With Wishes for a Happy and/or Restful Fourth of July

George Washington!

Like Superman, nobody thinks about the fact that Uncle Sam’s hair grows the same as anyone else’s.

Pictured above: a quiet moment from writer/director David Gordon Green’s 2000 feature-film debut George Washington. It’s a low-key contemplation of rural life, maturity, haunting regrets, and atonement through heroism (including a pivotal scene that echoes the tragedy of Uncle Ben), but the important thing at this moment is the film’s final scenes are set on the Fourth of July, which therefore means it’s a Beloved Holiday Classic. Pity they never seem to have copies on sale in every Walmart every June, but I don’t think they’re on speaking terms with Criterion.

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MCC Home Video Scorecard #8: Of Pee-Wee and Poe

Pee-Wee's Big Holiday!

When Pee-Wee and Joe saw the breadth of their diorama, they wept, for there were too many worlds left to conquer.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: the recurring feature that’s me jotting down capsule-sized notes about Stuff I’ve Been Watching at home. Some of this is catch-up that missed the cut last time due to memory loss, so consider this a handy wrap-up of 2016 home viewing to date. I think. More or less. Not counting Netflix series, anyway.

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MCC Home Video Scorecard #6: Year-End Title Dump

Beasts of No Nation!

…or How Netflix Won My 2015.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: I came up with a recurring feature that was meant to be me jotting down capsule-sized notes about Stuff I Recently Watched on our own TV. And then I spent the last several months accumulating a backlog while finding plenty of other topics to explore instead. With 2016 a handful of hours away, I’m taking this moment to play superficial catch-up and clear the slate in case I decide to call do-over on this next year.

Many of these were made possible by the power of Netflix, for which we finally signed up in 2015 and learned to super-like. Others came from assorted sources, but many sort neatly into categories. These, then, are the films I watched at home within the past 365 days that weren’t in the last five Scorecard summaries. I’ve added notes only to those titles that spark the sharpest, most immediate memories and reactions.

Right this way for another list in the imitable MCC fashion!

“Following”: the Last Gap in Your Christopher Nolan Collection

Christopher Nolan, Following, Criterion CollectionAs of this weekend, I can now say I’ve seen every full-length motion picture directed to date by Christoper Nolan. In December 2012 his debut, Following, earned a Criterion Collection re-release. Shot in 1998 in 16mm black-and-white, it was minimally restored for this edition, with the original aspect ratio and much of the old-media grittiness retained for historical verisimilitude. Its seventy speedy minutes contain an amateur no-star cast (as well as crowds of unwitting “extras” captured on the fly) and were shot for just five thousand dollars, a bargain compared to other self-financed B&W debut films from the same decade (e.g., Kevin Smith’s Clerks, Robert Rodriguez’ El Mariachi). With such budgetary constraints and no established names involved in the creative process, a casual browser would expect Following to feel like a young-adult vanity project fit only for YouTube.

Shame on that casual browser, then, with so little faith in the Nolan brand name. Continue reading

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