“To the Dreams That Make Us Who We Are” – Harmony Korine's 'Mister Lonely'

[I wrote this piece as part of a series called Love Fest, in which writers "produce write-ups about a film that they have a personal, passionate, unironic, burning love for...often defenses of films that had been deemed inferior by the larger film community"]

What does it mean for a movie to “work?” For some people, it’s as simple as the beat sheet laid out in ‘Save the Cat’ (page 8, theme stated; page 20, catalyst, etc). Others might feel like the PAGE Awards judge who once told me, “The three-act structure is hundreds of years old for a reason – use it.” But I think for most people it’s more like Justice Potter Stewart’s famous attempt to describe pornography: “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description…but I know it when I see it.” This is all to say: by almost any measure, including my own amorphous one, Harmony Korine’s ‘Mister Lonely’ does not “work.” It’s a muddled, saggy film full of bold images that are arguably meaningless. And yet I love just about every minute of it. So it works, and in a very particular way.

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Forgotbusters - The Lord of the Rings

[I wrote this reflection on Ralph Bakshi's adaptation of The Lord of the Rings as part of the Forgotbusters series at The Solute - "Forgotbusters re-examines movies that were among the top 25 grossing films the year of their release, but have receded culturally, in order to explore what originally attracted audiences to them, and why they failed to endure."]

In November 1978, an animated film was released, a sprawling adaptation of a challenging literary work that straddled youth and adult sensibilities. The film balances tones, is beautifully rendered, and remembered as a classic. Then, two weeks after Watership Down, Ralph Bakshi’s The Lord of the Rings was released, too.

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