Saturday, May 4, 2024

What I've Caught Up With, April 2024

I was on the road a lot in April, which meant I didn't really spend a lot of time watching films. Total, I watched maybe a dozen or so just because I ran out of time. Family wedding, trip to St. Louis to visit my older daughter, and a few other day-long trips or events took their toll. Television was a lot easier for me last month because I could divide out show episodes a lot more easily. I finished (and reviewed) a couple of Mike Flanagan shows from NetFlix. I also watched Guillermo del Toro's The Strain and the very entertaining Russian Doll.

What I’ve Caught Up With, April, 2024:
Film: A Girl in Every Port (1928)

Salty dog Spike (Victor McLaglen) sails the world with a little black book only to discover that in every port, another guy has been there before him, leaving Spike’s dates with a calling card—a heart with an anchor inside. Eventually, Spike catches up to Bill (Robert Armstrong), and the two fight until they become friends. Eventually, Spike wants to retire but starts to blow all of his savings on a circus performer (Louise Brooks), who used to be Bill’s girl and is now milking Spike for his money. While this is a silent and thus pre-code, the 1920s weren’t brave enough to give us the gay sailor romance between Spike and Bill that we deserve. Honestly, it’s worth it just to see Louise Brooks.

Film: The Cove (2009)

If you’ve seen Blackfish, you know that institutions like Sea World are actually terrible for cetaceans like dolphins and orcas. The horror of that film does not at all prepare you for The Cove, a film about the Japanese whaling industry that focuses less on whales and far more on dolphins. There are terrible health issues in eating dolphin meat, which is often disguised as whale meat in Japan. More, there is a great deal of evidence that dolphins are intelligent, potentially as intelligent as we are, if not more. The film follows a number of activists, primarily Ric O’Barry in attempting to set up cameras at a cove in Taiji, Japan, used for dolphin harvesting. Much of the film works like a heist movie, getting the cameras set up, but nothing will prepare you for the final 15 minutes. There’s just…so much blood. There’s so much it looks fake, but it’s not—and my saying this does not prepare you for how much blood there actually is.

Film: Next Exit (2022)

What would happen if there was proof of an afterlife? Next Exit gives us a world where a recent scientific discovery leads to evidence of spirits. Looking to further the research, Dr. Stevenson (Karen Gillan) offers a painless death to anyone who is willing to help with the research. Rose (Katie Parker) and Teddy (Rahul Kohli) are both interested and have appointments in the San Francisco clinic. A series of events forces them to make a cross-country trip together. This is going to go exactly where you think it’s going to go, but while this journey of self-discovery is expected, it’s surprisingly poignant, and the final 10 minutes or so is a lot more than you’re likely to think it’s going to be.

Film: Devo: The Complete Truth about De-Evolution (1993)

Most people know the band Devo (or DEVO, or even DE-VO) from the song Whip It, but they had career that included far more than the one song. A one-hit wonder in the minds of many, they were a band that was ahead of their time in a lot of ways. They were also almost disturbingly, mechanically precise in their music. Freedom of Choice is one of the great albums of the 1980s, with Whip It arguably the least interesting song on the album. This is essentially a collection of Devo videos with some weird interstitial footage in places. If you’re a fan, there’s a lot to love, and not much here if you’re not a fan. If you don’t know who Booji Boy is, stay away.


  1. The Cove is a film that I've seen as that is a damn good one. I want to see that film on Devo as I love Devo.

    1. Devo is/was wildly underrated. I'd argue that both Q: Are We Not Men? A: We are Devo! and Freedom of Choice are albums with no dead spots or bad tracks, and New Traditionalists and Duty Now for the Future have some very big high points.

  2. The Cove was so brutal. I still think about it from time to time.

  3. I've only seen A Girl in Every Port and thoroughly enjoyed it, though I can see your point about the missed opportunity of having the men be lovers. They certainly seemed more into each other than any woman who crossed their path, including Louise Brooks! She, like her silent soul sister Clara Bow, is wonderfully alive and vivid on screen. A real pity she feuded with the Paramount bosses and was blacklisted just as sound came in.

    I'm surprised you didn't mention your girl Myrna Loy flitted across the screen briefly at one point in the picture.

    Of the other three, the last two are new to me and I've heard The Cove is an emotionally scarring experience so I've never sought it out.

    1. Next Exit is probably a better idea than it is a reality, but it's not bad. If you're not already a Devo fan, the film isn't going to make you one, but if you are a fan, it will remind you of why you are.