by Mark Ahn
Regrets for missing include, but are not exclusive to, these movies below. I encourage you to check them out, as I intend to:
Judas and the Black Messiah
Last Night in Soho
The Lost Daughter
The Souvenir Part II
Summer of Soul
10. No Sudden MoveSteven Soderbergh for granted because he’s made so much content of consistent high quality, basically a movie or a TV show every single year of his illustrious career. As with most crime thrillers, the less is known the better, but the wear and tear on the faces of his slightly older cast (Don Cheadle, Brendan Fraser, Benicio del Toro, David Harbour, Amy Seimetz) work beautifully in a story about desperate people, worn out by life, making increasingly desperate moves to get away with the perfect crime.
9. Spider-man: No Way HomeShang-Chi). On the other hand, I’m suspicious about various cultures possibly being treated as checkboxes as a billion-dollar corporation barrels its way to multi-versal domination (here’s your Indian superhero, and your Muslim one, and your gay one, etc.). No Way Home doesn’t solve any of those concerns; it’s not trying to, and it doesn’t need to. How could one movie do that, anyway? I could set these concerns aside for a minute because this movie was doing the work that all the best storytelling does, which is to take us on a journey with a character that we care about. Maybe because Marvel had to split the responsibility with Sony, or because Spider-man is just the most relatable hero to so many people on so many levels, or the normal Marvel Third Act IssuesTM didn’t loom so large, but I loved how much genuine emotion and love and care was put into making this, and that’s just more of what I want from stories, even if it’s from a huge corporation. The concerns of compartmentalizing or creating intellectual capital just for future profit still remain, but this felt like there was a little responsibility to go along with all of that corporate power.
8. The Last Duel
7. The Card Counter
6. The Green Knight
Me: Who wants to learn about Anglo Saxon stuff?
Ok, the term wyrd in Old English has to do with destiny or fate, and one of its offshoots of meaning over time develops into the modern weird, with its connotations of the strange and supernatural. This intertwining of one’s destiny with what is strange is where David Lowery’s film truly excels; one can see it in the otherworldly mood, the languid pace, and the attention to detail that takes the audience to a story is rooted in actual literary history but feels so unfamiliar and distant from our current day. And that was great, because I don’t particularly need fantasy movies to be action movies, like what the Lord of the Rings movies almost became, and what is only remembered about The Hobbit and Game of Thrones. It’s important for fantasy stories to live in that space of mystery, myth, and legend, because we forget sometimes that not everything can be explained.
5. The Velvet Underground
2. The Power of the Dog
1. Licorice Pizza
All of that being true, I totally fell in love with this movie. It was so great to hang out with Alana and Gary as they’re running around Southern California in the 1970s, young and curious, way too sure about some things and unsure about others. Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman are names that I need to type here in this space because people need to know their names, and Anderson should get credit for getting these performances out of two debutantes. There’s real warmth that I never felt as much in other Anderson fare, maybe necessitated by the story’s focus on young people and their fervent but still tender convictions. It’s beautiful and bighearted and generous, and there’s room on the truck for everyone if you want to help with the waterbeds or pinball machines.