May was a pretty busy month for me. It started with the tail end of the Atlanta Film Festival (one of those last films made my favorites list for the month) and ended with me writing my very first professional film (and TV!) reviews. So in case you missed it, here is everything I wrote in May: movie recs and a poem over at the Classic Film Collective, I profiled Marielle Heller for Netflix Queue, I interviewed Aubrey Plaza for RogerEbert.com, dropped several more episodes of Prog Save America, speaking of podcasts I talked small town cinema on Movies With Gravy, still talking Zodiac with Zodiac Minute, talked the sled scene with Citizen Kane minute, for Moviefone I wrote about women who made films while pregnant for Mother’s Day, curated a watchlist for The Fast Times, for Nerdist Vampire Week I wrote about vampire films directed by women, Jean Painlevé’s Le Vampire, and the horniest Dracula movie of them all, for The Playlist I reviewed Natalie Morales’ directorial debut Plan B and the new YA show Panic, and lastly for my Moviefone column I interviewed Gia Coppola, Haifaa al-Mansour, and Danielle Lessovitz, and wrote about a couple of rock docs.
Whew. And now to everything I watched in May! After the cut, as always, you’ll find the list, a breakdown by decade, and a handful of my favorite first time watches!
I honestly cannot believe this is the end of a decade. The 2010s have been a very transformative decade for me in almost every way possible. The one thing that has stayed with me is my love of cinema. I always have ups and downs with contemporary cinema, but this year I found several films that really spoke to me. So, as always, you can find my favorite fifteen films of the year after the cut. You can also see my whole list here.
This was the 10th anniversary of Noirvember this year! It was really amazing to see just how wide spread the celebration has grown over the last decade. I’m grateful for everyone who participates, and am so happy that so many people are able to discover new favorites every year. As always, you can see all the films I watched in November, plus a few highlighted favorites, after the cut.
June was a pretty great month in cinematic shenanigans for me, even if it was light on feature films (more on that after the cut). Halfway through the month I joined the Battleship Pretension podcast for their retrospective episode on the late Agnès Varda. I also saw a lot of really artistically challenging films (and binged a ton of soapy TV!). As always, you can see everything I watched and read a little bit about my favorites after the cut.
Patrick Denham: Let me tell you something else. Honestly – I’m not bullshitting here – this is one of the nicest boats I’ve ever been on. I gotta tell ya.
Jordan Belfort: I bet it is.
Patrick Denham: Hey, you know what I was just thinking, too? The fucking hero that I’m going to be back at the office when the Bureau seizes this fucking boat, because I mean fuckity fuck fuck, Jordan, look at this thing! It’s beautiful! And you’ve got the beautiful girls and everything. It’s wonderful.
Jordan Belfort: [laughing] Alright, get the fuck off my boat.
John The Baptist: Love. What does it mean? Love is sweet as honey, but it’s also blood. Love is action. You want a new crop, you burn the earth.
Jesus: But isn’t love enough?
John The Baptist: No, no! Look at the world around you! Plague, war, corruption, false prophets, false idols, worship of gold! Nothing is of value. The tree is rotten. You have to take the ax and cut it down.
Jesus: If I was a woodcutter, I’d cut. If I was a fire, I’d burn. But I’m a heart and I love. That’s all I can do.
A lot has been written about this film by people who know it a lot better than I do, so I’m gonna preface this by saying what I want to do with this piece is not a full analysis of the film, but rather snippets of thoughts and ideas that ran through my head when I watched it Thursday last at the Castro Theatre. I first saw Taxi Driver when I was about 15 (I rented it on VHS and I did not tell my parents) and I don’t think I really understood what I was watching. Really, going into the screening on Thursday, all I remembered from the film was the scene where Robert De Niro takes Cybill Shepherd to the porno theater. That was the first time I ever saw porn. Needless to say, it was shocking. Believe it or not, that was the only time I’d seen the film before this last time. So I have only seen it twice now. I’m guessing it’s a movie that gets richer each time you watch it, much like my favorite Scorsese film, 1985’s criminally under-seen After Hours. I would also like to mention that 1976 is a year where I can’t really say I wish one film beat another film. For me, it’s a year where all of the nominees are so important and so different, that choosing just one seems like a disservice. Well, four of them, anyway, as I have not yet seen Bound For Glory. Although Taxi Driver won the Palm d’Or at the Cannes film festival, it received only four Academy Award nominations and failed to win in any of the categories: Best Picture, Best Actor Robert De Niro, Best Supporting Actress Jodie Foster and Best Original Score. The other films nominated for Best Picture that year were All The President’s Men, Bound For Glory, Network and winner Rocky.
Jimmy: I know you from some place.
Jimmy: You don’t remember me?
Jimmy: You don’t remember we met a few years ago? It was at a party or a dance. We had a long conversation. You can’t remember that?
Jimmy: I just want to explain to you, first of all, my parents are over there, my mother and father, my brother and sister. So I got to see them because I just was two years in the service, you know, so they haven’t see me. Now, I want to get your phone number so I can tell you tomorrow about what I was thinking about. There’s something very, very important I’ve got to talk to you about.
Jimmy: No what? No what?
Jimmy: No, no, no. You don’t understand. Give me your number. You got a pencil or something?
Jimmy: All right. I have a photographic memory. Just give me your number, and I’ll remember it.
Jimmy: Can I meet you at Central Park? I’m serious.
Francine: I know. No.
Jimmy: I mean, come on. There’s no way…