Fri Nov 04 2022 21:37 October Film Roundup:
- The Man from the Diner's Club (1963): Who says product placement is new? This movie is product placement. Gets a decent amount of comedy out of the concept of credit cards, some out of super inaccurate models of how 1960s computers work (Desk Set is way more forward-thinking), and there's a whole gamut of pratfalls and physical comedy. A fun watch overall. IMDB trivia spreads rumors that the film was originally intended as a Jerry Lewis vehicle, and Danny Kaye is maybe a little too old for this shit, but I just can't believe Jerry Lewis in any kind of white-collar profession. Even when his character's rich, like in The King of Comedy, it's clear he got rich being a clown.
Sumana recently showed me an old Mad About You episode where Jerry Lewis plays a billionaire, but it's very unclear how this "billionaire" acquired his wealth because he never shows any business acumen; he's always goofing off at his desk, trolling people and buying social media sites and so on. You see how Jerry Lewis has taken over this review of a movie he's not even in? Ludicrous.
The poster slogan for this movie is "You'll be hanging from the laffters at the funniest picture since money went out of style!", and I want to register that you can reuse this slogan when making comedies in a post-scarcity society. I may not live to see if, but I know it'll happen one day.
- The Cutting Edge (1992): A fun film that combines the two cinematic obsessions of the 1990s: Howard Hawks-esque hate-to-love rom-coms, and athletes playing the wrong sport. More training montages and less actual figure skating than Yuri on Ice kept me from getting sports bored. One of the rare films that suffered the "surely the Soviet Union will still exist by the time out movie comes out" problem.
- Gorky Park (1983): This film did not have that problem. I liked the police procedural elements but once the political conspiracy is revealed it seems relatively penny-ante, though I guess that too is realistic. The sets (indoor and outdoor) are great and there are a number of excellent comic relief characters, including Ian McDiarmid as a nutty professor.
- Titanic (1997): The film I felt like I'd seen, but I'd really only seen a big chunk of the first, less interesting half. The epic runtime of Titanic makes more sense if you see it as two movies: an upstairs-downstairs romance followed by a Miracle Mile-esque thriller of betrayal, personal cowardice and societal collapse. That second movie is really compelling, the first movie I found a little dull, but I admired how it carefully shows you everything that's going to be destroyed in the second half.
- The Afterlight (2021): The film with no IMDB page, and the first once I saw in the theater (at the museum, natch) since Gravity in March 2020. There are certain scenes that get written into one screenplay after another, certain shots that are reused verbatim across the history of film, and this movie mashes a lot of those up into something that can get pretty hypnotic. The unique constraints around the showing of this movie make it difficult to see, but it's worth seeing if it comes to your town; there's a fun twist at the end and the closing credits are touching.
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