by Rob DiCristino
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)
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)
1:45 p.m. - Josie and the Pussycats (2001, dirs. Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan)
3:30 p.m. - Turbo Kid (2015, dir. Francois Simard, Anouk Whissell, and Yoann-Karl Whissell)
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)
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)
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)
10:30 p.m. - The Silence of the Lambs (1991, dir. Jonathan Demme)
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)
2:15 a.m. – Blood and Black Lace (1964, dir. Mario Bava)
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)
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)
7:30 a.m. - Joe Versus the Volcano (1990, dir. John Patrick Shanley)
Oh! Quick round of F, Marry, Abraham – DeDe, Angelica, and Patricia. Go.
9:15 a.m. - Death Proof (2007, dir. Quentin Tarantino)
11:15 a.m. - Streets of Fire (1984, dir. Walter Hill)
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!