I like the fact that the band is still called Sonic Youth, even though they’re all in their 50s. Similarly, there’s the term New Hollywood, which represents a very specific time in which the studio bosses gave free reign to independent-minded, radical filmmakers looking to push the artistic boundaries of film. It is a cinema movement that came out guns blazing in 1967 with Bonnie and Clyde and suffered its first wound from Jaws in 1975, then sank into the mud under its own weight by 1977 with Sorcerer. (Yeah, that’s right, Roy Scheider represents the end of New Hollywood from both directions.)
But these movies still feel “new.”
These were films made by a generation influenced by European Art Cinema, reacting against big studio bloat and, in many cases, taking advantage of new technical advances. There are a hundred books you can read about this movement, and the safest bet it to check out Peter Biskin’s “Easy Riders, Raging Bulls” as a primer.
Like most people my age, New Hollywood is a sweet spot – and it was a real chore to limit myself to just eight underrepresented gems. My initial brainstorm had twenty-five titles that all fit the “obscure” and “great” parameters. Maybe I’ll revisit this column with a Volume II if there are calls for it in the comments. (The people have the power!)
Hats off to Twitter’s @MoviesByBowes for the suggestion. Read More »
This is a weekend we’ve been thinking about for quite some time. The Avengers have finally assembled.
I’ve seen the movie and I can assure you that, yes, it is tremendous fun. One of the key reasons for this is the casting – it’s just terrific. Everyone plays off one another so nicely and there is no weak link.
To celebrate Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (and those they share the stage with) this week’s TBMYPHS is dedicated to the members of this amazing team up, and the work they did before getting their action figure on. Read More »
This week’s column comes from the future. As such, I already know what comments you are going to make. (Three of you will be scandalized that Time After Time wasn’t included and four of you will agree with one joker who feels that anyone who hasn’t seen Primer yet has no business reading this site.)
Nevertheless, I’ve come back to my original spot along the timeline. Not so much because I want to maintain an semblance of “the correct outcome of events,” but because I can’t seem to find my keys.
With that, charge up your flux capacitors (or soak in your hot tub) it’s time to look at time travel. Read More »
As has been the case since 2009, each Earth Day brings with it another tremendous, next-level nature documentary from the folks at Disneynature. The latest one, Chimpanzee, is absolutely tremendous. And while bearing the mark of Disney does bring with it the need to make the films “fun for the whole family,” kudos must be given for not dumbing the story down too much.
While Chimpanzee does have narration and a story arc that is somewhat thrust upon it, the imagery is so gorgeous that maintaining any haughty criticism in just bananas. (Ha!) In celebration, this week’s TBMYPHS is focused on nature documentaries that stand out as transformative works of art. While I love some of the BBC/PBS stuff like, say, Wild China, we’re looking for a different type of journey with this one. Read More »
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To quote Martin Short’s SCTV character Irving Cohen, “years ago there was a thing called a-vaude-a-ville.”
Vaudeville was theatrical circuit in the late 19th century and early 20th century where, for a few cents, you’d go to see a stream of short plays, musical or comedy acts. Many of the earliest film comedians got their start there, like Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, the Marx Brothers and, yes, all permutations of The Three Stooges.
This weekend sees the release of the Farrelly Brothers’ unfairly maligned film The Three Stooges (it’s good, I swear) and it is absolutely soaked in the seltzer that is the Vaudeville aesthetic. Plot will get yanked to the side (as though with a hook on amateur night) if there’s an opportunity get a laugh from some physical or verbal schtick. If this is in any way your thing, might I suggest some other Vaudeville-inspired films you probably haven’t seen. Read More »
You didn’t ask for it, but here’s a little window into my world. I write about film for this esteemed website and a few of its worthy competitors. Most days are spent running around New York City to various screening rooms, as well as the hotel suites to yap with movie stars. It’s awesome! But it is also a bit of a whirlwind (hence I didn’t pick up the dry cleaning, honey, I’m sorry.)
When the glamor of free coffee and listening to Jeffrey Lyons talk to security guards about baseball is gone, I’m back in my apartment, facing a computer, and I have to come up with something to say. Usually, not a problem – being a motormouth is what got me in this business. Sometimes, however, there’s nothing. And if there is, it isn’t interesting. That’s when temptation strikes.
Yes, friends, I’ll admit it – some of my most insightful (and viral!) film criticism has been written under the influence of Demon Rum. Fret not, I don’t “have a problem.” (Though I know that’s what people who have a problem say. If I have a problem it’s a problem with Nutter Butters.) But I recognize that the tipsy typewriter tapper is a bit of a trope. To that end, this week’s TBMYPHS recognizes that most sympathetic creature, the Drunken Writer. Read More »
In college I was assigned to read something that argued all stories can be boiled down to a handful of classic texts. I never actually did the assignment, but when I explained to the professor I was sure the crux of the argument was merely a variation on essential lessons I’d already learned I was swiftly given an A.
This week Tarsem and his team of amazing technicolor dreamcoats are serving up an oddball version of the Snow White story with Mirror, Mirror. It’s not a particularly good film, but it isn’t awful either. It will eventually sit nicely on the shelf of strange cinematic extrapolations on classic fairy tale stories, which, as luck might have it, is the topic of this week’s TBMYPHS.
So close your eyes, my pretties, and get ready for a nice hybrid of creepy violence and overwrought moralism. Read More »
This is the week The Hunger Games officially takes over the world. Try as we might to fight the system, we can’t escape – that is unless we kill every last one of you.
As I’m writing this I’ve yet to see HG, but I know I’ll dig it because the concept of deadly competition is one I find endlessly fascinating. How does one form allegiances with others when each party knows that there can ultimately be only one victor? I don’t know. It’s also why I don’t work in an office anymore.
There are a number of movies that deal with this topic, so let’s get cookin’ with this week’s TBMYPHS. Note: I’m not including The Running Man. You’ve seen it already, I hope. (I’m also not including Planet Hulk.) Read More »
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In one of the first TBMYPHS columns I did I suggested Jiri Menzel’s 1966 film Closely Watched Trains. A few people contacted me to say how much they’ve always loved that one. Indeed, it is a masterpiece – and I also think it is a fair representation of the vibe I get from many Czech movies.
It is foolish to say “all Czech movies are like X” (and, indeed, there are some on this short list that don’t quite fit) but many of them have a daffy, boozy, slightly confrontational stream-of-consciousness to them. It is an aesthetic I quite like, so I strongly suggest you pour yourself a Pilsner and bite into the thick sausage that is Czech cinema. Read More »
Just last week /Film was part of the announcement that the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin is recreating the Summer of 1982. There are many who believe that, for whatever cosmic reason, ’82 was a perfect year in cinema. Between The Thing, Blade Runner, Star Trek II and E.T. (whose event /Film is co-hosting) it is hard to disagree.
But there are more than just the popular favorites. Indeed, I had a very hard time selecting the usual eight when looking for what to choose for this week’s TBMYPHS. (By the way, that is the first time I have eve referred to the “The Best Movies You Probably Haven’t Seen” column as TBMYPHS. I suggest we pronounce it Tub-My-Fuss, which sounds like a bronchial disease.) All I can say is this: there was definitely something in the air that year – and I hope it comes back. Read More »