Saturday, March 28, 2020

My Beloved Movies: Poisoned Pestled Vessel

The Conversation

Watch this movie, then read The Conversations by Michael Ondaatje, then watch it again. Coppola shot this movie in between Godfathers, then just handed some rushed footage to Walter Murch and told him to make a movie from it. To read what was shot and to realize it went on to be nominated Best Picture, and to read how he made the story work, it’s just incredible.

The Court Jester

My grandmother had a massive collection of VHS tapes. This was one of my favorites. Danny Kaye’s manic energy pops through every musical, slapstick moment. It’s whimsical, magical, tightly written. I think I’m going to go watch this movie now.

Crank: High Voltage

The Dark Knight came out in 2008. A year later, I saw this in the theatres and declared it the best movie since The Dark Knight. The movie opens with Jason Statham falling out of a helicopter AND SURVIVING. And that’s just how the movie starts. This is 80-something minutes of unhinged creativity and imagination that does not stop until the film literally catches on fire. I love this movie so fucking much. I’ve even had people stay with me, find the DVD on my shelf and text me asking, “what the hell is this movie?” It’s so god damn good.

The Cutting Edge

I saw this movie in theatres, with my mom and some family friend, during Passover. She let me get a Diet Coke because it’s kosher. Of course I hated it because I was a boy. But it came on TV a bunch of times and I kept watching it. Toe pick! God, this movie is so endearing. And I love the Olympics. And Moira Kelly is amazing. Screw you, this movie is great.


A simple movie with a simple concept: the presidency is supposed to be about doing good. I wish I could still be as optimistic as I was when I saw this movie. A delight if you haven’t seen it. Highly recommend.

Death to Smoochy

This movie has taken a lot of shit over the years, and rightly so. It tries to hard to be a satire, and it just falls flat. I saw it in theatres, and I liked it, but I left with a funny feeling. I loved Edward Norton at the time, so I bought it on DVD. After enough viewings, I found I didn’t love the movie as it was made, but I loved the idea behind it so much, I couldn’t stop watching it. There’s a brilliant movie in there somewhere, you just have to use your imagination, which is ironically a good takeaway from this kids story from hell.

Demolition Man

The three seashells! This movie is so fucking 90s, it hurts. Stallone is a great straight man in a comedy, and this action comedy just flows around him. And we get a nice little Dennis Leary standup set in the middle, so that’s cool.

The Departed

DiCaprio, Damon, Nicholson. Also, Sheen, Baldwin, Wahlberg, Farmiga, Dale, Anderson. Who else? Fuck, I’m sure if you look close enough, every background player has been nominated for an Oscar. Sorry if this is sacrilege, but this is my favorite Scorsese movie. How can you not love this cast?

Die Hard

A perfect movie. Who doesn’t love Die Hard?

Die Hard with a Vengeance

I go back and forth which I like more, this or the original? The original is clearly, objectively a better movie, but I think I like Jeremy Irons more than Alan Rickman. I think I like Bruce Willis paired with Samuel L. Jackson. I like the sheer insanity, the complicated villain plot. It was a great sequel in all the ways Die Hard 2 was not. And the TV edit has one of the best language edits of all time “racist melon farmer.”

Dirty Dancing

Another movie we had taped on VHS at home. I’ve seen it so many times, how could I not love it? Another movie that I understood more and more as I got older. Penny got in trouble. I had no idea she was pregnant, or that she had an abortion. Hell, this movie is the reason I’ve always been pro-choice. Her story is why abortion should be safe and legal. Oh yeah, love story, father-daughter story. No one puts baby in the corner, even though she’s not in a corner. And the best dance number and song to ever end a movie.

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