Friday, May 31, 2019
Films That I Saw: May 2019
This has been a whirlwind of a month not just in the world of film, politics, and wrestling but also here at home. After four rounds of chemotherapy, my father’s cancer is getting its ass kicked and that is good. Yet, he will have to have surgery in mid-June where to remove the small cancer in his stomach as well as remove part of his stomach but it’s not as bad as it should be. He will be fine though it’s been a very tiring period and it’s going to be tiring following the surgery. In a way, not doing the Cannes marathon this year has been a blessing as I didn’t have the energy to do more than 10 films in a-11 day period.
Speaking of Cannes, I must say the festival was definitely eventful as I’m happy about Bong Joon-Ho winning the Palme d’Or for Parasite as there’s also some other films such as Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Atlantique, Little Joe, Bacarau, and Les Miserables in my watchlist while I was happy for the reception that Pedro Almodovar’s Pain & Glory, Terrence Malick’s A Hidden Life, Ken Loach’s Sorry We Missed You, Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and Robert Eggers’ The Lighthouse getting some good reviews and some positive notices as I’m eager to see all of those films. Then there was the debacle that is Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo by Abdellatif Kechiche of Blue is the Warmest Color as it’s the second film in a trilogy of films about young love.
It’s one thing to make films about sex but if you want to just want to make films about ass and titties for nearly four hours. That’s fine but don’t expect a lot of people to see it. I have no problem with explicit or non-simulated sex in film or even in a porno film. However, if you go from being a filmmaker that makes pretentious and interesting films about people and social classes to just making films about ass and titties and forcing young actors to engage in non-simulated sex without their consent that includes a young woman getting cunnilingus for about 10 minutes. You’re not a filmmaker. You’re a fucking asshole exploiting people for your own bullshit.
The world of American politics is fucked up with a bunch of dumbass white fuckheads trying to reverse Roe vs. Wade while making it OK for rapists and pedophiles to rape a woman and a young girl so that she can’t get an abortion in Alabama. That shit is wrong. Here in Georgia, we’re dealing with similar shit about abortion and it sucks. Women shouldn’t be told what to do with their bodies unless they decide to have ass implants which is just disgusting. It is America going backwards and it fucking sucks ass as we have people in government that have no fucking balls to pull the fucking trigger to get Dumbfuck out of the fucking White House.
In the month of May, I saw a total of 27 films in 16 first-timers and 11 re-watches which an improvement of sorts from the month prior as three of the first-timers were directed by women as part of the 52 Films by Women pledge. Despite being tired at times, it was a decent month as the highlight of the month has been my Blind Spot assignment in This is Not a Film. Here are my top 10 first-timers that I saw for May 2019:
1. An Autumn Afternoon
2. The Death of Stalin
3. Death of a Cyclist
4. The End of Summer
5. The Eyes of Orson Welles
6. All the Money in the World
7. What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali
8. Teddy Pendergrass: If You Don't Know Me
9. At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal
10. Fierce People
The Dominican Dream
The first of two 30 for 30 documentaries that I saw this month is about the life and career of Felipe Lopez who is this kid from the Dominican Republic that didn’t play baseball but he was someone that had a lot of promise in the world of basketball. For someone who was considered a big deal in his high school career, he didn’t get the same kind of hype and prestige in both his college and professional career yet he did become an icon for Dominicans and Dominican-Americans alike as it’s more about the immigrant idea of the American Dream as it includes interviews with Alex Rodriguez, Chris Mullin, and author Susan Orlean who all reveal their own immigrant backgrounds.
At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal
One of two films from HBO Sports that I saw this month is definitely one of the most sobering films about the rise and fall of USA Gymnastics. Featuring interviews with various gymnasts, the film is a shocking input into the world of USA Gymnastics and its failure to protect young women from the sexual abuse in the hands of Larry Nassar. Some of the graphic detail into what Nassar did is just horrific as it include explicit detail in his abuse of young girls as young as the age of 5-6. What is more damning is that officials at the University of Michigan and at USA Gymnastics knew about this and didn’t do a fucking thing until there were too many young women voicing up about what they did as this film is a must into the fall of USA Gymnastics and why it needs new rules for this to never happen again.
From Griffin Dunne is an adaptation Dirk Wittenborn’s novel about a young teenager and his recovering substance-abuse addicted mother staying at a small house on the property of a rich man whom the mother had befriended. It’s a flawed but still engaging film thanks in large part to its ensemble cast that include Donald Sutherland, Diane Lane, Kristen Stewart, Elizabeth Perkins, Chris Evans, and the late Anton Yelchin. It play into a young man coming of age as well as a study of first love and jealousy among young men.
Before the Bell: The Story of All Elite Wrestling
While the documentary is really an advertisement of sorts for All Elite Wrestling that premiered days before their first official event that was Double or Nothing. The forty-five minute documentary short is about the formation of this new wrestling promotion as it does use footage from the YouTube show Being the Elite about Cody Rhodes, Kenny Omega, Matt and Nick Jackson of the Young Bucks, Hangman Adam Page, and several associates. Still, it is a short film that play into the arrival of this new promotion that is already lighting a fire in the world of professional wrestling as they got a TV deal with TNT for a show coming in the fall as it is exciting to be a pro wrestling fan again who are already disillusioned with the stale product that is the WWE.
What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali
From Antoine Fuqua comes the second HBO Sports documentary I saw this month as it is about the life and career of Muhammad Ali told by the man himself through archival footage, his fights, and through rare video and audio interviews. The two-part film chronicle Ali’s career as the first part ends with his shocking defeat against Joe Frazier with the second part being about his comeback and the remaining years of his life. It also touches upon his reluctance to retire in the early 80s and the effects it would have on him though he remains a powerful figure till his passing a few years ago. It is something fans of Ali should see as they get to see the man himself speak.
The second 30 for 30 piece that I saw is about Janet Guthrie who was the first woman to drive both the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500 in the 1970s long before the overrated hype that was Danica Patrick on the former. Guthrie was someone had an interest in driving and someone that definitely had the talent and drive but what hampered her career wasn’t just sufficient funding for an entire year but also corporate politics. It is definitely a superb entry to the documentary series as well as also give some profile to the women that came before Guthrie’s time as they also raced but never accomplished what she did as Guthrie’s top 10 placing at the 1978 Indianapolis 500 is still impressive.
Top 10 Re-Watches:
2. Full Metal Jacket
3. Attack the Block
6. Romancing the Stone
9. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
10. Honeymoon in Vegas
Well, that is it for May. I’m not sure how much I will do for June and what new films I will see other than maybe Toy Story 4. I am still going to do the annual exploration of LGBT films that I do every June as there’s a few films I have in my never-ending DVR list as well as some films I had reviews prepared for. I just started work on the Auteurs piece on Kelly Reichardt while I also have an idea of what to do as my next Blind Spot. Until then, this is thevoid99 signing off…
© thevoid99 2019