by Adam Riske and Rob DiCristino
Adam: Welcome to Reserved Seating. I’m Adam Riske.
Rob: And I’m Rob DiCristino.
The first movie I watched was Jacques Demy’s The Umbrellas of Cherbourg starring Catherine Deneuve. I rented this off Amazon last month when I was looking for a romantic movie to watch around Valentine’s Day. I never got around to it, so I finally took the dive with just hours to spare before my Amazon rental expired. It was a very exciting race against the clock, let me tell ya.
All kidding aside, I really liked the movie. It’s a wall-to-wall musical where every line of dialogue is sung. The songs don’t really pop, but the performances, cinematography and direction are all great and I liked how much it reminded me of La La Land, which Damien Chazelle has said was heavily inspired by his favorite movie, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. The movie’s told in three neatly arranged acts: the couple falling in love, their time apart when he’s sent off to war, and what happens with both after he returns. Really simple but overall very solid. This was my second first-time-watch of a Jacques Demy movie just this year after Model Shop, which I also recommend.
1990 Week column, it’s one of the few movies that accurately captures the American high school experience. One thing we forget (and one thing that more teachers like me need to remember) is that our school days are far more about our psychological and emotional development than they are about academics. We’re literally learning how to be people. We’re feeling things for the first time, things that we’re convinced no one else has ever felt. It’s a lonely and overwhelming time, and we’re programmed to ignore adults who assure us that it’ll get better. As Christian Slater’s Happy Harry Hard-On says (I’m paraphrasing), “Being a teenager is supposed to suck. The point is to survive it.” I agree, and I hope we get a Blu of this one soon!
Bed of Roses. After 21 Bridges, I was still scratching my action movie itch and went with a rewatch of Bloodsport. I’m a big fan of martial arts tournament movies and this is one of my favorites. Jean-Claude Van Damme has a lot of zeal in this, his first star vehicle. Everything about the movie works for me. I love how giddy Forest Whitaker looks when he’s trying to eat with chopsticks. I love how Van Damme and Donald Gibb apparently have a lifelong friendship at the end of the movie after only knowing each other for roughly a weekend. I love that Bolo Yeung looks like a demon-possessed Cabbage Patch Kid when he amps up the crowd. I love Kumite and want to go to one. I love my shidoshi, Patrick and Erika Bromley. I watched this once while nursing the wounds of a break-up and it really helped. Bloodsport has healing properties.
Doctor Sleep, a movie I caught up with a bit late but have really come to appreciate as both a sequel to and a recontextualization of Stanley Kubrick’s (and Stephen King’s) The Shining. While I really enjoyed the theatrical cut, I’m happy to echo the thoughts of many other movie lovers when I say that the director’s cut is better in almost every conceivable way. It’s about 25 minutes longer, and not every new/alternate scene feels necessary, but most of that added time is in connective tissue — smaller moments that flesh-out character motivations or story beats that feel clunky in the theatrical version. There’s a great bit about Danny’s eye color (I’m trying not to spoil things) that makes his last moment with his mother a bit more profound. There’s also more shape to Dick Halloran’s role, including a few comments that probably make one particular bit of re-casting a little easier to swallow for those who may have had an issue with it. Most significantly (for me), the addition of chapter headings gives Doctor Sleep a necessarily literary feel; this isn’t exactly a tight screenplay, nor should it be. Flanagan’s director’s cut takes its time, letting us sink into its world in a very satisfying way.
Adam: I bought the Blu-ray a while back but haven’t watched the Director’s Cut yet. I was saving it for Scary Movie Month...“and then all this happened.” - Kate Beckinsale, Pearl Harbor. I’ll watch it sometime this month.
Next week we’ll be back with more Reserved Seating -- maybe a box office bomb, maybe a baseball movie, or anything else you all want to read about. Leave a comment if you have any suggestions! We’re here for you. Until next time…
Rob: These seats are reserved.