Suicide

Daniel Stamm‘s A Necessary Death is like a shot of whiskey that’s easy to pour but not easy to drink. His directorial debut (which won him the job for The Last Exorcism) follows a film student making a documentary about a man preparing for, and going through with, his suicide. It’s difficult territory to be certain, but it’s handled with grace, humor, and more than a few touching moments which make the horror of the inevitable and the twisting emotions growing in the film crew that much harder to handle. It’s an excellent movie, and Stamm joins us to delve deeper into its creation (and audience’s reactions). Download Episode #138

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The late ’90s were something of a period of renaissance for the teen comedy. After the genre had been completely burnt out by the end of the ’80s, there was an unspoken agreement that making a movie about a bunch of pretty young people partying and worrying about their futures was not a good idea for most of the next decade. I mean, grunge was going on…we were too depressed to think about prom. It only took a few years for youth culture’s pretentious brooding to wear off and for pop acts and teen comedies to rear their pimply heads once again, however, and by the time 1999 rolled around the multiplexes were awash with a new crop of teen actors. One of the crown jewels of that late ’90s renaissance was 10 Things I Hate About You, a loose, high school-set adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew that starred a couple kids who went on to become people like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Heath Ledger, and Julia Stiles (is she still a person?). The movie became so successful over time, in fact, that it’s director, Gil Junger, recently told Variety that he made more money last year off its residuals than he did during its original release. You know what that means in Hollywood terms…money got me thinkin’ sequels!

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Over Under - Large

You might assume that over the course of his forty-some year acting career, Al Pacino has probably won enough Oscars to stock a whole trophy room, but actually he’s only won once. It was for his performance as a blind, pissed-off, ex-military man with plans to kill himself after indulging in a weekend of fine food and fine escorts in Scent of a Woman. The movie was kind of a big deal back in the early 90s, getting nominated for a bunch of awards and winning everybody’s grandma and grandpa’s hearts in the theaters. Plus, Pacino had a catchphrase in the movie – “hoo-ah!” – which got referenced and quoted (to an annoying degree) for years after. In 2009, Ramin Bahrani made a movie about a similarly pissed off old white guy who has made a conscious decision and an appointment to kill himself called Goodbye Solo. It didn’t have any name actors like an Al Pacino, and it didn’t manage to win any awards that you’ve ever heard of, but it was really good anyway. So much so that I think it’s a shame that it never got any play with anyone outside of the movie snob crowd.

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By all accounts, a movie dealing with assisted suicide has no business being as funny as Kill Me Please. Somehow, director Olias Barco has crafted a side-splitting exploration of people wanting to end their own life. Black and white, Belgian, and yet it defies all expectations to be instantly accessible and shockingly hilarious. At a large facility in the forest, Doctor Krueger (Aurélien Recoing) helps people at the end of their rope. His main goal is to stop them from drinking the poison he applies with dignity, but he isn’t always successful. As a new group of paying customers moves into the building, and the nearby townsfolk plan to carry torches against the place, the good doctor struggles to keep the people who want to die from being killed.

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #30): “A Stop at Willoughby” (airdate 5/6/60) The Plot: A man seeks out a pastoral existence in a mysterious train stop as his home and job life crumble around him. The Goods: Gart Williams (James Daly) is waiting for a train. It matters where it will take him because it won’t be his home, but he’ll want desperately to live there. Williams rides this train back home every evening after a soul-sucking day of working in advertising (without all the whiskey breaks and adultery that we know existed because of Mad Men), and after a brief nap, starts waking up at the last stop on the route. Curiously, this last stop also seems to exist in 1888 instead of 1960. The stop’s name is Willoughby.

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Criterion Files

Welcome to the fifth and final installment of Guest Author month at Criterion Files: a month devoted to important classic and contemporary bloggers. This week, David Ehrlich, whose bimonthly column Criterion Corner was a favorite at Cinematical, takes on Paul Schrader’s incredible biopic Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters. Tune in next week as Adam Charles returns Criterion Files to its usual rotation, and in the meantime you can take a look at the previous entries from guest contributors here. Infamous Japanese iconoclast Yukio Mishima once said “I still have no way to survive but to keep writing one line, one more line, one more line…,” a sentiment which suggests that his eventual suicide came only once his creative resources had run dry. Yet, as Paul Schrader’s sublime film Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters so fluidly illustrates, Mishima ended his life with a self-administered sword thrust to the chest not because he was out of words, but rather because the page had never been a sufficient canvas for his artistic expression, or one to which he had ever intended to confine himself.

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oam-theapartment

Much like the great prognosticator of trends that he always was, Billy Wilder drew from the past and anticipated the future by creating a hilarious movie that also happens to deal realistically with infidelity, occupational depression, and suicide.

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fightclub-soapheader

If you thought Fight Club was about violence and chaos, you were wrong. If you thought it was a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, you might be on to something.

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StephenKing

Instead of remaking Children of the Corn, wouldn’t it be cooler to delve deeper into a prolific author’s other work to adapt some of his best short stories?

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mwl-thegame

Wealthy-beyond-belief Nicholas Van Orton (Michael Douglas) is gifted entrance into a strange game by his prodigal brother Conrad (Sean Penn). He goes in for extensive testing, and when he’s told he doesn’t qualify, the game begins in earnest, testing his wits, physical strength and the emotional scarring caused by witnessing his father’s suicide as a child.

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A Place for Friends

Last year, a young girl committed suicide after being bullied online. What better way to honor her memory than by making a generic thriller based off the event?

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