Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Don't stop now Monsieur Revolutionary

Hello world! I'm prepping for my 3 hour Renaissance Art History lecture, but I'm also watching my fave guilty pleasure... don't shoot me, but I'm obsessed with Jersey Shore. It absolutely cracks me up, and I can't get enough of it. Say, what you will: It's mindless, derogatory, racist, sexist, cheap, kitsch... etc, however, it is damn entertaining. For those who don't know what this show is about, it's hard to do it justice (probably because it doesn't deserve a ton) but it's about a group of Italian-American's who are self-proclaimed 'guidos' and the show revolves around them spending their summer at the Jersey Shore (although this season they're in Miami, holla). So, yes... ROFL <----- If you can't tell this is my new favorite word. You're supposed to sound the letters out 'rawhfull'... tee hee.

The wonderful and talented cast of MTV's Jersey Shore - no sarcasm please

Moving swiftly onwards, uh this past weekend is a pretty big one for my uni. It was that pivotal the time of year we Canucks and Am-uricans call Homecoming. Ok to be honest, I still don't really understand what it means but basically alot of alumni from the university come back and we have a massive football game and blah di blah blah. Fun times. Especially the engineers.... oh my favorites the engies. They get dyed purple (because did you know that purple is the universal color for engineers? Apparently the engineers on ships would wear purple bands on their shirts and if anything ever happened, they would go down with the ship, so nowadays all the engineering students dye 'emselves to honor their bravery) and they run around slamming their faculty jackets and are just crazy loud and rowdy.... brilliant :) So anyway, yeah it's late but happy homecoming Cha 'gheill!'

This is what's coming to us.

Just one more note about Homecoming at my university... in the past it has been a bit 'glug glug woo hoo' it's been toned down alot. Last year there was a pretty large convoy of police and riot officers (who were riding horses) to control the out of town population who comes to have fun. And as a spoof these t-shirts were release this year, so I decided to included this little image that caused some hilarity at my house the other night. I thought it was a cute play on words

I think that's enough 'pop culture' and random word vomit for today. Again, moving swiftly onwards. I began this blog topic back in May before I was about to leave for my study abroad in Venice and I want to continue or re-start it because this film and this designer I will be talking about are pretty special and by special I mean completely revolutionary and brilliant.

Today, I want to celebrate the career of one fashion's geniuses... the legendary, the fantastic, the stylish, the attractive, the REVOLUTIONARY Tom Ford and his masterpiece film 'A Single Man'. The film stars the exquisite Colin Firth in the titular role as a heartbroken English professor whose long term boyfriend dies in a car accident. The film takes place over the span of one spectacular day and I am here to divulge... but not destroy the mystique of the film and some plot deets... but I'm mostly just going to spill praise everywhere.

Introducing: Monsieur Ford, in his element, dealing with clothes. I'm guessing those ever so stylish sunglasses of his are probably his Tom Ford Brand, gosh they're pretty.

So I've already mentioned that Tom Ford is a genius, but let us count the ways:

1) After moving to Milan in 1990 and after working behind the scenes for four years he was promoted to Creative Director of Gucci - responsible for the complete revamp of the brand. And the in 2000 when the Gucci Group bought Yves Saint Laurent, Ford added Creative Director of YSL to his ever expanding list of duties. He singlehandedly managed to bring the sexy back to Gucci and revive the 'dying' brand to make it one of the most powerful fashion houses in the world. The house, which was apparently close to bankruptcy at the time Tom joined, was valued at 10 billion by the time he left. His 2004 farewell Gucci show is listed as one of the top 10 shows of the decade by

2) Well after some creative differences at Gucci, he moved on to menswear design and the establishment of his own name brand: Tom Ford. His already spectacular design aesthetic enables him to  make the most attractive men look even more delicious (I am NOT drooling, why, does it look like I am...?) 

He has dressed most of Hollywood's leading men and actually outfitted Daniel Craig as James Bond in Quantum of Solace.
'Nuff said.

3) Initially an art history student (!!!!!) at NYU, he transfered to Parsons School of Design to pursue architecture... these two aesthetics probably have some contribution to his fantastic eye for design. (I'm hoping the art history helped with his creative genius....)

4) He's bloody organized. He ran two fashion houses at the same bleedin' time and still managed to earn rave reviews!!!!

5) After mastering design (and not just clothing, but shoes, accessories, eyewear, perfume etc.) he decided it was time to test some new waters. His debut film  'A Single Man' released in 2009, is a freaking miracle. Pure film genius it gets it's own list of awesomeness below later. But, let's be serious. How much talent to you need to have to design and direct. It's by far one of the most poetic and visually stunning films I have ever seen.

The cast of the film (from left to right): Director Ford, Julianne Moore, Colin Firth, Nicholas Hoult and Matthew Goode. I betcha they're all wearing Tom Ford.

6) AND (finally) he's done all this... and is not even 50! I love it. Gosh, why don't all men look this good when they're that age.

I'm kinda in a list-y type of mood today (this is far too much fun). So below is (another) compilation of Why A Single Man is fan-freaking-tastic:

1) Hellooooooo?!?! It was directed by Tom Ford, duhh (Do I really need to include another picture?) Here's the logic: He's a designer, which means he already has an overly active imagination and eye for creative design, so of course everything is going to be beautiful and why the hell not eh?  I mean, making a movie is almost the exact thing as designing a runway collection... NOT! It's bloody hard to be good at one thing, let alone two and by god was this a brilliant first film, I look forward to many more by him.

2) The cinematography is CA-RA-ZY! The camera play is impeccable, really. Everything in the film is visually stunning, there is not a speck of dust or blade of grass that is out of place. The camera caresses the characters so lovingly and pans over some of the more morose scenes with such grace that, there is often no need for dialogue. For example, when our dear Colin Firth witnesses something that momentarily lifts his spirits the screen is diffused with, literally, a warm glow. The color becomes vibrant for a second and then slowly, as the mood changes, fades back to the dimmer tones from earlier. It is really and truly polished to perfection, because as I say again, the man is Tom Ford,  he knows what he's doing. 

3) Colin Firth is heartbreakingly wonderful. It truly is the role of his career. His portrayal of the English university professor, George Falconer, mourning the death of his long-term life partner is spot on. He won the Coppa Volpi - Best Actor prize at the Venice Film Festival and also won a BAFTA. He was also nominated for a Golden Globe, an Academy Award and a Screen Actor's Guild Award for Best Male in a Leading Role. Should be convincing enough to tell you that he does a brilliant job.

Beautiful and brooding. It's this mystique that earns him such rave reviews.

4) Yeah, so in addition to Colin, all the other actors are perfectly cast as well and they make it so hard to part with. 
Julianne Moore (Charley, Colin Firth's best friend from London) was beautiful and its a shame that her screen time isn't longer. She too was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for her work. 

The same can be said for Matthew Goode (Jim, Firth's dead partner) who only exists in flashbacks. 

One of the flashbacks in which George likes to retreat, again Ford is playing with us as the flashbacks are in a very stark black and white despite the fact that it is a happy moment for George, so why isn't it in bright color? I feel like chiaroscuro - one of my art history terms applies to this - it means 'light-dark' and was usually used in painting to add volume to figures. Here I feel that it adds emotional volume to the characters, as Jim is dead and while this is a happy moment we cannot enjoy it.

Then there is young British actor Nicholas Hoult (Kenny - a student of Firth who harbors feelings for him) who probably had all the pre-teen English girls rushing to the theatre to see him strip, as a result of his time on 'Skins' (the gritty English version of Gossip Girl... kinda).

And finalement, there is model Jon Kortajarena (Carlos a gorgeous distraction Firth meets at the liquor store). Jon actually was the model for Tom Ford's Spring Summer 10 line above (It's cause he's so great to look at, eh?)

5) The score by Abel Korzeniowsk is incredibly beautiful. This film doesn't have an overwhelming amount of dialogue. I'm not saying that it's a silent movie, but where there is no need for speech, there isn't any. On Korzeniowsk's website (which you should visit, the banner reads 'listen through your eyes'... and I think this is a perfect summation of what the music does to the film. It truly does enhance the scenes where there is no talking. My favorite song from the film is Clock Tick ( but others you should look out for are Stillness of the Mind and Sunset. Oh and did I mention he was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Original Score (he should have won it, although I love the score for Up!)

6) Ford is not only the director, but he dresses the actors. Yes indeedy, all clothes and suits worn are items of clothing that Tommy boy himself has designed. Goodness me, he is a genius (ha oops, I've already said that)

7) While I'm lauding praise everywhere, it needs to be mentioned that this film is based on a book, of the same name, by Christopher Isherwood published in 1964, and if you're the book first-movie later type you should check it out. While I have yet to read the book, the plot of the film is fabulous and very refreshing. It is one of first books to openly deal with a homosexual relationship and Edmund White (novelist and literary critic, who also happens to be gay) said that it is "one of the first and best novels of the modern Gay Liberation movement". It's a touching story that is a testament to love and reminds us that people are all friggin' amazing regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, age... you name it.

8) It's a simple film. Sorry for all you action lovers, you thrill seekers, you horror enthusiasts. This film is a love story and I'm going to be honest, it is not fast paced at all. It's brilliant, it's moving, it's happy and it's sad; it's a film you see because it is beautiful and it is touching and it's an experience, not because it's full of excitement (Sorry! I actually do think it's exciting but I'm an art dork like that). I'm pouring all these reasons why you should go see it, because I really really really liked it and want you to as well, but if you don't... I guess I'm not a very good salesblogger.

So there you have it, my short little list to persuade you to watch (what I believe to be ) one of the most poignant films of the past year. Wishing everybody well during flu season! I'm stuffed up like there's no tomorrow, bleurgh. Ciao!

- Life is good

Listening to: Clock Tick - Abel Korzeniowsk
Observations: Housemates back from the supermarket.... they bought caramel ice-cream... midnight trips to the fridge required. Shhhhhh!
Craving: The ice cream and I also convinced myself to watch this amazing movie called 'A Single Man'. Ha 

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