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Showing posts from September, 2017

The Case for Macaulay Culkin: The Good Son (1993)

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Our society has a problem when it comes to child stars. We've all seen it: young kids rise up from nowhere, become cultural icons, and then as they grow up they fall from grace in highly-publicized, humiliating ways. Macaulay Culkin is lucky enough to be the rare exception; he disappeared from the scene almost as soon as he appeared, and has avoided the negative media attention that usually follows someone with his career trajectory--while there are rumors of some personal problems, he's managed to retain an impressive amount of privacy over the decades. Even still, there is a special brand of derision aimed at his pictures--even Home Alone has started to fall victim to it--that I can't help wondering about. Would these films be viewed in this way if he had gone on to a successful adult career? Is it the lack of followup that inspires bad feelings towards them or is it a more general cultural disdain for fluffy children's entertainment?

I begin this review with these…

Classic Film of the Week #20: Portrait of Jennie (1948)

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Earlier in this series, I discussed A Matter of Life and Death, a fantastical film that sees death defied in the name of love. Portrait of Jennie is another fantasy film with romance at its core, but this time, a lot more than just death is standing between our two lovers: the very barriers of time and space separate them. Only in brief, magical moments do these walls come down and allow the pair to come together. But each time they meet, Jennie is older, and there is a sense of this romance hurtling towards some kind of endpoint as their meetings become less frequent, with longer lapses of time in-between. Will the passage of time itself stand aside for the artist and his muse, or are they doomed to lead separate lives in different eras of time, never again to meet?

I was once a big Doctor Who fan, and throughout this film I was reminded of that show: so many of the core themes (at least in the contemporary series) are present here, especially the concept of a man tryin…

Classic Film of the Week #19: Room at the Top (1959)

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We all have dreams, ideas about what we want our futures to be like. This is a good thing: dreams give us motivation, something to strive for. But in the end, they're just products of our own minds, little fantasies we've conjured up. Real life is quite a bit different, sometimes for the worse, but sometimes for the better--the surprises that come with living can sometimes lead to much better things than we ever could have imagined for ourselves. But if we push these unexpected gifts away, keep clinging to those images we've created for ourselves, we might find all of the happiness life has to offer us slipping right through our fingers. This is the conundrum facing Laurence Harvey's Joe Lampton in the magnificent Room at the Top.

Laurence Harvey first wowed me with his disconcerting, emotionless performance in The Manchurian Candidate, and he is equally impressive here--this role is much more human, but he still has this fascinating alien quality about him, as if he&…

August 2017 Recap

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It was Summer Under the Stars month on TCM, and over the course of my self-imposed challenge to watch at least one film from every star being honored--and watching quite a few more than that for my favorites--I managed to watch more films than I've ever watched in a single month before. The grand total is pretty ridiculous, but then, I'm going to be very busy over the next few months between work and university, so I can't begrudge myself this epic movie binge during my last month of freedom. I'm also proud to say that this is the first month ever that I didn't watch a single film from the 2010s--in fact, I didn't watch a single film released past 1977! See details and a breakdown of my epic month of classic Hollywood below the cut.