Film Club Lockdown / August

Wayne’s World
By Penelope Spheeris

Watched Wayne’s World for the first time in about a thousand years. And of course because I can’t just enjoy something and leave it at that – it got me thinking about masculinity… Maybe because it’s one of the very few mainstream films ever directed by a woman or maybe it’s because the way that Wayne and Garth behave is nowadays mainly a bit… backwards? (Sh-wing!) but also maybe because I saw it at an incredibly impressionable age and in a sense they were kinda… male role models in a sense? (Gosh what a thought). But yeah I’m not actually too dispirited by that. Like I feel like they both manage to strike a pretty good balance between being very open about their fondness for the fairer sex (“If she were a president, she would be Baberham Lincoln“) but also treating them with respect and agency and all that good stuff. In fact the thing I found most interesting about it was that it seemed to portray a type of masculinity that just (for various reasons) doesn’t really seem to exist in the media anymore? Or maybe I’m just watching the wrong things? Or you know: maybe a film that was created just for the purposes of being funny and entertaining can inadvertently end up being more righteous than those which are created to serve a particular moral agenda?

The Lighthouse
By Robert Eggers

The Lighthouse is a serious film. It’s shot in black and white. The aspect ratio is pretty much a square like an old-timey movie. And both Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson do lots of serious acting. There’s even some getting naked and sexual stuff just so you know that this isn’t something that kids are supposed to watch… All that being said tho it’s a beautiful thing that it’s actually a pretty funny film. The repeated line of “Why’d ya spill yer beans?” feels like it’s something out of a Coen Brothers movie and unlike some of the more timid movies out there – The Lighthouse isn’t afraid to get ridiculous and strange and get weird and bizarre in all sorts of wonderful ways. And just the way that Willem Dafoe rolls and crunches and practically sings his lines that makes him sound half authentically old fashioned and half like he’s just stepped out the pages of a thick leather-bound book. That being said tho – I couldn’t help but feel disappointed and feeling like I wanted more… My best guess is that I’ve already seen and heard this whole story before. I mean maybe not the exact details and all the beautiful trappings – but two men is a remote location slowly falling into madness and turning on each other doesn’t really feel like a particularly fresh idea and yeah ok maybe I’m asking for too much but I would have loved the movie a lot more if it had managed to find new unexplored territory as opposed to hitting beats I’ve already heard plenty of times before.

The Insider
By Michael Mann

The Insider feels like the end of an era in more ways than one. Yeah it’s basically a movie that you feel like it would be impossible to make now – it’s mostly just a bunch of guys in suits looking pensive and talking on phones. You’d need to Nolan it up and have some sci-fi stuff happening in there or something (which I would have used to have said is a good thing but now just makes me feel sad). The structure is an interesting one that kinda feels poorly done the first time you watch it – like the film is wrapping up and almost over but then (whoops) it turns out that it was only halfway done and now it’s Al Pacino’s turn to take center stage. But once you know you know the layout it’s a lot more easy to take. The film ends with Al simply stating that “What got broken here doesn’t go back together” which hits in the gut the way it didn’t do when I first saw it. Russell Crowe wears old man make-up which seemed realistic and on point when it was first released but knowing now what old Russell Crowe looks like (in a word – “podgy”) he just kinda looks like – Russell Crowe in old man make-up (oh well). And at the point where he gets smeared and his reputation dragged through the mud you’re on his side and dismissing the claims as distractions. I don’t know if this is me suffering from internet-poisoning or what but I couldn’t help but feel that nowadays the film would be more concerned about the claims and putting them in a larger context and maybe seeing to it that Old Man Crowe is actually taught a lesson and made to apologise and seek penance for his past indiscretions – that’s more in line with what our collective idea of justice is nowadays after all: less about systems and more about individuals.

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