i hope someone will chime in with an erudite reading of badlands in the context of terrence malick’s whole production as a writer and as a director, or with some cool comments on its straddling different genres (the western, the psychopathic killer genre, the dissaffected youth genre, etc. — though, of course, these are genres that are often superimposed). i saw it two nights ago for the first time and i was most impressed. what a film. it would be cool to view this in our summer club, except the summer is almost over, if not astronomically, at least from the point of view of our employment (sigh). anyway, if you think this would be a good selection, read no further, otherwise, click here: Continue reading badlands

miami vice

saw this yesterday with high expectations, because the miami herald gave it a resounding review, and one imagines the miami herald should know. but the miami herald, to which we are constantly cancelling our subscription in disgust and resuming it in desperation, knows nothing, least of all whether a movie allegedly about miami has anything at all to do with, er, miami. Continue reading miami vice

Mean Motherphilosophicking Tough Guys

Okay, in preparation for Michael’s contribution to the discussions, I re-watched Le Samourai. As it finished, I found myself still all revved up, so I stuck in Seijun Suzuki’s Youth of the Beast, which I’d never seen. It rocks. And now I’m in a mood that may lead me to see Mann’s Vice this afternoon.

The mood? Anomitastic. Nihilicentious. Aggressubilant. Without stepping all over Michael’s jump-start on Melville’s film, some quick thoughts on these flicks. Continue reading Mean Motherphilosophicking Tough Guys

You, Me, Dupree and the Dan

Word is that Donald Fagen and Walter Becker have posted on their website an open letter to Luke Wilson, in which they demand a public apology from his brother for stealing the title character from their song “Cousin Dupree.” When I first heard about this, I thought “oh my, aren’t these guys taking themslves a little too seriosuly?” But then I read the letter. Continue reading You, Me, Dupree and the Dan

lucky louie

sunhee turned me on to this no-frills, stripped-down comedy on hbo and i spent the last two days catching up on the 6 episodes shown so far. this is from louis c.k, a writer on letterman, conan and the chris rock show–and also the writer of the chris rock spin-off, and the greatest film ever made, pootie tang. it is very, very good. very simple premise and setup: working class couple in shitty apartment with young daughter work out gender, marriage and adulthood issues. friends, co-workers and neighbours show up every once in a while. the writing is very good, and the performances, especially by the supporting cast, are perfect. well, c.k is the weak link in the acting department but it doesn’t really hurt the show, which while “real” in many ways–their apartment, their possessions, their milieu, everything fits their circumstances–it is not really after realism in the delivery. the show is quite theatrical and stagey, and the diy feel of the sets and the hyper-articulate dialog both nail the class context and highlight the artifice. that said, there’s a certain irony about a working class comedy about a couple not always making it from check to check airing on hbo.
Continue reading lucky louie

Bank Dick (1940) W.C. Fields

I feel like I’ve not written anything about any movies I’ve seen lately, so I’ll type briefly about this one. I had never actually watched a whole WC Fields film before, and while the caricature of Fields is for the most part backed up by the film, it was much better than I expected.

The jokes tend to be quite cruel, with a nice emphasis on drinking and smoking; all right up my alley for humor, but I was surprised with what they got away with in a mainstream film. Maybe Fields could get away with more b/c of his stature? At one point early on, Fields’ daughter throws a bottle at him, hitting him in the back of the head as he is leaving the house. He groans, rubs his head and leaves. Then a few seconds later he opens the door with a huge potted plant and rears back to throw it across the room and crush the girl. His wife yells at him, and he holds off throwing it, but just barely. Continue reading Bank Dick (1940) W.C. Fields


wow. no one has mentioned transamerica once on this site. amazing. i wonder why that is. i mean, this is a film that received some pretty strong love. at the same time, it’s bad, bad trash, so maybe that’s why. i just watched it, and i had to squirm all the way through. so i’d really like to know what you guys think of it, if anyone watched it, and, above all, how the trans community felt about this very coarse representation of a mtf pre-op transexual who finds herself grappling for the first time in her life with the joys of parenthood just a week before the surgery. Continue reading transamerica

chumscrubbers, teenage worlds

Worst film of the year: The Chumscrubbers. I cannot even begin to describe how bad this movie is (and what a cast)

not quite sure why you feel this way, jeff. this is not, you’re right, a *good* movie — it’s badly written, acted, and directed, with a lot of stiffness and contrivedness, in spite of the stellar cast… it can even get a bad performance out of glenn close, and an awful one out of ralph fiennes — but it does something that i thought was interesting, namely show the teenage world as an impossibly difficult one, difficult well beyond the reach of adults. so i thought the adults came off as so awful not because they were really that awful, but because they were inexplicably selfish, self-involved, and idiotic in the eyes of the kids. thanks to jeff’s recommendation of allison bechdel’s fun home i have been thinking a lot about the way i felt when i was a teenager or thereabouts, and i have to say that this film resonated with me — the way in which it shows the terrible seriousness and complexity of teens’ lives, and the adults’ complete inability to get it. but also, conversely, the way in which teens perceive adults to be so awful, when in fact they *might* not be…
Continue reading chumscrubbers, teenage worlds