Filmmaker, programmer, critic
|Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution
|James Lebrecht, Nicole Newnham
|Two Cars, One Night
|Me and You and Everyone We Know
|But I'm a Cheerleader
|The Station Agent
|Lana and Lilly Wachowski
|Sorry to Bother You
Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution
This snippet of U.S. disability history is a must-see for all non-disabled people, and a balm for disabled people who rarely see our stories onscreen. A beautiful and funny documentary about the community solidarity and collective action that led to improved disability rights legislation - and an unshakeable movement. Great use of archival footage.
Two Cars, One Night
I first saw this short on a 2003 McSweeney's mail-order Wholphin dvd. It's the reason I learned the name of writer/director Taika Waititi, who filmed it at the pub he used to sit outside of to wait for the adults when he was a kid. Three brilliant non-actor Maori children from the local area give unforgettable performances. Still quoted in my house: "Havin' a good check?"
Me and You and Everyone We Know
A perfect ensemble cast in a perfectly melancholy and delightful film. The late Tracy Wright (as the lonely art gallery director Nancy Herrington) is stunning and hilarious as always ("Email wouldn't even exist if it weren't for AIDS."). Her tender scene with 6 year-old Brandon Ratcliff (as the 'pooping back and forth forever' Robby Swersey) will stay with me forever. Carlie Westerman as ('soup won't be computerized') Sylvie is also a film legend.
But I'm a Cheerleader
This movie is still so right on. A comedy that also hits hard. Twenty-three years later, its sometimes silly but always unflinching take on the horrors and ridiculousness of gender and sexuality conversion therapies still ring true. Natasha Lyonne and Clea DuVall fighting the fascists forever.
This film breaks my heart every time. A rare gem about women's friendship, betrayal and forgiveness and growth, working-class Australians, dysfunctional families, disability and illness, and big dreams. Despite its Abba soundtrack and quirky-cute writing, Toni Collette and Rachel Griffiths give us non-saccharine and at times screen-rocking performances.
The Station Agent
Writer / director Tom McCarthy's low-budget and quickly-shot debut is gorgeous in all the ways. A refreshing focus on community, and friendship between a group of people who seem to have little in common. Peter Dinklage is revolutionary as Finbar McBride; watching him inhabit the lead in a film not 'about' disability (but also *totally* about disability and difference) was like a long sigh of relief - at last, some real representation and not 'inspiration trash' (as Alice Wong would say).
The Wachowskis's debut is a sexy noir gangster thriller. Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon as unlikely lovers screwing over the mob; what's not to love? (except the name Corky haha). Admirable cinematography, and one of the closest things to an excellent portrayal of lesbians in Hollywood at the time.
Sorry to Bother You
I could watch this film again and again. Excellent script. Entertaining with enough weird and politics to make it something unique. Captures the sinister nature of where capitalism and racism meet. Creepy and hilarious, with a fab performance by LaKeith Stanfield as Cassius Green.
A stellar documentary about ME, that moves away from the trope of the lone disabled struggle, and towards how disabled and ill communities come together to improve the ableist conditions society and medicine impose. Also a study in documentation: Jennifer Brea beautifully shows how collectivist and accessible filmmaking can happen.
It's almost 100 years old and still the best thing on disabled culture and community to come out of a Hollywood studio. And that's despite MGM re-cutting the original to be less "offensive" to non-disabled people. Just rewatched it again, it's that exciting to see real disabled people onscreen scaring the normals.
This was really hard because there are so many good films, but also so few larger-budget/known films that feature disabled and queer people. Unrelated/related, I wanted some Marleen Gorris, John Singleton and Dee Rees, but I ran out of space. I also originally voted for Bicycle Thieves because it will always be one of the best films about classism and poverty - but I imagine it will get lots of voters elsewhere.