Film, What We Watched

What We Watched: 06/13/14

Boogie Nights

Everyday I remember that I probably won’t make something on this level at 26, Paul Thomas Anderon’s age when he made Boogie Nights. And every day that makes me feel terrible. By no means a perfect movie, Boogie Nights is a little shaggy and unwieldy in parts, but the film has such an infectious energy that it’s impossible to resist. The changing state of film also serves as a backdrop to the rest of the movie. Audience members must seek out adult theaters for their fix early on, a metaphor for the orgiastic nature of theatrical viewing. But as home video develops something changes and becomes cheaper, and film-viewing becomes a much more masturbatory experience. There’s a whole lot going on in Boogie Nights and it’s astounding that such a young filmmaker could juggle it all.

White Men Can’t Jump

For the past two years, I’ve had an uncontrollable itch to watch this movie. Last weekend I finally scratched that itch. White Men Can’t Jump is by no means a great film, but I find something unusually compelling about it both visually and tonally. I’d rather that the movie followed Wesley Snipes’ character more than the couple played by Woody Harrelson and Rosie Perez, as both are frankly kind-of annoying and career-wise, Snipes isn’t appreciated as much as he should be. But the movie does what it sets out to and has a lot of fun getting there.


What’s amazing about RoboCop almost twenty years down the road is how surprisingly small-scale it seems. We hardly see any of Detroit beyond a few central locations. If made today (and I’m not talking about re-made today), RoboCop would undoubtedly be sluggish, overbearing, and just too big. The introduction of the ED-209 early in the film almost serves as a metaphor for this. RoboCop the idea could easily give way to something that’s too large and doesn’t work, but like the actual RoboCop, RoboCop the movie is lean in the right places. Because RoboCop focuses on the points and needs to and doesn’t bother with much else, it stands much more effectively as a satire of modern American culture.

Freaknik: The Musical

I can’t explain how glad I am that this exists. A made-for-Adult Swim movie about the Atlanta music festival Freaknik, produced by and starring T-Pain, as well as Rick Ross, Lil’ Wayne, Andy Samberg, Bill Hader, Snoop Dogg, Kelis, Cee-Lo Green, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Lil’ Jon, Big Boi, and more. I’m not sure I even need to sell this to you anymore.

48 Hrs.

Browsing Netflix the other night, I found myself struck by the uncontrollable urge to watch every Eddie Murphy film available on Instant Play, of which there are quite a few. There’s not a ton to look for here, but Eddie Murphy immediately strikes me as an engaging screen presence. It’s a shame he’s been wasted in the past decade. Walter Hill’s also a decently underrated director. Not his best work, but a capable and adeptly-crafted film.



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