Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Intermittently throughout the 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 a major new release. This week: David Lowery and A24 have brought us a moody art-film version of most beloved of 14th Century romances in the form […]

Intermittently throughout the 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 a major new release. This week: David Lowery and A24 have brought us a moody art-film version of most beloved of 14th Century romances in the form […]

This does not strike me as an unreasonable set of expectations: give me a movie musical with lots of wide shots to show off the dancing, long takes to serve the same end, tuneful songs to drive the dancing forward, and good color saturation to make it all pop off the screen, and I’m happy. […]

I’m no purist. I don’t think there are all that many things you need to include in a film adaption of the long-running video game series Mortal Kombat. While the games have a fairly involved overarching story line, I don’t really think most players are that aware of what it is, and anyway it’s been […]

August Wilson’s 1984 play Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is, to my mind, one of the best American plays from the latter half of the 20th Century. I have not, of course, read all of them, and I have seen even fewer, but still, we’re talking about a towering piece of theater from a formidable talent, […]

J.D. Vance’s 2016 memoir Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis came out at a perfect time to be glommed onto by political and cultural commentators from every corner who desperately needed something that could shore up their Grand Narrative about what happened in American politics that year. I myself haven’t […]

That the new film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s 1983 book The Witches would be worse than its source, and worse as well than the 1990 version of the story directed by Nicolas Roeg, is hardly any surprise at all, and really not even worth commenting on. What shocked me is just how bad it is, […]

The soullessly glossy new version of Rebecca, paid for and distributed by the soulless gloss specialists at Netflix, lives in the shadows of ghosts. There is the ghost of Daphne Du Maurier’s beloved 1938 novel, one of the pinnacles of inter-war Gothic fiction, still a widely-read classic. And there is the ghost of the 1940 […]

On paper, The Personal History of David Copperfield does everything right. The first feature film adaptation of Charles Dickens’s 1849-’50 novel in a half century is both clearly in love with the source material (just check out that title, which at least reminds us that most Dickens novels technically have much longer names than we […]

One is practically required by law to start any review of the 1999 version of The Haunting by negatively comparing it to the 1963 version of The Haunting, and how dare I do otherwise. The Haunting ’63 is one of horror’s all-time highest water marks, an immaculate piece of visual storytelling on top of being […]

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 […]

Any serious bad movie watcher knows that the films that are very famous for being bad generally aren’t really the worst of the worst. Like, Plan 9 from Outer Space? Helpless and very stupid, but it’s got its charms – it’s not even the worst Ed Wood movie. The subjects of Mystery Science Theater 3000? […]