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Letterboxd Film Diary, August 2020

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Letterboxd Film Reviews

8/2/2020 John Mulaney: New in Town, 2012


8/2/2020 John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous at Radio City, 2018


8/3/2020 Rumpelstiltskin, 1995 (Rating: 0.5)


8/4/2020 Page One: Inside the New York Times, 2011

Yesterday a link began making the rounds, its headline as biting as anything I’ve seen on the subject matter: “The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free.” I’d forgotten about this documentary, but a recent online rabbit hole has led me in the direction of reading selections from the late David Carr, and Page One landed in my lap last night by way of kismet. “But let us also notice something,” the article notes, “the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Washington Post, the New RepublicNew York, Harper’s, the New York Review of Books, the Financial Times, and the London Times all have paywalls. BreitbartFox News, the Daily Wire, the Federalist, the Washington Examiner, InfoWars: free!” The concepts here are machinations stemming from a century of hand-wringing over what journalism is, what it is supposed to be, and how we as a society are to value and uphold a free press. At the same time how do we pay regard to our capitalistic roots, and reconcile the necessities of such businesses with the evolving landscape which houses these institutions, each attempting to maintain economic feasibility as they are smothered to death by a killer we willingly invited into our own home. My mind here isn’t focused on a paper, or what newspapers represent or deliver, but on how this is one part of a larger puzzle that has created unrealities that corrupt everything around us. What is to be made of the world if truth is of little consequence? The answer to this question continues to play out in front of us every single day.


8/5/2020 Sideshow, 2000 (Rating: 1)


8/5/2020 Bones, 2001 (Rating: 1.5)


8/6/2020 Under the Silver Lake, 2018 (Rating: 2)


8/7/2020 Dolls, 1987 (Rating: 1.5)

There’s an awful lot of suspension of disbelief at play here, but never does Dolls make it feel like the the plot wasn’t wholly cohesive. As goofy as it was, I appreciated how all the characters were rolled up in wholesome caricatures of themselves—that it was never fully clear if they were dimwitted or self-aware was so appropriate given the broader nonsensical tone of the movie. About as good as silly, playful, ’80s fantasy horror might get.


8/7/2020 Don’t Fuck in the Woods, 2016 (Rating: 0.5)


8/9/2020 The Wretched, 2020 (Rating: 1)


8/10/2020 Hobo with a Shotgun, 2011 (Rating: 1.5)


8/10/2020 The Cave, 2005 (Rating: 1)


8/12/2020 Sharkansas Women’s Prison Massacre, 2015 (Rating: 1)


8/13/2020 Drugstore Cowboy, 1989 (Rating: 3)


8/14/2020 Gags The Clown, 2019 (Rating: 1.5)


8/17/2020 A Cure for Wellness, 2016 (Rating: 2)


8/18/2020 All Hallows’ Eve 2, 2015 (Rating: 1)


8/18/2020 The Machinist, 2004 (Rating: 2.5)


8/19/2020 The Sacrament, 2013 (Rating: 1)


8/19/2020 Zombieland: Double Tap, 2019 (Rating: 1.5)


8/20/2020 The Other Guys, 2010 (Rating: 2)


8/21/2020 We Summon the Darkness, 2019 (Rating: 1.5)


8/21/2020 Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!, 1978 (Rating: 0.5)


8/21/2020 Madman, 1981 (Rating: 1.5)

Madman portrays zero self-awareness—and there’s no end to its brain-puckering kitsch—but besides owning what is perhaps the most asexual hot tub scene in film history (?), it also has flashes of top-tier ’80s slasher brilliance. Simple as its template might be, it’s effective.


8/22/2020 Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, 2008


8/22/2020 The Hills Have Eyes, 1977 (Rating: 2)


8/22/2020 A Deadly Adoption, 2015 (Rating: 2)

I’d completely forgotten this was a thing until scrolling through titles this evening and catching myself thinking, “That kind of looks like—no, it’s Will Fer—and that’s Kristen W—I remember this!” Ninety minutes later here I am. Almost every time Ferrell or Wigg are on screen a smile came to me as I reflected on how much thought, care, and consideration went into making this margarine sandwich of a movie. This is genius level mockery. This isn’t a parody in the sense that there are winks to the camera, or visual acknowledgements cluing the viewer into what’s going on—the entire thing is clean, and delivered straight. (The comparison that came to mind is Ferrell’s “Dissing Your Dog” SNL sketch, in terms of tone, but stripped entirely of amusing dialog.) I can only imagine the cast looking at each other after every shot, winking slyly, as if to say, “I can’t believe we’re actually going through with this,” and I have so much respect for the fact that they did.


8/22/2020 The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young, 2014


8/23/2020 The Institute, 2013


8/23/2020 American Grindhouse, 2010


8/23/2020 The Last Man on Earth, 1964 (Rating: 2)


8/23/2020 Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, 2000 (Rating: 1)

Having likely only ever viewed this around the time of its original release, it’s interesting to catch myself singing along to lines I remember from Marilyn Manson and Queens of the Stone Age songs that push the story along, while never really connecting with any part of the film. Nostalgia is a really strange thing—I recall appreciating this movie, as I had loved the original, but maybe I only ever just enjoyed some of the songs that soundtracked an otherwise generic occult flick.


8/23/2020 Free Solo, 2018


8/24/2020 180° South, 2010

To look at where you’re going and acknowledge the route was misguided is sometimes difficult. But as it is asked, what does progress mean from that point? Is progress unwavering dedication to trudge ahead, blind to whether you can right a flawed decision by keeping on as though everything is fine? Or is progress making a one-eighty and stepping forward toward the already traveled road, back the way you came. Life, it’s suggested here, easily becomes more complex, but is difficult to make more simple. These aforementioned questions, by the way, come from a brief interview clip of the Patagonia guys, while the remainder of the film documents a disjointed travelogue, which weaves in an out of something resembling a narrative. An enjoyable watch, the irony of overlooking simplicity to create what ended up on the screen isn’t lost on me.


8/24/2020 After the Dark, 2013 (Rating: 1)

“Teenage Thought Experiments: The Movie”… in which it is revealed that love is the most dangerous thought experiment of them all.


8/24/2020 StageFright: Aquarius, 1987 (Rating: 1)


8/30/2020 The Sandlot, 1993 (Rating: 2.5)


8/30/2020 Robin Hood: Men in Tights, 1993 (Rating: 2.5)

Today we watched a few movies at Carl’s request, each to celebrate his 70th birthday: The Sandlot and Robin Hood: Men in Tights. While I’m tired of watching them, when you get right down to it I really do love them both. They’ve been a part of our collective lives for almost thirty years. Almost. Thirty. Years. When the screaming kid in Men in Tights remarks, “Well, I’ve got to go home alone now,” I told my dad that MacAulay Culkin turned forty this year. As a matter of fact, he turned forty four days ago. He called that the goofiest moment of the movie. That was our moment of conversational novelty. Throughout The Sandlot he pointed out the same things he always points out—the models of the cars, that he had a pair of PF Flyers—and throughout Men in Tights he made the same comments as if we haven’t been here at least a dozen times before—this was the first movie that turned him around on Mel Brooks, etc. It’s a bittersweet adventure, because so much of this is what I’ve grown tired of—living the same moments over and over through his words and hearing the same stories told in the same ways—but I’m glad we did this. I really am. I don’t know how many times we’ve watched these together, but you never know when it’ll be the last time.