Best Actor: New York

No other American city is so intensely American as New York."

“The King of New York” February 23, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — hayleywallach @ 11:59 pm

“Tomorrow you’ll know I wasn’t kidding and you’ll all think I’m crazy. But I figure it this way: better to be king for a night, than schmuck for a lifetime.”

Brief Synopsis

So the first film I decided to watch, by no real reason at all, was “The King of Comedy”.  It has just always been one of those films that I’ve wanted to see (I LOVE Robert DeNiro and “Marty” Scorcese) and it happened to be on my DVR the night I decided what I wanted to blog about. This film was made in 1982 and was directed by Martin Scorcese and starred Robert DeNiro and Jerry Lewis.  DeNiro plays Rupert Pupkin, an obsessed fan and wannabe comedian who spends most of his time fantasizing of a life similar to the one Lewis’ character, Jerry Langford, lives.  Langford has a “Johnny Carson” type variety show and is stalked by cult like fans, one of them being Masha played by  Sandra Bernhard.  In the opening scene, Pupkin jumps into Langfords limo after one of his shows and pitches his comedy sketch to him.  Langford finally agrees to let Pupkin come to his office but only in pursuit to get him out of his car.  Pupkin takes his offer and comes to the NBC-like office of Langford’s show.  With a number of no-shows by Langford, a rejection from the shows producer, and finally being kicked out of the office,  Pupkin decides to take drastic measures.  He kidnaps Langford with Masha before one of Langford’s shows and demands that he is put on the show in order to show his sketch.  While Pupkin performs a fairly successful show, crazy Masha is busy seducing her long-term one sided love Langford.  The show is complete and Langford finally escapes Masha’s apartment where he had been held captive.  Pupkin is finally arrested and serves only two years of his sentence.  He writes a book while in jail, titled King for the Night, which becomes a best-selling hit.  In the closing scene of the film, Pupkin is standing on the stage of his own variety show, making him in conclusion, “The King of Comedy”.

My Personal Perspective

The first thing that came to mind after concluding this film was how I’d never seen Robert DeNiro play a role like that.  He has always been one of my favorite actors, however this brought on a whole new perspective on just how incredibly talented he is.  Acting has always been one of those crafts that I look at as both a cop out and an impossible gift.  Today it is easy to say how many talentless people there are out there due to reality television and bullshit entertainment, however when it comes down to the raw gift of acting, I find it impossible to master.  Being that I never like being the center of attention- I hated every second of my Bat Mitzvah because there were 200 pairs of eyes staring at my every move, not to mention some cheesy photographer snapping his flash in my face every two seconds.  This is why I decided I wanted to spend my life behind a camera, researching and examining others lives- because nothing is more interesting to me than the raw interactions of human behavior.  The way people move, their facial expressions, the idea that every single person on this planet is uniquely different.  And THAT is why I find acting so admirable- the idea that someone could fully engulf themselves into the form of another’s life and believe they are another person.  But when it comes down to the nitty gritty, the actor will NEVER fully be that role and therefore their own personal style will evolve into something magical.  SO back to Robert DeNiro in this particular film, I felt like I was watching THE Rupert Pupkin although I never officially met this character. There was something so “80’s” about this particular film.  The lighting, filters, clothes, even the sound felt like I was watching from a Magnovox tube set.  What really stood out was how different the city of New York looked.  Times Square was quiet, hardly any advertising.  This was so unique to the consumer driven media crazy world we live in today.  Rupert Pupkin stood by a pay phone to wait for a call from his idle Jerry Langford.

My New York Life and The King of Comedy

What really struck me about this film, was how much I could strangely relate it to my own life.  Not being a stalker by any means but being someone who knows exactly what I want to do and how good I feel doing it, can make a person do crazy things.  Looking for work in this market has not been easy and there have been opportunities I’ve felt were so perfect for me that I could atually sit and envision how wonderful it would feel to wake up in the morning everyday to go to a job where I feel like I am making a difference in my life and in the company I work for.  I am not the type to sit idly by and wait for life to happen, so in a way I guess yeah, I am a little like Rupert Pupkin.  Although I would never kidnap and hold someone for ransom in order to accomplish my dream, I feel like there are times that I wish I could make my dreams not so out of my reach.  In a way, I find what he did to be admirable.  He knew exactly what he wanted and wouldn’t settle for anything less. Yes, he was slightly insane and probably suffered from a personality disorder, but he never let anyone tell him he couldn’t do exactly what he wanted to do.  AND through all of it, he ended up on top.  It is actually a beautiful message to tell the whole world to reach for the stars.  Even from the first scene when he jumped in the car with Jerry Langford, he knew it was his only shot and he had to do something crazy in order to get it.


Beauty is in the Eye of the Director February 18, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — hayleywallach @ 4:26 pm

The first question I asked myself when creating this blog was: What makes me stand out? I am not really sure anything makes me special.  When you think about it, there are almost seven billion people in this entire world, so how exactly am I going to sit here and tell you I am different.  I am probably not very different but I know what I know, I know what I like, and I know what truly does not interest me. So in reality, what truly makes everyone unique is their own point of view.  So that is exactly what I am going to use throughout this blog, because at the end of the day, it is the only thing I truly can call my own.  You can go through life developing skills and learning ideas from others however what you are finally left with is your own interpretation. At the end of the day, no one can really be right and your opinion can never be wrong.

I recently moved to NYC to pursue my career goals of working in film or television production.  Looking for work has actually been one of the most depressing times of my life.  I know I have talent, drive, and passion but so does everyone else.  However, I do have the confidence to say that I will succeed because I refuse to settle for anything less than perfection.  Here’s the thing,  I graduated from Indiana.  There for I was literally on a high for four straight years and now I feel like I have been in rehab trying to calm down my addiction.  Don’t get me wrong, I am excited about living in New York…how can I not be? It’s adventurous, dangerous, sexy, provacative….New York is like the slutty friend you dare wish to hang out with- it will make you do crazy things, interactive with insane people, and bring out a side of you that you never knew existed.  But there was something so special about good ‘ole Bloomington Indianer.  It was charming, safe, sweet, and always made you feel welcomed. But those days are long gone now, and I now accept the fact that life is going to pull me in a million wondrous directions for the next couple of years and I just have to roll with it and hope for the best because at the end of the day I know I am never alone.

So now that I have moved on and now live in New York, I decided it was important to begin making something happen.  I bought my first HD video camera and decided to go around the city and and film things that interested me.  Then it occurred to me, what actually really interests me are films.  Ever since I was a little girl, I loved movies.  My mom would sit me in front of the TV and rather than playing Barney or Sesame Street, I would watch old movies that she loved.  By the time I was ten, my favorite films were All About Eve, Singin’ in the Rain, Gigi, Some Like it Hot, The King and I, Funny Face, Vertigo, and tons of others.   I am not here to list every film I’ve ever seen, but needless to say watching movies is my favorite past time.  I love thinking about them afterward, analyzing the characters, and critiquing what the director was trying to accomplish.  Which brought me to my idea for a blog.  Loving New York and loving films, I decided to engulf myself in a different New York film every week and analyze it from my own perspective.  I will go to the locations around the city that were filmed in New York and film the way the director filmed the shot.  By doing this, I am hoping to understand exactly why the director did what s/he wanted to do.  I will mix together clips from films that I shoot that remind me of these films and discuss how New York in these films can relate to my real life.

I also thought of other subjects that interest me…fashion, sports, friends, food, art..and how I would like to incorporate these into my blog.  Besides looking at the director, cinematographer, and editor’s POV, I want to think of how these elements would relate to the film.  For example, if I were to watch the Sex and the City Movie, I would examine my friends and how their personalities relate to the characters in the film, a piece of art that  a dress Carrie wore made me think of, the Brooklyn Bridge’s magnificent architecture and how it made Miranda and Steve fall back in love, and how coffee shops can make great conversations.