Wednesday, March 29, 2017

24 Hours of Movies: Happy Birthday, Patrick!

by Rob DiCristino
I thank my cinematic Yoda by stealing his idea.

Aside from being a kind friend, a great father, and a generous lover, Patrick Bromley is legitimately my favorite living film critic. It’s awkward to talk about now that I know him personally, but the thing that kept me coming back to F This Movie! in my early listening days (and part of what keeps me eager to read each new thing he writes) is his sensitivity to the real soul of filmmaking, his understanding that every movie is a tiny miracle born of hard work and preposterous ego. Patrick loves ambition, especially in failures. That empathy shaped my own critical voice and cut pathways into movie genres and subcultures that I might never have come to appreciate otherwise. He’s constantly reminding me that no matter how jaded or cynical we might get, everything starts with a genuine love of movies. With that in mind, here’s my personal Patrick Bromley marathon, twenty-four hours of movies I associate with my friend and mentor.

Keep in mind that I’m not saying these are Patrick’s favorite movies or that he’d choose any of them for a marathon (though careful readers will see that he certainly has), but these are my Patrick movies. Some of them he introduced me to. Some of them we bonded over. Hell, one of them I’ve never even seen. Hopefully, they all make for a good time. Happy birthday, buddy!

10 a.m. - Speed (1994, dir. Jan de Bont)
We know our boy loves him some Heavy Action, so what better way to kick things off than with one of the greatest action movies ever made? Reeves. Bullock. Hopper. Daniels. RUCK. Everything about Speed is amazing. Director Jan de Bont speaks with a film vocabulary earned over years of experience as a premier action cinematographer, crafting something perfectly staged and endlessly tense. I love this particular Keanu because he feels loose — not Bill & Ted goofy (though I love that, too) and not John Wick intense and dour, but a sweet spot that simultaneously plays to his strengths as an actor and as a leading man. Speed is also the perfect Sunday afternoon TBS movie — the kind you plan to just watch part of but end up sticking out till the end — so it’s an ideal start to our day.

12 p.m. - Everly (2014, dir. Joe Lynch)
Now that we have the motor running with the big, crowd-pleasing blockbuster, it’s time to crank things up with a movie that feels like it was made specifically for Patrick. While Speed is refined and a bit classical, Joe Lynch’s Everly is grimy, sexy, and wild. Patrick noted in his great review that it’s a bold mix of Die Hard, Takashi Miike, and ‘70s exploitation. It’s completely insane that Lynch manages to make all those great tastes taste great together, but he does. Salma Hayek continues to prove what a tiny badass she is, and one of the reasons I programmed this film over some other choices was the way it celebrates femininity in the action genre without making the entire thing exclusively about being a woman in the action genre. Patrick loves any opportunity to show that his beloved genre films can be more than shallow spectacle – they can actually say something about the world we live in -- so this feels right.

1:45 p.m. - Josie and the Pussycats (2001, dirs. Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan)
Moving into the afternoon, I wanted to change gears a bit and highlight a film that Patrick and I both consider sorely unappreciated. I knew we had compatible tastes when I heard him making Du Jour jokes on the podcast, and it was probably the first time I felt truly vindicated in my love for something so universally reviled. Josie and the Pussycats is a whip-smart satire that doesn’t get enough credit for having the guts to be this weird on this big a scale (this is a $40 million studio comedy with real movie stars and aggressively hilarious product placement). Sure, most of the jokes are too dated for Kids Today, but I grew up in the 2000s, so they work for me. Also working for me is Rachael Leigh Cook; my crush born of She’s All That only solidified after her turn as Josie. With any luck, this will leave us bouncing around the screening room singing “Spin Around” and “Three Small Words,” which leads us to…

3:30 p.m. - Turbo Kid (2015, dir. Francois Simard, Anouk Whissell, and Yoann-Karl Whissell)
One of my absolute favorite things about Patrick is that he’s always taking time to boost the signal for smaller movies that might not get the attention they deserve. At one point in 2015, F This Movie! seemed entirely devoted to Turbo Kid, another movie made specifically for him. It’s goofy, sweet, fucking violent as hell, and – most importantly – it shows that it seeks to understand genre rather than just imitate it. It doesn’t reduce low-budget ‘80s adventure films to kitschy stereotypes or keep ironic distance so you know THEY KNOW how cool they think they are. It’s just pure love. I’ll admit it’s not as For Me as it is For Patrick, but watching it with him would make my day. It’s also worth noting that I considered programming The Love Witch here (because it serves a similar function with respect to genre homage done right) but timing and tonal concerns pushed me this way instead.

5:15 p.m. - Good Will Hunting (1997, dir. Gus Van Sant)
Cause it’s fahkin’ Good Will Hunting, kid! In all seriousness, it’s time to settle in for the evening and tug a few heartstrings before shit gets weird, and what better way to do that than by celebrating Patrick, Doug, and their beautiful love for each other? I mean, he’ll be thinking about Doug all day anyway, so I might as well give him a safe space in which to do it. Patrick gets super vulnerable and reflective on the podcast episode about this one, so it’s clear that the film meant (and means) a lot to him. It means a lot to me, too, and it’s an opportunity for us to exercise our shared fascination with ’90s Ben Affleck and have the endless Robin Williams debate. This kills a few birds, actually, because any celebration of a guy Patrick’s age should have some ‘90s Miramax in there somewhere. This is one of the best in the catalog. Era.

7:15 p.m. - Darkman (1990, dir. Sam Raimi)
Night is falling, so it’s time to bring the pain. I never would have sought out Sam Raimi’s pulpy and (in some ways) seminal take on the superhero film were it not for Patrick and JB’s great podcast episode a while back. Darkman’s great mix of campy action and dark comedy feels appropriate for the dusky/dinnertime part of the evening. I love the chances Raimi takes in its performances and construction; it’s the kind of weird and gutsy filmmaking Patrick always finds interesting. Look out for a sorely miscast Frances McDormand as love interest Julie Hastings, Danny Elfman’s copy-and-paste-from-Batman score, and one of Ted Raimi’s best performances (well, at least one of Ted Raimi’s best facial expressions).

9 p.m. - Phantom of the Paradise (1974, dir. Brian De Palma)
The prime time spot goes to one of Patrick’s all-time favorites. I’m ashamed to say that, while I love Brian De Palma, this one doesn’t resonate with me at all. It’s here because it should be. Ask Patrick why.

10:30 p.m. - The Silence of the Lambs (1991, dir. Jonathan Demme)
This is just me being selfish. I wanted a horror film for this slot, and I decided to program the one Patrick and I covered in my first official podcast appearance (which we totally nailed, by the way). It’s one of Patrick’s favorite filmmakers making one of my favorite films, so we can’t go wrong. It should play well here because we’re still awake and cognizant enough to engage with its deeply-troubled and very human characters but also loopy and tired enough to cheer when a man removes another man’s face and wears it as his own. One of the things I failed to mention on the podcast is that it has one of my favorite parallel editing tricks (which I won’t spoil, but hopefully you know). I love dropping that one on my students after showing them a bunch of straightforward crosscutting examples. Gets them every time.

12:30 a.m. - The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986, dir. Tobe Hooper)
But, I digress. This is about Patrick, and you just KNOW I had to get his boy T-Hoops in this marathon somewhere. I saw this one for the first time during last year’s Scary Movie Month and had the best time with it. I can’t wait to watch it again. It’s perfect for the midnight slot – goofy, bloody, and self-aware.

2:15 a.m. – Blood and Black Lace (1964, dir. Mario Bava)
Here’s one I’ve never seen but that feels perfect for the Overnight Weirdness slot. “The story concerns the stalking and brutal murders of various scantily-clad fashion models, committed by a masked killer in a desperate attempt to obtain a scandal-revealing diary.” Where do I sign up? It’s intro-level Giallo, I know, but my cred is pretty pedestrian and I’m plugging this one in here for my own edification. It’s notable that I originally had Pieces – a movie I think we ALL celebrated last Scary Movie Month – in this spot, but I decided that there was more value in watching something with Patrick that I had never seen before than something we’re both familiar with. So yes, this one’s kind of about me. But I’m the one doing all the work here, so shut up.

3:45 a.m. - Lost Highway (1997, dir. David Lynch)
Is there a better time to watch Lost Highway than 3 a.m.? The guns and guts and bullets were fun and all, but we’re getting a bit hazy and some sultry noir-mystery-thriller action should hit the spot right about now. Lost Highway is often touted as the precursor to Lynch’s masterpiece Mulholland Drive and, as an avid fan (particularly one currently on a serious Lynch kick), I owe myself an earnest re-watch of this underrated film.

6 a.m. - Coffy (1973, dir. Jack Hill)
Wake up with some Coffy! Did I program this one to make that pun? Yes. Does that make it the wrong choice for the early morning slot? Hell, no. Blaxploitation was (to my shame) a complete gap in my knowledge before I started reading Patrick’s columns on the glories of Pam Grier and Jack Hill, (arguably) never better together than in 1973’s Coffy. Grier is so damn sexy and so damn badass in a sleazy, sleazy movie that still manages (as Patrick notes) to be high art. It’s got so much to say about the state of the world that still rings true today, but – and I’ll be honest here – I mostly just want to wake up to Pam Grier being a smoking hot, bikini-clad murder monster badass.

7:30 a.m. - Joe Versus the Volcano (1990, dir. John Patrick Shanley)
Look, I get that I was a complete pig just then, so let’s get serious. A new day has dawned. The sun is shining. It’s time to reaffirm our commitment to ourselves and to the world around us (maybe we’re watching this one on yoga mats -- It’s up to Patrick). In the darkest, most depressing moments of my adult life, I found solace in Joe Versus the Volcano, yet another film I never would have reached back to watch had it not been for Patrick’s enthusiastic endorsements. I’m going to get uncomfortably honest for a minute and say that it’s entirely possible that this film saved me. That brain cloud shit is real. Also real are the unbeatable performances of Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan (x3) and the always-brilliant Dan Hedaya. Surely, Patrick will be ready to face the day after this one.

Oh! Quick round of F, Marry, Abraham – DeDe, Angelica, and Patricia. Go.

9:15 a.m. - Death Proof (2007, dir. Quentin Tarantino)
Now that life is worth living again, let’s fill it in with some goodies – namely Kurt Russell, Quentin Tarantino, and Patrick’s Girlfriend Zoe Bell. I’ll be honest: I still don’t think this movie works, but I agree with Patrick that often our favorite Tarantino film is whichever one we’re watching at the moment. The stunt work (by Ms. Bell and the other great female (!) stunt drivers) is amazing, and, I mean, It’s Kurt Fucking Russell. It’s Rosario Dawson and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. It’s Quentin Tarantino dropping all pretense and getting down and dirty in another genre he loves. It’s nowhere near my favorite of his movies, but I can’t think of a more perfect film for the penultimate spot in this particular marathon.

11:15 a.m. - Streets of Fire (1984, dir. Walter Hill)
Now it’s time to celebrate. As I mentioned on the F This Movie Fest 6 Podcast, watching Streets of Fire during FTM Fest 5 was the moment I knew I wanted to be more involved in the work Patrick and his team were doing. It encouraged me to write an email and take a chance. It’ll always mean the world to me for that, so it’s only right that it should close out this marathon. Thank you to Patrick, Erika, and everyone at F This Movie! (and everyone reading right now) for all the amazing work. Happy birthday, Patrick!


  1. that's a great line up

    speaking of lynch, i once watched Eraserhead at 3am with all the lights off. it was an experience. it was great. lost highway should be the same. i imported the german edition of the blu, but i still hope criterion release the movie

    about death proof, i didn't like it the first time, but i rediscovered it recently when i was looking for cool movies with great car chases. this one has an awesome car chase.

    1. and happy birth Mr. Bromley. as Mr. Discristino, you are my favorite reviewer because you don't shit on movies just for the sake of it.

      that's actually what every reviewers are doing here, and i can only assume that Mr. Bromley has an influence on that.

      greatest movie site ever!!!

  2. My take on De Palma is the opposite. I mostly dislike his films but LOVE Phantom. It's always great to hear other opinions. Nice list

  3. Rob, the ONLY time to watch Lost Highway is at 3 am. It enhances that Lynch experience!

  4. Any column that uses phrases like T-Hoops! Is down by me