SPRING: A Conversation In Two Parts. Part One: Basterds, Blockbusters And Barometers
And while we talked about their movie I am of the mindset that the less you know heading into a screening of Spring the more rewarding your viewing experience will be. So I took on the role of selfish bastard. Most of everything that I did glean from the lads about their film I have kept for myself. I have tried to keep this as spoiler free as possible. For you. I did it, for you.
Instead, as we were leading up to our cyber pow-wow last week Justin Benson said, `The weirder, the better`. So I have endeavored to bring you, in an epic two part format, an interview with the filmmakers of Spring, that is not always about Spring.
And as I have listened to the audio over a couple of times I couldn't help but think of one thing. If you have watched Top Gear, the good one, the one from England with the blazing racist at the helm, you know he always introduces the show this way, "Tonight. Justin says Inglourious Basterds a lot. Aaron has a girlfriend. And Andrew cannot answer his own questions".
Of course we extend our eternal gratitude to the members of The Temple of Our Celestial Messiah for arranging this interview. A generous donation has been made to their cause as they continue their mission here on Earth.
Before we began Justin had a spot of good news to share with Aaron and myself.
Justin - Did you see that Gareth Evans just tweeted about Spring? The highest compliment a love story can get is from the maker of The Raid. Is it because because you think he can't love? Because he so good at visceral violence?
ScreenAnarchy - That's cool. Let's get started then. About 20 years ago, when I was a hopeless romantic, one of the films in my top 10 was Michael Radford's film Il Postino. It was on the list back then because I thought would get me some action if I watched it with a girl. What film would you show a girl if you want to get her in the mood?
J - Well we used to say Resolution. But now I feel that showing someone your own movies makes you a douche bag. Aaron has a good story.
Aaron - I do. I was dating this girl I found really interesting. We were on our way and prepping Spring and it is getting financed. But I hadn't- and I'm dead serious here- we developed the script and everything...
I had not seen a Linklater film.
And I'm really embarrassed by saying that, but in some ways, nice, we developed a script together and one half of us had never seen the Before series.
So this girl I've been seeing, she was kind of cool. And what I liked about her a lot was that she had good movie taste. On our very first date I showed her The Proposition, out on a whim. And that's not a movie to show a girl to get her in the mood. That was just testing if she was cool. And she stuck around.
So I said, "Yeah, we should probably watch this. Basically for research. Make sure were not ripping off this movie". And we watched Before Sunrise we really loved it. Let's watch Before Sunset tomorrow. She came over the next day to watch Before Sunset. And it was right before Before Midnight came out in theaters so we made a plan that will complete the trilogy the next day and we went and saw Before Midnight. And then she was my girlfriend and she still is, and we've been dating for a year and a half.
J - I've watched those movies with girls before for those exact same movies. I've done that and been in this situation where they didn't like it, but like for very shallow reasons. They would've preferred that it was a Matthew McConaughey rom com. When they watch romantic movie that's what they want. They said it felt like what would happen if they really met, if people really met in reality, and that's what they didn't like about it. Then I in turn feel shallow because I'm like, I don't know if things are going to work out this girl because she doesn't like theses movies. I'm afraid they're missing some part of their humanity.
A - Honestly though, it is pretty tough to date a person that doesn't have similar, at least complementary, movie tastes. Basically I got introduced to a lot more Lars von Trier, a lot more alt humor, and a lot more Harmony Korine. And I still try to push her to watch Raiders of the Lost Ark. But that said, there is a lot of really awesome crossover and when one of us likes a movie we can expect the other one to like it as well.
T - We are going to talk about romance a lot guys, and Aaron almost answered this, the first film he showed the girl, The Proposition. Not the first film which jumps to mind when choosing a movie you would show a girl. If you wanted to find out if she was compatible with you, with your own taste, what will be your barometer film?
J - Oh man. Can I give you two? I'm going to give you Almost Famous. Probably the director's cut because it has more humor in it. And Boyhood. It would be those two.
I noticed that I have a different worldview from people who don't- just slightly different from people who don't like really don't like Boyhood. I understand people saying that there are technical flaws and things like that but when they say, "It's like it's a bad movie". I'm like, "Uh. No".
T - They can't substantiate it.
A - That's really funny, "Uh. No". A girl I was seeing I showed her The Assassination of Jesse James. And I was really proud of that one and that was a good litmus test. My first dates are really weird and intense. I've never been like, "Yeah. Let's watch this movie that were going to ignore", "No. No. Watch the damn movie".
T - If you set the bar high and they come back then you know there's something worse investing in. It's like showing somebody Seven... ... But I don't know.
J - That's an interesting one too. I love Inglourious Basterds. I don't expect the girl I'm dating to love Inglourious Basterds on the level that I love Inglourious Basterds. Now, that said, I showed my mom Inglourious Basterds over Christmas, and my mom enjoyed it very much. She loved Inglourious Basterds. And you wouldn't think she's like the core audience for Inglourious Basterds. But she still appreciates it. But still if I were dating a girl and she didn't like Inglorious Basterds it wouldn't cast doubt upon our relationship for me.
A - Yes, true. But that was a different one and if someone didn't like Jesse James all that would do would reframe things.
J - What if they said, "I didn't like it". "What didn't you like?" "Shit like the train scene and I thought the cinematography was bad". Would you be like "What's. Wrong. W-"
A - I think that would be that would be the first time I would kill someone. (laughter) I don't want to kill someone, I just don't think that person should be around anymore.
J - That scene where Brad Pitt is Jessie James and is tracking behind them on a horse, with the moonlight just lighting his ghastly Grim Reaper face.
A - Greatest. Lighting. In the WORLD!
J - "I hated that scene. I thought the lighting was terrible, Aaron".
A - No one gets to hate on that movie's cinematography!
T - Don't talk to Aaron about the look. Don't talk to Justin about the words. "Man, that dialogue was crap", "You're crap!".
J - I'm the first person to be like, "Look. I didn't grow up like you. we had different worldviews I completely understand difference of opinion". And then for some reason I'm also the same guy that will turn around and just be like, "Oh you didn't like that movie? Well you are wrong". I will still do that. For everything else I will play like total devil's advocate and then there's some movies where I just like, "I'm sorry you're just wrong. You're not entitled to your opinion. You're entitled to your wrong ass opinion I suppose. But don't spread that bullshit around".
You just made me realize I might be sexist in a way. This is abstract, let me take you down the road.
T - Take me down the road.
J - Kill List for example. If a dude says to me, "I didn't like Kill List. It's not a good movie. The ending came out of nowhere." I will very simply explain to him why he is wrong and there is not a doubt in my mind why he is wrong. It is not his fault, people can be wrong about things, but he would be incorrect. Kill List is a good movie. The ending is in the sound of the movie, the whole movie. It's being set up the whole time. There's nothing wrong with Kill List.
However, if I was on a date and the girl's like, "I didn't like Kill List", I'd be like, "I respect your opinion. It's totally fine". Is that sexism?
A - Yeah.
T - Yeah. It's like, you're wrong, but you smell great. So, next Friday?
J - If she was like, "I saw Almost Famous directors cut. I hated everything about it". I'd be like, "I guess she's totally heartless and maybe she's a bad person".
A - There is a list of 30 or 40 movies that I will just fight tooth and nail, tell people just how wrong they are and I won't be nice. I'll be polite but not to say, I'm not going to give your PC answer, yes, I see your point, I suppose you're entitled that.
I'm really weird. I know that art is in the eye of the beholder. I also believe that there is something objectively good or bad about certain pieces of art. I know that if you find meaning in something is particularly bad then good for you. But I will say that you found something good and something that is objectively bad. That's all it is. You found a silver lighting is what we're really talking about here. That doesn't extend to philosophical inquiry. We get that Socrates could probably destroyed that opinion. But I'm not going to sit here and just be like, "It's all right you're allowed to dislike this thing", I'm sorry, "You're allowed to think that this thing that is great, is not great".
But then people say the same thing to me about Guardians of the Galaxy. And I'll say, "Guys, it is not great, it's not a great movie. It is a lot like the other movies". Although it's really well directed it's not a great thing that happened to our culture here. And people are like, "No No No. It got nominated for an Oscar". You guys are wrong in that case.
T - If that's your only way to justify it, it got an Oscar nomination, "And here's me turning around, turning around, and just walk away". I enjoyed the heck out of it I though. It was a lot of fun but there's not a lot of substance to stuff like that.
A - I did find it a lot of fun. I think almost every bad movie blockbuster is still quote unquote "a lot of fun". I don't know if that is ever an acceptable excuse for me. You can have a lot of fun and have something real and not be remaking another movie. The best example of all time being The Dark Knight, the easiest one to jump to. That movie is a lot of fun and also presents like real moral quandary and also truly dark and I haven't seen that story before. Whereas Guardians of the Galaxy is the Emperor's New Clothes, when you call that the dressing of the same story in different clothes. I ain't about that shit. That said though, I think that there's so much about it that's well done, especially the direction and especially the visual effects that is like... wait. How we get on this? Think I just decided to pick on that movie I'm sorry.
T - Let's keep on course here what is the perfect romantic movie?
J - The perfect romantic movie...
T - If we were to take the certain aspects of your movie and were going to divide them up, what is a perfect romantic movie?
A - This is just something because it just happened to come up couple of days ago. I don't know if this applies to your question or not but I think one of the perfect romance double features, ever, would be Before Sunset and Amalie.
J - Oooh.
A - Starting with two very similar ideas and you're working the same romantic city, Paris. And two wildly different approaches, could not be more different, and they're both charming in their completely different ways. One puts love on a pedestal. One makes it completely real. One is in a fantasy world. One is completely and totally in our world. That's not exactly what you asked but it is pretty good, if you watch those two movies back to back. A lot is being said about love, lots being covered about romance right now. One of the idealized version and one the one we have to deal with every day. And we deal with the idealized version everyday in our thoughts. Did that buy you enough time to think that anything Justin by any chance?
J - I can't top of double feature of Before Sunset and Amelie. And it's a good one too because it almost counts as one movie because Before Sunset is really short. It's barely 80 minutes.
A - Yeah and Amelie is really short too.
T- Let's go on the flipside then. What is the perfect monster movie?
J - Hold on. What's YOUR perfect romance movie before we go on?
T - My perfect romance movie? Aaaugh. Curses, man. The Notebook. Uh. No.
J - It's okay if it's The Notebook.
T - No. I like them sappy. My Sassy Girl, the Korean flick, was always a nice one. Always thought I could show that to somebody. Get emotional about it. Maybe True Romance?
A - Good one.
J - That is a good one.
T - I don't know. I don't how much I delve into the romantic stuff as much as I wish I did, or have any reason to.
J - Cool. What was your other question?
T - Your film is about monsters and romance. So on the flipside, what is the perfect example of a monster movie?
Together - Woo-oooh.!
J - That's a great goddamn question. What is a perfect monster movie. Alien? I know that's so easy because we mention it all the time. It is just about right isn't it?
A - Can't think of anything wrong with Alien, yes.
J - The most middling response ever, "Well I can't think of anything wrooong with Alien".
T - I was watching the Assembly Cut of Alien 3 the other day. I unabashedly love Alien 3.
A - Thank you. Thank you so much. I love Alien 3. People say that something is wrong with it and I don't know what it is. There is something wrong with it but I love that movie. Good. Thank you.
T - I love that film. Given that yours has a monster in it, what about something like The Thing? Carpenter's The Thing.
J - Yeah.The go to, the ones that you can't disagree with... Alien One is probably the one that most people go, "Yeah, it holds up. It is still that! The king of monster movies". But your go to are one like Alien, The Fly - Cronenberg's The Fly. The Thing. American Werewolf in London is another big go to. The best transformation sequence of all-time. If we're going to talk about just monster movie in general but they don't leap out at you right away but 28 Days Later is technically a monster movie right? Zombies are monsters.
T - I would go with monsters. I don't like calling it a zombie film.
J - Okay. Well now this is controversial.
A - Uh oooh.
J - I'm not a passionate supporter or detractor of whether 28 Days Later is an actual zombie movie or not. If we do say that it is a monster movie then it ranks pretty high up there. You got great script by Alex Garland and great direction by Danny Boyle. At the time there hadn't been anything like in a while. Now there are so many goddamn movies like 28 Days Later.
A - I still don't think there are, man.
J - Not on that level. Not on that level of artistry. But it did spawn a lot of viral, outbreak, zombie, survivalist type things.
T - Everybody started running. I'm a shamble zombie guy. Not a running zombie guy. 28 Days Later was a contagion horror film. (Cue sounds of exasperation)
A - You can't even say it. You should just be like, "Uh. No".