Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

By the time Ingmar Bergman directed Waiting Women, released in the autumn of 1952, it had been almost two years since he’d made a movie. I don’t want to go all the way as far saying “and you can tell”, because there are ample strengths here. But there’s also a bit of stiffness in the […]

1992’s live-action/animation hybrid Cool World is the most juvenile kind of edgy Nineties nonsense, the kind that takes something wholesome and something sordid and self-consciously mashes them together just for the same of having done it. In this case, it is a movie whose animating principle (as it were) is to ask the question, and […]

Pete Davidson is a prickly, sad, and a tough person to be around. The reason I know this is that Davidson’s entire professional identity is built around defining himself as prickly, sad, and tough to be around. And now we have him as the lead actor in an entire semi-autobiographical feature film that he co-wrote, […]

Ask me to make a snap judgment, and I think I might very well say that 1983 is the worst single year in the history of American cinema. I’d also say that the 1983 Academy Awards, notwithstanding the gratifying overperformance of Ingmar Bergman’s monumental Fanny and Alexander (four wins on six nominations, for a subtitled […]

The honor of being the first Japanese feature-length animation is typically given to the 1945 propaganda film Momotaro’s Divine Sea Warriors, and by pretty much every definition of “feature-length” that’s correct. However, it was preceded by a 1943 film, Momotaro’s Sea Eagles, running to just 37 minutes (the shortest standard definition for “feature-length”, offered by […]

There’s a stock complaint about the Academy Awards that goes something to the effect of: “they don’t give Oscars for the Best Picture [Editing, Costume Design, etc.], they give Oscars for the Most Picture.” That’s usually at least a little bit true, but it becomes especially, spectacularly, in-your-face true in the case of 1956’s Around […]

Oh, how very clearly I remember looking forward to The Ladykillers, back in the first few months of 2004! After being extremely disappointed in Intolerable Cruelty the previous fall, it felt like this was going to see the Coen brothers right the ship: it didn’t exude the same unengaged aura of “we had a gap […]

The first question about 2003’s Intolerable Cruelty to tackle is, why in God’s name did the Coen brothers make it? Their tenth feature as co-directors (and the last one which Joel took sole official credit for directing and Ethan for producing – that is, Ethan was credited along with Brian Grazer, but I hope you […]

The eighth film made by Joel & Ethan Coen, 2000’s O Brother, Where Art Thou? also has the distinction of being their first full-on no-two-ways-about-it major studio production. 20th Century Fox had distributed Raising Arizona, Miller’s Crossing, and Barton Fink, but the financing and production of those films was still closer to a conventional indie […]

51 years after the premiere of the animated series Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! on television, I can absolutely see where the idea of using a reboot of that series to launch a Hanna-Barbera Cinematic Universe makes business sense. That’s three or even four completely distinct generations that have grown up with Scooby-Doo, the one Hanna-Barbera […]

Joel & Ethan Coen have made a career-long habit of never repeating themselves two films in a row – maybe to keep themselves entertained, or looking to keep themselves from being pigeonholed, I don’t know. Even so, there’s nothing in their career that compares to how hard they switched things up after the great success […]

Author’s note: I’m going to be treating this like you already know the story, and after a quarter of a century, you really ought to. Still, probably best to hold off on reading this if you haven’t seen the film – and also, I strongly urge you to see the film. There are so many […]