• I must confess that I was severely sleep deprived when I had this from the library and slept through the ending twice. Did watch all of “Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe,” though. And you’re not wrong about the Gary Larson thing.

    • The Ploughman

      It’s got its surface pleasures but I can see where the back half could lull an already-tired body into sleep. Did you have the copy that came with Vernon, Florida? And what did you think of it?

      • I honestly don’t remember. “G” was a long time ago!

  • Drunk Napoleon

    What did we watch?

    • Drunk Napoleon

      LOST, Season Three, Episode Two, “The Glass Ballerina”
      “I do this because that’s what it takes to be married to you.”
      “And what does it take to be married to you?”

      “You expect me to work in this dress?”
      “It’s up to you. You can take it off if you want.”
      [Sawyer grins, then sees Kate’s reaction] “… How dare you!”

      The episode opens with baby Sun destroying the eponymous glass ballerina, and at this point the show has leaned on the ‘object with profound personal meaning’ idea so strongly that it’s lost power. Conversely, Tony Lee is brought back, and because he’s in a different place every time we meet him, his story is pleasurable to watch. You know, aside from the sad ending. Drama draws variations out of a single idea quite logically; literature has to force it, and carefully.

      Trixie! Except this time she’s Connie. Also, I only notice this time that Danny is played by Michael Bowen (one of the nice things about Vice Principals was seeing Bowen play a nice guy for a change).

      The pilot originally aired September 22nd, 2004 (although it didn’t air in Australia til October or November); Ben explicitly states that this is the same date the plane crashed, in-universe. In the original airing, three years had passed since then; Ben explicitly states 69 (nice) days had passed in-universe. The writers work in real world facts that happened during the real 69 days, including most famously the fact that the Red Sox won the World Series. I doubt the full effect will be felt by anyone watching the show fresh now (though I do still feel a little mindblown watching it), but it works as characterisation – this is the precise thing that would blow Jack’s mind, and it is pretty funny watching him be initially skeptical.

      I also find it interesting in that it very specifically roots the show in the very specific time it was made in, even moreso than the 9/11 stuff. I’m not entirely sure what the effect is or will be, though I suspect it’s a part of the show’s reputation not aging well even outside of the ending – if you watched it at the time, it felt fresh and in-the-moment, but 2004 is getting further and further away (as opposed to Mad Men, which rooted itself in a time long before I was born and thus never felt fresh, or The Shield, which roots itself so intensely in one aesthetic that it always feels fresh no matter when you watch it).

      Ownage: After eating shit all episode, Sawyer manages to distract everyone, punch a few dudes, and get a gun.

      The Dapahted
      This is Scorsese’s equivalent to The Social Network, a basic story and screenplay that’s outside his normal wheelhouse and filtered through his particular vision; much like The Social Network, it’s an above-average popcorn thriller. In this case, individual characters aren’t particularly interesting and the themes are neither subtle nor interesting; it’s the forward moving plotting and intense style that make it entertaining. Every Scorsese film up until now, I’ve interpreted the purpose of the sensation; this is the first one where I don’t think Scorsese thought about sensation at all, and simply followed the necessity of the plot.

      I recall my main reaction to this film the first time was how simple the filmmaking was; there are no complex shots and few tricky ones, and my conclusion at the time was that maybe great filmmaking is less about the individual shots and more about how they connect. Coming back to it now, I obviously notice it’s dramatic necessity, but at the same time Scorsese and Schoonmaker’s collaboration has reached virtuoso levels; I doubt even they could articulate what they’re doing, and I certainly can’t – I have to pull back and see the bigger picture.

      I’ve been noticing – and this is clearer than any movie before – that while returning actors like DeNiro, Pesci, and in this case DiCaprio can bring nuances to a familiar persona (as wallflower pointed out, this is a film where DiCaprio’s sweaty acting is brought to a sweaty actor character), new blood brings a new and unique energy – Damon, Wahlberg, Sheen, and Nicholson keep the film firey and alive in a way that, say, The Hateful Eight isn’t for Tarantino.

      Of course, if you ask what I personally think of the film, I more respect it than like it. I won’t deny it’s a two-and-a-half-hour thrillride that earns every second, but the characters are too simple and (aside from the fact that people speak in ownage) the ideas floating through the story don’t really rev my engine, and I suspect if I weren’t watching Scorsese’s films in chronological order and could spot both his quirks and his new ideas I wouldn’t care at all. That’s more a matter of personal taste than anything though. And I do love that Damon’s reaction to imminent death by getting shot in the face is exasperated acceptance.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        The big chunk of this film that I love is the scene where Costigan and Costello talk honestly with each other, or as honestly as they can (as you find out later this is two rats at the same table). Costigan is always playing Frank but its really him telling the guy that he’s seventy years old for chrissake and why is he dealing drugs? It also has two great lines: “You don’t pay very well, it’s basically a feudal fuckin’ enterprise” and the cathartic “Yeah Frank, yeah, I could probably be you…but I don’t wanna be you.” Like Heat, The Departed is about the mutual empathy between professionals but its naturally messier, meaner because twisted family bonds have distorted that empathy.

        • Drunk Napoleon

          I was thinking that it reminded me of Mann in terms of some of the professionalism (especially watching Damon handle a gun), though ultimately the emotion was much too volatile for Mann.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            Its like the professionalism of Mann collapsing because the bonds that have been created are too unstable and too dependent on emotion.

          • Drunk Napoleon

            A Mannly world that’s been Scorsesed.

          • One of the things I love about The Departed‘s plot is that when Costello dies, the whole system of lies self-destructs in the form of shots to the head.

        • Son of Griff

          Excellent observation. I think that this is the thematic consistency that @drunknapoleon:disqus was looking for.

        • Sometimes I think that’s my favorite diCaprio scene, period (it might also be the Christmas phone call in Catch Me If You Can, as mentioned below); that’s where you really see diCaprio the actor and Costigan the character (who is playing another character) merge. diCaprio and Costigan have to both calculate exactly how to react to Nicholson and Costello (who is also sorta Whitey Bulger, my this is complicated); you can’t just blow him off and you can’t blow up. The challenge for diCaprio/Costigan is to play the right level of anger, and he/they hit it perfectly.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            Someone said to me once that DiCaprio is giving the best performance in The Departed and I wouldn’t disagree. Its not as flashy as Wahlberg or low key as Sheen (and Damon is really great here, again proving that he’s great as people who are fundamentally liars) but he’s always playing multiple people and you can feel the deep strain of BEING Costigan and faux crook Costigan all. the. time.

        • Son of Griff

          I heard that Nicholson was trying to break DiCaprio up in that scene, and what you are seeing is the actor stifling his desire to throttle his co-star. Apparently on the take they used, when DiCaprio slams the pistol on the table, he hit it so hard that it bounced off the table (out of frame) but they just kept it going.

          • Balthazar Bee

            Also, there were rumblings (and they may be no more than rumblings) that Scorsese wasn’t exactly over-the-moon as far as Nicholson’s lack of professionalism in that scene. To wit, apparently the gun he pulls out is a real one, and supposedly not everyone involved even knew he was going to do it.

            Again, not sure if any of this is credible, but it might account for some of the stranger beats in the scene.

      • Jake Gittes

        I remember Scorsese himself joked that The Departed was the first film he ever made that had a plot.

        I’ve never really been anxious to rewatch it but I have a soft spot for it as the second 100% adult movie (the first was Perfume) that I went to see in theaters by myself, being all of 13 at the time. It was a stepping stone in discovering entertainment beyond just blockbusters and comedies. Also, Dignam might be my favorite cinematic example of an asshole you want to cheer for.

        • Drunk Napoleon

          Mebbe. Mebbe nawt. Mebbe go fahk yahself.

      • DJ JD

        I thought Damon at the end was fixing up the next story he was going to tell. I didn’t think he’d decided to accept it at all.

        • Drunk Napoleon

          The sense I got from his “Okay” was that he wasn’t going to say anything else. He didn’t look frightened, he didn’t look like he was prepping his next lie. He looked like he’d just given up.

      • Babalugats

        No sense of sensation huh?
        https://youtu.be/AwmCbh5yjbM

        It’s difficult to argue about what is and isn’t interesting, bit I think you’re selling the character work and the thematics a little short here. Unfortunately I’m supposed to be plumbing a house right now, so I’m going to have to leave it at that for the time being.

        • Jake Gittes

          You fix the cable?

          • Drunk Napoleon

            Don’t be fatuous, Jake.

        • Drunk Napoleon

          I don’t mean that there’s no sensation, I mean that it’s not dedicated to a higher cause than advancing the story. Every other movie up until now has focused on a specific kind of sensation, from Travis Bickle’s crippling loneliness to Jesus’ religious ecstasy to Henry Hill’s hedonism to Howard Hughes’ mental illness; The Dapahted is the result of Scorsese simply ‘showing what happens’ and the sensations emerge more naturalistically.

      • Son of Griff

        For reasons stated better elsewhere on this thread, My take is that THE DEPARTED actually works better as a Scorsese film than as a straight up genre exercise. The major flaws that keep this from achieving greatness are when the anxiousness of Scorsese’s trademarked style overshadows the pacing and exposition of the genre. It’s a fun if not completely absorbing Scorsese film, but not a particularly well constructed thriller.

      • psst. . .that’s not Michael Bowen in Vice Principals, although if Team Jody Hill wants to do a buddy/brother comedy with him and Shea Whigham as the leads, I’m all for that.

        • Drunk Napoleon

          Holy shit, all this time I thought that was Michael Bowen! They should do a buddy detective story where they’re brothers.

    • lgauge

      God’s Own Country: A negotiation between different types of masculinity in the middle of a filthy, rural queer romance.

      I have great admiration for how literally filthy this movie gets at times. Not only does it fit the setting, but there’s something really special about the way these unpolished, wild and physical expressions of desire balance the “conventional” love story at the center of the narrative. Obviously there are plenty of superficial details that make the film far from conventional in a general sense, but if you strip away the rural setting, the sexuality of the protagonists and their ethnicities, there’s a fairly standard and familiar movie love story going on. That also hinders the film a bit from reaching truly great heights towards the end, but given the aforementioned complications I don’t think it’s fair to be too harsh about that. What is genuinely most interesting about the film is the way it uses two opposing archetypes of masculinity, one toxic and one idealized, in the middle of a familiar love story to explore how one of these can cure for the other. Specifically by having this be a relationship between two men, the film avoids some tired tropes about “women fixing men” and instead suggests, as is becoming increasingly clear these days, that it’s really men who must “fix” other men. This also means that we can get scenes that would be frustrating in other contexts and have them feel touching, thoughtful and intimate here.

      The characterizations are quite flat, keeping fairly strictly within these broadly painted masculinities. This gives the film at times the quality of being a parable and for this reason I do wish the film had ended on a more elliptical and unresolved note instead of going for a more conventional ending. Again, it’s not a critical fault by any stretch, but it means the film stays within a safer space of familiarity and “solidly good” instead of reaching for something more ambitious and perhaps great.

    • Part two of the Deathstroke story on Arrow – this feels like it might be the end for Slade Wilson on Arrow, even though he would be welcome by most fans. It’s hard not to wonder if Berlanti is just saving him and his family for the eventual spinoff to replace Arrow whenever that show ends. I would watch that spinoff. The non-Slade Wilson parts were also pretty good.

    • Man on the Moon – I guess I’m probably going to watch that new documentary soon (I keep changing my mind – it sounds fascinating, but I generally find real-life Jim Carrey totally insufferable), so I thought I’d check whether this holds up first. I’m reassured to find I still love it; I’m sure it feels a little watered-down to major Kaufman fans but it’s the perfect mix of humour, melancholy and antagonistic weirdness for me. I have no trouble believing Carrey was a nightmare behind the scenes but what made it to the screen is a hell of a performance. The REM score is lovely, too.

      Broad City, season 4 episode 8 – possibly the weakest episode of the season, and the main plot about Abbi dating her old teacher didn’t really do much for me at all, but Hannibal Buress and Arturo Castro’s subplots had some good moments.

      • PCguy

        I saw JIM & ANDY last night. It’s one of those Vice News Youtube documentaries that the producers expanded to feature length because they scored an interview with Carrey. It’s a shame because if the film focused on the behind the scene footage from MAN ON THE MOON it would have been an interesting 25 minute short. As it stands the movie is Carrey doing a Kaufmanesque wacky act peppered with a bit of footage from Carrey’s film career grafted onto this longwinded and freewheeling interview where he tries to put his career in perspective. His point is that there is a through line in his films centering on the strange duality between the actor and the character on the screen. I wouldn’t go so far as to say he’s completely insufferable but ontological musings like “I’m not a big believer in free will” belong in his therapist’s office and not in a documentary about a stunt he pulled 20 years ago. His recent personal struggles have been well documented and, while the specter of Zmuda and Kaufman looms large over this film making it difficult to take anything seriously, it doesn’t feel like Carrey was in a great place when he sat down for the interview and there’s little closure to be had on Kaufman’s life or the production of the film. There’s supposed to be though: there is absolutely no mention of the death hoax in this film.

        I’m even less clear on why I watched this film then I was before I started it but I was interested to see, given the current political climate, if it would address some of the issues and incidents that Carrey and Zmuda have gone on the record about in interviews. Nothing there though. It completely glosses over the Playboy Mansion incident, Kaufman’s female wrestling, Carrey’s upbringing, etc…

        • Hmm, “longwinded and freewheeling” is exactly what I didn’t want, so maybe I should give this a miss. I’m mostly basing my “insufferable” comment on the other recent Carrey doc, I Needed Color, where he talks about his paintings. I actually quite like his artwork but every time he opened his mouth it made me cringe. And that was only six minutes long!

          • The Ploughman

            Carrey has that unfortunate affliction of so many comedians of wanting to be taken seriously. Hopefully he can find a way to manage it, like Steve Martin.

    • Conor Malcolm Crockford

      Catch Me If You Can – rewatch! What an elegant, masterfully made piece of work – Spielberg is an uncanny user of the camera as a deceptive tool. He constantly hoodwinks us and hides information, much like Frank, drawing us into his viewpoint of never quite telling the truth or telling just enough, right down to the final minutes (Do I believe Frank? Sure, but Carl has some reason not to). What I noticed more this time was Walken’s brilliance as Frank Senior and how well the film sets up his downfall: this is a guy obsessed with preserving an image and every time we see him he’s a bit lower, a bit wearier, the image tarnished (there’s a single shot of Sr and Jr, both illuminated and shrouded in darkness, that speaks for their souls). Catch Me If You Can more than any Spielberg movie is about the cost of fabrication, and maybe about fiction itself (which can be the same thing). I have volumes more to say, maybe for a future article.

      Tried watching The Lego Batman Movie, but fifteen minutes in I found it kind of slight. Maybe it’s funnier with other people but I guess I’ll wait despite being a massive Batman fan.

      Started The Deuce, which is fantastic despite me wishing to god that they’d excised Franco’s “I’m just a guinea from Brooklyn” line. Get it he’s working class and Italian, Ohhhhhh. The panorama as Mickey walks through the old Time Square, neon and grime in equal combination, is a recreation of a dead world, much like Catch Me If You Can. But Simon and Pellecanos’ hook here is ultimately the exploitation of sex and of women: as much as the pimps are flashy and fun what they are doing is an old, horrible game, and they suggest over and over that this exploitation is locked into every aspect of American society, that we’re all its participants. Candy is doing a job. So is Vincent. So is CC. So is Lori (a great touch that Lori is the one hooker with a pimp who seems to have known exactly what she was getting into).

      • glorbes

        Lego Batman is kind of a slog. It’s probably better than most Batman movies, but I also dislike most Batman movies. I was pretty positive on it at first, but Jesus, it doesn’t really have much to offer on repeat viewings (which I have been subjected to). Anyway, the toys are cool.

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          I was surprised that the first fifteen minutes aren’t funnier? Not that Will Arnett isn’t naturally funny.

          • glorbes

            I really don’t like the Warner Brothers Intellectual Property Parade of villains. Batman has the best goddamn rogue’s gallery already…why are Voldemort and the Kraken gumming up the works?

        • pico

          It also feels like it’s ten hours long. Who makes a movie that hyperactive and also that long?

          • glorbes

            The Lego Batman Movie backlash has begun, right here on The Solute!

          • Jake Gittes

            Y’all should be lucky you didn’t suffer through The Lego Ninjago Movie.

          • pico

            “Lego Batman is a pretentious hack…”

          • The Ploughman

            Please! “Pretentious fraud.”

          • pico

            I suppose this is where I turn in my Solute card…

          • The Ploughman

            Aw, of course not. You get two more strikes.

      • Lego Batman has its moments, but most of them are inside jokes and references. It’s not as good as The Lego Movie (which probably can only be done once), as much as the cast tries to boost the material. I suppose it tries to salute the legacy of Batman, but it never quite gets there, and it doesn’t entirely like him (but then that’s almost a trope these days).

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          Which frankly is kind of annoying. I’m just patiently waiting for people to realize its not about LIKING Batman, its that he’s fucking interesting (as Kevin Bacon in Super says).

      • Son of Griff

        Critics really ignore CATCH ME IF YOU CAN because they see its time and setting as somewhat less significant than in some of its predecessors. I think that its his most personal film, and as well executed as any other of his more prestigious projects. Alos, William’s scoring really shows his versatility.

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          The score veering from light jazz to a mournful dirge for the destruction of the Abergnale family is so good. One thing I picked up on this viewing is the ambient white noise in the background that ratchets up the tension when Carl captures Frank in the church.

      • Walken and Nathalie Baye’s marriage was downhill from the moment she saw him in Paris, and they both make you feel every step of the way down. Spielberg and Jeff Nathanson thread the story of Frank Sr.’s decline so elegantly into the story, finishing with the gutpunch of Carl telling Frank he’s dead. On some days, I think this is the best thing Spielberg ever did; on most days, I think it’s his highest work of craftsmanship, as elegant as Full Metal Jacket.

        • Son of Griff

          In a number of interviews that I’ve read of American studio directors, they seem to take as much, if not more, pride in the movies they shot when their innovations were integrated more invisibly in the fabric of the film, so as not to interrupt the illusion of seamlessness in the storytelling. This might be the movie where Spielberg best accomplishes this. Ditto for Scorsese in the discussion down thread, although I wouldn’t describe the more laconic delivery of his aesthetic in THE DEPARTED particularly seamless.

          • There’s a particular kind of fluidity, if not exactly seamlessness, in the way Scorsese shifts between scenes in The Departed; it’s not something that I’d seen from him before. I’m pretty sure the directors are more proud of that kind of thing because it’s harder to do, and probably takes some years of work before you even have the confidence to pull it off. Oh, and I’ll be back on Tuesday with a Conversation on a work that really demonstrates that kind of “invisible integration.”

      • clytie

        Catch Me If You Can contains my favorite DiCaprio performance.

      • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

        Is James Franco, at any point in The Deuce, walkin’ here?

    • Vice Principals, Season 1 – This has lived up to everyone’s hype. It’s wonderful pitch-black comedy, but I don’t understand how people thought it celebrated their behavior when it clearly showed them ruining someone’s life for their own petty desires (not that it explicitly condemns them, either – it’s hard not to cheer at times). I’m surprised to see an actual arc for Gamby, too. You can see a gradual softening in him as he learns to take his barriers down. It’d have been easier to just make them more and more asshole-ish instead of giving them personal growth.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        Get ready for season two, its even better.

      • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

        I don’t understand how people thought it celebrated their behavior when it clearly showed them ruining someone’s life for their own petty desires

        Most TV critics think being uncomfortable with moral ambiguity is the same thing as being woke and virtuous.

    • pico

      Killing of a Sacred Deer is just plain delicious – maybe my favorite Lanthimos film, in part because it builds to such an ecstatically weird final scene. I can see people being really put off by the opening act, which involves his usual deadpan, almost Ionesco-esque writing with less of Dogtooth‘s or The Lobster‘s more apparent humor, but it’s still funny as hell (Kidman has a line about their making “the most logical” choice that had me howling in the theater) and disturbing and creepy – in other words, the perfect Lanthimos mood.

      I’m also thrilled to see that Barry Keoghan scored an Indie Spirit nomination yesterday, because it is the best performance in any of Lanthimos’ films that I’ve seen. His twitchy nervousness really sells the deadpan in a unique way – everyone is weird, but his weirdness feels especially offputting and grounded (both at the same time, paradoxically) and I couldn’t look away from him.

      On the spoiler side, I’m kinda fascinated by the way the film seems to be melding everyday Midwestern banality with a kind of ancient Greek morality, and a lot of the film’s most productive tension comes from the friction between those two levels. But it’s no simple allegory, either: e.g. the daughter is desperate to become an Iphigenia, but the film refuses it to her. The final scene at the diner puts the two levels into their starkest confrontation, and I left the theater buzzing with that queasy joy his films do so well.

      • lgauge

        It’s coming out here this weekend. Might see it already this Friday. After reading this take I’m even more hopeful (though the overall mixed response means I’m able to keep my overall expectations in check).

        • pico

          Yeah, it’s been pretty polarizing. I can see a lot of reasons why people would hate this one, though – to be fair – that’s true of all his movies! All I know is this one hit me in some exact sweet spot, so I’ll definitely be revisiting this again and again.

          • lgauge

            The Lobster is the only other Lanthimos I’ve seen so far and I really liked (if not loved) it. Definitely seems like a style I could fall for if done right though.

          • Jake Gittes

            I would say Dogtooth remains by far the best expression of that style. Don’t go too long without checking it out.

          • lgauge

            I definitely will when I have a convenient option for watching it.

      • ZoeZ

        I can’t wait until this makes its way out to me.

    • jroberts548

      The Punisher, episode 3. I want to see Bernthal play Hector.

      This is the best episode so far. It does a few things that the show should have done earlier: it tells us what Frank was doing in Afghanistan, what his connection to Micro is, why people want both of them dead, and it establishes why Frank and Micro will work together. There are also some really well-directed action scenes that manage not to glamorize war.

    • The Narrator

      Greenberg: This is the one Baumbach movie that continues to grow on me as I keep rewatching it, and it’s becoming a very odd kind of comfort food movie for me (it helps that it has really stately rhythms that help the assholishness go down easy for me, as opposed to Squid and the Whale‘s franticness). The extended close-up on Greta Gerwig driving as the credits roll is still fucking incredible, too.

    • clytie

      The three most recent episodes of Law & Order: SVU on Hulu. I think they’re running out of storylines because they did two episodes based on real life events that they already did episodes based on.

      • The Ploughman

        Well those don’t sound like special victims at all.

  • glorbes

    Herzog’s version of the truth is ecstatic. And it’s better, because he ate a fucking shoe.

    • Like the ancient proverb says, “you want it to be true? Eat a fucking shoe.”

      • glorbes

        Words to live by.

  • Defense Against The Dark Arts

    This is one of a number of critically-acclaimed documentaries that I have yet to see but want to. The others are Grey Gardens and Hoop Dreams. Also I thought the title had something to do with Heaven’s Gate, although I wasn’t sure where the cat pun related to one of the most notorious flops in cinema history.

  • Belated Comebacker

    Profile on Sean Baker, along with this quote:

    But then Dafoe saw Tangerine and heard Baker and Bergoch were casting for a new film. “I got my hands on the beautiful screenplay for The Florida Project,” Dafoe told me. “It introduced me to a world I didn’t know existed — a world I wanted to inhabit. I met with Sean in New York, and was excited we would be shooting in an operating motel, mixing actors with nontraditional casting.”

    That’s a mix that Baker wants to maintain moving forward. He remains wary of, say, casting someone like Jennifer Lawrence in the role of Halley.

    Hoo boy, imagine what that would be like. (Obviously, it would be a better fit than, say, Lawrence’s role in “American Hustle,” but, well, yeah. I can see the perspective where that becomes far too distracting.