Southland Tales review 36 of 52.


I had another real hard week coming up with something to write about.

It is week 36 of reviewing the same movie after all.

This week I was supposed to have a couple friends join in on the viewing and give their two cents as guest reviewers. Unfortunately, due to scheduling this will have to happen at a later date.

Fortunately, I was still in a rut, and sure I would've done my best to be present, and sure I would've had a good time, but as always what happened seemed to be what needed to happen.

I’d spent the past two week reacclimating to the unemployed side of this freelance lifestyle.

Going from having every minute of each day planned out for you, and constantly being around people doing what they love, and having fun doing it, to having the freedom to do absolutely nothing is quite rough.

I always have a hard time transitioning back and forth.


Upon returning to the state of being between gigs I usually take advantage of the freedom to sleep whenever I want.

Boy do I love sleep, that great escape from conscious thought.

No doubts about the future, no regrets about the past, and if these issues do get expressed in dreams it feels effortless and completely out of your control. You get to just ride it out and wake with only the disappointment being that you are unable to sleep all the way up to the resolve.

Then by the time you think about this disappointment, all of your clear memories of the events that took place are gone. 

The first couple days of this is always awesome.

Feeling bored, have a drink and go to sleep.

Feeling like crap, have some Nyquil and go to sleep.

Feeling lonely, have a bowl and go to sleep.

Everything feels fine when you’re asleep.


Then it gets harder and harder to go to sleep and you’re stuck dealing with the real world.

This is what writer’s block feels like to me.

If I don’t have a story that I’m trying to work through in my head, I feel completely useless, especially when I am in between gigs doing nothing but killing time.

I’ve grown used to this pattern and though I hate it, I live with it and deal with it on my own, but this year I happen to be writing a weekly post that is partially about a movie that I’m watching over and over again, and partially about my life.

I’m fine with the weeks that seem rushed because I am busy and just don’t have the time, but last week’s review was rushed purely out of me moping around. I even really liked the movie Domino, that I watched as part of another Richard Kelly movie marathon, but couldn’t be bothered to write a review that I was proud of. I mean I was okay with it, but I know that I could have done more. I just didn’t have it in me.

I spent this week trying to force myself to get over whatever it is that’s bothering me.

Sunday night I started to feel a little better, I shared the fact that I was depressed with some friends and let them know that I’m working on it, sometimes just putting it out there is enough to start the climbing out of one’s rut.

The healing process seemed to start and I’m still working on it.

The fun part about being bi-polar is that you know every time you climb out, you’re eventually going to fall back in, but you also know you’re not stuck there when you are down. You learn it's okay not to have it figured out and sometimes you just need to crack.


So I started to climb.

On Sunday night I started to write another feature. This one starts out a slow moving indie film, then transitions into an action film, then turns into a drama following the victims of the collateral damage caused by all the action, somehow the script then turns into a Being John Malkovich type script, only instead of John Malkovich it features Flo from the Progressive Insurance commercials.


This is what happens when I just let my mind go and do what it pleases. I’m 17 pages in and have no idea where I’m going, but I have reason again.

I spent Monday drying out as I continued to strategize my escape.

It was a peaceful, sober day, but I still had to fit in this week’s viewing of Southland Tales and figure out what to write about it.

No matter what, I’m going to finish this project so and 11:30 in the pm I lied down on my futon and fired up Southland Tales for the 36th time.

Though I was feeling better I was too stuck in my head to fully enjoy the movie, but I’ve seen it so many times, what's left to enjoy? (Okay, admittedly I’m not fully out of this rut.)

There I lied staring at the TV screen.

Even though I had the sound up, every line in this movie is so familiar to me that it almost seemed silent when battling the thoughts that were going through my head.

As I sit here writing about this moment in time I see it playing out like a montage in a movie I would write where the character is bothered, trying to get to sleep while watching this movie. The movie plays out in a blur, clearing up only to allow the utterance of the key lines that always seem to stand out to me. Then it goes back to a blur as it takes only minutes for the entire two hours and twenty five minute film to play out, then the silence of sleep, sober healthy sleep.

Hopefully this is another upswing in the roller coaster that is my moods.

We’ll see next week?

Hope to see you there :) 


Matt Bunker

I started out with a goal of becoming a paid screenwriter. I had no interest in any other aspect of filmmaking. I received and scholarship to The Vancouver Film School's Writing for Film and Television program where I graduated in 2005. I fell in love with being on set during my first non-school produced short, . I loved being around all the creative people, seeing people having fun while working. The whole liking your job was a new world to me, so I decided to give it a shot. I volunteered for any project I could, doing what ever was needed. The set was my Film School this time. While working as a PA on a feature I was informed that the DP wanted the three tallest PAs to help out in the grip and electric department. That is when I found the department that felt like the best fit for me while I continued to write.