Tangerine (2015) – Hey, so remember when I couldn’t really offer a lot of opinions on Dear White People because of… being a white guy? I’m going to have to similarly excuse myself from opinions on the subject matter of Tangerine due to being a cis, white, middle-class man. There is some proximity in the QUILTBAG, but I cannot offer opinions on the experiences of trans people, women, the poor, sex workers, people of color, immigrants… basically every specific demographic represented in this movie. Basically none of my demographic groups are represented in this movie, and I’m okay with that. In fact, I’m glad.
On the assumption that this is a fair and sympathetic representation of those groups, which I have heard is the case, Tangerine is a touching and beautiful movie. And even if we disagree about the story and characters, can we all at least agree that Tangerine is the finest cinematography ever accomplished on an iPhone?
Do I Sound Gay? (2014) – So it looks like the big post I’d written about my own experiences with the gay accent, some 600-odd words, disappeared into the void. I’m not about to try to recreate what I wrote, but let’s summarize.
This is a pretty good documentary. My scale for documentaries generally runs from “garbage” to “pretty good”, so take that as a strong endorsement. Every once in a while, there’s something like Jesus Camp or The Thin Blue Line, which earn an exceptional rating, but that is not to say that Do I Sound Gay? is not a perfectly serviceable documentary.
I have some strong, personal ties to this subject matter, and my original post had some discussion of that personal history with gay voice. Long story short, I’ve felt the same intense need to change my voice as did the director and subject of this documentary, but I’m not twelve years old any more. Something, something, never give up on your dreams.
Dear White People (2014) – There is a whole lot of this movie to talk about, almost none of which I’m qualified, as a white man, to talk about. Let us just say I thought it was very good, but I could definitely be wrong.
Deadpool (2016) – I had grown tired of superhero movies. They’re getting old and repetitive. I felt the same way about the zombie genre, but then I gladly make exceptions for things like Shaun of the Dead and World War Z (the book–we do not acknowledge the movie). Deadpool is the superhero equivalent of Shaun of the Dead in that I not only wasn’t bored out of my mind by it, but actually quite enjoyed it.
I want to also give Deadpool’s creators credit for going for an R rating. The problems with the MPAA’s ratings system (and their politics) aside, it’s nice to see a major studio sacrifice those precious pre-teen dollars to make a movie that is as indulgently profane, violent, and sexual as the source material demands. They’re still going to make a fortune on this, of course, but they took a risk for a good reason, and I like that.
The Last Starfighter (1984) – The Last Starfighter deserves a lot of credit for its extensive use of CGI, but not much else. They seem to have spent all their time and money on generating some Windows ’95 screen savers, so anyone looking for a story or characters worth caring about is shit out of luck. But still, for creating Windows ’95 screen savers in 1984, that’s very impressive. Let’s not forget that achievement; it’s all they’ve got.
The History of Future Folk (2012) – I’m going to be honest with you. I picked this for its running time and little else. I wanted to get another movie in before bed, so I picked the first thing I saw that was under 90 minutes long on Netflix.
And here we are.
I have now watched a movie about the origin story of a… an “alien bluegrass band” in New York. This is a real band, with a fictionalized origin story. Great.
I wish I could say this was the stupidest thing I’d watched for Lent, but I once watched a movie made by and for actual, literal Nazis, so no, this isn’t the worst by any means, but maybe I should have just gone to bed and fallen behind, you know? This is not what I wanted for so early in Lent, but it could sure be worse.
I want to be kind to this movie, but in case I forget one of the details beyond the premise, I want to remind my future self, reading through these archives, of the scene where one of the male leads incapacitated a woman and forced her to listen to his music before he kissed her. Throughout the movie, the same character goes on to commit multiple violent crimes in order to meet pretty ladies. But no, these are the protagonists.
The Man Who Laughs (1928) – Ten years ago, I was bored. I’m still fairly bored with a lot of things, but that’s beside the point. Ten years ago, I heard it was Ash Wednesday, and knew of certain people who gave things up for Lent as some sort of temporary virtue. I decided to do something temporary myself, to prove I could, just as any filthy Catholic. But rather than give something up, I took on watching movies. Now, as I begin my eleventh year of this nonsense, I see that I can never stop, and this will continue into my final years. I hope this brings someone pleasure besides just myself.
Back in the day, I forget when, exactly, I watched The Picture of Dorian Gray, and I criticized George Sanders for holding a completely immobile face in some odd, vain attempt to convey the unchanging aspect of the title character at the expense of any emotional meaning behind his actions or words being communicated to the audience. In The Man Who Laughs, Conrad Veidt makes George Sanders look like an absolute amateur. Although he maintains a grotesque smile for the entire duration of his screen time, he manages to show us a character with a full range of emotions. Go to hell, George Sanders.