Man, have I had a downer week of film watching. Not necessarily because the films were bad – some were actually quite good. It’s just that everything I watched was so depressing. I mean, if you don’t believe me, just look at the only two new releases I watched this week: The Happytime Murders, which was depressingly bad, and The Miseducation of Cameron Post, which was just depressing (my review will go up later this week, but it is…mixed, to say the least).
At home, I had something of a wide variety to choose from. For example, I started my week with a double feature to prepare for The Happytime Murders. The first was Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, a film I adored for its innovative animation and its clever use of the film noir genre. And it’s a good thing I got myself into a noir state of mind, because after a certain joke in Happytime, I decided I was about due for my first viewing of Basic Instinct. I was very mixed on the infamously erotic thriller – the plot was ok at best, and I wasn’t fond of the filmmaking, but my God was Sharon Stone a force of nature. She was magnetic and entrancing, and I was on board with her performance from minute one. And speaking of erotic thrillers, I also watched The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover for the first time this week. It was a bit troubling to get through – it is astonishingly shocking in almost every regard – but man, I can’t get over how perfect it is. The formalistic filmmaking, the use of music, the performances by Helen Mirren and Michael Gambon – this is a film for the ages. Meanwhile, in terms of my goal to see every Best Picture winner by the end of the year, I finally got around to Midnight Cowboy. Cowboy has two of the best performances I’ve ever seen (what Dustin Hoffman did here is absolutely legendary), and the editing is top notch. However, I just couldn’t commit myself to the film the way I wanted to. It’s a solid B+ effort, but in terms of 1969 New Hollywood, I’d pick Butch Cassidy or Easy Rider any day. As you can see, not the happiest bunch of films. But it wasn’t a complete slog! Because for the first time ever, I watched the 1978 Superman: The Movie. And holy sh*t, that film is flawless. Everything about it, from the effects to the acting to the story to the direction, is exactly how it should be. Hell, I didn’t even mind the terrible ending. My only gripe is I didn’t like the material involving Gene Hackman and Ned Beatty, but even that’s a mild quibble in a sea of greatness. This isn’t just great superhero filmmaking – this is great filmmaking.
On television, I’m still working to get caught up on the best TV of the year. This means watching more and more GLOW, which is slowly becoming the show I put on to alleviate bad moods. The writing is brilliant, and the acting is top notch. I’m also about halfway through Nanette, Hannah Gadsby’s famous stand-up special. It’s definitely a different form of stand-up, and I’ll admit it takes time to adjust to what she’s doing, but once you’re onboard, it really works. Oh, and I had a chance to head out to the theater to see my cousin’s high school perform Newsies. I’m not in the business of reviewing high school shows, so I won’t comment on that aspect, but I will say it intrigued me enough to check out the live Broadway production currently on Netflix. There’s an electrifying story there that I really want to explore.
This concludes this week’s What I Watched, What You Watched. I’ve finally gotten through a little pile of movies on my desk, which means I’ve got a free calendar. My goal is to finish a handful of reviews I’ve fallen behind on by the end of this week, and then allow myself the chance to relax with Netflix’s lineup of romantic comedies. God, after a depressing week of naughty puppets, cannibalistic thieves, repro camps, and sadistic serial killers, I’m looking forward to wacky shenanigans and romantic interludes. See you all next time, and as always, let me know in the comments what you’ve been watching, and what you think of the films I’ve watched.