The Movies Are Still Saving My Life

When I was a kid the movies saved my life. I grew up in a single parent household with a mother whose emotional neglect bordered on abuse; I suffered from an undiagnosed anxiety disorder and the parts of my brain that were not broken operated so differently from the other kids that I had a hard time making friends or forging any connections. I found a lot of solace in TV and comics and books, and on TV I began watching movies, which our local stations ran all weekend and after school and late at night. Then I began going to the movies, to the little Main Street Twin (which now somehow has like eight screens), and eventually I took the train into Manhattan to see older and weirder movies. VHS opened the world up for me, and it was off to the races from there.

The movies offered a refuge and an outlet, they let me dream and hope. I was a troubled, poor kid from Queens who couldn’t have been farther from the movie industry, but in that world I saw meaning and in those movies I saw my fears and my dreams reflected back at me. I was so alone all the time, but not when I was watching a movie. 

I spent all of my free time immersed in movies. Eventually I spent ALL of my time immersed in movies, making an unlikely career out of them.

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HALLOWEEN 2018: The Shape Of Trauma

This contains full spoilers for the 2018 Halloween.

In the original Halloween II there was an elaborate, soap opera-y reason for Michael Myers to come after Laurie Strode yet again – she was his secret sister, and just as he had killed Judith, he wanted to kill Laurie. This kind of explanation was needed to franchise the characters; if you were going to have Laurie and Michael face off again and again you needed to have a reason. As John McClane once wondered, “How can the same shit happen to the same guy twice?” The answer, for decades, was that Michael Myers cared deeply about Laurie.

What Halloween 2018 asks is… what if he didn’t? What if Michael Myers did not care about Laurie Strode at all, but rather Laurie Strode cared so much about Michael Myers that she couldn’t let him go, couldn’t leave him behind, and as such she ends up in the middle of his 40th anniversary prison break, once again being stalked by The Shape who, in other circumstances, would have been happy to just keep killing strangers.

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IRON MAN 2 ReReview

A wise man once noted that it’s a fine line between clever and stupid. There is also a fine line between fun and irritating, between banter and bickering. Iron Man 2 crosses all of those lines, in the process creating the most egregious misstep in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe to date. Yes, more so than Thor: The Dark World, which for all its problems still has really good chemistry between Thor and Loki. Iron Man 2 loses not only plot coherence and villain quality, it completely throws away the good chemistry between its leads in favor of sniping, unpleasantness and a manic quality that makes it feel like a cocaine movie from the 70s.

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ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY Review

Complete spoilers for ROGUE ONE follow! Be aware I will spoil it all!

It’s been interesting seeing the divide in people’s reactions to ROGUE ONE. I suspect it comes down to how you reacted to the characters; if they worked for you, you truly loved the movie, but if you didn’t gel with them the whole thing fell flat. I don’t have a further theory on this – ie, I don’t really know why some people didn’t like the characters while others, like me, fell for them hard – but it does seem to be dividing line.

Because I loved the characters I found the ending to be doubly impactful. It’s impactful on a simple level everyone has to agree on, which is that we NEVER see the leads die in a blockbuster franchise movie, let alone see ALL the leads die (also this movie blows up every new location, making ROGUE ONE almost impossible to revisit in any meaningful way in future films). That’s a big deal, and it’s a ballsy move for a movie studio that is just as interested in licensing and toys deals as it is with telling stories.

That ending is so important, though, and I believe it’s the ending that we need right now as we face down Trump’s America. Indulge me while I talk about this for a minute.

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