The Olympics are here again, which of course means that I'm watching fewer movies and more sports — just in time for the end of football season!

9/2018. Black Samson (1974)
The protagonist of this blaxploitation film has a pet lion that... doesn't ever do anything. Is it only here because the biblical Samson killed a lion? ("What is stronger than a lion? Black Samson!") More interestingly, although the film very much indulges in themes of black solidarity, the "white man" isn't really the bad guy here; that honor goes to one crazy, wannabe mafia boss who even the white men don't like. (Is Johnny Nappa a Philistine? Which of the girls dancing in Samson's topless bar is Delilah?) Hardly great cinema, but not entirely worthless, either.

10/2019. The Story of Three Loves (1953)
This anthology film lives up to its title, telling three different stories about lost loves is the good kind of weird. The middle chapter would appear to have inspired the movie Big (with Ricky Nelson in what would be Hanks' role), and the third chapter showcases Kirk Douglas' typical commitment to his roles, in this case as an obsessed trapeze artist.

11/2020. How to Build a Girl (2019)
Beanie Feldstein pretends to be young and English in the early 90s British music scene. As I've admitted before, I'm a sucker for coming-of-age films. This one hits all the usual beats, and of course I enjoyed it.

Drink Coke! (How to Build a Girl)
She orders a Coke in a bar, then never touches it. It just sits on that table. What is this, an SEC football press conference?

12/2021. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)
Holy crap, the bus fight on this thing is amazing. They really should have found a way to make that the finale. I'd heard a lot of complaints about that CGI-driven finale, and I think they are all well deserved. The real problem isn't the CGI but the fact that the CGI characters introduced late in the third act have no character development before their action sequence. You've gotta give the audience a reason to care about your ridiculous animated dragons, Marvel, otherwise we're just checking our watches as we wait for the inevitable end-credit cameos.

13/2022. Putney Swope (1969)
The narrative is ostensibly about a no-nonsense outsider taking over a Madison Avenue advertising firm, but that's mostly just an excuse to satire consumerism, capitalism, socialism, racism, sexism, and, frankly, every -ism in all the best, most absurdist ways. Near the end of the film, there's a very self-indulgent several minutes of topless fight attendants which wouldn't be out of place in Kentucky Fried Movie but here comes across as appropriately damning of American society. As the man at the breakfast table eating Ethereal Cereal would say, "No shit!"

More to come.

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To be continued...

 

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