• Bull Durham

    Bull Durham


    I can forgive the “I believe” speech, which always makes my eyes roll (you believe in softcore pornography?) and sticks out like a sore thumb as the most writerly moment in an extremely written movie, and I can forgive the two very brief scenes of Costner and Sarandon dancing like the dorkiest suburban parents at the block party, mostly because every other frame is near-perfect. Definitely the greatest baseball movie, but even awarding it that title feels equivalent to a…

  • Boogie Nights

    Boogie Nights

    [Wrote this quickly about 18 months ago.]
    Fourth or fifth viewing. Longstanding issues persist.
    1. The Fall (vs. Rise) section alternates between After School Special moralism and, no pun intended, misery porn. There might as well be a Just Say No watermark over the scene when Amber introduces Dirk to coke at the NYE party. It would be A Bit Much to just crosscut between two violent assaults, but that it’s bookended by Amber losing custody of her…

  • Rushmore



    This movie used to only be funny, with maybe enough melancholy to give it some teeth. I watch it now and every moment that doesn’t make me laugh breaks my heart. I’m loath to praise a film for its niceness because Our Current Cultural Landscape exalts the most boring form of it imaginable, i.e. people being gooey to each other because any other mode of expression (sarcasm, cynicism, apathy, contempt) is ostensibly too much for such dull, sensitive souls to…

  • Marriage Story

    Marriage Story

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

    To quote a friend, Baumbach makes movies that are "suspiciously pleasurable for me.” It’s for the same reasons as Vadim (“faultless punchlines,” pared-down scenes, fragmentary editing, etc.), but I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit we both essentially come from the same overeducated liberal arts milieu. I don’t share his family-of-the-arts pedigree, and the class privilege differs in key ways, but the references and the hyper-specific strain of anxiety and the petty dysfunction are more or less comparable. It’s basically guaranteed…

  • Knives Out

    Knives Out

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

    Second viewing. Despite its raucous reception at TIFF, I wasn’t sure this was the slam-drunk crowdpleaser many assumed it would be once it made its way to theaters. (Even correcting for reach and access, that honor goes to Parasite, which film-agnostic normies have enthusiastically praised in my presence.) For one thing, the ways that Johnson engages with “the political climate” are bound to set many-a teeth on edge, especially when he employs the forced political phrases designed to appeal to…

  • Superbad


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

    I think it’s easy to forget that much of this movie’s climax hinges on the independent decisions made by female characters, i.e. Jules’ sobriety and Becca getting shitfaced on her own, both of which spotlight the boys’ insecurity and the shortsightedness of “their plan.” Though Superbad’s premise—a Homeric odyssey for booze in part to loosen up objects of affection so they’d consider hooking up with dorks—is probably no longer kosher for good reasons, the way that it eventually wraps up…