ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST Live-Tweet: August 7 at 10PM Eastern

I want to see if short-notice will effect the turn-out for a live-tweet. And so, just one week from today, there will be a live-tweeting of Sergio Leone's masterwork ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST. Our proposed hash-tag is #timewest, as it strikes a nice balance between character-saving and memorability (ouatitw just doesn't roll off the tongue, nor does it type well). What say you all?
Posted on 7/31/2009 08:04:00 PM by Tom Russell and filed under | 5 Comments »

Eternal Sunshine Archive

An archive of the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind live-tweet can be found here: http://twapperkeeper.com/esotsm/?limit=all (There may be some errors/omissions due to last night's Twitter maintenance.)

This service also renders the archive in an Excel file. In theory, someone more computer savvy than myself could take the file, sort the tweets by timestamp, and have a chronological (i.e., readable) live-tweet record. Soon, university film departments will be begging us to bind these documents into textbooks!

While I'm here, I'll list last night's live-tweet participants in case you want to follow them or ask them what the hell they meant by that. (Okay, I'm actually interested in tracking growth/expansion of these live-tweet events, but in a way that doesn't involve harmful chemicals or door-to-door polls.)

#esotsm participants:


And I shouldn't leave out supporters who cheered from the sidelines or those who wish they'd been available to participate:

Posted on 7/23/2009 11:26:00 AM by Alejandro Adams and filed under | 0 Comments »

A Cataloging of Prejudices

Live-tweeting, by its very nature, is about the here-and-now, this-very-moment-- it's about chronicling the experience as it is happening. What has come before is not really kosher to the spirit of the event. Preformed opinions and long-held prejudices have no real currency in such a space.

And so it is, in anticipation of tomorrow's live-tweet of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, that I'm putting those opinions and prejudices into this space, so that they won't get in the way. Thusly segregated, I'll be able to approach the film afresh. This will result in one of two outcomes.

  1. I will hate the film and remain a crotchety curmudgeon, railing about hipsters and post-modernism.
  2. I will fall unabashedly in love with the film.

And # 2 certainly is a distinct possibility. To illustrate: the first time I saw P. T. Anderson's Magnolia, I found myself in the uncomfortable position of being in agreement with Kevin Smith. The second time did not shake my assertion of its awfulness; the third time, I realized what a fool I had been and what an incredible operatic masterpiece it was. Repeated viewings since then have not changed that opinion.

A less dramatic version of this conversion concerns the film O; at the time, I derided it with a monologue skit I'd do for friends, in which William Shakespeare's greatest ambition is to have one of his plays turned into a movie about high school basketball. But going into it without that prejudice, I came to see what a strong and remarkable bit of adaptation it really was.

So, the idea that I might come out of my third viewing of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind as a believer is not without precedence. And that provides another reason for the following catalogue of grievances, aesthetic predilections, and prejudices-- namely, it makes that hypothetical conversion, unfolding in real time at the speed of 140 characters per tweet!, all the more dramatic.

And so, here goes:

  • Top of my list, the most recent addition and actually the least consequential, is Jim Carrey. It is a sign of cinematic maturity to be able to separate an actor from his craft, to appreciate the art even if the artist is somewhat unsavory. In many cases (cf. Cruise, Tom) I am perfectly capable of doing so. In others, I am not. Jim Carrey is one of those cases. There's just something about the way he and his professional ditz of a partner gallivant about with Oprah dispensing medical advice that has no basis in fact and results in the death of children that's hard for me to set aside. But, I promise, I will try, internets. I will try to forget about dead children.
  • More consequential is my general apathy towards high concepts in film. And "trying to hold onto memories as they're being erased" does, indeed, qualify as a high concept. Granted, Kaufman's high concepts are a damn slight more clever than most (even in the world of the "art" film) and thus I derive more enjoyment from them.
  • Which brings me to my general apathy towards Kaufman. Of course I liked Being John Malkovich. Of course I was entertained by Adaptation. But I never understood the accolades being heaped upon them and Sunshine. To my mind, they were showy and lacked the depth and heft being ascribed to them. "Oh, once McKee says not to use voice-over narration, the voice-over never appears again! Oh, snap, how clever and post-modern!" I was fully-armed with this, if not anti-Kaufman, than not-quite-pro-Kaufman prejudice when I sat down to watch Synecdoche, New York on the recommendation of Andrew Grant. And Synecdoche is, to be frank, a masterpiece. The intellectual depth that I had found lacking in Malkovich,Adaptation, and Eternal Sunshine was there in spades. And though aspects of it border on "high concept" (the years-long theater piece), it abandoned cleverness-for-its-own-sake (they're inside... John Malkovich!; he can't adapt the book, so he writes about adapting it!) and went much, much deeper. It's quite possible that on revisiting his earlier films, I'll find that I was took bothered by the cleverness to really engage with the work. Or it could be that Kaufman is simply the best director for his own material.
  • Which brings us to Gondry. I liked Malkovich and Adaptation, which were brought to the screen by Spike Jonze. Eternal Sunshine, of course, was helmed by Michel Gondry. It was his second Kaufman script; I've yet to see that film, Human Nature, but I have seen Gondry's Science of Sleep and Be Kind, Rewind. And, um, they were terrible. Well, okay: Be Kind, Rewind was fun in parts, though I kind of wished Gondry had just shot a bunch of "Sweded" versions of films and released those on DVD. But as a feature, as a complete whole, it was woefully incomplete. Science of Sleep was the very definition of "twee". I say this, of course, as a big Wes Anderson booster.
  • Elijah Wood.
  • No, I didn't forget something with that last one. Just Elijah Wood.
  • Bad break-ups and bitter romance hold no interest for me. None what-so-ever. It's just not something that has ever figured into my own life experience. It's not that I don't "identify" with it; it's that the participants in said romances annoy the living fuck out of me. Like Sharon Stone in Casino. (The difference is, she's supposed to raise your hackles. Gondry and Kaufman intend for me to care about these stupid children who think they're adults.)

Harsh stuff, to be sure. And, while I'll give it my best, I can't guarantee that I'll be able to set it all aside when I watch the movie tomorrow. I may still be the grouchy old man, shaking his fist at the air. Or, with the help of my fellow tweeple, I might be able to see this through their eyes (Being Alejandro Adams-- now that'd be scary).

I guess we'll find out tomorrow.
Posted on 7/21/2009 02:43:00 PM by Tom Russell and filed under | 9 Comments »

VICTOR/VICTORIA Live-Tweet: July 31st at 8:30PM EST

After thinking about it for a couple of days, I decided that my proposed movie musical live-tweet should be sooner rather than later and something I'm familiar with rather than something I'd be watching for the first time. Accordingly, here's what I propose:

Blake Edwards' Victor/Victoria (1982) Live-Tweet Jamboree on July 31st at 8:30PM EST

On my Twitter Account, Simonsaybrams, I will announce at the proposed time that everyone start their respective DVDs with something like "Press Play Now!"

I think I've seen Edwards' comedies and this musical in particular more than any other humorists' work. His superior films' pronounced air of bemused exasperation has probably been more of a guiding influence on my fragile formation of taste than I care to know. 

Retweet accordingly, please.

Oh and for anyone curious enough to pre-game as it were and beef up on your Edwards, I recommend the troubled but no less entertaining S.O.B. (1981).
Posted on 7/17/2009 06:02:00 AM by Simon Abrams and filed under | 3 Comments »

Live Tweet!: Eternal Sunshine etc.

I've already mentioned this on Twitter, but might as well make it official here: the next big Tweet-off (so sorry for the bump, Simon!) is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. We're trying to a) do a film slightly less widely-beloved than Jaws and b) see if there's still a crowd on weekday nights. And I mean, c'mon, is there anything you'd rather do more on a Wednesday eve than watch Jim Carrey get his heart stomped on as Tom Wilkinson fends off Kirsten Dunst?

Wed., July 22, 8pm PST/11pm EST (it's not that long, East Coasters)

As per Simon bumping his musical LT till all the way till mid-August: do we want these things to be that spread apart? Is two a month too few or just right? Not that we all have to do all of these every time, mind.

Oh, and thinking the tag should be #ESOTSM Hopefully people can remember that as they tweet. Or not?
Posted on 7/14/2009 08:29:00 PM by mattprigge and filed under | 2 Comments »

The Live-Tweet After Tomorrow

Attention Live-Tweet, Musical and Fun-Time-Having Fans:

At 8:30PM EST on August 14th, I will lead a special summer movie musical live-tweet funtime weekend thing. I just found out about this blog however and thanks to the very generous Alejandro Adams, I am posting here details of this event (I had originally planned on making it a week from Friday but decided against it once I read Matt's plans to do ETERNAL SUNSHINE on Tuesday.

So. It's a movie musical. It's a live-tweet. But which film?

I have no clue. I do have some ideas and would love to hear suggestions but for the sake of getting this thing together in time to get the word out, I want to have fine, up-standing people like you vote to let me know which titles you're interested in seeing.

Post your votes below or tweet them to me at simonsaybrams.

So far here are the choices and the tally for each title:

I've seen some of the aforementioned titles and am dying to catch a couple others but that's what appeals to me about live-tweeting--creating a virtual equivalent to the holiday-themed movie marathons I infrequently hold with friends where people bring their distinct tastes and ideas to the table. Should be fun.

If it helps you to decide: I've seen VICTOR/VICTORIA, TRAPPED IN THE CLOSET and THE AMERICAN ASTRONAUT, the last one very recently.

Please spread the word and make sure to vote for your choice. Voting ends this Sunday and please no voting more than once.
Vive le cinema virtuel,
Posted on 7/14/2009 07:04:00 PM by Simon Abrams and filed under | 17 Comments »

Looking Forward

I made this a new post because I lost my long comment and didn't want to suffer that sadness again. ADVICE: Don't press "Preview" as you're incredibly insightful and thought-provoking commentary will disappear. Shit.

Highlights of former long-winded post: @Patrick's genre idea is great and the work involved in finding that week's pick would necessarily limit the number of people tweeting. I'm against limiting the number by other means (secret personal invitations, ie).

Should the accessibility of the choice be completely up to that week's chooser? Should the day and time?

@Andrew's comments speaks to this as well. There are some who will argue strongly that the more well-known and beloved film, the more participants and the larger the social aspect of the event. The other camp wants more insight and argument about merits, which is also valid.

This might also be a chance for the "chooser" to champion something they've loved but hasn't been widely seen. Or something the "chooser" needs an excuse to queue up and revisit.

The number of participants will reflect the choice and the day and time chosen. Obscurity will lower the numbers, but those who participate may have a more satisfying experience.

There is something to be said for shared experience on TCM #strangelove as well as the effort needed to secure an individual DVD/download #jaws.

MichaelVox <--who has only been using blogger for 14 years and should know how it works by now
Posted on 7/13/2009 11:04:00 AM by MichaelVox and filed under | 3 Comments »

#Jaws Feedback/Fallout

Posted for posterity. Annoying or entertaining? You decide.

@memepunk: "Reading #jaws LTs. You people are funny. Sick and funny. I think I like you."

@rkn: "was dreading the #JAWS livetweet scroll but have found it entertaining...."

@Dealfatigue: "Reading live tweet of #Jaws on Twitter. Interesting use of traditional / new media but is it a fad or something lasting and commercial?"

@NinjaWorrier: "Ah #jaws tweeters I knew I could rely on you for a good chuckle. Next time you do one, though, can you do it earlier so UK types can play?"

@mattsinger: "Kinda bummed I missed the JAWS livetweet. Living vicariously through the rest of you. I gotta get in on the next one."

@indpnt1: "@jbwhaley @MaryaMurphy @AlejandroAdams Thank God you guys are cute or I'd a dumped all three of yah for that bunch O shenanigans"

@JohnnyDiggz "It's like going to Twitter Filmschool...without having to sit through Nanook of the North!"
Posted on 7/13/2009 08:04:00 AM by Patrick and filed under | 4 Comments »


Last night a handful of enthusiastic, informed and witty Twitter personalities produced roughly 660 tweets during a coordinated group viewing of Jaws. This live-tweet event was organized by Kent Beeson (@Kza), who named Matt Prigge (@paperlung) as his successor. Matt will be choosing the next live-tweet title and date/time. Subscribe to this blog for announcements about future Live Tweets du Cinema.

Some highlights from the Jaws live-tweet:

Patrick_Pogo: Can you imagine any current PG movie starting this way? #jaws

Pergamond: What is that cute machine that strikes ink onto page? #jaws

Kza: Note that the Mayor (Murray Hamilton rocks) always wears blue-grey -- shark colors. #JAWS

jbwhaley: We're gonna need a bigger barfbag. #jaws

paperlung: The comedy re: the townsfolk reminds me of Richard Lester. Which just goes to prove that R. Lester rules. #jaws

michaelmontes: John Williams won an Oscar for this score. Sometimes two notes is all it takes. #JAWS

AlejandroAdams: Dreyfus really pulls off the swaggery academic. Is that an actual type? #jaws

tomandmary: Dreyfus spectacular in autopsy scene-- emotion and outrage vs. scientific rigor. #jaws

michaelvox: You'd think that Hooper Mr. Oceanographic Institute had never opened a shark's stomach before #jaws

Filmbrain: Surprised the guns turned on the kids weren't digitally replaced by walkie-talkies. #jaws

MaryaMurphy: Why would you throw a license plate in the river? I mean, really. Is it like all the single shoes on the side of the road? #jaws

JohnnyDiggz: I often find myself looking for killer shark-shaped clouds. #jaws

Pischina: Remake: Bruce Willis, Ray Winstone, Robert Downey Jr. #JAWS

RodneyRamsey: I could do ok in this scar contest. #jaws

hellbox: That Indianapolis story is such a great monologue. A remake would probably try to re-enact it while he's talking. #JAWS

ScottEWeinberg: For weeks I had nightmares about Quint's death. Then I started enjoying them and they became "dreams." #jaws
Posted on 7/12/2009 06:01:00 PM by Alejandro Adams and filed under | 23 Comments »