What I Watched, What You Watched #64

It’s been a varied past few weeks. Unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to write much this past week; it’s been a pretty wild few days. In these past two weeks, I saw three films for review: When We First Met, The Death of Stalin, and Blockers. Those reviews should be up over the next few days, but as a quick summary, two of those films are wonderful, while one is a letdown.

At home, I saw all sorts of films, ranging from great to kind of disappointing. I continued my journey to see every Studio Ghibli film with both My Neighbor Totoro and Princess Mononoke. Both were gorgeously animated, although I found Totoro a little slight (Grave of the Fireflies made me realize that I like my kid films a bit more when they die at the end), but it’s amazing how great Miyazaki is as a storyteller, animator, and director. Mononoke is just pure art. I followed that up by showing my father the 1946 classic The Best Years of Our Lives, a film that still shocks me with its artistic vision, emotional resonance, and impeccable storytelling. It never feels its three-hour length, and it is easily one of the greatest films ever made. And shortly thereafter, I finally finished Gangs of New York, after an extended hiatus. It’s a messy epic, one with bad decisions (the length, the camp), good decisions (the election scene, the top hat gang fight), and a bit of both (Cameron Diaz and Leonardo DiCaprio), but it at least gave us that Daniel Day-Lewis performance. Speaking of messy: Natural Born Killers. I will never be able to truly answer if this is a good film or not, because it is so intentionally over-the-top, but I will give the editing and filmmaking credit. Much more enjoyable was 9 to 5, which I was onboard with from the very first frame, mainly because of it’s unique message, funny script, and great performances, especially Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton. Meanwhile, in honor of the passing of Stephen Hawking, I watched the documentary A Brief History of Time. That Errol Morris can really direct a film, and the stylish, intricate merging of Hawking’s life and Hawking’s work tells a story that the mediocre Theory of Everything never could. And finally, I closed out my week with two 2017 blockbusters: Justice League and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Justice League was…yeah, it was pretty bad, but I will say it wasn’t as bad as I thought. And kudos to Danny Elfman for using the classic themes for the heroes. As for Jumanji, I was a little disappointed by the film, but it was definitely clever, and Jack Black and Karen Gillan were wonderful.

On television, it was a slow week, as things were ending, on hiatus, or some combination. I watched a lot of March Madness, and cheered as my Wolverines made it to the Finals. I also watched The Middle, which was a bit more of a return to form, but I’m starting to feel like it’s a disappointing season. And like many others on Tuesday, I tuned in for Roseanne. I’m not entirely fond of her online persona (indeed, it’s hard to be considering how awful she can get about things), but as a show, it certainly has merit. Both the acting and the writing aren’t quite there yet, but you can tell it’s getting there, and that’s what matters in the long run. Here’s hoping it manages to get there. Oh, and I went twice to see a production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, mainly because my brother was premiering in the starring role. It’s a wonderful show, and they did a wonderful job with both the music and the comedy.

What about you? Did you see anything great in these past few weeks? Any classics, or newer stuff? Let me know in the comments!

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