June 22, 2020
The Director and Actor Lynn Shelton passed away May 16th in Los Angeles at age 54.
Her films are wonderful, a unique blend of improvised acting, uncanny circumstances and graceful, honest, life-affirming denouments. "Humpday", "Touchy Feely" and "Your Sister's Sister" are the films featured here, but her entire filmography is a treasure.
If you can bear it, Marc Maron, her partner for the last year, tells the story of her falling ill on his WTF podcast. His remembrance includes the entirety of an August 2015 appearance she made on WTF, in which she talks vibrantly and candidly about her life and influences.
And the Duplass Brothers produced a moving, socially-distanced video tribute to Lynn Shelton featuring Actor remembrances (including Joshua Leonard from "Humpday" and Emily Blunt and Rosemarie Dewitt from "Your Sister's Sister") and musical performances (including Ben Gibbard, Andrew Bird and Marc Maron) of songs from her films.
Things are heavy out there. I hope the humanity and truth-seeking of the films on this site can be of comfort.
December 27, 2019
Ok, exciting - going to get at least one update here for 2019!
The big news on the Mumblecore front... is that "mumblecore" has been officially added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary! ("mumblecore (noun): A genre of narrative film focusing primarily on the intimate lives of young characters and featuring scenes of ample dialogue and minimal action.").
Thanks to a dialogue I had with a QMU film student writing about "Mumblecore" for her thesis, I'm actually going contrary to the new dictionary definition and defining "mumblecore" as a wave, not a genre.
Why a Wave? As I wrote to her: "(Mumblecore) was a wave because it had a build, crest, crash and dissipation; because it had a flurry of activity that came and left; because the technology - and opportunities afforded by the technology - were novel and exciting for a while before becoming universal and obvious; and because the people involved were so closely networked (personal relationships, working relationships, social relationships, social media relationships, media imposed categorization), that their dialogue gave the wave momentum before the expansion of their individual careers scattered them apart."
If you're a Frank V. Ross fan, Brett Wright over at Split Tooth Media has been doing a really incredible essay and interview series, taking a deep dive in to the Ross filmography. Majorly recommended - some of the most candid and insightful film criticism/history I've encountered about any filmmaker.
And the Godfather of Mumblecore Critics, Richard Brody, has his "Best Movies of 2019" list out for the New Yorker - so many films to see!
Here's a grab-bag of what Mumblecore-relevant Directors are up to: Kentucker Audley is co-directing his Sylvio follow up, a movie called "Strawberry Mansion"; Joe Swanberg co-wrote (with Dave Franco) Dave's directorial debut "The Rental", due in 2020, and has been directing a few episodes of the Netflix series "Soundtrack"; Zach Weintraub is featured in the upcoming indie film "A Dim Valley"; Lawrence Michael Levine has a new film set to premiere at Sundance 2020 called "Black Bear"; and Sophia Takal directed a revamp of the 1974 slasher "Black Christmas" in theatres now. Will "mumblegore" make the Merriam in 2020?
Thanks, as always, for visiting the site!
Have an awesome New Year!
October 20, 2018
I hope you are all enjoying this site. I really appreciate the notes and film recommendations people have sent in. I'm considering adding a "comment/disqus" section to each film page - it seems like that might help foster some community. So bear with me -- just been so busy!
One really cool bit of news is that a film enthusiast in Germany named David Lensing has translated much of the "History" section of this site in to German for his site "Blog vom Bleiben". Here's Part 1 (through 2005/SXSW); Part 2 (through 2007/The New Talkies); and Part 3 (through 2010/"Tiny Furniture"). Thanks to David for reaching out! He also recommended two really terrific "German Mumblecore" films worth checking out: "Heavy Girls" (2012) and "Love Steaks" (2013).
In other Mumblecore-related news: Joe Swanberg's Netflix series "Easy" will have a third-and-final season airing sometime in 2019. Andrew Bujalski's latest film "Support the Girls" (which I was able to catch at the SF Film Festival back in April) has been getting great reviews. I thought it was kind of a mix between "Beeswax" and "Results" - intimate and steeped in the small-business world but also played for knowing laughs - maybe a bit more "Adult Contemporary" than I was expecting. Anyway, he's also the writer for Disney's upcoming remake of "Lady and the Tramp" - ha ha! Just saw that Lynn Shelton's latest film "Outside In" is on Netflix - it stars Edie Falco and Jay Duplass. And "Audrey The Trainwreck" cinematographer David Lowery is on a roll, following up last years unforgettable "A Ghost Story" with a new Robert Redford film "The Old Man & The Gun" - looks fun!
As always: feel free to reach out with any feedback or recommendations of your own. Hope to have more to add soon.
January 27, 2018
Good news for Lawrence Michael Levine and Sophia Takal fans -- their Brooklyn in the aughts group portrait "Gabi On the Roof in July", which is the one film on this site that hasn't been availalbe, is back! You can - and should! - stream it on Vimeo, YouTube, iTunes, Amazon etc.
Congrats to (former) Mumblecore bae Greta Gerwig, whose 2017 film "Lady Bird" had a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes... until a cold-hearted critic named Cole Smithey gave it a rotten tomato - while still managing to proclaim "It's not the mumblecore disaster you'd expect from Greta Gerwig". Hilarious. Anyway, she's nominated for Best Picture and Best Director Oscars this year.
Looking at the 2018 Oscar nominees, I haven't seen any of these films. I did, however, enjoy "Ingrid Goes West", David Lowery's surreal "A Ghost Story", Errol Morris' "Wormwood" on Netflix and, in the right mood and with seatbelt properly fastened, Darren Aronofsky's "Mother!"
Thanks to everyone who has dropped a note about this site or any of the films explored here. There have been a few questions along the lines of "What should I watch/Where should I start?" Of course our tastes are all different and "mumblecore" only loosely unites all of these films. But I think "Open Five", "Drinking Buddies", "Audrey the Trainwreck", "Funny Ha Ha" and "Humpday" are all rewarding introductions.
Of course feel free to reach out with any feedback or recommendations of your own.
Happy New Year!
August 10, 2017
August 3, 2017
While this site is new, most of these films are older -- so here's a quick Director's episode of "Where are they now?":
Josh Bernhard: created the web series "Pioneer One" (synopsis: "A Soviet cosmonaut falls to Earth, claiming to have been born on Mars. He brings with him a dose of Cold War intrigue into the paranoid atmosphere of the War of Terror. (With a dash of Bradbury.)") and the short-film "Control" ("an intense mission control room drama") - both streaming on Vimeo.
Andrew Bujalski: Following up his (highly recommended) Guy Pearce fitness romp "Results", Bujalski is in post-production on his new film "Support the Girls", starring Regina Hall and Haley Lu Richardson. Shot in Austin, the plot:
"centers on Lisa Conroy (Hall) who may not love managing the restaurant Double Whammies, but she loves her employees more than anything, not only Danyelle (McHale), and Maci (Richardson) her closest friends, but also her extended family. Unfortunately, the cheap, curmudgeonly owner Ben Cubby (Le Gros) doesn't care nearly as much, and confronts Lisa when he learns that she's using the restaurant to raise money for Shaina (Kramer), an employee in legal trouble related to an abusive boyfriend. To get even, the girls decide to sabotage the restaurant on the night of a major mixed martial arts fight."
Ben Chace: directed the 2015 film "Sin Alas", about a fictional Cuban writer, which found Chace "interpreting and reimagining concepts from Lezama Lima and Borges within the context of modern Cuban history".
Sam Fleischner: directed the 2013 film "Stand Clear of the Closing Doors", about "an autistic youth named Ricky who, after a particularly difficult day at school, escapes into the (New York City) subways." Also Produced and shot the 2016 comedy "Donald Cried" and did music videos for Panda Bear and MGMT.
Jay Duplass: with brother Mark Duplass, he co-directed the features "Baghead", "Cyrus", and "Jeff, Who Lives At Home" and created the HBO Series "Togetherness" and "Room 104". He also stars as Josh Pfefferman in the show "Transparent" and Duncan in "The Mindy Project".
Lawrence Michael Levine: wrote and directed 2014's comic-film-noir "Wild Canaries", starring wife Sophia Takal and has been acting in a bunch of cool indies: "Richard's Wedding", "Detonator", "Devil Town" and Takal's awesome 2016 feature "Always Shine".
Lynn Shelton: Directed 2014's "Laggies" (starring Keira Knightley, Chloe Grace Moretz and Sam Rockwell) before turning to TV, directing episodes of "New Girl", "The Mindy Project", "Fresh Off the Boat", and, most recently, Hulu's "Causal" and Netflix's "GLOW".
Joe Swanberg: after making 2015's L.A.-ensemble stoner-mystery "Digging For Fire", starring Jake Johnson and Rosemarie Dewitt he linked up with Netflix for the Chicago relationship series "Easy" and another Jake Johnson feature, 2017's "Win It All", both available on Netflix instant. He's currently at work on Season 2 of "Easy".
Zach Weintraub: directed the 2015 film "Slackjaw" and acted in some really great indies: Nandan Rao's prog-pieces "Hawaiian Punch" and "The Men of Dodge City" (and it's "remix" "The Other Men of Dodge City") - also starring Sophia Takal - and Ian Clark's fantastic "A Morning Light".
And just a friendly reminder that Zach Weintraub makes cool shit: