Category Archives: My Life

100 Things I Love About My Favorite Movies

100 Films

Travis McClain, Nathan Chase and my girlfriend Jandy Stone did this neat thing where they posted their 100 favorite things about the movies

The rules–set down by the original prompt by Beau Kaelin–are quite simple and are as follows:

Rather than posting your 100 favorite films (which has been done and overdone), you simply post your favorite things about movies. I dig the concept, because instead of obsessing over whether the films you put on a list are “objectively good enough” to put on said list, you simply jot down 100 moments/lines/visuals that have made a lasting impression on you or sneak their way into running gags between you and your friends.

Below are such 100 such moments/lines/visuals that have made quite the impression on me over the years. They’re not in any particular order, nor are they really all that definitive. I’ve more than likely left some stuff out, which I’ll of course realize after this goes to post.

Be warned: there are a shit-ton of youtube embeds in this post, so if you have a slow connection you might want to go run some errands as everything loads. Where I couldn’t embed clips I put images linking to the youtube clips. If I had my way I’d have every moment on here be youtube embeds, but alas!

Anyway, here’s 100 Things I Love About My Favorite Movies

[EDIT 12/4/11: Added pagination to split up the post some. You should see the links to go to the other pages underneath the share links and the “similar posts” widget-thingy.]

The Opening Credits to Run Lola Run

What better way to start off this list than with the opening credits to my first foreign film. If it were legal to embed every minute of this gem, I would.

Doug from Ghost World

Really, the whole film is fantastic, but I kind of love every moment that this character is onscreen.

Ghost World

The 5.6.7.8’s Long Take From Kill Bill: Vol. 1

I like long takes, and this one from does a great job of setting up the scene before shit hits the fan. My absolute favorite part from this sequence is the glimpse of the kitchen you get as the camera swoops up. SO FUCKING GREEN.

Kim Pine & Stephen Stills in Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

I suppose I identify most with Scott Pilgrim, but my favorite characters in the film are most definitely Kim and Stephen. Case in point: the cutaways to Kim’s scowling face and Stephen’s freak-out during the Crash and the Boys show.

Kim Pine and Stephen Stills

The Opening to Once Upon A Time In The West

The opening to Once Upon A Time in the West is amazing. There’s no dialog or music for roughly ten minutes and yet it’s perhaps the most thrilling scene I’ve ever encountered in a western. Sergio Leone is, as Knives Chau might say, “Amaaaaaaaaaaaaaziiinnggggg!”

The Balcony Scene in Annie Hall

It’s a great scene from my second favorite Woody Allen film. Or is it actually my favorite? I dunno. This and Manhattan kind of switch places every now and then.

Annie Hall Balcony Scene

The Lovers Meet in William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet

Romeo and Juliet is perhaps my least favorite Shakespeare story out of the bunch; or at least it was my least favorite until I watched Baz Luhrmann’s exciting adaptation. Claire Daines and Leonardo DiCaprio pretty much own their respective characters and the scene where they meet for the first time is romantic. Like REALLY romantic.

William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet

Klaus Daimler in The Life Aquatic

Every moment that this character is on screen is a brilliant moment. Willem Dafoe pretty much steals the show here.

Ben Stiller in Mystery Men

Not a huge Ben Stiller fan, but he’s absolutely delightful in this film as Mr. Furious. His usual shtick plays out best amongst the obscenely wacky cast. Best deconstruction of a super hero film? MOST DEFINITELY.

The Opening Credits of Casino Royale

The opening credits for Casino Royale are perhaps my favorite for the series. If that’s blasphemy to the other Bond openers, then so be it.

Whammy Burger Scene in Falling Down

“I think we have a critic! I don’t think she likes the special sauce, Rick!” While Falling Down kind of falls apart in the third act, it still remains one of my favorite films of a white-collar worker finally losing it on perhaps the hottest day of the summer. And this scene is perhaps my favorite out of the entire film.

Your Song in Moulin Rouge

I seriously had trouble picking out my favorite moment from this film, since there are so many. What eventually made me pick this one was the sheer charisma of Ewan McGreggor in this cover of the Elton John song.

The Bride Reunited in Kill Bill: Vol. 2

Ennio Morricone is a musical genius, and his opener to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly fits perfectly in this scene. Kudos to Quentin for being able to evoke such a strong emotion from an already strong musical piece. Both this scene and the original play in my head when I hear this.

The Naked Chainsaw Scene in American Psycho

My first experience with Christian Bale is this film, and what sold me on him was this very scene. Now go from this to The Machinist and you’ll understand why he’s a favorite actor of mine.

AmericanPsycho

Private Pyle’s Demise in Full Metal Jacket

If all you’ve experienced of Vincent D’Onofrio is his stint on Law and Order: Criminal Intent you need to go watch this film ASAP. More specifically, you need to watch this scene that ends the first (and best) half of the film. It’s quite an unforgettable moment.

Private Pyle's Big Scene

The Impregnation Scene In Slither

What a delightfully disgusting film. The scene in which Michael Rooker impregnates the woman he was having an affair with is perhaps my favorite thing about this film. Doesn’t hurt that it’s juxtaposed with Nathan Fillion putting the moves on Elizabeth Banks while some lame-ass country song is playing. The effect is a bit unnerving.

SlitherScene

Introducing The Magnetic Fields

Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields

If you follow me on any of the social networks in current existence, you’ll know that my favorite band of all time is The Magnetic Fields, putting Stephin Merritt as perhaps my favorite musician of all time. I came across this band while listening to a particularly sad and mopey episode of This American Life. The episode was called Break-Up and it featured contributor Starlee Kine as she dealt with a particularly bad break-up. She talked about how sad songs somehow were able to express how she felt when she could not, citing “I Don’t Want To Get Over You” as an example.

That was when I fell in love with The Magnetic Fields. Immediately I got ahold of every album I could of theirs and listened to them on repeat for days, finding little bits here and there that I could relate to with each new listen. And now I’m sharing this love with you. I’ve made what I consider to be an essential introduction to The Magnetic Fields that encapsulates what I love about the band and what make them click for me.

You can listen to the songs here, but I URGE you to go buy the albums, which I’ve linked below.

Enjoy.

Postscript:

I recently had a chance to stand about 5 feet away from Stephin Merritt while waiting in line at the concession stand at a local theater. Given my superb acting training, I was able to restrain myself and not go completely apeshit-fanboy. But manic Daffy Duck was alive in the back of my mind, bouncing around and screaming “WAAOOOO! WAAOOOO! IT’S HIM!!!!!!!!”

EDIT (6/16/2012):

There’s a Magnetic Fields music video? HELL YES! It’s one of the songs that I’ve added to the Spotify playlist above.

If I Had All The Time In The World…

me being awesome

I would take a couple of hours out of my day to practice the ukulele, making up for all the time I wasted in study hall trying to kill all the hookers in Grand Theft Auto when I could have been learning how to read sheet music. I’d hone my technique in such a way that I could play almost any song by ear, which I’m sure would make me the life of any party. See, when a guy brings out a guitar at a party, he’s widely considered to be a douche. Bringing out a ukulele is considered “quirky” and people like “quirky.” Yes, if I had all the time in the world, I’d master that midget string-twanger like the badass mofo I was meant to be.

If I had all the time in the world, I would take up exercise in an attempt to better myself physically. My current state of being is a little on the embarrassing side, to put it lightly. If put to the test, I probably couldn’t run much farther than to my car before collapsing in an asthmatic heap. Now imagine if I were being chased by a giant bear. How could I expect to survive if I just fall over every hundred feet or so? The last thing I want is to be eaten by a giant bear in North Hollywood because I was out of shape.

If I had all the time in the world, I would attempt to learn German. Of course, I would learn a bunch of other languages too, but my primary focus would be mastering German. Just think, with that language under my belt I could order a beer in Germany…or find the local supermarket so I could buy a few bratwurst to have for dinner with all my German friends. Because I would have German friends. And they would like me.

Learning how to program for Android would next on my list of things to do if I had all the time in the world. I’ve always wanted to be able to come up with that killer app that everyone just creams their pants over, earning accolades from blogs I couldn’t really give two poopies about. One result of this would be an app that allows you to take screencaps of whatever you’re doing on your phone, and it wouldn’t require that you root (see:void warranty) your phone. To make things unbearably awesome, I’d offer the app for free, pretty much monopolizing the entire customer base of the current screencap app makers out there. Although, if I did all that, there’s a good chance I would have to hire a ninja bodyguard because those app makers would be out for blood. And it’s not like I’m hard to find either, thanks to my overly liberal use of Foursquare.

Oh. Yeah. I’d probably write too, but only if there was enough time left over from doing all these awesome things.

Resolutions for the New Year


As you read this I’ll be on the road toward California once again, ending my luxurious holiday vacation. I had a lot of fun with the family and I miss them already. Thanks to a rather rocking last few months of 2010, I’m pretty stoked for what’s in store in the new year. Here are some goals I’ve set for myself, separated by topic. YAY LISTS!

Writing and Projects

-Complete the two scripts I have in early draft stage.

-Write at least 3 more scripts this year.

-Get all current web series ideas through the writing stage.

-Write 3 short films and shop them to Columbia College friends.

-Write Sci-Fi novel I had intended for NaNo.

-Keep track of every day that I write in a cool excel spreadsheet, and try to work my way up to writing something every day.

-Start Hilarious Henry back up, streamline that whole ish.

-Write a footnote into my blog for no other reason than amusement and self-deprecation.

-Regularly comment on writer/screenwriter blogs.

Personal Stuff

-Get a better job, one that I can stand as well as one that pays more than my current place of employment.

-Go on at least one road trip.

-Be able to pay off at least 1 of my loans.

-Pay off my credit card completely.

-See roughly double the films I saw in 2010 and use flickchart to keep track of them.

-Play through at least 5 more video games this year.

-Expand my social circle some and find someone else who writes.*

—-

*This is actually a tougher one than it sounds because I haven’t met a writer in person whose company I’ve enjoyed. This could be why I don’t have many friends.

On the Past Year

Last year I wrote up a list of what I thought were reasonable resolutions for 2010. They were to be the type of goals I could actually accomplish as opposed to the type of resolutions I had made (and failed) before. The only rule I had set for myself was that these resolutions had to be specific and that they had to be something I could feasibly do within 12 months. The thought was that I could check on my progress each month to see how far I had come.

I pulled up last year’s resolutions today for the first time since I wrote them.

Heh. Oops.

From said post:

-Finish a final draft of Year of the Con, my nerdy road-trip comedy. Acquire an Agent and a Manager to help sell my script and future ones I write.
-Complete writing of two web series I want to produce.
-Get at least one of the web series produced.
-Write a third screenplay.
-Get Photoshop CS2 and Flash 8 back on my compruter. Srsly, the newer ones blow.
-Write every day.
-Find either a better-paying job or a second job.
-Start up my old webcomic.
-Go to more shows.
-Go to a rave.
-Go to 2 nerdy conventions. Dress up for both of them. – C2E2 Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3
-Go to comic con.
-Write a sci fi novel.
-Complete Script-Frenzy this year and do NaNoWriMo again!
-Write a spec script for a sitcom, hour-long drama, procedural, and whatever you call the ooey gooey goodness that’s on HBO and SHOWTIME these days.
-More dates. Some blind dates perhaps.
-Do one of those speed dating things and have at least as awkward a time as Steve Carrell did in The 40 Year Old Virgin.
-Drink more cranberry juice. So delicious.
-Get a suit. I’ve got the pants. Just need to get the rest.
-Co-write a film script with someone.
-Hang out more with friends and be less of an anti-social bitch. God, srsly.
-Do two things I would never otherwise do.
-Get my toon to level 80. God, srsly. I’m such a terrible nerd.
-Visit at least 2 Friendfeed people. ROAD TRIP!
-Take Killer (my cat) to the groomer. Be able to afford that.

I suppose I could complain that I didn’t complete nearly the amount of resolutions that I had set out to do last year or that none of my resolutions really did much in the way of bettering myself, but the truth of the matter is that I actually did things on this list and was able to have new experiences I hadn’t even thought of when I composed said list.

Extra things I did this past year:

-Blogged more.
-Took swing classes, did alright at them.
-Moved to LA.
-Went to AFI Film Fest, saw a ridiculous amount of films. FridaySaturdaySundayMondayTuesdayWednesday
-Ate at In-n-Out.
-Was in the same room as Seth MacFarlane and Alex Borstein.
-Started dating my girlfriend.
-Made an idea excel sheet and ported it over to Evernote.
-Kept up with way more television this year, starting a series of blog posts to capsule review the episodes.
-Went to more music shows than I’ve been to in awhile.
-Met Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice, shook his hand.

New Years Resolutions are very hit or miss with people. A lot of people aren’t really all that enthused about seeing where they’ve failed in the year, and that’s understandable. However, I’ve started to think of these lists as a way to document a little bit of myself each year, almost like a photo album, in list format. Last year I was kind of in a rough place, as you can see by some of the self-deprecating notes in each item on my list. And yet I still had some hope for the year, as evidenced by all the things I thought I could do. I had SOME inkling that I would be moving to LA, but I didn’t really think I could pull off another large move.

I think I will make resolutions a bigger part of my New Year’s traditions from here on out. I would love to be able to look back on these posts ten to twenty years down the road and simply remember.

Okay, I’m done with this sentimental crap. WELCOME TO 2011, you sluts.

Ten Things In 2010: Songs

2010 was an interesting year for me. To say there were a lot of highs and lows would be kind of an understatement. There were a lot of issues I needed to work through and a lot of closure that I needed to experience before moving on with my life. I moved to a new state to pursue my career, and I started dating a wonderful person. All these ups and downs needed some kind of expression and I figured making a mixtape would be my best bet.

I hope you enjoy these songs as much as I have. They mean a lot to me.

You Must Be Out of Your Mind

The Magnetic Fields, Realism

[audio:http://www.jonathan-hardesty.com/audio/teninten/m-01%20Must%20Be%20Out%20Of%20Your%20Mind.mp3]

Wasted Daylight

Stars, The Five Ghosts

[audio:http://www.jonathan-hardesty.com/audio/teninten/m-02%20Wasted%20Daylight.mp3]

Straight Edge of the Blade

Jenny & Johnny, I’m Having Fun Now

[audio:http://www.jonathan-hardesty.com/audio/teninten/m-03%20Straight%20Edge%20Of%20The%20Blade.mp3]

Crash Years

The New Pornographers, Together

[audio:http://www.jonathan-hardesty.com/audio/teninten/m-04%20Crash%20Years.mp3]

We Don’t Have Normal Lives

Freezepop, Imaginary Friends

[audio:http://www.jonathan-hardesty.com/audio/teninten/m-05%20We%20Don%27t%20Have%20Normal%20Lives.mp3]

Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)

Arcade Fire, The Suburbs

[audio:http://www.jonathan-hardesty.com/audio/teninten/m-06%20Sprawl%20II.mp3]

The Sea is a Good Place to Think of the Future

Los Campesinos!, Romance is Boring

[audio:http://www.jonathan-hardesty.com/audio/teninten/m-07%20Sea%20Is%20A%20Good%20Place%20To%20Think.mp3]

Write About Love

Belle & Sebastian, Write About Love

[audio:http://www.jonathan-hardesty.com/audio/teninten/m-08%20Write%20About%20Love.mp3]

True Love Will Find You in the End

Mates of State, Crushes (The Mixtape)

[audio:http://www.jonathan-hardesty.com/audio/teninten/m-09%20True%20Love%20Will%20Find%20You.mp3]

I Heart California

Admiral Radley, I Heart California

[audio:http://www.jonathan-hardesty.com/audio/teninten/m-10%20I%20Heart%20California.mp3]

Ten Things In 2010: Albums

This is it. The year is winding down. Everyone is declaring their most favorite things of the year and preparing their new year’s resolutions, knowing full well that they won’t keep them past January. I’ve had this blog for a few years and each year I’ve tried to do something along the lines of a best of or a list of some kind. This year I thought I would up the ante a bit and give you a couple days’ worth of posts about the top ten things I really really liked in 2010. Let’s start with the top ten albums of the year.

HERE WE GO!

10. Contra – Vampire Weekend

The sophomore effort to Vampire Weekend’s self-titled debut. Very peppy music set to great guitars. There were many a day spent singing along to “Cousins” or “Holiday.”


9. Imaginary Friends – Freezepop

I found Freezepop kind of by accident. I had played their game Amplify way back in college, but didn’t really pay them much mind. Fast forward to my time in Chicago. I was in a bit of a dark place and not in much of a music-enjoying mood. But at the behest of a co-worker, I went to The Subterranean to see his band open. They were special. Anyway, I stuck around after and decided to see what this headliner Freezepop was all about. I’ve been a fan ever since. Their newest album sees them with new bandmates and a mature sound. I quite like it.


8. The Suburbs – Arcade Fire

I’m sure a lot of people started liking Arcade Fire after hearing that one song of theirs on the Where The Wild Things Are trailer. I say this because I admittedly fall in that category. Their latest is perhaps my favorite entry in their discography and I like the theme they stick with in each of their songs.


7. Broken Bells – Broken Bells

I love The Shins. I’ve been jonesing for a new album from them for quite some time. Broken Bells came at just the right time and gave me the Mercer fix I needed. While it lacks much of what made The Shins so great, it’s a great direction for Mercer and his lyrics really fit the stylings of Danger Mouse.


6. Crushes (The Covers Mixtape) – Mates of State

A cover album made my top ten list. I generally wouldn’t consider an album of covers or even a mashup album (*cough*girl talk*cough*) but Mates of State bring such a love and warmth to these songs it’s hard not to find yourself at the end of the album before you get a chance to say “Hey I liked that!”


5. Romance is Boring – Los Campesinos!

Los Campesinos! deserve their place on my list for A) their awesome music stylings, B) their gloomy lyrics set to poppy music and C) the fact that they work so FUCKING hard at what they do. I barely had time to breathe with their last album and suddenly Romance is Boring hit. Granted, it could just be that I’m really not much for paying attention to music news, but having this album come out was like finding a $20 bill in a wallet you had packed away. SCORE! Missed out on seeing these guys this year, but I have hopes for the next.


4. Together – The New Pornographers

Wasn’t a huge fan of Challengers when it first came out, and then each song kind of found it’s place in my psyche, especially Myriad Harbour. When I heard that they were coming out with a new album, I got super excited. Let’s just say I wasn’t disappointed in the least by this latest outing. It’s a much more subdued and mature sound than Twin Cinema and the other albums before it, but it still has the energy of them and this time everything worked in perfect harmony.


3. The Five Ghosts – Stars

Stars was kind of an accidental find for me. NPR had a “First Listen” segment with them and I gave it a try just to see what all the jazz was about. I became quite hooked and instantly messaged my girlfriend about this GREAT NEW BAND I’VE DISCOVERED, only to find that she’d heard of them before and that this band was an off-shoot from Broken Social Scene. Let’s just say that my mind was blown. This album is great, and it’s a really focused effort on the band’s part.


2. I’m Having Fun Now – Jenny And Johnny

Jenny and Johnny are number two on my list, but they were number one a few weeks back. I’ve been undecided until recently and you can hear why when you sample the music below. This new effort from Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice is addictive. You finish listening to the album and you want more. The lyrics are strong and the music is memorable. It’s hard not to crush on either Jenny or Johnny after hearing this album. Still haven’t washed the hand that Johnny shook, either.


1. Write About Love – Belle & Sebastian

I’ve had a relationship with Belle & Sebastian for as long as I can remember, which is right around the early college years. Their new album is amazing and it was just good enough to usurp Jenny and Johnny for the number one spot for me. I wish I could just beam to you over this hear internets the way in which this album makes me feel. This is the album to define the year for me.


HONORABLE MENTION

There were a bunch of albums that vied for a spot on my top ten list, and these were the ones that deserve a shout out for being better than the rest. In no particular order:

Realism – The Magnetic Fields

Out Of Our Minds – Auf Der Maur

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World – Various Artists

Plastic Beach – Gorillaz

The Fakeout, The Tease and the Breather – Canasta

Junior – Kaki King

I Heart California – Admiral Radley

On Those Stupid Outline Thingies

5.1 GB left of 8.7 GB. I’ve been sitting at my computer for a little bit now, staring at the progress bar in the hopes that it will magically move faster and faster in the ensuing moments. Since I’ve been doing this for a bit now (like I just said), it’s probably safe to assume that it’s going to take even longer to finish. So while the download is doing it’s thing and pissing me off, I figured I would jot down some thoughts in a stream of conscious manner to break the monotony of my latest string of “well-organized” posts.

In short, I want to talk about outlines.

I hate outlines. I hate writing outlines and I hate thinking about them. I come from a method of writing that involves turning on the writing program of choice and just vomiting as many words out as I can, hoping to touch upon a compelling narrative or two in the process. I like saving that organization thing for the second draft, where I have to put thought into stuff like theme or why making the side character a cat instead of a man is hilarious. No, really. It’s funny as hell.

But lately I’ve started to change how I see the writing process. Call it a writer’s puberty, if you will. Suddenly, I find that I can’t write anything unless it’s got a preset structure going in. Something that would have simply been a sit-and-write before has now become an exercise in meticulous planning. The change happened with the last script I wrote (which I have YET to revise). I decided to do things different from my usual method and write out an outline to focus my writing and get things done in a shorter period of time.

Well, it worked. In fact, it worked so great that I got it in my brain that outlining was a good thing. Now I can’t write any kind of story without drafting up a roadmap of all the things that need to happen in the story. The problem here is that I’m still the person from before who needs to jump right in and start hammering on the keyboard like there’s no tomorrow. I still need that freedom to take the story anywhere and develop the characters as I go along.

4.5 GB left.

God, I really hate outlines. I should probably finish the one I’ve started for my horror film.

On Writetober

It’s October, and with it comes horror films galore. Just saw the original 13 Ghosts a few days ago and had a blast. Going to watch all of the Friday the 13th movies at some point this month as well as a bunch of really crappy horror films. Might also get a viewing of Candyman in and a bunch of films I’ve never seen before. Apart from that, I’m taking the proverbial pen to paper (lap to laptop, maybe?) and writing a horror film. It’s a film in the style of Skeleton Key and Candyman in which a main character obsesses over a mystery and it ends up being their undoing.

I was thinking I would write the outline this week, and then take the rest of the month to write out the script itself. Sounds simple, right?

Just a matter of writing it.

*sigh*

On A New City, and Stuff

I suppose I should make some kind of post about life as I know it right now. Decided that I was done with Chicago and moved my ass all the way over to the west coast to live out a life of fame and fortune. That is to say, I moved to LA to try and see if this writing business will actually pan out. Whether or not this was a bad move remains to be seen. Whether or not this degree of mine was a bad move remains to be seen. Basically, I moved from one question mark to the next. But hey, that’s what adventure is, right?

All I know is that I haven’t really done a lot of writing since I got here and that’s NOT a good thing.

Feel free to ignore this post at your leisure. This is me getting back into the habit of writing.