I suppose in one sense, Netflix serves the same purpose as Facebook: perpetual high school reunion and never-ending nostalgia fests, reminders of a time before adulthood and the weight of responsibilities.
Nowadays when I go back and watch some film that was fun or memorable from childhood or adolescence I tend to see it more from the parents’ perspective, relating to those characters, rather than the kids. I wonder how Honey, I Shrunk the Kids will hold up when rewatching it. Rather than experiencing it as a child wandering through the grass and inner-tubing in a cheerio, I’ll consider it as the father searching for his lost children…
I remember seeing Boyz N the Hood during my film-critic, movie-obsessive days and respecting and appreciating it but regarding the similarly themed Menace II Society as the superior film in the genre. Maybe I’ll change my mind in revisiting them many years later.
Now, in rewatching it soon I’ll do so through an angle I never would have expected. It’s actually a rather spooky coincidence/synchronicity that this movie is available now of all times. Next week my wife April and I are moving from the San Fernando Valley, where we’ve lived since 2011, to the location of the film and her new art studio, Inglewood. After signing the lease last weekend, we had lunch at one of the many soul food restaurants in town, Dulan’s. It was ridiculously delicious. Some food blogging will be forthcoming as we explore our new home, I assure you.
It’s a very different place now, more than 20 years after the film was made — much safer and family-friendly.
Truth: in all my years of watching the wilds of arthouse cinema and experimental avant garde oddities and shocking films of all sorts, I never managed to get to the notorious Basic Instinct. I never had much use for Paul Verhoeven’s movies and just never made it a priority. But given my research into Camille Paglia’s style of cultural and artistic analysis, I’m going to finally give it a shot. Paglia did an audio commentary on the DVD and defends it.
The final Star Trek film focused on the original crew is one of the strongest in the series. Perhaps the third best? I’ll have to do a ranking of the Star Trek films at some point…. How would you rank them? Which is your favorite?
6. Bad SantaBad Santa is one of my all-time favorite comedies. It’s certainly in my top 10, maybe top 5. (That’s another list I suppose I should do…) The director, Terry Zwigoff, is also a favorite. Crumb, Ghost World, and Art School Confidential are smart, very funny too. But Bad Santa has the most belly laughs and the strongest bite. This is probably Billy Bob Thornton’s best variation of his obnoxious bully persona.
4. City of God
This 2002 Brazilian crime drama is tremendously exciting, deep, and powerful — one of the greatest films I saw while working at an art house movie theatre in the first half of the ’00s in high school and college. It has a documentary feel in its depiction of the battles between crime gangs in the slums of Rio de Janeiro. I can’t wait to watch it again. It’s like a more real-world version of Pulp Fiction, utilizing interlocking narratives and a jump-around-in-time structure, but with more substantive characters.
3. The Master on July 14This is the film on the list I’m most excited to now have available — it was one that I’ve been meaning to grab on Blu Ray for awhile. I regard P.T. Anderson as one of the greatest filmmakers of his generation (only Darren Aronofsky challenges him for the top spot) and The Master is yet another in a series of immensely creative, satisfying, challenging dramas filled with amazing acting performances. Like his previous movies, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch Drunk Love, and There Will Be Blood, this is one that I’ll be watching multiple times.
2. 12 Angry Men
Just as the Amazon Kindle has made thousands of classic texts easily accessible, so too Netflix has made it so much easier to catch up on Hollywood classics.Note to self: start assembling some lists of the best classic films available on streaming…
Confession: I still haven’t seen Patton. Of course my adolescent film period coincided with my anti-war, college leftist days, so even if at the time I’d concede that it was probably one of the “great films” of all time, I wasn’t eager to sit through a film reminding me what a wimpy anti-American peacenik I was.
But now that I’ve grown up and become more of a warmonger instead (read David Solway if you aren’t one yet too),I’m knowing that I really need to understand America’s greatest warriors like General George S. Patton better. What’s the best biography to read of him? Who are some of the other military heroes we need to study — and celebrate in film — to revive for our nation’s survival in today’s wars?
Click here for a list of the rest of the titles coming this month. I very consciously left out some there are others that perhaps I overlooked. What 10 more should go on an expanded top 20 list that I might be persuaded to write?