Sunday, August 26, 2018


It's beyond pathetic that some critics are saying BlackkKlansman is Spike Lee's greatest film. It's not even in the same universe as Do the Right Thing. The script is clunky, the acting pedestrian and the filmmaking entirely unexpressive. Slapping on footage of Charlottesville and Trump at the end doesn't come close to rescuing this.

And speaking of clunky, Crazy Rich Asians.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

The loneliness of the long-distance ranters

Krugman, as usual, is right. What this piece raises but doesn't quite nail, though, is the emotional locus of both the political rage and the self-help snake oil. Both come out of and speak to low self-esteem, isolation, loneliness. Murdoch and his brethren -- Limbaugh et al. -- saw a market opportunity in monetizing that sadness. They saw a nation of people living lives of quiet desperation -- people who not only lack hope but are socially atomized, who need something to fill the long hours of their days.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

One out of three ain't bad

Just want to park a few reactions to recent films I've seen.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a big disappointment -- especially since Martin McDonagh made the wonderful In Bruges. The whole thing is inauthentic. There isn't a real character in it, just an assemblage of posits -- which extends to the titular community. It's a schematic chess game that feels as ungrounded as Antonioni's Zabriskie Point. Maybe McDonagh, too, can only make movies about his native land.

Eighth Grade, in contrast, is excellent. The characters are fully imagined, which frees Bo Burnham and the cast to be improvisational and tenderly vulnerable. The social media schtick is perfectly serviceable, but it's not what really matters here.

Sorry to Bother You is another dud. Incomprehensibly praised as a clever social satire, it's sophomorically crude and clunky. Lakeith Stanfield is an appealing performer, and his charm and chops keep us watching. But there's no serious idea about the world here, and no amount of charm can overcome the middle-school happy-with-itself-ness.