I did a long-form film review for Radical History Review on films dealing with the global water crisis. The abstract and link is here; any of you with access to a university library should be able to get it. Others I’m not sure. But this is almost like academic knowledge has some timeliness and accessibility!
May your Saturday night be like Harold Lloyd standing on his head, risking his life for a stunt.
An outstanding obituary of the great Dennis Farina by Alex Pappademas. Farina is one of those people who had a fairly minor career in the big scheme of things, but who affected so many people and who everyone loves and misses dearly upon their death.
Because we all need to see Connie Stevens chase William Smith through the streets of Seattle in 1976 for 6 minutes on a dune buggy.
Although I could do without the big sweeping Hollywood music in the trailer, Steve McQueen’s adaptation of Solomon Northup’s slave narrative 12 Years a Slave looks to be incredibly promising. Given the deep attention to physical detail in McQueen’s films and the fact that there really are so few good movies that deal with slavery in any serious way, I am more excited about this than any film in the last year.
And by this travesty I mean the threat of Steven Spielberg directing a remake of The Grapes of Wrath, a movie I would like to think exactly 0 people would find necessary or interesting, but then again Esther Zuckerman seems excited about it in the linked article so I just don’t know what’s wrong with people.
I mean really, a Grapes of Wrath distanced from the political connotations but wrapped in more sentiment? Gross.
In less disturbing artistic news, here we have a list of the 100 greatest American novels written between 1893 and 1993, with a limit of one book per author. Good for argumentation. I’d question the inclusion of Goodbye Columbus as the Philip Roth entry over Portnoy’s Complaint. Or about 7 or 8 others actually, though I have nothing negative to say about the book. Some of the more recent books feel a bit questionable to me. Is Roots that great of a novel? Or is it just very important? Of course, given that The Fountainhead is on here, it’s clear the list is emphasizing important above good. Or readable.
It seems the Roberts Court also made a film expressing its views on American race relations and the proper order between the races. You can watch it below.
Someone brought this up in comments a few months ago but I never posted what is by far the greatest traffic safety film ever made. The great stuff is in the last 5 minutes or so. Well worth your 15 minutes on a Friday night.
Remember, one think before an accident is worth a million thinks afterwards.
There’s a ton of references in silent films to terrible and dangerous drivers. It was a real issue in the early years of autos.
Showgirls, as certain critical circles have begun to embrace, is not “so bad it’s good.” Showgirls is good, or perhaps great, full stop. But one of the more intriguing things about the film is that it has so widely and so consistently been misunderstood by critics and audiences alike, despite the fact that its director, Paul Verhoeven, made a career in Hollywood out of highly commercial satires that freely indulge in the trash they’re mocking. It’s a constant throughout Verhoeven’s career: nearly every one of his American films, each of which is fiercely intelligent and provocative in its own way, was received at the time of its release with a combination of confusion and contempt, each in turn not so much rejected as a failure as, more frustratingly, dismissed as unworthy of serious thought.
Has Slate already signed Calum Marsh to a multiyear contract?
1950′s “How to Lose What We Have” is first-rate capitalist propaganda precisely because it lacks anything even remotely approaching subtlety, unless you count its conflation of the New Deal with Stalinism. The only disappointment here is that because of the time period, the filmmakers threw in a sop about unions being legal when you know they wish it wasn’t so.