Smile ★★★½

Ladies desiring to help
Who'd fit better in Vegas.
50s Americana
Turned into a ruckus.
Salute to the end.

A goddamn 70s film in all the right ways, as opposed to the “modern” filmmakers like Scorsese, Coppola, et al. That is not to say Ritchie is better than them (he’s not), but there’s something really wonderful about this film as specifically a time capsule, in both the narrative (somewhat misogynist but lovingly so) and its aesthetics (over-exposed and under-lit frames). At the screening at MoMA in November, Bruce Dern (completely ignoring the moderator’s questions and just telling stories from the set — great move) explained how quickly the film was made, very on the fly stuff, and then kind of buried after its release. It’s a nice little satire, beginning with a 1950s view of America (“How to pack the perfect suitcase”) before lavishing it with horn-dog sex (and hot dogs!), before this truly loving scene of Dern watching a set of military men take down the flag. Dern kind of owns these roles of the lovable sleazebag, so this one charms a lot.

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