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: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is a musical sequel to a movie that was based on a stage […]

So it comes down to as simple a thing as four names: Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen. The stronger a reaction you have to those names, the more likely you are to enjoy Book Club, a movie whose appeal lies, almost in its entirety, in watching those four actors getting a victory […]

It is, I think, close to being an outright objective truth that insofar as the 1987 cult object Overboard works, it works entirely because Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell have off-the-charts adorable chemistry together, owing in large part to their being a real-life couple. It certainly does not work because of the scenario, which is […]

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 (past) week: amnesia means never having to say you’re sorry in Overboard, a movie about how romantic it is to […]

Lost in Paris is beguiling as all hell, and I would in a pinch call it the most satisfying feature comedy released in the United States in 2017, though that’s not a particularly competitive field. Still and all: beguiling. It’s a featherweight romantic comedy full of many tiny surprises and absolutely no big ones, and […]

Like very many contemporary U.S comedies – like all comedies produced by Judd Apatow – The Big Sick: A) is a very loose, shaggy assemblage; B) would significantly benefit from being less shaggy. Though in this case, at least, the shagginess is personable as hell, rather than just feeling like the filmmakers had absolutely no […]

A review requested by Nathaniel Winer, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. If we lived in a healthier era for romantic comedies, I might not have found TiMER quite so fetching; but we don’t, so I did. The film, which is to date the only feature made by […]

A review requested by Steve T, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. There are, in the broadest possible sense, two epochs of the English-language romantic comedy. One was the age of the great screwball comedies, which ended during World War II. The second was the era of of […]

Here’s an object lesson in what cultural hegemony looks like, from the perspective of the hegemon. So at this point in history, China is the second-largest market for American films after the United States itself, and several of the highest-grossing films in the history of the Chinese box office are American studio blockbusters: Furious 7, […]

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 […]

The notional context for this review of The Invisible Woman, Universal Pictures’ release for Christmas week in 1940, is “let’s look at all the far reaches of Universal horror!”, and yet there’s no movie that ever felt like it might be part of a horror franchise that so obviously isn’t. The Invisible Woman is so […]

A second review requested by Julian D, with thanks for contributing twice to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. There’s nothing more personal and unique than what somebody finds funny – not even what they find scary, maybe not even what they find sexy. The things that make us laugh are as specific […]