Week 27


P and P

Pride and Prejudice- I think my mom has watched this movie more than any other. During the time I borrowed it she became temporarily angry because she thought she’d misplaced it and I’m not convinced she wasn’t actually mad at me for having borrowed it too long. I understand her affinity. Not for this movie in particular but for specific movies. I’ve watched Fight Club well over 200 times and like Fight Club not everyone will see it the same way. Pride is a beloved novel/movie and to this day it is still extremely popular. I don’t really get why as I was consistently thrown by its insistence on speaking about class while not showing a very wide spectrum of it. I’m supposed to believe that Knightley’s Elizabeth Bennet is so poor as to be looked down upon but they make a point to show you that housekeepers work for the Bennets. Technically, as “landed gentry” the Bennets were upper class, but not Thousandaires like the Bingleys so I’m supposed to feel sorry or see Darcy as lowering himself. I just didn’t get it. It could’ve used an underground fight ring for starts.

One Good Thing: Costumes are killing it.

Watch Instead: Fight Club. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

C5 A6


P and P and Z

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies- I had to watch this directly after P&P. It started the whole literary (and unnecessary) remix era with titles like Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and Android Karenina.  I’m sorry but I have to say that I am probably the target audience for this genre. It takes things I don’t care about (romance, aristocracy, British history) and adds things I do like (zombies, martial arts, fictional British History) to make it palatable. It’s not great by any means, but watching the original directly before allowed such direct comparison that I actually learned something about myself which is that I’m basically just a dude.

One Good Thing: Zombies are killing it.

Watch Instead: Pride and Prejudice

C6 A5


What ever happened to baby jane

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane- I had watched a little bit of the show Feud before finally digging into this and I found it nice to have that context of craziness to be happening in the background. Former child star becomes has-been who takes care of her sister (a current star) who was in an accident with suspicious circumstances. Bette Davis is destroying almost every single scene here and it makes what could be perceived as an early Lifetime Channel movie an exciting drama.

C8 A7


My life as a zucchini

My Life as a Zucchini– As a stencil artist, I will often ascribe value to a work based on the sheer volume of effort it takes to make. It goes beyond creativity into obsessive compulsivity and it can be tough to focus on what makes art enjoyable and not a mind numbing task. For that reason, claymation and its different forms will always get more credit from me than the average film.  If Zucchini had real life actors, I may have had less affection for it. As a stop motion film, each scene was a small wonder with memorable characters and good voice work if little conflict.

C7 A6


Zoolander 2

Zoolander 2- I’m not sure why this was made. Money, maybe. Love for the characters, possibly. Like Anchorman, the love that evolved for Zoolander was not immediate but it simmered until it became uber-quotable and a repeat watcher. Sequels are hard to do and even harder to make better than the first go round, especially in comedies. You’re not just referencing the same things, but you’re making the same jokes which means the material is stale. What IS fresh is Kyle Mooney. Now, the rest of the film has bright spots. It’s not all retreads and old jokes, but Mooney is a goddamn epiphany as a millennial fashion designer who is nearing nihilism in his apathy for the world around him. He made this whole movie and he is in it for less than 5 minutes.

One Good Thing: Besides Mooney, I enjoyed the almost unrecognizable Kristin Wiig’s accent.

Watch Instead: Zoolander, Not Super Troopers 2

C4 A6



Mogambo- You can tell the selling point of this was footage of Africa. I think they had the footage and wrote around it, kind of how they did in Museum Hours. It’s done to great effect but gets drowned out by the sound of Clark Gable being a dick to whoever is nearest. They are in the middle of Kenya and after bedding the much younger Ava Gardner (21 years younger) he immediately turns cold towards her. And this is before he even sees Grace Kelly (28 years younger) coming down the literal and metaphorical river. The rest of the movie is some variation of Gardner pining for Clark while Clark tries to convince Kelly to ditch her husband. It’s supposed to play as love triangle but Gable is unlovable here in my eyes.

One Good Thing: The footage of Africa blended with the narrative really well.

Watch Instead: African Queen

C7 A6



The Searchers

The Searchers-This movie is pretty offensive until they try to save face at the verrrrrrrrryy end. I mean at least John Wayne’s character is. Natalie Wood makes an appearance yet again, this time as a girl kidnapped by Native Americans. John Wayne has vowed to find her if only to end her life as it has been tainted by savage Redskins. He’s very adamant about this. If he even glimpses that some injun has rubbed off on her, he will murder her for her own good. The “injun” might just rub off too because the actor playing the lead Native American is Berlin-born Henry Brandon. Really though this movie is extremely beautiful and some poignant stuff going on in it. You just have to get past the racism that is pretty much everywhere in westerns.

C8 A7


Cash Only

Cash Only- I had no idea what to expect here so I couldn’t really have been disappointed I suppose. Down on his luck slumlord gets further down on his luck while an odd assortment of characters orbit around him. Cast seemed like mostly amateurs and they all did really well.

C6 A4


Strangers on a train

Strangers on a Train- It’s always interesting to see the source material for other shows. I’ve heard and seen this referenced a lot so it was good to finally see the original. The dynamic between the two men is fascinating because who you want to root for wavers. Now, I don’t have any qualms about rooting for the bad guy but here he is not just bad. In some ways, he is a victim as well and so charismatic that it’s easy to forget the supposed main character he is trying to partner up with or blackmail. It’s good Hitchcock but at times also felt like a long television episode as opposed to a film. I have trouble distinguishing between the two in older shows because they often used similar looking sets for both.

C8 A6



Brooklyn’s Finest- This film opens up on Vincent D’Onofrio giving a monologue about a precarious criminal situation he was once in and then he dies. I almost turned it off right then. Don’t dangle D’Onofrio in front of me and then yank him away. I gotta spend two more hours without him now? Shit. I think this movie wants you to think that it is happening at two different times until suddenly there’s a character convergence and everything is, and has been, present day. That aside, strong performances from everyone here, interesting story, gritty setting, etc. No complaints. Well, maybe just one. I think I mentioned it. If you show me Vincent D’Onofrio from the get go, he better be in your movie for more than 2 minutes. Top bill that motherfucker or at least give him something to do other than die. Now I gotta watch Gere’s ass. Figuratively speaking.

C7 A6

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