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New on DVD and Blu-Ray

Folks, I could talk about all kinds of movies out this week. There’s the releases of the landmark queer dramas Desert Hearts and Funeral Parade of Roses, the Blu-Ray upgrade of Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le Samouraï, Arrow’s box set of the three films George Romero sandwiched between his first two zombie movies, Kino’s releases of F.W. Murnau’s The Last Laugh and Kleber Mendonça Filho’s Aquarius, new releases like Brigsby Bear, Wind River, and Atomic Blonde, and the U.S. debut of Pedro Costa’s Casa de Lava. But instead of all that, I will talk about The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature, because wow. Certainly, the film’s grade school audience is already down with O.P.P., so they rode that familiarity to box office gold, by which I mean it had the lowest-grossing opening for any film ever released in more than 4000 theaters (why it was released in more than 4000 theaters, god only knows), by a margin of more than $15 million. But now it’s on Blu-Ray, where it can maybe make enough money to spawn The Nut Job 3: As Nutty As They Wanna Be.

Amityville: The Awakening (Lionsgate)
Aquarius (Kino)
Atomic Blonde (Universal)
Bananas (Twilight Time)
Battle Cry (Warner Archive Collection)
Brigsby Bear (Sony)
Casa de Lava (Grasshopper)
Desert Hearts (Criterion)
Doctor Dolittle (Twilight Time)
Funeral Parade of Roses (Cinelicious)
George A. Romero: Between Night and Dawn (Arrow)
Gidget (Twilight Time)
The Incredible Shrinking Woman (Shout Factory)
Kedi (Oscilloscope)
The Last Laugh (Kino)
The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature (Universal)
The Paul Naschy Collection II (Shout Factory)
Preacher: Season Two (Sony)
Le Samouraï (Criterion)
This World, Then the Fireworks (Kino)
Wind River (Lionsgate)

  • Drunk Napoleon

    What did we watch?

    • Drunk Napoleon

      LOST, Season Two, Episode Twenty, “Two For The Road”
      “Why?”
      “Now that’s a broad question.”

      “What?”
      “Don’t you want my phone number?”

      Generally speaking, side characters in flashbacks come off as inhuman, but this episode has two exceptions in opposite ways. Ana’s mother works because she has two rigid goals, one tied into her identity as a cop boss, one tied into her identity as Ana’s mother. She’s unflashy and functional but still a clear and true character. Christian Shepard, on the other hand, can do literally anything the writers need him to – he’s an iconic literary figure that has gradually come to represent an idea – in his case, pure fatalism. This isn’t just iconography for the sake of iconography; not only does he live his fatalism to the full, Ana rejects it and takes meaningful steps to do so.

      (Also, it imbues the whole flashback story with the same meaning as the quick cameos. The problem with the flashbacks is that it generally presents a boring and completely pointless story to distract us from the real one that comes at the end. Here, we know there’s something meaningful in Christian’s actions, we can’t know what’s really happening, and we accept we can’t know it yet.)

      Henry has finally fully come clean (sorta) about being an Other. He refers to their leader as a great man (it’s unclear, even on rewatch, who he’s referring to; he could be talking about himself but I prefer to think he’s talking about Jacob). Great Man Theory is one of those things I find both vile and compelling, and while I doubt the writers were deliberately riffing on the concept, the mixture of Locke’s desires, Jack’s distaste for it, Christian’s fatalism, the fact that the Others appear to be centered around one man’s vision, and the general concept of Specialness, we’re in the same muddled, conflicted view of it.

      Hurley and Libby’s relationship has a kind of ‘her taking care of him’ thing that I find distasteful in romance – I’m more of a ‘two equals forming a terrifying and extremely destructive power couple’ kind of guy.

      Ownage: This is a hell of an episode for ownage. Henry pulls Ana in with mumbling and then attacks her. Ana and Sawyer fight, then fuck. Jack owns Sawyer by burning the end of his book, surely the least sympathetic thing Jack’s ever done. And of course, this episode ends with Michael shooting Ana, Libby, and most awesomely himself to free Henry.

      GoodFellas
      “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.”

      That line is next to “Whatever’s between zero and the city-mandated minimum? We’ll call that the Billings.” in the list of perfect character-establishing lines, and even the film from a certain point of view. As I said yesterday, there’s a sense of purpose driving the movie forward at all times – every scene has a purpose, every shot has a purpose, every cut has a purpose. The narration lets Scorsese skip over the procedural aspect of the film while the visuals linger on the vivid sensations – though there is characterisation in that Henry pretty much sticks to the facts while Karen seems to treat it as apologetics/confession.

      (The thing that’s defined superhero films since The Dark Knight has been combining superhero tropes with different film aesthetics and then calling it profound just for doing it and I was left wondering what a Scorsese-style superhero film would be like. I doubt that Scorsese-produced Joker origin film that’s coming out will show us, though.)

      Immersing us in this world from Henry’s childhood makes the whole thing feel more normal, and has three specific emotional effects: firstly, it creates empathy for why Henry took the first step into it in the first place; he sees the gangsters from his window, it makes sense that a kid would think that was awesome and want to get into it. Secondly, it makes Henry feel more trapped in his lifestyle; we see him build his life from the ground up and then burn it all down. Finally, the massive dramatic construction of the movie ironically turns it into a fun hangout movie. The movie crops so much time that it genuinely feels like we’re spending our lives hanging out with these people.

      I really love Liotta’s performance throughout this film. You get the sense that he’s really just a dumb, shallow guy, and his life crashes down around his ears when he loses his support structure and starts trying to fend for himself (shades of Travis there), but there are so many moments where he sees Jimmy or Tommy’s actions and is clearly suppressing the thought that this shouldn’t be normal and he shouldn’t be going along with this. In opposition to that, you have De Niro as a smart, savvy, long-term thinker who accepted all this nonsense a long time ago and will work to survive; these two attitudes play into the drama of the last half hour or so.

      • Jake Gittes

        When I first saw it at 15 I couldn’t imagine a film better directed than Goodfellas. Of course, in thinking that way, I kind of conflated best directing and most directing, which is now an attitude I and many others feel free criticizing (see the Oscars, etc.), but it blew my mind then and still impresses the hell out of me now that you could make something with such an insane amount of moving parts and have every single one of them be thought-out and exactly right, and then have it all flow so effortlessly. Which, well, is where the “best” part of best directing comes in. It’s probably the most popular pick for Scorsese’s best movie and I have no problem going with the flow here.

        • Drunk Napoleon

          I will confess that there are a lot of films, including ones made by Scorsese before and after this, where I’m comfortable getting up and walking around or letting my attention wander. With this, my eyes are locked on the screen from first frame to last.

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          I’ve seen it probably forty times but its a movie I can put on and be absolutely enthralled by no matter what.

        • Son of Griff

          On any given day it might or might not be my favorite Scorsese movie, but it is unquestionably the tightest display of his trademarked quirks of his style, which is really surprising because it is also the most extreme.

      • Miller

        Goodfellas is good, but it’s no Pallies: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8CpAE9c1lN8

        • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

          Chinese dentist!

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        Yes, you watched my favorite movie ever. Liotta’s performance is very tricky in that Hill isn’t an interesting guy, its the way he reacts to things that’s interesting. Henry has compassion (he instinctively takes care of injured folks) and knows as you said that things here are wrong, always trying to get morons like Morrie to just do what they need to do. His main motivation is to have a good time, to make sure nothing goes haywire, but thats literally impossible when your friends are criminals and murderers (as a pleaser maybe I see myself in Henry).

        Also what a remarkable piece of filmmaking it is. The Worst Day Ever montage is a marvelous blur of music, image, and feeling, like the guy is about to fucking drown in his own life.

        • Drunk Napoleon

          It’s really instructive comparing him to Jordan Belfort, who not only lacks any of Henry’s redeeming characteristics, he layers in a loudmouth attempt to make his lifestyle look awesome – although I’ll get to that when I get to it. Henry’s not actively a dick, he’s just a hedonist.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            It’s funny because compare both of them to Ace Rothstein in Casino and while Ace has a more traditional motivation (he does it for love and honor I guess) that makes him much less interesting than either. Ace doesn’t have any layers to back that up where even Belfort has hidden depths of awfulness.

          • Drunk Napoleon

            There’s also the fact that Belfort acts as an explanation for how the world got to where it was in 2015.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            Me hearing critics not getting why Belfort was never condemned in the movie: “Have you been in America? You can’t make up your own fucking minds?!”

          • I think a lot of critics were expecting to write the clickbait headline “Martin Scorsese Takes Down Late Capitalism in One Scorching Movie!” which is not how late capitalism, movies, or Scorsese work, ever.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            Yeah the overall feeling of Wolf of “tasting bitter ash in your mouth” really doesn’t suit clickbait.

    • Moonlight – magical filmmaking, especially the way the three actors play the central character so cleverly, his introvert nature and nervousness just as visible in a muscular adult body as it was in a lanky teenager and a tiny child. Despite the minimal dialogue, this manages to cram in a lot of story. I’ve seen some less-positive reviews that focus on how “slow” this is which, along with my general bias against purely dramatic films and “awards movies”, left me wondering if I’d get on with it at all – I didn’t find it slow at all though, if felt like the perfect amount of time was dedicated to each window of Chiron’s life, and the thick atmosphere had me spellbound throughout. It’s frequently heartbreaking, but always manages to find hope and beauty.

      • ZoeZ

        I actually commented partway through on how perfectly I thought it was paced, so +1 to that and also definitely to all the Chiron actors maintaining both that slightly heartbreaking reserve and the emotional risk he takes to sometimes break through it.

        • The way it distinctly splits the three sections reminded me of horror anthologies, except with bullying, drugs and prejudice instead of zombies, vampires and some kind of wonderful but cursed item. And Janelle Monae instead of Peter Cushing.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            Janelle Monae should host her own sci-fi anthology.

          • That reminds me that she’s in one of the episodes of that new Philip K Dick anthology series.

          • pico

            Long story why, but I used to show her video for “Tightrope” to my class when I taught SF. It’s like a perfect use of clear SF archetypes and just an amazing song anyway.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        For a movie about a black gay man growing up in Florida (I’m only a man) I have never understood a character as thoroughly as I did Chiron and felt his struggles, his loneliness. I finished the movie then uncontrollably cried for ten straight minutes. Its miraculous that art can do that to people.

        • One of the other criticisms I’ve seen for this film is that Chiron is a “blank slate” which… did those people not look at him? That feels like a criticism that has just been copied and pasted out of Boyhood reviews, where it was much more fitting (although I did like that one too).

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            Have these people never met an introvert? Chiron is a closeted kid whose mother is emotionally not there for him and gets picked on all the time – he’s not gonna be outgoing in the least.

          • The Ploughman

            [Chiron enter’s Kevin’s apartment and flashes his used-car-salesman smile] “So like I said earlier, how about we renew our romantic relationship?” [confident wink]

            Dumb Critics: Now there’s a performance.

          • Jake Gittes

            I’m on the side of the critics when it comes to Moonlight, and am 100% on board with that one. Mike D’Angelo laid it out better than I could, and I’d add that Chiron’s (and the script’s) lack of interest in anything or anyone other than what’s introduced early on results in a movie that follows him over two decades and yet by in the end it sure seems that the only remotely significant figures in his life are the same four people he met before he was even a teenager. (I may naturally assume there are others, but that demands zero work on the part of the movie. I don’t want to assume, I want to see.) Frankly I just don’t believe it, and it in no way makes for compelling drama; even the third act – which is very good – is good almost entirely thanks to André Holland, who gives Kevin a life that the movie never gives Chiron.

            This is all totally in contrast with Boyhood, where Mason is an introvert but it doesn’t stop him from having interests, insights, different moods, different reactions to things, agency, etc. I can actually imagine him living his life in between what I see onscreen and after the credits roll. Same goes for the two introverted – and gay – protagonists of films from years before and after Moonlight, Therese in Carol and Elio in Call Me by Your Name.

          • Fair enough. I’ve read (and re-read) Mike’s review and I guess I can understand the complaint – it’s absolutely not the way I felt about the film or the character but I have no argument against it.

          • The Ploughman

            SPOILERS FOR MOONLIGHT

            I have to push back a bit vis-a-vis Chiron as a blank slate. I think there’s sufficient doubt whether more information would serve the movie. I could see the addition of more details and scenes about Chiron outside these three narrow slices enriching the film but I could also see them muddying up a clear narrative to a diminished effect. Right now the film has enough details and focus to create its gutpunch moment – when Kevin pulls out a picture of his kids and reveals he has a family. Yes, Kevin has a richer and more apparent life off-camera than Chiron but isn’t that partly the point? By choosing to be perpetrator rather than victim, Kevin has been able to put the incidents so far behind him he can’t see these same moments as Chiron’s unfinished business. What I see as efficient and effective D’Angelo & co. find contrived and sadistic. So it goes.

          • Yeah, I’m with you there. I guess it would be boring if we all agreed on stuff (we’re definitely right though)

      • The Ploughman

        I thought the pacing was well-done too, including possibly the best compliment to it – I didn’t want it to be over when it ended.

    • ZoeZ

      The Leftovers, “International Assassin.” Thus far, the high point of an already spectacular season, and the most Leftoverish of them all, as Kevin ends up in a temporarily-dead-dreamworld-that-is-also-sort-of-a-video-game and it all makes its own kind of intuitive, dreamlike, sad, funny sense and is beautiful and Justin Theroux and Ann Dowd are both phenomenal in it. “What do you do?” “I’m an international assassin.” “No shit?” “No shit.” “I wouldn’t have thought they let you guys drink.” “No, well, I’m done for the day.”

    • Legends of Tomorrow: Return of the Mack – I have no idea what that title has to do with this episode. Then again, I also don’t know the song. A rather scattershot hour that seems to be about a time traveling vampire but is really setting up the bigger arc for the season by bringing back an old Arrowverse foe. Along the way, we learn that Mick Rory can read, that Prof. Stein had an actor great grandfather who looks like him, and that Zee and Amaya will be buddies. Not bad, but it lacked either the charm or the oomph of better episodes.

    • Miller

      Men behaving badly!

      Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil — amusing as a twist on slashers and funny to see Cerie from 30 Rock out of the office. Tudyk and Labine are a lot of fun and there are some decent kills, and making the villain a virtual Tom Cruise clone is a nice touch, but it loses the thread at the end.

      Trading Places — there is a refreshing sense of “fuck these guys” wrt the Duke brothers, never more so than Eddie Murphy’s fantastic fourth wall break during the commodities explanation. It’s a weird take on capitalism though, it is proved to be entirely arbitrary who succeeds and who does not, based on the whims of the powerful, but the solution is to depose and become them (if more benevolent, at least). Oh, and rape a guy in a gorilla suit (“It was a different time!” — Mrs. Miller, who loves this movie). I like it a lot too though, the gliding over of darker parts like the rape and the suicide attempts somehow works in its favor — Landis does a good job capturing an austere and grotty Philadelphia but his great skill is shepherding everything along smoothly. I am also amused that a movie about business has produced its own cottage industry of people trying to explain the ending, which I will never understand.

      Vice Principals, finale — this show, on the other hand, has lived in the darker parts and I agree with criticisms that a certain character does not earn his way out of them and that another is lost there (although I think Patterson’s performance makes this work, she has always been one break away from full psychosis). But satisfying, not the least for its continued commitment to violence as comedy and as spectacle.

      • I only saw Trading Places for the first time last year and I was NOT expecting it to actually require a working knowledge of the 1980s stock exchange to understand the ending. Was the average moviegoer a lot more financially switched-on in those days? Or were they assuming people would still be reeling from the “deus ex gorilla” scene?

        (I did still like it quite a lot though!)

        • Miller

          I think it is parseable on a very basic level — The Dukes believe X about the frozen orange juice crop but our heroes know it is Y. It’s easy to extrapolate that the Dukes will thus make a huge mistake (and being who they are, convince others to go along) so Winthorp and Valentine can capitalize, but the mechanics of that mistake are much more complicated. It’s to the movie’s credit that both levels of understanding can exist next to each other, and both are cast as measures of confidence/bluff (like a card game where the audience knows the basics if not the odds), which not only helps the viewer but fits the movie’s jaundiced view of capitalism.

      • Trading Places has that cynical view of capitalism, but it’s not anti-capitalism. It’s a game and the Duke brothers get beat at it, quite satisfyingly.

      • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

        It’s a weird take on capitalism though, it is proved to be entirely arbitrary who succeeds and who does not, based on the whims of the powerful, but the solution is to depose and become them (if more benevolent, at least).

        It was the 1980s, a time when we still believed “more benevolent capitalism” could actually be a thing.

        • Miller

          “Capitalism is flawed, but we can gorilla rape our way to a better version!”
          “Do you think we’re doing too much cocaine?”
          “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPE!”

    • Conor Malcolm Crockford

      All of Vice Principals up to episode 7. Honestly the stretch from episode 5 to there is some of the best scripted comedy on TV, from the utter mayhem of Russell and Gamby on coke to the poignancy of Russell’s sort of promise: “I cleaned it Christine.” It occurs to me too that Hill knows how good of an actor McBride can really be. His low tone of voice and slumping body language as Russell realizes Christine’s left him is a great bit of reactive acting.

      Also Dayshawn and Ms. Swift better get together, they’re so cute dancing or flirting.

      • ZoeZ

        I assume Vice Principals: The Second Generation will feature Dayshawn and Ms. Swift’s daughter sabotaging the life of a Tracy Flick type to become editor of the school newspaper.

      • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

        If you haven’t already, drop by the Vice Principals reviews at the Avocado!

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          Read them up to 8 this morning, they were great!

    • The Ploughman

      More OG Twin Peaks. It is happening again.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        “I’m so sorry.”

    • Defense Against The Dark Arts

      Blood Simple

      “Never point a gun at anyone, unless you mean to shoot him And if you shoot him, you better make sure he’s dead. Because if he ain’t dead, he’s gonna get up and try to kill you…”

      That’s a great line. The dialogue seems more naturalistic and less writerly than in other Coen movies. This is the Coens doing Hitchcock and doing it well. I like that no one knew what the hell was going on. Even the character played by M. Emmet Walsh was in that apartment at the end for the wrong reason.

      • Son of Griff

        That quote encapsulates the film’s morality, don’t it.

      • lowRes_Triangle_Of_+1_Charisma

        Nothing says pure evil quite like that light yellow coat.

    • Belated Comebacker

      Last three episodes of The In-Betweeners, Series Two.

      I’ve begun to realize why this show works for me: While the four kids initially seemed to be the “lovable losers” we all like to rally around, they’re really vile, obnoxious, teenagers, with unrepentant sexism. So, normal teenagers, I suppose. But what helps make the show work is how, for any stupid transgression they make, the universe conspires to foil their attempts to get laid, leaving them frustrated, or in a jam of some sort. Basically a lighter version of Coen Bros. morality. I love it. (The only one who occasionally gets off scot-free is Neil, who is more stupid than cruel, which probably makes him the most innocent).

      • This also sounds a lot like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and like Donna Bowman’s description applies: “The characters believe that they are lovable sitcom types engaged in wacky hijinx, while in reality they are actually amoral, venal, stupid sacks of doorknobs.”

        • Belated Comebacker

          Well said (and excellent connection as well!) Haven’t seen a ton of “It’s Always Sunny,” but I’ve liked what I’ve seen so far. Probably going to have to check that out before it leaves Netflix.

          I’d say the biggest difference is how it still is a Coming-of-Age sitcom. These are still schoolboys, in the British equivalent of high school. Whereas the characters in “Always Sunny” are adults, who (in theory) are done developing.

          • Donna (see above) and ZMF (see below) are the two people online that I always listen to, and I learn something every time.

          • Belated Comebacker

            Don’t really look for ZMF, but any of his material you aggregate is always fun to peruse.

            For me, I’ve always been a fan of Anthony Lane (which isn’t always popular around some parts). If and when you read my “Piranha” review for Year of the Month, you’ll understand the influence he’s played in my work.

    • clytie

      Forensic Files I’ve watched so many of these that I’m convinced I could commit a murder and get away with it.

    • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

      Fresh Off the Boat, “A League of Her Own.” An actually sweet and well-handled coming-out story (I say “actually” because this show is often so bonkers, not that I think Nahnatchka Khan, who is openly gay, couldn’t handle the topic). Also “surprisingly sweet” because it’s a guy Ray Wise’s current age but in 1997 handling his daughter’s coming out well. (Eventually.) Great joke: Eddie’s “Bootyman 00” softball jersey. “Double zero, looks like a butt.”

      Ghosted, “Sam.” “Slight but fun” could describe this show every week, but it keeps getting funnier, and this plot actually has strong roots in character traits, as Sam (Dax Shepard) is a malevolent AI who plays Max’s paranoia and social awkwardness against him to convince the rest of the Bureau Underground team he’s crazy / a mole / a spy as part of a plot for world domination. Best aside is, of course, Barry saying he’s been paranoid about machines taking over “since I saw The Matrix Reloaded,” and Max’s inability to let it go that someone told Barry to skip the first Matrix movie.

      The Mayor, “Will You Accept This Rose.” Courtney hits it off on a date with Amber, the bus driver union lawyer from last episode, but when the local newscaster he’s had a crush on since they were teens flirts with him, he ditches Amber, only quickly to find out he has nothing in common with a woman who considers their town a stepping stone and their relationship a publicity stunt. A good lesson in dating on the whole, I’d say. Also, we get to hear Yvette Nicole Brown sing, at last!

    • lowRes_Triangle_Of_+1_Charisma

      Double Team Dir Tsui Hark
      It’s a bad movie, not so bad it’s good, not so bad it’s just bad, not so bad it demand viewing, not so bad is demands zero attention. It’s so completely and totally its own kind of fantastically choreographed incoherent flatness that I want to find a word in-between recommend and avoid to explain it. If there ever was a movie that was specifically created for me and me alone, this is it.

  • I’ve never heard anything particularly positive about This World, Then the Fireworks BUT it’s a 90s neo-noir starring Billy Zane, Gina Gershon, Sheryl Lee and Seymour Cassel and it has one of the best titles ever, which makes me curious. Anyone seen it?

    • Son of Griff

      It’s also based on a Jim Thompson short story, but alas, I haven’t seen it either.

    • clytie

      I saw part of it. I fell asleep during it and the only thing I remember is that the nudity was distracting blurred out because I watched it on TV.

  • Question of the Day
    https://twitter.com/ZODIAC_MF/status/767020276911529984

    A personal favorite: Live Free or Die Hard is in no way a good movie, but Timothy Olyphant’s performance gets better towards the end as he gets just more annoyed. His finest beat comes when Mary Elizabeth Winstead as McClane’s daughter tells him over the radio “now there are only five of them left” and Olyphant just gives a look of “does anyone around here get that I’m a supervillain?”

    Also pretty much anything from Jason Lee. What are your favorite moments of cinematic exasperation?

    • Conor Malcolm Crockford

      The pirates of Pirates of the Carribean 1 debating how to figure out whether or not the curse that makes them immortal is broken. Geoffrey Rush just rolls his eyes, pulls out his pistol, and shoots someone (hilariously it did not work).

      • Drunk Napoleon

        “You’re not dead!”
        “No! 😀 … He shot me! D:<"

      • Depp pulling the pistol on Knightley (“must. . .save. . .only bullet. . .for. . .REVENGE!”) is one of my all-time favorite bits of physical comedy. Her triumphant sulk is just as great.

        • Drunk Napoleon

          There’s also the brilliantly deadpan bit afterwards.

          “Must have been terrible for you Jack, must have been terrible – WELL IT BLOODY IS NOW!”
          [sees ship not far]
          “There’ll be no living with her after this.”

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          All the characters in that movie are doing some amazing physical acting. “This bullet was not meant for you.” Orlando Bloom’s face: “Wait, thats interesting, tell me more-“

    • Michael Stuhlbarg in A Serious Man, which could just as easily be called Exasperation: The Motion Picture.

      For individual moments, I just keep thinking about Nicolas Cage in… just about any film he’s ever made. The way he can shift gears mid-sentence to indicate sheer desperation is a never-ending joy to me.

      • “OKAYYYYYYYYY, I KNOW THAT NOW.”

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        Hell TV but Arnold Rothstein in Boardwalk Empire as played by Stuhlbarg is a joy as the smartest person in the room having to deal with EVERYBODY ELSE.

      • I think this might be Peak Cage Exasperation.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLrALs-Nq_I

      • The Narrator

        I don’t want Santana Abraxas!

    • Conor Malcolm Crockford

      Ooh here’s one, Sean Bean in Goldeneye: “Why can’t you just be a good boy and die?”

    • The Ploughman

      Kurt Russell’s reaction to his errant knife throw in Big Trouble in Little China
      https://media.giphy.com/media/qjzaUhSzGIhIQ/giphy.gif

    • Drunk Napoleon

      I just keep coming back to Chris Penn’s eyeroll in Reservoir Dogs followed by “If you beat this prick long enough, he’ll tell you he started the goddamned Chicago fire, now that don’t necessarily make it fucking so!”, followed by basically everything Mr Pink does.

      • ZMF has that on his list a little farther down. Even more than Mr. Pink, Nice Guy Eddie has that sense of “come ON guys, you’re professionals, you’re supposed to understand this shit!”

        • Drunk Napoleon

          Jolted another one that I find myself at least wanting to use on a day-to-day basis: “Oh, fuck sides, man, what we need’s a little solidarity!”

    • ZoeZ

      Various Shane Black highs:

      “Eight? Who taught you math?” and “Badly is an adverb, who taught you grammar?”

      “Look up the word ‘idiot’ in the dictionary, know what you’ll find?”
      “Picture of me?”
      “No, a definition of the word ‘idiot,’ which you fucking are!”

      “Jesus Christ! One at a time!”
      “You took the Lord’s name in vain.”
      “No, I didn’t, Janet. I found it very useful, actually.”

      Everything with Ryan Gosling trying to pull the gun on Russell Crowe, keep the bathroom stall door open, and keep his pants up in The Nice Guys.

      And Steve Martin in the rental car agency in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.

      “No, you’re not wrong, Walter, you’re just an asshole!”

      • Drunk Napoleon

        I’m so annoyed with how applicable “You’re not wrong, you’re just an asshole” has become in my day-to-day life.

      • “You know, I’m with him, that’s pretty fuckin’ obscure.” (Has there ever been a more joyfully self-referential work than Kiss Kiss Bang Bang?)

        “This shipment, it’s rather large.”
        “Why don’t you just call it heroin?”
        “So it would be a problem if we showed up with our heroin and we’re surrounded by fifty cops.”

        “Continue dying. (pause) Can we go faster? Please?”

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        “So my niece is dead?”
        Yes! I mean…yes…”

    • Miller

      “Because if you told me and I killed you and you were lying I wouldn’t get to kill you then. WHERE’S LEO?”

    • It’s barely exasperation, but that what makes my favorite Sydney Pollack moment in his best performance. In Michael Clayton, there’s the cliche moment where George Clooney tells him that their client might have done something. . .bad and Pollack comes right back with “this case reeked from day one. Fifteen years in, I gotta tell you how we pay the rent around here?” It’s the whole scene at the end of Eyes Wide Shut compressed into a single exchange.

    • Miller

      Also, the entire existence of Charles Grodin.

      • Midnight Run has perhaps the Exasperation All-Stars cast and performances: Grodin, deNiro, Pantoliano, Yaphet Kotto (“Sir, that must mean that Walsh has your badge” GLARE), and of course, Dennis Farina.

        • The Ploughman

          I’m not sure I’ve seen Farina express anything other than exasperation on screen.

          • Why would you want to?

          • Son of Griff

            You need to check out LUCK, where he plays a somewhat Runyon-esque second banana, but with a particularly lethal competence as displayed in the finale.

          • The Ploughman

            Is that the horse-racing series?

          • Son of Griff

            Yes, and for all its excellence it would have been criminal to keep it going.

          • The Ploughman

            I remember something about the plug being pulled on it because of some outside legal issues (maybe around the horses?) Without giving anything away, did they wrap up the series? I.e. – it doesn’t end on a massive cliffhanger or anything?

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            They pulled the plug while filming season 2 because of the horses, yeah. I think more than one got injured and they decided it just wasn’t worth it.

            Great single season, though. Some terrific performances from some serious heavies (Michael Gambon was one of my favorites).

          • Son of Griff

            Numerous horses died of injuries during production. Litigation probably followed but it was bad publicity. The first season is pretty self contained so go for it

          • Miller

            The Hoffman-Farina pairing is so fucking good, Hoffman playing the heavy and Farina as more of a front and bodyman is a good twist on their images and their interactions with each other never feel anything but true. But the whole series there’s a sense of anticipation — we know Farina is here for a reason, when will we see it? — like Homer watching the little Yakuza guy in the Simpsons’ pretzel episode, and when DENNIS FUCKING FARINA finally comes out it is glorious.

        • Miller

          Kotto’s slow burn is Vesuvian.

    • Son of Griff

      While it’s only a passably entertaining lark (and one likely to all but disappear from public view due to the infamy of one of its stars), THE NEGOTIATOR proved to be a fond farewell to J.T. Walsh, who plays a corrupt official whose actions spur the crisis in which he becomes a hostage. His modulated performance of escalating frustration, with a tinge of exhaustion, should teach all actors how its done. If anyone were to start a foundation for the study of white male fear and loathing, Walsh’s visage would make a perfect logo for the letterhead.

      • Not only, that you got to put him in the same room as Paul Giamatti, who gave one of his great supporting performances there. Nothing flashy, just a smarter-than-the-average-bear in just slightly over his head. (“OOO! That is a fuckin lie!”)

        • Son of Griff

          It’s a studio programmer that just knows how to get the beats right in terms of storytelling, and a great part of that success lies in getting the right cast and knowing what to do with them. It’s a more modent version of DIE HARD 1, but about as successful.

      • Miller

        Walsh weaponizes exasperation as gaslighting in Breakdown. What wife?

    • Two TV Kings of Exasperation: Victor Garber on Alias and Jonathan Banks on Breaking Bad. (Alias even had a scene where Garber, Banks, and Terry O’Quinn, sweet blessed Lord, all got to be annoyed with each other.)

    • Belated Comebacker

      Much like “Live Free or Die Hard,” the “John Wick” series also deserves to be slotted into this discussion, especially when it comes to Wick himself. Maybe others read it as reserved, but he seemed kinda worn out, having to deal with these waves of goons he easily dispatches.

      (Obviously the villain(s) in these movies aren’t exactly exasperated the way Olyphant is in this one, but that’s mostly because they fear him, instead of getting annoyed).

    • DJ JD

      Pretty much all of Big Lebowski, just all of it. Dude with Walter, Walter with Dude, Walter with the Jesus, both of them with the bratty kid, both of them with the big Lebowski, big Lebowski with both of them, Julianne Lebowski with big Lebowski, town sheriff with Dude, etc. etc. etc. Pick a combination of characters that aren’t Donny or played by Sam Elliott, they’re probably doing their level best not to strangle each other at one point or another.

    • DJ JD

      Revised and improved answer: pretty much all of the Coen brothers movies. They care a great deal about impatience and exasperation, which seems weird to type it out like that.

      • This may be the most Minnesotan aspect of their filmography.

        • DJ JD

          I’ve only seen a few of his, but by that standard Paul Schrader should kill in this department, too.

      • Good call. There’s some prime exasperation in Burn After Reading, in addition to the ones already mentioned. And, you know, most of the others.

        • DJ JD

          I actually went back and started to type out that exact movie, especially John Malkovich’s fightin’ drunk analyst, but then I realized I was limiting my list. Fargo has some great long-burn scenes for sure, too.

        • Belated Comebacker

          “I guess we learned to not fucking do it again.”

          David Rasche and J.K. Simmons probably were the MVPs of that movie in the exasperation department.

      • pico

        Yeah, I immediately went to Fargo (“but that Tru-Coat…” and “Oh fer… he’s fleeing the interview.”) only to see that half the comments were other Coen Bros movies. They are artists and their medium is flopsweat.

        • Jake Gittes

          Buscemi’s Carl is like if exasperation got its own character arc.

          • pico

            I GAVE SIMPLE FUCKING INSTRUCTIONS

          • Jake Gittes

            No fuckin’ way! You fuckin’ notice this? I got fuckin’ shot! I got fuckin’ shot in the face! I went and got the fuckin’ money. I got shot fuckin’ picking it up! I’ve been up for thirty-six fuckin’ hours! I’m taking’ that fuckin’ car! That fucker’s mine, you fuckin’ asshole!

            […]

            ARE WE SQUARE?

            And of course he storms off and doesn’t look back until it’s too late.

        • PCguy

          Macy was also great in David Mamet’s OLEANNA which is basically a case study in exasperation. He has an inherently plaintive face. There’s also the scene in Mamet’s GLENGARY GLENN ROSS where Macy is begging to get new leads from… Kevin Spacey? I think I’ll just stop here.

          • Jack Lemmon, actually.

          • The Ploughman

            Or was it Christopher Plummer?

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    • lowRes_Triangle_Of_+1_Charisma

      I love that movie solely for the fact that Bruce Willis stands on a car more dramatically than anyone else I’ve ever seen.

      I also love 5 because his calls his son the James Bond of New Jersey.

      • DJ JD

        …played by Jai Courtney. I actually saw that in theaters and I still had to go Google that to make sure I didn’t invent the whole thing.

      • We have now, I believe, given all the praise these two films can possibly receive.

        • lowRes_Triangle_Of_+1_Charisma

          Yippe Kiyay

          (oh shit how do you even spell that!)

    • Jake Gittes
    • Jake Gittes

      Can’t not bring up the character from my username/avatar as well. Nicholson in general is great at exasperation, and its varieties – from existential despair-driven (in Five Easy Pieces) to fighting-against-the-corrupt-system impatient (in Chinatown) to abusive and frightening (in The Shining).

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8G0BVEIjGyo

      • Watching the Vampire’s Kiss clip above, you can see how much Cage owes to Jack Torrance.

      • John Bruni

        Don’t forget The Last Detail: “I am the motherf–kin’ shore patrol,
        motherf–ker!”

        • “Don’t you fuckin’ laugh! This ain’t reality TV!” Still has a way with the language, our Jack does.

    • lowRes_Triangle_Of_+1_Charisma

      Plan Nine from Outer Space – When our evil man aliens has to explain to the stupid humans their insolence and selfishness. Its so fantastic.

      https://youtu.be/o_SFH00ccrU?t=1h3m12s

    • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

      “I deal with the GODDAMNED CUSTOMERS! Can’t you people SEE THAT? WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?”

      Also, Brian Cox in Super Troopers. “Put those away!”

      • Brian Cox can be wonderfully annoyed in just about anything. (EDIT: the reason he’s the best of all Lecters is that he comes across as an actual person; Hopkins and Mikkelsen are supervillains, and Mikkelsen is the better one.)

        • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

          Cox is a really underrated part of Super Troopers as the glue that holds it all together. You can tell he has both loyalty and affection for his guys and even their antics, but he really needs them to get their shit together right now so they don’t all get laid off.

    • John Bruni

      Peter Falk having a meltdown at the beach in A Woman Under the Influence.

  • The Ploughman

    I’m guessing Avacado regulars have seen this: disqus sneaks in the last word vs. the AVC.

    • You could equally write a case study about the AVC, showing how it created a community and then slagged it off.

      • Drunk Napoleon

        Can’t argue with the results! Because, um, there aren’t any.

      • The Ploughman

        I was just thinking this morning how a well-done oral history of the AVC community would make for good reading.

      • clytie

        I’ve posted this here before, but an AV Clubber claimed that the community was killed on purpose.

        “Losing the writers to the Dissolve was brutal, but it was really the
        atrocious redesign that killed what used to be the best site on the
        planet for me. My friend i(who wasn’t a reader here, but knew this was
        the only place I went online) interviewed for a programmer job right
        before the redesign launched and broke my heart when he let me in on how much disdain the behind the scenes people had for the commentors. They placed no value at all on the unique and amazing community the AV Club was and actually set out to actively destroy it. Sadly, in very short order, they largely succeeded.”

        https://disqus.com/home/discussion/avclub/tell_us_about_your_pop_culture_weekend_july_2_july_4/#comment-2765896477

    • DJ JD

      That actually popped up in my Disqus notification page last night! I didn’t realize the Avocado was so visible to the Disqus people; I figured they had tons of these.

      • The Ploughman

        Maybe they do? But it may be the only one that used a community to flee a site that dropped disqus. Never mentioned explicitly but surely didn’t hurt the selection.

    • Miller

      I mean, I’m glad the Avacado is doing well and I am especially glad it is doing so through Disqus — new blood is essential to online communities and it looks like they’re able to work the network to facilitate that — and lord knows the platform is superior to Kinja. But I use can’t feel right praising Disqus, dammit. *pours one out for paginated comments*

    • I’ve enjoyed lurking the Avocado, but it’s so massive & fast-passed & insular that I have no idea where to even begin commenting if I wanted to.

      • pico

        ^ same

      • The Ploughman

        When I have extra time I dip in on very specific threads. I tried keeping up with the open threads and it was a good way to see a day suddenly disappear from under me.

      • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

        The open threads tend to be like that. Lots of good topical threads, though, especially now that it’s moved to its own site.

  • Defense Against The Dark Arts

    I can’t recommend Wind River enough. Writer/Director Taylor Sheridan seems like a stand up guy too. http://www.vulture.com/2017/11/how-taylor-sheridan-scrubbed-weinstein-co-from-wind-river.html

  • pico

    Funeral Parade of Roses is goddamn amazing and y’all should really consider picking that one up. It’s part documentary, part experimental film, part modern remake of an classic play (saying which would be a spoiler) and all awesome. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fd44563e46935e596fa784dacee5e7124b662ef4bbcbbdbe07abcaf8435be2e8.gif

  • Username too long

    The essential release today is a collection of Jean Rouch’s eight most well-known film, at a price that would be worth it if it only contained one of them: https://www.amazon.com/Eight-Films-Jean-Rouch-Goudelize/dp/B075JF3NDM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1510681442&sr=8-1&keywords=jean+rouch&dpID=51GSuIicMnL&preST=_SY300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch
    If 30 on a blind buy is too steep (and I certainly understand), you should at least get your library to buy it.