All posts by shannoncurley

The Danish Girl (2015)

There’s something about Eddie Redmayne that just crushes your soul. I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing — he’s a beautiful soul-crusher — but man, I feel like every time I sit down to a Redmayne movie, I’m going to leave feeling any one of, or a combination of, three things: 1) uncomfortably mortal, 2) disastrously under-accomplished, or 3) questioning my sexual identity.

The Danish Girl is no exception to this inevitability, though in this case, it is perhaps a bit more of a forced conclusion than in some of Redmayne’s other roles. In fact, all three of these reactions are obviously sought by the end of the film, with the lead dying – “Shit, I’m so mortal!” – the two leads both being successful, talented artists – “Shit, I’m so bad at doing stuff good!” – and of course, the main character transitioning in order to become his true self – “Shit, what even is a ‘true self’?”

However, the real issue I take with this film, aside from the generally predictable feel of the method-acting made-for-Redmayne award-seeking plot, is that it isn’t actually accurate at all to the life of the person it is supposedly based off of, Lili Elbe (Elvenes), and her relationship with Gerda Wegener, played by the stunning and Oscar award-winning Alicia Vikander — but we’ll get to her later.

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This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

This Is Spinal Tap is what Almost Famous would have been if Almost Famous didn’t take itself seriously. Where Famous follows the fictional band “Stillwater” on their rise to success and semi-biographically follows young journalist William — based on the real-life story of director Cameron Crowe — as he becomes a writer for Rolling Stone at age 15, This Is Spinal Tap follows fictitious British band “Spinal Tap” as they embark on a U.S. tour that all but finalizes that their days of glory are coming to an end (hint: watch as their venues get smaller and smaller). However, while the rockumentary-mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap is entirely satiric and parodical in its nature, its brilliance is right on par with Almost Famous, a movie I consider to be nearly perfect.

Directed by Rob Reiner, perhaps better known for his role directing The Princess Bride, This Is Spinal Tap balances that quintessential Bride humor with a genuine ode to ’80s rock band nostalgia that will warm hard rock, heavy metal hearts, and keep them laughing. The profile of the band starts with a typical interview, wherein the band hilariously describes the mysterious deaths of their various drummers throughout the band’s history. One, they claim, actually exploded. This becomes a theme as the movie progresses, and despite being simplistic in nature, never really stops being funny.

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