Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Year of Movie Connections

Last year, I decided that every movie I watched had to connect somehow to the previous one. Because I see a lot of movies in the theatre, I didn’t want to include those – having to connect them would severely limit my cinema-going – so I only connected movies I watched on DVD, Blu-ray or TV. It wasn’t easy but I did it. All told, from January 1 to December 31, I was able to watch 66 films this way in 2009 (down from 106 the year before), and each one had some connection – however tenuous – to the previous.

So without further ado, here is a round-up of the films and how they connected (what follows is a transcript of the youtube video), starting with:

The Deer Hunter

which starred Meryl Streep, who was also in


written by screenwriting twins (technically), just like


which starred Ingrid Bergman, who is not the same Ingrid once married to, or even related to BUT shares the same last name with, Ingemarr Bergman, who directed

The Seventh Seal

which starred Max von Sydow, who was also in

Hannah and her Sisters

which featured J.T. Walsh, who was also in

A Few Good Men

which starred Jack Nicholson, as did

The Shining

which figures creepy twins, just like

Big Fish

which stars Ewan McGregor who had two shows about buddy cross-country motorcycle rides, which is similar to the plot of

Easy Rider

which features a location where once lived an aging film star, just like in

Sunset Boulevard

directed by Billy Wilder, who also helmed

Irma la Douce

that took place in Paris, as did

An American in Paris

which features the premise "come-from-away” falls in love with someone from the film’s location, just like

A Sunday in Kigali

in which Genocide features prominently, just like in

La Vita e Bella (Life is Beautiful)

which is a Holocaust film, as is

The Pianist

which is about a composer, as is

The Red Shoes

which was made by “the Archers”, just like

A Canterbury Tale

which was a “buy bonds” propaganda film from WWII, as was


directed by Alfred Hitchcock, just like

Mr. & Mrs. Smith (not the Branjelina one)

which centers on a couple who are broken up for most of the film, just like in

The Tiger in the Snow

Featuring a war that America “shouldn't have been in" as its backdrop (Iraq) AND has a well-known actor playing outside his nationality: Jean Reno (a Frenchman playing an Iraqi) which is just like

Tigerland which, besides having the word Tiger in the title, features another war that America “shouldn't have been in" as its backdrop (Vietnam) AND ALSO has a well-known actor playing outside his nationality: Colin Farrell (an Irishman playing a Texan). And it is a war film, as is


which is about Nazis, the singular of which rhymes with


which was a co-production, made by a white guy about characters that aren't white, just like

Map of the Human Heart

that features Patrick Bergen mapping the Northwest Passage, which Frobisher was sent to find by Elizabeth I, played by the incomparable Catie Blanchett in

Elizabeth: The Golden Age

where royalty features prominently as it does in

Marie Antoinette

which takes place in Paris or it’s suburbs, just like


that starred the stunning Audrey Hepburn, as did

War & Peace

which was based on the book by Leo Tolstoy, who wrote the story filmed as

Night Sun (Il Sole Anche di Notte)

which featured an actor who played Hemingway (Julian Sands) in another film, as did Paul Newman one time, who starred in

The Sting

which featured 1. Paul Newman, 2. Robert Redford and was directed by 3. George Roy Hill, who all did the same in

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

shot by Cinematographer Conrad L. Hall, who also shot

American Beauty

edited by Tariq Anwar, who also edited

The Madness of King George

which starred Helen Mirren, who, amazingly kept her clothes on as she did in

Gosford Park

that starred Kristin Scott Thomas, as did

The English Patient

which starred Juliette Binoche, who was also in

Caché (Hidden)

which starred Daniel Autieul, who was also in

La Placard (The Closet)

on which Michel Filippi was ADR Supervisor who was also the post-synchronization engineer on


that starred Mathieu Kassovitz, who directed

La Haine (Hate)

a French film that takes place in France (go figure!), just like

La Femme Nikita

which was a stand-in for Léon (The Professional) – both ‘hitwomen’ films by Luc Besson. The Japanese peace lily that Nicholas Angel brings with him and takes care of is much like Léon's plant in the movie Léon. When (Nicholas) talks about it, similar dialogue is used in

Hot Fuzz

where the line "Forget it, Nick, it's Sandford" is just like the last line "Forget it Jake, it's Chinatown." from


that starred John Huston, who directed

The Maltese Falcon

which starred Peter Lorre, who also starred in


that features a serial killer who is terrorizing a city, as well as cops and organized crime both trying to stop the killer, just like

Summer of Sam

directed by Spike Lee, who also directed

Malcolm X

which starred John Sayles, who directed

Sunshine State

that featured Sam McMurray, also featured in

L.A. Story

in which Patrick Stewart had a bit part and he was in Star Trek: TNG with Denise Crosby, who had a bit part in


in which Nedra Volz had a bit part and she was in 4 episodes of One Day at a Time with Valerie Bertinelli, who played herself in


which follows the zany hi-jinks of a gaggle of high school girls, just like

Mean Girls

which starred Neil Flynn, who was in the TV show Scrubs with Zach Braff, who directed and stars in

Garden State

which starred Ian Holm, who is also in

Time Bandits

which featured Katherine Helmond, as did

Family Plot

Production Designed by Henry Bumstead, as was

Flags of our Fathers

where the Negative Cutter was Mo Henry, who did the same on

Before Sunset

that featured Louise Lemoine Torres, who was in an episode of the long-running French television show Commisssaire Moulin entitled La promesse, just like the film

La promesse

which features "illegal aliens" coming to a new world and trying to get by just making a living, which is very similar thematically to Johnny Depp’s character where he is an inventor's creation (NOT like the rest of us!) and thus has no Social Security Number, etc. putting him in the same boat (as it were) in

Edward Scissorhands

where the main characters only kiss each other once and virtually not until the final scene, just like in

Pride & Prejudice

but not the one with Colin Firth ­– which would have also connected to the next film – but the one with Keira Knighley, which also starred Carey Mulligan, who was in

And When Did You Last See Your Father

which DID star Colin Firth but also featured Matthew Beard, who played almost-love interests with Carey Mulligan, as they ALSO did in

An Education

which starred Alfred Molina, who played Diego Rivera in


which featured Ashley Judd, who starred in


which had Brian F O’Byrne, who is in FlashForward with Joseph Fiennes, who played Shakespeare in

Shakespeare in Love

that featured Tom Wilkinson, who was also in

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

which was written by Charlie Kaufman, who wrote and directed

Synecdoche, NY

In which Amy Wright played the Burning House Realtor who – to get us all the way back to movie one from January 1 and bring us full circle for this Year of Connections – just happened to play one of bridesmaids in

The Deer Hunter

Thanks to Gina for doing all the hard work on the video!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Movies watched

Since January 1, 2010:

Grizzly Man
Star Trek (2009)
Half Nelson
Shadows (1959)

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Movie watched: Synecdoche, NY

Connection to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: Charlie Kaufman wrote the screenplay for both films. On a related note, Amy Wright, who played the Burning House Realtor in Synecdoche, NY also played a Bridesmaid in The Deer Hunter - which brings us full circle to the movie that started the year.

And that is a Year of Movie Connections. Sixty-six movies watched over the course of 2009 (on DVD or Blu-ray - new movies in theatres were not included unless they did connect).

Stay tuned to this blog and YouTube for a special round-up of the Year of Movie Connections.

And what's ahead for 2010? Inspired by the book Pictures at a Revolution by Mark Harris, we'll be selecting 12 groups of films from various prizes/years and see if each - especially the winner - stands the test of time.

Happy New Year everyone!