Eat Your Vegetables: "Being John Malkovich," Being Puppets Without Strings

Each week in Eat Your Vegetables, Jonathan Sircy shares the benefit and appeal of some of the culture’s more inaccessible or intimidating artifacts.Being John Malkovich (Spike Jonze; 1999) deserves a second look (or a first look, for that matter), especially after the Criterion Collection released a deluxe edition of the film on Tuesday (you can also stream it via Netflix).  The film is notable for three reasons: it introduced indie-darlings Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman to a larger aud … [Read more...]

Eat Your Vegetables: A Critique of Criticism

Each week in Eat Your Vegetables, Jonathan Sircy shares the benefit and appeal of some of the culture’s more inaccessible or intimidating artifacts.Metropolitan is a funny movie (you can watch it on Netflix) that gets most of its laughs from irony. Only occasionally are the characters in on the joke. But more than the film’s source for comedy, irony is at the heart of everything the film does. For example:The characters of Metropolitan would never go see the movie Metropolitan. When they tal … [Read more...]

Eat Your Vegetables: The First Rule of Fighting Yourself…

"You are the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world."  Tyler DurdenStylistically, Fight Club is a textbook on how to do mise-en-scene. Corporate vs. Club. Penthouse vs. Outhouse. White-collar vs. Popped-collar. The film plays out its tensions in elaborately detailed sets and costumes, especially in the dueling performances of Edward Norton and Brad Pitt. The film even goes so far as to literalize that competition in their bloody fist-fights.So this film is packed.Blood? Lots of it. … [Read more...]

Eat Your Vegetables: "Annie Hall," Romance, and Real Love

Each week in Eat Your Vegetables, Jonathan Sircy shares the benefit and appeal of some of the culture’s more inaccessible or intimidating artifacts.Cultural Vegetable of the Week: Annie Hall (Woody Allen, 1977) Nutritional Value: Watching fake love implode like a cigar in Woody Allen's faceThis film is funny. Let’s get that out of the way. Yes, it’s a dramedy that effectively ended the “early funny ones” period of Woody Allen’s career, so the laughs don’t come as frequently or as easily as th … [Read more...]

Eat Your Vegetables: "Badlands" (Malick, 1973)

Each week in Eat Your Vegetables, Jonathan Sircy shares the benefit and appeal of some of the culture’s more inaccessible or intimidating artifacts.Cultural Vegetable of the Week: Badlands (1973; Terrence Malick) Nutritional Value: The danger of overrating introspectionBadlands (1973) begins by starkly contrasting Holly (Sissy Spacek) and Kit (Martin Sheen), whose love affair occupies the center of the film. When we first meet Holly, she’s petting a large dog on her bed. The first time we see … [Read more...]

Eat Your Vegetables: "Doubt" (Shanley, 2008)

Each week in Eat Your Vegetables, Jonathan Sircy shares the benefit and appeal of some of the culture’s more inaccessible or intimidating artifacts.Cultural Vegetable of the Week: Doubt (John Patrick Shanley; 2008)Doubt is provocative, but its ideas are rather sloppy. And this is first and foremost a movie about ideas, not people.The film focuses on a small parochial school in the early '60s, some time after Kennedy’s death but before Nixon’s election. Our attention is directed toward two s … [Read more...]

Eat Your Vegetables: "Roger & Me" (Moore, 1989)

Each week in Eat Your Vegetables, Jonathan Sircy shares the benefit and appeal of some of the culture’s more inaccessible or intimidating artifacts.Cultural Vegetable of the Week: Roger & Me (Michael Moore; 1989) Nutritional Value: Your daily required dose of class-war polemic“It was truly the dawn of a new era.” Michael Moore’s last words of narration for the film.This film gives us a first glimpse of a young raconteur in action. Michael Moore bumbles and stumbles his way into a hornet … [Read more...]

Eat Your Vegetables: "Mother Night" (Vonnegut, 1961)

Each week in Eat Your Vegetables, Jonathan Sircy shares the benefit and appeal of some of the culture’s more inaccessible or intimidating artifacts.Cultural Vegetable of the Week: Mother Night (Kurt Vonnegut, 1961) Nutritional Value: A parable on the perils of pretendingIn Mother Night’s introduction, Kurt Vonnegut says his third novel has three morals. In order, they are:“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” “When you’re dead you’re dead.” “M … [Read more...]

Eat Your Vegetables: Interiors (Woody Allen, 1978)

Each week in Eat Your Vegetables, Jonathan Sircy shares the benefit and appeal of some of the culture’s more inaccessible or intimidating artifacts.Cultural Vegetable of the Week: Interiors (Woody Allen; 1978) Vegetable Equivalent: A tuber, a vegetable that doesn't require lots of sunlight Nutritional Value: Exposing the idolization of art Recommended Serving Size: In between two viewings of Allen's comedic masterpiece Love and Death (1975)Interiors (1978) is the meat of a Woody Allen sa … [Read more...]

Eat Your Vegetables: "High Noon" (Zinnemann, 1952)

Each week in Eat Your Vegetables, Jonathan Sircy shares the benefit and appeal of some of the culture’s more inaccessible or intimidating artifacts.Cultural Vegetable of the Week: High Noon (dir. Fred Zinnemann; 1952) Vegetable Equivalent: Any vegetable that must be eaten on its own Nutritional Value: How to diagnose your friends and enemies during a crisis Recommended Serving Size: At home in one sitting after a tough day at your job“If you don’t know, I can’t tell you.” - Oft-repeated phras … [Read more...]


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