Some Brief Thoughts on That What’s Been Watched

It has been pointed out to me, pointedly, that I haven’t written anything here for quite some time. Sorry. It’s not you; it’s me.

Let me make it up to you with some capsule reviews.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Psst. Act!

Concentrated nonsense that delivers some purty-purty sugar licks to your optic nerves. If you thought The Fifth Element was awesome, ignore the critics and give this a shot. Just pretend it’s a Star Wars movie and that the two leads are supposed to be as charismatic as canned salmon.

O.J.: Made in America


You may think that a 5-part, 7-hour documentary series about O.J. Simpson is overkill, but—when you think about it—isn’t overkill exactly what the Juice has coming? Fascinating and depressing and eye-opening and smarter than you deserve: step above the tabloid, 24-hour-news-cycle hype and try to understand both who this guy is and what that says about all of us. Highly recommended.

After Hours

Surrender Dorothy

While I feel Scorsese might have gone a bit rough on the ladies in this one, it remains in its own dimension of brilliance. After Hours needs to be watched, and probably in a double feature with American Psycho. And by “watched” I mean “by you.”

War for the Planet of the Apes

Me next, please.

A guy I know, who shall not be named, used to play the “would you rather” game with his then-girlfriend. The apex of this game came when during a road trip to Anchorage his little fluffy white dog returned from a roadside romp with her face all covered in what might have been bear shit and his girlfriend turned to him and said, “would you rather french kiss your dog or go down on my mom?” I’d rather do either than watch War for the Planet of the Apes again.

Good Hair

The old brush off

There are documentaries that cover subjects that you wouldn’t think you’d find fascinating but do: Good Hair is one of them. Alas, Chris Rock isn’t much of a host, too much of this one gets wasted on less-enthralling excursions, and it’s technically lacking. Still: I had no idea how much black women spend on hair styling, how much energy it takes, and the repercussions of point A and B above. So yeah, you could check out Good Hair and learn a thing or two that’s worth knowing.

Manhattan Melodrama

I did it for Johnny.

I thought I’d check out another collaboration between director W. S. Van Dyke, William Powell, and Myrna Loy (who made some delicious Thin Man movies together). Alas, this one is pants, and itchy pants at that. Long, suffocatingly portentous, and lacking in wit, for this one you probably had to be there—if there was “bored in 1934.”


Look into your heart

Fritz Lang directs Spencer Tracy in a melodramatic tale of the wrongly accused returning to reap revenge. It’s got its moments, but it ain’t no Dr. Mabuse. (Speaking of which, I just got the 4-hour, silent Dr. Mabuse the Gambler to watch on disc, next time I have four hours of spare time to sit quietly with Fritz Lang.)

The Lost City of Z

Me next, please

Someone please explain to me why I should give any fucks about The Lost City of Z. I almost went out and bought an iPhone and downloaded Candy Crush so I could stay awake during this inert pile of bear dung. It’s like an extended book dedication to someone’s dead English cat.


Also, I, Tonya is even better than people are saying. You should go see that one, too.

Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.

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