My viewing this month was mostly work-related, so the viewing diary is uncharacteristically short. A lot of these I watched multiple times, for research, etc. And I’ve been ill, too, this summer. I just had no concentration outside of the stuff I had to watch for work and all of these gigantic pieces I’ve been writing, a couple more coming up in September. All fun stuff! So here’s what I saw this month.
The Big Short (2015; d. Adam McKay)
I was so busy that I just wanted to watch something I had already seen so I didn’t have to do any work. Or even pay attention.
Rust and Bone (2012; d. Jacques Audiard)
OB-VI-OUS-LY. It was super fun to work on that though. One paragraph a day. For two months. Been wanting to write something along those lines about that movie forever.
The Seven Five (2014; d. Tiller Russell)
Saw this one with Allison at her apartment. We save things up to show each other. This was her #1. This documentary – about the dirtiest of all dirty New York cops – is unbelievable because everybody was interviewed, including the dirty cop. Amazing footage. Crazy story. I actually remember all of that going down.
Supernatural, Season 10, Episode 8 “Hibbing 911” (2014; d. Tim Andrew)
See my note to The Big Short. My brain just could not handle too much this past month. I love this episode. Offscreen voice: “SAVE YOU A SEAT, JODES.” Can’t take it.
Sudden Fear (1952; d. David Miller)
Had so much fun writing this piece about Joan Crawford’s amazing performance in Sudden Fear for Rogerebert.com.
Don’t Think Twice (2016; d. Mike Birbiglia)
I reviewed for Ebert. Loved it. I actually saw it twice this month. If Allison wanted to show me The Seven Five, then I wanted to show her Don’t Think Twice. We went to Boston to see Mike Birbiglia’s standup show. I love him.
Bullhead (2011; d. Michael R. Roskam)
I was reviewing the work of Matthias Schoenaerts this month because I was reviewing his latest, Disorder, and I just wanted to get a sense of his career. I’ve seen him in a bunch but I sort of turned my laser focus on him to try to figure him out. Which then led to the Rust and Bone extravaganza (my first introduction to him back when it first came out). I wrote about Bullhead here. Such an upsetting movie. It haunted me for days.
Pope of Greenwich Village (1984; d. Stuart Rosenberg)
It was so fun to re-visit this. I was participating in Nathaniel Rogers’ annual Oscar Smackdown Series. Category: Best Supporting Actress, 1984. It was a blast. I have extremely intense feelings about Mickey Rourke, and this piece I wrote in 2008 for Slant – Gone Away, Come Back: Mickey Rourke – is really the first film piece I wrote that got really wide attention. It was everywhere. IMDB linked to it on their main page. I’m very proud of that piece.
Hope Springs (2012; d. David Frankel)
See my comments about Big Short and “Hibbing 911.”
Sausage Party (2016; d. Conrad Vernon, Greg Tiernan)
Went with Michele. It was so funny, so stupid, so offensive (and so offensive towards every different group of people on the planet – ethnicities, races, sexualities, religions – that I actually got offended that the Irish were left out of it … until … the potato with the brogue showed up. Finally, my people got to be lampooned as well), and super super dumb. Like, everyone was so stoned when came up with the idea.
The Drop (2014; d. Michael R. Roskam)
More of the Matthias Schoenaerts research. I saw that movie in the theatre and loved it. Jim Gandolfini’s last film.
Disorder (2016; d. Alice Winocour)
Up there with one of my favorite movies this year. Matthias Schoenaerts again. God, he’s good. I reviewed for Ebert.com.
A Passage to India (1984; d. David Lean)
Another re-watch for the Oscar smackdown! I had forgotten how bizarre much of it was, and it makes me want to read the book again. Peggy Ashcroft won the Oscar.
In Order of Disappearance (2016; d. Hans Petter Moland)
Didn’t really care for it. I reviewed for Ebert.
Spa Night (2016; d. Andrew Ahn)
I have seen a lot of REALLY strong features this year by first-time directors and this is one of them. Reviewed for Ebert.
The Natural (1984; d. Barry Levinson)
A re-watch for the Smackdown series. What a crock. Redford is literally 30 years older than the character he is playing. He also is never believable in his pitcher’s windup. People have such fond feelings for this movie. I never did. I love baseball movies. Not this one.
Places in the Heart (1984; d. Robert Benton)
Watched for the Smackdown. I am not sure about the infidelity sub-plot. Feels like way too much, too much shoehorned in. Danny Glover is lovely. The final scene …. hm. Not sure about it.
Sudden Fear (1952; d. David Miller)
Ted and I went to go see it during its run at the Film Forum. I had never seen it on the big screen (it’s overwhelming) or with anybody else, for that matter. I am hesitant sometimes to go see old movies at the Film Forum because, in general, the audiences who show up there are gigantic assholes, who treat old movies like they’re all “campy,” or glorified Mystery Science Theatre experiences. It disgusts me, the superiority: “Thank God we are so more enlightened now than those poor people 50 years ago. Look at all the sexist language! Teehee. Look at the overwrought acting. Isn’t it so campy …” The audience there has ruined movie experiences for me. But Sudden Fear played like a bat out of hell. It was an exhilarating experience. And Ted had never seen it, which was even more fun.
Swing Shift (1984; d. Jonathan Demme)
For the Smackdown. So entertaining.
The More the Merrier (1941; d. George Stevens)
My brother and my nephew stayed with me for a couple of days, and it was emotional and overwhelming, with some stress involved, etc. We came home after a long day out in the city and said, “Should we watch a movie?” They both wanted to. We stood staring at my shelves of movies for about 10 minutes, and there was too much to choose from. I asked my nephew, “What do you feel like?” He said, “Something light.” The More the Merrier came to mind. I love this movie so much and it makes me laugh out loud every time, and it’s silly and ridiculous and also very touching. So I suggested that one and we watched it and it was the perfect choice. At one point I looked over at my brother and nephew, and they were both rocking back and forth with laughter, and my 18-year-old nephew was wiping tears of laughter from his eyes. GO, GEORGE STEVENS.
War Dogs (2016; d. Todd Phillips)
My nephew and I saw this one together. We are movie-buff-buddies, so we had a good time dissecting what exactly was wrong with it at the diner later. We were in agreement on many of those flaws. Despite the flaws, we did enjoy it.
White Girl (2016; d. Elizabeth Wood)
I reviewed for Rogerebert.com. It opened yesterday.