Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Every week this summer, we’ll be taking an historical tour of the Hollywood blockbuster by examining an older film that is in some way a spiritual precursor to one of the weekend’s wide releases. This week: if you have been paying very close attention you might have stumbled across the obscure little tidbit that the […]

A review requested by McAlister, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. The ingredients are pretty standard early ’40s Hollywood comedy, so you wouldn’t know it just to glance at it, but Ball of Fire is a very special movie. And not just because every film directed by Howard […]

1951’s The Thing from Another World is one of the weirdest cases that we those of us who generally subscribe to auteur theory will ever have to deal with. It’s a Howard Hawks production (Hawks was one of the key names when the Cahiers du cinéma crew began formulating the theory), but not a Howard […]

The textbooks will have you know that the United States entered the Second World War on 8 December, 1941, the day after the Empire of Japan bombed the U.S. naval yards at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. And while this is technically true, it would be a damned lie to act like imminent war wasn’t much on […]

In her relatively brief career (12 years from her featured coming-out moment in All About Eve until her death in 1962), Marilyn Monroe played all sorts of sex kittens – scheming, implausibly innocent, unexpectedly wounded – but the one that hews closest to the idea that has come down to the modern day as the […]

It can be fairly said that Howard Hawks’s ripped-from-real-life adventure story Only Angels Have Wings is one of the most influential films in history, although I haven’t personally encountered that argument before. Here’s what the logic looks like: it was the first Hawks film to really make a splash in France – not the first […]