Saturday, January 6, 2024

What I've Caught Up With, December 2023

I'd love to tell you that my lack of posting last month was because I became entranced with a bunch of movies of my big list of things to watch, but that would be a lie. The truth is that I crossed off only three movies last month, and all of those after Christmas. And, in reality, only two of these were new to me; I've seen Rush Hour at least twice in the past. To put just how bad last month was for me, I've already watched three movies off the list in January.

What I’ve Caught Up With, December 2023:
Film: Rush Hour (1988)

I would imagine that Chris Tucker is extremely difficult to cast well. The man has a voice that can cut glass, but with the right material (Friday, The Fifth Element), he can really work. Fortunately, Rush Hour is the sort of material that works for him. Tucker is the comic relief here, while Jackie Chan is the one who really drives the movie. The plot revolves around a crime lord and the kidnapped daughter of a diplomat, but it’s really about Jackie Chan doing what Jackie Chan does. There’s a solid cast of that-guys (Tom Wilkinson, Philip Baker Hall, Chris Penn, Mark Rolston, Tzi Ma, Rex Linn, and a few others), but I was most happy seeing the vastly underrated Elizabeth Peña.

Film: Cooley High (1975)

A defining film for African-Americans, Cooley High is very much a precursor to films like Friday and Boyz N the Hood both. This starts mostly as a film about a couple of high school kids named Preach (Glynn Turman) and Cochise (Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs) trying to get through their last year of high school without doing too much work and trying to survive on the streets of Chicago. It gets dark when some hijinks turn into a criminal act and suddenly the two of them are in real danger. This features a small part for Garrett Morris just before his stint as an original SNL cast member. It’s always a little shocking to remember that Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs had a serious actor career before Welcome Back, Kotter. This film should be better known.

Film: The Killing of Two Lovers (2020)

How do you react when your family, what you’ve always known, is falling apart for one reason or another? In the case of David (Clayne Crawford) and Niki (Sepideh Moafi), the troubles in their marriage are complicated by their four children. It’s also complicated by the fact that they have agreed to potentially see other people, which has resulted in Niki having a fling with a coworker named Derek (Chris Coy), a fact that David struggles to cope with. The strength of the film is not merely that it feels real and painful because of it, but that it’s filmed in an intimate way, often consisting of close-ups of David and Niki dealing with the reality of their lives. It forces us to watch them struggle with their emotions and reality. This isn’t an easy film, but it’s a damned good one.


  1. I still haven't seen Cooley High and The Killing of Two Lovers but as someone who was born in the 80s. I saw Rush Hour like everyone else did. The first one is awesome with a solid sequel though the third film is terrible with the exception of Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan doing a duet of "The Closer I Get To You" as I was more in shock at how good Jackie Chan as a singer. I wouldn't mind a fourth film as long as it's in the hands of someone else who loves those 2 guys. We don't need Brett Ratner. He's scum and I'd like to shiv him for making Elliot Page's life a living hell on the set of X-Men 3. Nobody does that to my Tiny Canadian Destroyer!

    1. Rush Hour is fun, and it holds up pretty well. Good cast all the way through, and some really good action sequences, which is ultimately all I really wanted from it.