Fancy Boys Go To The Movies: The French Dispatch

Fancy Boys Go To The Movies: The French Dispatch

Of all the current filmmakers working today, I’m not sure that there is one with a more distinct style than Wes Anderson. Here’s what I mean by that: if there was some unearthed Anderson film the world had not seen, and you showed a scene of it, most people would be able to tell you who the director was. There’s something in the look, the dialogue, the score, the editing, and how it all blends together for a beautiful pastiche. I have often said that every frame of his 2012 masterpiece Moonrise Kingdom is so gorgeous that they could all go in an art museum. His failures (The Darjeeling Limited) are, at worst, “ambitious missteps” and his successes (The Royal Tannenbaums, Rushmore, The Grand Budapest Hotel and so on and so on and so on) are some of the best films of their years.

That is not to say that Anderson is not without his critics: people who think he is too cutesy or twee or quirky, sometimes at the sake of substance. I’m not dismissing all of those critics out of hand (though they all are wrong… and stupid… and probably ugly), but for those who do not like what Anderson has given, allow me to offer some advice about his latest film, The French Dispatch:

This film is not for you.

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What Is The Best Movie From Each Of The Ocean’s Eleven Actors: A Deep Dive

What Is The Best Movie From Each Of The Ocean’s Eleven Actors: A Deep Dive

Released twenty years ago this December, Ocean’s Eleven made $450 million dollars at the box office, and it is not hard, at all, to see why. Director Steven Soderbergh (who gave us this year’s very fantastic film No Sudden Move) made this Las Vegas heist movie fun and cool, and that was exactly what we, as a nation, needed. No one does fun and cool like Soderbergh, which is impressive considering that “cool and fun” is maybe his second- or even third- best gear. Soderbergh is aware of how successful the Ocean’s trilogy is and how well they’re known in popular culture; in his 2017 heist film Logan Lucky, he has a reporter refer to the caper as “Ocean’s 7/11”.

It is fair to say that Soderbergh stacked the deck with Ocean’s Eleven, as it seems impossible not to make a cool movie when you have Don Cheadle, Brad Pitt, and George Clooney in your cast. David Mamet (in his own heist movie, appropriately titled Heist) had a character describe a master thief this way: “My motherfucker’s so cool that when he goes to bed, sheep count him.” It’s impossible to not have these words apply to any of the three actors I listed above.

Ocean’s Eleven had a massive strength in that it had a ton of cool and fun and impressive actors all working in harmony. And while some of these actors have gone on to have more successful careers, it’s hard to imagine anyone in this movie being recast. In this film, they are all perfect. And it led me to ask myself: What are the best movies that were made from each of Danny Ocean’s (Clooney) crew that isn’t an Ocean’s Eleven movie?

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Fancy Boys Go To The Movies: The Suicide Squad

Fancy Boys Go To The Movies: The Suicide Squad

When David Ayer’s Suicide Squad was released in 2016, it was considered by almost everyone as an enormous failure, which is crazy for a movie that grossed almost three-quarters of a BILLION dollars at the domestic box office and got the Detective Comics Entertainment Universe (DCEU from here on out) their first Academy Award. Critics hated it (the film has a paltry 23% Rotten Tomatoes approval rating), fans seemed to aggressively be annoyed by it, and literally everyone seemed to dislike Jared Leto (who played The Joker) because of it. In my review for an alternate site, I was exceedingly annoyed that the film have us a character named Captain Boomerang, but none of the boomerangs the dude threw ever came back to him. THEN WHY DO YOU EVEN HAVE BOOMERANGS?!?!?

And yet, with all of the hatred from the haters (who, as the saying goes, are gonna hate), DC had prepared to make a sequel with Ayer at the helm. When Ayer left the project, the world rejoiced as James Gunn was announced as the new man sailing the Suicide Squad ship. Here was a man who knew how to make well-received and profitable comic book films, having directed the two Guardian Of The Galaxy films for Marvel. And, for the nerds, the news kept getting better. Margot Robbie and Viola Davis, the undisputed wonderful things about the 2016 film, would be reprising their roles as Harley Quinn (psychopath) and Viola Davis (government psychopath). Gunn wanted to make the film R-rated. Idris Elba joined the cast.

Expectations were sky high for The Suicide Squad, which was released in theaters and on HBO Max last weekend. People were ready for Gunn’s vision, called “horribly beautiful” in the trailers. Surely, this film would be better than the Suicide Squad which came before it. And here is where I will drop my (slightly) hot take:

Yes, Gunn’s film is better than Ayer’s. But there are a fair amount of things from the 2016 film that I like better than this current incarnation.

Let’s get into it.

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I Solve Your School District’s Problems: Mask Mandates & CRT

I Solve Your School District’s Problems: Mask Mandates & CRT

As we approach the end of July, it is time for us to start thinking about the return of the school year. Yes, it is time for classes and books and teacher’s dirty looks and the other things Alice Cooper doesn’t care for to come back into the swing of things. However, over the last school year, people have seemed to get a lot more heated about exactly what is going on in our education systems. Parents are screaming at school board meetings and posting insane things on social media, because as we all know, watching a youtube video makes you an expert on any topic. And, good gravy, there are two specific topics which are driving people into a frenzy. I’m talking, of course, about mask mandates and Critical Race Theory (CRT). Republicans are hoping to whip up an enormous amount of fear and ride these two topics to big gains in the 2022 midterm elections. Most of us just wish people would shut up and let teachers do their job. But, it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen, because everyone who shouldn’t have an opinion seems to be having the worst opinions.

Don’t worry though, everyone: I got this. I had a cup of coffee and a good breakfast and I’ve figured out some simple solutions we can all agree on.

You’re welcome.

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Fancy Boys Go To The Movies: Black Widow

Fancy Boys Go To The Movies: Black Widow

Ok, so F9 was a nice way to get back into the theater, but the way we all know that the world is healing enough is that Marvel has decided to release a film. Granted, you can also watch the film on the Disney+ for an additional fee, but the Marvel/Disney corporate overlords would not have released Black Widow unless they knew enough people were comfortable going out. And the numbers seem to be panning out for the newest installment of the MCU: the film has already made $146 million at the domestic box office, and will no doubt double it’s $200 million budget when things are all said and done. And that’s not even including the $60 million it made for Disney+ on it’s opening weekend.

And that’s a good thing, because Black Widow is an interesting film for the Marvel franchise. It’s not a film setting up sequels or taking us further. It, by all accounts, will be the last time Scarlett Johannsson plays Natasha Romanov. The movie’s director, Cate Shortland, is not one of the big, splashy names that Kevin Feige & Co. have brought in or are bringing in. The film is a weird (and occasionally disjointed) film that runs over two hours and does nothing to further the MCU legacy.

And, more often than not, it works really well.

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I Liked Space Jam 2

I Liked Space Jam 2

Author’s Note: I’m calling it Space Jam 2. I know it’s called Space Jam: A New Legacy, but I’m just gonna call it Space Jam 2.

Welcome to the age of Space Jam 2, a movie that was more inevitable than death and taxes. Yes, after 25 years, the Looney Tunes gang is back to do roughly the same thing they did last time. I enjoyed it. Others didn’t. It’s okay to like or not like a movie. What I don’t understand is the utter disdain for this movie when its predecessor is not a good movie either. Maybe it’s time to take a long, cold look in the mirror and ask ourselves, “when did I get so old?”

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When A Marmalade-Loving Bear Takes Down The King

When A Marmalade-Loving Bear Takes Down The King

When you love movies the way I love movies, there are just things that you know are true. Films shown in 70 MM will always be the preferred method of viewing. The 1970’s was the best decade, so far, of film. And the greatest movie of all time is Citizen Kane.

Orson Welles’ 1941 cinematic masterpiece is always the film that everyone speaks of when we’re talking about the greatest stories put onto cellulite. Here’s how great the film is: Last year’s Mank, about the life of Citizen Kane screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz, got two Oscars. A film about the greatest film got recognized last week, and Mank won more (and was nominated for more) Oscars than Citizen Kane itself. And Mank, as we discussed on this site last week, is only David Fincher’s ninth best film.

Hollywood is weird.

However, yesterday something happened to change everything you know about movies. It’s the most important story of the year in film and, I can only assume, what will be one of the most memorable stories of all time. Honestly, if Joe Biden doesn’t mention this tonight in his speech to the joint session of Congress, then democracy, as we know it, is dead. Paradigms have shifted and everything we once learned was proven wrong. According to one source, Citizen Kane is no longer the greatest film of all time. The critics have spoken and Rotten Tomatoes has listened and there is a new champion.

But what is this new masterpiece? What film have critics raised to the top of the pile? What piece of art is so fabulous that all others, including the masterful Citizen Kane, bow in deference?

Yeah, get ready… it’s finally time for a piece about Paddington 2.

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FBC Oscar Coverage, Part XI: Ranking David Fincher

FBC Oscar Coverage, Part XI: Ranking David Fincher

When you’re looking at the nominees for Best Director (as I did yesterday), you’ll see that four of the five nominees have something in common: with one notable exception, every director vying for the big prize is a relative newcomer. Promising Young Woman is Emerald Fennell’s directorial debut, and Lee Issac Chung (Minari), Thomas Vinterberg (Another Round) and Chloè Zhao (Nomadland) all have had careers, but each of them are finding the spotlight with their nominated film. I mean, to be fair, Vinterberg has had a very illustrious career in his home country of Denmark, but this is the first time American audiences are really finding out about him.

The one notable exception is David Fincher. And he is, in no uncertain terms, pretty fucking notable.

Since 1994, David Fincher has been one of Hollywood’s most consistent director. His films have two notable things in common: they are interesting, profitable, and always among the best films of the year. What’s even more amazing about that is that Fincher makes a very specific type of movie: his movies are usually for adults and capable of evoking strong emotions. Zhao will probably win the Oscar this week, and her next film is a Marvel movie. It is almost impossible to imagine David Fincher taking this kind of a career arc.

Unlike the other great directors of this era (Spielberg, The Coen Brothers, Steven Soderbergh) who seem capable of cranking out a movie every nine months or so, Fincher is known for laborious work schedules. Dude is gonna take his time and you will get his movie when he is goddamned good and ready. Stories from the set of his films often involve tens, or in some cases, over a hundred takes, as the director attempts to break actors down to get the most raw and real performances. When you take into account that the best performances from some pretty impressive actors (Brad Pitt, Ben Affleck, Jesse Eisenberg, Rooney Mara, Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, etc.) come from David Fincher films, it’s hard to argue with the process.

And yet, for all of his excellence, especially in the 21st century, Fincher has not gotten any real love from the Academy. Three nominations and no wins, and what they choose to nominate is fucking baffling. Mank, the film he is currently nominated for, is his most nominated film, and it’s nowhere close to being his best film.

So what is his best film? Let’s rank some Fincher, my little film darlings!

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