Some selected movies presented without any real connection. Certainly not related to taking a week off of reviews.
Despite election cycles, the world is all politics, all the time, and it is only the privileged few who can avoid that, perhaps especially during an administration mainly built on not constantly drumming up controversy. So there’s always time to consider American government through the movies.
1776: Begin at the beginning, and sit down, John. Gridlock is eternal.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington: The little guy with a heart who’s chronically too rare in the machinery of government.
The Manchurian Candidate: Back when it was easier to imagine a foreign government brainwashing and grooming future American leaders than just tuning the minds of the electorate through online advertisements and fake accounts.
All the President’s Men: Somehow Watergate is when cynicism about government corruption became standard, though it’s always been with us.
Wag the Dog: When there seems little else to do about the state of affairs, why not laugh about it?
This year more than any other year, I’ve been finding myself with less time or energy than I need to do a full review. I’m getting busier and older, but even so, I’ve still made at least some kind of post once a week, more Yesterdays and back catalog collections than ever before. Some of them were work I felt I did some good or at least fun writing with, but mostly, I consider them filler.
In that spirit, I’m dropping the ball one more time this year by counting down my ten favorite actual reviews of the past year.
10: Failure To Launch: one of the better romantic comedies
9: Funny Money: theatrical chaos
8: The Creation of the Humanoids: great concept, a little flat
7: Mr. Deeds: not your average Adam Sandler vehicle
6: Camp Nowhere: the best way to learn responsibility is to have nobody to answer to
5: Mad Money: it’s not stealing if it’s trash, right?
4: Earth Girls are Easy: I misjudged this movie so badly
3: Electric Dreams: quirky SF romcom review with a side of pretty good if ill fitting social commentary
2: The First Wives Club: don’t get mad, get it back
1: Julie and Julia: hmm, I wonder what I connected with here
I hope in the new year to have less filler but also more branching out with opportunities to make social commentary though movies. Maybe only ten people read this blog regularly, but I made a commitment to myself if nobody else, and I have no intention of just fizzling on this project.
There’s a lot of tension around here right now and we could all use a break.
Road to Bali: Ah, a couple of comedy buddies in a beautiful place, colonializing it up on very fake sets. Hm. That didn’t help.
Captain Ron: Are we sure this guy really knows what he’s doing? Maybe let’s book a cruise next time.
The Poseidon Adventure: Oh… nevermind then. Maybe a virtual vacation would be less of a nightmare.
Total Recall: …
It keeps happening. Does anything change, in the long run?
While going through old posts for the suggested viewing, I found even more movies about police officers acting outside the law to get the bad guys than I expected. Dirty Harry is the archetypal fairy tale of why law enforcement needs to be lawless, but we’re so accustomed to the narrative that “hero” cops bending or breaking the laws that are meant to keep us safe from the misuse of their authority are rarely visible. I recall how badly I hoped that Bad Boys might at least end with the bad guy actually imprisoned instead of executed. Because the unspoken superpower that fictional police have but real police rarely do, is that they are magically always right by being the heroes of the story being told. That doesn’t even begin to discuss the problem that modern law enforcement has with the kind of people who are attracted to the authoritarian, “I Am The Law”, consequence-free state of modern policing.
And I don’t have my own words about Do The Right Thing, but that is highly recommended as well.
I don’t really have enough time for a review this week, so here’s a collection of my favorite Movies of My Yesterdays posts. One might say they’re Movies of My Yesterdays Of Yesterday, but one would be reaching dangerous amounts of meta.
In looking back on these posts, I realized that when I began, I used an introduction that I forgot about by the third entry:
Movies of my Yesterdays is an irregular series where instead of writing about a movie I’ve never seen, I choose a movie important to my past and discuss why that is.
- Galaxy Quest: a love letter to fandom, or a love letter to a love letter to fandom?
- One Magic Christmas: a redemption arc for my first unmagical Christmas.
- The Seven Per Cent Solution: sometimes the author is too in love with the material.
- Meet the Robinsons: This movie, it was made for me!
- The Iron Giant: The movie was head and shoulder cannons better than the book.
The mood for this week includes
- The Music Box, the classic Laurel and Hardy short about carrying a piano up a steep hill, again and again and again.
- The Money Pit, a young couple’s dream home project spirals out of control.
- The Long, Long, Trailer, a young couple pulling everything they own behind them, learning a lot in the process.
There’s something special about summertime movies. Maybe it’s that the theater was the original air conditioned oasis, but it’s when all the biggest thrills and magical adventures are brought out for our enjoyment, as well as, this year, the reanimated husk of The Lion King. Like all areas of the human experience, the magic of the movies has been documented in the movies, here in realistic and fantasy flavors.
- The Majestic: a Macarthy-era drama about how a movie theater brings a small town together.
- Matinee: the thrillfest of the year sets off a Rube Goldbergian chain of events.
- Last Action Hero: Characters from a campy action movie come to the real world and find it’s a lot messier out here.
- The Purple Rose of Cairo: It’s so easy to get lost in a movie, but sometimes the movie comes to you.
Real life gets in the way of blogging again, and I just want to relax with some TV, or at least movies about making TV (and radio).
- A Hard Day’s Night: The Beatles have a lot of fun avoiding rehearsals for their big TV appearance.
- Death to Smoochy: Politics and intrigue around who gets to entertain kids on TV.
- Radioland Murders: A madcap murder mystery going on away from the microphone while the station is still on the air.
- Quiz Show: scandal and intrigue around TV trivia games
- Soapdish: soap opera drama behind the scenes in the soap opera production.
- Broadcast News: It’s about ethics in journalism and romance! Still my favorite depiction of unrequited love for a best friend.