it.

Know that you are an excellent judge of acting, directing, cinematography and every other facet of cinema. Realize that you alone know what true talent is and the academy is filled with idiots.

Pregame: drink a beer for every MFA degree James Franco holds. (It’s actually only one.) Ongoing: take a shot whenever one of your friends mentions that James Franco has at least one MFA degree.

Discuss whether or not James Franco is a good writer. Find out if anybody in the room has ever read anything he’s written, because I would like to know. Take a shot if anybody makes the joke “don’t quit your day job!” or its variation.

Be wary of a too drunk girl who promises blowjobs if Colin Firth wins best actor. Maybe get her a glass of water.

Take a shot anytime anyone says the following about Natalie Portman: Did you know she’s pregnant? I used to like Natalie Portman and now I hate her. I want to have sex with Natalie Portman. Drink a glass of water if someone says something genuine about her acting talent.

Talk loudly about any of the more obscure films you happened to see, particularly in the foreign, documentary, and short film categories. Insist that whatever you saw should win.

Dream about a time when you will win an academy award of your own, however unlikely it is given your life/career path/future goals. Imagine who you would thank and feel genuinely grateful. Allow yourself to be handsome or beautiful and speak with a supernatural grace.

Dress up for the party. Don’t be a stick in the mud; it’s fun.

If you’re still not drunk and you want to be, take a shot every time a white person wins something.

02/11/11

Kindle you don’t set on fire.

1. I bought myself a kindle with all the money I don’t have. First let me digress a second. Money. If you consider my debt, I literally have none. I have less than none. Every single thing I buy puts me more in debt. I am free falling, the same as everyone I know is. Graduate school, jobs that don’t pay, etc. We’re doomed! People should be more concerned. That’s my position.

2. But back to my kindle. For my first official purchase, I ordered Honored Guest, a short story collection by Joy Williams. I have to conclude that she is the greatest short story writer of all time. I have never loved anyone’s work as much as that crazy woman, forever clad in sunglasses I’ve heard. What a badass. She came to visit my school a year before I got here. What a cunt. Here are some of the lines that I “underlined” using my “kindle,” from her story “Congress.”

    a. Then the phone would ring and Jack would begin his daily business of reconstructing the lives of hair and teeth when they had been possessed by someone. A detective a thousand miles away would send him a box of pitted bones and within days Jack would be saying, “This is a white male between the ages of twenty-five and thirty who didn’t do drugs and who was tall, healthy, and trusting. Too crusting, clearly.”
    b. The taxidermist was a genius. He couldn’t make an animal look dead if he wanted to.
    c. “…so much better than a zoo. Zoos are so depressing. I hear the animals are committing suicide in Detroit. Hurling themselves into moats and drowning.”
    d. “Excuse me,” Miriam said quietly to Irene, “but why are you all here?”
    e. “I’m a poet,” a man with a shovel-shaped face said.

3. Believe it or not, I really don’t want to talk about this on my website, but since I have ventured into murky waters recently by mentioning my loneliness, I feel its my responsibility to tell you all that you can stop holding your breath, for I have found a boyfriend. He is a great man. We like to look into each other’s eyes and marvel at what wonderful taste we both have in books and movies. I know, I know. If I weren’t involved I would want to barf, too.

4. I wrote this thing about rejection letters on Thumbnail. And they’re publishing one of my stories next week. I’ll link you to it later! It’s funny how I’m wildly successful and still feel like a shithead all the time. HAHAHAHA

5. I have a superstition about evenly numbered lists. I should say more. I love you? I love twitter. Why do you hate twitter? It’s so good. Follow me on twitter or just go to my twitter page and read it sometimes.

11/5/10

Top 5 favorite/only things I’ve heard people blurt out in theaters.

5. At a screening of The Blair Witch Project at a megaplex.
Sassy black woman: “Man, if I were those kids, I’d just get out of those woods.”

4. At a drive-in theater, about 30 seconds after The Village ended.
Some kid: “That movie sucked!”

3. At an art theater during the sex scene in Brokeback Mountain.
Woman: “Oh no. Oh no he did not. Oh my lord. That is disgusting.”
Another Woman: *Sighs dramatically.*

2. In a packed theater, just before Dude, Where’s my Car? is about to start:
Young kid: “Dude, where’s my seat?”
(That’s not actually funny, is it? Oh.)

1. During Patch Adams, directly after Patch declares, “humans are the only animal who kills its own kind.”
Man yells, very loudly: “COMPLETELY UNTRUE!”

09/17/10

everybody’s working for the weekend.

Likes:
1. the weather
2. clumsy/genuine
3. men with beards, coughing
4. winks
5. avocado
6. to love and be loved
7. dogs
8. old people
9. words shaped like cars, as in on signs outside of garages
10. coin collectors

Dislikes:
1. writing/writers
2. games
3. scrabble in particular
4. a blouse
5. mothers
6. “no worries”
7. corn syrup
8. stamp collectors
9. feelings
10. other people’s needs

Goals:
1. marry a llama farmer

08/24/10

Tits.

6. A Conversation on a beach in Provincetown, MA:
I asked a gorgeous, sun-bathing Enriques Iglasias-looking man to watch my bag while I went swimming. Upon emerging, a brief conversation ensued.
Gay dreamboat: Did you have fun swimming?
Molly: It was amazing! I’m from Michigan. It’s been years since I swam in the ocean.
Gay dreamboat: You have lakes.
Molly: I know that.

9. In my notebook on an airplane:
The first thing you do is change into something less comfortable. Wear it on the wings of the most expensive bird you can find and then sing to it. Never give up. If you love someone and they love you and it’s meant to be, don’t worry. You’ll play their favorite song on the jukebox, they’ll text you a line from some obscure poet who defined you in high school, and you’ll know. Forget about where your birth certificate is – remember the archetypal mother. Suck from her breasts without blushing. Do everything and then come back and show me how.