All posts by ajmangen

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?
Three of the most notable names in this 1993 blockbuster hit, that left viewers astounded and teary eyed, were Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Juliette Lewis.
Johnny Depp– One of the most recognized names in the movie industry. While he has been deemed one of America’s biggest heartthrobs, he is also more than a pretty face. He is one of the most versatile actors of his day, putting him undoubtedly in the category of wild card actors. His ability to adapt to any environment, and take on almost any character role with the upmost finesse. His role as Gilbert Grape was one of his more serious, real life portrayals. A young man let to be man of the house after his father past away. He is left with the responsibility of caring for his morbidly over weight mother, and mentally challenged younger brother, along with watching over his two younger sisters. The part in which he loses his temper with his brother, then runs off for a time, is easily relatable.

Leonardo DiCaprio– More of an interpretive actor, “actors who take material and put their own stamp on it” (Goodkoontz, 2014), who expertly portrays Gilbert’s mentally handicapped brother, Arnie. DiCaprio often plays dramatic roles, with a touch of mischief. For those who were first introduced to DiCaprio in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape were under the impression he really was handicapped. Arnie continuously runs off, getting into trouble, and wreaking havoc on his care takers, often for the joy of it. In the scene mentioned before, Arnie smiles after seeing the distress he put on his big brother.
Juliette Lewis– I would classify her as a personality actor. Most of her roles are supporting roles, very rarely starring in films. Just as in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape she plays Gilbert’s love interest. As in most of her films, she portrays a somewhat dim witted, but insightful character offering unexpected wisdom. Her most memorable trademark being her voice and laugh.

Johnny Depp has been one of my most favored actors mostly in part to his remarkable talent. He has a long resume filled with a variety of roles from his first on screen appearance as Freddy’s victim; to a serious, opium addicted detective in From Hell; to a schizophrenic writer in Secret Window; and a cunning, quick witted pirate in Pirates of the Caribbean. His multi-facetted persona leaves movie goers in awe at his ability to take on any role.


The Breakfast Club

In film, sound is very essential to the effect of mood, and interpretation to the viewing audience. The 1985 epic film “The Breakfast Club” shows how influential sound can be to any movie. Without any prior knowledge of the film, one would think a movie about five students sitting in a desolate school on a Saturday would be boring, but the film has become a milestone in film history. Some of the most important aspects of the movie all relates to sound. Things such as dialogue, sound effects, and music are used in every movie to help impact the experience. Dialogue, “characters talking to one another” (Goodyknootz, 2014), are the words spoken between characters to tell the story. Sound effects are used to help establish the environment. Music, such as instrumentals and soundtracks, can sometimes help convey the message, or inspire mood.

The dialogue makes up most of the story, as the students fight, taunt, and get to know each other. The movie both opens and closes with voice overs (narratives) of each student reading a letter to the vice principle, better emitting the overall message of the film. In The Breakfast Club the sound of John Bender’s heavy boots on the wood floor, the jingle of the chain hanging from his pocket, the slapping of Brian’s hand, and simplest noises like the rustling of clothes when a character moves give the effect of actually being there rather than in a theater, or watching from home. The primary soundtrack, and one of the most famous made by the movie, is Don’t You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds. The movie opens and closes with this song, inspiring a nostalgic mood.

The sounds heard throughout the film are realistic, and without them the movie would be missing that certain element that makes it so relatable.

Goodykoontz, B., & Jacobs, C. P. (2014). Film: From watching to seeing (2nd ed.). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc

Angels and Demons uses a systematic three-point lighting in most of it’s scenes. The scenes shot outside during the day are to be seen as the sun on a cloudless day, a few scenes shot inside an empty cathedral where the primary source is from the windows above, making the deep interior much darker. When night falls the scenes taking place outside are light by street lights, and passing cars. Indoors it seems candles are used quite frequently. Although there are scenes where the lighting would normally be dim, the actors are always illuminated, making them the sole focus.

A few of the benefits to this style is the broad range of opportunities it provides for certain scenes. In times where the viewer should be primarily focused on what the actors are doing or saying, all the surroundings are dim, and easily ignored. This style also helps emphasize the mood for that particular shot. When the shot requires secrecy, sneaking, or suspense the dim light affects the viewer’s own mood. In scenes of urgency, brighter light helps enhance the fast pace the film is taking.

This technique helps the viewer to understand and feel the emotions of the actors. When the light is lower, the viewer automatically grows anxious. In scenes with brighter light the viewer becomes more alert, and hyperactive.

This form of lighting is perfect for this genre of film. The various lighting in different scenes helps convey the anticipation, and suspense of the events.

Silver Linings Playbook

Silver Linings Playbook, released December 25, 2012, stars Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, and Jackie Weaver.  This film was written and directed by David O. Russell.

This is the story of a man, Pat, who had just been released from court mandated mental health facility, after finding his wife with another man and nearly beating him to death.  His wife, played by Brea Bee, had filed for divorce and had a restraining order issued against him.  After Pat’s mother discharges him from the hospital, he works to get his life back on track with hopes to reconcile with his former wife.  At a dinner with long time friend Ronnie, he is introduced to Ronnie’s sister-in-law Tiffany.  Tiffany had also been under duress after the loss of her husband.  She admits that she had been fired from her job for inappropriate conduct concerning all of her male co-workers after the loss of her husband.  Tiffany reveals she had contact with Pat’s former wife, and Pat asks her to give her a letter.  Tiffany offers an agreement to pass along the letter if he agrees to dance with her in an upcoming competition.

Pat’s father believed his son to be some what of a good luck charm for his favorite team, The Eagles.  When it is discovered the competition is on the same night as the next game against the Cowboys, Pat’s father reveals he had lost all of his money on the previous game.  The man that had won the bet proposes a new wager based on the competition results.  If Pat and Tiffany are able to score a 5 out of 10, Pat’s father will win back double what he lost.

The competition night comes, and Tiffany notices Pats ex-wife in attendance. It is then that the audience discovers Tiffany has developed feelings for Pat when she gets distraught over Nikki’s coming.  The competition begins, and the two score a 5 out of 10 winning the bet for Pat’s father.  Nikki approached Pat, and Tiffany runs out into the night.  Pat speaks to Nikki very briefly then goes after Tiffany.  He tells Tiffany he knows she never gave Nikki the letter, and they kiss.  The final scene is the two of them at a family dinner, seemingly happily in love.

The movie follows a chronological order going on a day to day basis.  By following this timeline the audience is able to witness the events as they happen.  This allows viewers to take part in the emotions of the characters as they experience unexpected events along with the main characters.  This also allows the characters to develop on a personal basis as Pat and Tiffany become more familiar with each other.

If the film had been presented in a different time line, the audience may have not been able to connect with the characters or events as closely.  In a film as deeply emotional as this, taking in the scenes in order helps to create a more personal impact.×1200/