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Pick Your Coppola Day!
Suggestions for the whole family.
Welcome to Movie Star March Madness, our month-long watch-a-long and countdown to Season 2 of The Vince Vaughn-a-thon. Every day in March, we’re celebrating a different actor, movie star, or famous family - one of which will be our focus for Season 2. Play along with us and leave your daily reviews in the comments. For the full schedule and info, read here.
Francis Ford Coppola: Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
When Dracula leaves the captive Jonathan Harker and Transylvania for London in search of Mina Harker, the reincarnation of Dracula’s long-dead wife Elisabeta, obsessed vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing sets out to end the madness.
Patrick: This past October, I saw both Nosferatu and Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula for the first time in about a 24-hour period. They blew my mind. Aside from a watch of the Universal Dracula as a young boy (I don't remember much), I don't think I'd ever seen a real Dracula movie (you know, the one about real estate moguls being blood-sucking freaks) and they both blew my mind.
After talking to a friend who said that Coppola's film holds tight to the original novel (hence the name) and suggested I read it, I knew I had to try it. I am, right now, in preparation for Renfield (yikes) next month. Although I'm going to give that film a chance, I must admit that I was disappointed when the first trailer dropped and it was set in the present day. What I loved so much about Coppola's version was that he understood how silly, perverted, and weird the novel is without changing much. It takes a filmmaker of his caliber to go for it like that.
Gia Coppola and Jason Schwartzman: Mainstream (2020)
A young woman finds a path to internet stardom when she starts making videos with a charismatic stranger.
Taylor: As someone who manages social media for a living and (literally) dreams of content going viral, coupled with a cast made up entirely of some of my favorite actors (Jason Schwartzman, Nat Wolff, and Maya Hawke to name a few), led by the incredibly talented Andrew Garfield… it’s clear why my expectations for Mainstream were incredibly high.
But it didn’t meet any of those expectations.
That’s just a little clickbait for you (get it?). Now, I’m not actually saying the movie was bad. In fact, I liked a lot of what it had to offer. What I mean to say is, the movie was different completely different than anything I could have imagined prior to watching it.
Mainstream grapples with the complexities of influencer culture and the toxicities of getting caught up in the limelight, and takes that narrative as far as the imagination will go. While the movie's themes are not anything entirely new or groundbreaking, the movie manages to lean into the whacky, cringey, and downright horrific truths of the lifestyles led by content creators. Highly self-aware, the movie even invites problematic creators to play themselves, such as Jake Paul.
While this movie may not be palatable for everyone, it’s a highly stimulating, wild ride for those open and willing to take the journey.
Sofia Coppola and Jason Schwartzman: Marie Antoinette (2006)
The retelling of France’s iconic but ill-fated queen, Marie Antoinette. From her betrothal and marriage to Louis XVI at 15 to her reign as queen at 19 and ultimately the fall of Versailles.
Taylor: The Virgin Suicides is one of my favorite films. I think it’s perfect, truly without flaw. The other films in her filmography that I’ve seen, however? They’re often misses for me, in a big way.
As a lover of Wes Anderson and all things aesthetic accompanied by a killer soundtrack, I have been told by many that Marie Antoinette should be high on my watchlist. Admittedly, I was nervous due to extremely high expectations.
It’s phenomenal and worthy of every piece of praise it gets.
Directed with graceful passion, Coppola manages to build a world so beautiful it stands in a league entirely on its own. One of her many strengths as a director is her ability to hone in on silence. Just as she executes in The Virgin Suicides, she is able to make every glance, touch, thought, and motion more thrilling, moving, and poignant than any dialogue could express.
Kirsten Dunst returns in front of Coppola’s lens and makes the perfect Marie Antoinette. Naive, hopeful, young, and excited about life, her performance is natural and highly effective. She is supported by several talented stars, most notably Jason Schwartzman who masterfully executes the quiet, awkward task at hand.
Credit: Each plot synopsis comes from Letterboxd via TMDb.
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