It’s time for another dispatch from the world of pandemic movie watching. Recently, I had a free trial of Starz, which meant I got to watch several movies I had never seen before. And also Spider-Man: Far From Home, which is still delightful. Here are brief reviews of all these films, ordered from my least favorite to my favorite of the bunch.
The Thing: I know this is a classic monster movie, but I found it only alright. It’s just so freaking gross and not fun. The Thing feels like one of those movies where the primary goal was to create a lot of really creepy imagery and just try and do the most messed up stuff possible. That’s cool for the special effects team, but it didn’t do anything for me. Even Kurt Russell and Keith David couldn’t salvage the movie.
WarGames: This movie was more serious than I expected. I figured it would be more comedic, even though it’s about an almost nuclear war. I guess I just figured an ‘80s film starring Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy as teenagers would have a comedic bend to it. Maybe that’s just because all the tech seemed so retro to me. It’s a solid enough…thriller? It’s hard to define WarGames’ drama. Ally Sheedy should have had a better career.
Only Lovers Left Alive: Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston as vampires! Jim Jarmusch recontextualized vampires as culture lovers who are just trying to make it through life not bored. Hiddleston is a musician who just collects incredible instruments and stuff because, obviously, he’s loaded after being alive for centuries. It’s really good, save for a segment of the film where Swinton’s character’s sister shows up and just upends the movie for like 20 minutes.
Army of Darkness: The first Evil Dead is just too grim, but it’s weird to think that a couple movies later they made what is almost like a Looney Tunes horror movie. There is madcap comedy mixed into the story. Bruce Campbell was born to play Ash. He’s a delight as always. There’s also not a lot of gore if you are worried about the violence. A lot of the characters that get killed are skeletons. This is one of the more fun horror comedies I’ve seen.
Dazed and Confused: I know Dazed and Confused is considered a classic, but I was hesitant to watch it. Did I really want to watch high schoolers just chilling and partying? I also knew there was a lot of hazing stuff in it and I just didn’t feel down for that. Due to the pandemic, though, I finally gave it a shot. I’m really glad I did. This is a really good movie, and I get its reputation. The cast is great. So many talented young actors, many of whom went onto career. The movie has a distinct feel to it. Yes, it feels low stakes, but in a way that still has stakes and an emotional element. There are like a half dozen great characters. My favorite, personally, is Slater, the biggest stoner among stoners. In terms of movies that are about feel above all else, Dazed and Confused is one of the best. Maybe the best.