Poster of a Girl: 1980 Edition

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It’s 1980 Week! What does that mean, you ask? Well, I decided to try out doing theme weeks from time to time, dedicating each post during that week to cultural artifacts (movies, comics, books, music) or historic events from one specific year. In the future, I will pick those years randomly, but for a start I decided on 1980, the year I was born, because, well, today’s my birthday. I don’t know how this will work out, so it’s an experiment. But I like experiments, obviously, which means I’m very excited!

To get an overview of this particular year, I thought it would be nice to look at its movie posters. I looked at all the posters of 1980 that can be found on IMP Awards and picked out the ones I found interesting. Which is still a lot (49). But because there are so many, I grouped them in categories, because many things repeat themselves. Without further ado, let’s give it up for 1980!

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Leprechaun in the Hood (2000)

     leprechaun in the hoodLeprechaun in the Hood is… well, it’s called Leprechaun in the Hood, so what would you expect? It’s a terrible movie, really, really terrible. The story makes no sense, the characters are all idiots, the jokes aren’t funny and it’s definitely not scary. It’s a bad movie and not even an unintentionally funny one. The Leprechaun part guarantees a bad horror movie, but the In the Hood part guarantees an amazing amount of stereotypes and racism. You might find that funny, but it doesn’t make it less racist. No, this is not a movie I’m happy to have seen (but thanks to How Did This Get Made the suffering was a bit easier).

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Book Report: David Levithan’s Every Day (2012)

every day

(no spoilers!)

David Levithan’s Every Day has a central idea that is so simple and brilliant, that it’s hard to believe no one else has written that book already. It’s the story of A, who wakes up in a new body every day, for one day, since his (or her, there’s no definite gender) birth. He doesn’t get involved too much and just follows along the person’s normal routine until he jumps into the next person. That alone would make an interesting book. He’s sixteen when we meet him and just reading about him observing the people whose lives he joins is interesting enough. But then he falls in love for the first time, with a girl called Rhiannon and suddenly he has to live actively if he wants to enjoy this love. This is where the book becomes really interesting. It’s a really good book, well-written and with one of the best endings I could imagine because until the very end, it’s hard to see it coming. It plays with our expectations and I really enjoyed that. I try to keep it short because I do not want to spoil the book in any way, as I think it’s really worth reading.

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Win Win (2011)

     win_winWin Win is a traditional indie comedy. It follows rather typical indie movie characters through a standard indie movie plot. It’s good, but not because of the story or some of the underdeveloped characters, but mainly because of the incredible acting. Paul Giamatti is amazing and, well, everyone else is too. But the story moves along such conventional paths and especially the ending is resolved much too easy. Also, the character of Jeffrey Tambor, as funny as he is, has no back story at all and only shows up to be funny. On the other hand, Kyle (Alex Shaffer) is a very well-written and acted character that keeps most of the movie going. Thomas McCarthy is both a great writer and director and you see that in most of the scenes, even if others don’t work or feel hokey. Anyway, I really liked the movie despite its flaws and I want to take a look at how it depicts the average life of common people.

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You Belong on the Radio: Music Video Edition (1)

I know the last time on this series, I basically promised to try something else. My thought was to look at charts from different continents to get a more diverse view on what happens culturally outside of “Western civilization.” But the problem is that you either don’t get charts from specific countries or the lyrics aren’t in English or it’s just the same songs like everywhere else. Then I thought about going back in time, but I have something special planned for next week already. I almost thought of giving up and doing a straight charts analysis, when I remembered something I had wanted to do already: music videos! So, today, I look at the German Singles Charts again, but only at the videos of songs I haven’t discussed already. There’s nothing like good random parameters.

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All Good Things (2010)

           all_good_things(spoilers ahead)

All Good Things is a fascinating movie that maybe doesn’t completely satisfy in the end, but is still able to hold the audience’s attention all the way through. It’s the story of David Marks and Katherine McCarthy (or the real-life story of Robert Durst and Katherine McCormack on whom the movie is based) and it’s clear why director Andrew Jarecki was intrigued by this story. Its biggest problem is that the movie can’t provide a satisfying conclusion because it has to stay true to the facts and the facts don’t provide an answer either. But this doesn’t lessen the movie’s power, which is mostly due to the strong performances. Ryan Gosling is as good as always, but the real surprise is Kirsten Dunst. She surely was never a bad actress, but she shines so brightly in this movie that when her character disappears, the movie loses a lot of its appeal. Still, the direction is strong and the score keeps you entertained for the last 30 minutes where the doomed romance turns into an unsolved crime mystery.

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This 80s Movie: Ms. 45 (1981)

           ms_forty_five_ver3(spoilers ahead)

Ms. 45 is an example of a vigilante movie, although it goes even more absurd than most of them are. It is one of Abel Ferrara’s first movies and is crude, violent and absurd. I couldn’t call it good convincingly but in a way it was better than I expected after the first ten minutes of the movie. The acting is mostly bad, the dialogue too, the music is torture for the ears, but there is a certain fascination for a movie that mostly does what you assume it would, but sometimes goes along paths that are totally unexpected. And for a movie that deals with a female vigilante (or “misandristic spree killer” as Wikipedia proudly sets right), it sure says many things about men and women. I’m not sure it knows exactly what to say, but it’s interesting to take a look at the messages it conveys. It also works as an era representative for the 80s: a mixture of fashion world and crime infected New York, both typical 80s memes.

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Why Being a Teacher Sucks (Sometimes)

My holidays are almost over and once school starts, I will probably return to more thought pieces on school and general things. But to get ready for school and after Detachment, I thought I could spend two posts on reflecting what exactly I like and don’t like about being a teacher. And as I dutifully learned in school, I start with the bad things now and continue with the good things on Sunday. I heard this will strengthen my conclusion. So, in no particular order and without an end in sight as I write this now, some of the reasons what’s bad about being a teacher (and if you haven’t seen, I explained why I’m a teacher already).

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