Final movies post of 2018


Turbo Kid (2015)

This is a bit of nostalgia porn for people who loved BMX bikes and bad apocalypse and gory horror films. I ... don't much care about any of those things.

At first, watching this, I thought it was crassly mocking its ancestry. The love didn't come through until about the halfway point. Then it became obvious. And it was all love from there on out.

I will say: granted I don't watch gore-fun movies so this may not mean much, but I don't think I've ever laughed so much at gore. It was ... pretty darned creative.

My Neighbor Totoro (1998)

This is film group's selection for December and so I chose to finally watch the new dub. It has a lot of advantages over the old Fox dub, but it's not better in every way. I'm also curious if the rest of the film was merely remastered and remixed or if much of the sound and score were rerecorded.

Even though the old Fox dub has many flaws, I'm so familiar with it that even its problems are charming and comfortable. Still. Distractions from the new voices didn't prevent me from crying.

I love this movie so, so much.

The Comedy of Errors (1983)

It wasn't too bad, I guess. I didn't like it. But I've thought a lot these past couple weeks about Comedy of Errors and how I should think it should be staged. And Under an Hour is my primary decision.

But were I to put it on, I would prefer to turn it into a twenty-minute animated short. Sort of in this style. Adriana is a blubbering mess, always wailing and moping and making eyes at a framed image of her husband she carries around. The Ephesian Antipholus is hyperviolent while the Syracusian's violence is minimized.

I have other ideas. No one cares.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)

I absolutely love this movie.

Which probably means it will go down as a lesser Coens film as my opinions don't usually coincide with the orthodoxy.

But I stand by my claim.

North Avenue Irregulars (1979)

This was one of my childhood-favorite slapstick live-action 1970s Disney comedies. I probably have not seen it since the previous century and I've been a tad nervous to see how it holds up. After all, some others have not (Gus, The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again...).

The good news is, it's still a fun watch. That helps when you have a cast like Barbara Harris, Cloris Leachman, and Edward Herrmann. They make the places where the writing is lazy slide by fairly easily.

That said, the writing is hella lazy. Lady Steed and I spent a chunk of our six-hour drive two days later discussing how the film could be updated. The concept has potential and this is the sort of film Disney should be revisiting instead of @#$%$#ing Lion King....

Spider-Man (2002)

I probably haven't seen this since the first time, in my father-in-law's mancave.

It holds up pretty well. It's an easy argument to make, that the superhero renaissance began with this film. And I sort of remember it being a soft open to #2's excellence, but watching them back-to-back, it's hard to argue that one is better than the other.

Let's skip ahead to that one, shall we?

Spider-Man 2 (2004)

The effects in this film hold up better than those in #1, but for films well on their way to twenty-years-old, they hold up fine. It's also nice to watch them together because the real story here is that of Peter and MJ and it takes two films for them to have a satisfying arc.

This film too I have not seen but the once, this time in-theater, just before we moved back to California. It blew me away and, in my mind, has always been one of the greatest superhero films. On rewatching I still consider it quite a good superhero film, but there's so much more competition now, it's a harder claim to justify. Largely because what a superhero film can be has grown so much. It's happy, in other words, that I'm not sure I still find my old opinion justifiable.

One thing about watching these films? How young everyone looks. Time, it seems, has indeed passed.

One last comment, this about Kirsten Dunst (who, it would seem, has aged the least, which may be more a comment on Hollywood's expectations upon women than anything else). Isn't she great? And I'm not saying that because her nipples get cameos in both films. She manages to be a damsel in distress while remaining strong. She gets her Fay Wray on while seeming fully modern. And Sam Raimi's horror bits throughout the films are never better served than when Kirsten Dunst gets to play the scream queen.

Weirdly though, seeing her here most makes me want to finally watch Melancholia, just to catch some more of her range.

It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

It's been far too long since I've revisited this film. My kids had never seen it. Now they have. And a thousand parodies now make sense to them. And they thought it was a good movie.

But only their parents wept throughout and sobbed at the end.

This is a movie you admire and are moved by as a child. But it's something else entire when you grow up to be some mix of George and Mary yourself.

This should be the movie we watch every year. It has so much to give.

The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)

This is the greatest of all (known) New Year's Eve films and if you watched something else, you must justify yourself to me. It's perfect.

I cannnot understand anyone who declares this lesser Coen. Have you even seen this movie since 1994?

Come over any December 31st and share in the joys!


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