Week 18


Rebel Without a Cause- If I had never seen this, I wouldn’t know that the iconic The Room line “You’re tearing me apart!” is actually from Rebel. I always thought James Dean was more of a hooligan in this movie, but I think I was confusing him and Brando from The Wild One. He’s kind of just sad that his dad is subservient to his mother and therefore he has to adopt a manly façade. That’s my dime store take on it anyway. The best dialogue not in The Room is when Buzz and Jim (Dean) are looking over the cliff that they are about to race towards:

Buzz: This is the edge. That’s the end.
Jim: Yeah. It certainly is.
Buzz: You know something? I like you. You know that?
Jim: Why do we do this?
Buzz: You gotta do something, now don’t you?

R.I.P Buzz.

C8 A7



Unforgivable blackness

Unbearable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson- When you first start watching this and they give the “what-you’re-about-to-watch” that some documentaries do, it seems abundantly clear that Johnson is going to get killed in some racist fashion. The “and Fall” in the title does not help matters much. I’m tempted not to spoil this because the journey of getting to know this man was so rewarding for me. Tragic ending or no, the tone of this movie is joyful defiance and I enjoyed that journey.

C8 A8


gods of egypt

Gods of Egypt- I had to see it. It was there, just taunting me. It’s like that Exodus movie in its whitewashing capabilities but injected with a syringe full of Four Loko CGI. It’s over the top weird and nonsensical and to be honest I kinda fucking dug it. You got giant Jaime Lannister tromping around Egypt trying to get back at Uncle Set for killing his dad (shout-out to Brian Brown!) and enslaving his girlfriend. Also, their blood is gold and they can transform into animals. Bonkers. Watch it.

C6 A6



Videodrome-Cronenberg is so underrated.  I have such a high regard for practical effects that whatever flaws I found in the plot I don’t even remember. It’s all about  the handgun hand gun. Or gun hand, I don’t know. When I was younger, I watched Existenz and maybe it was late 90s but I think I just wasn’t mature enough in films to track what was happening. It’s also possible that Existenz is not good (I recently watched the trailer). Videodrome is one long strange descent that no one in the film really pushes back against. It all just happens in a wondrous and gross fashion.

C8 A5

UPDATE: This is the only movie (so far) that I’ve re-watched this year and I only did so because it was being released in our local independent theater. I thought I may glean a lot more out of a second viewing but I was really just able to concentrate on the details more. There were a few plot elements that I grasped better but that was about it. Still love it even if James Woods is a forever creep. At this point, amazingly, no one has come forward to permanently ruin his career.



Downfall- The fall of Berlin from the Nazi’s POV. Refreshing take on the situation and hard not to root for some of them. Yes, I know they’re Nazis. Roger Ebert said movies are empathy machines and this one made me not want some of the kids to die in a bunker with Uncle Hitler. Sorry. Up to this point I never really understood the layout of the famous bunker nor did I comprehend how many people were there to die.  Also, Alexandra Maria Lara bonus. On a different note, I recently played the new Wolfenstein and Wolfenstein II. I spent so much time in there  I’m vaguely concerned I’ve conflated real history with alternate history. The Nazis do not have a base on Venus correct?

C8 A6


The untouchables

The Untouchables- DePalma makes violence fun and artistic. There’s a scene in this movie where Ness and his crew fight gangsters on horses I have no idea why. It’s like they thought there should be a little Western in our prohibition era Chicagoland drama. This is fun dumb action with Costner really dumbing it up for everyone. He is alternately the best and the worst sometimes. I think it’s that smile.

C7 A7


Elvis and Nixon

Elvis&Nixon- I didn’t think it was possible but I forgot that I was watching Michael Shannon as Elvis after some time. I suppose this is partly due to Shannon’s immense acting ability but also Elvis’ flat out weird life and characteristics. This whole story is strange and given that I’d recently watched a documentary about the Nixon tapes it made it all the more surreal. Spacey gets the prototypical Nixon grumble down and I couldn’t help but laugh in the scenes showing Elvis’ immense popularity in contrast to the President’s. Probably worth it for the final conversation, but the lead up is slow and the side story creates unnecessary and boring tension. Is boring tension possible? I guess it is now.

C7 A6


Bunny Lake

Bunny Lake is Missing- There have been a handful of “Woman has a kid that we can see, but later we question her sanity when the kid disappears then later question the people around her knowing the missing kid is a red herring for something bigger.” (Examples: Flight Plan, The Forgotten)  Bunny Lake might be the first one. If you didn’t know what was going on, you might enjoy it but going in you see the resolution soon and makes the viewing less enjoyable.

C6 A4


the 24 hour war

The 24 Hour War- I am not a car guy which makes me wonder why I like car documentaries. Ignorance I imagine, but also that it’s a consistent learning experience. Senna is one of my favorite documentaries, for style but also content. Here, we see a battle of will, ingenuity, and sportsmanship take place at Le Mans in a crux of automotive history. With the inherent danger present at the time of race car driving (fires, crashes, etc.) the drivers are presented like astronauts of the early space program and to great effect.

C8 A8



Birdemic- Trolls 2 is a bad movie given cult status. The Room is a different kind of bad movie with possibly more cult status. This is largely due to underground movements, chance and time. Time is key (the movies need to marinate in the viewer’s consciousness) but Birdemic was given that same status almost immediately. After seeing its poor sound, clunky editing and amateur acting I can only assume this it is through intense irony and not underlying quality that it received such status.

One Good Thing: What passes for VFX is so bad it’s funny but not funny long enough to be good. (See what I mean about time?)

Watch Instead: The Birds

C4 A2


Submit a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s