Stanley Kubrick’s body of work gifted us a number of larger-than-life performances, from Peter Sellers’ triple duty in Dr. Strangelove to Malcolm McDowell’s wide-eyed rapist in A Clockwork Orange to Jack Nicholson’s deranged, ax-wielding dad in The Shining. He loved to get actors out of their boxes, to get them to go what they might think is a step too far; he famously had to trick George C. Scott into hamming it up during Dr. Strangelove in order to capture the true madness of Gen. Buck Turgidson, suggesting they do just one over-the-top take of each shot and then using most of those in the final product.
Chappaquiddick feels a bit like two distinct, competing-yet-complementary movies. The first is a character study of a tragically flawed individual, the son who can never live up to the expectations of his father or the example of his brothers yet masters the clan’s tools for success, achieving public acceptance and private disgrace. The other is a comedy of errors, a farce, a darkly comic examination of the end result of seemingly hereditary immorality festering in a corrupt bloodline; imagine The Godfather if Fredo were the only surviving Corleone son at the saga’s beginning.
I couldn’t say for sure whether Rampage is a “good” movie, exactly. I’m not entirely certain if I can recall a line of dialogue from Rampage, and I’m pretty sure I can’t remember a single character’s name without the aid of IMDB. It would be fruitless to discuss Rampage in terms of camera movement or the 180-degree rule or montage or zooms and pans and all that jazz. I’m just an Unfrozen Caveman Movie Critic; my primitive mind can’t grasp these concepts.
I’ll admit to being a bit surprised that the Atlantic caved to outside agitators and fired Kevin Williamson, the talented, prolific, and oft-misanthropic writer most recently at National Review. Williamson’s sin was believing abortion to be murder—a statement generally treated as a platitude—and playing that idea out to its logical conclusion. For having the bad taste to state such things out loud (things I personally disagree with!), he was accused of, among other things, wanting to lynch an eighth of the American population. (This is, it should go without saying, nonsense.)
Ready Player One is pure Spielberg: fun and slick and perfectly constructed, filled with melodrama, spiced with a bit of self-aware hokeyness, and striving for relevance beyond mere entertainment. Not quite as mired in nostalgia as its source material—or, at least, more expansive in the references in which it is mired—Spielberg’s film is probably a more appropriate setting for the subject matter than Ernest Cline’s novel.
In the latest episode of the Substandard (subscribe, review, etc.) Vic, JVL, and I all discuss Tomb Raider and video game movies writ large. It’s a pretty good show, I think. Unlike that disaster last week. Good lord. Surprised they let us have another crack at it after that one.
Anyway, listen below. And after the embed, I’ve included the five worst video game movies. It was actually kind of hard to find five movies I’d actually seen for this list. So, if you want to see some real crap, just stick around. You won’t be sorry?
Guys, did you know that cooking eggs in a certain manner is problematic? I know you’re shocked—something utterly meaningless being denounced for violating whichever principle we happen to be adhering to this day? No!—but really, it’s true. Of course, the central struggle of our times is determining how, exactly, it’s problematic. Which tenet of intersectionality does it most egregiously violate? Is said method classist (and, therefore, probably racist, given the overrepresentation of minorities in the lower economic classes)? Or is it, gasp, sexist to criticize said method of cooking eggs?
Let’s find out!
The new Wes Anderson film is out, and it’s good! I love it. You should definitely go see it. Good, of course, is a relative construct. Good compared to most of the crap out there? Sure! Duh. But how good is it within the context of other Wes Anderson movies? I DON’T KNOW. LET’S FIND OUT.