Wind River (2017; first-time watch) — Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) is a fish and wildlife agent who comes across the body of his late daughter’s best friend. Because the body is on a Native American reservation, the FBI is called in, and they send Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) to investigate. She’s clearly passionate about the case but also clearly out of her league, so she enlists Cory’s help in trying to figure out what happened. Full review at https://nawilson.com/2017/08/02/wind-river/.
The Descent (2005; rewatch) — Sarah used to be an adrenaline junkie, but that changed when she lost her husband and daughter in a car accident. But some time has passed, and her friends convince her to go on a cave-exploring trip. But things start to go wrong when one of the cave’s passageways collapses to block the entrance, when we learn that they’re not in the right cave after all, and when we learn that they’re not alone in the cave. It’s a really well-made film with a mix of effective jump scares and good old-fashioned creepiness. Unfortunately, we got the American ending (which cuts off before the much better British ending), dampening what was otherwise a terrific moviegoing experience with a gorgeous 35mm print.
Snakes (aka Fangs aka Holy Wednesday; 1974; rewatch) — Jim “Snakey” Bender (Les Tremayne) spends most of the week on his snake farm out in the country. But every Wednesday, he comes into town for a full day of activities. He gets his groceries from Sis and Bud (Alice Nunn and Bruce Kimball). He gets the schoolchildren to give him small animals that they’ve captured for his snakes, and he entertains the kids with the snakes. He entertains the schoolteacher Cynthia (Bebe Kelly) with a snake in a very different way. He gets a lecture from the Bible-thumping Brother Joy (Marvin Kaplan) on the evils of serpents and corrupting the youth. And he and his best friend Burt (Richard Kennedy) spend the night rocking out to John Philip Sousa records. But then Burt gets married to Ivy (Janet Wood), and Sis, Bud, and Brother Joy blackmail Cynthia into turning the kids against Snakey. They shouldn’t have screwed with Snakey’s Wednesdays. It’s exactly the kind of absurd fun that you want to see out of a 70s snake movie.
Ex-Lady (1933; first-time watch) — It’s the 1930s, and Helen (Bette Davis) doesn’t want to cave to the old-fashioned ideals that everyone else seems to have. She doesn’t believe that two people in love need to marry to be together, and she doesn’t believe that a woman should have to give up her career to serve her man. Eventually, her boyfriend Don (Gene Raymond) is able to convince her to marry him, but she still refuses to give up her job. Don isn’t entirely faithful to Helen, so Helen reciprocates. It’s a pre-code film with a surprisingly modern feel and a good amount of comedy.
Detroit (2017; first-time watch) — In 1967, racial tension was high, and it didn’t take much to get the predominantly black population to riot against the predominantly white police force for their acts of racism and violations of their civil rights. An incident at the Algiers Motel led to a particularly nasty encounter for a lot of people, and this bleak film shows us what went down and its aftermath. Full review at https://nawilson.com/2017/08/04/detroit/.
Sweet Charity (1969; rewatch) — Charity Hope Valentine (Shirley MacLaine) has been down on her luck. She works in a dance hall because that’s the only job she can get. The man she’d hoped to marry pushed her off a bridge and stole her life savings. A promising encounter with a celebrity (played by Ricardo Montalban) ends with her spending the night hiding in the closet from his girlfriend. Then she gets stuck in an elevator with a man (John McMartin) who has an attack of claustrophobia. But then things start to look up for her. It’s a wonderful musical featuring songs like “Big Spender” and “If My Friends Could See Me Now” other notable performers like Sammy Davis, Jr., Chita Rivera, and Ben Vereen, and uncredited appearances by Bud Cort and Toni Basil.
The Dark Tower (2017; first-time watch) — A boy (Tom Taylor) has recurring dreams about a man in black (Matthew McConaughey) trying to use children’s psychic abilities to take down a dark tower that protects the universe, and the gunslinger (Idris Elba) who’s the only man able to face him. But they’re not just dreams, and he soon finds himself mixed up in their battle. It may be Stephen King’s epic eight-volume book series, but it’s been turned into just another young adult movie. Full review at https://nawilson.com/2017/08/06/the-dark-tower/.
Being There (1979; rewatch) — Chance (Peter Sellers) is a very simple man of limited mental facility whose only concerns are gardening and television. He’s been living in an old man’s house all his life and has never been outside, but when the old man dies, he finds himself on his own. He’s accidentally hit by a limousine carrying Eve Rand (Shirley MacLaine), the wife of the mega-rich but very ailing mogul Benjamin Rand (Melvyn Douglas). Eve insists that he be taken to their mansion to be seen by the doctor (Richard Dysart) attending to Benjamin, and everyone mistakes his extremely simple, childlike statements to be profound declarations that influence even the President (Jack Warden). It’s a tremendous film by accomplished director Hal Ashby that’s both funny and scarily relevant.
War of the Worlds (2005; rewatch) — Ray Ferrier (Tom Cruise) is divorced and has his kids (Dakota Fanning and Justin Chatwin) for the weekend. Unfortunately, it happens to be the weekend that aliens come to Earth in a series of lightning bolts and power up giant robots that have been lying dormant beneath the ground. The aliens attack, and human weapons don’t seem to do any good. Ray must keep himself and his kids alive amid constant danger from the robots and panicking humans. It’s really not a very good movie, the people in it are annoying, and the ending, though faithful to the H.G. Wells story, is weak and unsatisfying.
Il Boom (aka The Boom; 1963; first-time watch) — Giovanni Alberti is in debt. He’s surrounded by wealthy people and wants to seem like he’s one of them, but he spends more than he makes and now a loan is coming due with no way for him to repay it. Then the wife of a very rich friend makes him an interesting offer that could mean the end to his financial trouble. From director The Bicycle Thief director Vittorio De Sica and Mafioso star Alberto Sordi, it’s a light, fun film that for some reason is only just now getting a release in the United States.
Landline (2017; first-time watch) — A family of 90s hipsters has to deal with a variety of problems of their own making as a result of their laissez faire approach to the world. The youngest daughter (Abby Quinn) is skipping school and getting high, and her parents (John Turturro and Edie Falco) aren’t doing anything about it. The older daughter (Jenny Slate) is bored with her fiancé (Jay Duplass) and cheats on him with someone else, just like her father cheating on her mother. It’s 2010s mumblecore set in the 1990s, and it’s as bland and uninspiring in this setting as it is in most other attempts. Full review at https://nawilson.com/2017/08/08/landline/.
Minority Report (2002; rewatch) — Murder is a thing of the past in Washington, D.C. after they get a trio of psychics who can see murders before they happen. John Anderton (Tom Cruise) leads a special pre-crime police force that intercepts the would-be murders before and prevent the crime. It works well until the psychics predict that Anderton will commit the next murder. He’s got to evade his peers so that he can figure things out before he’s convicted of a crime he’s sure he would never commit. It’s an interesting idea, but the futuristic computer interfaces are absurdly stupid, there are numerous obvious logic flaws, and it’s way too long.
Boardinghouse (1982; rewatch) — Jim (John Wintergate, who also wrote and directed the shot-on-video movie for which a 35mm print was inexplicably struck) inherits a house with a deadly past and turns it into a boarding house for attractive single young women without a great deal of modesty. Then accidents start happening and people start getting hurt, and then killed. It’s a unique and very amateur movie that is often delightfully insane. It’s quite a bit too long (and we watched the 98-minute version, which is a full hour shorter than the original director’s cut), but the absurd ending makes that easy to forgive.
Deep Blue Sea (1999; rewatch) — An underwater research facility has created a trio of super-smart sharks for use in a study hoping to cure Alzheimer’s disease. Thomas Jane is a shark wrangler with a past. Samuel L. Jackson is an investor who’s visiting to see their progress. Saffron Burrows and Stellan Skarsgård are scientists actually doing the research. Michael Rapaport is an engineer keeping things running. LL Cool J is a cook and former preacher. When a storm blows in and the sharks get agitated, things go bad for the people living in the facility. It’s like Jaws 3 meets Piranha meets Jurassic Park. It’s both terrible and amazing, and seeing it from a pristine 35mm print made for a great night.
Grand Hotel (1932; rewatch) — A number of guests interact at a German hotel in this star-studded classic. It features Greta Garbo as a dancer, who has fallen in love with a Baron (played by John Barrymore) who is broke but desperately trying to maintain his wealthy image. Joan Crawford is a stenographist who is hired by an arrogant businessman (Wallace Beery) and is sympathetic to one of his dying underlings (Lionel Barrymore). It’s very well done and packs a lot in, but isn’t quite mind blowing.
Brigsby Bear (2017; first-time watch) — James (Kyle Mooney) has lived all his life alone with his parents (Mark Hamill and Jane Adams) in a survival shelter, afraid to go out into the world without a protective mask. His main source of entertainment is the television show Brigsby Bear, and he’s obsessed with it. Then he finds that his entire life has been a lie. Full review at https://nawilson.com/2017/08/11/brigsby-bear/.
Cabaret (1972; rewatch) — Brian (Michael York) arrives in Berlin and finds a place to stay at a boarding house. Sally (Liza Minnelli) also lives there, just across the hall, and she works as a dancer at a popular cabaret. She’s a gold digger and tries to take her customers for all they’re worth, but she also falls for Brian, and soon they find themselves in a love triangle with a wealthy baron (Helmut Griem). Meanwhile, the Nazi party is on the rise and Berlin is becoming a less pleasant place to live. The film manages to be decent but would be far better without all the Nazi subplots.
Wet Hot American Summer (2001; rewatch) — It’s the last full day of the year at Camp Firewood, for both the staff (including Janeane Garofalo, Paul Rudd, Bradley Cooper, Amy Poehler, Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black, Molly Shannon, Ken Marino, Jo Lo Truglio, Elizabeth Banks, Christopher Meloni, and others) and the campers. The counselors are all deeply flawed, and the director (Garofolo) is distracted by her infatuation with an astrophysics professor (David Hyde Pierce) who’s living near the camp. It’s a very funny satire of summer camp movies, even if not all the jokes work.
Minnie and Moskowitz (1971; first-time watch) — Minnie (Gena Rowlands) seems to attract some truly awful men, including a married asshole (John Cassavetes), a self-entitled businessman (Val Avery), and a psychotic, bipolar parking lot attendant named Seymour Moskowitz (Seymour Cassel) who alternates between affectionate and abusive. And yet Minnie keeps seeing them when she should be calling the police. It’s an absolutely wretched film with no redeeming value other than a short scene with Timothy Carey proclaiming how awful the world is.
Interstellar (2014; rewatch) — Earth is doomed, and there’s a secret plot to save mankind. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is a former NASA pilot who stumbles onto it and becomes the pilot for the mission, which also includes characters played by Anne Hathaway, Wes Bentley, and, David Gyasi. While his daughter Murph (played at different ages by Mackenzie Foy, Jessica Chastain, and Ellen Burstyn) teams up with NASA (led by Michael Caine), the astronauts fly through a wormhole to explore other potential worlds for humans to inhabit. It’s a good movie, but far too long, as evidenced by the hour-shorter cut that Master Pancake Theater mocked with great skill and hilarity.
The Great Dictator (1940; rewatch) — It’s the time between the two World Wars. While a dictator (a non-silent Charlie Chaplin, obviously portraying Hitler) rises to power, the Jews (including a barber also played by Chaplin, as well as his former wife Paulette Goddard) fear for their lives. It’s brilliant and funny and highly prophetic, as the film was released near the beginning of the real second War. If only the real conflict had ended as well as the film did.
Death Warrior (1984; first-time watch) — Murat (Turkish superstar Cüneyt Arkin) is a police officer with advanced martial arts skills. He’s on vacation, but that ends early when an evil ninja unleashes his well-trained clan of killers on the world, kidnapping a high-ranking officer. His boss just wants to pay the ransom and hope the bad guys will go away, but Murat knows the only way to win is to take them down. It’s a very short video (only 65 minutes) from the director and star of The Man Who Saves the World (aka Turkish Star Wars), but Death Warrior somehow manages to outshine it with virtually non-stop insanity and horrible subtitles.
Step (2017; first-time watch) — The Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women is about to graduate its first senior class with the goal of getting all sixty graduates accepted into college. They’ve also got a step dance team that is a popular extracurricular activity among the girls. This documentary focuses on those senior girls on the dance floor, in the classroom, and outside of school. It’s good at what it shows, even while suffering from puzzling omissions. Full review at https://nawilson.com/2017/08/14/step/.
Raiders of the Sacred Stone (aka Shalimar; 1978; first-time watch) — An old master thief (Rex Harrison) has brought four other top thieves (one of whom is a mute John Saxon who only communicates through sign language) to tell them that he has stolen a giant ruby, and to invite them to try to claim the title of world’s greatest thief by stealing it from him. They’ll have to defeat his advanced security system and outwit his army of devoted guards to do it. It’s a Bollywood attempt at making a movie suitable for American audiences, featuring American actors and a 90-minute cut with no musical numbers, but it was a flop because it’s a terrible movie. But it’s also terribly entertaining because of the ridiculous situations and characters, the defense measures, and the plans the thieves hatch to try to get around them.
Seven Hours to Judgment (1988; first-time watch) — Judge John Eden (Beau Bridges, who also directed the film) wants to be hard on crime, but his hands are tied by the system, so he must let a gang of murdering criminals go due to a lack of witnesses willing to testify against them. David Reardon (Ron Leibman) is the dead woman’s husband, and he doesn’t care about Eden’s excuses. In retaliation, Reardon kidnaps the judge’s wife Lisa (Julianne Phillips) and says he’ll kill her in seven hours unless John completes a scavenger hunt mission to come up with evidence to put the bad guys away. It’s clearly inspired by films like Death Wish and Vigilante, and while it’s not quite as good as those, it’s an interesting take that’s worth watching.
Unforgiven (1992; rewatch) — After a couple of asshole cowboys cut up a prostitute’s (Anna Levine) face, an asshole sheriff (Gene Hackman) lets them off with just a slap on the wrist. The prostitutes decide to put out their own bounty on the cowboys, offering $1000 to anyone who kills them. An unknown gunfighter (Jaimz Woolvett) who calls himself The Schofield Kid seeks out the meanest former killer (Clint Eastwood) he can find. He’s retired but needs the money, so he agrees, and they’re joined by his former partner (Morgan Freeman). It’s a modern western with a fair number of surprises, not least of which is how good it is.
Carrie (1976; rewatch) — Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) is an outcast at school, due in large part to her mother’s (Piper Laurie) extreme religious zealotry. The other students (including Nancy Allen, P.J. Soles, Amy Irving, and Edie McClurg) often make fun of her, and it doesn’t get any easier when she freaks out in the shower after getting her first period. Unfortunately for them, her first period also coincided with her discovering that she has telekinetic powers. Things don’t go well when she’s mistreated. One of the best horror movies of all time (along with Psycho, which was clearly a significant influence), and a film that doesn’t get old.
Death Becomes Her (1992; rewatch) — Helen (Goldie Hawn) and Madeline (Meryl Streep) have been rivals their entire life, particularly when it comes to men. Madeline always seems to lure Helen’s suitors away from her. When that happened with Helen’s fiancé Ernest (Bruce Willis), Helen goes crazy for a bit and lets herself get fat. But she pulls it together, gets fit, and becomes a successful writer. When it looks like Helen might succeed at winning Ernest back, Madeline looks to a mysterious woman (Isabella Rossellini) for help. It doesn’t reveal the true crux of the plot until fairly late in the movie, but it’s a fun watch throughout.
Bad Boy Bubby (1993; rewatch) — Bubby (Nicholas Hope) has lived alone with his mother (Claire Benito) in a small, dingy room for over thirty years. He’s never been outside because she tells him that the air is poisoned, and she wears a gas mask when she goes out to get supplies. Then one day, his father (Ralph Cotterill) shows up and everything changes. Bubby learns that the world isn’t poisoned and sets out on his own with limited vocabulary, no social skills, and no understanding of how the world works. It’s a highly unusual film that is occasionally difficult to watch, but it’s very well done and does not play out as you might expect.
Jezebel (1938; first-time watch) — Julie (Bette Davis) is in love with Preston (Henry Fonda), but she keeps pushing him away. He’s a successful banker, and on one trip to New York, he comes back with a new wife (Margaret Lindsay). Now Julie is extremely jealous and spiteful, and it doesn’t help things that looming war and raging yellow fever have both inflicted 1850s Louisiana. In the hands of lesser actors, this probably would have been just another boring period film, but Davis, Fonda, and director William Wyler transform it into something special.
The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017; first-time watch) — Ryan Reynolds is a bodyguard who had a perfect record until he lost a client. Samuel L. Jackson is a professional hitman who’s agreed to testify against evil dictator Gary Oldman, and Ryan Reynolds is the only one who can protect him against Oldman’s henchmen. It’s actually a pretty entertaining movie if you don’t think about it too much. Full review at https://nawilson.com/2017/08/19/the-hitmans-bodyguard/.
Blonde Death (1984; rewatch) — Tammy has just moved to California with her father and stepmother. Then her dad has to go away on a trip, and Tammy’s stepmother tries to kill her. Gwen, a one-eyed lesbian tries to win her affection, but she only has eyes for Link, the escaped prisoner who held her hostage before falling in love. It’s a very angry movie that hates the world, but it’s unbelievably entertaining and makes very good use of its microscopic budget.
Ingrid Goes West (2017; first-time watch) — Ingrid (Aubrey Plaza) has problems with reality. She conflates social media likes with actual friendships. When Taylor (Elizabeth Olsen) makes the mistake of replying to one of her comments, Ingrid moves across the country and arranges a chance encounter that she hopes will turn into an actual friendship. It’s got a decent premise, but a pretty lackluster ending. https://nawilson.com/2017/08/19/ingrid-goes-west/
Logan Lucky (2017; first-time watch) — Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) is a former football player with a bum knee that just got him fired from his job as a construction worker and who is about to lose his daughter (Farrah Mackenzie) when his ex-wife (Katie Holmes) moves out of state. His brother (Adam Driver) is a one-armed veteran. They’ve got a plan to rob a NASCAR racetrack, but to pull it off, they’ll need help from a currently-incarcerated explosives expert (Daniel Craig) and his redneck relatives. It’s a reasonably fun heist film from Ocean’s Eleven director Steven Soderbergh that’s not as good as Eleven or Thirteen but isn’t nearly as bad as Twelve. Full review at https://nawilson.com/2017/08/21/logan-lucky/.
No Country for Old Men (2007; rewatch) — Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) comes across the remains of a drug deal gone bad and ends up with a bag containing two million dollars and the laser-focused killer Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) on his trail. Local sheriff Ed Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) and bounty hunter Carson Wells (Woody Harrelson) are after both Moss and Chigurh while Moss tries to save himself and keep his wife (Kelly Macdonald) out of it. It’s a tremendous film in every aspect.
The Hudsucker Proxy (1994; rewatch) — After founder Waring Hudsucker (Charles Durning) commits suicide, the remaining board members (led by Paul Newman) at Hudsucker Industries are so terrified at the prospect of his majority stake in the company will be made available to public traders that they want to tank the company so they can buy all that stock for themselves and retain control of the company. So they promote a new hire from the mailroom (Tim Robbins) to be the new president. Even though an investigative reporter (Jennifer Jason Leigh) wants to take him down, and even though he has an idiotic idea for a new product, things don’t go quite as well as the board hoped. It’s a hilarious neo-noir comedy with a fantastical art deco feel.
The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001; rewatch) — Ed Crane (Billy Bob Thornton) is a quiet barber who works in his brother-in-law’s (Michael Badalucco) shop. His wife Doris (Frances McDormand) works as an accountant under Dave Brewster (James Gandolfini) at a successful department store. When a fast-talking entrepreneur (Jon Polito) comes to town looking for an investor in a get-rich-quick scheme, Ed decides to get the money by anonymously blackmailing Dave by threatening to expose his affair with Doris. Unfortunately, things don’t go as planned. It’s a very strong black-and-white neo-noir crime drama that also features Tony Shalhoub, Richard Jenkins, and Scarlett Johansson.
The Big Lebowski (1998; rewatch) — Lazy bowling enthusiast Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) is mistaken for another man with the same name (David Huddleston), who happens to be a millionaire with a hot young wife (Tara Reid). And when that wife is kidnapped and held for ransom, The Big Lebowski hires The Dude to help make the exchange, and The Dude enlists his friends, the hot-headed Walter (John Goodman) and the dim-witted Donny (Steve Buscemi), to help. It’s an amazing comedy with a great cast that also includes Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Peter Stormare, John Turturro, Sam Elliott, Ben Gazzara, John Polito, and Flea.
Inside Llewyn Davis (2013; rewatch) — Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) is a struggling musician, a mooch, an asshole, and otherwise an absolute failure as a human being. He’s even less successful now that he’s a solo act after the death of his former partner, but really the vast majority of his problems are completely of his own doing. It’s littered with terrible characters and agonizing music, and it’s so unpleasant to watch that it would be hard to believe that it came from the usually great Coen brothers if they weren’t also responsible for the even worse O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Good Time (2017; first-time watch) — Connie (Robert Pattinson) brings his brother Nick (Benny Safdie) on a bank robbery. But Nick has a mental handicap, and he doesn’t handle it well when things don’t go quite as planned. Connie runs away faster than Nick does, and Nick gets caught. Now Connie needs to bail him out but doesn’t have the money, so he needs to get creative.
The World’s End (2013; rewatch) — Gary King (Simon Pegg) wants to get his friends (Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, and Eddie Marsan) back together to re-attempt a twelve-pub challenge that they tried several years ago. None of them are very enthusiastic about it, or about seeing Gary in particular, but they relent, head back to their hometown, and give it a go. But the town has changed a lot, and not all for the better. It’s a decent movie, but definitely the weakest of Edgar Wright’s “cornetto trilogy”.
Effects (1980; rewatch) — A small group of people are making a low-budget independent horror film in the woods. Most of them are friends, but the camera operator hasn’t worked with them before. By the time he realizes that there’s more going on than what he’s shooting, it’s too late. Featuring special effects by Tom Savini, who also appears in the film, it’s not the kind of film you’d expect from the premise, but it’s done well.
The Jerk (1979; rewatch) — After learning that he’s adopted, Navin R. Johnson (Steve Martin) sets off to seek his fortune. After a brief stint working at a gas station, he joins the circus and finds the love of his life. Then, he strikes it rich and becomes a jerk. It’s nonstop hilarity with some genuinely touching moments as well.
Hot Fuzz (2007; rewatch) — Sergeant Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is too gung-ho a police officer for London, so they send him off to the small town of Sandford, which is consistently voted one of the best villages in all of the UK. He soon finds that things work differently there and that the police department (led by Jim Broadbent, and featuring Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Olivia Colman, and others) is often called upon for more mundane tasks like capturing an escaped swan. But Nicholas is convinced that there’s more happening than people let on and that his fellow police officers know about. It’s a terrific mix of action and comedy in a feature-length homage to other action comedies.
Star Trek: First Contact (1996; first-time watch) — After getting defeated in a 24th-century battle, the Borg (an alien race with a collective consciousness that assimilates the consciousnesses of all of the civilizations they defeat) travel back in time to the middle of the 21st century to try to prevent Zefram Cochran (James Cromwell) from inventing the warp drive and launching humans into interstellar exploration. The crew of the USS Enterprise (the Next Generation crew, that is) follow them back in time to try to ensure that history repeats itself. It’s a mediocre story that isn’t helped at all by terrible acting, crappy special effects, and a total lack of logic and common sense.
Ticks (1993; rewatch) — A couple of adults (Peter Scolari and Rosalind Allen) take a group of inner-city kids (Seth Green, Alfonso Ribeiro, Ami Dolenz, Ray Oriel, Virginya Keehne, and Dina Dayrit) to a camp to help them solve all of their problems. Unfortunately, the area is overrun with people growing marijuana, including Jarvis (Clint Howard), who juices them up with steroids, and Sir and Jerry (Barry Lynch and Michael Medeiros) who use violence to keep the sheriff (Rance Howard) off their backs. Then Jarvis’s special fertilizer starts to create giant, aggressive ticks and things get even worse for everyone. It’s not a great movie, but it’s fun and stupid, and that’s what you want from this kind of movie.
Final Flesh (2009; rewatch) — A mother, father, and daughter are trapped together during the detonation of an atomic bomb. What follows is an indescribable comedy masquerading as a pseudo-pretentious art film with an origin story that is even crazier than the movie itself. Made in four parts by four separate casts and crews accustomed to making porn-for-hire movies who clearly have no idea what to make of this non-porn film.
Columbus (2017; first-time watch) — Casey (Haley Lu Richardson) is a self-taught architecture enthusiast who has chosen to stay in the relatively small city of Columbus, Indiana with her mom rather than pursue goals elsewhere like all of her friends. Jin (John Cho) is the son of a famous architect who was slated to give a talk in Columbus before collapsing and falling into a coma. They become friends and, often begrudgingly, help each other work through their issues. It’s a pretty minimal film with slow pacing, but surprisingly good. Full review at https://nawilson.com/2017/09/01/columbus/.