Category Archives: Essays
There’s a Star Wars a-brewing, maybe you heard. I’ve been cruising through the old ones. The original and Empire are still bulletproof, Jedi is still dull, and, after all this ‘THEY’RE ACTUALLY GOOD’ scuttlebutt online about the prequels, them being just as bad as I remembered is a bigger surprise than if they weren’t.
They’re not worth seeing and they’re not worth thinking about, except for the moment where, in the closing seconds of his worst film, John Williams accidentally wrote the Game of Thrones theme (starts at 0:04) and then cast it aside as quickly as he noodled it into existence:
Part two in a series of three pieces by Harry Brewis tackling Gus Van Sant’s Death Trilogy. Click here for part one.
Gerry is about two guys who get lost on a hike in the desert and slowly dehydrate as they try to find a way back. In a moment of mercy, one strangles the other to save them from suffering a much longer and more painful death in the sun. Like with Elephant, the plot is a little thin on the ground, based on a true story the audience probably already knows going in. But the way it’s presented allows it to tell a story with a surprisingly great deal of depth.
Elephant was about characters so trapped in their own way of thinking that they fail to see death coming, or fail to question why they have chosen to kill others. Gerry takes the opposite tack and explores the hidden advantages of living this way.
Directed by Brad Silberling
Written by Sherri Stoner & Deanna Oliver
Why doesn’t anyone ever talk about how great Casper is? Yes, the 90’s Casper, starring Bill Pullman and Christina Ricci. I don’t know about you, but as a kid I fucking loved this movie. But I feel like if I were to bring it up to people as a legitimately good film, they’d laugh at me. Well, laugh away if you want, because I revisited last night to make sure it holds up, and it turns out it absolutely does.
During this week’s podcast, in which Cody, John, and Jenna discuss the films of 1977, the conversation turns, of course, to William Friedkin’s masterpiece Sorcerer. I was glad to hear it come up, as just a few months ago I had the pleasure of being able to see it for the first time at the Harvard Film Archive. Not only was the new 4K restoration they screened unbelievably gorgeous, but William Friedkin himself was in attendance, and ended the evening with a Q&A.
William Friedkin is 79 years old, and while he occasionally discussed the craftsmanship involved in filmmaking or his philosophies towards storytelling, he mostly just told old man stories. And my God, if you ever have the opportunity to hear Friedkin talk, do not pass it up. Imagine your grandfather’s old glory day yarns he’s told a million times—now, imagine they’re about making The French Connection and getting innocent men off death row and visiting devil worshippers in Iraq.
If you didn’t catch the latest episode of the Smug Film podcast, in which John D’Amico and Greg DeLiso get into a heated argument about film and film criticism, you should, because it’s important.
Having read the site for as long as it’s been around, I believe what sets it apart from most film blogs is that everyone here has a very unique and personal perspective on film—and that individualistic honesty is on full display in this episode.