Friday, June 30, 2017

Films That I Saw: June 2017

Summer has already started and usually it’s a time for summer vacations and such yet I haven’t had summer vacation in over 20 years and not likely to have one. In fact, I haven’t had a vacation in 14 years and not really interested as I’ve been reading a lot in what is going on in the world and it’s quite surprising what I learned which I will sort of reveal in next week’s Thursday Movie Picks. Still, it’s nothing to complain about as I’ve been scaling things back a bit as I choose to write less reviews and give more time to myself as there’s just days where I just want to play video games. Besides, we’re in a tumultuous period right now where there’s all sorts of chaos around the world such as the situation in Venezuela where friends of my parents are dealing with the craziness that is happening. Even here in the U.S. where it’s just one thing after another which isn’t surprising but the idea of another Watergate happening is kind of exciting. If there’s an impeachment trial coming, I hope to get a lawn chair and watch with glee to see our cunt of a president be fired for all of the bullshit he’s been spouting.

In the month of June, I saw a total of 42 films in 30 first-timers and 12 re-watches which is a bit up from last month which is kind of surprising. One of the highlights of the month has been my Blind Spot assignment in Ninotchka. Here are the top 10 First-Timers of June of 2017:

1. Wonder Woman

2. Hunt for the Wilderpeople

3. Amy

4. Une chambre en ville

5. Sing Street

6. I Love You Phillip Morris

7. The Small Back Room

8. Indignation

9. Marley

10. Master of the House

Monthly Mini Reviews

Brian and the Boz

In the first of several episodes of the 30 for 30 series that I saw as this one is about the controversial Brian Bosworth who finally gets to tell his story as he was a star player for the Oklahoma Sooners. Bosworth talks about his own troubled relationship with his father as well as some of the dumb things he did which he owns up to but also some of the accomplishments he made in his time in Oklahoma though his brief NFL career is also discussed.

Nurse 3D

Part of the joys of insomnia is watching something that is just absolutely fucked up and this film definitely delivers in a lot of ways. It’s not a great film but dammit, it’s so fun to watch as it stars Paz de la Huerta as a nurse who guides a young novice into being a nurse while she does other things to kill men who have done women wrong. It’s not afraid to be off the wall and offend as it’s just a good old B-movie that just brings in the fun in a lot of ways.

Phi Slama Jama

The second of many 30 for 30 docs that I saw is about the legendary University of Houston basketball team in the 1980s. A team that was very dominant in college basketball despite not winning any NCAA championships. Yet, the players such as Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler were quite powerful while the most gifted player was Benny Anders as part of the doc’s narrative involve former players trying to find the recluse who definitely fell off the face of the earth after his time in Houston.

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

In one of the finest comedies to emerge from Britain comes its long-awaited film which is quite entertaining. Notably as it involves two old women who get in trouble after knocking Kate Moss into the Thames supposedly to her death while they hide in the South of France to find a rich man. It’s just a very funny film with some offbeat moments as well as not taking itself seriously while filled with some fun celebrity cameos.

When the Garden was Eden

Another 30 for 30 documentary comes from Michael Rapaport about the New York Knicks during the late 60s and early 1970s at a time when the team was in its golden period. Featuring interviews with many players of those teams, the film has Rapaport talk about the Knicks in their early years through and how they got into this golden period where they got a home that was Madison Square Garden. The Garden is also touched upon as it was a place where it a haven for all New Yorkers whether they were rich or poor to go into and cheer for the Knicks.

Pony Excess

Another documentary from 30 for 30 is about one of the most controversial moments in college football as it relates to the Southern Methodist University’s college football team which was funded by boosters as much of it came from rich guys in Dallas. Narrated by Patrick Duffy, the film follows the university’s rise and how it was popular in Dallas until the NCAA found out a lot of things that were going on illegally that lead to the ultimate punishment in which the college football team were not allowed to play for two years. It’s a very eerie segment from the series that show what happens when players get paid to play when they weren’t supposed to and how excess can ruin things.

The Beach Boys: Making Pet Sounds

For anyone that loves music certainly has heard of Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys as many considered the first pop album that was considered to be art. Told by the surviving members of the band as well as some of the session players who played on that album. It’s a fascinating documentary that explore the tracks that were made as well as what Brian Wilson was doing in order to create something where it is one singular thing rather than a product that was focused on giving people the hits.

Requiem for the Big East

In the world of college basketball, everyone knows about the Big Ten, the SEC, the ACC, and all of those conferences yet it is the Big East that was formed in the late 70s for many schools in the upper east coast that really made college basketball big business. The film is definitely one of the best entries in the 30 for 30 series as it explore the conference’s hey-day in the 1980s where it raised the bar for college basketball yet its downfall is due to college football wanting to be part of the conference as it sucked all the money dry on the basketball conference that eventually ended in the 2010s.

Celtics/Lakers: Best of Enemies

A trilogy of documentaries made for the 30 for 30 series is about the legendary rivalry between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers during the 1980s which many credit into reviving the fortunes of the NBA and making it the place to be. Narrated by Donnie Wahlberg and Ice Cube to provide different perspectives of the rivalry, the film feature interviews from the players, coaches, and many others who were part of this legendary rivalry as it is clear that even though there is an air of respect for the two teams. They still hate each other and prefer to be enemies rather than be friends.

The Birth of Big Air

Produced by Spike Jonze and Johnny Knoxville and directed by Jeff Tremaine of Jackass, this documentary piece from 30 for 30 is about the rise, fall, and sudden resurrection into BMX biking and one of its key figures in Mat Hoffman. Many credit Hoffman for trying resurrect the sport in the early 1990s after its sudden decline in 1989/1990 by doing these big air stunts that were quite extreme but also ahead of its time. It’s a film that is scary at times considering the things that Hoffman was doing but it is also thrilling to see what he was willing to do for the sake of the sport.

The 99ers

From the Nine for IX documentary series is a film about the legendary 1999 Women’s U.S. Soccer team as it’s mainly told through footage filmed by one of the team members during their journey in the 1999 FIFA World Cup. Along with interviews with some of the players, the film follow the live of these women as they talk about their need to win at home but also the struggle they had with fame which made them a bit uncomfortable as it is a great piece from ESPN.

Spring Broke

Another late night film that I saw is an interesting one about the rise and fall of the spring break culture in Florida. Much of it is about the period in the 1980s in Daytona Beach where it was not just the events at their most wild but also at their most profitable with MTV being involved as well. It feature interviews from many of the people that were part of this culture including a war between different hotels and club owners yet its downfall were in the hands of local old farts including the man who brought spring break into Florida in the first place as it is a sad end to period in time that was wild but also dangerous.

War Dogs

From Todd Phillips is a comedy that is actually pretty good and definitely the best thing he’s done since Road Trip. Yet, it is his darkest film to date as it’s a real-life story about two guys who became arms dealers during the Iraqi War in the mid-2000s as it’s a tale of greed and deception. Jonah Hill is definitely great in this as the guy who is there from the beginning who would bring Miles Teller into a dangerous situation while Bradley Cooper has a great supporting role as a legendary arms dealer who would help them a deal but at great cost. It’s a flawed film but certainly fascinating as it really does have some very insightful and truthful things about war and what it’s really about which is money.

The Anti-Mascot

The first of two 30 for 30 short films I saw late one night revolves around a much-hated mascot and the man who played this mascot during the San Francisco Giants’ disastrous 1984 season as the team were already going through one of the worst periods in sport. It’s a pretty funny short that explore all of the chaos that was happening and how it got people to go the game just to boo and do things to the mascot until it went too far.

Tommy and Frank

The second 30 for 30 short film revolves around a famous surgery that pitcher Tommy John had in the 1970s by Frank Jobe who would do something revolutionary that would help pitchers. It’s a fascinating short to see what was done in the surgery and how it would help other pitchers in the future where many would continue even more than expected while some just stopped pitching altogether.

Top 10 Re-Watches:

1. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

2. Rushmore

3. Toy Story 2

4. Step Brothers

5. Fast Times at Ridgemont High

6. Bend It Like Beckham

7. Speak

8. Crossfire Hurricane

9. Daft Punk Unchained

10. Penelope

Well, that is all for June of 2017. Next month, I hope to see the following theatrical releases in The Beguiled, Baby Driver, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Dunkirk while many of the films I will watch in July are mostly going to be westerns and American films from the likes of Robert Altman, Don Siegel, Billy Wilder, and Sidney Lumet. Most notably, I’m going to cover the entire Dirty Harry series and hopefully some recent releases I didn’t get to see and hopefully catch up with Twin Peaks as I lost my shit in seeing the Nine Inch Nails on the show. Until then, this is thevoid99 signing off…

© thevoid99 2017


Dell said...

That's a great haul of movies.

I watched Best of Enemies. That brought back so many memories, and I even learned a few things which I didn't think I would. Really glad I saw it. I saw that doc on SMU back when it first came out. That's just crazy. I need to catch up on the rest of these. Glad you enjoyed Nurse. That movie is just bonkers and is better because of that fact.

Chris said...

I also had a good time with Hunt for the Wilderpeople, very charming adventure-comedy. The two leads have good chemistry. we need Taika Waititi to keep making films.
Amy was a powerful and heart-breaking doc, made me understand what she was going through. Also encouraged me to listen to her debut album Frank which I now love.
Indignation is underappreciated, a low-key story that may not have a particularly wide appeal. I especially enjoyed the heated arguments he had with the Dean of the university, both their points of view had validity.
You’ve got me curious to see the Making Pet Sounds doc. Knew you’d appreciate NIN feat. on Twin Peaks!

Anonymous said...

You were definitely busy last month. That's quite a good chunk of movies you saw.

thevoid99 said...

@Wendell-I like movies that know what it aims to be and not apologize for it. At least you know what you're expecting and not have high expectations.

@Chris-I hope to see more of Taika Waititi's work as he's definitely a candidate for a future Auteurs piece on him. If you have Showtime, the documentary on Pet Sounds is available.

@vinnieh-Well, I had some free time but also the need to not write about everything.