LAST NIGHT

. . . I hit 165 movies watched since Janurary 1st . . . and I want to make it to 300 by New Year’s Eve. Why not? It is merely an arbitrary number for an arbitrary man, and it sounds Huge. See, I have run out of reasons to live, and so I may as well have a good time at the movies on my way down the drain to eternity. Anyway: At this pace, I will make it to 300. However: I’m going to be traveling around for a little while at the end of August and into the fall, so being exhausted and uncomfortable on various forms of public transportation may wrench it. Sorry, but my ass is not watching a movie on a fucking phone. And yet I will endeavor to do the thing I have set out to do just the same. It’s like the fella said: I try all things; I achieve what I can.

I’m a hot streak, too. I don’t think I’ve watched an outright bad movie in a few weeks now. See how all four of the last movies I’ve watched have gotten a HEART . . . I don’t mess around with star ratings anymore. I have decided that I either dig something or I don’t. And thing is, I can (and often do) like what you might call a “one-star movie”. A one-star movie is one that can be deeply flawed and yet still ambitious and weird and interesting enough to make it memorable or even important. You know? Is something like STREET TRASH or STONE high-caliber cinema worthy of its place in the great halls of human culture? I think so! But in the grand scheme of things, they ain’t exactly BICYCLE THIEVES, nor did they stir the hearts and souls of movie-enjoyers outside of hopeless freaks like myself . . . which is fine! Some of my favorite movies are Dumb Trash, and stand side-by-side with The Greats. I have written about this phenomenon before.

But no matter: the movies I like are all equal to me in some way, and deserving of hearts, as they have furnished and enriched the tapestry of my inner world . . . whether they be CRIES AND WHISPERS (a slow and meditative Swedish drama set in the 19th century about three sisters who must come to terms with their fraught and complicated relationships with one another), or EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE (a 70s buddy road trip comedy where Clint Eastwood plays a truck driver who is also bare-knuckle boxing champ, and whose best friend is inexplicably a beer-chugging orangutan named Clyde).

And look at the last four movies I watched in the screenshot above, which I essentially knew nothing about before I watched them: EASTERN PROMISES is the work of an old master— it is the best thing Cronenberg has ever made; TO LIVE AND DIE IN LA is ridiculous, beautifully-lit 80s pulp; POSSESSION is straight out of the unknown abyss . . . seemingly a gift to homo sapiens from an alien civilization; and THE DRIVER is a tight genre B-movie about a guy who drives cars for criminals and talks like a world-weary 1930s gumshoe. That’s a candy cane swirl of Incredible and Kind of Dumb movies if I ever saw one . . . and all four of them ruled, and TWO of them star Isabelle Adjani, who is not only one of the most beautiful women on the planet, but also my girlfriend.

EASTERN PROMISES (2007)

I feel like McCune and Monty have been telling me to watch EASTERN PROMISES forever, so I just went ahead and finally did it. Listen: I love David Cronenberg. I love Viggo Mortensen. I love Naomi Watts. If you have ever wondered what would happen if you got all three of them together to make a movie, here it is, and it is a beautiful thing. On the outside it’s about the Russian mob in London and a midwife who ends up in the darkness of their underworld. Even if that somehow doesn’t sound interesting to you, I assure you that this is a brutal and heartrending story executed with absolute sincerity by three consummate professionals. Really, is there anything Viggo and Naomi aren’t good in? They elevate even a bad movie. Here they are masters of their craft. I look at them on the screen and I just believe them. But man, this is an incredible film. I was deeply moved it.

TO LIVE AND DIE IN LA (1985)

I like William Friedkin. I have seen all of what I guess you might say are his best movies . . . specifically, I think SORCERER is great. (AS I DO RIGHTLY RECALL: We watched it for DUDES DONE WRONG back in 2014, when life was still beautiful . . .) For years I have been meaning to watch TO LIVE AND DIE IN LA, but for whatever reason it’s kinda difficult to find. It isn’t streaming anywhere and all the torrents I downloaded were ancient file types and had tiny resolutions. Like I’m talking video fidelity I have not seen since high school. Well, I saw the light and I heard the word, and behold: I finally located a 1080p blu-ray rip. All I knew about it was that cover: the half-silhouetted man holding a gun and a briefcase beneath an underpass as the sun sets upon a barren LA wasteland. That’s enough to make me want to sit down and watch anything, whatever it may be.

When it comes to genre stuff— for instance, noir, which I love . . . man, I want ALL them tropes in there. I want the wildcard cop who Plays By His Own Rules, the hard-boiled dialogue, the shadows and fog, the dangerous stranger, the doomed romance, the convoluted plot, and on and on. Just cram it all in there and crank the dial way the hell up for all I care. Well, I’m here to tell you that that pretty much sums up TO LIVE AND DIE IN LA . . . other than the fact that the movie is super 80s in the best possible way, and primarily takes place under the warm glow of the California sun. Also, Willem Dafoe is the villain. It ain’t Shakespeare but it’s highly stylized and even artsy . . . it is sure of itself, and a good time the whole way through. And because this is William “The French Connection” Friedkin we’re talking about here, there is of course an excellent car chase at one point. What more can you ask for? All you gotta do is find the same torrent file as me, chief on a fat doob the size of a little league baseball bat, and then YOU TOO can let that synthy Wang Chung score pierce your mind like a laser!

POSSESSION (1981)

Truthfully, I am not smart enough to articulate why exactly POSSESSION is so good, but here’s the score: it is transcendental. As I said above, it is a gift from an extraterrestrial species. It is the stoned ape theory in practice. POSSESSION defies any sort of categorization . . . it is as once a family drama, a fantasy movie, a science-fiction movie, a horror movie, a psychedelic nightmare, and at times it can almost come across as a comedy. Within the first fifteen minutes, I knew I was watching something utterly unique and bizarre. By the time the credits rolled, a sacred fundamental truth deep down in me had turned askew, and I had in some way been changed as a person. I mean it! Isabelle Adjani (my girlfriend) said she spent years shaking this role from her heart and soul. You watch this woman doing and saying all the things she does and says over the course of 124 minutes, and you think “. . . ¡Jesucristo!” It’s also a Berlin movie . . . written and directed by a Polish dude, starring a French woman and Kiwi dude, and spoken in English. This all adds to its strangeness. Just go watch it, dude. I can’t believe I waited this long. I’m a fool!

THE DRIVER (1978)

THE DRIVER is a chill noir-ish genre movie about a guy who is really good at driving. Some people want to hire him to do a job he doesn’t feel good about, so he tries to get out of doing it. It stars Ryan O’Neal and Isabelle Adjani (my girlfriend), both of whom I like a whole lot. Unlike pretty much every other Ryan O’Neal movie, where he plays an inept moron or a likable conman, here he is an ice-cold taciturn type of dude, and he’s pretty good at it. I never thought I’d see him play a tough guy who talks like he’s in a Raymond Chandler novel, but it rules. AND YEAH: At times you will see obvious sources of inspiration that Refn lifted for DRIVE, specifically the opening scenes. But ultimately this is a hang-out movie. Just put it on and hang out with it. Spend an hour and a half in a dark and gritty late-70s Los Angeles, why don’t you. What else are you gonna do? Sit around and get old?

I watch a lot of movies. Sometimes I feel a sort of shame to talk about them on the internet, because one of my worst fears is to wake up one day and realize that I am a guy in his mid-30s who talks about movies on the internet with any sort of authority. I’m just some loser with a weird little website of no consequence, OK? But if for some reason you DO want an all-you-can-eat buffet of my personal nightmare, look no further than Letterboxd, which is overflowing with insufferable self-proclaimed critics who proudly opine to the unwashed masses from an undeserved pulpit.

And yet still, Letterboxd is my favorite social media platform on account of you can’t receive private messages from strangers, comments beneath reviews are more or less hidden and easily ignored, and for the most part the whole thing is devoid of bullshit. In that sense, it is an egalitarian paradise. It is peaceful. To sustain this sense of serenity there, all you have to do is NOT look at the top 20 reviews for any given movie, as they are invariably the absolute worst ones. Why? Because one-liner “jokes” are rewarded with hearts from fellow movie-enjoyers. THE TURDS, they say, ALWAYS RISE TO THE TOP. In fact, unless you have a particularly erudite friend on Letterboxd, just don’t look at any reviews at all, or else you will feel a despair. Simply log the movies you have watched and add things to your watchlist. See what your friends are watching, and go “Aw :,)”. That’s it. Now you are walking the true path, and can be glad.

Anyway: If you want to follow me, just go ahead and do it, man. I gotta hit that 300 mark is all. Watch me do it! I have to place things for myself in the future so that I am compelled live long enough to find them waiting for me there. It’s like mailing yourself a Christmas present six months in advance and forgetting about it, only to have it arrive on your doorstep on Christmas morning. Or anyway, it’s something like that.

Four in the morning over here . . . I have just enough time to watch something before the sun rises over the ancient city of Berlin. I don’t yet know what I will watch, but I have a list a mile long to get through. So now I’ll get to it!!!

Sweet dreamz . . . ☆彡

the daily synchronicities between laura rokas and me . . . it’s spooky and i love it

(i told laura that if she tapped the album cover on the left, it would display it full screen. to which she said: “No, I need maximum Wout.” bless her, laura loves wout van aert!)

i have been watching all of jean-pierre melville’s stuff . . . the guy was stone-cold cool. damn! i haven’t watched a bad one yet. tonight i watched LE DOULOS, which is this peanut butter and jelly blend of new wave and noir. it ruled. last month i watched THE RED CIRCLE and ARMY OF SHADOWS, both excellent . . . and BOB LE FLAMBEUR on the night of the peyote trip. (bob is, of course, just me in twenty years, assuming i make it that long . . .) you know, i’d never even seen any of his movies until the pandemic when i put on LE SAMOURAÏ. alain delone looks hot as hell in that one. anyway, i dig melville. the guy was a consummate professional!

well . . . i’m kind of stoned and, to be honest, a little sad as well. i also have swimmer’s ear which is making me miserable. i ought to go to sleep. sorry if it was pretentious that i capitalized the titles of all the movies i referenced. i just think it looks nicer is all. ok?

(truthfully, i’m so tired and worn down right now i could cry . . . *sob* *sob*)

sweet dreams!!! ☆彡

ryan had a dream. it was a very clear, and very strange dream.

just remembered this and found it again

still love marina

(my stalker back in texas showed me marina before she became my stalker lol)

bonus:

thanks hannah~