July 2018 Media Consumption

MOVIES:

  • Beasts of the Southern Wild - Benh Zeitlan (REWATCH)
  • Come Inside My Mind - Marina Zenovich
  • Death to Stalin - Armando Iannucci
  • Sorry to Bother You - Boots Riley
  • Three Identical Strangers - Tim Wardle
  • Eighth Grade - Bo Burnham
  • Antes de Irme - Mariana Sanguinetti

TV:

  • I Love Dick (Season 1) 1x
  • The Americans (Season 3) 5x
  • The Americans (Season 4) 13x
  • The Americans (Season 5) 1x

BOOKS:

  • Medium Raw - Anthony Bourdian
  • The Hike - Drew Magary
  • Create or Hate - Dan Norris

 

June 2018 Media Consumption

MOVIES:

  • Thief - Michael Mann
  • The Social Network - David Fincher (REWATCH)
  • Annihilation - Alex Garland
  • A Fantastic Woman - Sebastián Lelio
  • Won't You Be My Neighbor - Morgan Neville
  • Winter's Bone - Debra Granik
  • Dennis Rodman's Big Bang in Pyongyang - Colin Offland
  • The Purge - James DeMonaco

TV:

  • Westworld (Season 2) 1x
  • The Americans (Season 1) 10x
  • The Americans (Season 2) 5x
  • The Americans (Season 3) 3x

BOOKS:

  • Ready Player One - Ernest Cline
  • Kitchen Confidential - Anthony Bourdain
  • Tribes - Seth Godin

 

May 2018 Media Consumption

MOVIES:

  • Amateur - Ryan Koo
  • Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World - Catherine Bainbridge, Alfonso Maiorana
  • Iron Man 3 - Shane Black
  • Foreign Correspondent - Alfred Hitchcock
  • Paterno - Barry Levinson
  • Andre the Giant - Jason Hehir
  • The Carter Effect - Sean Menard
  • Rocky II - Sylvester Stallone
  • Shotcaller - Ric Roman Waugh
  • Sound City - Dave Grohl
  • First Reformed - Paul Schrader
  • A Quiet Place - Jon Krasinski

TV:

  • Atlanta (Season 2) 5x
  • Counterpart (Season 1) 5x
  • Barry (Season 1) 3x
  • The Americans (Season 1) 2x
  • Westworld (Season 2) 3x

BOOKS:

  • Poetics - Aristotle
  • The Once and Future Liberal - Mark Lilla

 

April 2018 Media Consumption

MOVIES:

  • Veronica - Paco Plaza
  • I, Tonya - Craig Gillespie
  • Get Out - Jordan Peele (REWATCH)
  • You Were Never Really Here - Lynne Ramsay

TV:

  • Atlanta (Season 2) - 2x
  • Barry (Season 1) - 5x
  • Westworld (Season 2) - 2x
  • Counterpart (Season 1) - 4x

 

March 2018 Media Consumption

MOVIES:

  • The Florida Project - Sean Baker
  • John Wick 2 - Chad Stahelski
  • A Most Violent Year - J.C. Chandor
  • The Negotiator - F. Gary Gray
  • Betting on Zero - Ted Braun
  • Before Sunrise - Richard Linklater
  • Good Time - Josh and Benny Safdie (REWATCH)
  • Alt Right: The Age of Rage - Adam Bhala Lough
  • Beigels Already - Debbie Shuter
  • Antichrist - Lars von Trier
  • Take Your Pills - Alison Klayman
  • Notes on a Scandal - Richard Eyre
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi - Rian Johnson
  • The Armstrong Lie - Alex Gibney
  • Incident by a Bank - Ruben Östlund
  • Darkest Hour - Joe Wright

TV:

  • Atlanta (Season 2) 4x
  • The Wire (Season 2) 1x
  • Ugly Delicious (Season 1) 2x
  • The Americans (Season 1) 1x
  • Waco 6x
  • Flint Town - 1x
  • Barry (Season 1) 1x
  • Twin Peaks (Season 1) 1x
  • Schitt's Creek (Season 1) 3x

BOOKS:

  • Survivor - Chuck Palahniuk

 

oscars 2018

The 90th Academy Awards has come to a close. How lucky are we that we get to celebrate movies, those who make them and the art of moviemaking on a stage nearly as big as the Super Bowl?

After my third rewatch, I still think Good Time should have been nominated for something though..

February 2018 Media Consumption

MOVIES:

  • The Florida Project - Sean Baker
  • The Square - Ruben Östlund
  • Wind River - Tyler Sheridan
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 - James Gunn
  • American Honey - Andrea Arnold
  • Black Panther - Ryan Coogler
  • 120 BPM - Robin Campillo
  • The Price of Gold - Nanette Burstein

TV:

  • I Love Dick (Season 1) - 4x
  • The End of the F *** ing World (Season 1) 8x
  • Chris Rock: Tamborine
  • American Crime Story (Season 2) 1x
  • My Next Guess Needs No Introduction with David Letterman 2x

BOOKS:

 

January 2018 Media Consumption

MOVIES:

  • Columbus - Kogonada
  • Battle of the Sexes - Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
  • Stronger - David Gordon Green
  • The War Room - D. A. Pennebaker, Chris Hegedus [rewatch]
  • Phantom Thread - Paul Thomas Anderson
  • Force Majeure - Ruben Östlund
  • The Final Year - Greg Barker
  • The Hunt for the Wilderpeople - Taika Waititi
  • Good Time - Josh and Benny Safdie [rewatch]
  • Phantom Thread - Paul Thomas Anderson [rewatch]
  • Mother - Bong Joon-ho
  • Aliens - James Cameron
  • Paterson - Jim Jarmusch
  • The Apartment - Billy Wilder

TV:

  • Dave Chapelle: Equanimity & The Bird Revelation
  • The Show About A Show (2x)
  • Counterpart (Season 1) (2x)
  • Big Mouth (Season 1) (3x)
  • Mad Men (Season 5) (3x)

BOOKS:

 

December 2017 Media Consumption

MOVIES:

  • Schindler's List - Steven Spielberg
  • Ladybird - Greta Gerwig
  • The Heights - Ryan Booth
  • Icarus - Bryan Fogel
  • Coco - Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina
  • Titanic - James Cameron Jake Kasdan
  • The Disaster Artist - James Franco
  • Orange County - Jake Kasdan
  • 8 1/2 - Federico Fellini
  • The Third Man - Carol Reed
  • The Problem With Apu - Michael Melamedoff
  • The Lost City of Z - James Gray
  • Call Me By Your Name - Luca Guadagnino
  • The Shape of Water - Guillermo del Toro

TV:

  • Mindhunter (Season 1) 8x
  • This Is Us (Season 1) 5x
  • The Wire (Season 1) 13x
  • Big Mouth (Season 1) 2x
  • The Crown (Season 1) 3x
  • Godless (Season 1) 2x
  • Wormwood (Season 1) 1x
  • Mozart in the Jungle (Season 1) 2x
  • Judd Apatow: The Return

BOOKS:

  • All The Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr

 

My Top Movies of 2017

  1. Good Time
  2. A Ghost Story
  3. Call Me By Your Name
  4. Lady Bird
  5. Dunkirk
  6. For Ahkeem
  7. The Big Sick
  8. Coco
  9. Dina
  10. Logan
  11. Blade Runner 2049
  12. Get Out
  13. Baby Driver
  14. Okja
  15. Wonder Woman
  16. Spiderman Homecoming
  17. The Shape of Water
  18. Ingrid Goes West
  19. The Meyerowitz Stories

Have not seen:  Phantom Thread, Mudbound, Molly's Game, Star Wars, The Florida Project, The Post, I Tonya, Mother!, The Killing of the Sacred Deer, The Beguiled, 120 BPM

Considering the Density of Time and Experience

For a moment, consider how often our minds are tricked into neglecting memories come and gone. Healthy mindfulness encourages us to focus our intention on the present. This is a tried and true way to curtail anxiety; I have no criticisms there.

But sometimes it's easy to forget how much life we have all lived. Think about how much you've seen in your ____ years of life! You maybe only 10 years old and have already witnessed so much beauty hidden within the world. Sweet utterances from a friend that flash by your eyes like a soft breeze - gone with the wind as quick as it passed you. Or a lovely interaction with a kind stranger. Even a tragedy contains so much to learn and grow from. Sadly, the eloquence of the most special details within fading memories are even harder to picture. Wasted metaphors.. a graveyard of sonnets that flew by without the acknowledgement they may have deserved. Songs, paintings, films, smells can trigger it - bringing forth a treasure trove of emotion forged through experience to the forefront of our mind. It's easy to avoid paying attention at any given moment. I know this firsthand as a filmmaker; MY JOB is to suspend your belief and hack your mind for a moment. At least currently in my country, it's arguably more convenient to suspend reality than it is to nourish yourself. We have millions of solutions to view media made by someone else, but fewer options to educate ourselves. Yet, seemingly most people WANT to check out and forget about their lives for a little bit. Plus, some people are just too busy for honest emotional reflection. Maybe we do this out of protection and self-preservation? I don't know the answer. But consider what would an authentic emotional response be without one's own cocktail of memories, experiences, wishes, desires, hopes, scars, wounds, horrors, dreams?

If you ask me, it seems as if the key to mindfulness is within a healthy balance of appreciating the past, cherishing where you are now, and honoring your intention towards tomorrow. But I'm no yoga teacher so you probably shouldn't take my advice.

JH

On Love and Attention

I just watched Greta Gerwig's new film 'Ladybird' which gracefully took me into an introspective headspace along with the story's themes and characters. The middle American coming-of-age story is familiar, but this one feels like the one that got it right.

There was one line of dialogue that stuck with me as I exited the theater: when Ladybird/Christine is chatting with her Catholic nun principal, the latter presupposes that love and attention are essentially the same thing. Thinking back on it, this felt like one of 'Ladybird's' biggest motifs. Amidst the setting's stiff suburban American monoculture,  the characters we are led to root for are the ones who are simultaneously remain attentive to themselves, others, and their surroundings despite the easy inclination to become passive, despondent, blank, and purposeless. The film's closest thing to an antagonist - a selfish emotionally stunted rich boy who coherses Ladybird into taking her virginity - is more concerned with nihilism and contrarian opinions than paying attention to anything in his own life; never able to look his sorta-girlfriend Ladybird in the eye. We even catch a glimpse of his father - who looks to be completely laid out on tranquilizer pills; unconscious, unaware, and possibly physically ill - providing a potential forecast of his son's future, while Gerwig plants her flag in the ground regarding what kind of life philosophies she values.

"Anybody who talks about California hedonism has never spent a Christmas in Sacramento," is the opening quote, supplied by OG snarkstress/literary god Joan Didion. This seemingly kicks off a film that's trying to tell us how shitty suburban life is. Thankfully, the film takes a mature leap away from easily channeling an exhausted conceit and instead gives us something new and denser to chew on. Most interestingly, in that aforementioned scene between the nun and Ladybird, the nun mentions how its clear from LB's college essay that she really loves her hometown of Sacramento. This comes as a surprise to the rebellious, hair-dyed, angsty East Coast wannabe much in the same way that we as the audience are starting to learn that this isn't just another suburban-commentary flick. When she ultimately leaves Sack-town for New York City, she felt a tremendous homesickness that is associated with the love she felt from her parents - most particularly her mother with whom she has wrestled with across emotional peaks and valleys for most of the film's duration - all back in that crappy town she put up with for 18+ years of her life. Realizations of similarities and differences between her and her mother sparked a newfound maturity that elevates her further than her surroundings, but realizing upon being in a new unfamiliar place that her surroundings mirror what she loves the most. Therein lies Ladybird's poetic, wildly resonant (at least, personally for me) catharsis.

JH

On Being An Idealist

I'm an idealist living in 2017.

I often wake up filled with dread that somebody is going to cut me down today. So then I go inward and ask myself what I can do to minimize the damage.

I frequently worry about all of the same fates that I grew afraid of during my earliest years of my mind's development. So then I go out of my way to allow myself to make certain mistakes that will ultimately test my threshold for fear.

I truly believe that making someone smile can truly aid anyone who was around to witness that moment - like free medicine for the soul. If you're lucky and get a laugh, that's bonus. So I try to go out of my way to make people feel respected and comfortable.

Don't get me wrong, I can be cynical with the best of them. I love misanthropic, dark humor focusing on the worst, most bitterly uncomfortable tendencies in humanity. Every year until about a year or two ago, while making New Years' Resolutions, I would remind myself to stop being negative. While from time to time I do still remind myself to stay with a positive outlook, I have stopped adding it to my resolutions because it's not as critical of an issue as it used to be. Cynicism fueled my views like cancerous cells replicating faster than cellularly permitted. What changed? It's complicated, but between a combination of watching a close friend die, having a near-death experience of my own, and navigating up and out of enough peaks and valleys - I began to develop the confidence that I had been lacking so I could evolve to be that positive force I knew that I could be. The same way a fisherman familiarizes her or hisself with tides, weather forecasts, fish behavioral patterns, depth charts, bait variability - they must inevitably teach themselves how to accept wins and losses - or else why get out on the water?

When we can find the hidden elegance and romance within the simplest, glory-free, and most mundane aspects of daily life, then we truly become our best selves; for life is a constant negotiation of balancing the highs with the lows.

Human beings are filled with potential to do anything we put our mind to. It's as easy as making the choice. So let's do some good while we're all here.

JH

Waffle House

There's something special about sitting in a waffle house alone on a Wednesday at 11 PM.

Nobody knows you.

Nobody cares.

People are nice here.

Nice enough.

Nicer than most in this big cruel world.

They pretend to be neighbors even if it's for a fleeting moment in the night.

And in this moment they might as well be; together outside the lines of the noise and the facade.

It's an earnest slice of a sight unseen.

Devoid of politics, fancy things, fancy frilly tastes; an over-air conditioned piece of American paradise.

Waffles and bottomless black coffee.

"Do you want pecans added in that waffle for a quarter?"

"You bet."

The waitress smiles.

She doesn't eat here, but she works here anyways.

To live. To get away from all the facade.

JH

December 6th, 2017

If somebody gave you the chance to take a brief temporal trip into the future, would you do it? It sure changed Ebenezer Scrooge's life when he did it. So why wouldn't you?

Personally, I'd be horrified to see the future. Because then what else would I have to live for? Isn't a sense of discovery in unearthing life's nuanced meanings what we all are here at this party for?  To actively seek the paths leading us towards a better sense of a form of an answer to the question "why"? Nobody simply understands the meaning of life like arithmetic - didn't you see Good Will Hunting? Plus, scientifically speaking, don't we need each other as a society to come to such a wizened and enlightened conclusion?

Yet we cope by asserting judgment upon a stranger in passing. Maybe we blind ourselves from what love is standing right under our noses because we think it's not good enough. Assumptions turn into lies that we tell ourselves over and over again until they become truth. We ignore our innermost feelings to instead chase out the emptiness inside of us - a rationale that only invites more emptiness into the soul. It's all narcissism. And what's uglier than that? Narcissism veiled within our daily habits.

Granted, some folks default to their ego-driven independence because they think it's all they're capable of harnessing within themselves. But great - you won the promotion, you got the gig, you went the distance. But then what? What happens when you can't lift that weight? Run that mile? Spend that money? What about the rest of that potential and self worth you left sitting back at the door before you chose to enter the Tunnel of I?

I, like i'm sure anyone reading this, have been accused of being narcissistic in my own life by another human being. I love to talk and could chat up a wall if I chose to, but I could then take a vow of silence for the next three weeks. It would be strange but doable. Enthusiasm can sometimes be confused by selfishness - especially by a truly narcissistic individual. If a feeling of passion is present - then I believe you've found your path towards enlightenment. Which brings me to my final point..

The idea of entitlement as a feeling of arrival is a myth. We could die tomorrow. Find that path towards being a better you. Live for today like nothing is promised. Within reason and while respecting your neighbors, of course. But I really believe that the world would become a slightly better place if we all as a society had a little more courage and compassion for one another. 

In conclusion - and before I run off the rails and sound like a bad self help book - whenever I reach a boiling point with the amount of self absorption present in the world around me and am unable to vent-write (like I am doing here) I will cite one of my favorite lines from one of my most beloved poets and singer-songwriters, Jeff Tweedy.

"Come on, children.
You're acting like children.
Every generation thinks it's the last.
Every generation thinks it's the end of the world.

It's a feeling we transcend,
That we're here at the end."

Indeed, Jeff. Thank you.

JH

 

My Top Albums of 2017

In Order of Current Personal Appreciation (Further Appreciation TBD, of course!)

  1. Prisoner - Ryan Adams
  2. Phases - Angel Olson
  3. Together At Last - Jeff Tweedy
  4. Yes Lawd! - NxWorries
  5. Masseduction - St. Vincent
  6. Add Violence - Nine Inch Nails
  7. Capacity - Big Thief
  8. City Music - Kevin Morby
  9. Damn - Kendrick Lamar
  10. If All I Was Was Black - Mavis Staples
  11. Everything Now - Arcade Fire
  12. Harmony of Difference - Kamasi Washington
  13. Melodrama - Lorde
  14. Colors - Beck
  15. Pleasure - Feist
  16. The Order of Time - Valerie June
  17. Mental Illness - Aimee Mann
  18. Dark Matter - Randy Newman
  19. New Energy - Four Tet
  20. A Deeper Understanding - The War on Drugs

December 1st, 2017

To be an artist requires constant inspiration. I've often wondered how anyone could sustain inspiration while living behind a Hollywood mansion wall of concrete and isolation. I'm lucky enough to never know. I was also lucky enough to attend a high school that truly opened my eyes to so much cultural understanding (either through the curriculum or the friends I'd made) to where I felt like I had a jump on things before anyone else. So I dropped out of college. Now, barely 27, I have a story relating back to many a faraway place. But it doesn't mean anything to anyone, really. In fact, many might consider this a turn off. As a young, struggling and helplessly naive filmmaker, I've restlessly traveled from city to city in search of "the place" that gives me the inspiration like a mother spooning medicine to a child. Is it the architecture? The food? The region? The ranking on a clickbait list of Best Places For A Young Artist? Anything. Gullible me. Experience is priceless and hindsight is 20/20, I suppose.

Since hitting this new "enlightened" age, I've discovered that your inspiration is wherever you are; no matter the place. The place doesn't give anything - YOU'RE THE ONE GIVING TO THE PLACE AND TO YOURSELF. This is why I've now started volunteering time to help the community I'm currently in. Right now - it's delivering food to the elderly and disabled via Meals on Wheels one day, preparing food for the homeless at a neighborhood kitchen on another day. To see the light of the faces of those you help light up is worth more than anything picking up and moving somewhere new could give you.

JH

November 2017 Media Consumption

MOVIES

  • 'It' - Andres Muschietti
  • 'The Meyerowitz Stories: New and Collected' - Noah Baumbach
  • 'Brigsby Bear' - Dave McCrary
  • 'M' - Fritz Lang
  • 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' - Martin McDonagh
  • 'Whose Streets' - Sabbah Folayan
  • 'The Truman Show' - Peter Weir
  • 'Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond – Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton' - Chris Smith
  • 'Jerry Before Seinfeld' - Micheal Bonfiglio
  • 'A Hard Day's Night' - Richard Lester
  • 'Chinkung Express' - Wong Kar-wai
  • 'Spielberg' - Susan Lacy
  • 'Strangers on a Train' - Alfred Hitchcock

TV

  • 'Fargo' (Season 1) - 10x
  • 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' (Season 9) - 6x
  • 'Godless' (Season 1) - 1x
  • 'Mindhunter' (Season 1) 1x
  • 'This Is Us' (Season 1) 1x

BOOK

  • 'In the Garden of Beasts' - Erik Larson
  • 'Love Is A Mixtape' - Rob Sheffield
  • 'Animal Farm' - George Orwell

November 26th, 2017

As the fate of net neutrality laws dwindle on a precipice, the idea of siloing has been on my mind lately. With the internet, we’re able to share and communicate with human beings like never before. It’s arguable that, as a creative professional, there isn’t a better time to be alive. But now all of that is changing. The ways in which we consume media and information are going to be put in the hands of the corporations who operate the very gates from which the information came out of. They can adjust, censor, and favor websites and services based on the highest bidder. The free internet is a lifeless corpse; its organs up for auction with no remorse. I’ve called my senators multiple times and have yet to find any satisfaction that I did anything fractionally effective towards creating a positive change. We have to pay attention more and more each and every day to what is unraveling around us in a way that beautifully fuels paranoia. I do read history and am aware that change eventually happens, but I guess my idealistic perspective never foresaw the kind of change we are faced with, actually happening. Carl Sagan did; read The Demon Haunted World. In short, I guess I’m saddened by our inability to progress as a society.

While on a recent trip to Poland, during a rural drive, I noticed street art scrawled out across decrepit buildings proclaiming “Fuck The New World Order”. I was confused for about a day until hordes of Polish nationalists organized an enormous protest on their country’s own day of Independence. Speaking generally, I feel like money is typically a source of disparity within a nation’s morale. And I’m not a Polish sociological expert, but I do know their GDP and economy is doing pretty well. If you listen more closely to what those protestors were about, you’ll hear tell of “Anti Muslim” pleas and the like. Hate and fear are everywhere. This is a global endemic fueled by lunacy and a lack of education.

If I choose to stay inside and wall myself out from the outside world, it doesn’t seem as if I’m being an ineffective member of a community. However, to some, it’s clear that I might be. Their perspective is narrow in scope. Their basis of judgement might not consider any other possibility other than “he’s anti-social”. The reality is, I have my silo of friends, family, and peers with whom I prefer to communicate with. This blog is a silo of sorts, apart from social media networks like Facebook - it’s still TBD if anybody even reads this. I shelter myself from certain media influences by the choices I make in the news outlets I pay attention to. I avoid malls or stores to avoid consumer influence. Isn’t it ironic that someone who goes out of their way to avoid so many things, disagrees with the idea of “nationalism”? I guess, unlike these separatist-types, I still have an ounce of hope left for people.

JH

November 4th, 2017

I woke up from a jet lagged nap in my first afternoon in Berlin to discover tremendous news that ‘Goodbye, Old Glory’ had been selected as a Vimeo Staff Pick!

If you haven’t watched this film yet, please do. The United States is going through a nasty time right now. On many levels, I believe that this film is microcosmic to our inability to communicate and reason with one another. It may sound cliche, but as an artist it's truly gratifying to know that other people are watching the film and taking something away from it. It feels especially rewarding after multiple film festival denials and other distributor-types telling me "no thanks".

JH