Jejune no more.


We lost the last week to camping but we fit in some fine specimens before the wilderness devoured us.


library dvd
Happy Gilmore (1996)

I didn't realize until it just appeared in this movie that "It's Only Just Begun" is about a newlywed couple*. I am really bad at lyrics, man. I've known that song my whole life. I've heard The Carpenters sing it so many time and I've probably heard Grant Lee Buffalo sing it even more.

Speaking of, it's a little disappointing that when the segued from The Carpenters into a rock number, then didn't crunchy up the Grant Lee Buffalo version. I like their straight version, but man do they do crunchy well.

The 14yrold wanted to watch an Adam Sandler movie not quite knowing what to expect. I chose this one as being actually funny and not deeply terrible. He liked it. The 16yrold liked it. Even Lady Steed liked it who had never seen it before (and never cared for Adam Sandler). Even though I last saw it with her dad around the time she and I were married. "Only just begun" you might say.

The Muppet Movie (1979)

Life's like a movie. Write your own ending.

Keep believing.

Keep pretending.

Only bummed to find out too late that it would be back in theaters LAST NIGHT, hours after I showed my class the first half. Seeing it in theaters was one of my greatest movie experiences.

our dvd
Jurassic Park (1993)

I mean.

It's perfect.

Diego Maradona (2019)

Not all movies are for all people.

I thought the constraints the director chose were great. Telling the story entirely through extant footage. Neat.

But I don't know this guy. I didn't recognize his name. I've never successfully managed to care about soccer. And while the story was interesting and some of the sport was exciting to watch, the filmmaker was either assuming I knew more than I do or he just didn't always successfully patch around the gaps in the narrative or he just failed to guess what I would want to know next. For instance, after the illegal Hand of God goal and the astonishing Goal of the Century goal, all the film tells us is that Argentina wins. Not the final score. Which matters. If they won by one then that illegal goal was a very big deal. If they won by, say, three then it's no more than a curious footnote. But the film doesn't bother with the final score. And I don't know the reason.

Later, an entire ten years of Maradona's life—covering the time between an arrest and an appearance on a talk show—disappears in a single cut. What happened in those ten years?

The film is full of stuff like that.

But I think the film's biggest failure is it thinks it's a tragedy. But it's just sad. It can't be a tragedy because it did nothing to make me think that the lead is a great man. And so his fall, ipso facto, cannot be tragic. Merely sad.

The film proves he's good at his sport and that other people think he's a god among men, but it never allows us to think that. So unless you bring that feeling to the film with you, where's the tragedy?

A Florida Enchantment (1914)

At first I thought this film was just kind of boring, a drag, with some embarrassing blackface to boot. But it got more and more interesting as time went on. In short, Lillian finds some magic seeds that swap the sex of whoever eats them. She eats one and becomes a man, instantly crasser, courser, ruder, and kissing the ladies. Many twists occur. Some of which are embarrassing. Some of which are startling. Some of which are excellent storytelling. Others of which rely on cheap laughs found in heteronormativity and the sort of low expectations of humanity bad movies always rely on. And in the end, alas alas, it was all a dream. That's what disappointed me most, but what you gonna do.

One of the things that perplexed me is that her (his?) fiance is rendered the bad guy. And until he (by then, she) dies, Lillian/Lawrence seems fine with anything terrible that happens to him.

As a 110yrold work on gender and sexuality, it's fascinating. As a work of entertainment, it's adequate. But I can't really call it terrific or anything. Still. It's only 93 minutes long, so...?

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Advise & Consent (1962)

I saw this film recommended as one of the great political film a couple times in as many days, and then I saw it on a list of one of the greatest Mormon movies. I get seeing it as a great political film—it deals with some aspects of politics I've rarely seen on screen and nothing about what will happen next is every obvious—but how it is a Mormon film? I don't think any of the primary creators were LDS. I suppose it's because one of the main characters is the senator from Utah. It's not clear he's Mormon but his name is Brigham and he's from Utah, so I guess we should assume? The first "beatnik" (scare quotes intentional to avoid spoiler) he meets says, Oh, Utah, Mormons, This is the place, et cetera. He has an undershirt on, but it mysteriously disappears when he takes off his collared shirt. Anyway, it all feels like a stretch.

Anyway, I liked it. It's steadily paced and filled with people who are mostly but not entirely good. They all have their own motivations and reasons and personal tragedies. It's not thrilling. I'm not about to push it on you, but if you like DC behind the scenes, it's one to check out.

Besides! That cast!

The Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh (1977)

Three featurettes made into one feature. Absolutely wonderful, of course, but as an adult I kept noticing bits of nonsense regarding such things and buoyancy and geography.

I'm ashamed.

I mean. It's the probable impossible. That's what cartoons are all about.

Seven Chances (1925)

The 7yrold and I chose this for our train watch. Although it's aged poorly, racially, (although, as in College the actual black characters have dignity) this one strikes me as exceedingly worthy of a modern remake. This sort of high-concept nonsense is in short supply!

Just as Buster and his business partner think they're headed to jail for poor money management, he receives word that he'll inherit $7million if he's married by 7pm on his 27th birthday. Or, in other words, today.

Luckily there is a girl he loves but he's been too shy to say I love you before the money comes in, so he screws that up. And before long there is an army of brides chasing him. There are constant laugh-out-loud gags and plenty of fun ways to update the story.

Let's do it!

The Oath (2023)

What a fascinating movie. So many bad ideas, so many visual and story cliches, so many laugh-out-loud weirdnesses. But they're seasoned with a spattering of genuinely interesting ideas. Sometimes you can see the actors are genuinely good at what they do. And you have to wonder what they can do under other circumstances. I mean—even the writer/director/star might be better directed by someone else. Someone who, among other things, didn't really really need you to see how swole he got for the role.

But yeah. People are right. Overall, it's bad. For instance, the film covers at least a year—probably well over two—and it takes that entire time for the world's best tracker to find our heros. But then it only takes, like, a day for her to get back home and bring a war party back. Plus, although this is supposed to be upstate New York (1500 years ago), in all that time, the seasons never change.

I get a lot of the flaws probably have to do with the budget. But not all of them.

Still. It wasn't as terrible as I anticipated. Though I really have no idea who the audience was for this. Hope it finds it!

And if that's you, can you please explain Billy Zane's accent to me?

[Further thoughts as they occurred to me on Letterboxd.]

Cinemark Century
Hilltop 16
Inside Out 2 (2024)

I really like the beginning. I really like the ending. Although I didn't quite believe the last shot. (Which, incidentally, was lifted from Monsters, Inc. where it worked perfectly.) I really like Riley's journey. The part I'm less sure about is the journey our original emotions take. The geography and the travail don't quite match up and don't make sense. The voices that were swapped out kept Not Feeling Right

That said, although the main part of the plot is subpar, the rest of the movie is great and I certainly spent a lot of tears.

I am quite curious how other people reacted though. Please share.

library dvd
L.A. Confidential (1997)

The year is 1997. Everyone who loves movies agrees that L.A. Confidential is the best movie of the year. Buuuuuut, everyone also loves Titanic so much that they aren't that upset that it's a lock to win all the awards that really, in a just world, would go to L.A. Confidential. Me, I came home from my mission between the two movies' releases and have never seen either. Until today.

This is a dark movie, friends. It's a neonoir; its most obvious forebear is Chinatown. And I think we can say it's just as complex and interesting and well acted. It even gives us a happier ending. But I think there's only room for one in our collective memory. And this doesn't have a catchline as strong as "It's Chinatown, Jake" (it comes closest with "Rollo Tomassi" but the funny-name-in-a-Kevin-Spacey-movie slot's already taken by Keyser Söse) and that's why you never see L.A. Confidential memes.

Glad I finally saw it.

Weirdly, it doesn't excite me to see Titanic, though.

Link+ dvd
Mad Max (1979)

Wife and son were utterly mystified that this movie made money and spawned a franchise. I liked it more, but I do agree that it's hard to see how one man's lifetime allows you to get from here to Fury Road.

(Incidentally, does anyone know if this Goose is the namesake of Top Gun's Goose?)

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Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)

Near-identical in shape to film one but more compelling. Son shouted out something like "No!" or "I hate these movies!" when it ended where it did.

I think the lesson may be either don't start with Fury Road or recognize that for the young, start and end there?

Link+ dvd
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)

This one has a much more complex world and storyline. It does have a couple nonsensible bits (how did the monkey find him? does this methane math actually work?) but it's interesting and fun and Tina Turner is the easiest person to understand in any of these movies. Happily ("happily?") the kids are more Riddley Walker than Lord of the Flies. The pilot should've looked less like the one from the last movie.

This point excellent: "The truly unique thing about the Mad Max franchise is how Max is less a character than a mythic figure, and how each film is less an entry in a continuing story and more a retelling of the myth of Max, with the details getting more extravagant and incredible as time goes on."

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