[What Did Jaci Think? Late January]

Ben Is Back, while another unnecessary sad-white-boy-drug-addict movie, worked much better than Beautiful Boy by improving on (or at least acknowledging) many of the issues I had with that story. Rather than trying to encompass the whole complicated arc of an addiction narrative, writer-director Peter Hedges focuses on two (fraught) days – Christmas and Christmas Eve – in the life of a family with a teen son (Lucas Hedges) in recovery with an opioid addiction.

It does not waste the women of the story (a low bar Beautiful Boy did not clear), and much of the conflict of the story is between …ah, I just got this. Between Holly & Ivy (Julia Roberts & Kathryn Newton), the mother wanting to believe her son and the sister wanting to protect the rest of the family. A few other points I appreciated: it acknowledges the financial privilege of the family in their ability to afford treatment, they say explicitly that if Ben were a black teen he would be in prison, it is clear about the role the pharmaceutical industry plays in addiction, and it doesn’t give us a sunny Christmas morning ending.

While I had low expectations for Mary Queen of Scots, and thus liked it better than I expected, it has not stuck with me across time except as a tragedy of men always getting in the goddamn way. Saoirse Ronan is always worth watching, but the movie is a mess of motivations and consistently unclear about the passage of time. Somehow Mary is exactly the same age when she’s beheaded as she was when she returned to Scotland. Also, it wastes Gemma Chan.

Peter Jackson’s WWI documentary They Shall Not Grow Old moved into regular release this month, but when I caught it it was still a Fathom event and included an introduction by Jackson and a post-film making-of featurette. Among other things, he discussed other stories he found in the footage from the Imperial War Museum, and honestly, I’d love to see any and all of them.

I saw the documentary in 3D solely for scheduling reasons, and while I don’t think it’s necessary, it also wasn’t distracting (a relief to me, generally not a fan of 3D). The strength of the documentary is its other uses of technology – colorizing the film and adding sound, both period-correct environmental sounds and regionally-correct voices – to bring the past into the present. The use of lipreaders to determine the on-screen speech to be delivered by actors, plus voices of veterans interviewed years later, minus any use talking heads means that we’re getting this story of the war from men who lived it, not analyzed or at a distance. It’s very effective.

I went to Ralph Breaks the Internet on a bit of a slow A-List week whim, but I enjoyed it a lot, more than the original. It is just as relentlessly branded, but in the way my actual life is, I guess, depressing but true. It’s a smart movie about the challenges to a friendship when one person is ready to grow and the other is comfortable with how things are. It’s hard being both of those people, and Ralph does a lovely job of taking that motivating tension and paralleling it with computer viruses and bullying (both seeking out and exploiting insecurities!) Also the Disney princesses were great, and luckily for my wallet, Disney doesn’t believe fat girls deserve sassy princess sleepwear.

Mirai, an animated film about a small boy & his struggles with the changes in his family with the arrival of a baby sister, is a lovely series of vignettes of daily life with a splash of the magical: from time to time in the garden, he encounters various family members from across time. It is strongest in its Ghibli-level naturalism about the behavior of small children and the quirks of family life, but it lost me a bit at the end when it attempted to explain the encounters. I didn’t need that; I was happy to enjoy them as they were.

A small note: I particularly enjoyed the use of transitions without cuts. Here, the open terrace design of the home (the father is an architect) allows pans up from floor to floor as a way to move across time, showing the rhythms of the day in a single shot. I see it more in live action: first in Lone Star and most recently in The Haunting of Hill House. It’s nice to see it being used for forward, positive motion!

This half of the month also included a handful of repeat viewings: The Favourite (still filthy & hilarious – laugh, people!), Shoplifters (still beautiful & heartbreaking), Can You Ever Forgive Me? (still too achingly close to home), The Muppet Movie (still pure joy), The Adventures of Prince Achmed (still delightful, especially with a live score), & Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse (still almost perfect – let’s pass that Bechdel Test next time!)

[What Did Jaci Think? Early January]

Welcome back! For 2019 we’ll attempt a regular posting schedule of two weeks out from the block in question, on the 1st & 15th. Let’s get to it!

On the Basis of Sex is an affectionate superhero origin story about the young Ruth Bader Ginsberg, covering her time in law school through her first historic case. It’s better than the pop documentary RBG, but still more simplistic than I would have liked. I do keep being tempted to see it again for supportive-partner!Armie Hammer alone. Look, sometimes what a girl needs is to watch a disconcertingly symmetrical man get it done in the kitchen. No shame.

Minding the Gap had been on my radar as “another skateboarding movie”, mentioned in concert often with Skate Kitchen & mid90s. While skateboarding is how the subjects of the documentary are connected, it’s more accurately a documentary about cycles of family violence and access to opportunity. The director, Bing Lui, is a subject himself, and his long-standing relationships with the other subjects gives us access to a privileged intimacy on difficult topics. (The skateboarding scenes are also pretty sweet, excellent work by Lui.)

It’d make a great (but intense) double feature with Hale County This Morning, This Evening. I was grateful for the opportunity to see this in the theater, because I know myself, and at home I would not give its pacing the attention it deserved. Hale County is a beautiful documentary about a black community in rural Alabama, lightly focused on two young men, and while wholly its own piece of art, it is also the sort of constellation-of-moments, impressionistic picture we rarely if ever see about black people. There is no narration, only the occasional name or intertitle, and it is on us to do the work of considering why two scenes have been placed together, or to find the story in a lengthy shot. That work is well worth it.

Becoming Astrid was fascinating, both specifically about the late childhood, early adulthood of author Astrid Lindgren, but also generally as a Swedish biopic. I found it difficult to imagine a similar film being made about an American children’s author. It introduces Lindgren to us as a clever teenager, taking a job at a newspaper where she is, frankly, groomed into a …let us say wildly inappropriate relationship with her older, married editor. Though the film is bookended by elderly Lindgren reading messages from children on her birthday, the bulk of the film is Lindgren’s struggle with this relationship, with the inevitable pregnancy, reclaiming her child, and single motherhood. Alba August is terrific as Lindgren, taking her from the charismatic energy of her teens through her growing independence and struggles as a single mother.

And then, then there was Replicas. Look. I went to see this because it stars Keanu Reeves and I have an A-List subscription. It’s a ridiculous movie and I have no regrets. But I have a good deal of confusion. Keanu is a father and a scientist, and when his family is killed in a car accident he…downloads their memories and clones them. YES. It’s absurd. It raises a lot of questions and doesn’t answer any of them. We would be here all day if I tried to list them all.

Plus, Replicas drops hints that it might turn into one of many different films, and then it does not (maybe a clone horror movie where his family turns on him? or there’s a scene that hints at a Flowers for Algernon situation?). There are also robots, and how it jumps from robots to human cloning is unclear. There’s a scene where cops stop by and they’re like “Oh, you’re the only person who was not a victim of this random crime? How lucky for you! Clearly this does not make you a suspect in any way! Have a nice day!” I could go on and on, but most importantly, the montage of Keanu crying and scrubbing the kitchen table is why cinema was invented. Thank you and goodnight.

Oh, but wait. Did I talk about Shirkers yet? It’s on Netflix, and you should definitely watch it. It’s a documentary about an indie film that the documentarian made in the early 90s as a teen in Singapore. I loved it for the throwback to early 90s indie film & zine culture, the mystery of what happened to the film, the peeks at the film itself and the making of it, and the terrific personalities of the three women who made it (I would like to be friends with all of them but I am definitely not cool enough.)

[2018 Film Wrap-Up]

Total: 280 (full list here)
Revival: 45
SIFF: 81
Avg cost: $2.58

Wrap-ups for previous years live under the year-end tag.

This year I wrote bimonthly posts of varying timeliness and hotness of take, and they live under the whatdidjacithink tag. I also managed a bit of SIFF coverage, available here. Finally, I wrote a handful of standalones, which are linked in this thread:

Or, you know, you can just scroll back.


Films of my heart: Annihilation, Eighth Grade, Black Panther, Dirty Computer, Shoplifters

Other faves: En El Septimo Dia, Support the Girls, Hereditary, The Favourite, Crazy Rich Asians, You Were Never Really There, If Beale Street Could Talk, Tully, Blindspotting, Leave No Trace

Continue reading “[2018 Film Wrap-Up]”

[What Did Jaci Think? Late December]

Ah, the end of the year, where we’re spoiled for film. First up, Shoplifters finally opened here, and I adored it. I’m a sucker for a chosen family narrative, and this one is beautifully done, slowly expanding your heart for most of the picture & then stomping on it for the last half hour. Sakura Andô killed me. In, you know, a good way.

Also building me up and breaking me down, the gorgeous & pure If Beale Street Could Talk, which I don’t feel equipped to talk about, but also we’re not talking about it enough & more of you need to see it. It will lift you up.

Everyone I have told this to has laughed at me, but I wish Aquaman had been goofier. Which is not to say it wasn’t goofy, because it definitely was. But I wish it had been the goofball situation the nuance-free dundundun-heavy score wanted it to be. I wish it had been 45 minutes shorter, that Patrick Wilson had leant into the campy gay villain that role was meant to be, and that it had cut out all of the Game of Thrones nonsense that had armies I cared nothing about battling it out at the end. Also, I have no confidence that Live Action Gaston is really the one we want turning around a culture where the punishment for not being into an arranged marriage is death, but I guess we should be relieved he’s surrounded himself with a few smart ladies. PS Nicole Kidman forever.

Green Book is infuriating, a feel-good racist film designed completely to maintain white supremacy. The fictionalized retelling of an employer-employee relationship, it repeatedly centers the white character, leaving Dr. Shirley as a supporting (and mysterious) character in a film about his own tour. It’s a film where white people constantly explain black culture (both as it is and as they imagine it to be) to other white people and, even more insultingly, to Dr. Shirley himself (and in this case, in a way that is intended to be humorous. It is not.)

It’s a film that purports to show the finding of common ground, whatever that means, between the races, but only shows a racist white man deigning to form a relationship with an exceptional black man. It in no way indicates a change in Tony’s attitudes in relation to any black person other than Dr. Shirley, nor a change in his actions – such as when he threw away glasses which had been used by black workers – for any reasons other than financial. It allows white people to condemn the past and be comfortable in the present. It is nonsense.

Green Book is particularly insulting as a release in the same year as BlacKkKlansman, a film that also focused on a working relationship between a black man and a white man, where the white character also was confronted with the fragility of his relationship to whiteness, but where the violence was not left safely in the past, but was brought forward sharply with the inclusion of footage from August 2017 in Charlottesville. Please, see that instead.

Clearly the most important thing to note about Mary Poppins Returns is that they put Emily Mortimer in trousers as Jane, gave her a flat to herself & established her role as a labor organizer and then! Fucking Disney! Inflicted some goddamned compulsory heterosexuality on her. What the fuck. Whatever. The movie’s okay. Ben Whishaw is lovely as always, Emily Blunt puts a terrific spin on the title character, and I’m always happy to see Dick Van Dyke. It was the perfect movie to see with my aunt over the holidays and then promptly forget everything about it.

Finally, we saw a couple Chinese films: Airpocalypse (a movie about a psychologist who absorbs the power of a god and which argues that terrible air quality is the fault of a vengeful god) and Kill Mobile (a movie about a dinner party where it’s open season on everyone’s cell phones and which argues that straight people are not ok).

…and that is that! Thank you for joining me this year! My 2018 round-up should be up next week, so be sure to have all your library hold lists and streaming queues in order by then.

[What Did Jaci Think? Early December]

I caught Widows a second time and dug it much more now that I knew it wasn’t ever going to be a “super fun time getting the team together look at how we’re all experts in something esoteric” sort of heist movie, and instead was a “what would it take to get some nice but also unknowingly badass ladies to do some crime” sort of movie that was also super interested in municipal government. Not everyone’s jam, but definitely mine, though it has such a deep bench of actors that you can’t help but feel folks like Adepero Oduye and Carrie Coon were wasted in it. And consider this a formal request for more Cynthia Erivo in everything in 2019, please.

I loved The Favourite. I loved that it was completely centered on three complex women, that everyone was scheming and the women more than the men, that the men were ridiculous, that it was funny and dirty and sharp. I loved that even in a heterosexual encounter the camera stayed on the woman, the man literally out of focus. Sandy Powell deserves an Oscar for Rachel Weisz’s shooting outfit, Olivia Colman deserves one too if only for how she described Emma Stone’s character in bed, and Rachel Weisz can throw me up against anything any time anywhere. (PS Shout-out to the true hero of the picture: Horatio, the fastest duck in London.)

We were blessed to see Roma at Cinerama, not on 70mm (yet, but a girl can dream) but still. It’s an immersive film that requires attention and rewards that attention with a story told with deep love where – and I honestly can’t get over this – a man de-centers his lived experience and elevates that of a woman. It’s of course available on Netflix, but if it comes near you in a cinema, please take the opportunity to experience it that way: the sound design and the long, wide takes require it. An epic telling of a time in the life of an ordinary (and yet, of course, extraordinary) woman, what a gift.

At Eternity’s Gate was visually frustrating. An overuse of hand-held shaky-cam plus a frequent blurring of the entire bottom half of the screen was distracting at best, headache inducing at worst. Which is too bad because there are so many lovely things in it, including one of the most beautiful scenes of masculine tenderness I’ve seen on film: Theo’s first appearance when, without hesitation, he cradles Vincent in bed at the hospital. Willem Dafoe is a terrific van Gogh, instantly making me forget he was too old for the role. And it is a beautiful film, when it’s not blurred or shaking.

Burning is the story of a guy who meets a girl who he may or may not have gone to school with, who asks him to care for a cat that may or may not exist. She returns from a trip with a guy who may or may not be a serial killer and who the original guy may or may not be attracted to. (The questions are all answered.) Suffice it to say, this was extremely my jam, despite (because?) it’s one of the few films this year that made me peel off all of my nail polish. The performances are all terrific, including an utterly hypnotic debut from Jong-seo Jun. And is there anything more perfect than Jong-su’s longing for Ben’s life of “listening to music while cooking pasta”? As the kids say, relatable.

Finally, not only was Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse a blast, but it also was groundbreaking, pushing forward both who can be the hero behind the mask and also what feature animation can look like. It’s the first 2D film possibly ever that I came out of wishing I had seen it in 3D. I bet it was stunning. I’m so happy for all those kids who get Miles Morales – a Spider-Man who looks like them! – for their first Spidey, and I can’t wait for the lady villain they set up for the sequel.

[What Did Jaci Think? Late November]

Not so much viewing happened in this two weeks, thanks to traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday, plus trying to cram as much FilmStruck in as I could before it closed on the 29th (don’t forget to sign up for the Criterion Channel if that’s your jam and it should be; also WatchTCM recently added Chromecast support to the app, which is what will get me through these dark times.) Just three features, so let’s get to it!

So, the thing about Creed is I never saw any of the Rocky movies. I just dig me some Michael B Jordan, both with and without Ryan Coogler, so here we are, seeing Creed II on its Thursday night opening. While I didn’t find it as compelling as the first installment, I still liked it a lot because it’s a movie about tough guys being secretly soft. There’s still a lot of boxing, obviously, but the heart of the drama is really in Adonis’s and Rocky’s relationships with their families, and I’m a sucker for that.

Border was one of those viewing experiences I don’t have very often, where I have no idea where we’re going, I think I know what’s happening but I’m wrong, and I don’t know what I think about it at all in the end. Except that monster babies are still my favorite babies and also between this and Let the Right One In I would love to read something smart on gender in the work of John Ajvide Lindqvist, thank you very much in advance.

Finally, while it was of course great to see the performance footage in Maria by Callas, the conceit of an in-her-own-words documentary meant that as more of an outsider to her story, I was missing a lot of context. It was a frustrating watch.

[What Did Jaci Think? Early November]

First off, my Bohemian Rhapsody post went up a month ago, if you’d like to read a point-by-point account of how much I hated Freddie’s lack of agency around his sexuality (and who wouldn’t?)


I was less bothered by the casual homophobia and misogyny in Mid90s than I had expected to be, but also, why bother. Just watch Skate Kitchen instead (or, as I’ve heard, Minding the Gap, which is still on my watch list.) Honestly the thing I felt strongest about around Mid90s was SIFF Cinema once again not properly masking Academy ratio. It makes me furious and it makes movies look like shit. Thank you for your time.

What They Had was a sleeper title for me, a movie where the trailer looked like some kinda Rich White People Problems situation, but reviews got me to check it out. And it is, of course, Rich White People Problems, but it’s also a beautifully-assembled cast in a lived-in story, all characters complex characters, a strong, moving effort from first-time writer-director Elizabeth Chomko.

A Private War should have been a miniseries, maybe 6-8 episodes. Speeding through the final decade in the life of war correspondent Marie Colvin, it gives us a surface-level view, and I wanted more. Rosamund Pike, however, continues to be The Best.

To my surprise, Boy Erased came up a few times over the Thanksgiving holiday. I suggested people try The Miseducation of Cameron Post instead, this year’s earlier conversion therapy entry, for its non-cis white dude focus (the lead is a white girl, but the two campers who form friendships with her are both POC, plus it’s directed by a QWOC). Boy Erased does have value, though, as a story that takes faith seriously. People doing the wrong thing out of love is a story I see less often, and while obviously this does not apply to the conversion camps themselves, it is true of some families sending their children. It’s also rarer to see the story of a person going into a bad program with good faith, believing that if they work the program the program will work for them, and if we’re going to reach those people of faith this is a story worth telling.

I applied my French Cinema Now women-only rule to Cinema Italian Style, which made for a short series. First up was Fairytale, the sort of film I wouldn’t stand for coming from the US, but since it was Italian, I was more open to it. It’s a film about a 50s housewife, drawing influence from everyone from Hitchcock to Sirk. Our lead is enduring domestic violence. She falls in love with her (female) friend. And she’s played by a man. Now, this is obviously a problem, but considering that six months ago I saw My Big Gay Italian Wedding, a queer film which treated a trans woman character (also played by a cis man) as an enormous joke, a film that centered a trans woman and took her seriously was a huge step forward. It’s not going to work for everyone, but I was pleasantly surprised when I saw what it was doing with its highly-stylized, intentionally artificial nightmare/dreamscape design. (There’s a stuffed dog that appears all over the house – and sometimes in the garden – on its own, and the view out of each window is wildly different – desert! city! etc.)

On completely the other side of the style coin was The Intruder, a feature with a near-documentary feel, following an organizer/social worker in Naples who welcomes a mother and her small children to share a community space, to the disapproval of said community. I was disappointed in the ending – not the outcome, which was expected, but the perspective on it – but Raffaella Giordano has a face I could watch all day.

[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).

[Bohemian Rhapsody]

I didn’t want to write about Bohemian Rhapsody. I’m a Queen fan in same the way that basically everyone on the planet is a Queen fan, so I’m not overly invested. I am not the sort of person to get hung up on timelines being changed to create a narrative arc. I’m also not a musician, though the way it portrayed the actual making of music seemed pretty ridiculous. And I thought it was pretty smart of Singer/Fletcher/whoever to end it with a recreation of the Live Aid set, because obviously that’s a crowd pleaser. But I found myself yelling “and ALSO” alone in my apartment the whole weekend after I saw it, so here we are.

As I put it on Twitter, my primary problem – and the reason that upon reflection the film made me angry and not just dismissive – is that it could not see Mercury’s queerness as anything but tragic. I’d seen Making Montgomery Clift a few weeks earlier, which certainly helped put at top of mind how narratives about bisexual men can be warped to fit a preconceived idea of a tortured life, but I think it would have been a problem for me either way. It’s not just that it was shown as tragic. It’s also that queerness was portrayed as dangerous and sad, and as something that, in a lot of ways, Mercury was led into. It’s a gross, old stereotype, & frankly disappointing.

Before we get into that, though, credit where it’s due. There were a few ideas I liked a lot – primarily the openness to true and varied gender expression as shown through the beginning of his relationship with Mary (Lucy Boynton), also the oft-referenced idea of a chosen family of freaks and outcasts. Both of those elements made me hopeful (and both elements would have worked beautifully with the flawed, complex guy Mercury was). Unfortunately, it didn’t last.

The most frustrating thing throughout the film is the lack of agency Mercury is allowed regarding his sexuality. It’s a marked contrast to the decisiveness in which he moves through the rest of his life, and what’s even more infuriating is that so often the same basic event could have been told in an empowering, interesting way. Instead, it’s relentlessly negative and disempowering.

First, the truck stop scene. It’s like the end of The Force Awakens, cutting back and forth between Mercury and a trucker who eyed him up, everyone staring, no one making a decision. The film cuts to the trucker four times, and after the bathroom door closes behind him, to Mercury three more times as he stands outside. The whole scene is intercut with a performance of “Fat Bottomed Girls”. Oh won’t you take me home tonight indeed. But does anyone take anyone home? Or anywhere? The film doesn’t say. And look, I don’t need to see anything R rated. But I’d like to see a decision.

Second, the first time a man kisses him, it’s non-consensual. Continue reading “[Bohemian Rhapsody]”

[What Did Jaci Think? Early October]

First off, a few more days of French Cinema Now. There’s a lot in these festivals that I excuse because, you know, it’s French, but I had a hard time with 2 Hours from Paris. It’s a film about a young mother traveling with her 15 year old daughter to her hometown to steal hairs from the heads of various men to discover who the daughter’s father is. It’s largely a sweet, goofy road trip movie, and I appreciated the general lack of judgement around the mother’s sexuality, but I could not get over the fact that so many significantly older men had had sex with a teenager & we were all supposed to be cool with it. Sorry, France, I’m not cool with it.

Anyway, the most interesting of that batch were Sofia (about a girl in Casablanca with pregnancy denial, and how the women in her family work together to find the least worst solution) & A Season in France (about a refugee family, which I found interesting all the way until it centered the white woman at the end.)

The first half of A Star Is Born worked better than the second, and Lady Gaga was terrific, but as much as I wanted to love the film, I decidedly did not. I did not love how she was the only woman (and how that did not feel like a choice), I did not love how a Sam Elliott impression was subbed in for characterization (and then was lampshaded!), and I did not love how the second half of the film was a series of scenes with no emotional arc connecting them. Before it came out I plowed through three of the four original films, and if you have FilmStruck, you have about five more minutes in which to watch George Cukor’s What Price Hollywood. It predates the first SIB by a few years, and it is great.

Oh, Venom. Deeply weird about gender, deeply creepy about relationships, but on the other hand you have Tom Hardy screaming like a little girl, and I am here for that and also for Riz Ahmed doing his best Elon Musk. Basically, it’s terrible – and also ugly, with all the digital artifacts – but once the symbiote shows up, it is also ridiculously entertaining. So there you go. (I never need to see Tom Hardy eat chicken in extreme closeup ever again.)

The best stuff I saw this go-round was definitely all on the documentary front: Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. (one of the best documentaries of the year), Kusama: Infinity (portrait of a genius), & Making Montgomery Clift (a reclaiming of joy and agency in the life of a queer icon, a story that the team behind Bohemian Rhapsody should have watched – more on that later).