Video on demand (VOD) is the latest incarnation of the direct-to-video industry that followed the widespread adoption of VHS and VCRs. Like direct-to-video movies, these are often marginal releases highlighting so-so-to-quite-bad work. Every once in a while, however, you might find something that moves you.
Growing up I idolized Cary Grant, going so far as to pinch my chin in an attempt to mimic the cleft in his. Every family movie night I would offer a film starring Grant or one of his contemporaries. Who could turn down classics like Roman Holiday, The Philadelphia Story, His Girl Friday, or obscure but still great films like Thirty-Day Princess and Wedding Present? Reflecting back, I can’t help but think my decision to become a journalist must have been influenced on some subconscious level by those films, many of which were about journalism.
I’m not really one for sentimentalized or ritualized viewing. I’ll usually catch a showing of A Christmas Story over the holiday season and I make sure to watch Die Hard during the summer blockbuster months, as God intended. But life’s too short to demand that one sit down and repetitively re-watch something every year.
Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon—and you’ll surely know that this is Nicolas Winding Refn’s movie, as Nicolas Winding Refn’s name is prominent in the credits and Nicolas Winding Refn’s monogram appears on the title card—feels less like a narrative feature than an almost-two-hour-long music video.