The 2007 film NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is a buffet of education. A master class piece of cinema. It’s one of my favorite films of all time. If you haven’t seen it, put it at the top of your list and see it, post haste. Seriously, the very top. I go back to it over and over and reap what knowledge my mind can take in from the Coen’s direction, DEAKINS’ CINEMATOGRAPHY, and of course, the acting. It’s a brilliant film all around. Like a beautiful painting — I keep seeing different tones, different colors, different meanings. It’s a feast. Simple, too. The classic cat and mouse story done perfectly… with a group of Mexican cats thrown into the mix.
And yes, for Roger Deakins, I go ALL CAPS, screaming his and Brent Christy’s name from the rooftops. Mountain tops even.
This was the first Coen brothers film I ever saw. (Their best in my opinion.) And it was the first film I saw after my brother Jordan died. About 4 days after, actually. Thanks to Coach Grimes and a few buddies who took me up to a cabin in North Carolina to get away for a few days after the funeral. I just remember how odd it, how different, and how original it was to me. I didn’t know what to do when I saw it. I didn’t really understand it but I probably couldn’t understand much of anything at the time. Almost 7 years later and many viewings later, I love it so. Granted, it’s not a short film but the nature of it’s healthy, buffet style substance is what I’m aiming at.
If you have seen it, just re-watch the last scene.
That being said, short films are one of my love languages. And with that love, I’ve jotted down some of my favorites, or at least the ones I keep coming back to for more. I’ve gathered these links together as a buffet for you — you like-minded aspiring filmmakers. Watch and be inspired, discouraged, encouraged, and then repent of your lazy excuses for not creating. Then go and aspire even harder. With love, I give you these.
1) THE CANDIDATE - Directed by David Kariak. Written by Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton.
The music, the WRITING, and again, the music.
2) THE PHONE CALL - Directed by Mat Kirkby. Written by James Lucas and Mat Kirkby.
(Sorry this link won’t embed so here’s the link.)
THE PHONE CALL is a horrible, god-awful title if you ask me. Outside of the first couple minutes, the last scene, and of course, the title, it’s nearly perfect. The 20 minute film is directed by Mat Kirkby and it stars Sally Hawkins. Who, like the film is also nearly perfect. She’s so viciously real and radically awkward. She’s human. The love I had for her on screen was similar to my love for Frances McDormand in FARGO. That’s what I appreciate so much about her performance. Her simple, but beautiful humanity. This film would most likely not hold up the way it does without her. This film absolutely wrecked me like no other film ever has. A simple concept/story accompanied by a powerful and beautiful performance by Sally Hawkins. Very few moments in my cinema experience do I get misty-eyed… this film brought the rain. It’s even nominated for a live action short film Oscar this year. I truly hope it wins.
3) ELEFANTE – Written and directed by Pablo Larcuen.
This is such an odd, unique, moving little film. The weirdness attached itself to the heart-breaking story making it into something quite special. Huge fan of this one.
4) REMOVED - Directed by Nathanael Matanick. Written by Christian Matanick.
The music, the pacing, and the lead actress.
5) YARDBIRD - Directed by Michael Spiccia. Written by Julius Avery.
This girl is perfect. There’s not many actors in the industry that hold a presence like she does.
6) SHALLOW – Written and directed by William Bridges.
The writing is brilliant. Within a minute, I knew who this guy was. That’s power. The pacing, the acting, the tension — it’s solid across the board.
Honorable mentions in no particular order.
THIS IS NORMAL - Written and directed by Justin Giddings and Ryan Welsh.
The moment with the sister in the hospital — that’s what made the film for me. Broken. Real. Beautiful.
NOTHING ABOUT NOTHING - Directed by Daniel Levi. Written by Daniel Levi and Justin Cohen.
A fascinating and simple scenario executed well.
THE MAN WHO NEVER CRIED – Written and directed by Bradley Jackson.
A beautiful script written by Bradley Jackson with a beautiful performance from Keir O’ Connell. This film, unlike many who attempt the use of voiceover, nailed it.
SPIDER - Directed by Nash Edgerton. Written by Nash Edgerton and David Michod.
Because Nash Edgerton is a beast.
CARGO - Directed by Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke. Written by Yolanda Ramke.
The love of a father… always a winner.
BONE’YEERD - Written and directed by Tom Salvaggio.
Because Mark Ashworth is so freaking good. And the long shots. I love the long shots. And Mark Ashworth.
LEST WE FORGET - Written and directed by Brandon McCormick.
Also, because Mark Ashworth is so freaking good. This is the film I saw quite a few years back and it was this very film that made me want to work with Mark one day. And a few years later… we did on GRAPE SODA.
THE CUB - Written and directed by Riley Stearns.
Just because it’s so hilariously absurd and original. The originality is oddly refreshing. I think Wes Anderson would laugh proudly.
JERRYCAN – Written and directed by Julius Avery (The same guy who wrote YARDBIRD.)
The raw style of the cinematography captures the intimate, soulful, and real feel of this beautiful short film.
That’s all for now. Feel free to go back for seconds.
Please send me any short films that aren’t on my list. I’ll eat ‘em up — email@example.com