Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there! I hope you enjoyed a great week of pop culture, even if Hollywood is still in a post-Avengers wave and still settling into a groove of things. As mentioned, I didn’t see any new films this week, but I did see a bunch of great films, many for the first time.
I started my week by continuing my Western binge with The Ox-Bow Incident. The film takes a while to get going, but it is mercifully short, and once it gets to the central drama, my God is it great. After completing it, I turned my attention to the film noir genre – or, more specifically, the noir satire. This started with The Long Goodbye, Robert Altman’s stellar critique of the 1970s by way of classic film noir. It isn’t quite my favorite Altman film, but it’s still a masterful, humorous variation on one of my favorite genres. Much more comical, however, was Chevy Chase’s Fletch, a film I first saw at far too young an age and finally had a chance to appreciate in its entirety. Chase is fantastic in the film, and the script is quite funny both in terms of dialogue as well as its send-up to the classic hardboiled detective genre. Of course, not everything can be comedy; this meant I got to watch last year’s most talked-about foreign language film, In the Fade. For 90% of its runtime, the film is harrowing, depressing, and wonderful…and then it reaches the ending, and it all falls apart. Man, what a way to kill the momentum. I concluded my week with one and a half new films. The first was Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu, the Vampyre, a film I was supposed to watch for my Freshman Year class on film adaptation, but absolutely skipped except for the best scene. It’s a major regret on my part, because the film is really a wonder to behold. It’s gorgeous, it’s creepy, and it really does justice to the original while adding a layer of sadness to the material. Luckily, not everything was depressing – I forgot to mention last week that I had watched John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous on Netflix, and having watched it again, I would like to return to you all the conclusion that it’s pretty f*cking funny. Mulaney is a great storyteller, and his bit on English majors crossed over into “too real” the perfect amount. If you like comedy specials and need a laugh after a long week, give it a watch – you won’t be disappointed. And I ended my week with a first viewing of Enemy at the Gates, a film I appreciated for Jude Law and Ed Harris, but was disappointed in overall due to the poor portrayal of the Battle of Stalingrad and the shoddy CGI. It’s worth a TV viewing, but I wouldn’t pay it much attention otherwise.
On television, I haven’t really shaken things up yet, although I’m getting ready for some commitments later this week. I watched my usual sitcoms – Roseanne tried something different but couldn’t get over its writing issues and clichés, black-ish at least added humor to its depressing story arc, but I’m hoping there’s some resolution in the finale at this point, The Middle is thankfully back on track as it nears the finish line, and I’m hoping it brings it back strong, The Goldbergs was really strong in its Spaceballs send-up, and Modern Family provided a few laughs with the return of both Adam DeVine and the incredible Reid Ewing as Dylan. And as a whole, Amy Schumer’s episode of Saturday Night Live was pretty basic, but her game performance and a handful of excellent skits made it a worthwhile Mother’s Day episode. And then there’s music. I won’t lie to you all: I have watched This Is America about thirty times now. It’s just so good, and it feels like a modern masterpiece in storytelling and music. And on Wednesday, I went with my family to see the National Tour of The King and I. I have not seen any rendition of the Rodgers and Hammerstein show before, and this was an excellent rendition. The actors were all marvelous, and the staging was gorgeous. If you get a chance, I would try to see a production once in your life.
That’s all for this week. I hope to get out to see a movie or two in the coming week, and on the advice of a friend, I’m going to try to watch all of Westworld, in the hopes of picking it up fresh this coming Sunday. I also hope to finish watching Season 2 of Atlanta, because Donald Glover is on fire right now. Let me know in the comments what you’ve been watching this week, what you’d like for me to watch, and as always, have a great week.