Hup two three film


It's weird. I feel like I never watch movies. That I averaged one every three days feels impossible. Impossible! And yet somehow I did.

Maybe I don't understand how time works?


Rustin (2023)

I hadn't heard of Bayard Rustin in such a way that his name would stick with me until reading this article from a recent New Yorker. I was amazed and delighted and I wanted to share the word. So I built a Rustin unit for my sophomores. Unfortunately, it didn't go so well. I made some strategic errors. I should have, for instance, started with the movie rather than culminating with it. Live and learn.

The movie's great. I'm not sure it'll be a classic or anything and it has a couple minor missteps, but the steps it takes well—it's like watching the Nicholas brothers dance.

I also appreciate that it's not shaped like a typical civil-rights biopic. Although I do wish it had been less bouncy with the timeline. Today's students are not all media-literate to follow that sort of filmplay. Although we can probably blame their distraction, as well.

Adam Gopnick, in the essay linked to above, says, "Lives worth remembering tend to have one central episode." And that Rustin's is bringing into existence the March on Washington. And maybe he's right. And maybe it's best if a biopic focus on that one central episode. But, on the other hand, lives are large. And ending is that day (save a couple sentences thrown on the screen) almost felt like a disservice to me.

Anyway, Colman Domingo deserves his Oscar nod. With very little screentime, Jeffrey Wright makes an astonishing and ambivalent villain. (What a year he's had!) And while Chris Rock was distracting at first, he came to own his role. Shoutouts to the less famous people who rocked their roles as well. Sorry for not looking up your names.

library dvd
@ in the Mood for Love (2001)

This is a making-of documentary, but it's done with so much artistry it's almost like an alternate version of the original film. In fact, learning how they just shot and shot and shot for over a year without a truly coherent plan is a) inspiring (make a movie the way I write a book!) and covet-inducing (so many other possibilities for these characters I'd love to see!). In short, it's kinda reminded of Everything Everywhere All at Once in that it was sorta like watching a dozen different films made from the same footage all at once. Each of those movies might exist on another timeline. Who knows.

The Barber of Little Rock (2023)

This'll probably be the last of the Oscar noms I see before the awards (incidentally, don't miss Raymond Chandler's brutal essay thereon). It's a documentary short (but long enough to qualify as a feature here). It's an inspiring look at what's possible when someone just cares enough to act. I feel a bit ashamed at my minimal ambitions to make the world better, really. Here's this guy figuring out how to bring money into the long-ppushed-down Black neighborhoods of Little Rock, helping people start businesses and get their lives running. It's a beautiful and abashing look at something people like me can too easily ignore. Even when I'm thinking about it all the time.

library dvd
Bachelor Mother (1939)

So I haven't checked her discography but I think this is my first Ginger Roger film. And I have never seen David Niven so young. That was reason enough, but I picked it up because a friend recommended it.

It's the story of a young women who is misunderstood to be the mother of an orphaned baby and then bullied into becoming its mother. It has a lot of RKO crosspromotion with Donald Duck (who gets an excellent credit at the end) and a satisfying happy ending with plenty of laughs along the way. But it's also a frustrating look at how a women are pushed around and not listened to.

It's a silly little studio picture but it largely holds up as entertaining in 2024. Once you get over how young David Niven is. (Who knew he was ever younger than this!)

And the baby is excellent.

Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002)

When this movie came out I couldn't get excited about seeing it. For a couple reasons. One, if I didn't like it, apparently I would be a bad person. And second, I didn't think I'd like it. A movie about the Aboriginal experience with Kenneth Branaugh as the main character? That didn't seem right.

I'm glad to say he's not the main character but I still didn't really like it. I appreciate the importance of the story and I liked its fidelity, but it's surprising to me that this was directed by such an experienced hand. I had a hard time following the geography and the passing of time. And those two things are largely what the film is about.

The kids the film revolves around did good work. The tracker was perhaps the most interesting character—even though the writing was minimal, his acting was subtle and sublime.

Next Goal Wins (2023)

While there are a couple of wonderful moments, how did this happen? Taika's much too innovative a filmmaker to make this casually assembled series of filmmaking cliches. I don't just mean sport-movies cliches, but also character cliches and shot cliches and editing cliches. It's so weird! He's better than this!

Now, look: the good moments are good enough that the movie's not a waste of time. And if you love movies that supply beats when you expect them and your responses can pavlov themselves, good for you. But Taika's better than this.

Robin Hood (1973)

I've read many times (perhaps most strongly here) that this movie marked the end of good Disney. Both inside and outside Disney, lots of people dismissed the story, the anthropomorphic characters, and pretty much everything else as evidence that the brand was dead.

Anyone who was a small child in 1973 (or younger) however tends to count this as one of their favorites.

I don't know when I last saw it [apparently not since 2013 when I started doing this] but it was interesting to watch this alongside Errol Flynn. I watched the first half of Flynn first and I was struck by how much Disney had lifted. And then, during the first half of Disney, how dumb it was. But then I saw the second half of Disney first and I was completely invested, as always. I'm now supercurious how the last half of Flynn will feel.

Incidentally, the most praised song of Robin Hood, "Love," while a solid song, can't be better than third-best in the film. I guess the tendency of picking the love ballad as your winner goes way back.

The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

Absolutely thrilling and in the most fun way. In many ways, this movie is like a cartoon. Only bad guys die, everything is clothed in bright colors to announce their identity. And it's worth mentioning that although I like this romance, the actual cartoon's romance is the more believable.

Does it hold up to its reputation as one of the greatest films ever made in terms of fun to watch? That's hard to answer. I think it would for children. For teens who only know how to read films made in the last few years, maybe less so. But the swordplay was incredible. I don't think I've seen anything half so good in a film made in my lifetime.

The charm of Errol Flynn is intense as well. I'm not sure who the modern equivalent is. Cary Elwes obviously is channeling him in The Princess Bride; Paul Rudd and Robert Downey Jr. have vaguely moved in that direction. But he's sui generis, for sure.

library dvd
Inside Man (2006)

This is like the first seen of Dark Knight or the explosively violent scene in Heat or the climax of Ocean's Eleven stretched out for an entire movie. The heist is almost the entire runtime.

But it's not quite what it seems. And just what it actually is is never clear. It takes time for it to come together. As any good heist should. But the stakes are never quite what we think, simultaneously both much worse and far less worse, depending on the angle at which you examine it. Smart movie.

This is only my fifth Spike Lee movie and my first straight thriller. His chops apply to this corner of filmmakig. Sure, a lot of that is the script and the editing, but man. Excellent work, Mr Lee.

Incidentally, this is one of the films I've finally gotten around to watching thanks to their appearance on Framed. I'm not keeping up, but I'm knocking a few out. (Although I haven't seen most of them, I'm at 550/550.)

library dvd

Dune: Part One (2021)

I mean. It was good. But it's my third favorite Villeneuve film of the three I've seen. Coulda been twenty to thirty minutes shorter in the first three quarters. I wasn't a huge fan of the sound mixing. Visually it was great, though not quite as great as it thinks it is. The acting made good use of familiar faces and voices. Largely. Zendaya only got a couple lines and I wasn't quite sold on her delivery.

But still. It came together at the end and I had a good time. So, you know, it was good.

Previous films watched


jan feb mar










Seven Short Monologues for Palm Sunday



Today the people love me
as I ride upon this sinless beast.

I am an image
            an idea
            an easy metaphor

And maybe they will love me later
as I walk upon my feet.
My time is short.
I pray I do not stumble.


I, Judah, today, am proud to witness
the son of God as he proclaims his Davidity.

He is just and full of salvation.

Today he may be lowly as he rides this silly beast,
but tomorrow—tomorrow, he rides us,
a rising army,
the mighty arm of God to punish Rome
and to destroy our enemies.

Hear the people cry Hosanna!

Hear them cry for blood and their redemption.


He said it would be there.
And there it was.
And now he rides it.
And the people are mad with joy
As he smiles.

But I know madness.
I’ve seen this joy before.
And while he forgives them,
I remember.

            High Priest

Rome may not demand quiet,
But quiet is a thing we can give
Without compromising the demands
Of our fathers’ God.

The people may have their little heroes
But a true prophet would know
His donkey is a symbol of peace,
And not revel in the screaming of fools.


I don’t remember grabbing this palm frond
and I don’t remember coming to this street
and I’m not quite clear what hosanna even means
but oh, I am glad to shout it.

Whatever is happening—
whatever it means—
and whatever it leads to—
Oh, I am glad to shout.


I remember when you stumbled around your uncle’s Bethlehem home, pulling yourself up and walking into my arms. I remember when the magi arrived giving us a wealth we had never imagined. And I remember your frankincense and your gold and your myrrh bribing our way into Egypt. And I remember those who died in your absence.

So when I see a crowd crying your name and casting their clothing in your course, I cannot smile.

Oh, my son. You say this is prophecy fulfilled.

But I have seen prophecy.

And I have seen what follows.



As I said unto my apostles, I say unto you:
You are they whom my Father gave me.
You are my friends.

I know where I walk.

I walk it for you.


This poem was commissioned by the Bay Area Council of Latter-day Saints.

Video of the event this poem was presented at will eventually appear on Paris Fox’s Vimeo page. When that happens, I’ll update this link to something more direct.

Link to live version.


Four comics could hardly be more different


031) The Sandman: The Wake by Neil Gaiman et al, finished March 18

And so I have made it. All the way through all ten volumes. Two or three or maybe four of which I had not read before, but now have.

And it is a satisfying journey. It is. But—as is typical with my Gaiman experience—it is the short things I like better than the long things. The stories that largely stand alone more than the overall epic arc.

But I do like the arc.

And I think that's all I have to say.

possibly nine weeks

032) The World of Edena by Mœbius, finished March 23 

If I've read Mœbius before, it would have been something short and I do not remember it. Neither can I remember now what led me to finally seek out some Mœbius.

(I may have been delayed because I've often confused Mœbius with Dave Sim—perhaps because Mœbius  rhymes with Cerberus?—and seeing those massive b&w books on comicbookstore shelves was always a bit intimidating as a kid. [Not to mention his later reputation as a nut.])

Anyway, Mœbius has been a big influence on modern science-fiction film and Miyazaki and, of course, comics, so it's about time. I guess many people consider Ednea his magnum opus and it is certainly large and strange and epic, consisting of galactic mysticism and nested dreams. By the end there's no way to know what's real. If you have an allergy to surrealism, do not read.

The art is stunning and lovely, and the writing isn't self-serious even though it's stabbing at large notions like the meaning of life, the purpose of love, the role of government, the weight of dreams, etc etc. I think I'd rather read something else of his, something more grounded, but hey—now I get it.

perhaps one or perhaps three weeks


033) Three Rocks: The Story of Ernie Bushmiller, the Man Who Created Nancy by Bill Griffith, finished March 23

A lot to like about this book. I learned new details about Bushmiller himself and it includes plenty of actual strips. It's not clear exactly what Griffith's points are. He glances around to interesting bits like a moth without clear regard for order or purpose. It's like he had a checklist and figured out how to get each point into the chronology and that was that.

His memoir about his mother was a more coherent work. And other books about Nancy are more persuasive as to its qualities. This one I liked reading but the space it gave on an obvious literary hoax and the weird epilogue suggest Griffith loves Nancy beyond reason.

And I guess that's okay.

one or two weeks

034) Mighty Jack and Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke, finished March 23

This crossover book doesn't just bring together the characters from the two series. Hatke is coming into his full power here. The characters have aged ever so slightly and that adjustment makes the story's thematic beats hit ever so much more effectively. I don't think his publisher would go for this (they won't even let Raina attempt this), and I don't know if he's interested, but I'd love to watch him take these characters into adulthood. Move beyond the kids-on-safe-adventures genre and see what he can do.

(Please don't interpret that desire as a knock on kid-lit. The books are great. But they have their limitations, as with any genre. I want to know what else he can do.)

two days



Let's start with the untimely deaths


If you subtract the murdering and the heroing and the poeming, there's really not much left.


022) The Life and Death of King John by William Shakespeare, finished February 28

Another very strange play. I know I say this every time I read a new one. I'm starting to think Shakespeare might be a good writer. Although he deals with similar themes and milieus and motifs, each play is distinct.

King John is arguably the most forgotten of the plays in 2024 (apparently this, too, is the Victorians fault) and I'll admit I'm a bit flummoxed as to what it's all about. John is supposed to be a terrible king and he is terrible. But the play doesn't really treat him as terrible. Even when he's ordering the death of a child, he doesn't seem like and he turns out much differently then, say, Macbeth or Richard III when they do the same. The role of the female characters is fascinating. They dominate the first half then they all die offstage in an instant. The appearance of Prince Henry is only the most perplexing of the sudden appearances. The early battle feels like the sort of battle that should appear at the end of any other play. The role of the bastard boggles. In short, very fun! Excited to read more about it and to talk about it with my classes!

three days

022) Might Jack and the Goblin King by Ben Hatke, finished February 29

More Hatke goodness!

I'm guessing this book is skewed older given some so-so language but intellectually we're in the same place.

one sit

023) Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel García Márquez, finished March 4

Considering how short this book is, how did it take so long to read? I didn't feel like I dallied, but everything from rain to roadtrips got in the way.

Chronicle reminds me of Wilder's The Bridge of San Luis Rey: someone has died and someone else is doing research, putting together the story and trying to figure out what it all means. Chronicle was released fifty-four years later and although some very lazy searching doesn't suggest a connection, I can't help but to wonder if ol' Gabo's responding to Thornton Wilder's novel. The researcher is now an insider, rather than an outside. It focused on one person and their actual community network verses looking at several people and hoping to find metaphysical connections between them. I dunno. But it feels likely.

(Yes, even though it's based on a true story. Bigshot award-winners must read each other, right?)

Anyway, it starts "On the day they were going to kill him" (trans. Gregory Rabassa) and ends with his murder. Although the timeline is far from straightforward, shooting years into the past and future and all over the day in question, the basic setup of nonsuspense is clear from go. The book will end with the murder of Santiago Nasar. And what a gruesome murder it is.

The narrator seems to think Nasar's a solid fellow and the town generally seems to agree although, when it comes to the girl working at his house, he does seem to have the sort of wealth that leads to men saying when you're a star, you can do anything. Grab 'em by the pussy, for instance.

But that's hardly the most alien element to me reading this story as a 2024 American. The matteroffactness of honor killing, for instance, is even more shocking. But it's this very simple-strangeness that I appreciate the most. I believe in this world he's created. And it has its marvels and charms. But hoo. I wouldn't want to live there.

But what a tragedy---for everyone in town to know you're about to be murdered. Everyone except for you.

somehow like six weeks


024) Millay by Edna St. Vincent Millay, finished March 6

I recently read an article about Milly and it made me realize that aside from the figs, I didn't know much about her. So I picked a volume from the library and I read it.

And I really liked it! I did cotton to her earlier work more strongly, but I did find other favorites like "Wraith," "Burial," "Lament" (which has an interesting echo in "The Ballad the Harp-Weaver"), and "Exiled."

Also, I sent a research request to the Schulz Research Center because these lines from her 1919 play remind me of something from 1959:


PIERROT                                  Don't stand so near me!
   I am become a socialist. I love
   Humanity; but I hate people. Columbine,
   Put on your mittens, child; your hands are cold.


We'll see what they say.

In the meantime, color me sad Millay isn't yet rediscovered by the women and youth of Gen Z. I think they'd really like her.

nine weeks but really only the weeks on either end of that span


025, 026) The Life and Death of King John by William Shakespeare, finished March 6, 8

Always interesting to see how classes will take to a play I've never taught before. In general, I fear the histories just because . . . just because. Even though Richard III is the only other one I've taught and I love teaching Richard III. Anyway, King John is an early play and Shakespeare's not quite Shakespeare yet, but it does have some great moments. The plot's a little hard to follow and a bunch of characters talk too dang much but, as always, we're latching on. There's more confusion that usual but I'm feeling positive it'll all work out before the test. We'll see!

two weeks max


027) Murder Book by Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell, finished March 11

I found this book because I loved Campbell's essay in The Peanuts Papers and was learning more about her. I also like her New Yorker comics.

The book is okay. I daresay it was a good learning experience for her. By the end of the book she's gotten better at panels and guiding the eye, etc. But it's a pretty long book about being obsessed with true crime. And while I enjoyed every page, I'm not sure it needed to be so many pages. The epiphanies she arrives at are pretty mundane. Plus, all her women have the same face. And there's some editing issues, eg, one character's skin keeps changing color. Or tone, I suppose, this being a black-and-white book. And, um, did we really need to see her on the toilet So Many Times?

Anyway, solid proof of concept. I think her next one will be better.

maybe ten days


028) A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr.

This classic Fifties work of science fiction is about a world after our world ends. A nuclear holocaust happened—my guess is sometime in the 1960s—and the novel opens 700 years later. It's an almost medieval world. Our main characters are Catholic monks striving to maintain the shattered (and burnt) remnants of human knowledge so that someday, when people care again, that knowledge will still exist. They remind me of the monks in How the Irish Saved Civilization. And rightly so.

But hold your hat! At the end of part one, we zoom forward another 700 years. And at the end of part two, another 700 years.

In other words, Leibowitz is like The Fifth Head of Cerberus in that you have three novellas. I think each of these could stand on their own but each is so clearly informed be the one before, it's hard to say. You read them out of order and let me know.

In some senses, in terms of normal expectations for a novel, this can be a frustrating book. Main characters die and we don't know what happens until 700 years have passed. That sort of thing.

But of course those great distances allow for the examination of hefty questions like: what do we learn from the past and what is just being human? does booklearning actually make us any wiser? et cetera.

And the constantly present lens of Catholocism allows for a deliberately contemplative and multiplyingly provocative look at the many questions and issue the novel raises. Which isn't too say it isn't fun to read. It's crazy fun to read.

The reason I finally picked it up is because I finally had a group of AP Lit students choose it off the dystopia list for the group project. (Incidentally, though often described as dystopian, I'm not so sure it is. I'll be interested to see if they think it should stay on the list.) Since I wanted to have my own experience with the book, I've been hurrying to get it read before they do. I just beat them.

Anyway, I was worried in the early pages that they would be bored. But by page forty or so, I'd lost that worry. In fact, when I told them this and talked about the first few pages, they thought they sounded fascinating. And they've been devouring the book. I'm excited to see what they do with it.

Anyway, three times it's placed for the Locus for best sf novel of all time. Those votes weren't spaced 700 years apart, but still. Impressive.

about two weeks


029) The Last Hero by Terry Pratchett and Paul Kidby, finished March 15

Something about fantasy books with realistic paintings throughout always turn me off. I think particularly so when the author is Terry Pratchett. I'm skeptical a painter can be appropriately funny. Or, more accurately, appropriately witty.

But you'll see I added Kidby's name to Pratchett's uptop and that's because he earned it. Not only is appropriately witty, he's also working in tandem with Pratchett to tell the story. By no means is this a comic, but, in the same manner, the text and the images are working together to tell the story. Neither stands on its own.

As a Pratchett novel, it's short. But it feels just as rich. And the art is spectacular. The image of our protagoists standing on the moon watching Discrise with the frame dominated by the enormous face of an elephant . . . breathtaking.

 about five days

030) Karen's Roller Skates by Ann M. Martin and Katy Farina, finished March 18

It's still fine.

one sit


 2024 × 10 = Bette Davis being Bette Davis

001) Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke, finished January 1
002) The Complete Peanuts: 1977 – 1978 by Charles M. Schulz , finished January 6
003) The Sandman: The Kindly Ones by Neil Gaiman et al, finished January 10
004) Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke, finished January 17
005) Touched by Walter Mosley, finished January 19
006) Opposable Thumbs: How Siskel & Ebert Changed Movies Forever by Matt Singer, finished January 20
007) Evergreen Ape: The Story of Bigfoot by David Norman Lewis, finished January 24
008) What Falls Away by Karin Anderson, finished February 1
009) Peanuts Jubilee: My Life and Art with Charlie Brown and Others by Charles M. Schulz, finished February 3
010) Legends of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke, finished February 3

 A few of my favorite things

011) Roaming by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki, finished February 3
012) The Return of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke, February 9
013) Things in the Basement by Ben Hatke, February 10
014) A Charlie Brown Religion: Exploring the Spiritual Life and Work of Charles M. Schulz by Stephen J. Lind, finished February 10
015) 1st Nephi: A Brief Theological Introduction by Joseph M. Spencer, finished February 10
016) Dendo by Brittany Long Olsen, finished February 11
017) The Ten Winners of the 2023 Whiting Awards, finished February 12
018) The Peanuts Papers: Writers and Cartoonists on Charlie Brown, Snoopy & the Gang, and the Meaning of Life edited by Andrew Blaune, finished February 17
019) Do Not Disturb Any Further by John Callahan, finished February 17
020) Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke, finished circa February 19
021) 2nd Nephi: A Brief Theological Introduction by Terryl Givens, February 24



Feature Filmbruary 2024


After the (covid-fueled) bounty of January, I suppose we can't be surprised that even a long February fails to meet that high-water mark. The good news is we run the gamut here from the classic to the overrated, from the good to the bad. We got it all. And if not for Leap Day, we woulda averaged one movie per two days.

Honestly, that does seem like it should be enough.


our dvd
Groundhog Day (1993)

It's been a while since we last watched Groundhog Day and I'm delighted to say we all enjoyed it. Although the 7yrold maybe missed some of the finer points.

It's earned its status as classic.

Incidentally, rewatching again so shortly after watching Palm Springs, it really feels like Palm Springs is trying to answer all the questions people who've seen Groundhog Day a million time have unavoidably have come to. That's not to suggest the movie is full of holes or something, but that's what'll happen no matter what movie you watch a million times.

Hello, Dolly! (1969)

This took four or five sittings over three or four months, but we finally made it through! The 7yrold found aspects of it very stressful and we had to stop, and we tended to pick it up again just before bedtimes. So it took a while. But she said it deserves "five, no ten" stars, largely for the singing.

It's interesting how both Barbra Streisand and Michael Crawford wiggles their jaws back and forth when they sing. And I get why Streisand became her generations great comedienne and why no one thought Crawford was a good choice for the Phantom.

Anyway, I don't buy the change in Horace Vandergelder, and I'm mystified by how looooong it is. This made good theatrical sense? Honestly, I needed the breaks as well. It kinda goes on and on and on.

I was surprised how many of the songs I knew (most of them); I was not surprised that the film is charming and lovely.

Now, time to show her WALL-E!

library dvd
In the Mood for Love (2000)

Probably should've watched the special features and read the essays before watching this one. It's a lovely film (Maggie Cheung's dresses alone!) but 90% of the subtext is lost on me, the American viewer. I can't tell there are multiple dialects of Chinese being spoken or that the dishes the cook is making are marking the changing of the seasons or what the years mean to those storied in Hong Kong history. So I get the basic story of two lonely, betrayed people finding a connection, but now I understand the whole thing's heavily allegorical and, yeah, missed all that.

What was most striking is how the camera and edits do all the can to keep up as far away from the characters as possible. We can do nothing for them. Not even understand them

Since it's generally agreed to be one of the greatest films, we'll have to give it another shot sometime.

our dvd
Napoleon Dynamite (2014)

One of my absolute favorite films, all time.

Few things bring me this much joy, reliably, time after time after time.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (2023)

I think this is the first TMNT feature I've seen since the original. It's hard to believe I never saw the second, but I don't remember doing so if I did. Certainly I saw the first more than once, but still: we're talking over thirty years ago. Do no ask me to make comparisons.

What I will say is that I really liked this movie. It's playing with appearance like the Spider-verse movies and the Peanuts movie and I hope mainstream films keep playing in this way. The movie is a solid and intelligent entertainment. Nothing more, but why would it need to me?

Also, I just want to say that the thing I was most skeptical of was a teenaged April but I loved this version of April. And it's fun in the credits to discover that it's Ayo Edebiri whom I'd never heard of before a couple weeks ago when she absolutely KILLED on SNL.

Glad it made money. I was so (plesantly) surprised by what they did with Bebop and Rocksteady I'm ready to see what they do with Shredder.

Rialto Cinemas Cerrito
Poor Things (2023)

One of the first things I remember reading about Poor Things was that it's another version of Barbie, I assumed somewhat in plot and yesalot in theme. And I suppose that's a reasonable take. But Barbie is better at what Barbie does and what Poor Things is up to is just as complex but much less obvious. I mean—you can reduce either of those movies to a feminist catchphrase that can then me mocked on X (the appropriate use of X is when it is bad; Twitter is still the prefered usage for good and neutral usages).

I was glad that Lady Steed and I had a lot to talk about afterwards. Unfortunately we had to return home instead of to a nonkid location for continued dialogue, but it's certainly provocative in a dozen different ways. Plus, it's such a cool-looking movie. We just barely got to see it on the big screen and I'm glad we did. (Sorry, American Fiction. Sorry, Lisa Frankenstein.)

And while the male characters speak frequently of Bella Baxter's beauty, the film itself leans into how strange her face can be. But everything is strange here. Appropriate use of fisheyes and irises, for instance. The entire film leaves us offkilter. The chimeras turned out great, by the way.

In the end, I'm not sure how well the film communicates but it's satisfying as a story. It'll be interesting to see if we're still talking about it in twenty years.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (2023)

So it was entertaining as promised although (as I expected) I didn't really get many of the in-jokes. Which is fine.

It's hard to imagine watching it again but I enjoyed the ride.

The Rainmaker (1997)

Believe it or not, this is my first time watching a Grisham adaptation. This was has a great cast and is directed by Coppola but I mostly just sorta started it because I had to start something. And this is what I started.

The cast is terrific. Even small roles are filled well. Danny Glover eats up the judge role, and the well-filled roles get smaller than that.

I haven't read the book but I hope the secondary/romantic plot about the battered wife was filled out better there. In the film, a couple corners needed cutting.

But the courtroom scenes thrilled as needed and Jon Voigt makes for an excellent adversary. It's probably a little wrong but I watched it in three sitting so so what?

Internet Archive
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970)

I'd heard of this, the only Roger Ebert-penned film, of course. I even skimmed the first twenty minutes once, a few years ago. But I always assumed the general opinion was that it was terrible. But then, reading Opposable Thumbs, I learned that its terribleness was not a universal opinion. In fact, one critic called it the best movie of the Sixties. And it is very, very Sixties. It reminds me of Hello Down There, a 1969 musical comedy that I saw exactly once c. 1991 and loved and can still sing a pair of songs from though they too I have never heard again. (It's a movie I don't want to rewatch because it seems certain a rewatch can only lower its value to me.) Only this movie is dirty.

I mean—of course it is. It's Russ Meyer. But it showed a lot more restraint, sexually, than I'd anticipated. And it's just . . . silly, really. There's usually one naked woman dancing per party, for instance. Just because.

Anyway, I would agree with the terrible camp. Almost every bit of the movie would work wonderfully out of context, but in context? Nope. The movie's dumb. The characters change but why or how is unclear. Maybe it made sense at the end of the Sixties but it just feels like nonsense now. Campy nonsense. Period nonsense. But nonsense.

Stardust (2007)

Lotta choices here that stick the film very firmly in 2007. It should've had a much lighter touch on the score but it when all Pirates of the Caribbean. It could've relaxed on the cg but it really wanted to show us what can be done with all this new technology. That's now almost twenty years old.

I can see why my wife went and saw it with her friends then didn't want to go back to watch it with me. It's pretty fun but it's not a movie you really need to watch twice. And certainly not in the same month.

I know I've been skeptical of Gaiman's adult prose novels, but the movie did make me want to give this one a shot. We'll see.

Barefoot in the Park (1967)

It started great, but our young couple got less interesting as the film proceeded. Or maybe they were always that uninteresting but they were attractive and horny enough we didn't notice until there was a much more interesting older couple around to eclipse them.

Hard to say.

Horny and attractive young people do tend to be distracting.

The Last Repair Shop (2023)

This is nominated for Best Documentary Short, but it's long enough to count as a feature here in Thville.

Anyway, it's less about the repair shop for musical instruments run for students by LAUSD and more about the people who do the repairs and it turns them into a metaphor for the students and the instruments into a metaphor for the repairers etc etc etc.

The structure's pretty simple and pretty obvious, but you know what?

This movie works. It's so good. I can't talk about it yet without my voice cracking.

Flamin' Hot (2023)

I know that some of the details are . . . sus. But the movie's loose with fact and fantasy and in the end it doesn't bother me. It's part of the story. A bit meta maybe, but still.

The story is fun and moving at points. It's also a bit paint-by-numbers at times and some of the elements are a tad confused.

But in the end? A ride worth taking.

Link+ dvd

Heavenly Creatures (1994)

Finally seen this early Peter Jackson film! It's the first of his movies I ever heard of and now I've seen it.

It does a great job capturing both what is wonderful and what is dangerous about adolescence. The passions and lacks of perspective that take you so high and so low.

I didn't know how fanciful part of the moviemaking would be. Overall, I liked the movie. Lady Steed did as well, but found the score frequently distracting.

My only real note was that the opening scene was such that I didn't realize that which mother would be murdered was kept from us through the first three quarters of the film. I misread it and I wish that had been handled slightly differently.

Oh! Also, one of the miniaturists was named The Thorinmeister. Sure hope he got to work on Lord of the Rings.


Previous films watched


jan feb