Thursday, December 1, 2016


The only upside (for me, at least) about winter is that I finally get caught up on a ton of movies that I missed earlier in the year.

As I've written about before, I used to go to movies at least once a week—sometimes even more. But slowly, as my friends got married and had children, the Sunday movie group got smaller and smaller until it didn't exist at all. Now everyone sees movies when they can get a babysitter, when it comes on iTunes, or shows up on HBO. Granted, that's how I catch most movies these days, too. A few times a month, I'll catch a matinee or late show on my own though.

Side note here: If anyone ever tells you it's weird to go to movies alone, don't listen to them. It's awesome. I have a friend who thinks this and I just ignore him, but seriously, don't let anyone shame you for doing this. It's awesome. You don't have to share popcorn or anything.

I've got a shelf full of Criterion DVD's that I plan to work through this winter, but we'll get to those later.

This week alone I've caught three movies. Two of them I've wanted to see for a while and one just came out.

HELL OR HIGH WATER - I love a good bank robber movie and this was the best one I've seen in a long time. Jeff Bridges is in it as the near-retirement sheriff of a small West Texas town, and the two main bank robbing characters are my Hollywood doppelgänger Ben Foster*, and a guy I wish was my Hollywood doppelgänger Chris Pine. This is a lean, really well made movie and I loved every minute of it. Foster, Pine, and Bridges are all great in it and it's just the kind of movie I've been missing lately. It's one story, told really well, end to end. There's no need for a sequel, there's no reason to try and wring a prequel out of it, and it has no business as a full season TV show. It's in and out in 110 minutes. It's great.

*I went to a Halloween Party at a bar this year, but didn't have a costume put together, so I just wore my normal clothes and two people asked if I was dressed as Ben Foster from ALPHA DOG. TWO DIFFERENT PEOPLE!)

COP CAR - I tried to catch this at Sundance a few years ago but couldn't get in, then kind of forgot about it. Then it was announced that the director, Jon Watts, would be helming the new Marvel version of SPIDER-MAN and remembered I wanted to see it. Then I forgot about it until I was browsing HBO and saw it on there. This is another example of a tight little thriller that had just as much story as time they told it in. Two kids find an abandoned cop car in the woods as they're running away from home, find the keys and take it for a joyride. Only problem is that it belongs to the corrupt sheriff who desperately wants it back. This movie, much like HELL OR HIGH WATER, has a somewhat ambiguous ending. I liked HELL OR HIGH WATER's ending more. This one could have benefitted from being a few minutes longer, but it was still really fun, and Shea Wigham should be in more things. Hell, put him in all the things. I won't complain.

THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN - I knew nothing about this movie until is was released last week, then I watched a trailer and decided to see it ASAP. I've always loved awkward high school stories—like most John Hughes movies, ELECTION, EASY A, etc.—so this looked right up my alley. It stars Hailee Steinfeld, who was in the Coen Brother's TRUE GRIT (and a bunch of other movies I haven't seen, and is apparently also a pop star), as a girl whose only friend starts dating her older brother, and the terrible choices she makes while dealing with that. Woody Harrelson, who is always great, is also in it as her favorite teacher at school. It's not an amazing movie by any means, but it was damn entertaining.

I suggest you see all of these if you have time. Good stuff.

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