vimeo.com account review: sebastian sommer

you perceive 'an epiphany'

you realize that there is a high probability that more filmmakers are in the 'muumuuhouse school of experimental filmmaking' [for lack of a better term] besides ellen frances, adam humphreyspirooz kalayeh, kacper jarecki, david fishkind and MDMAfilms

you feel compelled to look for 'similar artists' on the internet

'at some point' you find the vimeo account of sebastian 'sebsom' sommer, a student at NYU

on sebsom's vimeo account is a video asserting that it is a 'reimagining' of two of tao lin's short stories, found in his bear parade-published collection 'today the sky is blue and white with bright blue spots and a small pale moon and i will destroy our relationship today'

while watching the video titled 'happily drowning', you feel high levels of confusion re choices in characterization, location, and costuming

you think maybe sebsom had difficulty with use of 'narrative tact' and with his attempts at establishing a discernable 'mood', but you also perceive that sebsom, being a student, probably had limited resources, and made the video with fellow students, friends and perhaps SAG actors who [probably] can't communicate his artistic sensibility with palpable, disbelief-suspending clarity

or perhaps sebsom, you think, has yet to 'manipulate' the scenario in a manner that is 'definitively sebsom-like' and not simply unlike other student filmmakers

you watch the other videos on sebsom's vimeo account multiple times and feel similar types/levels of confusion

you think about 'revisiting' sebsom's work in the future, when his 'voice' is more developed/coherent/horrific

sebsom sends you a friend request on facebook

you accept

sebsom sends you a message via facebook:
'hey dude! lookin forward to dead midgets! i wanted to know if you could possibly check out my latest short film EIGHTEEN SLASH STAINLESS and possibly review it? but first, a little about me. I'm from Manhattan and I've been making films my whole life. I made an experimental film Mama Said Sardine Baby that played at the TriBeCa Film Festival. I've also worked with Tao Lin on adapting one of his short stories into a film. 
Here is the link to the short: http://vimeo.com/33370714 
Here is the link to my site: http://sebsom.com/ 
Please let me know! 
in a mutually beneficial 'promotional agreement' you review '18/S'

you watch the video several times and feel consistent levels of an 'indiscernible confusion', like... you feel unable to discern the filmmaker's 'intent', which seems... like... 'jarring', in that you perceive that your ability to enjoy a video is solely dependent on your ability to discern the filmmaker's use of 'narrative tact' and/or 'spectacle', but due to the paradox caused by the video's high production quality, non-existant narrative structure and seemingly 'thrown-together' spectacle, you think '18/S' is like... naive... in its... projection of... like... life's horror... maybe

you decide to use a cliche to describe sebastian sommer's current oeuvre: 'shows promise'... in like a similar way to how the first short film you made in film school 'showed promise'


vimeo.com account review: john campbell

john campbell of 'boo hoo boo' and 'pictures for sad children' makes videos

you think they're 'pretty sweet'


trailer: 'dead midgets'

you feel strange/awkward/guilty promoting your own movie on your blog

but you like... feel obligated to... like, for two reasons

first, for promotional purposes, because people who are interested in movies read your blog and are more likely to watch a trailer via your blog than by 'stumbling on' it or watching it via social networks like facebook because your blog gets way more hits

second, because you think that you would be interested in this movie via some hypothetical parallel experience of watching this trailer without the subjective attachment of having been a part of the entire process of making the movie, so you feel obligated to expose other people with similar sensibilities to the project

you contemplate writing a critique of the movie, but feel this is 'too bold', perhaps, and would involve a lot of much information, information that would be better introduced to the world via promotional media outlets to create a 'slow stream' of output and increase in 'buzz'

you think about the fact that 'this is normal, it is normal for "bloggers" to promote creative output via their own media source', however because 'romantic rhetoric' seems designed as a 'farcical' movie critique blog a la 'variety'-meets-HRO, or maybe something else entirely, you think 'this feels weird... awful maybe'

you keep writing things... to fill space maybe...

you think about saying something related to the production of the movie... percentages of completion maybe... something about your relationship with the cast... various scandals that happened during pre-production and production... who the film is dedicated to maybe... why it's titled 'dead midgets'... you can't process or discern what is best to talk about

you consider what marketing repercussions this might have

'will this produce press at all?' you think, 'would this even remotely be considered a tactful marketing strategy?'

'does this movie even "approach" "good enough" to be exposed "to the public"?'

'will anyone enjoy watching these videos? will anyone come to the premier? do i like the movie?'
what is filmmaking? why do people do it? why do i do it? what is the purpose of suspending disbelief and causing extreme emotions? what are the repercussions of this human 'diversion'? what contribution, if any, will my movies have to the process of making movies? will i 'succeed'? will i be 'the greatest filmmaker in the world' as i wanted to be as a child? is that even possible? who else has achieved that? steven spielberg? wes anderson? david lynch? do i respect these people? do i 'genuinely enjoy' their movies or have i been conditioned to? where does 'enjoyment' derive from scientifically? philosophically? memetically? is this important? should i just 'keep going'?


movie critique: 'another earth'

mike cahill directs
brit marling
and william mapother

rating: 'goddamn... goddamn...'

you dismiss the trailer for 'another earth' without finishing it

you think 'this is maybe one of the worst attempts at fusing sci-fi and drama that i have seen that has gotten anything resembling an accolade'

you move on to 'more interesting' movie trailers and watch like... movies that aren't 'another earth'

you read a review for 'another earth' and feel confused about the positive nature of the review

you contemplate the fact that between lars von trier's 'melancholia' and terrence malick's 'tree of life' it seems coincidental that there is an 'indie' movie with similar imagery/themes and begin to develop slight interest

you watch the trailer again, you feel the same way you did originally

one night while an acrobatics troupe is staying at your house you get extremely high and watch 'another earth' via a spanish-language movie streaming website

while watching 'another earth' you feel extreme emotions, cry, lose suspension of disbelief, but don't care and are 'convinced' that 'another earth' is your 'new favorite movie'

the next day, you watch interviews with the cast and director and find out that mike cahill is part of a trio of actor-writer-directors in the same vein as wes anderson, noah baumbach and owen wilson and feel affected by the group dynamic/'narrative tact' with how they approach 'storytelling' and the extremity of the subject matter

you feel so deeply affected that you think 'i don't care that the movie is "not believable" because it is self aware of its non-believableness and approaches the subject/themes/characters/effects with understanding, tact, wit, and life-affirmation as a basis... sweet'

you contemplate doing a 'write up' of 'the theme of science-fiction-related drama in recent movies...' but... well... maybe you'll do that a little later...

movie critique: 'putty hill'

matt porterfield directs
sky ferreira
zoe vance
cody ray
and dustin ray

rating: 'damn, bro'

mid 2010 you see a promotional video for an upcoming movie via 'kickstarter' titled 'putty hill'

you see the director, who is from a city adjacent to your hometown, talking about the movie in a video and feel abnormal interest in the movie, but mostly negative, maybe jealousy-related emotions about the director

you move to baltimore in late 2010

'putty hill' is showing at 'charles village theater' near your house

you repeatedly make plans to see the movie but do not, instead seeing [other various movies you don't remember]

when people mention 'putty hill' in conversation you consistently assert 'i hate that guy, the director' which garners interest in why

you do not 'hate' the director, though you feel, perhaps, small types of competition-related emotional outbursts when thinking about 'putty hill' and how well 'putty hill' is doing domestically as an insanely low-budget movie

you are solicited to audition for a short video made by students at 'MICA' (maryland institute college of art) and are cast as the co-star of the video, along with your friends kristin and huckleberry

you appear on set and feel surprised to see the director of 'putty hill' standing by the viewfinder and are introduced to him and the crew seems to look at you suspiciously because in social settings you have asserted to 'hate' him

the director of 'putty hill' is the instructor for the course the video is being made for and appears multiple times around many of the same venues as you

you talk casually about movies and life in baltimore and personal anecdotes and perceive that you have established a relationship or at least repertoire

later, the director, who has directed multiple music videos for the band 'double dagger' appears at a 'secret show' at your house, which you make a movie about

he seems excited that you are there, making a movie and multiple times makes friendly gestures and asserts that he is happy to see you

mid-november, 2011, you see via the director's facebook that the DVD for 'putty hill' is on-sale

you have no money and are not in the country, so you search the internet to see if it is available to download via torrent

it is

you watch the movie and feel deeply affected

you feel surprised at how affecting and new-feeling the movie is and feel inspired and maybe 'in awe' of the director a little

you feel happy and watch the movie again that night while falling asleep

you think 'good job, matt' repeatedly while falling asleep


movie critique: 'the tree of life'

terrence malick directs
brad pitt
sean penn
jessica chastain

rating: 'perplexing'

you feel a sort of personal antipathy towards period movies due to their inability to apply existentially to your experiences on earth

you see the trailer for 'the tree of life' and think, 'seems like a less narrative-oriented version of "revolutionary road"' and consistently return to this thought whenever thoughts of the movie 'arise'

you deduce from an article on 'hipster runoff' that there are dinosaur sequences in the movie and think, 'whoa, kind of want to see this now'

you read the wikipedia page for 'the tree of life' and feel confused about the casting of sean penn as brad pitt's son, and develop further feelings of ambivalence toward seeing the movie

you read an article in 'variety' describing the movie as 'more art than cinema' or something and feel annoyed, like... 'if this is art then it's probably boring, abstract, museum-y, etc. and not something that will appeal to me on a basic emotional level... so like... why watch it?'

you 'cave' due to overwhelming desires to experience a movie with a 'cosmic scope', which you have trouble discerning the definition of

you watch the movie over the course of ~3 sittings and consistently do 'other shit' while the movie plays in the periphery

you pause the movie several times to attempt to find interviews with the director, terrence malick, but only happen upon this:

you return to the wikipedia article and feel interested in reading about the special effects in the movie

you find an article saying that the 'sfx' bro who did some of the scenes worked on '2001: a space odyssey'

you finish watching the movie and return to the original state of ambivalence re 'period pieces' and 'abstract narratives' you felt after watching the trailer, but with a heightened sense that maybe some of the events occurred in the life of the director, and validate them in an existential sense

you feel compelled to watch more movies like 'the tree of life' and 'melancholia' that juxtapose planet-level enormity with 'relatable' images of 'modern life' and recall 'diebuster' with positive sentiments


trailer: 'girlfriend'

like... you feel your head performing tiny series of combustions... and like... air leaking out of somewhere... cranial sutures, you discern

you think 'how did i find this? how did i find this without seeing it on a twilight forum?'

'it is so bleak that i found this trailer,' you think

'i need a "break"... a "break" from "movie hell"'...

you think, as you count down one minute to walking away from the computer, 'this was what it was like to discover harmony korine... but this is... this is more depraved maybe... unsure'

two sleeping beauties, one year

two movies came out in the past year, one titled 'sleeping beauty', and the other, 'la belle endormie'

which trailer do you feel most affected by?

the one about a high-end, barely legal prostitute who gets banged in her sleep and calls it a 'skill'?

or the 'retelling' of the fairytale that looks like something out of a magical realism novel that may or may not have a plot?

'i'm going to go masturbate to both,' you think

trailer: 'being elmo'

you discern high levels of of 'bewilderment' after this trailer finishes

you think 'this feeling is similar to the revelation that jaleel white did the voice of sonic the hedgehog i think'

you have, maybe since birth, been... like... abnormally confused by and had like... a pop-culture related fascination with 'elmo'

but have perceived, since high school, that puppeteering, in general, is like... 'low art' or a more objective equivalent

like... not creatively challenging

or... like, delusional because everyone knows it's a fucking puppet, like, you're not fooling anyone, and it's not funny, it's like, creepy mostly

so like, you never thought about the puppeteer

you feel like this is similar to when you found out jim henson did the puppeteering for kermit... or walt disney the voice of mickey... or frank oz the voice of yoda... or tim allen the voice of buzz lightyear... or like... mel gibson the voice of john smith in 'pocahontas'... 'like... who spends their time being a voice,' you think

but like... you realize this guy must have been working insanely hard for a long time... into the 21st century... just... like... doing this... being elmo... every day...

'jesus,' you think, 'why is my brain processing this like this?'


movie critique: 'midnight in paris'

woody allen directs
owen wilson
rachel mcadams
marion cotillard
kathy bates
andrien brody
carla bruni
and michael sheen

rating: 'woody allen'

you don't remember when you saw the trailer for 'midnight'

you remember immediately thinking about owen wilson's suicide attempt after watching the trailer

you remember watching a series of interviews with wes anderson and owen wilson after watching the trailer

you remember 'revisiting' some woody allen movies after watching the trailer

you remember wanting, vaguely, to see the movie, but like... maybe... like... you thought it would be boring or 'indulgent' in the way that woody allen films always seem

you remember thinking—as you frequently do—'i would fuck rachel mcadams' and maybe feeling [something like 'guilty'] about it

you use your friend's laptop to move some photoshop files you worked on a month ago
to your new computer

you remember you downloaded the movie on your friend's laptop while she was on vacation and forgot about it

you ask your girlfriend if she wants to watch 'midnight'

she seems enthused about it, but says she has work to do

you tell her you are going to watch it but that you can watch it together later

you watch 'midnight' while designing some stationary for the hotel you work for

you tell your girlfriend that the movie 'isn't romantic... it's like... like a woody allen movie... you know how woody allen movies are... do you like woody allen movies...? it's like... dark... not romantic or anything really'

you think about doing work curating the art gallery at the hotel and plan to hang some 'pieces' at 5pm

at 8pm you start writing a 'critique' of 'midnight' and realize you haven't done any work and can't really remember what you did for the past four hours besides chug coffee and walk around the hotel aimlessly and think about working

trailer: 'in time'

you feel a series of 'wtf-like' thoughts compiling incoherently in your brain

you feel confused, intrigued, intellectually betrayed, 'hypothetically' aroused, more confused, anxious and alert

you want to see this movie, but you don't know why

your friend tells you it was directed by the same person who directed 'gattaca' which you remember feeling similar emotions and having similar thoughts about

after thinking about how you feel/intellectually respond to this trailer you discern that this movie is a compilation of cliched 'selling points' (actors with recent success, los angeles in 'the near future' as a setting, the poor man-rich man dichotomy) but thematically, the subject of 'impending doom' on an existential level and outside the context of a supernaturally 'talented' main character (james bond, captain kirk, jason statham) or an emo, 'completely fucked' main character (joseph gordon levitt in '50/50', will smith in 'seven pounds', jean michel basquiat) seems somewhat unexplored in movies, you think

you feel interested in 'finding out' if the movie is an existential thriller or just... like... what it looks like... basically

you will probably download a cam of it this evening, if one is available


movie critique: 'limitless'

neil burger directs
bradley cooper
abbie cornish
and robert de niro

rating: 'damn bro'

you watch the trailer for 'limitless' and notice the bro from 'the hangover' is the main character

you feel intellectually attracted to the theme of mental performance enhancement and decide that though this movie seems 'bro-y' you'll watch it

you download the torrent and wait for a few hours

you watch the movie in one sitting and feel consistently alert and entertained throughout

you feel happy that the movie is completely void of kanye west's music (unlike the trailer)

you remember events in your life that seem vaguely reminiscent of the events in the movie and feel affirmed in your efforts to 'do better'

you like that the movie is 'mild' in all of its non-realistic aspects (i.e. 'science fiction' is one experimental drug, 'magical realism' occurs as slight, seamless changes in the main character's perception and never occurs outside of his perceived reality, 'temporal unidirectionality' is only broken once outside of the context of memory, 'class dichotomy' is between struggling writer and successful businessman, and not, like, a third world orphan and a god-like figure)

you watch the movie with your girlfriend, who also enjoys it, and think 'limitless' is a good 'date movie'


trailer: 'angels crest'

you think 'jesus... scenesters... this is like, marketed directly at scenesters'

you perceive the woodland animal motif, eyeliner boy, baby in indian chief hat, jeremy piven 'HBOing it up' as an 'asshole law-man', the bi-curious vibe, the emo 'this world is against me' bullshit, and ultimately the 'i am so sorry' mantra as qualities reminiscent of the 20-something subculture you have previously perceived and currently consider 'scenesters'

watching this trailer, you discern thoughts relating to 30 seconds to mars music videos and middle-class angst and romanticized solitude and think 'what the fuck... like... is that the only group this is marketed towards... like... someone made a movie thinking "scenesters will be into this"?'

you notice an actress from from the first season of 'tru blood' is in this movie

you do not want to see this movie

after watching this trailer you visit yourscenesucks.com for something resembling 'validation' re your opinion about this movie, but end up mostly feeling deflated and like you just want to find a trailer that doesn't 'suck'


trailer: 'young adult'

you think, 'damn,' after seeing the poster, 'seems "indie"'

'charlize theron. wonder what she is pursuing artistically after making the "career-marring" decision to co-star in "hancock"'

you play the trailer you think, 'this is that david bowie song at the end of "life aquatic" by wes anderson', 'seems gimmicky in a way i can't relate to'

the trailer asserts 'by the director of "thank you for smoking"'

you think, 'fuck, oh god, no', then the trailer says 'and the writer of "juno"', and you think 'how did someone let this happen again?'

you calmly decide not to write a rambling, slanderous, unironic article about 'what's wrong with indie [or something]' and just post the trailer and type a brief 'critique' with a neutral facial expression and with your mouth slightly agape


trailer: 'project x'

you think 'damn' and 'joel silver' and 'what is this movie even about' and then 'kid kudi soundtrack, bros being bros, hot bitches. okay, i'll post this i guess'

trailer: 'like crazy'

you think 'jesus' and 'emo' repeatedly while watching this trailer


trailer: 'chronicle'

you feel interested in 'super powers' and narratives that explore what people might do with 'super powers', and assume this movie will be pretty predictable/teen-oriented, but don't feel sure


movie critique: 'dogtooth'

giorgos lanthimos directs
christos sergioglou
michele valley
aggeliki papoulia
mary tsoni
hristos passalis
and anna kalaitzidou

rating: 'not subtle'

you feel affected by the fact that the cast actually participated in making 'dogtooth' maybe more than you feel affected by robert downey jr.'s participation as the lead in 4+ iron man-related movies

you feel abstractly affected by the family construct within the movie and how it relates to your own

you think 'religious ass' and 'magical realism' repeatedly while screening this movie but feel like these are somehow false reactions/interjections and question the relationship between the themes in this movie and certain associative 'religious' and 'zany' neuron clusters in your brain

you feel surprised that 'dogtooth' seems uncomfortably dissimilar to your interpretation of 'dark comedy'

themes in this movie:
  • prostitution
  • animal cruelty
  • incest
  • pornography
  • explicit language
  • expressive dance
  • self-harm
  • assault with a deadly weapon
  • attempted homicide
  • faking pregnancy
  • blatant falsification of common knowledge
  • restricting technology
  • invention and destruction of an entity created to instill fear
  • psychological abuse
  • denying an adult freedom of speech
  • lying about a disability
  • parents beating their children
  • rocky balboa
  • 'jaws' (1975)
  • self-kidnapping 
you don't like this movie


trailer: dragonslayer


"Coming to theaters this fall:



More dates to be announced soon.

Grand Jury Prize, Best Documentary Feature, SXSW 2011
Grand Jury Prize, Best Cinematography, SXSW 2011
Grand Jury Prize, Best International Feature, HotDocs 2011

Directed by Tristan Patterson
Produced by John Baker
Executive Producer Christine Vachon
Cinematography by Eric Koretz
Editors Jennifer Tiexiera, Lizzy Calhoun
Music by T. Griffin
Soundtrack Mexican Summer"



megan boyle and tao lin are/were MDMAfilms

rating: 'afk'
  • on july 2nd, 2009, on tao's birthday, you witness megan boyle and tao lin meet for the first time 'irl' at a book release party in manhattan, new york. you say, 'tao, this is megan, megan, tao...', tao says, 'i know you from the internet' to megan
  • mid-2010 you hear that tao lin is having a reading in baltimore during part of the promotional tour for his second novel, 'richard yates'. megan asks you if you will be there. you say you will be there. you don't attend the reading. megan later tells you tao stayed at her apartment
  • in november of 2010 you see that megan and tao 'founded' MDMAfilms, via facebook, and are listed as 'in a relationship'
  • on january 8th, 2011, you read an article revealing that tao and megan, in fact, got married in las vegas, a day prior to the events in their movie 'bebe zeva', early november, 2010

they subsequently release three films in 2011:

MDMA: megan and tao take ecstasy in a car in manhattan, drive some, take a train, get off the train, get on another train, get off that train in manhattan, take a cab to times square, walk to toys 'r' us, and ride ferris wheel

MDMA (TRAILER 1) from MDMAfilms on Vimeo.
i don't feel inclined to enumerate the ways in which tao or megan's style of filmmaking seems similar to their writing
however, i think it is 'worth it' to draw similarities between the various media that they brand themselves with and the products' effect
in narrative, poem, 'art', and film, tao seems detached, distracted and hypersensitive to 'himself' and documentation of 'himself' seems the primary goal, discerning meaning and 'relevance' is, it seems, divided as both a subsequent pursuit, assessed during revision/editing, and a constant bilateral to his experiences
he also seems fascinated with 'boundary-pushing' as if he were leveling the field of collective discomfort by testing the spatial and sensory boundaries of others
megan produces poetry that—and appears in this film to be—constantly assessing 'okay-ness' and vast quantities of information being provided by the surrounding circumstances and a vague sense of her relationship to them coupled with a sort of brown-out observation of—and fascination with—life, desires, and consequences
co-branding their experiences in this mostly unbroken account of one evening in new york city seems a unique, natural way of collaborating and experimenting with ´the movie´as a medium

BEBE ZEVA: megan and tao meet rebecca 'bebe zeva' hershkovitz in a hotel, drive to another hotel, take a cab to a mall, return to the second hotel, drive to [another?] mall, walk through the mall, travis mcfarland joins them, they walk through a casino type area, they drive back to the second hotel, get into a jacuzzi, then get out of the jacuzzi

BEBE ZEVA (TRAILER 1) from MDMAfilms on Vimeo.
feels akin to like, 'snuff films' maybe
while watching this movie, i felt the same range of deeply affecting emotional/analytical responses that i feel watching 'any other "indie" movie', with two exceptions, i think:
one, i did not feel myself become 'immersed' in the plane of view/perspective of the camera, i felt very aware that it was a movie despite there being no credits and seemingly chronological jump cuts
two, i felt no interest in dissecting/discerning technique employed to derive narrative, it seemed like self-conscious people trying to have a 'memorable' experience and seemed honest in its presentation of this, as opposed to implementing narrative tact/wealth to create an illusion of honesty
the 'hollywood-style' title 'mash-up' i might use to pitch this movie is: '"jackass: the movie" meets "the devil wears prada", with warholian sensibility/authenticity/vulnerability'

MUMBLECORE: megan and tao, in a not-necessarily-chronological narrative, travel between new york, maryland, ohio, north carolina, louisiana, and nevada. at the 'climax' of the movie they get married

MUMBLECORE (TRAILER 1) from MDMAfilms on Vimeo.
this film completes 'the trilogy', though it was filmed entirely prior to BEBE ZEVA
the film's clearly labored-over documentation of an essentially 'fucked' relationship harkens strongly to its titular generic relative, though its existence, independently, and especially as dissimilar to its predecessors, which vague the lines between documentation and narration instead of fusing them, has, simply by existing, created a new genre
falling somewhere spectral between mumblecore, pimplecore, and the well-established 'indiewave' movie—now a serious part of the hollywood 'machine'—i think MUMBLECORE establishes muumuucore (a la tao's publishing company) as a definite movie genre, in a similar way that lin and boyle's writing seems to have permanently altered literature

  • on october 23rd, 2011, you receive an email from tao, authorizing you to view and review for mutual publicity MDMAfilms's current filmography
  • ~.5 hours later, tao's facebook relationship status goes from 'married' to 'single', megan boyle 'likes' this status update
  • a 140+ comment shitstorm 'arises', with the primary contributor, a certain james morrill, asserting that megan is an 'idiot' and 'slut'
  •  according to megan's formspring account, you see that she still has ~30 copies of BEBE ZEVA left
  • on october 26th, you see that gossip blog, hipster runoff, has utilized the filmmakers' 'separation' as a national-enquirer-esque buzzline to help 'launch' tao's DJ career, to which article you see tao replied 'jesus' via facebook status update

MDMAfilms's movies are available for purchase on their website, information regarding their movies can be viewed and modified on their IMDb page and individual wikipedia pages, all trailers, short-form movies, and event coverage can be found on their vimeo

PRESS KIT from MDMAfilms on Vimeo.



the artistic medium that affects me the most is commonly called a 'movie'. i watch movies 'on dvd' via various dvd-type 'players', movies downloaded via torrent websites in high and low reproduction quality. movies via movie theaters, some in 3-d. movies via the internet, sub-via netflix, hulu, youtube, pornhub, etc. i think that movies are products. i think that how i experience a product informs my emotional and volitional perception of the abstract life-narrative that i experience. movies seem like products that prevent boredom, provoke moods and thought processes and provide a prestige-based hierarchy and social ‘web’ constructed by-and-for people fascinated with and interested in making movies, to validate their association and contemplation of movies as products and sustain their lives in the context of 'product-development' as a profession

the terms 'cinema', 'film', 'video', and 'picture' are used to define products derivative of the concept 'movie', which has become the most-widely used term, in my experience, to describe this product-base. 'cinema' seems to denote the highest level of prestige, however, the 'newness' of the medium prevents a literature-style hierarchy of prestige in current movie criticism networks. in some cases specific movies that are densely derivative of previous movie, literary, musical and theatrical history, despite the medium's relative youth, produce (in me) a sense of precision in execution that the product seems to have an indelible prestige, eliciting a mood or thought process i associate with 'classic literature' or 'classical music'

i feel hyper-aware that certain movies are affecting in this manner because of a perceived hierarchy of 'quality', predefined by notions of potential canonical longevity, which are based on the preservation, translation and reproduction of previous works of literature and music that are considered 'telling examples of the human condition and zeitgeist in their respective eras'. these works have thus set an abstract 'standard' to which temporally transcendent media must adhere to. because movies require multiple 'players' or hardware used to interpret the audio-visual data as a consumable product, the medium seems more temporary than its predecessors

by making a product that exists in a variety of media and is securely stored with all of the hardware needed to experience the product, one might increase chances of indefinite longevity. 'ancient' literature and musical instruments which have, despite their age been capable of continued lingual and tonal extrapolation seem 'enduring', though their means of interpretation have changed consistently since their inception (papyrus vs. 'eco-friendly' paper, early lutes vs. electric guitar), but the existence of physical evidence and explanation of how the media functions has provided a 'framework' for how to produce approximations of said works for further consumption/product development. it seems that any assertion that a product made in the present day will maintain future standards of longevity with any certainty is negligible, because at any given time innumerable works are produced with varying levels of quality/senses of 'zeitgeist'. consequently, the act of consciously, definitively usurping the majority's concept of 'a great movie' (or any other product) is in every sense 'impossible'

movies that seem to lack concern about longevity and are just densely labored over products made by perceptive humans seem affecting because they are like 'oral histories' to me, subtly changing how future movies are produced; what humans want to experience; how humans memetically understand narratives. 'blockbusters' seem less affecting because of the extreme, revenue-based natures of their production and the fact that the crew's access to massive resources can, like a corporately-funded construction crew building a house for poor land-owners in order to garner 'mad sympathy hits' for the corporation, efficiently manipulate viewers' basic sense of empathy and elicit extreme emotions, abstractly branding the experience with that corporation, without triggering thought processes that challenge the audiences' perspective of subjective experiences or how humans successfully utilize volition despite socio-political-corporate constructs

if a film challenges perspective in a complex, subtly emotional way, the product seems more enduring because its honesty affects perceptive audiences so deeply that the influence 'snowballs', infiltrates the zeitgeist and eventually warps how 'blockbusters' are produced, even without movie historians knowing where the influence came from. this can happen with 'blockbusters' too but usually only if they are a zeitgeist-channeled re-telling of a story that grew 'naturally' to gigantic levels of fame because of its honesty, subtlety and the hard work of its creators. if elements of the story or production are lacking or 'forced' to create a spectacle, the story seems weird

i like movies about humans, animals, brands, ideas, personified 'beings', mythological entities, phenomena and historical events that are from a perspective-challenging (as opposed to a perspective 'normalizing' -- i.e. propaganda, 'sympathepics', performance art) production approach, and that i feel concretize some aspect of my life narrative that felt very abstract, subjective or emotion-based, because i think life is more enjoyable when humans share unfamiliar perspectives on familiar experiences and methods of thinking


wes anderson

wes anderson is the (co-)writer/director of:
'bottle rocket' (1994 short, 1996 feature)
'rushmore' (1998)
'the royal tenenbaums' (2001)
'the life aquatic with team zissou' (2004)
'the darjeeling limited' (parts i [hotel chevalier] and ii 2007)
'fantastic mr. fox' (2009)
'moonrise kingdom' (forthcoming, 2012)

rating: 'auteur'

near the end of high school you only apply to one university. you apply to study 'cinematic arts' at the university. you are accepted to the university but not the 'cinematic arts' program. you choose 'japanese' as your 'second choice' major, which does not require additional application

you meet your future college roommate and his mother in new york city with your family ~2 months prior to the beginning of your freshman year. his mother is a lawyer-turned-divorcĂ©e/teacher. she suggests you all go to an expensive downtown bar/grill to get acquainted. you discuss the possible outcomes of your and your new acquaintance's mutual decision to study 'filmmaking' ~3000 miles away, in los angeles, california, and your respective parents' experiences with 'impending separation anxiety anxiety'

after a few months of living together your roommate expresses extreme disbelief that as an 'aspiring filmmaker' you have 'never'—or 'almost never', with the exception of having seen the trailer for his most popular movie—which you only vaguely recall seeing—heard of 'wes anderson'

you subsequently purchase both movies available on itunes that were directed by wes anderson ('rushmore' and 'the royal tenenbaums') using your father's credit card account, and ask your floor-mate to borrow 'the life aquatic with steve zissou', to which he obliges

you soon discover torrent technology primarily out of an intense desire to view anderson's seminal movie, 'bottle rocket', which is obscure and has not yet acquired the 'superior' criterion collection status the other movies have

a year later, a video by anderson is available for free on itunes entitled 'hotel chevalier'. you read that it is 'part i' of anderson's new movie, 'the darjeeling limited', which will have a limited release at a nearby hollywood cineplex (accessible by train) within a few months

you see the movie with a friend you made videos with in high school. one week later, you see the movie again with your parents when they come to visit you. your mother grips your hand and openly cries during the movie

your parents correspond with you frequently asserting that they rented various wes anderson movies via netflix and have 'x' thoughts on characterization, 'y' thoughts on mise-en-scene, and 'z' thoughts on various aspects of the writing—always with polarized opinions

you attend a filmmaking course your sophomore year entitled 'originating ideas for film' in which the professor holds a preference for abstract, non-narrative videos. a mandatory 'exploration' of 'emotional expression' occurs

you simultaneously attend a filmmaking course in which you focus on utilizing digital media to express concrete narratives about 'conventional' subject matter. you write and shoot a short screenplay about a failing relationship as an assignment

you feel 'insanely' bored

you decide to write a feature-length screenplay

you stop attending classes

you complete the first draft of the aforementioned screenplay

your parents purchase a one-way plane ticket, beginning your indefinite return to their home, near washington, DC

you see a series of videos advertising cellular phone plans on television and immediately recognize them as directed by anderson

two years later you move in with a girl. you download anderson's new movie, 'fantastic mr. fox' via torrent. you watch it with her

a year and three months later you and the same girl vacation with a group of friends to a beach house on the eastern tip of long island. the house is one $200 round-trip ferry ride away from the on-location set of anderson's movie-in-production, 'moonrise kingdom'. you spend ~1 hour contemplating whether it is 'worth it' to spend $200 and 2 hours to (possibly) be in close proximity to anderson for less than an hour before having to catch the last ferry back to the beach house

you decide to read a first edition copy of bret easton ellis's 'less than zero' that you found in one of the bedrooms instead

later, you find the below video on the internet, after google searching 'wes anderson' and/or 'french new wave' for >1 hour:


movie critique: 'melancholia'

lars von trier directs
kirsten dunst
charlotte gainsbourg
kiefer sutherland

rating: 'film'

you see the trailer for 'melancholia' one night while bored/lonely, perusing apple's 'itunes trailers' webpage, and feel more affected by this trailer than every other you watch

you perform a brief google search for 'lars von trier' who you remember having heard of but have little emotional connection to, especially in a cinematic sense

you recall your friend once mentioning a name, resembling the way you imagine 'lars von trier' is pronounced, in the context of one or more science fiction movies and think 'melancholia' is a 'guaranteed classic' with only slight reluctance/sarcasm

you read the wikipedia article for 'melancholia (2011 film)' and skim some journalistic articles related to a 'scandal' surrounding lars von trier and a 'highly prestigious film festival' (cannes), wherein von trier asserted and then renounced something 'racist', for which he blames his 'ethnicity' and nationality and supposedly feels glad to be the first 'persona non grata' at said festival

when imagining what kind of movie 'melancholia' will be you think, 'entirely filled with slow motion shots and "epic" music', 'unpalatable casting that will "plague" the viewing experience in a unexpanded-upon/intensely distracting way', 'shot on one location with a series of computer graphics clips recalling "outer space" in an unprecedentedly bleak manner', and 'explicit in theme and execution: depressing'

after further 'researching' lars von trier, you read that he has clinical depression and a series of undefined, as per your research, 'phobias', which indelibly influence the film's tone, themes, and characterization

later, you find a copy of the movie on a torrent website and spend five hours waiting for it to download

you begin watching the movie's opening sequence when your girlfriend asks if you're 'coming swimming'. you say that you already said you didn't want to. she says that it would 'make her happy' and kisses you. you attempt to compromise by saying you will go to the beach but don't want to swim. she says that's okay but that it would 'make her happy' if you 'came swimming'. you assess the situation and resolve to take a laptop and chair with you to the beach but not swim. you are reprimanded and told 'it's fine' if you stay at the house and watch 'your movie' because she won't be swimming for 'long' 'anyway'. you calmly put the chair, laptop and glass of beer you had collected back where you got them and take a notebook and pencil to the beach. in the water two of your friends make out while your girlfriend, lit by the moon, is visibly separate from the couple. after a long pause, during which you contemplate the rhetorical format of this critique, your girlfriend says 'baby, the water's nice'. you interpret this as her communicating, 'i'm lonely and i want you to come play with me', remove your clothes and get into the water, which feels substantially colder than what you would consider 'nice'. your girlfriend asserts that she didn't expect you to react that way, nor did she intend for you to, and distractedly proceeds to insist on having contests of physical strength and endurance while you feel consistently preoccupied with wanting to continue the movie while also cultivating feelings of resentment because you feel manipulated and dislike swimming at night, which you have repeatedly expressed

you return to the house, dry off, sit in a hammock and continue the movie. after fifteen minutes your girlfriend walks up to you and says 'i'm bored. can i watch the movie with you?' you say 'sure, but it's depressing'

you watch 'part one' of the movie from the beginning, periodically increasing the playback speed through the first fifteen minutes (between 1.5-2.0x normal speed) to bypass scenes involving little dialogue

your girlfriend verbalizes that the film is exceedingly vulgar, she dislikes the main character but eerily relates to her, feels the movie is 'making her depressed', and causes her to have difficulty following her own 'train of thought'

you and your girlfriend share a cigarette as you begin watching 'part two' of the movie

you pause the movie, briefly, after a 'climactic' scene, and beckon your girlfriend to sit on your lap. you kiss each other and say things softly, which culminates in your girlfriend expressing that she is tired, but wants to finish watching the movie

you go to your bedroom and cuddle as the movie continues

you realize that your brain, near the end of the movie, begins to project 'personal meaning' onto your perception of the film and makes varied assumptions about von trier's 'narrative tact'. you find this happens especially in terms of characterization, partly because your girlfriend says, in response to one scene, 'that's so selfish, why did he kill himself?' to which you reply—utilizing almost only subconscious thought—'to characterize him as a "control freak" that feels he needs to have "control" over his life in the face of impending death'

the credits roll and you see that penelope cruz has a 'special thanks' credit



I start dating a girl on the pretense that I am an asshole and will treat her like shit mostly, not realizing genuine, positive feelings/intentions will arise. Vague interest in hipsters leads to eventual discovery of Tao Lin's blog through Hipster Runoff. Initial vague interest becomes disinterest until disinterest in Hipster Runoff's subject matter causes increased interest in things related to but not directly involved in Hipster Runoff "world"/content. Until now, did not think of Tao Lin as anything but "The AZN Poet".

I consume most if not all of Tao Lin's online presence via obsessive, non-stop google searching, social network searching, etc. The "myth" of Tao Lin seems unfathomably deep, like daily google searching his name forever and finding new information may be possible. I become jealous re seemingly "daunting" task of causing internet ubiquitousness, since I had already missed the bulk of Tao's initial fame-building "gimmicks"/antics and imitation would result in feelings of inadequacy and "lack of artistic integrity". Feel unsure why I want to "follow"/imitate Tao's success arc.

Severe depression leads to compulsive journal writing, in attempts to develop a sense of literary progression re myself/my career. Lack of a sense of direction and insecurities re imitating Tao result in disjointed, "unconsumable" prose style seen in early Romantic Rhetoric posts. Girlfriend breaks up with me "for no reason" ~28th.

Persistent feelings of crippling depression result in sleeping ~52 hours at a time. Begin online friendship with Romantic Rhetoric co-founder Andrew "Floyd" Capra.

Start "Romantic Rhetoric" as a Hipster Runoff knock-off/genre unspecific blog with a focus on relationships/feelings of confusion in relationships/prose with relationship themes. "Find" self feeling extreme, negative feelings re early posts and want to write things that seemed more concrete, "consumable", not "dumb", "unique". Feel like I should just "keep going" after severe depression worsens and possibility of Romantic Rhetoric "going somewhere" seems to dwindle to extremely low levels.

MARCH 2009
Viral/spam/troll marketing results in a spike in hits on Romantic Rhetoric. Camille La Frere is brought on as a contributor. Semi-nude photographs of Camille "emerge" "everywhere". Blog hits "soar".

MAY 2009
Brandon Scott Gorrell inquires after Camille La Frere via Gmail chat.

JUNE 2009
Tao Lin initiates chat for the first and only time with "bro". I "grossly" overreact and "talk his ear off" in what seems to have ultimately caused negative, out-of-control feelings of incompatibility. I inform Tao that I will be at his birthday/Muumuu House release [thing] in New York in July with no concrete plan of how to get there/how to stop seeming extreme and out-of-control. I send Megan Boyle [and other people] emails asking if she wants to carpool to New York on July 2nd for Brandon Scott Gorrell's poetry book release party.

JULY 2009
Meet Megan Boyle. Drive with her to New York. Meet Brandon Scott Gorrell, then Tao Lin, then "everyone" in Muumuu House/the indie lit scene up to this point, except Ellen Kennedy. Have strong feelings that I am a part of it, am the "token black guy" of the indie lit scene. Proceed to try to get published by people in "the scene". Am rejected unanimously. Give up abruptly after perceiving my work as immature/untamed.

Have sex for the first time since breaking up with girlfriend. Feelings of inadequacy seem to go away a little. Start planning to write "a fucking novel", and express this to Brandon Scott Gorrell and Megan Boyle.

Become a hardcore "party girl". Am intoxicated/on drugs every day of September and most of October. Decide I "need" to write a novel.

Engage in National Novel Writing Month in what seems to be a cooperative endeavor with Megan Boyle. Megan Boyle's novel is about a post-apocalyptic universe and seems way better than mine. In late November, realize that Megan has written nothing and that I have done nothing but eat 2x bagels every day, smoke cigar tobacco improperly and write prose in a sterile, cat-infested Pikesville apartment living room for what now seems to be "no reason". Non-sarcastically feel that I'm channeling Dostoevsky. Severe depression begins to "take hold".

Speed-edit novel while contemplating suicide. Decide to release the novel and "kill myself" for publicity purposes. This seems to work briefly. People don't seem to take it "seriously" which seems good. I say that if I don't get laid by new years I will kill myself. I apply for a job as a cashier at a delicatessen.

Tao emails me to see if I am "really dead" for his blog's newsfeed. I email him "yes, I am really dead". No newsfeed post is made re my death. The decision to kill myself seems unfulfilling/bleak. Thoughts that I will now never be taken seriously again "arise", then disappear in a fluid manner. I meet Lara McKaye at a birthday party and we make out all night. Find out she has already "made rounds" through "the scene" re mild sexual encounters. Think "she is a party girl". She refuses to have sex with me. I contemplate actual suicide ~5 sec daily.

Take advantage of "snowpocalypse" by writing a screenplay for a film called "Dead Midgets". Begin relationship with "party girl", Lara McKaye. Continue to work at deli. In early March, travel to Baltimore and spend the night at Megan Boyle's apartment with Zachary German. Make brief video about rap music.

JULY 2010
Travel with Megan Boyle to Pennsylvania to visit Lara McKaye, where she works at an overnight summer camp. Fireworks explode everywhere during the drive. Megan and I yell "whoa bro" multiple times. Lara and Megan both wear a black dress, with leather sandals, a metal necklace and a dark-colored cardigan and both recently cut their bangs. Have constant feelings of confusion as to "which is which" throughout the night. Megan almost falls in a river while trying to pee. I tuck her drunk ass in and say "happy independence day bro". She says "brooooo". I think something like "I am glad we are friends".

Travel with Lara McKaye to Baltimore for [unsure] reasons. Spend the night at Megan Boyle's apartment. Megan Boyle's cat scars my leg.

Have feelings that death is overrated and come out of retirement. Medium-small wave of buzz is created. It becomes "clear" that Tao Lin is ignoring me/wants nothing to do with me. Perceivable "competitor" MDMA Films is founded by Tao Lin and Megan Boyle accompanied by substantial press.

Extreme attempt to rebrand occurs. Extensive aesthetic and thematic research is done. Feelings of impending relevance "resurge" as preparations to film "Dead Midgets" begin to seem "real"/imminent. Tao Lin and Megan Boyle are listed as "in a relationship" on Facebook. Sudden onset of seasonal depression causes current catatonic state/self-reflexive writing. Feelings that "I am different from how I perceive myself" cause extreme sarcastic thoughts of suicide. New sound project, Energy Dusk is "leaked". Purchase Richard Yates for $15.15 at Barnes & Nobel. Read it in <48hrs.