Jason Keil

Jason Keil is a writer whose work has been published in the Phoenix New Times, AZCentral.com, Phoenix Magazine, and OnMilwaukee.com. He also co-hosts the podcast What The Fork.

Filtering by Category: Movies

"A Film Buff Approaches 40: Extra Butter On That Popcorn" or "Watching These Movies Will Come In Handy...Someday."

A fellow writer listed their favorite film from each year they were born.

My main criteria for my selection was the movie had to influence or affect me in some way. 

I made some tough calls. How did Out Of Sight, Back To The Future, or High Fidelity not make this list? Why did Trainspotting have to come out the same year as Jerry Maguire? How did my favorite Quentin Tarantino film (Jackie Brown) not make this list when Pulp Fiction did?

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Top 5 Pieces Of Pop Culture Awesomeness-February 2017

For some time, I've wanted to compile a list of pop culture I've consumed that is significant. 
Monthly, I'm going to list the media that has moved me the most. Some might be past their cultural relevance, but they still have affected me or showed me a different point of view.

In no particular order:

John Wick 2
The first John Wick should not have worked, but the film's simple revenge plot created a universe that references European action films sprinkled with innovative action sequences. This sequel manages to double-down on the violence this fanboy craves while enhancing the world that Keanu Reeves' titular assassin inhabits. 

Adam Ant-Kings Of The Wild Frontier Tour-Tuscon, AZ
Adam Ant guitarist Tom Edwards died of suspected heart failure at the age of 41, two weeks before the 80's rocker was scheduled to play in Tucson. With a loss that unexpected and devastating, you would expect any artist to cancel the show or make excuses for a mediocre performance. This was not the case when I walked into the Rialto. Ant performed his breakthrough album Kings Of The Wild Frontier in its entirety with all the strut and bravado I assume he did over 30 years ago.

Bob's Burgers-"Bob Actually"
I don't know how the writers of this animated FOX television show managed to make a diarrhea joke heartwarming, but who can't relate to Tina's adolescent need to make her relationship with her boyfriend Jimmy Pesto, Jr. television perfect. It was doomed to fail from the start of the episode, but as the eldest Belcher says, "Love cannot be stopped."

History Of Wolves by Emily Fridlund
This debut novel is a thriller on the outside. Dig deeper and you will find a meditation on how faith can be used to prey on others. This haunting novel kept me up a few nights. To tell you more would be a disservice.

Hell Or High Water
I just knew in the opening scenes of this film I was going to love it. Snappy dialogue, great acting, and a taut relevant plotline prove that this movie's Best Picture nomination was no fluke. I watched both Hell Or High Water and Manchester By The Sea on the same day in an attempt to take in as many Oscar-nominated films as I could, and was stunned that Kenneth Lonergan's melodrama managed to steal the Best Original Screenplay win away from Taylor Sheridan. The truths that are spoken in Hell Or High Water's last ten minutes should have been enough to secure a win.

Me and Eno and "Some Faraway Beach"

For at least two weeks around the time my mother passed away, I had Brian Eno's "On Some Faraway Beach" stuck in my head. 

It's a simple song. It consists of a single piano riff that continues to build, as if the melody were carrying you to heaven against your will. On the way to the climax, there's the lyric "Given the chance/ I’ll die like a baby/ On some faraway beach." It captured the melancholy I felt at the time. I was sad I had lost the person who brought me into this world, but relieved she was free of the earthly pain she felt throughout her life. 

Before this time, I loved the song because it planted the seed of the ambient musician Eno would become. Now it captures a moment in time that changed my life. 

Then I saw the film "Me and Earl and The Dying Girl" and that time I associate with that song was stolen from me.

It wasn't a blatant attempt at thievery. The director and I obviously shared how the song made us feel, and he used it for a few touching scenes in the film. The movie's title alludes to some depressing subject matter, but it's also a celebration of how film and media can reflect not only our culture, but our lives individually.

Two of the main characters are cinephiles, and they create hilarious tributes to films directed by Werner Herzog, Stanley Kubrick, and David Lynch. When they try to make an original film for the "dying girl" in the title, it proves to be an obsessive enterprise for the novice filmmakers and they struggle to find their creative voices. 

Again, the director took scenes from films I truly love like "A Clockwork Orange," "Blue Velvet," and "Burden of Dreams" and used them for the sake of humor. He steals the feelings of shock, surrealism, and awe I associate with those films and uses them as clever punchlines. 

I have mixed feelings about the storytelling techniques used in "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl." On the one hand, I'm happy that someone who shares a point of view so similar to mine is doing something creative and putting it out into the world. It gives me hope and inspiration. On the other hand, I feel disappointment because I didn't do it first. It feels like it was snatched directly from my head.

With "On Some Faraway Beach," Eno altered the way I viewed music. Through his point of view, I turned a song he created into something meaningful for myself. It's different when someone shares the same creative point of view as you. It makes me feel like I should have been braver in my endeavors. I could have worked harder, been more passionate and confident to put myself out into the world. Eventually the characters in the film finish their movie. I'm still trying to start.

I hope the moment will come when someone will feel that I stole something from their brain. But like the film's main character, I just want to feel passionate enough to run with it.  

Avenge This!

My love for the Marvel Cinematic Universe has reached a fever pitch. My tickets to the Thursday night screening of the Age Of Ultron have been purchased. My Captain America shirt is set aside to proudly show my support for Steve Rodgers. I'm working hard to choose which spoilers I want to know going in and what I want to save for a surprise.

Did I mention I've read only one single comic book since I was eight years old? 

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How a French Film Showed I Lost My Edge

After seeing The Clouds of Sils Maria, I reacted in the same way my parents did whenever I dragged them to art films: shaking my head feeling like I wasted two hours of my time. After 10 years of living in small town Illinois watching the cult horror films and the canon of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I lost my edge and I was frustrated as a result, much like the frustration Juliette Binoche's character feel when she can't get inside the head of her character. 

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The Post "Titanic" Movie Soundtrack


When the soundtrack to Titanic sold over 30 million copies, studio and record executives saw a way to increase their revenue while showcasing new and emerging artists. Here are some of my favorites from 1998-1999. Some capture the feeling of the film they're associated with or represent the adventurous music coming out before the turn of the millennium, and some simply are a jumping off point to dive into an entire genre.

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