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Which Films Did You See Last Week? [Week 35, 2022]

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Onderhond
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Which Films Did You See Last Week? [Week 35, 2022]

#1

Post by Onderhond »

First of all, a word from our founder:

"Please share with us which films you saw last week. It would be great if you could include some comments on each film. It would be awesome if you could also take some time to comment on everyone else's viewings. Please also note that this is intended as a movie discussion thread, not a large image posting thread. Having too many large images makes this thread difficult to navigate through. If you wish to include more than five images in a reply, please use spoiler tags - [ spoiler ][/ spoiler ] - to hide extra images." - sol

Image

01. 4.0* - We Couldn't Become Adults [Bokutachi wa Minna Otona ni Narenakatta] by Yoshihiro Mori (2021)
A warm and touching drama about a middle-aged man looking back at the choices he made during his lifetime, which didn't really bring him what had hoped for and dreamed about when he was younger. A superb central performance, polished cinematography, and a pleasant score strengthen the drama. The backward narration adds a layer of intrigue often missing from more traditional dramas. It's not a film that reinvents the genre, but it has a few smart touches that do help to set it apart from similar films.

02. 3.5* - Glorious by Rebekah McKendry (2022)
It's not easy coming up with a novel concept for a horror film these days, so kudos to Glorious for delivering something that I hadn't really seen before. While there may not have been quite enough material for a full-length feature film, McKendry does a solid job to keep things fresh and interesting. Wes is pining for his lost love when he stumbles into a public restroom after a particularly rowdy night. A voice from the stall next to him starts talking, eager to start a conversation. Wes isn't in the mood, but the voice is quite demanding. When Wes finds himself unable to leave the restroom, he realizes something is off. With a small cast and a single location, it's not always easy to keep a film engaging, but a superb setup and some neat little twists kept me on my toes. The film neatly evades some "less is more" traps, the cinematography is decent and the performances are fun, adding a little comedy to the whole. A pleasant surprise.

03. 3.5* - Noise by Ryuichi Hiroki (2022)
With all the talent involved, I expected a slightly better film. Not that Hiroki's Noise is bad, there's plenty of quality on display here. It's just that it never quite felt like true cinema, just a manga/story brought to the big screen. That's one of the downsides when you're working with too much talent and popular IP I guess. Shishikari is a small island where nothing exciting ever happens. A local farmer starts a fig farm and receives national recognition, which puts the little island in the spotlight. Outsiders take an interest in the place, and before the little community living on the island knows what hit them, they have their first murder on their hands. The characters have little room to shine, which is Hiroki's strong point. Instead, a lot of time is spent on the plot, which is decent enough, but not all that special. The cinematography is pleasant, and the soundtrack adds a little extra class, but in the end, there's just not all that much there that sets it apart from other films.

04. 3.5* - Battlefield Baseball [Jigoku Kôshien] by Yudai Yamaguchi (2003)
One of those films that prefaced the Sushi Typhoon age. It was Yudai Yamaguchi's first feature film, fronted by action/horror bad boy Tak Sakaguchi, and adapted from a manga. There was bound to be craziness galore, and crazy is what you're getting. It's just that the execution is a little wonky. Yakyu Jubei is new at his school. He never really fitted in, but he's a very gifted baseball player, and when his school's team is chosen to play one of the toughest, meanest teams in the league, Jubei is the only one likely enough to give them a fighting chance. He needs a bit of convincing, but finally, he commits. There are some crazy ideas and insane plot elements, which are mostly played for laughs. The film works better as a comedy, the gore is a bit basic and looks rather cheap. It doesn't hinder the film too much, but since then crazier, weirder, and more outrageous films have been released. Still good fun, but not really a masterpiece anymore.

05. 3.5* - Fall by Scott Mann (2022)
Sometimes all you need is a simple premise that is properly executed. The poster for this film tells you everything you need to know, then it's just up to the director to deliver. And Scott Man does. People with acrophobia might think twice about watching this one, as Mann loves exploiting the tricky situation the two leads find themselves in. After losing her husband to a climbing accident, Becky has trouble moving on with her life. Exactly one year later, her best friend convinces her to do another climb. They find a 600m high TV tower, but when they reach the top the ladder breaks and they find themselves stranded in the middle of nowhere. The tower is insanely narrow, insanely high, and insanely rusty. The way up there leaves little to the imagination, the lovely camera work doesn't either. Performances are decent, the thrills are on point and the desperation tangible. The film is a tad too long and maybe a bit too predictable, but if you're looking for a potent thriller, look no further.

06. 3.5* - Woodshock by Kate Mulleavy, Laura Mulleavy (2017)
An arthouse stoner drama that turns quite a bit more abstract during its finale. It's a real shame it took the film so long to get there because the final thirty minutes are pretty impressive. I didn't care so much for the drama itself though, which takes up most of the first hour of the film. When Theresa helps with her mom's euthanasia, she isn't quite prepared for the emotional impact this has on her. She slowly spirals out of control and starts to lose herself. The people surrounding her don't offer the support she needs and she finds herself slipping between dream and reality. Dunst is a little one-note, the drama a bit too heavy-handed and the pacing is too slow. But right when I started to wonder how the film had got its secondary genre classifications, the finale kicks in and things get a lot more interesting. Some very nice visuals and a strong score elevate the film, it just took the film too long to get to that point.

07. 3.0* - Rubikon by Magdalena Lauritsch (2022)
Spaceship sci-fi with a strong eco message. It's nothing too original, both the themes and setup of the film have been done before (better too), but Lauritsch still manages to create a moody, somewhat claustrophobic eco-thriller that could've been a bit tighter, but never feels like it overstays its welcome. The Rubikon is a space station where algae research is being conducted, as a source of food and oxygen. When our planet is suddenly swamped by an enormous toxic cloud, it is the only remaining beacon of hope. The three inhabitants of the station will have to figure out a way to further the existence of humankind. The effects are decent, the space station looks near-futuristic and the disconnect from an Earth in peril is effective. The performances are a little basic though and the story is rather predictable, including the finale. It's perfectly acceptable filler, I just wish they would've pushed it a bit more.

08. 3.0* - Who Invited Them by Duncan Birmingham (2022)
A pretty decent mix of horror and thriller elements, but a bit too predictable to make a really big impact. The title says it all, and from the moment you see "them", it is pretty obvious where the film is heading. Birmingham was also a little too eager to spoil the ending, which somewhat killed the tension during the second half. Adam and Margo just moved into their new, fancy house. They throw a little housewarming party, but their guests aren't too eager to see them show off their new house. Except for a couple who nobody seems to know. When everybody has gone home, they are the only two staying around. The performances are decent, the mystery is solid (at least, during the first half of the film) and the mind games are pretty evil, though they never really push the limits. This was pretty decent horror/thriller filler, a film that doesn't overstay its welcome and delivers on its premise, but never even tries to go beyond.

09. 2.5* - Tiger & Bunny: The Rising by Yoshitomo Yonetani (2014)
More Tiger & Bunny fun. Truth be told, I watched this film because of its ease of access (i.e. Netflix has it), otherwise I probably wouldn't have bothered. I wasn't too impressed with Beginning and this film doesn't really improve on it. That said, it's also not the worst anime I've seen. Just simple and easy filler I wish was a bit better animated. When the TV company hosting the superhero show gets a new CEO, things are about to change. Kotetsu is fired and Barnaby is promoted back to the primary league. Barnaby is paired with the cocky Golden Ryan, a mix that doesn't immediately pay off. When they discover a hidden plot that will wreak havoc on the city, they have no choice but to learn to work together. The mech designs are the only thing that jumped out positively. The art style is pretty basic, the animation isn't all that impressive and the plot is rather generic. There are some solid action scenes, but nothing you haven't seen before. There's nothing particularly terrible about these films, but it's pretty hard to find something that sets them apart from their peers.

10. 2.5* - Suzzanna: Buried Alive [Suzzanna: Bernapas Dalam Kubur] by Rocky Soraya, Anggy Umbara (2018)
Another typical Rocky Soraya production. He's no doubt one of the front-runners of Indonesian horror cinema, though not exactly due to the quality of his productions. Most of his films are pretty decent filler, much like Suzzanna, but they fail to really stand out or give Indonesian horror a strong identity. When Suzzanna's husband goes away on a business trip, four of his subordinates plan a little raid on his house to earn an extra buck. Suzzanna was supposed to be out, watching a movie, but she returns when feeling ill. The raid goes south, Suzzanna ends up in the ground and she returns as a vengeful spirit. There are some decent enough scenes here, also some retro-kitsch that is quite cute, but the biggest problem is the length of the film. The setup is basic, and the premise isn't very original, so there was really no reason to stretch this beyond the 2-hour mark. Suzzanna is pretty decent horror filler, but hardly up there with the better Indonesian horror films.

11. 1.0* - Top Gun: Maverick by Joseph Kosinski (2022)
The newest Top Gun took 35 years to materialize, but apart from three of so smartphones it just as well could've been made the year after. If you like 80s action cinema and don't mind heavy nostalgia this film won't disappoint, if you're hoping for a modern upgrade, don't even bother with Maverick. After screwing up a test mission, Maverick is on his way to early retirement, when his old pal Ice calls him up for one final mission. Not to fly himself, but to teach a bunch of younger prodigies. Maverick isn't entirely convinced of the plan, but since he has no other choice, he accepts the mission. Cheesy music, lots of references to the first film, tons of unearned sentiment, a sense of cool that hasn't evolved for 35 years, and some action scenes that may be quite practical in nature, but aren't that impressive to look at. It's a film that belongs to a bygone era, I just hope it doesn't start a new hype because this was pretty horrible.

12. 0.5* - Bull Durham by Ron Shelton (1988)
An American baseball classic. I'm not quite sure where this film got its reputation, but somehow this film stood out some 35 years ago. Maybe it was the cast of famous actors, maybe people were really digging sports romances back then, but whatever it was, none of it survived the test of time. Crash is a veteran baseball player who moves to the Durham Bulls to mentor younger talent. He's assigned to Nuke Laloosh, a young and talented baseball player, who rather chases women than commit to his sport. Crash and Laloosh don't really get along too well, but he won't just give up on the guy. The romance is terrible, the plot is extremely predictable and the baseball scenes are pretty damn dull. It's a bland and cheesy sports flick with a cast that doesn't excel, and a runtime that never warrants getting close to the 2-hour mark. One of those films I'll have forgotten all about the next day, and in this case, that's probably a good thing.
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#2

Post by Torgo »

Odd list fillers with one surprise

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) (6,5/10)
Shanghai Express (1932) (6,5/10)
You Only Live Once (1937) (7/10)
Too Beautiful for You (1989) (6,5/10)
An Officer and a Gentleman (1981) (5,5/10)
Mona Lisa (1986) (7,5/10)
Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001) (6-7/10) omg I did it
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#3

Post by Kublai Khan »

Onderhond wrote: September 4th, 2022, 8:34 am04. 3.5* - Battlefield Baseball [Jigoku Kôshien] by Yudai Yamaguchi (2003)
One of those films that prefaced the Sushi Typhoon age. It was Yudai Yamaguchi's first feature film, fronted by action/horror bad boy Tak Sakaguchi, and adapted from a manga. There was bound to be craziness galore, and crazy is what you're getting. It's just that the execution is a little wonky. Yakyu Jubei is new at his school. He never really fitted in, but he's a very gifted baseball player, and when his school's team is chosen to play one of the toughest, meanest teams in the league, Jubei is the only one likely enough to give them a fighting chance. He needs a bit of convincing, but finally, he commits. There are some crazy ideas and insane plot elements, which are mostly played for laughs. The film works better as a comedy, the gore is a bit basic and looks rather cheap. It doesn't hinder the film too much, but since then crazier, weirder, and more outrageous films have been released. Still good fun, but not really a masterpiece anymore.
Yes!
I loved Battlefield Baseball so much back in high school. I re-watched it last year and it still holds up for just being hyper-ridiculous self-mockery.



I didn't watch much this week.

Long Strange Trip (Amir Bar-Lev-2017) - A six-part sweeping documentary on the lifespan of the Grateful Dead. I've never been a "Deadhead" or too steeped in jam music, but it was an engrossing education on one of the most long-lasting and committed bands. I learned a lot and all the interview subjects were straightforward and forthcoming. Left me wanting to know a bit more, so that's always a credit.

The Rock (Michael Bay-1996) - Of course, I had watched this in high school multiple times, but I had never formally checked it. It's definitely indicative of how my taste has changed. The political jingoism also is a hard swallow as the "rogue general" evokes the Thomas Jefferson quote of the "tree of liberty needing to be watered by the blood of patriots" to justify his plan to murder the city of San Francisco (& Oakland).

Jurassic World: Dominion (Colin Trevorrow-2022) - Another disappointing big action blockbuster. The set pieces were okay, but after a while it gave me the impression that I was watching a "Jurassic World Stunt Spectacular" where no matter how slowly the heroes go, the dinosaurs will always just miss them. The movie set up an undercurrent about people dealing with the consequences of massive changes to the environment but then abandons it for the familiar "heroes trapped in a location as dinosaurs break security protocols" story. How did the populations of dinosaurs explode so quickly?

Distant Sky - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds Live in Copenhagen (David Barnard-2018) - Great stuff. I generally think of Nick Cave's more dirge-y ballads, but he and his band really rocked. He's got a really strong stage presence.
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#4

Post by Onderhond »

Kublai Khan wrote: September 4th, 2022, 8:02 pm I loved Battlefield Baseball so much back in high school. I re-watched it last year and it still holds up for just being hyper-ridiculous self-mockery.
True, but I think some of the later Sushi Typhoon-type material held up better, just because it's even bigger/bolder/madder.

If you like Yamaguchi's comedy antics, Sakigake!! Cromartie High is well recommended. It's his (well, it's a manga adaptation too) comedic take on the Japanese high school brawler (think Crows Zero/Blue Spring).
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#5

Post by Kublai Khan »

Onderhond wrote: September 4th, 2022, 8:51 pm
Kublai Khan wrote: September 4th, 2022, 8:02 pm I loved Battlefield Baseball so much back in high school. I re-watched it last year and it still holds up for just being hyper-ridiculous self-mockery.
True, but I think some of the later Sushi Typhoon-type material held up better, just because it's even bigger/bolder/madder.

If you like Yamaguchi's comedy antics, Sakigake!! Cromartie High is well recommended. It's his (well, it's a manga adaptation too) comedic take on the Japanese high school brawler (think Crows Zero/Blue Spring).
Admittedly, I haven't seen much about the Sushi Typhoon genre. I have a nostalgia for that one particular film because I saw it at a time in my life when Godzilla and Kurosawa were all people seemed to know about Japanese cinema and it was so wacky and different. There were a few other "weird Japanese movies" that I got into (Tampopo, House, Versus, Bio-Zombie, some Takashi Miike stuff from that time, and animes of course) before I lost interest in movies for a while. Now back in movies, I seem to be watching more artsy high-brow Japanese movies. Nothing wrong with those, some are quite good, but I think I might be craving something more "trashy" (if that's the right word).

Is there any more you suggest (it doesn't have to be specifically Yamaguchi)?
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#6

Post by Perception de Ambiguity »

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Les innocents aux mains sales / Dirty Hands / Innocents With Dirty Hands (1975, Claude Chabrol) (en français) 3

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Presumed Innocent (1990, Alan J. Pakula) 6+

Inception (2010, Christopher Nolan) (6th viewing) reflected some ideas that were previously implanted


shorts

Ray Gun Virus (1966, Paul Sharits) 6

The Song of Stone (1963, Toshio Matsumoto) at least 7 but needs a rewatch while actually awake


series

Star Trek - S3E15 - Let That Be Your Last Battlefield (1969, Jud Taylor) 6


music videos (only the good ones and the ones not on IMDb)

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Spitting Off the Edge of the World ft. Perfume Genius (2022)

Screaming Trees: Nearly Lost You (1993, Eric Zimmerman) 6

Kmfdm: A Drug Against War (1994, Aidan Hughes & Eric Koziol & Eric Zimmerman) 7

Soundgarden: The Day I Tried to Live (1994, Matt Mahurin) 6

T.G.: Psychic Rally in Heaven (1981, Derek Jarman) 7-

OK Go: This Too Shall Pass - Rube Goldberg Machine (2011, James Frost & Syyn Labs & OK Go) 6+

OK Go: This Too Shall Pass (Marching Band) (2010, Brian L. Perkins) 6-

Men Without Hats: The Safety Dance (1983, Tim Pope) 6+

Yazoo: Don't Go (1982, Chris Gabrin) 6

Romeo Void: Never Say Never (1983) (2nd viewing) [from 3 >] 6+

Faith No More: Last Cup of Sorrow (1997, Joseph Kahn) (rewatch) 6

Autechre: Gantz Graf (2002) (rewatch) 7

Metallica: Enter Sandman (1991, Wayne Isham) (rewatch) 7
i must be dreaming - lower ranks

Nine Inch Nails: Down in It (1989, Ben Stokes, Eric Zimmerman) (umpteenth viewing) 7

Tool: Stinkfist (1996, Adam Jones) (umpteenth viewing) 8


other

Jordan Peterson: Life, Death, Power, Fame, and Meaning | Lex Fridman Podcast #313 fuckin' eh

The Joe Rogan Experience - #1866 Protect Our Parks 5 (2022) 6
The Joe Rogan Experience - Fight Companion - September 3, 2022 (September 3, 2022) 6+

The Video Archives Podcast with Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avery - Video Archives After Show 03: Teenager (2022) 5
The Video Archives Podcast with Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avery - The Illustrated Man / Dirty Hands / Demonoid (2022) 6-


no, I said I'd enjoy a good yarn, not a good yawn

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The Illustrated Man (1969, Jack Smight) [40 mins or so]
Re:Born (2016, Yûji Shimomura) [8 min]


notable online media

top:
The Secret Theory Behind Rick and Morty
Mike Tyson - All Knockouts of the Legend [first 17 min]
INDIA METAL - Tung Tung (Nooran Sisters Metal Remix)
Jordan Peterson Goes Full Psycho On Lex Fridman [2 viewings]
HENRY ROLLINS - RARE INTERVIEW [by " MyTalkShowHeroes"]
Henry Rollins on "Adam Hills In Gordon St Tonight" | 18 April 2012 [rewatch]
The Fighter and The Kid - Will Sasso as Jesse Ventura
1992 - In Living Color - Dracula (Jim Carrey) Meets Ugly Wanda (Jamie Foxx) HD
Will Sasso Does an Incredible Donald Trump Impression on The Fighter and the Kid
Why Pure Information Gives Off Heat [audio only]
Trans Celebrity Whips It Out
Jamie Foxx - African Safari (Stand up)
In Living Color- Gays in the military
Gta V Loading Screen Meme ᵉᵈᶦᵗᶦᵒⁿ
By The Numbers | Tom Cruise
Honest Trailers | Top Gun: Maverick


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stupid shit of the week
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#7

Post by Torgo »

Perception de Ambiguity wrote: September 4th, 2022, 11:47 pm Inception (2010, Christopher Nolan) (6th viewing) reflected some ideas that were previously implanted
The 2010 poll needs you and it needs your list RANKED this time, Sir!
Autechre: Gantz Graf (2002) (rewatch) 7
Whoaa, let the OP not see this.
Bearing in mind that this was made when this millennium was as old as our current decade is now, my opinion is Gantz Graf can't be but admired. One of the so-called Maxi-CDs (single) I had to get physically, just in jewel case.
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#8

Post by Perception de Ambiguity »

Torgo wrote: September 4th, 2022, 11:53 pm
Perception de Ambiguity wrote: September 4th, 2022, 11:47 pm Inception (2010, Christopher Nolan) (6th viewing) reflected some ideas that were previously implanted
The 2010 poll needs you and it needs your list RANKED this time, Sir!
Mhhhhh, nah!

I'm sure
N
O
L
A
N
will do fine without my support in that poll.

Torgo wrote: September 4th, 2022, 11:53 pm
Autechre: Gantz Graf (2002) (rewatch) 7
Whoaa, let the OP not see this.
Because of the too close affiliation with Onderhond's peculiar taste or because it's not a high enough rating? A 7 is very much a positive and affirmative rating for a music video as far as I'm concerned. I think the video is a perfect match for the song it accompanies. The way I see it the song is industrial music translated to synthies that are going all glitchy, making it its own new thing. Likewise the video displays something like a cog in a machine, an invention of the industrial age, that is displayed as digital imagery, and the depicted cog keeps changing shape to the beat of the music, turning the once rigid industrial machine into a fluid being that is subjected to the whims of the present tense's unpredictable forces. Not to mention, those purported "glitches" have the potential to transcend their physical frame. Aside from all this I think there was some technical innovation involved given the context of this being made in 2002.
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#9

Post by Onderhond »

Torgo wrote: September 4th, 2022, 11:53 pm Whoaa, let the OP not see this.
I consider 7s a success here :P
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#10

Post by Onderhond »

Kublai Khan wrote: September 4th, 2022, 10:50 pm Is there any more you suggest (it doesn't have to be specifically Yamaguchi)?
A film like Machine Girl is essential when talking about how it became such a (short-lived) hype. Tokyo Gore Police is generally seen as the best of the bunch. I'm very partial to Mutant Girls Squad, as I think it's best at combining comedy and splatter elements.

Helldriver, Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl and Meatball Machine are other respected films. Zombie Ass and Dead Sushi might be better if you prefer the comedy over the splatter elements, but as the titles suggest, they aren't very highbrow entertainment :D
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#11

Post by Torgo »

Onderhond wrote: September 5th, 2022, 9:56 am A film like Machine Girl is essential when talking about how it became such a (short-lived) hype. Tokyo Gore Police is generally seen as the best of the bunch. I'm very partial to Mutant Girls Squad, as I think it's best at combining comedy and splatter elements.
This is a 100% correct presentation of Sushi history.
I also agree with Tokyo Gore Police, hell, I even gave it a 7/10! :woot:

Which makes it full circle:
Onderhond wrote: September 5th, 2022, 9:32 am I consider 7s a success here :P
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#12

Post by Kublai Khan »

Onderhond wrote: September 5th, 2022, 9:56 am
Kublai Khan wrote: September 4th, 2022, 10:50 pm Is there any more you suggest (it doesn't have to be specifically Yamaguchi)?
A film like Machine Girl is essential when talking about how it became such a (short-lived) hype. Tokyo Gore Police is generally seen as the best of the bunch. I'm very partial to Mutant Girls Squad, as I think it's best at combining comedy and splatter elements.

Helldriver, Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl and Meatball Machine are other respected films. Zombie Ass and Dead Sushi might be better if you prefer the comedy over the splatter elements, but as the titles suggest, they aren't very highbrow entertainment :D
Adding them to my watchlist. Thanks Ond!
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#13

Post by Minkin »

Welcome back to the weekly party, Kublai Khan! The only comment I have is that I still don't know what makes Jurassic World Dominion better / worse than other blockbusters.

Anyway, this was an OK week, mostly coloured by Dr visits and trying to get symptoms under control.

Highlights of the Past Week in my meager existence
-Us and our sloth went shopping for sloth snacks
-Finally find grilling cheese for sale somewhere (Sprouts)
-Had a fantastic mint milkshake!
-Start Reading The Land of Little Rain, an Inyo County book of essays on life in the desert
-Still working my way through trying all of the Shasta pops
-Do a lung function test - which was just a bunch of fancy breathing into a machine, one of them I couldn't quite get right
-Go to library and look at books for sale
-Psychiatrist appointment: decide its time for Clozaril - the "last resort" schizo med cause my symptoms are so awful. So it will be weekly blood tests for the next 6 months, and I have to worry about a whole host of potentially lethal side effects, but apparently this should finally get schizo issues under control.
-I say fuck akathisia and stop taking my 2nd dose of antipsychotic, rather than take a benzo with it for 3 months. By skipping it, I finally don't feel akathisia for the first time in a month, and I can finally not feel like shit for 6+ hours every day.
-Go to my partner's where she's in baking mood, made habanero jelly - which like pepper sprayed the place.
-Make sourdough starter pizza + crackers
-Had gumdrop grapes, which taste like candy
Flight of the Navigator (1986) - Florida / Norway - Rating: 5/10
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A boy (David) mysteriously loses 8 years of time, then discovers his answer whilst getting to fly around in a UFO with a lovably annoying Peewee Herman voiced robot (Max). What I find interesting is, before we discover any of this UFO business, Max communicates to David via some sort of telepathy, first via dreams but later even whilst he’s conscious. David begins to talk back to these voices that he’s hearing as well, which causes him to question his own sanity. The voices even give him commands, which he obeys, even though they make him carry out actions that are potentially dangerous (sneaking into a high security area). His brain also contains information that he isn’t readily aware of and it communicates with others without him consciously knowing it – as the words are being inserted into his mind and read by the brain-wave machines. This knowledge isn’t meant for humans, and yet David knows it (which is something I’ve experienced myself). Then you factor in that the U.S. government is so interested in David and keeping his family hostage – lest they reveal any of the goings-on involving David. The whole thing plays out like a case of schizophrenia, with David’s suffering then affecting his entire family. For David is already othered for having disappeared for 8 years and suddenly showing up again, but then he has these weird experiences as well that make him into someone of paramount interest. Of course this all ends up being true, and David is just a hapless victim of otherworldly visitors, but there’s certainly a number of people in our world who also hear voices, believe they have alien/divine knowledge and are convinced that they are wanted by the government. Anyway, this is perhaps more of a trip of nostalgia for people and is too targeted to children for my tastes – as it ends up just being little more than a kid and his comic relief robot going on flight simulator 2000.
The Tin Man (1935) - Los Angeles County - Rating: 7/10
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Patsy Kelly and Thelma Todd get lost on the way to a party, and end up in the house of a mad scientist, who has a goofy looking robot, oh and an escaped criminal is loose, just to add to the chaos. Rather than run off scared from the robot, they end up sitting down for supper with it instead. This is amusing as the scientist is hoping they fall in love with the robot – because he’s trying to get revenge against the female sex for all they’ve done to him, in some crafty incel with too much time on their hands way. For it’s interesting that he has built this robot, not to destroy, but to create some sort of proto-male for women to fall in love with, to which he’ll then reveal it was a robot the whole time, to their embarrassment. So it’s revenge via tugging at heartstrings and playing with people’s emotions, just in the hopes of trapping them into loving a robot. Knowing that he’s a mad scientist, this is still quite a complex point of vengeance, as a way to deceive people into loving the inanimate. Of course the robot is barely functional and barely resembles a person, which all adds to the joke – that anyone could fall in love with it, yet the girls are comfortable enough around it to sit down to a meal and not run in fright at its presence, so it has some meager potential to accomplish its goal. I get that in the 1930’s, the idea of loving a mechanical man is meant to be the flight of fancy of a madman, but it’s amusing that in 2022, what with people “marrying” their anime pillows, the idea of falling in love with a robot doesn’t exactly seem that infeasible anymore. But the robot is being controlled by the scientist – so it’s him projecting his thoughts and desires into another being, so falling in love with the robot is essentially falling in love with the scientist via proxy. Plus then this whole notion of your lover being a robot also plays into a quintessential delusion as well. Anyway, this early robot short film provides some solid Kelly / Todd comedy action that manages to be delightfully chaotic.
Patriotism (1972) - Santa Barbara County - Rating: 6/10
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Of all people, Bob Crane is here to help us learn that patriotism is more than just pride of where you’re from, but is the act of service in making your whereabouts a better place for everyone. Here it’s defined that you can be patriotic of not just your country, but also your city, or even your family – as they all work as a microcosm and foundation for a better place. I rather like this definition, as it’s meant to inspire and promote cooperation and really get to the heart of what the term means and its broader implications, rather than just default to nationalism. For there’s plenty of simple ways you can perform to make the world a better place for all people – even if that means just “not making things worse than they are.” That said, “patriotism” has such a corrupted meaning at this point of time – where the ideal of giving back and helping your community has turned into a rallying cry for exclusion and violence – that yes these contemporary “patriots” are “giving back,” in their own way, but it’s one built out of fear rather than love. Crane perhaps addresses this with a remark that “if you find beauty and goodness in nature, won’t you also feel that way about yourself?” That might work in theory, but I know I can appreciate nature and still hate myself, so top that one Mr Crane. It’s also a bit difficult to find ways to give back to your community when you’re at the bottom of the totem pole, and in more need of help than you are able to give back – which is the predicament I find myself. I think it’s incredibly difficult to feel much of a traditional sense of patriotism anymore at this point, but still the spirit of cooperation, sharing, community and making the world a better place for others, and starting with your hometown and family, is ultimately still an important lesson for everyone.
Viktor und Viktoria (1933) - Berlin / England - Rating: 6/10
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A woman, down on her luck takes over for her friend’s female impersonation act, only to become a big sensation, as she deals with the issues of posing and falling in love as a man. This film somehow made its debut in Hitler’s Germany, despite the subject matter – hell, it doesn’t even appear to have been banned somehow. That said, most of the queerness inherent in this film is, well, expectedly underplayed, as the main love interest deduces Viktor’s gender pretty early on. There is quite a bit of female gaze directed towards Viktor, and some of the people find themself attracted to them, regardless of what gender they’re presenting, but it never really progresses beyond that – there’s none of the awkward attempts at queer romance you might expect from this scenario. I did find Viktor’s initial appearance, with them being terrified of everything and everyone, and being unsure how to perform this gender role, the most endearing aspect of the film – as it really feels like it captured the essence of one’s first attempts to present as a different gender than you were born as – that unsteadiness, that complete lack of confidence, and that trying to hide from every person you come across. For presenting in public as a different gender, especially the first time, can be one of the most exhilarating yet terrifying experiences you can ever have – where just performing the simple act of leaving the car and going into a store can put you into a panic attack, and can be a tremendous heroic accomplishment – for you have no clue how you’ll be received, and other people, doing this exact same maneuver, have ended up assaulted or killed for less – so in a justified way you feel like your very life depends on how successfully you can perform a gender. Viktor becomes quickly accustomed to their role in the film, but that initial appearance really felt true to the experience of passing and presenting gender. I think the problem with this film though is that, despite the entire scenario being rooted in queerness, there’s very little that’s actually queer about the final product – as it just ends up being more of a “crossdressing is funny” perspective – and that’s ultimately disappointing, but also probably why this thing didn’t get banned, and why it was remade several times – because yes, its inherently queer, but in a very sanitized and safe manner. It makes me wonder whether they ever had plans to push the boundaries more (like exploring same-sex attraction) and played it cautious, or whether this was always the final product. Still though, for existing at all and for giving some basic allusion to the plight of those who experience gender on a different spectrum, I still must praise it somewhat.
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She has an illusion, and you have reality. May you find your way as pleasant.
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