Required Reading: American Movie History and Zach Braff’s Survival

By  · Published on July 7th, 2014

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The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere.

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“Relive 238 years of American history with these 42 movies” – Stephanie Cangro at The Week rolls through an entire nation’s story using everything from Yankee Doodle Dandy to Deer Hunter. Our history is complicated.

“Why I’d like to be…Billy Murray in Stripes” – Ryan Gilbey at The Guardian continues their wish fulfillment series, noting the obviousness of his pick before providing a deeper reason why he was originally drawn to the Devil Definitely Don’t Care attitude.

“I have a mental image of myself watching Stripes, a coarse 1981 comedy about two lugs (Murray and the late Harold Ramis) who join the army. I am sprawled unwashed on the sofa in my pyjamas on a Saturday morning, sun pouring through the patio doors, leftover Frosties hardening in my breakfast bowl, noon fast approaching as my mother urges me to make the most of the day. Small wonder I felt a kinship with this lump of a man, with his oily skin, defeated posture, the eyes dazed and unfazed. The complexion must have had something to do with it. Along with James Woods, Murray is one of the great Actors Who Have Had Acne. His face is like a raggedy carpet on which a hundred stiletto heels have danced the night away. As a carbuncular teen rubbing assorted Body Shop ointments into my skin (add sugar, apply to face, rinse, repeat), the Murray mug provided a flash of pock-marked hope that coolness and acne scars might not be mutually exclusive.”

Also of note, Tim Cooke’s entry on Bob Hoskins in The Long Good Friday.

“What does ‘You’ve got to see it on the big screen’ mean in 2014?” – Scott Tobias at The Dissolve reconciles the multitude of our experiences. No one will be admitted to the editorial once it’s begun.

“Movies can help defeat society’s female body problem” – Monika Bartyzel at The Week looks to Obvious Child as the latest example of a movie quietly pushing back against a Hollywood vision of femininity as non-farting beauty.

“How Zach Braff Survived the Internet” – Taffy Brodesser-Akner at Vulture speaks with Braff about poking the bear.

“To make his movie, he’d put together $3 million via foreign sales and an ‘ass-ton’ of his own cash and needed $2 million more to cover the costs. The studios wanted final cut and a say in casting. ‘I took this movie out, probably with too big of an ego, going, “Everyone’s going to want to make my second film,”’ he says as we walk his bike back to his apartment. He soon learned otherwise. Garden State was a critical success and did turn a profit – ‘Something would’ve had to go horribly wrong for it not to make a little bit of money’ – but it was a cult hit more than a financial one. And, well, that was ten years ago.”

Movie stuff at VanityFair, Thrillist, IndieWire, Film School Rejects, and The Broken Projector [email protected] | Writing short stories at Adventitious.