Favorite films

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  • Broken Arrow

    ★★★★

  • Never Fear

    ★★★½

  • Border Incident

    ★★★★½

  • Home of the Brave

    ★★★★½

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  • Broken Arrow

    Broken Arrow

    ★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Broken Arrow was arguably the first post-Stagecoach film to treat Native Americans as three-dimensional humans and not stock villains. John Ford’s Fort Apache in 1948 had also humanized its Indians, but they’re not in the movie much; in Broken Arrow the indigenous assume center stage. This was a crucial intervention considering the context that, by 1950, Westerns had become arguably the country’s favorite genre or at least the one that most regularly defined how Americans became Americans.

    Albert Maltz had…

  • Never Fear

    Never Fear

    ★★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    1948 was a key year for Ida Lupino: she turned 30, became an American citizen, married Collier Young, founded Filmmakers Inc with him, and co-produced and co-wrote a low-budget film called Not Wanted, about a young woman who gets pregnant, gives up her baby, and kidnaps another one. Their director, Elmer Clifton, fell ill on set, and Lupino finished the film but refused credit out of deference to Clifton. Also in 1948, Lupino completed her first film with her name…

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  • Bonnie and Clyde

    Bonnie and Clyde

    ★★★★★

    Robert Benton and David Newman’s script owed much to the French New Wave and its transgressive, jittery-filmed, elliptically-edited anti-establishment movies like those directed by their heroes Truffaut and Godard. Through a friend of a friend these two Esquire writers somehow got their spec script to the former, who told them he was considering it before passing it on to the latter. Warren Beatty came upon this script about Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow and never quite let it go. Beatty…

  • Fight Club

    Fight Club

    ★★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Because Fight Club came at the end of a decade of escalating star salaries, very unlike the following two decades, Fight Club’s budget was way too high for an original comedy-drama, with almost half of the originally allotted $50 million for actors. With that, director David Fincher and his DP Jeff Cronenweth used Super 35 film to make something of a lurid-dingy-shiny underexposed Gordon Willis-esque palette. James Cameron made a career out of blue light that almost veered into self-parody…