Happy Sunday everyone! Turns out I forgot to post last week’s What I Watched, What You Watched – my bad. That just means you’re in for a supersized edition today!
Starting with the new releases, most of my viewings from the last week were, strangely enough, new horror films. By now you’ve seen my review of Unhinged, which I had the opportunity of seeing at a drive-in, and fell in love with its goofy thrills. I appreciated its throwback feel and emphasis on tension over gore, and I think you’d enjoy it if you want a great drive-in movie. It was certainly better than my other drive-in experience, The New Mutants. New Mutants has been notoriously delayed for three years, and honestly, it should have remained in limbo. It was unwatchable drek, and if Maisie Williams wasn’t as good an actress as she is, it would probably have killed Josh Boone’s career. At home, I’ve also watched a few big horror films from this past summer. Dave Franco’s The Rental was an interesting experiment, and while I kind of disliked the execution, it does successfully prove that Franco has an eye for direction. I certainly liked it more than the critically acclaimed Swallow, which takes a few intriguing ideas and presents them in the most obvious ways possible. I also was slightly disappointed in She Dies Tomorrow, although Amy Seimetz’s exploration of depression and the spread of fear certainly tackles some big ideas in a rather interesting, exciting way. But all of these films fell to the side when compared to I’m Thinking of Ending Things, easily the best, most heart-wrenching film this year. Review coming soon, but it’s one not to miss, you guys.
Outside of horror, I also finished off Guy Ritchie’s newest film, The Gentlemen. I won’t say it’s a perfect film – it certainly acts upon most of Richie’s worst impulses. But man, did I love the silliness of the plot and the gameness of every single actor. It’s certainly a fun one, if you’re looking for a distraction. Also fun was the HBO film Bad Education, which I found to be…fine. It’s fine. The performances are great, and the direction is superb, but I’m not sure the film knows who’s side it’s on. You either pick a side, or explain why all the characters are good or bad. You can’t just glide by on “Yes, this is bad, but is it really that bad?” and call it a film. I watched the short coming-of-age film Yes, God, Yes, which was certainly well acted, but really didn’t have anything to say that hasn’t been said before. Oh, and I watched my first documentary of the year in Class Action Park, which, while light, is exactly the type of documentary I love – a weird phenomenon run by a huckster that gets more and more insane as time goes on. If you have HBO Max, I’d check it out.
In terms of older films, I started the week with a few comedies, as a means of alleviating stress. I’ve finally gotten around to seeing the 80s classic Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, in order to prepare for the new film. It’s such a weird little delight, and outside of one dated joke, it holds up particularly well. Also, Billy the Kid and Socrates have the better relationship, don’t @ me. I was also surprised to see that the original 1974 The Longest Yard is not only a solid comedy – it’s actually got a lot to say about a broken prison system, abuses of power, and racial inequality. Who knew? After reading a Ben Stiller quote about his love of The Poseidon Adventure, I decided to give the disaster classic a chance. It’s…definitely dated, and every character is a stereotype, but the effects and thrills certainly work, and I’m willing to give it my light approval. Meanwhile, to prepare for Ending Things, I revisited the 2004 classic Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I’ve always been lukewarm on Eternal Sunshine, mainly because I don’t believe I watched it in the right headspace. This time around, I connected a lot more to the themes and material. I’m still not over the moon for it yet, but God, is it sweet and well-acted. I showed my family last year’s Fighting With My Family, which I still really love and they seemed to really enjoy. And I continued trying to prepare my Best Documentaries list with three of the “best” docs of the decade. Banksy’s Exit Through The Gift Shop was a fascinating look at the street art movement, and I loved the Disneyland sequence, but there just wasn’t enough emphasis on what drew these people to the artform. And I’m pretty sure I’m not a fan of the Ken Burns style of filmmaking, because I thought The Central Park Five was fine, but didn’t do the story justice (that said, without it we wouldn’t have a settlement with the city, a renewed interest in the case, or the fabulous miniseries, so who’s to say?). However, the week wasn’t a total miss – I also watched The Imposter, which not only shocked and dazzled me, but moved me on a deep, spiritual level. It’s a fantastic, mysterious documentary, and you should see it if you haven’t.
On television, I’ve mostly been sticking to my usuals. I’ve completed Schitt’s Creek, and thought its final episodes were the sweet, touching sendoff I wanted from them. I’m well into Season 2 of Ramy, and while I haven’t fallen in love like I did on Season 1 yet, it’s still miles ahead of most other shows on TV. I’ve now seen the next three episodes of Lovecraft Country, and while the fourth was your typical “good” episode, the second and third entries are amongst the best episodes of television I’ve seen all year. The haunted house episode is particularly fun, poignant, and perfectly executed. Perry Mason continues to dazzle me with its crackling screenplays and sharp direction. And I was recently floored by the premiere episode of I May Destroy You – I can see myself tearing through this little gem in a week’s time.
That wraps up this week’s What I Watched, What You Watched! I hope you enjoyed this write-up, and I hope you’ve been being safe as theaters slowly begin to reopen. I’ll be back later this week, hopefully with the start of my Best of The Decade articles. In the meantime, feel free to comment below with what you’ve been watching, as well as your thoughts on what I’ve been watching. See you next time!