Depth Perception – Fool Me Twice
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Depth Perception – Fool Me Twice

It must be kind of annoying to be popular for certain things and yet to want to be more than just those things. It’s the band with monster hits that would rather play their new, introspective songs instead of decades-old singles.

Crowds can understand that artists evolve. Thus they will tolerate those new songs that never quite reach the peak of the old stuff so long as the artistic indulgences don’t break the unspoken covenant made at the moment of ticket purchase: the band is going to play the hits. Continue reading

Thor: Ragnarok – Regret Averted
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Thor: Ragnarok – Regret Averted

It’s one of the worst forms of regret. You prejudge something as unappealing. But a wave of people who actually experienced the thing you prejudged say that something is great. You respect these people. So you take their judgments over your prejudgement and go see Thor: Ragnarok. Continue reading

Lady Bird – Stressed Greatness
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Lady Bird – Stressed Greatness

Consider how much stress you feel on a daily basis. No, not the overwhelming what-the-hell-am-I-doing-with-my-life stress. Just the low hum that’s present in mindless, everyday living. Like when you think you are going to miss a train. Or when the checkout line is just a tad longer than expected. Or when someone wants to “split” a dinner bill even though he had three $14 cocktails to your none and you kinda want to say something but you don’t want it to be awkward. Continue reading

Spider-Man: Homecoming – The Strong Logic Behind the Endless Run of Superhero Movies
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Spider-Man: Homecoming – The Strong Logic Behind the Endless Run of Superhero Movies

In certain respects, writing a love song is harder than writing a song about trash collection. So much has already been said about love that there’s a vanishingly small chance of saying or doing something truly original. This invites a level of expectation – love songs give me goosebumps – and comparison – that song was good, but not as good as that other love song – that challenges the most talented of artists. Continue reading

The Florida Project – The Truth About Disney Endings
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The Florida Project – The Truth About Disney Endings

Mooney was the funniest character I’ve encountered in 2017. For the first half of The Floria Project I laughed in every scene. That’s really not an exaggeration. Mooney so confidently captured the whimsical innocence of childhood summers that her lawlessness was charming instead of disturbing. Unfortunately, that would not last (see CRY below). Continue reading

Blade Runner 2049 – Love Lessons
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Blade Runner 2049 – Love Lessons

I am so complicated. A “simple” decision about what I’ll eat for dinner can be explained in no less than seven single-spaced pages of thoughtful prose.

But other people? Oh, I know exactly why they do what they do. I also know what they should do. Continue reading

American Made – Making ‘American’ Great Again
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American Made – Making ‘American’ Great Again

America loves to bastardize its own name. What, really, is “American”? What makes America great? If you add cranberry to apple pie, is it any less American? Or less delicious? I would argue it needs that bitter flavor to bring out its maximum flavor potential – its maximum Americanness! The word also just makes for a good move title, like American Sniper/Assassin/Gangster – each of the superlatives transform the definition slightly. To be an “American [INSERT WORD]” movie, you’re essentially making a statement from the get-go that what you’re about to see is something that should only be possible in this country, and thus it’s going to be a great story.

So that brings us to Tom Cruise’s latest film, American Made. What is director Doug Liman telling us from the get-go? Continue reading