June 2022 Viewing Diary

Watcher (2022; d. Chloe Okuno)
I was super impressed – and totally freaked out – by this thriller, psychological and otherwise. The mood is HEAVY with omnipresent DREAD. I reviewed for Ebert.

Russian Doll (Season 1 and 2, 2019-2022)
I’m in love. This is my second time through the first season and first time through the second. I liked the second season, but loved the first. You can’t repeat what … can’t be repeated. But I appreciated the exploration of the mother’s role (Chloe Sevigny – killing it). If the first season was Groundhog Day, the second season was Back to the Future, but all filtered through the cranky Gen-X-older-millennial generation’s eyes: a point of view I appreciate.

Lost Illusions (2022; d. Xavier Giannoli)
An adaptation of Balzac’s rags to riches to rags again story. It’s fun, and BIG. I reviewed for Ebert.

Dinner in America (2022; d. Adam Rehmeier)
I thinks I’ve made it clear how I feel about this movie. reviewed this gem – this little movie that could – for Ebert. I’ve seen it 4 times now. It’s really good.

Jackie Brown (1997; d. Quentin Tarantino)
Continuing on with my Robert-De-Niro-in-chronological-order project. I love this movie so much. It’s interesting to watch Tarantino with an adaptation of someone else’s material. It’s such a VEHICLE and I miss star vehicles. There’s not enough of them anymore. Give me movie stars and just let them walk through an airport, please. Let them do their work. In re: De Niro: he is so freakin’ FUNNY in this. It’s fun to watch him completely remove his intelligence.

Wag the Dog (1997; d. Barry Levinson)
I saw this in the movie theatre back in the day and totally loved it. Maybe I’ve seen it since? I can’t remember. Anne Heche completely holds her own and makes me sorry she’s no longer a presence in American cinema. She was weird and ambitious and different. It’s interesting to watch this not just because it’s satire – and Americans, in general, cannot deal with satire because we are so literal (okay, I’ll remove the “we”) but in re: De Niro: it’s fascinating to watch Hoffman and De Niro together and the two very different acting styles. You could REALLY see it in Sleepers where Hoffman is acting up a STORM and De Niro barely seems to be doing anything, and is no less effective for that. I love Hoffman, don’t get me wrong, and Midnight Cowboy was extremely important for me as a young actor, but … he does tend to be showy as hell. I mean, Papillon is probably the most obvious example. Calm DOWN, Dustin. Willie Nelson cracks me UP in this. Seen back to back with Wag the Dog is an object lesson in how De Niro REMOVES whatever isn’t necessary for the character. In Jackie Brown he removes his intelligence and is wholly incompetent. In Wag the Dog he is all comptence.

A Cry in the Dark (1988; d. Fred Schepisi)
This was streaming on Criterion and I jumped at the chance to see it again. It’s been years and it is nigh on impossible to find, currently. Certainly not streaming. The thing I really remember about this – and the thing that still strikes me – is how Schepisi’s theme – or his “way in” – was the public response to this event. All of those scenes of dinner parties and picnics and car drives with random people discussing the case. What a great way to show – not tell – just how HUGE this case was.

The Girl from Plainville (2022; d. Lisa Cholodenko, Zetna Fuentes, Pippa Bianco, Liz Hannah, Daniel Minahan)
Once again, as per usual, this is about three episodes too long – what is it with these docudramas stretching things out – it’s a way to keep people watching things, I know, but it’s aggravating. Despite the fact that a 27-year-old man is playing an 18-year-old kid … I was very impressed, particularly with Fanning – who has an insight into what makes this girl tick. She is unnerving – AND has a number of fantastic “mirror scenes”, an ongoing obsession of mine. One complaint: the thousands and thousands of text messages are, instead, turned into dreamlike conversations between the two characters, in one another’s presence. It’s a mistake. The fugue state the two clearly were in is part and parcel of what was going on: this was a completely text-based “relationship” and it’s different than speaking face to face. Still and all: worth the watch.

The Clock (1945 d. Vincente Minnelli)
A favorite.

Elvis and the Colonel (1993; d. William Graham)
Rob Youngblood is just not right for the part. Beau Bridges IS.

Good Luck to You, Leo Grande (2022; d. Sophie Hyde)
I loved it. I reviewed for Ebert.

Within Reach (2022; d. Tess Goldwyn), Burned Rubber (2022; d. Roman D’Ambrosio), Håber (2022; d. Amour Luciani), Tricks (2015; d. Beaty Reynolds and Chris Graves), July and Half of August (2015; d. Brandeaux Tourville), 100 Boyfriends Mixtape (2016; d. Brontez Purnell), Brontosaurus (?; d. Jack Dunphy), The Hunter (2020; d. Sam McConnell), Let’s Get Lost (2020; d. Sam Stillman)
All short films, all seen at the Adult Film Film and Theatre festival.

Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022; d. Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert)
It was mind-blowing, except for the anti-Semitism. Michelle Yeoh is phenomenal, the role of a lifetime, and she’s had a couple.

Elvis (2022; d. Baz Luhrmann)
More later.

A Star is Born (1954; d. George Cukor)
Watched with Michell in Chicago. How many times I have seen this? I know it by heart. I know the order of the scenes. I know the moments, and where they come in the narrative. We had a great discussion about the difference between this and Bradley Cooper’s. In this A Star is Born, it is clear that James Mason needs to die, so that she can live. He will never get better, he will bring her down, he knows this, he hears her conversation where she is considering giving up her career to care for him, and so … he walks into the waves, his final act of love. You don’t get that in the Bradley Cooper, maybe because Bradley (my old classmate) is so inherently sympathetic? And so, yes, it is a tragedy, but it’s not a redemptive tragedy.

Taxi Driver (1976; d. Martin Scorsese)
It happened to be on TCM so we watched it. Big discussion about it. The father of one of my favorite acting teachers is in this. He’s the one who gets his hand blown off. Murray Moston.

Clara Sola (2022; d. Nathalie Álvarez Mesén)
I highly recommend this extremely strong directorial debut. I reviewed for Ebert.

The Boys, Season 3
Finally getting around to this. I watched Seasons 1 and 2 last year, I think, or early this year, time blends together post-pandemic. I watched mainly to catch myself up in preparation for Jensen Ackles’ appearance and found myself getting sucked in to this twisted tale of trauma and fucked-up father figures (Eric Kripke’s stock-in-trade). I had a couple hours free in Chicago, when Mitchell and Christopher went out to a pride event (I had stayed home – reluctantly – to watch Clara Sola) – and so I watched the first three episodes. I am so pleased at what a huge role Soldier Boy is – even before he appears. He’s on everyone’s mind. These early episodes are all about Soldier Boy and what happened to him, building the anticipation. This is just what Jensen deserves. I hadn’t really processed – or let myself feel – just how much I’ve missed him since Supernatural ended. Supernatural was such a huge part of my life – and the first thing I allowed myself to get obsessed with after going completely insane in 2012-2013. It jump-started me writing again about my obsessions. Elvis was radioactive after I went so crazy, wandering up and down in front of Graceland at sunset, and all that. Not an exaggeration. I’m back on the Elvis train, but Supernatural came along – 2013 – at just the right time. I decided, once I was at least out of the woods, and being treated for my illness for the first time – to dip my toes in the water of obsession. Or, let’s say, passionate fascination. Supernatural was a hook and a hell of a hook, particularly what I am not hesitant to call Jensen Ackles’ genius. Thank you, Eric Kripke, for setting him up so powerfully in The Boys. I have missed him – and his work – so much. I mean … his first entrance:

This entry was posted in Monthly Viewing Diary, Movies, Television and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to June 2022 Viewing Diary

  1. Johnny says:


    I was anxiously waiting for your June Viewing list since, you know what, premiered last month. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts about Elvis (I have not been able to watch the film yet). While we’re on the subject matter, there’s a specific shot in the trailer that reminded me of something you had written extensively about. Here’s a link to the image:

    Would you say Austin Butler is working his angles here?

    • sheila says:

      Johnny! You have such a good memory – THANK you for remembering that “angles” piece – we must be kindred spirits because YES I thought the exact same thing when I saw that moment. And Baz Luhrmann lingers on it – it’s practically slow-motion. You never see his face. but the posture – the loneliness of it – it’s archetypal.

      Totally working his angles. You get it!!

      • Johnny says:

        Hi Sheila! Sorry it took so long for me to give a response. I’ve finally been able to watch the film and even though there’s so much to talk about, this scene stayed with me. This is just my opinion but the Colonel’s feeling towards him in this scene is quite similar to your piece you did on EP’s loneliness. Despite being always surrounded and constantly worshipped, he still felt lonely. I was surprised when I saw that this specific sequence appears in the movie not once but twice! And yes, the ANGLES! Not only do I see loneliness but I’m also seeing someone DREAMING.

        • sheila says:

          // And yes, the ANGLES! Not only do I see loneliness but I’m also seeing someone DREAMING. //

          Yes. Because the ultimate question is: what was it like to BE him? what did he think about? how did he conceive of what he was doing? How did he even make sense of it? and then there’s the line from the final scene: “I’m all out of dreams.” heart-breaking.

          There’s also a sense in that moment with the ANGLES is … he’s being objectified by the Colonel: he’s seen as “other”, as desirable, as frozen in time surrounded by movement – the pinpoint of focus on him.

          Now imagine that kind of focus being on you – multiplied by millions.

          Of course in the center of all that is loneliness. He felt alone even before he was famous.

          I also love his outfit in that scene – the black lace shirt and the white pants. He sticks out even more, since everyone else in that scene is so colorful.

  2. Larry Aydlette says:

    I had the same thought about Anne Heche while rewatching “Birth” recently.

    • sheila says:

      Oh yeah, Birth!

      There was nobody really like her. and the whole brou-haha of her coming out – it just wouldn’t be a big deal now – and … she was treated like this Evil Lesbian (if I can recall) – someone forcing someone else to “come out”. I don’t know. I remember the whole thing making me feel uncomfortable. and then she went off the rails. I hope she’s okay.

      she was such an interesting actress – and let’s face it, it is not easy to hold your own with Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro – with that talk-y Mamet script – and she has to be so alpha! but she did a great job!

    • sheila says:

      Larry – so strange that we JUST had this conversation about Anne Heche last month. Eerie.

  3. Jim Reding says:

    Like Johnny, I’ve been anticipating your thoughts on Luhrmann’s Elvis, and now you’re making us wait that much longer! How could you do this to us? (Kidding. Happy to wait, as I know your take is gonna be good.)

    I published a short essay about De Niro in Jackie Brown on my Substack last August. Would be honored if you have the time to check it out.


    My account has been dormant for various reasons ever since, but I’m hoping to have my essay on White Lightning (the Burt Reynolds movie, not the George Jones song) up by the end of this week and have a couple of other pieces in the works as well.

    • sheila says:

      // How could you do this to us? //

      I know! lol I admit I’m a little surprised nobody asked me to write about it. Like, what the fuck have I been doing all these years. Fuck ’em!

      I just set up a Substack – I was thinking of putting my Elvis essay on there, launch it with the Elvis essay. I’m not quite sure how Substack works – I have a newsletter but I haven’t sent it out in months. I got bored with it. I think I’d like to have something a little more in-depth and also … get paid? Imagine that. I don’t really write in-depth long pieces on here anymore and ever since Film Comment shut its doors, I’ve missed spouting off every other week on some subject I am fascinated by.

      I imported all my subscribers from Tiny Letter – so there will be a free version but if people want to pay there will be an option for that. I’m still trying to figure it out. I need an assistant!

      Thanks for the link!! I will read – and I would LOVE to read a piece on White Lightning. Love that whole Southern-swamp-aesthetic phase of Reynolds’ career. I think I included a shot of him in the “angles” piece mentioned up thread!

      • Jim Reding says:

        Ahhh…that makes sense. I recently noticed I was following The Sheila Variations 2.0 but didn’t remember subscribing. When the day comes, you can definitely count on having me as a paid subscriber.

        I initially found Substack’s interface confusing too, but I wouldn’t say I have an objective opinion. I’m a pretty major luddite (I still had a flip phone till late last year when it could no longer keep up with the current network and started dropping calls even when I had a clear view of the sky). I’m keeping mine free indefinitely as I’m neither an established nor (obviously) disciplined writer. I’ve never been short of material. It’s always been an issue of pushing through and finishing after that initial flurry of excitement wears off. It seemed like a good venue for both building up a body of work and working through my anxiety about sharing it.

        If I actually follow through, build up a better routine, and manage to post more than one longform essay a year (I’m hoping for one a month)…I shouldn’t get ahead of myself.

      • sheila says:

        Jim – that piece was so good and so satisfying!! I totally agree with you that the performance really stays with you – and is indicative of De Niro’s … selflessness? maybe? or lack of ego? – that he would even take such a role – but then understand it so completely that he vanishes into it. The door sticking! Yes! the “awkward” hookup is so awkward! (Side note: I appreciate how often De Niro is willing to show how bad his characters are in bed. This is not to say anything about De Niro himself because I don’t care – but a lot of actors have a sexual showoff side and maybe want to show how awesome they are in bed. De Niro just could not care less. I mean, This Boy’s Life is legit upsetting – how brutal and bad he is in bed AND how scared he is of her addressing it or even wanting any connection with him during sex – Ugh, it’s so traumatizing. Honestly, I don’t see a lot of actors showing something AS unflattering as that.)

        I really loved the amount of detail you put in there AND your summing up of how ignored the performance was – and unfairly. It’s so good, and he’s so good.

        • Jim Reding says:

          Thank you, Sheila, both for just taking the time to read it and for the positive feedback!

          In my younger days, I took being part of a creative community for granted. At this point in my life, it can sometimes feel like I’m working in a vacuum.

          A careful reading-especially from someone I admire as much as you-means more than you may ever know, probably similar to how you felt when you received the Scorsese letter.

          I didn’t think about the THIS BOY’S LIFE connection. That’s a movie I should revisit soon. It’s probably been a decade or more since my last watch.

          I’ll send you the White Lightning link once the essay’s (writing this to give myself additional level of accountability to knock it out).

          • Jim Reding says:

            One more thing: there was one detail I tried to work into my piece but couldn’t find (and still haven’t found) a source to confirm my memory. I remember Elmore Leonard saying from the moment he created Louis and Ordell back in the 70s, he knew one of them would eventually kill the other one.

          • sheila says:

            // A careful reading-especially from someone I admire as much as you-means more than you may ever know //

            Well, I’m happy to do it – sometimes I am just not aware of what is “out there” – and whose blog is still operational, and who has a newsletter – I could definitely do a better job of keeping up with people, especially people who do deep dives like that. I’m so sick of shallow “this is how this movie relates to our current moment” reviews and/or “takes”. Don’t people realize this stuff will date itself by next week? That’s where all the jobs are, though, so I get it! I was actually forced to add a sentence to something about how this particular movie “relates to how we live now” and I pushed back – because I feel the movie is more eternal than that and will always speak to humans, no matter what – but they really really couldn’t even PERCEIVE the piece without that sentence. They’re programmed – sorry to say, she was a very nice woman, but … If all you read are pieces written from the fire of this very moment, then you will think that pieces that DON’T do that are “missing” something.

            No big deal – I eventually caved – rolling my eyes as I wrote the sentence – lol – it wasn’t a hill I wanted to die on.

            Back to Jackie Brown: the killing of Bridget Fonda just so totally shocked me when I first saw the movie back in the day. I mean, I know it’s a Tarantino movie and no one is safe – but she seemed so incidental, so … a peripheral “annoyance” … and the way he did it was just so awful. Basically to just shut her up.

            Samuel Jackson may be the alpha-top-dog scary guy – but De Niro’s character is the REALLY scary one. That conversation between Jackson and De Niro in the car after is just a masterpiece.

          • sheila says:

            // That’s a movie I should revisit soon. It’s probably been a decade or more since my last watch. //

            I was amazed at how much I remembered – how certain scenes were burned into my mind from my first watch (again, back in the day when it first came out).

            I re-watched and it’s even better than I remembered – I honestly think it’s one of De Niro’s best and most insightful. The insecurity of this man – and also his rage – his violence – but it’s how he adds the insecurity in there – so that you don’t just see a bully – even though you hate him. He makes you feel the total isolation of this man – he has chosen his own prison – he refuses to grow, he’s too scared – it’s just all this STUFF that’s in there. and how he knows, from the very first encounter – that this kid – Leo – sees right through him, that this kid “has his number” … and he just cannot allow it and sets out to destroy the boy.

            It’s so so good – so many insightful little details. One thing I totally forgot about it Leo’s friendship with the little gay boy – it’s so touching and interesting.

            and please send me the White Lightning link!

          • sheila says:

            // Elmore Leonard saying from the moment he created Louis and Ordell back in the 70s, he knew one of them would eventually kill the other one. //

            He was so brilliant.

            If I ever just need to chill OUT with a master of the English language in his own very specific way – I’ll pick up one of his books.

  4. Merav says:

    I’ve been waiting for your review on TB and especially Jensen 😊 have you watched only the first 3 episodes?
    He is incredible and so much fun to watch, his line delivery is something else.
    I can’t stop staring at that gif, but after 3 layers of clothes we were used to I don’t think it’s really my fault!

    • sheila says:

      Merav – I’m all caught up now! It’s just getting better and better. The Herogasm? Oh my GOD. They did what the studio would not allow Stanley Kubrick to do in Eyes Wide Shut. I could not believe the shit I was seeing!

      // after 3 layers of clothes we were used to I don’t think it’s really my fault! //

      right?? Also … naked? with butt facing the camera? I don’t know how to process this.

      I love the trauma – he’s so tapped into trauma – that manly repressed trauma – the Bill Cosby exchange!! I also love that he’s been asleep for 40 years – so he gets to be a kind of Encino Man with the modern world. This goes along with my feeling that there’s something throwback-ish about him! BUT – with all the macho stuff, you can still see how fragile he is.

      I can’t wait to see where this goes!!

      • Merav says:

        It definitely gets better and better. I really love what Jensen is doing with this character. In all the promotions they kept describing Soldier Boy as the most despicable man, worse than Homelander, and he is not a good person but Jensen managed to bring vulnerability to the character that makes you not hate him and to see he is fragile too as you said, despite that everything he says is gross if to quote Hughie lol.
        His entrance scene was surely magnificent :D

        I don’t know what the chances are for him to be in season 4 (with filming Big Sky) but I really hopes that he’ll be back. Can’t believe there’s only one more episode left, how do they wrap everything up in one episode?
        The rest of the cast is brilliant too. Kripke loves his mirror scenes and making characters face themselves, doesn’t he?

        I also must say how much I love your SPN reviews (I don’t remember if I said it before). I saved them on my Kindle and keep rereading them lol they are the most in dept reviews I’ve seen and so much attentions to details that I would totally miss. I really hope you’ll manage to continue it, maybe even just for your favorite episodes <3

        • sheila says:

          I so love the dynamic with Hughie – the generation gap is so enormous, particularly since Soldier Boy has been cryonically frozen a la Han Solo for 40 years. His contempt for dads carrying baby baskets or whatever? lol

          How about him making the housemaids get all naked for his pleasure? That was so disturbing!! and so FUNNY to see Jensen – JENSEN – play such a scene.

          I’m thrilled because it shows he’s a conductor of his talent – he can call forth whatever it is to be dominant, he can suppress whatever it is that doesn’t fit. This guy is not Dean, is in no way Dean … and I love how much fun he’s having with NOT being Dean. It’s so good to see.

          He’s been bumped up to a regular on Big Sky, I think? I haven’t caught up with that one, either. How do we feel about this development?

          Thanks so much for your kind words on my SPN reviews. That is one of the most fun “phases” I’ve ever had on this blog – the PEOPLE who showed up! Not even Elvis has that kind of draw. So much fun!

          • Merav says:

            Oh god the scene with the housemaids! definitely disturbing, it was hilarious. Jensen said it was supposed to be more explicit but they modified it a bit because apparently Kripke found his line lol (and it was supposed to be The legend and not him but Paul Reiser didn’t want to do it and gave it to Jensen).

            I love his interaction with Hughie too, the Cosby reference, are they trying to imply he tried to roofied Soldier boy??

            Regarding Big Sky, I’m not sure, I loved the primary story line in season 1 (not so much the secondary one), haven’t watch season 2 yet. The boys is a much better show imo (and different genre of course), I’m guessing he wants to try different roles and not be tied to something specific after being 15 years in the same role.
            I’m going to watch season 3, his character in the one episode was captivating enough, hopefully season 3 will be interesting, I’m curious to see what his character will be like. He is such a great actor, it always fun to watch him.
            I’m so glad to see all the recognition and all the praises he is getting, he deserves it.

            Glad a lot of people are enjoying your reviews!

          • sheila says:

            // Kripke found his line //

            Oh my God. The “I’m gonna go in raw” line was a jaw dropper. I can’t believe he didn’t find his line in Herogasm – that scene was insane. Some of the overheard conversations going on were as dirty as I’ve ever seen TV get. plus … a closeup of a butthole. I mean …. I was literally saying out loud “what the fuck” – and to see these actors wandering through the orgy – Jensen and Hughie and the rest – I would love to know about the filming of that scene. I am hoping everyone felt comfortable and understood the sense of humor of it and nobody felt shamed or whatever. That was just crazy.

            // Paul Reiser didn’t want to do it and gave it to Jensen //

            Oh my God that’s hysterical.

          • Merav says:

            I can’t comment for some reason under your last reply so I’m puting it here :)

            //Oh my God. The “I’m gonna go in raw” line was a jaw dropper. I can’t believe he didn’t find his line in Herogasm – that scene was insane. Some of the overheard conversations going on were as dirty as I’ve ever seen TV get. plus … a closeup of a butthole. I mean …. I was literally saying out loud “what the fuck” – and to see these actors wandering through the orgy – Jensen and Hughie and the rest – I would love to know about the filming of that scene. I am hoping everyone felt comfortable and understood the sense of humor of it and nobody felt shamed or whatever. That was just crazy. //

            There’s an interview with Kripke and Jensen where Kripke says they work hard to make everyone comfortable and then Jensen said “*I* wasn’t comfortable”, he’s hilarious :D

            They talk about Herogasm around minute 5:00.


          • sheila says:

            Thank you for all the links! I will watch! I can so imagine Jensen being so uncomfortable, lol.

            What a switch – from wearing 3 layers at all times to 1. making your first appearance totally naked, ass to the camera 2. that housemaid scene 3. Herogasm.

          • Merav says:

            You’re welcome!

            There’s so much interviews and promotional stuff, it’s fun 😊 Jensen appeared in Seth Seth Meyers recently if you haven’t watched (and want to).

          • Jessie says:

            Merav and Sheila, I’ve had a lot of fun watching Jensen in s3 too! honestly Soldier Boy is such a strong and interesting presence – he is the biggest/only engine of propulsion the season has and it’s wonderful to see Homelander feel fear. Everyone is fun (is Crawford the gamest man in tv?) but Antony Starr and Jensen are on another level in terms of watchability and I’m super bummed that Jensen entered the season late and we have only one episode to go when it feels like it’s just started to rev up!

          • sheila says:

            // Antony Starr and Jensen are on another level in terms of watchability //

            Jessie – hi!

            Yes, so damn true. I am loving seeing their standoffs – but also their work separately. Both characters are so damaged, my God. It’s really sick, the whole vibe they’re setting up.

            and yeah, at this point, Soldier Boy is the only game in town – although I always enjoy seeing what The Deep is into. He’s always on some whole other journey and I appreciate it because it’s always so bizarre.

          • Merav says:

            So who watched the finale?

            I’d love to hear your thoughts on it :)

          • sheila says:

            Okay this thread is getting so long and weird.

            The finale! some of it reminded me of SPN – the two men flying in the air (a low moment in SPN but good here, I think!) – I just wrote a post about one of Jensen’s little mini moments – those moments of trauma which are then buried – that he is so good at.

            I really feel like Soldier Boy held the whole season together which is … not encouraging for the rest of the cast. Homelander is, of course, always fascinating – God, he’s good – but having a Big Bad who is more interesting than the regular cast (and they’re all so good!) is a problem!

          • Merav says:

            I agree that Soldier Boy held the season together and was the most interesting part. I hope we’ll see him again.

            Not a big fan of ending that return to the starting point.

            The fight in the air between Soldier Boy and Homelander both here and in Herogasm is what the fight between Michael and Lucifer should have look like if the ones in charge had cared enough…

            The scene with Butcher was so good. Going to search what you wrote about it :)

  5. José Gabriel Ferreras says:

    //In re: De Niro: he is so freakin’ FUNNY in this. It’s fun to watch him completely remove his intelligence.//

    It is fun, reading that made me laugh, Sheila!

    //A Cry in the Dark (1988; d. Fred Schepisi)//

    I saw this last month too! (never seen it before, I’m filling up my Meryl Streep gaps, specially prime 80’s Meryl Streep). She’s just stunning. It’s just the way she is prepared every step of the way, the amount of work that is suggested behind her every move and gesture and word and pause. I will remember the tiny scare she gets here at a moment in the film when someone snaps a clapper board next to her. Her reaction is priceless, it’s all in the tiniest of details, amazing.

    //Thanks for the link!! I will read //

    Read it, it’s very good. Thanks, Jim!

  6. Bainer says:

    I’m so looking forward to reading your take on the new Elvis film, Sheila!! (no pressure!)

  7. Gina in alabama says:

    Yes. Waiting for your take on Luhrmanns Elvis.

    • sheila says:

      It’s been a wild week, I’m going to see it again tonight, so I’m working on it! thanks!

      • José Gabriel Ferreras says:

        Yes, we’re all waiting, Sheila!! I’ve watched it today for the first time and I’ll just mention the one thing that’s gotten me more viscerally: Luhrmann gets what it means to PLAY IT LOUD! It’s one of the loudest movies I’ve had the pleasure to watch/hear in many years (it’s also “loud” visually, but that’s another aspect), and it’s just RIGHT!!!

        • José Gabriel Ferreras says:

          A Star is Born, the concert scenes in Bradley Cooper’s film come to mind also in this sense…

  8. Jessie says:

    Like everyone else — waiting to read your thoughts on Elvis with great anticipation!!

    Wag the Dog I feel is one of those weird movies that has a cultural moment with a white-hot cast and then for some reason fades into obscurity. But it really made an impression on me as probably one of the first ‘grown up’ (in sensibility) films I saw at the movies. It’s an interesting mix of broad and dark (Woody Harrelson’s storyline!). I don’t know how I’d feel watching it again in these times!

    I did a rewatch of Russian Doll for S2 as well, and as well, the same reaction — season 1 is tight and engrossing, s2 enjoyable but weaker (the music, though!). However I was amused a few times post-watch to find myself moving through space like Lyonne with the absolute confidence of an unkillable cock-a-roach. I lOVE her performance.

    Glad to spot in another comment that you’re considering a substack — I had been wondering/hoping if you might go the patreon/substack route, I subscribe to another critic who produces a lot of great writing they put on the web for free and I’m really glad to be able to contribute in a small way to making that sustainable for them — would be absolutely the same here!

    • Lady Bug says:

      I loved Wag the Dog too when I watched it and this post is making me want to see it again. It’s such a great zeitgeist of the pre-9/11 world; and for me I also see it as a precursor to the dark, biting satire in Veep.

    • sheila says:

      // It’s an interesting mix of broad and dark (Woody Harrelson’s storyline!). I don’t know how I’d feel watching it again in these times! //

      It’s amazing how relevant it is – or also prescient. Pre-Iraq-war. It totally just predicts the whole thing. I think of Orson Welles in Citizen Kane as the newspaper publisher saying “I’ll supply the war.” It’s just … so sinister. I love how in Wag the Dog there are just no second thoughts – from anyone – about what they’re doing. They literally don’t see anything wrong with it. and it’s also funny – but DARK.

      I don’t know about our tolerance now for this kind of thing.

      // the absolute confidence of an unkillable cock-a-roach //

      God, she is just so great. A throwback to the openly LOCAL actors in the 70s – people you can’t mistake for anyone but a native New Yorker. I miss old-school New York accents. She has this one whole line reading in S1 when she’s talking to the family therapist (whom I also love) – and it’s this whole performance-art-piece with barely any comprehensible words – she does all this “ehhh-ehhh” – with all these exaggerated shrugs – and then says bluntly, “Humanity. Overrated.”

      It makes me laugh every time and I also think – who else is doing line readings like that? You could even call it all “over the top” but … it’s so HER. she’s so FREE. so happy for her – she’s been around for so long and I’ve always liked her. But I’m a Cheerleader! That might be the first time I clocked her – although there’s that other one about the family moving to Los Angeles and she is obsessed with her breast size. lol I can’t remember the title right now.

      // I had been wondering/hoping if you might go the patreon/substack route //

      yeah, it’s time I think. I had been pondering it – and a couple of people have said they would pay – the Elvis thing, and not reviewing it for any outlets (between you and me and all the internet: wtf) – pushed me over the edge. I just didn’t want to put the writing on my site – I’ll probably launch it with that, and it’ll be free – but I have other long-form pieces I want to write, so I’ll think about which ones I want to make people pay for. ?? I am still figuring it out and trying to understand Substack’s instructions, lol.

      • Todd Restler says:

        “..obsessed with her breast size.”

        That’s Slums of Beverley Hills with Alan Arkin as her father, Marissa Tomei as her sister, David Krumholtz as her brother, Carl Reiner as her uncle, and Kevin Corrigan (in Charles Manson t-shirt) as the love interest. And it has Shambala by Three Dog Night on the soundtrack. And Rita Moreno.

        Absolute gem of a movie.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.