The X-Files, Season 5, Episode 7, “Emily” (1997; d. Kim Manners)
Very intense. Good Lord.
The X-Files, Season 5, Episode 8, “Kitsunegari” (1998; d. Daniel Sackheim)
Ty Olsson as the green security guard. Hi, Benny from Supernatural! And Diana Scarwid! Sequel to “Pusher” in Season 3. Pretty creepy mind-control stuff.
The X-Files, Season 5, Episode 9, “Schizogeny” (1998; d. Ralph Hemecker)
Chad Lindberg. Always good. Of course he’s Ash in Supernatural but I first saw him in The Rookie. And Katherine Isabelle, too! They’re teenagers! Supernatural reunion alert. Evil child psychiatrist with a ponytail.
The X-Files, Season 5, Episode 10, “Chinga” (1998; d. Kim Manners)
Stephen King co-wrote. Holy mackerel! Takes place in Maine. Of course. Loved the teaser. Mulder watching porn in his office. Something’s not quite right about this episode. The tone is off.
The X-Files, Season 5, Episode 11, “Kill Switch” (1998; d. Rob Bowman)
Extremely entertaining. I especially enjoy Scully showing up in his “dream” and Ninja-fighting all the sexy nurses in white.
The X-Files, Season 5, Episode 12, “Bad Blood” (1998; d. Chris Bole)
A very entertaining Rashomon-inspired episode. I laughed out loud at this exchange: “I checked into the Davy Crockett Motel –” “It was the Sam Houston Motor Lodge.” Also: Luke Wilson!
The X-Files, Season 5, Episode 13, “Patient X” (1998; d. Kim Manners)
Veronica Cartwright! Slightly difficult because there are no subtitles on Netflix and there’s a lot of Gulag Archipelago Russkie-speak. Excellent relationship episode: a sort of destabilizing role-reversal.
The X-Files, Season 5, Episode 14, “The Red and the Black” (1998; d. Chris Carter)
It’s a maze and I’m lost in it now.
The X-Files, Season 5, Episode 15, “Travelers” (1998; d. Chris Carter).
Frederic Lane, so excellent in so many films – from Zero Dark Thirty to Ordinary People – not to mention a crucial role in the early seasons of Supernatural – shows up here in a flashback, calling up the whole world of the HUAC and the Communist witch-hunt. It’s a good episode and the period details are very well done.
Iris (2015; d. Albert Maysles).
Maysles’ second-to-last film, a portrait (Maysels-style) of style icon, interior decorator, woman-about-town-with-the-huge-glasses, Iris Apfel. Ted and I went to see it and had a great time. It doesn’t have the profundity of some of his other films (Grey Gardens, Gimme Shelter and his final film – In Transit – which I would pick as one of his best films) – but it was sweet and entertaining. Regina, care to weigh in?? Ha!
The X-Files, Season 5, Episode 16, “Mind’s Eye” (1998; d. Kim Manners)
Lily Taylor! Wonderful! And the kindly doctor who shot himself in the hardware store in Supernatural.
The X-Files, Season 5, Episode 17, “All Souls” (1998; d. Allen Coulter)
Very Supernatural Season 4. Anderson does superb work here.
The X-Files, Season 5, Episode 18, “The Pine Bluff Variant” (1998; d. Rob Bowman)
Bioterrorism threat writ large. Great shot of the movie theatre with all the dead people.
The X-Files, Season 5, Episode 19, “Folie a Deux” (1998; d. Kim Manners)
Written by Vince Gilligan, “Folie a Deux” features some creepy effects involving enormous bug-like creatures. The bond between Scully and Mulder has solidified into something nearly transcendent. Are they the “folie a deux” of the title? It did cross my mind. They are becoming one.
Criminal Minds, Season 1, Episode 1, “Extreme Aggressors” (2005; d. Richard Shepard)
Garth from Supernatural shows up. He’s just a kid! I always got a kick out of this show, because I am a sick individual. Alex and I were watching an episode when I was staying with her out in Los Angeles, and she commented from under her blanket on the other couch: “This show should not be called Criminal Minds. It should be called Women Should Never Leave the House.”
Criminal Minds, Season 1, Episode 2, “Compulsion” (2005; d. Charles Haid)
Mandy Patinkin was the draw for me, originally. His performance is so coiled, so focused. I was bummed when he left the show after one season. Years later, I read an interview with him and he was asked about Criminal Minds. He said he devoted himself to the world of behavioral analysis and serial killer research, and it got to him. He had nightmares. He couldn’t deal with it. He had to leave the show. That’s why his performance was so grounded. It was real for him.
The X-Files, Season 5, Episode 20, “The End” (1998; d. R.W. Goodwin).
Season 5 finale. The chess tournament that opens the episode was masterfully done. The entire episode is disturbing, ending with Mulder’s office in flames.
The X-Files Movie: Fight the Future (1998; d. Rob Bowman)
Part of my marathon watch with Keith. LOVED the movie. They almost kiss. Damn that bee-sting.
The X-Files, Season 6, Episode 1, “The Beginning” (1998; d. Rob Bowman)
Mimi Rogers is excellent in her recurring role. First episode filmed in Los Angeles, and you can perceive a definite shift. Suddenly there are lots of scenes in deserts, beaches, with much sunshine.
The X-Files, Season 6, Episode 2, “Drive” (1998; d. Kim Manners)
Bryan Cranston OWNS this episode.
The X-Files, Season 6, Episode 3, “Triangle” (1998; d. Chris Carter)
This ended up being a favorite episode (thus far). Broken up into three acts, each act (more or less) done in one take. So there’s that fun technical challenge to admire. But I also love the time-warp aspect of it, the tesseract element, as well as the fact that you get to see Scully in a flapper outfit – meaning, you get to see her beautiful body. Her clothing is usually so severe and dark and conservative. So to see her dancing around in a tight red dress, showing all this skin … I was like, “There you are!” Anyway, I loved this one.
The X-Files, Season 6, Episode 4, “Dreamland Part 1” (1998; d. Kim Manners)
I am in love with this two-parter where Mulder, through some problem with the space-time continuum, experiences a body-switch with Michael McKean (who is, not surprisingly, hilarious). Nora Dunn shows up as Mulder’s wife. Hilarious all around.
The X-Files, Season 6, Episode 5, “Dreamland Part 2” (1998; d. Michael Watkins)
Part 2 of the body-switch. There are a couple things here that delight: Mulder having to deal with being a father, and being totally unprepared for it. Having to deal with his furious and upset wife. Doing a mirror-dance with Michael McKean, both of them in their underwear, which has to be seen to be believed. Silly silly silly. I prefer silly.
The X-Files, Season 6, Episode 6, “How the Ghosts Stole Christmas” (1998; d. Chris Carter)
Ed Asner and Lily Tomlin! Awesome!
The X-Files, Season 6, Episode 7, “Terms of Endearment” (1999; d. Rob Bowman)
A Rosemary’s Baby take-off and quite disturbing, especially because they ask you to basically sympathize with the devil. Like the Rolling Stones did.
The X-Files, Season 6, Episode 8, “The Rain King” (1999; d. Kim Manners)
Romantic. Adorable! Love this episode! Top 5, for sure.
The X-Files, Season 6, Episode 9, “S.R. 819” (1999; d. Daniel Sackheim)
Poor Walter Skinner. That disease was totes gross.
The X-Files, Season 6, Episode 10, “Tithonus” (1999; d. Michael Watkins)
Fascinating concept having to do with immortality. Written by Vince Gilligan.
The X-Files, Season 6, Episode 11, “Two Fathers” (1999; d. Kim Manners)
The great Veronica Cartwright re-appears, as does the mythology. The alien invasion is going along as planned until, holy mackerel, a rebel force of aliens arrives, fighting with the already-existing aliens, eliminating the Syndicate and wreaking all kinds of havoc. At least that’s what I THINK happened.
The X-Files, Season 6, Episode 12, “One Son” (1999; d. Rob Bowman)
Part 2 of the episode prior. More great use of Mimi Rogers’ character, as well as The Smoking Man. The conspiratorial feeling is very high. The Syndicate is no more.
Eden (2015; d. Mia Hansen-Love).
I love her work, in general, and this one is extremely ambitious, maybe her most ambitious. I really enjoyed it. My review is up at Rogerebert.com.
The X-Files, Season 6, Episode 13, “Aqua Mala” (1999; d. Rob Bowman)
Has there ever been a wetter episode of television? I am surprised nobody drowned. Or got electrocuted. Keith told me that fans did not really like this episode. Huh. I am a huge fan of it. I love the ensemble feeling of it, a group of random people holed up in one room, trying to survive. The power struggles, the humor, the suspicions growing, the need to improvise. All as the rain poured down. I really enjoyed it.
The X-Files, Season 6, Episode 14, “Monday” (1999; d. Kim Manners)
Excellent Ground Hog-ish day episode. It can’t hold a candle to Mystery Spot, Supernatural’s beloved Ground Hog Day inspired episode, but still: really interesting exploration of the concept.
The X-Files, Season 6, Episode 15, “Arcadia” (1999; d. Michael Watkins)
Scully and Mulder go under-cover as two suburbanites in a scary planned community. Great evocation of the fear/dread of a “normal” life like that (a dread I share), the conformist nature of it, the pressure to be happy/cheerful, despite uneasy undercurrents. Enjoyed the Scully/Mulder dynamic as well (what else is new). Pretending to be married. Sweater slung over his shoulders, arm around Scully’s shoulder – she’s finally like, “Stop pawing me.” He can’t stop.
The X-Files, Season 6, Episode 16, “Alpha” (1999; d. Peter Markle)
Evil huge dogs on the loose. A bit “meh.”
The X-Files, Season 6, Episode 17, “Trevor” (1999; d. Rob Bowman)
“Should we arrest David Copperfield?”
“Yes. Yes, we should. But not for this.”
The X-Files, Season 6, Episode 18, “Milagro” (1999; d. Kim Manners)
This episode is a psychological and emotional mind-fuck. Written for the great character actor John Hawkes, he is intense and creepy as the novelist who becomes obsessed with Scully. They have a scene in a church (he stalks her), where he tells her who she is, what he sees in her, what he has sensed – and watch Gillian Anderson’s close-up reaction in response. Incredible acting, of the RE-acting variety. What he says takes her breath away, terrifies her, moves her (he SEES that in me?), and repulses her – all at the same time.
Supernatural, Season 2, Episode 16, “Roadkill” (1999; d. Charles Beeson)
A re-watch for the re-cap, which is here. I love this episode.
The X-Files, Season 6, Episode 19, “The Unnatural” (1999; d. David Duchovny)
David Duchovny written and directed. I love baseball. And the final scene is a masterpiece, one of the most romantic scenes in the entire series.
Love & Mercy (2015; d. Bill Pohlad).
I absolutely loved this movie about Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys. Thoughts here. It’s in my tentative ever-changing list of Best Films of 2015 so far. Other contenders (and many of these were made in 2014, but released in 2015, so that’s what I go by): Clouds of Sils Maria (Review here, Mad Max: Fury Road, In Transit (Albert Maysles’ final film – review here, Girlhood (review here), Ex Machina, The Ocean of Helena Lee (review here), Welcome to Me.
Goodbye First Love (2011; d. Mia Hansen-Løve).
Re-watched in preparation for her latest film, Eden, reviewed for Rogerebert.com. It’s a beautiful and poignant story about first love, told in Hansen-Love’s very unique style.
The X-Files, Season 6, Episode 20, “The Three of a Kind” (1999; d. Bryan Spicer)
A Lone Gunmen-centric episode and that is always a good thing. I love those guys.
The X-Files, Season 6, Episode 21, “Field Trip” (1999; d. Rob Bowmans)
A Rashomon-ish (kind of) episode, where we see Scully and Mulder’s different interpretations/experiences during a hallucination. Fascinating psychologically because you see what Mulder needs from Scully, you see what Scully needs from Mulder, and neither of those things are really fore-fronted when they both are in their right minds. This episode, in some ways, reminded me a lot of Supernatural‘s “What Is and What Should Never Be,” in my Top 5 episodes of the entire series. I’ve seen it the most times, and it never gets old. The Supernatural episode is a similar exploration into entering into an alternate reality, and how seductive those paths not taken can be. The tricks your mind plays on you … to show you what you ultimately want … and how difficult it is to even perceive that that is an alternate reality. I loved “Field Trip.”
The X-Files, Season 6, Episode 22, “Biogenesis” (1999; d. Kim Manners)
Oh my God.
The X-Files, Season 7, Episode 1, “The Sixth Extinction” (1999; d. Kim Manners)
The X-Files, Season 7, Episode 2, “The Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati” (1999; d. Michael Watkins)
Part II is even better. Again with the exploration of alternate reality, a road not taken. With a killer emotional final scene. This episode killed me.
Hondo (1953; d. John Farrow).
Yeah, I think I covered my thoughts on Hondo here.
Ex Machina (2015; d. Alex Garland).
Great and provoking film. My review here, and excellent conversation in the comments.
Catchfire (1990; d. Dennis Hopper).
What the hell happened. Great cast: Dennis Hopper, Jodie Foster, Dean Stockwell in a small part. My favorite actor! Catherine Keener shows up in one scene. But it is not a good movie. The romance part (which is what the story ultimately is about and leading towards) does not work at ALL. But it’s always good to see all of these people.
The X-Files, Season 7, Episode 4, “Millennium” (1999; d. Thomas Wright)
Well. A lot happens but all I care about is: OMG THEY KISS.
The X-Files, Season 7, Episode 5, “Rush” (1999; d. Robert Lieberman)
Tormented teenagers. I was mainly thrilled to see a young Nicky Aycox, who played such a crucial role in Supernatural. She’s totally different here, too.
The X-Files, Season 7, Episode 6, “The Goldberg Variation” (1999; d. Thomas Wright)
Shia LaBeouf as a sick child. Wow. Willie Garson, too! I first saw him in his recurring role in Sex and the City but guy has been around forever.
The X-Files, Season 7, Episode 7, “Orison” (2000; d. Rob Bowman)
Some pretty cool special effects in this episode, showing how this guy could slow down time. Beautifully done.
Siberiade, Parts III and IV (1979; d. Andrey Konchalovskiy).
Watched Parts 1 and 2 of this epic last month and finally got around to watching the final two parts as I was recovering from surgery. The entire movie tells the story of 20th century Russia through the focus on one village in Siberia. There are no scenes in Moscow or St. Petersberg. Those cities are very very far away. The village, though, is impacted by the gigantic events happening thousands of miles away. It’s a haunting and beautiful film, made in the final gasp of Communism before the Imperium crumbled. It’s honest, angry, and true. Terrifying, really. I highly recommend it.
Magic Mike (2012; d. Steven Soderbergh).
I love this movie. I love Channing Tatum. I love strippers, especially male strippers. One of the actors, Joe Manganiello, became so fascinated with the world of male strippers that he made a documentary about them. I reviewed for Rogerebert.com. And Channing Tatum is incredible. A natural. The way he flirts. It’s so friendly. Guys who don’t have the knack for it will never understand why the girls go for such men. It is because he treats women with kindness and a sort of egalitarian humor. The romance aspect of Magic Mike was fascinating. Michele and I are going to a screening for the sequel on Monday night, so I figured I should re-watch to get in the mood. As if the sexy trailer didn’t already put me in the mood. Soderbergh is great, but for me this is about the performances. Also the fact that Channing Tatum is filmed dancing in long takes, so we can perceive that it is actually HIM doing all that incredible movement. The movie is a celebration of the beauty of the male form and how much we straight ladies love it. More of that, please.
Felon (2008; d. Ric Roman Waugh).
Starring Stephen Dorff and Val Kilmer. About a guy (Dorff) imprisoned for murder (in what was obviously involuntary manslaughter.) It’s a pretty typical prison drama, elevated by Dorff’s raw honesty (he’s amazing) and Kilmer’s performance as a brutal murderer who will never get out of prison, who takes Dorff under his wing. Sam Shepard shows up. Harold Perinneau has a huge part (I love him, I was in a class with him and his wife – and she plays his wife in Felon as well – many years ago. Good kind people.) Nate Parker, whom I fell in love with in Great Debaters and then fell even more in love with in Beyond the Lights plays a rookie prison guard, horrified at the treatment of prisoners. Worth checking out, for the acting alone.
2 Fast 2 Furious (2003; d. John Singleton).
Comfort food. Why do these movies work SO WELL? So many reasons. The presence of Paul Walker, who is friendly and open and has a good sense of humor about himself. The 100% diverse cast. The car chase scenes are amazing. Eva Mendes was wonderful and looked phenomenal in her white pants. The joshing-around of all the guys. Friendly and funny. The presence of women everywhere, not just as hot babes in bikinis, but also as race enthusiasts and outlaws. Just like the guys. It’s exhilarating and it’s kind of a world I want to live in, as weird as that sounds.
The Searchers (1956; d. John Ford).
Masterpiece. I cry through the last 10 minutes, every time. From the moment Wayne lifts Natalie Wood up into the air, her terror, her little helpless fists … to the final walk-away, seen through the door. I did this whole post on John Ford’s use of doorways in The Searchers.
The X-Files, Season 7, Episode 8, “The Amazing Maleeni” (2000; d. Thomas Wright)
This episode started off a mythical day with Keith where we watched 10 episodes in a row. When we emerged from the dark room, Dan – who had had a full day, had gone into the city, seen a show, had some lunch, returned home, did some writing, watched a movie – all as Keith and I did one thing all day – looked at us and said, “You two …” and then trailed off. We waited. Dan said, “You need help.”
The X-Files, Season 7, Episode 9, “Signs & Wonders” (2000; d. Kim Manners)
Kim Manners in top form. Terrifying episode with scary backwoods religions, and lots and lots of snakes.
The X-Files, Season 7, Episode 10, “Sein und Zeit” (2000; d. Michael Watkins)
An extremely sad episode, with Mulder starting a search for a little girl who disappeared. He becomes convinced it is connected to his sister’s disappearance.
The X-Files, Season 7, Episode 11, “Closure” (2000; d. Kim Manners)
Part II. With a frankly emotional ending scene that lay me flat. I was in tears. The episode is about letting go.
The X-Files, Season 7, Episode 12, “X-Cops” (2000; d. Michael Watkins)
An entire X-Files episode done in the style of the reality TV series Cops? Yes, please. Hilarious.
The X-Files, Season 7, Episode 13, “First Person Shooter” (2000; d. Chris Carter)
A video-game episode. Interesting gender dynamics here. It’s a boy’s world, and the girls are just living it, but it is the girls, ultimately, who are in power. Who dominate. Who save. The boys don’t get it. The episode leaves that element of it unspoken but it is there. The blinders of boys who honestly believe they are Top of the Heap and can’t understand that there is more to life than that. They aren’t evil, these boys, just blinkered to some degree. I really liked this episode.
The X-Files, Season 7, Episode 14, “Theef” (2000; d. Kim Manners)
Billy Drago is superb as the “villain” in the piece. He is legitimately frightening. He has tapped into this guy’s objective in a very real way. He’s not phoning it on or sketching it in. It feels real and inhabited.
The X-Files, Season 7, Episode 15, “En Ami” (2000; d. Rob Bowman)
WEIRD. Written by William Davis (i.e. The Smoking Man). I found it fascinating and disturbing, Scully lured away from Mulder, hiding things, lying, keeping secrets. Just a reminder of how close these two have become.
The X-Files, Season 7, Episode 16, “Chimera” (2000; d. Cliff Bole)
A raven stalks the land. A bad omen. Yet another episode showing domesticity and suburbia and normal life in a sinister light. Mulder and Scully do not live in that world, and at this point, they COULDN’T live in that world.
The X-Files, Season 7, Episode 17, “All Things” (2000; d. Gillian Anderson)
Holy shit-balls. This episode wrecked me. I’ve lived it.
Inside Out (2015; d. Pete Docter)
A profound film. I sobbed openly in the darkness at one point. I loved how one of the main themes was that Sadness was side-lined, she was not allowed to be in charge of anything, Sadness is seen as bad or wrong in our psychotic culture. Inside Out puts it out there that Sadness is important, Sadness is necessary, Sadness breeds compassion (responding to someone who is devastated with chirpy chippy Joy is actually callous and cruel, however well-intentioned the chirpy person is). Sadness also intensifies Joy, when it comes. I loved the film.
Inherent Vice (2014; d. Paul Thomas Anderson)
My third time. It’s amazing how the shots stick in my brain, even though I’ve only seen it 3 times. I have memorized shot sequences in many other movies, through repetition and study and all that. But Inherent Vice‘s shot-construction stuck in my brain instantly. And the performances just get better and better with repetition, and I’m seeing more and more. I am in love with this film. It’s a masterpiece. And that final shot! Bittersweet nostalgia mixed with raging paranoia, the glance at the headlights in the rear view mirror. YES. The 1970s in a nutshell. America in a nutshell. My original post about Inherent Vice is here.
Magic Mike XXL (2015; d. Gregory Jacobs)
To die for. Just as good as the original. I read a comment on Facebook from some person I don’t know: “Everything that is good about this movie is due to the cinematography.” (Because Steven Soderbergh shot it.) BZZZZZT. WRONG ANSWER. The cinematography is, indeed, great, because it allows us to see all of these guys dancing – and it films it in a way that shows us they’re really doing all that. It’s not a quick-cut frenzy like so many dance films utilize. But I would say that “everything that is good about this movie” has to do with Channing Tatum’s presence, and the raucous hilarious ensemble around him and how they create the relationships between all those guys. Honestly, the director-focused auteur theory of movies is so limited. It means people can’t SEE properly. How can you watch that movie and credit its success ONLY to the cinematography? How can you not see the effectiveness of the ensemble acting and not perceive that that is really why the whole thing works? Ugh. Anyway, let’s not focus on that unpleasantness. I went to a screening in a packed theatre with my friend Michele and the majority of the audience were women. Who screamed and hooted and hollered throughout the film. It was a fabulous atmosphere. I’ve got more to say about this film and how friendly it is about female desire/sexuality … but I’ll get into that at another time. LOVED. IT. I’ve had a rough month. I went on a promising date with a guy I really liked that then went very wrong in the last 5 minutes. I’m disappointed, and the disappointment is exacerbated by the fact that three days after the date I had surgery on my lady-parts and have felt helpless and scared about it. I’m exhausted and disheartened. The disappointment of the date was then immediately followed by a sexual assault (by a stranger) that went down 5 minutes after the date ended. I can’t make this shit up. I walked away from the date thinking, “What the hell was THAT” and headed down to Port Authority, and 5 minutes later a man jumped out of the shadows, literally, and attacked me, grabbing my breasts, hard, and shouting in my face. I survived, obviously, punching the guy in the chest, shouting “Fuck off” in his face (all of this happened on crowded 8th Avenue) but it was upsetting (although the date was more upsetting – I think because with the assault I reacted in the moment and left nothing held back: I experienced it, I reacted appropriately, and it was over. With the date, I felt … deceived. And couldn’t really address it. So it cast a shadow. I crack myself up because once I got the guy off me, I kept walking down to Port Authority, thinking, “Okay, so where was I. That date. What the hell was THAT?” It was like getting a bug-bite. A slight annoyance.) Anyway, in the intervening time, however, somehow the entire experience has been looped together into one experience: Bad date (Raiders: “Bad dates”), sexual assault, something seriously wrong with lady-parts. I am trying to untangle it because they are all separate things, but they all happened at the same time so they feel connected. My sexuality under attack. Anyway, I’ve felt blue and beat up. Magic Mike XXL helped give me my Mojo and confidence back – or at least feel that buzz of desire and happiness again. I don’t mind going personal. That’s what movies can do. I walked out of the movie feeling good and happy. And sexed up. Life is good.
The X-Files, Season 7, Episode 18, “Brand X” (2000; d. Gillian Anderson)
Too many bugs, thankyouverymuch.
The X-Files, Season 7, Episode 19, “Hollywood A.D.” (2000; d. David Duchovny)
Ridiculous and funny. “Hollywood Babylon” in Supernatural obviously takes its cue from this episode, as well as the whole Carver Edlund book-series thing, with Supernatural being turned into first a television show and then a musical. Where Sam and Dean have to play themselves, or watch high school girls play them, and how strange it is. Here, Mulder and Scully are played by Garry Shandling (WTF) and Duchovny’s real-life wife at the time Tea Leoni. There’s one scene where Shandling, doing research for his character, asks Mulder, “Right or left?” Meaning penis placement. Mulder is mortified, amused, tuned into the surreal. But even funnier, in the background of the scene, Tea Leoni has asked Scully to show how she runs in those heels. And Leoni whizzes back and forth, back and forth, charging across the background, “practicing” her running. It’s hilarious.