5 Films To Watch When Everything Goes To Shit

Because sometimes people do something unbelievably stupid and you need to do something to not go insane.

1. Airplane

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Really any of the 80’s/early 90’s parody films: Airplane, Hot Shots, Naked Gun etc. The trouble with a lot of comedy lately is it’s too serious. Everything needs to make people think, to have a higher purpose, it’s almost as though comedy is a swear word. I saw someone on Twitter complain about the length of a lot of comedy films by saying “Airplane is 87 minutes long and fits in loads of jokes, your film doesn’t need to be longer”. For better or for worse this film is also responsible for the okay Scary Movie, and the just plain awful Epic Movie. This film is also responsible for changing Leslie Nielsens career. Before this he was actually a serious actor. After this he became a comedy legend. Before this: Poseidon Adventure, Forbidden Planet. After this: Naked Gun, Spy Hard. And let’s face it, the world is all the better for having him discover comedy, as I discuss here.

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2. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs

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The sequel too. Yes, the sequel was mainly just an excuse for a lot of food puns, but I’m a fan of food and puns so I was perfectly okay with that.

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And this is adorable

But like most films, the original was the best. This film does have a stupid title, and I’d like to say the film itself is more mature, but it’s not; it’s just as silly, gloriously so. But it also teaches you important lessons: be yourself, being smart is awesome, and don’t get in an ice cream fight with a monkey,

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3. Buried

Because it’s hard to feel worried about your own life when you’re watching something that kills your soul and any hope you ever had. This is a fantastic achievement in film-writing, the entire film is set within the confines of a coffin. When I first heard about it i thought that that couldn’t possibly work. Surely they have flashback scenes? Or he gets out about half hour into the film and suddenly it turns into an action film? But no, it’s just one guy, in a box for the entire film. And it is a remarkably effective piece of filmmaking. The singular location means the audience feels just as trapped and claustrophobic as the character. If the film had any cutaway scenes it would only serve to break up the tension. I recommend that everybody see this film at least once.

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But only once

4. The Muppet’s Christmas Carol

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There are two types of people in this world, those who like this film, and those who beat their partners. I am on the former. To me this is one of the best Christmas films around, and is also my favourite adaptation of A Christmas Carol, probably one of the most faithful too, it has quotes directly from the novel, and yet it never seems out of place. This is one of the most effective displays of adaptation you will ever see. Michael Caine gives a fantastic performance, the songs are catchy, plus, it’s the f*cking muppets.

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This is still terrifying though

5. 50/50

Because sometimes the best way to deal with stressful situations is just to have a good cry, and believe me, this film will reduce you to a quivering wreck of tears and sadness. This will kill you emotionally, and yet it’s also ridiculously funny. Now the first thing people will ask when you tell them you’re going to see a film is “what’s it about?”. In this case your answer will be “it’s a comedy about someone with cancer”. “Comedy” and “cancer” are two concepts which usually go together as well as cheese and cardboard (although if anybody has any cardboard recipes they’d recommend then send them to the usual address). However in this case it goes together as well as cheese and marmite.  If you’re looking for a standard feel good film then don’t see this one; it will depress the living hell out of you at some points (although it’s a film about cancer so that’s to be expected), although it will also make you laugh so hard you choke a little bit. It’s actually ended up being probably the best film I’ve seen at the cinema all year . It’s smart, funny, and ridiculously heartfelt with some fantastic performances all round. Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt have an on-screen chemistry that makes it seem like they’ve known each other for years; and that really helps the film. Also it is great to see Anjelica “morticia adams” Huston back being awesome (and looking surprisingly like one of my primary school teachers)

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So that’s it for today. What kind of stuff do you watch when you need emotional assistance? Because one thing’s for sure, we’re all going to need it.

How we (I) made (wrote) Projector.

So as my Troubled Production’s colleague so subtly hinted I should, I’m gonna talk about my influences on writing Projector and how it came to be. There’s not much else I can add about the production, but this is where the story came from, before that.

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The original concept poster. And don’t worry, the tagline is explained.

Well if you’ve seen the film, there’s a flashback during the lengthy Film Noir section where two characters discuss a film idea as they throw a ball, called ‘The Great Party’. In short, its a Great Gatsby  themed film about a guy looking for his girlfriend at a surreal party, where every room uses the same actors to play different characters. That’s the idea Projector stemmed from. But it became something so different; we could still make that film without any crossover of story or events.

The real foundation of Projector started when I decided I needed to tell a story that really meant something to me, something personal, for my final film at university. And not just the typical murder mystery, rom-com, with suicide probably in there, party films, that a lot of film students tend to crap out. So of course I made a film about a struggling filmmaker in the middle of a quarter life crises (I pride myself on originality).

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A lot of the idea developed from a scheme to make a film where typical film mistakes, audio glitches, double shadows, crew reflections ect, where actually part of the film, with the whole film within a film concept. An idea I thought of mainly as a bit of a middle finger to the people who (rightfully so) complained about the lack of quality in Schism.

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Saying its just about a play within a play is actually overly simplifying it a lot.

The films I stole most of my ideas from where mainly Charlie Kaufman’s (a personal favorite writer), Synecdoche, New York and Adaptation. The former, a film about a play writer who’s lines of reality and fiction start to blur as he puts on a play within a play within- you get the idea, and the other about a fictional version of Kaufman writing the film he’s in. Synecdoche ended up having a more lasting impact overall, because in early drafts Projector was about me, I mean of course it’s about me, I mean literally, it was about fictional versions of me and people I know, in a uber-meta self-indulgent kinda way. Luckily the rest of my group had the sense to talk me down from that ledge.

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So instead I went the Woody Allen root and just made the main character so blatantly me, everyone wondered where I got an actor who resembles me so much. Woody’s Star Dust Memories (the first of his films to make me understand why he’s a big deal) was also a key inspiration for me, dealing with a filmmaker in creative crises whose reality blurs into his own films (though oddly enough I wasn’t the one who added his name drop in the script, twice). Now I’m sure for those of you who know a bit about cinema are wondering, “how can you talk thus far about your surreal meta film about film making, without bringing up Fellini’s 81/2?” Well, that’s because I didn’t see it till after I’d written the script. I knew about it, and its influences on the other films that did influences me, but it was only inspiration by association.

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But Scrooged was clearly my one true inspiration.

The idea to make parallels with A Christmas Carol came a bit late in the writing, after the first draft I believe. I’d just seen Wild at Heart and loved the way it paralleled The Wizard of Oz, so I thought adding an underline theme of classic literature would be good, but what I thought? What? And I had no idea, till I picked up the mail one day and there was a flyer for a local production of A Christmas Carol, and like Diana on prom night, it hit me; the perfect story to wrap Projector around, three films, three ghosts, and a lead character with a barrel of regrets.

What’s next?

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As it was said, the plan is to adapt Projector into a feature, the idea being to add a whole new parallel narrative on top of the already existing one, as well as to develop the original out. The new narrative would follow the same aspiring filmmakers Christopher and Phillip on an odyssey of a night out, going from parties to dives to who knows where, as Christopher talks through Projector with Phillip. Cutting back to that story as he goes, as the night-out starts to parallel with the film and the two- in a complete breakdown of the meta-verse – coincide. But when we’ll write that still waits to be seen.