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149. American Beauty – Summer of ’99 (#73)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guest Charlene Lydon, The 250 is a (mostly) weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released every Saturday at 6pm GMT.

This time, continuing our Summer of ’99 season, Sam Mendes’ American Beauty.

1999 was a great year for movies, with a host of massively successful (and cult) hits that would define cinema for a next generation: Being John Malkovich, Magnolia, Fight Club, The Green MileThe Insider, Run, Lola, Run. The Summer of ’99 season offers a trip through the year in film on the IMDb‘s 250.

Trapped in a loveless marriage and father to a daughter who wants him dead, Lester Burnham finds himself going through a midlife crisis. In the year leading up to his death, Lester attempts to reconnect with his youth and rediscover the man that he once was before the embers die out for good.

At time of recording, it was ranked 73rd on the Internet Movie Database‘s list of the best movies of all-time.

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110. L.A. Confidential – Christmas 2018 (#107)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guest Phil Bagnall, The 250 is a fortnightly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users.

This time, a Christmas treat. Curtis Hanson’s L.A. Confidential.

In fifties Los Angeles, three very different police officers discover their lines of inquiry converging as they uncover a deep and sprawling web of corruption and inequity.

At time of recording, it was ranked the 107th best movie of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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Non-Review Review: All the Money in the World

All the Money in the World is an intriguing and uneven anthropological study of wealth.

Ridley Scott’s drama documenting the abduction of Paul Getty treats its subjects as members of a different species. In an introductory voice-over, the character of Paul Getty explains that the truly rich may as well come from “another planet.” They might look the same, but they are fundamentally different from ordinary people. At one point, John Paul Getty recalls an argument on how a publisher tried to change the title of his book from How to be Rich to How to Get Rich. Getty complains, “Getting rich is easy. Any fool can get rich. Being rich, that’s something else entirely.”

A Plum(mer) Role.

This idea simmers through All the Money in the World, the notion that there is something more than just a bank balance that separates the wealthy from the poor. “Money is never just money,” reflects advisor Fletcher Chase, and All the Money in the World suggests as much repeatedly. Throughout the film, journalists and paparazzi stalk the Getty family like wildlife photographers trying to snap a picture of some rare beast in its natural habitat. The Getty’s stand apart, and that sense of otherness is compounded by some measure beyond a balance in any account.

All the Money in the World is fascinating in its exploration of this idea, but it suffers from a lack of focus and clarity. All the Money in the World feels more like a series of vignettes than a single narrative story, a set of compelling sequences that never add up to a fulfilling whole. There is something intangible missing, as if the figures don’t quite add up. Then again, that flaw seems perfectly suited to the characters at the centre of the narrative.

Oil’s well that ends well.

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Non-Review Review: Elvis and Nixon

Elvis and Nixon is a larger than life account of a larger than life meeting between two unlikely legendary figures.

Much has been made of the fact that neither Kevin Spacey nor Michael Shannon bear much resemblance to Richard Milhous Nixon or Elvis Aaron Presley. In fact, the film even makes a point of mentioning it. After a weird encounter at the White House gate, one security guard concedes of Elvis, “He’s taller than I thought.” Of course he is; Michael Shannon is noticeably (about ten centimetres) taller than his character. Indeed, the lack of physical resemblance between the actors and the subjects seems to be the point.

"Yeah, I suppose he KINDA looks like he from an angle."

“Yeah, I suppose he KINDA looks like he from an angle.”

After all, many of the best cinematic Nixons look rather unlike the nation’s thirty-seventh president. Anthony Hopkins and Frank Langella picked up Oscar nominations despite the fact that there was no risk of confusion. The same is true of Dan Hedaya, even if he never picked up an Oscar nomination. Both Richard Nixon and Elvis Presley exist as larger-than-life figures in the American popular consciousness more than distinct individuals; both are recognisable archetypes who seem to speak to the nation’s cultural memory more than its specific history.

Elvis and Nixon realises and embraces this. The film is gleefully and archly ahistorical, to the point that this becomes the point. It is not so much that the line between reality and fiction blurs for director Liza Johnson, it’s that the boundary never existed in the first place. There is no record of what actually happened during the thirty minute conversation, but that’s probably for the best. Nothing could be quite as fun as the mismatched odd couple comedy of Elvis and Nixon.

Photo finish...

Photo finish…

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Trigger Street Productions and Adrien Brody Launch the Fourth Year of Jameson First Shot Film Competition

The Jameson First Shot film competition is back for a fourth year. In partnership with Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti of Trigger Street Productions, Jameson is on the hunt for the globe’s most gifted, undiscovered filmmakers with compelling stories to tell. Three talented winners will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have their scripts turned into short films and to direct Adrien Brody in the lead role. Not bad for a First Shot. The winning shorts will be premiered in LA with the acclaimed team in attendance.

JFS Logo

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Jameson Cult Film Club Screening of The Usual Suspects, Cork (22nd April) and Galway (29th April)!

Just as they did with Jaws and Snatch, the Jameson Cult Film Club are taking their screening of The Usual Suspects on the road. There’ll be screenings happening in Cork and Galway towards the end of the month, and – if you’re in the area – they come highly recommended as a celebration of classic film. (That goes double if you haven’t yet seen The Usual Suspects, which is one of the greatest modern noir films and probably director Bryan Singer’s greatest work.)

Indeed, the Irish chapter of the Jameson Cult Film Club launched with a screening of The Usual Suspects in 2011, making this something of a celebratory screening for the club. And a well-deserved one at that.

The full copy of the press release is below, but it is worth stressing that tickets to the event are completely free. They are assigned via a raffle, and you can throw your name into the hat at the Jameson Cult Film Club website. More details after the fabulously stylised poster below. (I kinda want one, but I worry I have no place to put it.)

JCFC screening of The Usual Suspects in Cork and Galway


 

The Jameson Cult Film Club is returning to Cork on 22nd April and Galway on 29th April for explosive screenings of the 1995 crime thriller, The Usual Suspects. Following on from the successful screenings of cult classics such as Jaws, Predator and Intermission, organisers are bringing the Jameson Cult Film Club experience back on the road

These free events are not just your typical screening, the Jameson Cult Film Club promises to transport the audience right into the murky world of criminal mastermind Keyser Söze for an unforgettable viewing experience. The venue, a safe house located on ‘San Pedro Pier’, is only revealed to ticket holders and will be completely transformed into a series of sets from the movie. Live theatre and special effects timed perfectly with on-screen action will also help to create an electric atmosphere throughout the screening.

The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world that he didn’t exist, so don’t miss the opportunity to watch this heist classic, voted best movie plot twist by IMDB, on the big screen. If you don’t want to be left out of the line-up, register now for free tickets on www.jamesoncultfilmclub.ie.

Following the screening, the party will continue in true Jameson style with DJ Aidan Kelly taking to the decks while guests enjoy ‘Kobayashi’ Burgers and Jameson, Ginger and Lime long drinks.

Non-Review Review: Robot & Frank

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2013.

Robot & Frank is perhaps best described as a live-action Pixar film, a lost script or concept from that period only a few years ago when it seemed like the studio could do no wrong. The beauty of films like The Incredibles or Toy Story 3 was the way that these fantasies allowed us to engage with incredibly adult issues in a disarmingly wondrous way. Up could deal with the pain of loss in great detail, because it was really the story of a man flying his house to South America, right? Finding Nemo could play out the darkest fears lurking in a parent’s subconscious, because it was really about cute fish, correct?

And so Robot & Frank provides a wonderful vehicle for the exploration of what growing old really means, and how we cope with the challenges that it presents. Because, after all, it’s just a film with a cute-looking robot butler, right?

Frank'll test his metal...

Frank’ll test his metal…

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