Rom-Coms, Westerns, and Comic Con: July 2013 in Films
My movie watching dropped a bit in July. There are a few factors leading to this: 1) I watched the whole third season of Archer and the whole third season on Parenthood, 2) I was in San Diego for Comic Con and that same weekend flew up to S.F. for literally 24 hours attend a friend’s wedding and 3) I’ve been working on a new screenplay. All of those things take time, okay! I did, however, see quite a few new releases in theatres, as well as some rep stuff. I saw Schrader’s American Gigolo and Light Sleeper at UCLA and on Monday I am seeing his newest effort The Canyons there and he’s going to be in attendance! I also went to the Oscars Outdoors screening of Blazing Saddles. And, in case you missed it, I started a new Tumblr where I will be discussing rom-coms and why I think they are often overlooked and unfairly dismissed. That said, below, as always, are the films I did watch last month and a few highlights.
- U.S.A.: Poetry, Frank O’Hara
- A Little Bit of Heaven
- Lovers Courageous
- But The Flesh is Weak
- Made on Broadway
- The Frisco Kid
- Pain & Gain
- Love (1927)
- Show People
- Live, Love and Learn
- The Earl of Chicago
- Light Sleeper
- The Other Love
- Wild Rovers
- Ruby Sparks
- A Woman’s Face
- Man of the House (2005)
- The Rebound
- Take Me Home (2011)
- The Opposite Sex and How to Live with Them
- I’m So Excited! (Los amantes pasajeros)
- The Conjuring
- La chambre (1972)
- Blue Jasmine
- The Girl From Mexico
- The Mexican Spitfire
- Tonight You’re Mine
- Ride the High Country
- The Heat
- Mexican Spitfire Out West
- Mexican Spitfire’s Baby
- Mexican Spitfire At Sea
- Mexican Sees a Ghost
- Mexican Spitfire’s Elephant
- Mexican Spitfire’s Blessed Event
Somehow I didn’t watch a new-to-me film from the 80s and I feel like I’ve failed the decade I love so much. I’ll make up for it this month and watch at least five 80s flicks. This is a promise I am making to you, most unfairly neglected of decades! Up in the list you’ll see there is a link connected to Ruby Sparks, do click on that and read my extended thoughts on that film. I’m going to write something on A Little Bit of Heaven soon as well. In July I watched two different sets that I got from the Warner Archive: the Robert Montgomery Collection and the Mexican Spitfire collection featuring Lupe Vélez. I also watched quite a few westerns on Warner Archive Instant. Good stuff, good stuff.
Show People, 1928 (dir. King Vidor)
You guys, Marion Davies. That is really all you need to know. Marion Davies is brilliant in this film. If you like Lucille Ball and all she did in I Love Lucy, you need to see this film and you’ll know where she got everything.
The Earl of Chicago, 1940 (dir. Richard Thorpe)
I love Robert Montgomery SO MUCH. He is so attractive and he makes the best ridiculous faces. I wouldn’t say this is the best of his films, but I wanted to highlight it because he gives such a great, complex performance, walking the balance between drama and comedy perfectly. He also 1) has the best Chicago accent ever and 2) sports some pretty ridiculous costumes in the latter half of the film.
Dogfight, 1991 (dir. Nancy Savoca)
This movie is like one long prolonged punch in the face. Where the hell was Lili Taylor’s Oscar nod for this film?!?! Oh, yeah, she’s too subtle here for the Academy to notice how brilliant she is. River Phoenix matches Taylor’s subtle with his own brilliance and again we feel the loss of his early death. This film has one of the all-time great endings, proving images can be more profound than words.
Blue Jasmine, 2013 (dir. Woody Allen)
Woody Allen is at the top of his game with this biting social satire a la A Streetcar Named Desire. Is it a comedy? Yes. A drama? Yes. It’s genre-defying brilliance, filled with fearless performances from the entire cast. I foresee an Oscar nod for Cate Blanchett for sure, but if there’s any justice Sally Hawkins, Andrew Dice Clay and Bobby Cannavale will all get to add Oscar nominee to their names as well. Just go see this flick, Woody Allen fan or no, it’s essential. Side note: I saw one day of the filming and the scene is in the film, but only for like a minute. Woo! Also, also, props to Allen’s locations scouter, who found some beautiful parts of San Francisco to highlight.
Ride the High Country, 1962 (dir. Sam Peckinpah)
This was Randolph Scott’s final film and also features one of Joel McCrea (man’s man)’s best performances. The two play aging cowboys/lawmen/frontiersmen going on one last hurrah to collect gold for a bank. Obviously, things go awry, as they often do. This film strikes the perfect balance between gaiety and sorrow and is far more low-key than I was expecting from Peckinpah. I also saw Robert Aldrich’s The Frisco Kid and Blake Edwards’s Wild Rovers, which were both also brilliant westerns that take a different approach to the familiar. Sunday Morning Western has celebrated (roughly) its 2nd anniversary. Yay!
So that was July. August is my last month before I start my final semester of grad school (while also working forty hours a week), so I’m guessing it will be my last month of watching a film a day (a girl can try, though!). Here’s hoping August goes well for all involved!