The besties review
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Escape from New York
Everything about this movie was cool. From the impressive world building and set design to the unique characters and fantastic performances, Escape from New York is an all-around classy sci-fi romp. Carpenter’s vision is incredibly crisp—it really seems like every last detail was thought of. The suspense is palpable, the music is iconic and Kurt Russell gives a fantastic performance as the war hero/criminal Snake Plissken (what a fuckin’ name). The supporting characters hold their own too, especially Harry Dean Stanton, Lee Van Cleef and (wtf) Isaac Hayes! Not much else to say on this one, except “watch it.”
So weird, so out there, so fun! No, it’s not a “great” movie by any stretch, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a total blast. For all its shortcomings, David Lynch’s Dune is still a wildly stylish, cerebral space voyage that is bolstered by its formidable cast and charming world-building. The effects are certainly dated, but it’s all but forgiven when you stop to appreciate the costumes and set design. Watching this in 2021, it’s hard to believe that Dune was once dubbed “the wort film of 1984.” I’m really excited to see what Villeneuve is going to do with this—if it’s anywhere on the level of his latest sci-fi efforts (like Arrival and Blade Runner 2049), I think it’s going to be epic.
The Dead Zone
I liked this one! I was a bit disappointed that this didn’t reach a higher plane for me, but with a concept this intriguing and an actor as good as Christopher Walken at the center, it’s hard to hate on this. I’ve just found myself consistently enjoying but not necessarily loving Cronenberg’s films, and this was no exception. Other than a few truly well-done, exciting moments (like the film’s finale), I just sort of felt neutral on this. It’s competent, but I expect more of a “wow” factor from a Stephen King adaptation.
My only big takeaway from this film is that this is where the bicep meme comes from?! But seriously, this thing had a lot of cool moments and an interesting villain that didn’t really add up to something greater for me. I get that a lot of this could be considered satirical and tongue-in-cheek, but even knowing that didn’t sway my opinion of the cheesy action and melodramatic performances. This just isn’t my type of flick!
My first Verhoeven! I liked this, though it took me a while to adjust to this level of camp and satire (I seriously didn’t realize that so many 80s sci-fi movies were actually satires). I can tell there’s a lot more bubbling under the surface than just a cop who gets turned into a robot (though as I write that I realize that “a cop who turns into a robot” is about as obvious a metaphor as it gets…). Still, this thing was cheesy and fun for me in a way that Predator was not. What I liked best about Robocop was the world-building, though even some of the performances, particularly Miguel Ferrer and Kurtwood Smith, were delightful!
What is 5 Film Film Festival (5FFF)?
In short, 5 Film Film Festival is an ongoing personal project to help me watch more classic films. For each mini “festival,” I will choose a random theme (be it a genre, actor, director, etc.) and curate five movies that fit that theme to watch for the first time. When I started this journey, I posted my brief, unpolished thoughts on Letterboxd. I like this more informal, less pretentious mode of watching older movies, so as I begin documenting the project here on the site, don’t expect a lot of in-depth analysis— every “review” will read more like a “first reaction.”
If you’re like me, and you have more than a few blind spots in your cinematic knowledge, then consider joining me on this lifelong endeavor. Watch along, recommend themes, and organize some mini festivals of your own!