Saturday, July 3, 2021

What I've Caught Up With, June 2021

Well, here we are in July, the year just about half done. This year is going by very quickly, it seems, and as good as my intentions are for putting up reviews (and even watching movies) are always far better than my reality. Only three movies off the list this month. As always, hope for better next month.

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.


  1. The Dish is great, and is an Australian classic. Very funny, and surprisingly moving at times too. Fits nicely alongside Hidden Figures, The Right Stuff and Apollo 13 for NASA movies.

    1. Tonally, it reminds me a lot of films like The Station Agent in that there are no real "bad guys." It's kind of a found family film in a sense. All of the characters are fun, and I like everyone in it. Movies like that are really rare.

  2. I hate Bad Boys 2. There, I said it and I don't give a fuck what anyone else has to say. That film nearly gave me a seizure with all of that awful editing. In fact, Michael Bay hasn't made a watchable film since The Rock which was the best thing he's done as well as the first Bad Boys. Everything else is shit with Pearl Harbor being THE WORST FILM EVER MADE!!!!!!

    I have heard about The Dish as that is something I like to see as well as The Parallax View as I've seen a few films of Pakula including All the President's Men which is a masterpiece.

    1. Bay is, ultimately, a hack. it's a challenge to watch one of his movies and count the cuts--there's almost never three consecutive seconds in the same shot. It's dizzying, and not in a good or entertaining way.

      The Dish is worth your time. It's really very lovely and funny and charming.

      The Parallax View is the sort of film that really plays into paranoid fantasies. It's good, but it requires that you suspend disbelief as far as possible.

  3. I think The Parallax View is a terrific film with perhaps Beatty's best performance but out of Pakula's paranoia trilogy it's my least favorite. It's complex and dense but I think in parts it is at times a little muddled. It has been quite a while though since I watched the film. It'll never beat All the President's Men which is one of my top films but especially with the present political climate I might find new things in it.

    I wasn't that big a fan of the first Bad Boys but I still watched the sequel and as I often do with sequels I regretted it. I know every one can't be Aliens but they shouldn't be this terrible.

    The Dish sounds worth checking out so on the list it goes!

    My project is steadily progressing but June yielded even fewer recommendations than May!

    I really only have one-the small scale war drama-The Long and the Short and the Tall with Richard Todd, Laurence Harvey, Richard Harris and David McCallum.

    There is one other I think that might hold some interest for you. It's a 50's Hallmark Hall of Fame version of The Little Foxes starring Greer Garson as Regina along with Eileen Heckart, E.G. Marshall, Sidney Blackmer and Franchot Tone as Horace (I know he's someone you have little to no affection for but his role is limited and he does fine with it). Obviously because of the constraints of early television and the absence of William Wyler at the helm it's not the equal of the Bette Davis film but Greer's take on the role is interesting.

    1. I agree with you on The Parallax View. I think it's a dandy political thriller, but it doesn't measure up to the other two in the loose trilogy. It requires the biggest buy-in from the audience, and that's not always easy to do.

      I hope you enjoy The Dish. I think it's a lovely little film. Sam Neill's birthday is in September and Patrick Warburton's is in November, so you can slide it into your project.

  4. I've added Klute, the Parallax View, and the Dish to my watch list! Thanks.