What I’ve Caught Up With, June 2021:
Film: The Parallax View (1974)
The middle film in Alan J. Pakula’s “Paranoia Trilogy” is by far the darkest. Where Klute has something approaching a Hollywood resolution and All the President’s Men ends with something like closure on a real-world scandal, The Parallax View is a film that plays into the worst of conspiracy thinking. It is reminiscent in many ways of films like Three Days of the Condor. This is a dark film, appropriate for the time, and playing into those same dark ideas of conspiracy and a dark cabal running the world and committing political assassination almost at will. For some reason, this was overlooked come Oscar time and received no nominations. I have no idea how we live in a world where that is true.
Film: The Dish (2000)
I genuinely like this movie so damn much. When asked to recommend something that people don’t know, The Dish is my go-to. It’s genuinely funny, has great characters and a really good story. It helps that I’m a NASA nerd, and this is about the first moon landing. Specifically, it’s about the radio telescope in a little town in Australia that helped broadcast Apollo 11’s signals, and about the men who run it. Many of the actors didn’t do a lot else, and that actually helps it, because it makes them so believable in these roles. It also has one of the best music jokes of the last several decades. Track this down—you won’t be disappointed.
Film: Bad Boys 2 (2003)
Danny Butterman would be disappointed in me that I hadn’t seen Bad Boys 2 before now (I have seen Point Break), but there it is. And now, having watched Bad Boys and then this, I have to wonder why I bothered. I know that people like this movie a lot, but this is every bad stereotype and every possible cop movie trope shoved into two movies. It’s misogynistic and surprisingly racist for a movie starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. Loosely connected explosions and gun battles matched with anti-gay “jokes” makes for an unpleasant watch, at least for me. Whoosah.