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Updated: Jun 20, 2022

French Flicks With Billy Disaster #1

Last night’s movie was Amelie starring Audrey Tautou ♥️ and Mathieu Kassovitz. Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet.

I’ve never had to go through so much trouble to watch a movie, ever. It’s only available in England’s version of Netflix which can only be accessed by using a VPN (which I just learned about), or if you live in England. But I managed to figure it all out and it was totally worth it.

The best word to describe this flick is “whimsical”. The second best word would be “colorful”. I would say that this was whimsical in the spirit of Wes Anderson with a similar kind of comedy and the colors in this flick are bold and bright like a painting.

The third best word for this would be “happiness”. I felt kind of a pure happiness throughout the whole thing. The combination of the story, the cast and colors were like a drug with no guilt. I loved it.

I’ve known about this flick for many years, as a few of my piano students have done the piano theme featured throughout the film by Yann Tiersen. It’s such a beautiful piece and the students that played it had selected it themselves. I love that they watched this flick and were so compelled to learn to play it.

The story is basically about the title character, Amelie (played by the incredible Audrey Tautou), finding life’s purpose of spreading joy to select people in her life in clever, singular ways. She creates scenarios for people to fall in love with each other. She also spends a lot of her energy making life hell for a friend’s asshole boss who deserves every ounce of it. It reminded me of “Home Alone” as she rigs a bunch of shit in his apartment to throw him for one loop after another.

It’s amazing how the purpose of the story of spreading happiness is the actual result of this

flick. 5 Escargots for Amelie 🐌🐌🐌🐌🐌 . Tonight’s movie will be Le Femme Nikita. ♥️You

French Flicks With Billy Disaster #2

Last night’s movie was Nikita starring Anne Parillaud and Jean-Hugues Anglade. Directed by Luc Besson.

We’re calling this one Nikita as opposed to Le Femme Nikita to differentiate between the movie and the television series. In France this flick is called “Nikita” FYI.

The first acts of this had me totally stoked. The action scene of the pharmacy robbery was killer and, of course, our hero, Nikita (Parillaud) is such a compelling and deep character and SMOKIN HOT in a punk rock kind of way. She’s almost like a female Sid Vicious. Parillaud played her part so passionately that it was exhausting.

Another thing I loved was her chemistry with Bob, the agent that saves her from spending her life in prison in exchange for becoming a secret government assassin.

Everything was going well with this film until Nikita meets her boyfriend, Marco (Anglade).

Good LORD this movie became such a boring love story 🥱! It did provide some tense contrast in one scene where they’re having a romantic vacation at a hotel where Nikita has to

conduct a sniper hit in the bathroom while Marco is in the next room. (He doesn’t know she’s an assassin...or does he?). This flick should have had more of these kinds of moments, but they wasted so much time on their stupid love affair. And what was with Marco’s horrendous sweater?

All in all, this was a pretty cool movie about a really cool chick with fucked up circumstances. It also had a rad cameo of Leon The Professional. But the schmaltzy love story, the shitty music,

and that awful sweater docked it a couple of points. 3 Escargots for Nikita 🐌🐌🐌. Tonight’s

movie will be Les Diaboluques. ♥️You

French Flicks With Billy Disaster #3

Last night’s movie was Les Diaboliques (1955) starring Vera Clouzot and Simone Signoret. Directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot.

So, this flick was damn near perfectly perfect in every way. The look, the performances, the storytelling, everything.

It’s a mystery thriller of the highest order. Alfred Hitchcock actually wanted to make this film but missed out on acquiring the rights. I’m sure he would have done a fine job of it but maybe not any better. At any rate, this was as good as any Hitch flick and certainly reminded me of a couple of them, particularly “Rope”.

A woman named Christina (Vera Clouzot) is married to a total asshole named Michel (Paul Meurisse) who openly has a mistress named Nicole (Simone Signoret). They all live at a boarding school that Christina owns, Nicole teaches at, and Michel runs like a dicktator. (Spelling intended). Well, Christina and Nicole become unlikely friends and conjure up a plan to murder Michel. (Light spoilers ahead)...They end up luring him to an apartment, drugging him, and drowning him in a bathtub, a scene which is regarded as one of the most iconic scary scenes of all time. Now they have to hide the body and keep the secret. I won’t give anything else away, but I’ll say that the twists in the story are so good that I watched most of this with my mouth agape.

The result is an incredibly suspenseful ride that is ominously filmed, expertly told, and really entertaining. 5 Escargots for Les Diaboliques 🐌🐌🐌🐌🐌. For tonight’s movie, I’m going

into the 4 hour La Belle Noiseuse. ♥️You

French Flicks With Billy Disaster #4

Last night’s movie was La Belle Noiseuse starring Emmanuelle Beart♥️ and Michel Piccoli. Directed by Jacques Rivette

Yes this movie was 4 hours long, but it was a pretty enjoyable 4 hours. Was it because Emmanuelle Beart didn’t have any clothes on for like 3 hours of it? It sure didn’t hurt! I honestly don’t mean that in a creepy pervy way, this flick is about art and, just like SMOKIN HOT Mrs. Disaster, this woman is a total work of art.

This one is about 3 people who go and visit the estate of master painter Frenhofer (Piccoli) who’s been creatively dormant for the last 10 years. The threesome;) consisted of the art dealer, Porbus (Gilles Arbona), the aspiring artist, Nicholas (David Bursztein) (total douche), and Nicholas’ hot ass girlfriend Marianne.

Frenhofer is renowned for his paintings of nudes until he lost his mojo right before he was going to attempt his masterpiece by painting his wife Liz (Jane Birkin), so he just enjoyed his lazy retirement in his pimpin mansion in southern France.

BUT THEN(!) he encounters Marianne and is inspired again and everyone agrees (including Liz and Nicholas) that she should pose for Frenhofer and he can complete his legacy. After a little drama, the artistic process begins.

For 5 days, Marianne poses nude for Frenhofer in some rigorous and painful contortions. The main reason that this flick is so long is that we experience so much of the artistic process of Frenhofer, and it’s awesome. We watch his initial sketches in his sketchbook all the way through the main canvases. It’s truly mesmerizing not only because Marianne is so stunning, but the SOUND of Frenhofer’s work. The filmakers put a hot mic super close to the paper and canvases while Frenhofer is woking with his pens, chalk and brushes and it’s just so cool. Very ASMR.

Well...of course the boring and annoying boyfriend, Nicholas predictably gets jealous, and so does Liz and the movie begins to suffer...until the amazing twist!

This flick was so good that I wouldn’t mind watching all 4 hours of it again. 5 Escargots for La

Belle Noiseuse 🐌🐌🐌🐌🐌 . Tonight’s movie will be Delicatessen. ♥️You

French Flicks With Billy Disaster #5

Last night’s movie was Delicatessen starring Dominique Pinon and Marie-Laure Dougnac. Directed by Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet.

Apologies to you Jeunet fans out there but this is the second movie of his that I’ve walked out on (of my own house). (That old gag!). I Ioved Amelie (FFWBD#1) but couldn’t get into this one or The City Of Lost Children. I fully get why people would love them, it’s like Frank Zappa’s music to me, I appreciate it but I just don’t like it.

One thing I will say is Dominique Pinon is such a weird looking dude. He has the unfortunate appearance of being toothless while still having teeth. I find it odd that he’s the love interest in both Amelie and this flick. I guess it’s actually kind of cool that he is, as opposed to some lame ass Mr. Handsome Man.

I’m gonna give a bit of extra credit for being a unique film even if it’s just not my style. 2

Escargots for Delicatessen 🐌🐌 . Tonight’s movie will be The Intouchables. ♥️You

French Flicks With Billy Disaster #6

Last night’s movie was The Intouchables starring Omar Sy and Francois Cluzet. Directed by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano.

Imagine if “Trading Places” and “Driving Miss Daisy” swiped each other on Tinder, met to hook up at some seedy place called Le Motel, drank a whole box of La Vielle Ferme Red, put on some Debussy, got down to business and got knocked up, their offspring would be The Intouchables.

This film starts off giving the impression that it’s going to be an action flick with the main characters involved in a car chase in Paris with the cops. Everything after this 1st scene is a flashback and is not even close to an action flick. What it really is, is an endearing story of a cool friendship between Driss (Sy) and Philippe (Cluzet).

Philippe is a mega-rich quadriplegic who lives in a palace with his staff and his spoiled bitch daughter. He is interviewing people to be his main caregiver and ends up giving the job to the unlikely Driss, a dude from the other side of the tracks and on parole.

Philippe is a pretty nice guy who’s gotten bored with the average professional caregiver. Driss is just the spirit he needs. He’s naive enough to have to rely on his sense of humor to get by. Lo and behold, they form a unique and meaningful friendship. (By the way, where in the hell did the term “lo and behold” come from?)

A number of heartwarming and funny episodes are peppered throughout. My favorite being where Driss is shaving Philippe (keep in mind that Philippe can’t move from the neck down)... and does a number of funny and embarrassing shaped mustaches on him. Including a Hitler mustache that would have been even more funny had he left it on him for a couple of days.

Anyhoo..nothing groundbreaking here, but still a well done, feel good movie with some cool piano music by Einaudi that is easy to recommend. 3 Escargots for The Intouchables 🐌🐌🐌.

Tonight’s movie will be La Haine. ♥️You

French Flicks With Billy Disaster #7

Last night’s movie was La Haine starring Vincent Cassel and Said Taghmaoui. Directed by Mathieu Kassovitz.

This is a super gritty “day in the life” flick about a group of young men in the underbelly of the Paris area. These guys are basically wanna-be tough guys that are going about their day wandering around in the aftermath of a riot. (By the way, where in the hell did term “underbelly” come from?).

There really isn’t much of a story here but almost like a home movie made by one of their homies. A really good one. This is like indie-flick heaven where the focus is on photography, subtle details and suspense built not on story lines, but by simple and creative film making and editing. Kassovitz uses the most simple and effective trick by popping in a time stamp now and then to create separation of events.

The feel in this is so real that when it reaches it’s climax, it’s pretty shocking and painful. It reminded me of Patrick Brice’s “Creep” the way it made me feel like I just witnessed an actual terrible event.

Having been caught in the middle of the WTO riots in Seattle back in 1999, this flick actually hit home a few times and captured the vibe of an unsettling atmosphere that seems to be on the brink of so many factions of modern life. It’s almost like a glimpse in to the near future while documenting the reality of the mid 90’s. I would certainly consider this an important film. 5 Escargots for La Haine 🐌🐌🐌🐌🐌. Tonight’s movie will be The 400 Blows. ♥️You

French Flicks With Billy Disaster #8. Last night’s movie was The 400 Blows (1959) starring Jean-Pierre Leaud and Claire Maurier. Directed by Francois Truffaut.

This was the 1st Truffaut flick I’ve ever seen and this was the 1st feature flick he ever directed. Let me tell you, this Frenchy can make a movie!

This one is basically an autobiography of Truffaut’s adolescence. Leaud plays Antoine, a kid around 12 years of age who lives with his mom (Maurier) and stepdad (both are total assholes) in a run down apartment in Paris. He’s an average kid who gets into regular mischief but gets caught too often. He’s just trying to find his way through childhood but his parents and his strict teacher just don’t like him very much, through no fault of his own.

All of this leads to him running away from home, getting arrested and getting sent to a juvenile reform academy that he eventually escapes from, leading up to an emotional and iconic ending.

Why is this film so good? Because it has every single ingredient of a good film. Acting, visuals, pacing, editing, characters, sound, (except the music…I didn’t really like the music), art-form, story, everything.

My favorite thing with this flick is that it’s about kids. I love kid actors and this one makes the most of it. There’s a scene where the camera is focused on the reaction of a bunch of 4 and 5 year olds watching a puppet show that may be one of my favorite scenes of all time.

After seeing this, I might have to do an entire series of Truffaut flicks. 5 Escargots for The 400 Blows . Tonight’s movie will be Bang Gang. You

French Flicks With Billy Disaster #9

Last night’s movie was Bang Gang: A Modern Love Story starring Marilyn Lima and Daisy Broom. Directed by Eva Husson. (Spoilers)

Have you seen Larry Clark’s 1995 film “Kids”? It’s a super creepy flick about adolescent sex and it is designed to be shocking. It certainly shocked me when I saw it when it came out in theaters. This film, “Bang Gang” isn’t quite as as shocking as the characters were in their late teens (thank god the actors were over 18 when they filmed this). This movie kinda reminded me “Kids”except that the characters are around 16 and not 12. And it’s all in French.

This one is about a group of high school students from well-to-do families who are coming of age with the usual mix of drugs and sex. There are these two girls, George the blonde, and Laetitia the brunette. They are best friends and pretty normal. Problem is, There’s this asshole rich boy named Alex who bones George and then later (through some fucked up manipulation) bones Laetitia as well, taking her virginity. This obviously becomes a problem between George and Laetitia.

The reason this flick is called Bang Gang is because, in addition to banging George and Laetitia, he also takes advantage of his parents being gone from the house for days at a time by throwing orgie parties for his high school homies. Everyone is having such a blast that they create a social network site to post all of their videos of them getting their freak on. Predictably , this idea backfires on them as well as them also ending up with std’s and unwanted pregnancies.

As much as all of this sounds like a cheap, teen sex comedy, it’s actually a stylish and artistic take on a coming of age flick. I’m sure that it did well at film festivals. 3 Escargots for for Bang Gang: A Modern Love Story 🐌🐌🐌. Tonight’s movie will be The Grand Illusion. ♥️You

French Flicks With Billy Disaster #10

Last night’s movie was La Grande Illusion (1937) starring Pierre Fresnay and Jean Gabin. Directed by Jean Renoir.

2 French pilots are shot down during WWI by a German flying ace named Rauffenstein (Eric von Strohmein), then captured and taken to a prison camp.

The captured pilots are Captain de Boeldieu (Fresnay), the aristocrat, and Lieutenant Marechal (Gabin), the working class stiff. At the POW camp, they are united with Rauffenstein who befriends Boeldieu because they are both aristocrats with some mutual friends, setting up an important premise of the story regarding European class structure.

Another important premise is the idea of a gentlemanly war, particularly among officers. Not only were the prisoners not tortured, they actually had a damn good time. Eating great food from parcels that were sent by family etc., drinking, partying, and even putting on theatre productions. I don’t see why anyone would want to escape.

Even after 85 years, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a flick quite like this one. It is considered one of the greatest films ever made. With my naive (but growing) knowledge of film, much of what made it so great was lost on me, but I’ll give it a good rating so nobody gets mad at me:). 4

Escargots for La Grande Illusion 🐌🐌🐌🐌. Tonight’s movie will be The Mother and the

Whore. ♥️You.


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