Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Following on from the last post, I'm going to try to keep some notes here about the movies I've been seeing--lately a lot of them, both at home and in theaters. Part of it is simply wanting to take advantage of being in the same city as Scarecrow and part of it is having a girlfriend who likes to watch movies too, but lately the habit has become personal. Professional as well, to some degree: I'm planning a total of five Project X columns on the 15-star movies (five each for Music, Attitude, and Fun) in the Marshall Crenshaw-edited book Hollywood Rock (1994), which helps focus my renting. The first covered the movies chosen from 1959-64; the next one will cover 1970-73, for which A and I just watched Beyond the Valley of the Dolls a few hours ago (pretty ridiculous, pretty great). I also saw a couple other things for it; the one I flipped for was Let the Good Times Roll, a 1973 oldies-concert doc I purchased from the Video Beat site, and which is one of the handful of best concert movies I've seen. More when the column runs.

It's been a good week overall in terms of movie watching, actually. Sunday night I went to the U District and saw The King of Kong, which I loved; the quasi-villain looks like Yanni if he'd gone into middle management, and the use of Leonard Cohen's "Everybody Knows" in one of those scenes was just perfect. My favorite person in the movie, though, is probably the dude who pops up every so often during the playoffs to speak in sentences riddled with facts and figures he'd long ago memorized and doesn't even care if anyone knows he knows. That dude seems like he long ago accepted his own utter and incontrovertible dorkitude and goes through life with a kind of inner peace about it that I really envied; he made me feel like a scam artist trying to hide the fact that deep down I'm even worse than him.

I liked Le Circle Rouge a lot, though I'd have probably enjoyed it more if I'd been able to not see stars during it, thanks to a bountiful trip to Hempfest the weekend before. (The cookies worked amazingly well, the Rice Krispies treats far less so.) I got that one as a recommendation from Nate Patrin, who I'd asked for something in the vein of The Long Goodbye, which I'd seen on the big screen earlier this summer at the SIFF theater near my apartment; I mentioned the cat food sequence and he said there was a similar one in Le Circle Rouge. (There is, though it's not nearly as long.) Rouge is very clean and evenly paced, and I should watch it again at full capacity. The Long Goodbye is something of a landmark for me now that I've seen it--vaulted into my very-favorites list, an amazingly good time at the theater, a lot of things I've wanted from a movie that I both knew I wanted ('70s L.A., hard-boiled private eye) and that I wasn't previously aware I did (Elliott Gould, Sterling Hayden).

I should mention also Ghosts of Cite Soleil, a genuinely disturbing documentary about Haiti slums and the gangs that run them. It's gripping and well made, it offers no easy ways out, and I was really annoyed with the French relief worker who falls for one of the gang-leader siblings, in a "could you be any more fucking obvious a cliche" kind of way. That's another SIFF movie; I like that theater a lot, and hope it sticks around--most of the screenings I've caught there that weren't heavily advertised have been fairly empty. Then again, maybe that's because I'm only seeing Sunday evening screenings.