I hope you all had a wonderful Father’s Day weekend! For me, a decent week of movie watching was cut short by my father’s desire to see Tag for his special day, but hey, you can’t win them all. And at least the film isn’t unwatchable. You can expect a review later this week.
At home, I began the week catching up on the films I’d missed earlier this year; specifically, I watched A Wrinkle in Time and Thoroughbreds. A Wrinkle in Time was a bit of a mixed bag for me: it is expertly directed, and the three Mrs. W’s and Storm Reid are all great, but a bad script, the overutilization of my least favorite cliché, and whatever the hell Deric McCabe is doing as Charles Wallace Murry took me right out of it. Overall, it felt like a Disney Channel Original Movie, and while none of those films are exceptionally good, they’ll satisfy kids well enough, and I’m sure it will inspire a new generation. And I’m ok with that. Meanwhile, Thoroughbreds was more my speed, a smart and clever noir with great performances by Anya Taylor-Joy, Anton Yelchin, and especially Olivia Cooke, who is emerging as a real talent. Needless to say, I loved it. I also watched National Velvet, a film I didn’t love, but very much enjoyed. Elizabeth Taylor is great, the horse racing is good, and it is eagerly thrilling. I felt similarly about Stalag 17, a smart, funny tale about spies and German POW camps that proved Billy Wilder was one of our greatest directors. However, the best films I saw were far and away Peeping Tom and Rio Bravo, which were shining examples of their genre. Rio Bravo is easily one of John Wayne’s best films, forming an internally constructed story inside of a sweeping landscape, exploding off the screen thanks to Leigh Brackett’s smart, sexy writing and Howard Hawks’ smart direction. Meanwhile, Peeping Tom is not only one of the greatest horror films I’ve ever seen, but one of the greatest films, period. It’s a masterful challenge of everything we know about film and voyeurism. For an extra treat, watch it after reading Laura Mulvey’s incredible essays. It’s the ultimate counter to everything you know about filmmaking. Oh, and speaking of classic films, I also watched Cabin Boy for the second time, and I’m happy to say it is still a great guilty pleasure, reveling in its stupidity with a graceful panache.
I didn’t really watch anything on TV this week, but I did manage to get caught up on podcasts. Two episodes I really want to stump for are the How Did This Get Made? episode The Hurricane Heist, which almost drove me off the road when they revealed the titular Hurricane literally has a face, as well as Unspooled, which provided wonderful dives into both Swing Time and The French Connection. Both episodes made me want to return to the films they explored, and listening to Paul Scheer and Amy Nicholson’s insights is an absolute blast. Start listening to both films now, if you want to learn and laugh.
This concludes this week’s What I Watched, What You Watched. I’ll be spending this next week catching up on the films I’ve missed in theaters, and hopefully you should have a collection of reviews and articles to help you get by the First-Week-Of-Summer Blues. Let me know in the comments what all you’ve been watching, and I’ll see you all here next time!