Hey! Thanks for being subscribed to Watch This!, and sorry for the lack of updates recently. Don’t worry, I’ve still been watching plenty of movies at home (and I’m getting ready to go back to movie theaters soon!), but between some personal travel and the re-emergence of social activities I haven’t had time on the weekends to write this, as I had been doing.
(Hey, blogging/newslettering is hard. Just ask the ex-POTUS).
I’m taking a lil break from this newsletter to focus on those other things, but I hope to find time to get back to it eventually, so please stay subscribed! You can follow me on Letterboxd to stay on top of what I’ve been watching, and on Twitter to see what else I’m up to.
My ranking of every movie I’ve watched in 2021 is continually being updated on Letterboxd, and you can find it right here.
Here’s an abbreviated rundown of what I’ve seen since my last email:
Jaws ★★★★★ - Always love this movie, but surprised to find on this re-viewing that I love it slightly less than Jurassic Park.
The Hustler ★★★★½ - Superb drama about competition, addiction, and what separates winners from losers. My favorite Paul Newman performance I’ve seen to date.
The Little Prince ★★★★½ - Extremely well-animated and sweet adaptation of the classic French novella; would make an excellent double feature with My Neighbor Totoro.
Election ★★★★½ - Pitch-perfect political satire, anchored by dynamite acting and a script that knows when to be darkly funny, when to be normal-funny, and how to build suspense.
Charade ★★★★ - Wonderful blend of winking comedy and sinister thriller, often mistaken for a Hitchcock film and for good reason. Liked this even more on the second viewing than the first.
The Hurt Locker ★★★★ - Tense, well-directed and edited war movie that reaches for deeper meaning but doesn’t quite get there. Points for its better-than-average acknowledgment of the civilian casualties, which most war movies ignore.
Fast Five ★★★★ - Bookended by two of the best action setpieces in modern cinema, the middle of the movie sags a bit but it’s the strongest entry in the Fast saga I’ve seen to date.
Fast & Furious ★★★½ - Also pretty good! Reminds me of the James Bond movies I liked as a kid (the more implausible, the better), and the cartel-busting plot feels far more substantive than the previous films I’d seen.
Annapolis ★★★½ - A passable boxing movie pretending to be a passable military movie. James Franco is bland but not annoying, and the story doesn’t cohere thematically, but a fine film to sit through.
James and the Giant Peach ★★★½ - Watched this over and over as a kid. The animation is very good, though not as ambitious as director Henry Selick’s previous film (Nightmare Before Christmas), and the songs by Randy Newman are a noticeable step down from Danny Elfman.