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Thread: TFZ Movie Club Week 1: 'Life As A House' (2001)

  1. #1
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    TFZ Movie Club Week 1: 'Life As A House' (2001)

    The Fresh Zone Movie Club Week 1

    "Life As A House" (2001)

    Tagline: Seen from a distance, it's perfect.

    IMDB Page

    Genre: Drama

    Starring: Kevin Kline, Hayden Christensen, Kristin Scott Thomas, Jena Malone, Mary Steenburgen, Ian Somerhalder

    Chosen By Dave



    Plot Synopsis:
    When a man is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he takes custody of his misanthropic teenage son, for whom quality time means getting high, engaging in small-time prostitution, and avoiding his father.

    Trailer:



    Streaming/Download Links:

    @ StageVu (DIVX)
    @ MegaVideo (Flash)
    @ MegaVideo Mirror (Flash)
    @ MetaDivX (DIVX)
    @ YouTube (Flash 13 Parts)
    I swear I didn't arrange for it to be my pick to start this off!

    Anyhow, yea...

    This is one of my favourite films of all-time! Its a really moving story with some really powerful performances! Hayden Christensen is almost unrecognizable in this (this was before he was some Sith or whatever ). Its (unfortunately) not very well known, which is a shame because its a really compelling story and has a LOT of heart.

    Anyhow, there are your download/streaming links!

    Please let me know if you'd prefer having 1 or 2 weeks to do this since I know someone you guys will be renting it from Netflix or whatnot and I have no clue how that works (since its the first one, just to make sure ). But after this it should hopefully be smooth sailing!


    And for those who want to plan ahead, next time we'll be viewing "Imaginary Heroes" (2004) .

    Now lets get a-watching!
    Last edited by Dave; 02-28-2010 at 02:13 PM.
    - D A V E -






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    Loooove this movie! So how does this work? Do we all just say what we think of it? Or do we come online at a certain time to discuss?

    Make me your Freshie Idol!

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    Nah, I think it'd be best if we all watch it on our own time to avoid real life scheduling conflicts etc. I was thinking we could all watch it and then come here afterwards to discuss it and perhaps bring up certain plot points, characters/development and so forth. In the same fashion people do literary analysis in school
    - D A V E -






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    Ok well I won't give away anything major before anyone watches it but I do have a few issues with the movie:

    Don't you think that pretty much ALL OF IT is shot way too close to peoples faces? It cuts off their chins and their hair half the time - it's just too close!

    And seriously, he cums in the shower when they make out? He's a freaking male prostitute in the first part of the movie! Haha. The scenes where he's in the shower are hot though, I totally used to jerk it to him in this movie.

    Make me your Freshie Idol!

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    I just saw the trailer, GREAT pick Dave. I'm really looking forwards to this

    So we have a week yeah?

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    Yes Yes Yes! I've wanted to see this for a while!

    I have a big fat crush on Jena Malone, and I have a massive list of movies from all my favorite people that i need to see, and this is one! I can't wait!

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    Aw yay! Glad my pick is being well received

    And yea, I think a week should hopefully be enough, if not- we can always extend it to 2 weeks per movie or however people see fit?

    And omg Jena Malone is such a dilemma for me! Haha I have this LOVE/hate relationship with her. Something about her...makes me not like her, dunno WHAT it is...but she's always in FANTASTIC movies, playing amazing roles and doing it SO well. So I can exactly hate her

    I'm probably gonna be watching this again later today to refresh my memory
    - D A V E -






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    Ok, so everyone in this thread will hate me, but this is a movie club so I'm going to be honest for discussion purposes!!

    I saw this movie when it first came out and I just thought it was boring. Seeing it now, I am so annoyed with it. The first half is particularly grating. The characters just seem like such cliches: the wacky dad, the angsty son, the slutty housewife neighbor, etc, etc. It's just so forced. The acting is so over-dramatic and the dialogue is incredibly melodramatic.

    "Waah, waah, you weren't there for me growing up and now I'm such a druggie and also GET OUT OF MY ROOM NOW it's private, brb, i need to try to hang myself in my closet, waaah waaah."

    Hayden Christensen was just too much for this movie. And then when the dad started smashing all the models at work: LAME and over-dramatic!

    The ending gets better because I feel like it connects the characters to the emotional core of the film. People aren't being so over-the-top; they're just getting along and working together in pursuit of a common goal. I actually felt really sad when they found out that the dad was dying. I thought it was terrible that he told them so close to his actual death after they all became closer, but who's to say they would've become closer if he had told them sooner, you know? So, I appreciated the second half of the movie a lot more.

    But, I still feel like it was kind of hokey and overwrought and I think that ends up hurting the emotion behind the film.

    I know I am in the minority, so this should be a good discussion, haha.

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    Though I do agree with the characters starting out a bit cliché I think it helps with the development of the entire movie.

    To me, I personally found the concept of building/rebuilding a strong theme throughout (besides the obvious connection to the actual house ). You see people build on their relationships amongst each other and more importantly, with themselves.

    The whole thing about George breaking the models, I thought it was really powerful. I mean, keeping in mind this was 2001, it was really when people started being made redundant due to technology taking over and I think it just shows his sheer and utter frustration. You see him working on a current model, taking such time and care into placing each piece where it rightfully belong- and you can tell its a craft he appreciates- then comes along his boss and tells him his work is basically ot appreciated any more...and then that all the work he's done over the past 20 years is not HIS anymore? I think that would be incredibly infuriating! He ends up with little to nothing to show for the past 20 years of his professional life (and there's also a blurred line towards implying the same for his personal life). I think its a great way of springboarding into the next part of the film where he realizes how little time he has left and that he really needs to make the most of it he possibly can.

    For me, the most heart-wrenching scene in the whole movie (and it NEVER fails to make me bawl my eyes out) was when George tells Sam he has cancer. He responds in such a confused way and then when it sinks in its just...such a breaking point. The exchange of

    S: Having me here trying to get me to like you?!
    G: No,Sam. I wasn't trying to get you to like me...I was trying to get you to love me.
    S: Well congratulations, because you fucking pulled it off!

    Its so emotionally charged and I really feel like (of all his performances I've seen) its easily Hayden's best.

    Watching the special features on the DVD also really made me appreciate it much more. They point out that each of the pivotal characters have this point where they just break down and in that moment...its just blatantly honest pain. Its those intimate moments everyone goes through in their own way...but in private, this just splashes it across the screen without any sort of excuses, its just their total emotional demise.

    I think the dialogue is very well written- there are so many quotes there I absolutely loved. Most of them are very poised and sophisticated ("Hindsight, it's like foresight without a future") but then theres these really quick-witted remarks I just LOVE that allow there to be a balance between the melodrama and the wit of certain characters.

    I also LOVED the way they personified the finished house at the end as George, sure it was a bit cheesy but I think it was a really beautiful way of ending it- and Kevin Kline's voice-over is perfect <3


    (woah, that ended up being longer than I expected )
    - D A V E -






  10. #10
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    OK I finally watched it, and i loved it!

    First off, i totally get what Brett was saying about the close-ups. It felt like everyone was up in my grill the whole time. But even beyond that, the whole neighborhood where the movies takes place, everything is in extremely close proximity to each other, like they were basically building this house on Jena Malones front lawn.

    I've always said that there is just something about movies from 2001 that is sooo good. They get me every time, and this one is no exception. Its just soooooo '2001', if you can understand what i mean. LoL

    I agree that at the beginning there was this sort of Lifetime movie undertone, but it sort of set things up. I probably wouldn't have cared about the characters as much if they didn't show us the extremes of their emotions.

    I also think it was great how all the random bits kind of came back around at the end, like the prostitution thing, and the nurse, and the girl from the car accident. I feel like it really tied everything up nicely.

    After seeing this now, its kind of funny that "Imaginary Heroes" is next weeks pick, because it has a similar sort of tone to this movie.

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