[What Did Jaci Think? Late October]

The Hate U Give does exactly what it set out to do, which is show an empathetic, clear-eyed story of a teen girl finding her voice in the wake of an officer-involved shooting, that is, the murder of her friend during an unnecessary police stop. It’s a film that will be underseen by the people who most need to see it, and that’s unfortunate. Also, Amandla Stenberg is a star, her smile is pure sunshine, and I was ready for a YA romcom starring her yesterday. Get on that, world.

It’s interesting to look back on Mapplethorpe – a film that took a lot of (perhaps not entirely deserved) flak for how it portrayed the sex life of its subject – after Bohemian Rhapsody. Mapplethorpe is porn in comparison, tame in reality. Better than expected, but that’s almost entirely thanks to Matt Smith’s excellent performance.

Hot Summer, an East German teen musical, was most accurately described by my friend as a 90 minute Mentos commercial. It was also a barrage of compulsory heterosexuality, focused as it was on two groups of vacationing youths – 11 girls and 10 boys – on the Baltic Sea. (The lead girl with the pixie cut doesn’t know it yet, but she’s definitely gay.)

First Man is a little too effective in bringing home the utter irrationality of going into space. I’m not generally sensitive to this sort of thing, but I had to look away during the shaky-shaky flashy-flashy bits, & I suggest folks see it on a smaller screen. It’s clear on the irrationality, but also the lure and thrill of the danger and perspective of space travel. But to be perfectly honest, there were multiple scenes in this movie that just made me tired because – and obviously I get that this was historically accurate – there were just so goddamn many men.

And speaking of being tired of men! While the performances were solid in Beautiful Boy – I am always down for sad, quiet Steve Carell – I couldn’t help but think about all of the families struggling with addiction without the resources and the multiple chances seen here. They don’t get two book deals and a feature. Also, what a waste of both Maura Tierney and Amy Ryan. That should be a crime.

I’ve only seen original Halloween (and possibly the third?) so I wasn’t bothered by whatever canonical sins people think Halloween committed. I dug it, a balanced mix of old school slasher and ladies working to overcome family trauma. Satisfying ending (and man, that original score is still the best.)

Aside from a rewatch of A Simple Favor (still so good, still so gay) my highlights were mostly at home: lady plumber romcom Cluny Brown (still on FilmStruck for a minute, so get to it) and original recipe Suspiria (on Hoopla, of all places).