March is something of a dry spell for movies in theaters. I’m going to try to spice things up this week with some Netflix reviews, like A Futile and Stupid Gesture, but in the meantime, I’ve been focused on fleshing out my classics.
I started my week off by finishing off the Judy Garland classic Meet Me In St. Louis. I have mixed feelings on the film as a whole – I never cared about the plot for a minute, but the performances are good, and those musical numbers are straight-up stunning. I followed it up with a film much more my speed: The Coen Brothers’ Miller’s Crossing. While I was hoping the film would be more epic in nature, the nods to classic gangster films were enjoyable, and there are at least three great scenes that should be studied in film school. And things peaked when I watched The Last Picture Show, a film that truly floored me in its brilliance and intelligence. It plays like a cross-section between Dazed and Confused and the French New Wave. You can bet that it’ll be appearing on an upcoming edition of my 100 Greatest Movies list (yes, that is still a thing). Unfortunately, not every film I saw this week was an absolute slam dunk. I found myself disappointed by Step Brothers, a film that was well-directed and featured some good performances by Richard Jenkins, Mary Steenburgen, and especially Adam Scott, but was never overly funny and featured some terrible acting by Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly. And while I enjoyed the scope of the film, Ali also felt like a letdown, with Will Smith feeling miscast as Muhammad Ali. And I’m about halfway through The Quiet Man, which is pretty to look at, but feels like subterfuge to distract from a boring story and average performances. I love John Ford and like John Wayne plenty, but this just wasn’t a good project for them.
On television, it was sort of an odd week. I finally got back to The Assassination of Gianni Versace, and I’m glad I did, because the Andrew Cunanan prequel story was a real gut-punch. I also watched The Middle, which was a sort-of average episode, but it was incredibly nice to see Mike Heck get a win for once. Saturday Night Live these past two weeks has been on fire, between Sterling K. Brown’s go-for-broke performance and Bill Hader’s natural charisma (I could watch Stefon and his John Mulaney-played lawyer/conceptual piss artist Shy forever and ever). I caught a few minutes of the premiere of Rise, which was both a shot-for-shot remake of the Glee pilot and a fascinating, laugh-out-loud portrayal of how to do everything wrong in a depiction of high school theater. Oh, and I watched quite a bit of March Madness, including that incredible UMBC upset over Virginia, as well as Michigan’s remarkable buzzer-beater over Houston. It’s been a helluva tournament so far.
What about you? Did you watch anything great this week? Are you enjoying March Madness, or is your bracket already shot to hell? Let me know in the comments below!