Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

There are times when it makes sense to bury the lede, and times when it makes sense to just have out with the thing that needs to be said. So let me have out with it: the reason to see The Christmas Chronicles is Kurt Russell’s performance as Santa Claus. This cuts two ways. First, […]

The most surprising thing about the new animated adaptation of Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel’s 1957 picture book How the Grinch Stole Christmas! – which, in keeping the the 21st Century’s refusal to even pretend like any of us still has an attention span, has shortened the title to just The Grinch – is that it’s […]

Much of the pre-release promotion for the 2000 version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas focused on the extraordinary (and, eventually, Oscar-winning) make-up work it took to get Jim Carrey entombed in the flexible latex mask that allowed him to play Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel’s beloved Christmas-hating misanthrope. And, in particular, on how it was […]

The 1966 television special How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is a masterpiece at least three times over. First, it’s one of the greatest of all Christmas stories told in an audio-visual medium, filling its 26 minutes with exactly the correct amount of warm and fuzzy sentiment, wry cynicism to keep said sentiment in check, and […]

I am sorry to say that I didn’t write down the exact phrasing, but The Old Man & the Gun opens with a title card that reads something along the lines of “This story, also, is mostly true”. And what the hell do we make of that? “Also” compared to what? This is literally the […]

Given the company’s current business model, it makes perfect sense that Disney would finally get around to releasing a film with the explicit message “constantly dwelling in nostalgia is good, and caring about adult things is bad”. I don’t even think I’m being ungenerous to Christopher Robin in summing it up that way; at least […]

If you did not believe that the late children’s television host Fred McFeely Rogers was the most wholeheartedly good and decent human being to live and work in the 20th Century prior to watching Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, I’m pretty sure you’d believe it afterwards. The film isn’t exactly a documentary of Rogers’s life […]

Wonder is every inch a Nice Movie. It offers very simple, bromidic observations about having a good heart and being yourself and what have you. It centers on a disfigured little boy that the makeup designers have carefully contrived to look more adorable than actually off-putting in any way. It carefully vanishes away all of […]

You ever met that guy, at a party or wherever, who you see before you hear him, loudly (and perfectly!) quoting from some not-very-well-known movie? And maybe you think to yourself “oh, this guy gets it”, and you drift over to chat for a bit about how much you both love that movie, and it […]

I cannot tell you about the moments in Faces Places that brought me the most happiness. This is partially because those moments are clustered in the film’s last 30 minutes, and they are far too wonderful in their little surprises for me to dare spoil them. This is partially, also, because they are so pure […]

First things first: director Amanda Lipitz’s first documentary feature, Step, is about the first graduating class of the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women, a charter school opened in 2009, and initially founded by Brenda Brown Rever. Lipitz is Rever’s daughter. Maybe this means nothing at all, and maybe it completely invalidates the film’s arguments […]

Girls Trip – a title in desperate, aching need of an apostrophe, but that’s neither here nor there – is made out of stock ingredients, and nothing can change that. But then, comfort food is by design made out of stock ingredients, and Girls Trip is supremely comforting. “The uptight one, the one with a […]