19 June 2016

In Movie Lines (with Rocky Mountains, Dudes that Dance, old warships...and Links)

What I've Been Watching
June 12th - 18th, 2016

Well, I'm officially back! Back to watching movies. Back to the blog. Back to the Summer Life of a teacher. It's the shit. I ain't gonna lie. Be jealous of me...but only for June and July. You probably don't want any part of what I do August thru May (haha!).

Anyway, I've already been to three Major League Baseball games (two in Atlanta, one in Denver). Speaking of Denver, a few friends, my wife and I spent a week there visiting my sister. We went to two My Morning Jacket shows, played bar trivia, saw the Garden of the Gods, went to a Rockies game, drank....a lot...too much, ate the best biscuit not made in the South, and grilled not one but two complete meals on Memorial Day. That was the end of May.

In June, I came to the actual realization that Donald Trump is the Republican candidate for President, and it makes me want to leave the country. He won't win, but I don't even want to live in a country where he's actually one of the choices. Anyway, he is superb fodder for comedy and has made his way into every conversation with friends over the last month. I've yet to talk to anyone I know that actually thinks he's a good candidate. It's looking good for Hillary. I guess she'll have to do.

Speaking of Donald Trump...he can't even do Twitter right.

And as far as hate and fear mongers are concerned. How about this fucking jackass from my home state of Tennessee!? State Rep. Andy Holt hosts a fundraiser, offering a free AR-15 assault rifle as a door prize. When he gets shit about it, he tells the press that instead of just one, he's giving away two. This is the same weapon a psychopath used to murder 50 people just days before in Orlando.

Lord, help us.

As far as movies go...

...I got back to it, as I said. I caught up with every Jeff Nichols film. I finally went to a movie at the theater...two in fact, The Nice Guys and The Lobster. Both solid. I watched a couple classics, one my May Blind Spot (which I'm still gonna post, even though June has nearly passed). And I'll be doing a June Blind Spot as well...Fellini's 8 1/2.

As for this past week...


The Sandlot
dir. David Mickey Evans, 1993

A heady trip on nostalgia, this film is one of the best of the collective movie memory of my generation. It is just so well-made, particularly in its writing, the way it allows these kids to behave like kids. I wonder....where are the good live-action kid adventures these days? This is my Goonies, and it inspired me to start a new post series set to drop tomorrow.

Tin Cup
dir. Ron Shelton, 1996

In honor of the U.S. Open this weekend, I decided to watch Kevin Costner at Pinehurst No. 2, after Fox's Friday coverage ended. I so used to love this movie. Its dialogue is smart and witty. It totally understands the game of golf. But it is just so dated, visually boring, and the soundtrack is for absolute shit. The song choices are almost embarrassing. Kevin Costner though...


Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
dir. Peter Weir, 2003

Peter Weir knows how to movie. This thing is a masterpiece of cinematography, film and sound editing. Finally caught this one after a recommendation from Fisti (like over a year ago now). Plus, I have recently gotten into filling in my gaps in Peter Weir and Russell Crowe. Crowe's performance is as commanding as the title suggests. Paul Bettany is great as well as the ship's resident surgeon and right hand to Crowe's Captain Aubrey. The plot of this movie, as simple as it is, gets bogged down in some of the action though. At one point, I failed to even know who our boys were fighting. No matter. It's exciting as hell to watch.

The Witch
dir. Robert Eggers, 2016

I don't know what I expected, but I certainly got more. This movie is dark and twisted and terrifying and a perfect period piece. I love the slow burn, the meticulously researched dialogue, the shock and awe of the ending. Probably my second favorite film of the year so far. My review is up.

dir. Duncan Jones, 2009

My best friend had been recommending this flick to me for years now to the point where he finally just bought it for me for Christmas last year. And five months later, I finally watched it. It's good. It's one of the more original ideas for a sci-fi film, and it serves as proof that Sam Rockwell is one of the finest actors out there. Severely underrated that guy.

Singin' in the Rain
dir. Stanley Donen and Gene Kelley, 1952

This damn movie! My May Blind Spot...that I watched two days ago. I waited way too long, yet I feel like I've already seen it a hundred times. It makes me want to proudly declare, "I LOVE MUSICALS!" This in spite of the fact that uttering that phrase counts as a strike against my man card. I just don't care. Debbie Reynolds is a sight to see, Gene Kelley is the boss of all bosses, and Donald O'Connor's "Make 'em Laugh" bit...just everything. It's the type of pure happiness only a movie can provide.


M. Brown and Khalid reviewed the new comedy Popstar: Never Stop Popping.

Sonia reviewed the latest James Bond film Spectre. (I disagree with her...)

Brittany reviewed The Lobster, my favorite of the year so far.

Sati has plenty to say about Game of Thrones, as usual, and it's so much fun to read.

Allie finally saw Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom.

Fisti awarded the year 1983, a decidedly weak year for great movies. 


  1. I Rewatched Master and Commander and am still unsure whom He was fighting but it didn't matter. I thought so much was great including the horrible way they got rid of limbs...poor kid. So you finally saw Singing in The Rain! I love this film because of the superb dancing, acting and plot! So much of what happened in the film actually was the case for silent films. They did have to hide the Mike and it would pick up the heart beats of the actors. The poor cameraman and director were in those sweat boxes in the early part of filming. The fancy suit Kelly wore when doing the scenes with Jean Hagen was actually a suit Rudolph Valentino wore In One of his films. It's just brilliant.

    1. Oh, that amputation scene is powerful. As for Singin in the Rain...It really is a brilliant film. So glad I finally got to see it.

  2. Welcome back! I'm still trying to pluck up the courage to watch The Witch, I haven't read a single negative review but I'm such a wimp!
    Thanks for the link :)
    - Allie

  3. Moon is kind of amazing. I especially loved Kevin Spacey as the robot voice.

    The Witch.... GAH IT'S SO GOOD! And The Lobster is EVEN BETTER. Far and away the best movie of the year so far.

    Singin' In The Rain, though... I'll save more for the Blind Spot post, but suffice it to say, whether we're talking "Favorite" or "Best", it is my #1 movie. It's also the movie that got me into movies and into dancing, so it's a film of great personal significance as well. SO GLAD you loved it! And, in the spirit of Pride Month, I say to you: Wear your love of musicals with pride! Musicals are WONDERFUL!

    1. Yeah. Spacey as the voice was money.

      We are right together as far as favorites of 2016 are concerned. The future's looking bright.

      My Pride is reaffirmed, brother. Musicals are awesome, and I'm not ashamed of it.

  4. Welcome back, man! It's been somewhat slow movie-wise for me as well, considering that I was watching the magnificent series Six Feet Under. Definitely the greatest TV series I've watched. That finale was excellent, especially those last 10 minutes. I don't think I've ever cried so much at a TV finale. I'm talking like, sobbing. It was definitely the greatest end to a TV series ever. (While we're on the subject of TV shows, what should I watch next? I still need to finish The Sopranos, but after that, what should I watch?)

    I haven't been to a ballgame yet, but I'm going to the Tigers game this Sunday vs. the Indians. It was an early birthday present… so… I'm pretty stoked about that.

    And I went to a concert a couple weeks ago. It was Howard Jones, Orchestral Manouevres in the Dark, & the Barenaked Ladies. Excellent. Greatest concert I've ever been to.

    Movie-wise, as I stated before, there hasn't been much that I've seen in the past month. At the movie theater, I've seen Captain America: Civil War (best superhero movie I've seen); Money Monster (one of the best thrillers of the decade); The Nice Guys (excellent); Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (funny, but not as funny as the first); X-Men: Apocalypse (one of the best superhero movies ever); The Lobster (brilliant, but weird); Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (hilarious, but a little over-the-top at some moments), Finding Dory (excellent), & The Conjuring 2 (excellent & extremely terrifying).

    I've watched The Conjuring (excellent & terrifying), Take Shelter (great), Heathers (hilariously dark), Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (brilliant), Drive (terrific), American Splendor (excellent), & Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (excellent & wickedly funny).

    I watched all the Marvel movies (Iron Man through Avengers: Age of Ultron; all were great except for The Incredible Hulk, which was meh, & Avengers: Age of Ultron, which was good, but not as good as The Avengers), & all the X-Men movies (X-Men through X-Men: Days of Future Past; all were great, except for X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which was terrible, especially for the fact that they absolutely screwed Deadpool over, & The Wolverine, which was meh.)

    And I watched 7 Days in Hell. It was hilarious. I haven't laughed that hard at anything in a while.

    And I am currently re-watching American Beauty for the 100th time. Just as excellent as the first time.

    1. And I have also come to the realization that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee for President. It sickens me. As it is right now, if I could vote, I would vote for Hillary, but I would rather vote for Bernie. I really hope Hillary wins. Because I don't want my country to be run by an arrogant, stupid bigot.

      And that sickens me about that Tennessee state representative offering free AR-15s. That sickens & disturbs me. First, that singer, Christina Grimmie, gets shot & killed after her concert in Orlando during a meet & greet. Then, 2 days later, 49 people get shot at a nightclub in Orlando. I really don't know what's happened to the world today, Kevin. I really hope this country institutes better gun laws. We need to have licenses for guns. We need to have a gun registry. We need to have people give valid reasons for purchasing a gun. We need to have people store guns safely. We need to have a period of at least 1 week between the time you purchase a gun & the time you receive your gun. And we need to have strengthened background checks & mental health screenings for possible gun buyers. Don't get me wrong, I'm for responsible gun ownership. But I want to make sure that we don't have another Orlando shooting. Or another Columbine. Or another Sandy Hook. Or another Virginia Tech. There needs to be an end to all these terrible mass shootings, because I don't want to live in a world where it seems there's another mass shooting every day.

    2. Wow man! You're way busier than I am, even with all this free time I have. I can't bring myself to go to superhero movies anymore, though I know they should be seen on huge screens. Just too much noise and destruction for my aging tastes. I love X-Men though. The bad reviews hurt me. I'll still see it.

      7 Days in Hell is so damn funny! And I could watch American Beauty over and over as well. It's a powerhouse of a film on all levels.

      The political craziness in this country is just awful. Fight the good fight, brother!

    3. I've become a big superhero fan as of late. For me, it's more Marvel than DC. (If you're wondering, I haven't seen Batman v. Superman).

      I've been re-watching a lot of my favorite movies lately. Yesterday, I re-watched Good Will Hunting for the 200th time. Tonight, I'm re-watching Clerks & Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

      But I agree with you. I could watch American Beauty over & over as well. In fact, back in April, I watched it every day for a week.

      But let me ask you this. What was Alan Ball's (screenwriter of American Beauty & creator of True Blood & Six Feet Under) masterpiece? American Beauty or Six Feet Under? (I know I'm comparing a movie to a TV show, but it's hard for me to choose what was the better piece of art from Alan Ball. I'm going with Six Feet Under).

    4. And I agree with you completely. The political arena is too crazy for me. It's awful. I just hope it ends up with Trump losing the election.

    5. Since I don't like to compare a movie with a TV show, I can't really make that decision. Both are masterpieces. American Beauty is probably the "better piece of art."

  5. Moon! I love that film so much, it's so underrated. I really enjoyed The Witch as well. Thanks for the link!

    1. It's so cool. I really need to watch it again. It didn't have my full attention. The Witch...badass! No problem!

  6. Good to see you and this feature back. I've seen all of these except The Witch. Both The Sandlot and Tin Cup so long ago that I have only vague memories, Sandlot good ones-Tin Cup not so much.

    I wanted to love Master & Commander more than I did, I'm crazy for nautical stories (I was all in for the full Ioan Gruffudd Horatio Hornblower series and own them) but as you mentioned it got bogged down and by the end I felt it just was dragging on and on. Beautiful looking film though.

    I thought Moon and Sam Rockwell were tremendous. Eerie and effective. I really liked Duncan Jones's follow-up, Source Code, as well.

    I'm saving my comments on Singin' in the Rain for that post but I'm a fan.

    As for what I've been watching well.....the list is too vast to get into here but my classic film quest continues as well as trying to wrap up the filmographies of favorites. I'll mention a few that I particularly enjoyed and would recommend and leave it at that.

    Two excellent noirs:

    Alias Nick Beal-Great cast-Ray Milland, Thomas Mitchell, Audrey Totter, a creepy ominous tone and some wild expressionist sets.
    The Long Wait-A solid cast headed by a young Anthony Quinn but it's the direction that made it stand out.

    Finger Man-A very good and efficient crime drama.

    Flesh and Fury-A boxing drama from the 50's with a twist, the main character is deaf. The film deals with the issues he faced at the time, deafness was still looked at as a sign of mental defection and he's routinely called Dummy throughout the film. Tony Curtis is excellent in the lead as is Jan Sterling as a tramp who uses him. A undiscovered gem.

    Diary of a Lost Girl-This was the last of the silents that Louise Brooks made with Pabst that included Pandora's Box. A fascinating look at pre-WWII Germany and Brooks last substantial part.

    I Heard the Owl Call My Name-This is a Canadian production of the book. A quiet meditative film with a wonderful performance by Tom Courtenay.

    Speaking of Courtenay I finally saw 45 Years. The movie itself was good but Charlotte Rampling was simply astounding! I don't understand how she didn't win the Oscar over Brie Larson-who was fine but nowhere near this level of greatness.

    I've seen heaps of films but haven't had much luck in completing anybody's filmography, that is until yesterday when I finally tracked down Anne of the Indies starring Jean Peters (she was a mid-range star in the 50's probably best known for Pick-up on South Street who retired when she married Howard Hughes). The picture was colorful nonsense purportedly about Anne Bonny (here called Anne Providence) a notorious pirate in league with Blackbeard and that lot but with 50's sensibilities tacked on. "Poor Anne would give up that nasty pirate business if she just meet a good man!" and that sort of nonsense but it was entertaining.

    1. If you can handle some strong suspense and violence, then I fully recommend The Witch. It is, if nothing else, a flawless period piece to admire. So glad to hear of your love for The Sandlot and Moon. Master and Commander seemed overly focused on being great looking and the story got lost. Still...so exciting to watch. Looking forward to your comments on Singin' in the Rain.

      Love that your great quest is going strong! Flesh and Fury, especially, sounds like something I would love. I like the Brie Larson win. It's a courageous sort of role and she nailed it. Rampling is an easy 2nd, maybe a tie for me there though. The final scene of that movie is beyond anything I saw last year as far as acting is concerned.

      Thanks for stopping by, man! Good to be back.

  7. Thanks so much for the link! Glad you liked The Witch, one of my favorites of the year so far

  8. Thanks for the link man. Glad you finally saw Moon. Its one f the most inventive Sci-fi films to come out in years. LOVE Rockwell's performance in it.