The GardenDespatches from The Satyrs’ Forest

Stuff i watched recently

A still from “Poor Things”
Poor Things (2023)
  • Some Like It Hot (1959). My pick for family movie night. I’ve been accused of being a bit of a “miserabilist” (i’m sorry, but Synecdoche, New York bangs, and i have no regrets on making them watch it), so i thought i’d kick the year off with something a bit funny, a bit light-hearted, and a bit gay, and cor, was this an absolute classic! A comedy from the fifties about two men cross-dressing to infiltrate a women’s jazz band should be positively radioactive, but this misses all the potential pipelines of “well, you know, back in the day…” sewage and instead hits a gold-mine of timeless commentary on gender relations. I’m on Team Daphne — he’s so much more confident in being a woman than Josephine and does not deserve that terrible toad man. (And, having seen both this and Rear Window, i can finally weigh in: Grace Kelly is a thousand times prettier than Marilyn Monroe. Sorry.) An instant 10/10.
  • “Noöne knows who created skull trumpet (until now)”. Had to click this as soon as it appeared on my feed. There’s really something beautiful about the amateurism of the early web, how a woman with no formal training in graphic design or anything of the sort could make all these wonderful, whimsical images, and have one of them persist into the present day. Rest in peace, Cathy Jarboe, you beautiful diamond, you. 6½/10.
  • The Master (2012). Mama’s pick for family movie night. Philip Seymour Hoffman is incredible in this as an L. Ron Hubbard–style cult leader, to the extent that you often find yourself agreeing with him — i totally get why people join these sort of things now. Joaquin Phoenix, on the other hand… man, i hate to say it, but i might be falling off the Phoenix train? He’s always doing that same snivelling Joker thing, even when it’s totally inappropriate like in Napoleon, and it’s getting kind of old. Joaquin Phoenix Play A Character With Social Skills Challenge (Impossible). Paul Thomas Anderson directs the shit out of this. 6/10.
  • The Hudsucker Proxy (1994). Rewatched with mama.1 Loved it even more than the first time, especially Jennifer Jason Leigh’s character. Just a terribly good-natured film that only sits in obscurity because of its obsequious title. It’s a shame Tim Robbins disappeared after this — i looked up his filmography and he seems to have been in bomb after bomb (Green Lantern, Mission to Mars…). 9/10.
  • Poor Things (2023, but didn’t come out until 2024 here). Watched at the Tyneside. I’d been eagerly awaiting this since i saw the bonkers trailer back in September, and it didn’t disappoint. There was a moment 15% of the way through where i thought i might walk out, but good lord, did it ever win me back over! Bella Scissorhands goes on a steampunk adventure across Europe filled with childlike whimsy, discovers herself, has lots of sex, and winds up Mark Ruffalo. Everyone is absolutely brilliant in this — special commendation to Willem Dafoe as a Scottish mad scientist. Already the strong front-runner for my favourite of the year. 9/10.

1 comment

  1. Santiago says…
    the United Kingdom

    Jennifer Jason-Leigh is such an interesting actress in terms of her career & performances. Has great prescence and incredible skill but can never seem to be in any successful films (not that they are bad, some of them are masterpieces!!). I remember seeing Last Exit to Brooklyn by Uli Edel and absolutely floored by her performance and the film as a whole and how she fit into it all. Heck even Uli's career went in a similar tragectory. Over on this island too she reminds me a lot of Samantha Morton who is just consistently captivating. Considering it all I'd think that these types of performances are even the majority of those made by those who care, and they are the ones which stick with me more than any dramatic awards bait (not that those performances are bad - some of them are masterpieces!!), and yet they barely seem to be shared and celebrated. An artist's pain alas.

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