Another week, another balancing act of end-of-year crowd pleasers and horror movies. As we reach the end of Sacred Walloween (boo), I’m starting to suspect I will not be able to complete #31DaysOfHorror. However, I’m still giving it my all, watching seven more horror films alongside a few old classics. And I even managed to see three new releases, which I will be reviewing in the next few weeks: The Old Man and the Gun, The Sisters Brothers, and Bad Times At The El Royale. I won’t give away the farm just yet, but I will say one film is almost-great, but settles for good, one film is an ambitiously decent production, and one is a wonderful delight.
Meanwhile, for #31DaysOf Horror, I finally finished my Halloween marathon with Halloween: Resurrection, the final, and funniest, of the series. It is not good, but it is fascinatingly not good – like, there are interesting ideas, such as a live stream of Michael’s killings in front of an audience of teenagers yelling “Don’t go in there!” but there’s also Busta Rhymes getting in a kung fu battle with Myers. Next, I watched the 1925 version of The Phantom of the Opera, which featured Lon Chaney’s impressive performance and makeup work, but was ultimately a disappointing slog. Much more interesting was Deep Red, Dario Argento’s impressive predecessor to the slasher genre. If I had to pick, I’d prefer Suspiria, but it’s definitely an excellent watch nonetheless. Of course, there were also the horror films I couldn’t make heads nor tails of, like Jennifer’s Body. I wasn’t a fan of Diablo Cody’s script, but the general aesthetic (thanks to director Karyn Kusama) and the performances by Adrien Brody, Amanda Seyfried, and even Megan Fox were enough to sell me on the final product. Similarly, Sam Raimi’s Army of Darkness is an insane horror comedy that should not work (there’s no way anyone on that set wasn’t high when that film was made), and yet I loved every single minute of it. But not every film was a smash hit for me – many films were either disappointing or outright bad. For example, I was not a fan of Village of the Damned, which had an interesting premise and a smart execution, but ultimately just failed to keep my interest over an hour-long runtime. Still, I would easily watch Village again if it meant I’d never have to see The Lost Boys again for as long as I live. The Lost Boys is unwatchably bad, dumb from beginning to end, and I loathe anyone who made this film a cult classic. Still, I managed to course correct my week with two classics – one on the big screen and one on Filmstruck (RIP). The former was the most recent of many viewings of Young Frankenstein, which played just as well on the big screen with an audience as it has so many times before on my television. It is, quite simply, one of the funniest films ever made. And speaking of funniest films ever made, the latter film on that list was What’s Up, Doc?, Peter Bogdanavich’s send-up to screwball comedies of the 1930s. That movie is laugh-out-loud funny, perfectly cast from the top down, and deserving of multiple viewings to truly grasp the layers of jokes visible in every scene. I cannot recommend either film highly enough.
On television, I spent my time trying to catch up on the shows I’ve fallen behind on. Specifically, I watched two episodes of South Park and three episodes of It’s Always Sunny, just to stay up to date on the two series. I must say I’m a little disappointed in South Park, which keeps trying to tackle bigger issues and conversations, but feels lazy and uninspired for the first time in its historic run (although the “Two Princes” joke in this most recent episode is top notch). Meanwhile, Sunny isn’t changing the game like it did last season (or even this season with “Time’s Up For The Gang”), but I did find Charlie Day’s Home Alone tribute entertaining enough, as well as the Seinfeld joke in the Clip Show episode. Meanwhile, while I’ve seen funnier/better episodes of Modern Family, the send-off for Shelley Long’s hilarious Dede was a sweet and humorous affair. I also listened to the final two episodes of Halloween Unmasked, which proved to be a fun deep dive into the Halloween lexicon. And on a somber note, after the news out of Pittsburgh this weekend, I returned to The West Wing for the first time since my Freshman Year of College binge in order to watch the Season One finale/Season Two premiere, which dealt with an attack by white supremacists, as well as the response by Martin Sheen’s irreplaceable President Bartlet (plus, there’s Bradley Whitford’s Josh Lyman). It turned out to be the comfort food that I needed, if you yourself are in need of such consolation.
Well, this concludes this week’s What I Watched, What You Watched! I’ll be back on Wednesday with a recap of my #31DaysOfHorror. Until then, you can let me know in the comments what you think of these films, as well as what good (or bad) movies you’ve seen this week. Have a spooky Halloween, everyone!