Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

The argument is there to be made that the present moment in American history is so inherently ludicrous that it is immune to satire. I would not want to be the one to make it, but I offer to whomever wants to take the job a peerless piece of evidence in the form of Irresistible. […]

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, […]

It only took nineteen years, but with Lake Placid: Legacy, a 2018 made-for-Syfy thriller that could be retitled and made a standalone project at the expense of absolutely nothing other than two lines of dialogue, the franchise quit beating the odds. This is every bit the piece of inane dogshit that one would expect from […]

1950’s This Can’t Happen Here (first released in English under the much less meaningful title High Tension) is certainly not the only film directed by Ingmar Bergman that he would later describe in unflattering terms as an artistic failure. But it is the only one of his films that he hated so much that, for […]

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 […]

There has been many a horror film to be completely saved through the intervention of nothing other than a really terrific, atmospheric location. You Should Have Left is not one of these. To be sure, the location is terrific, an ultramodern McMansion with razor-sharp clean lines, tastefully austere appointments, and a profoundly inorganic hostility to […]

Later in life,when Ingmar Bergman would speak of his earliest films, it was generally to crap all over them. It seems to me that, within that cluster of movies, 1947’s A Ship to India (adapted from a play by Martin Söderhjelm) is the one that he would discuss with the most open hostility, referring to […]

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 […]

Worse films have won the Best Picture Oscar than 1933’s Cavalcade, though not many. I think there is a real argument to be made, though, that it is the most defective movie to win that award. Sure, 1929’s The Broadway Melody and 1931’s Cimarron are both weaker technically, with their janky early sound hiccups, and […]

I have a my disagreements with legendary film critic Pauline Kael, some of them fairly intense, but one thing I’ll never fault her for: she could write a hell of a sentence. And there’s no sentence of hers I co-sign more eagerly than the one that she used to start her review of Rain Man, […]

The book-length interview Hitchcock/Truffaut (one of the greatest texts about how filmmakers make films that you will ever read), was first published in 1966, at which point Alfred Hitchcock’s newest film was Torn Curtain, from that summer. He didn’t have very much to say about it to François Truffaut, skimming over a few sequences, point […]

Broadly speaking, writer-director-producer Tyler Perry makes two kinds of feature films: funny ones that are awful, and serious ones that can, from time to time,be okay. The last serious one was Acrimony in 2018, and before that was Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor in 2013, both of which break that general pattern by being […]