My Favorite Movies of 2020 (So Far):
BLOODY NOSE, EMPTY POCKETS (The Ross Brothers)
DRIVEWAYS (Andrew Ahn)
FIRST COW (Kelly Reichardt)
TRUE HISTORY OF THE KELLY GANG (Justin Kurzel)
SOUND OF METAL (Darius Marder)
SMALL AXE: LOVERS ROCK (Steve McQueen)
A SUN (Chung Mong-Hong)
I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS (Charlie Kaufman)
TOMMASO (Abel Ferrara)
TIME (Garrett Bradley)
SHE DIES TOMORROW (Amy Seimetz)
LINGUA FRANCA (Isabel Sandoval)
BABYTEETH (Shannon Murphy)
NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS (Eliza Hittman)
THE HALF OF IT (Alice Wu)
I’M NO LONGER HERE (Fernando Frias)
DA 5 BLOODS (Spike Lee)
THE FORTY-YEAR-OLD VERSION (Radha Blank)
COLOR OUT OF SPACE (Richard Stanley)
LET THEM ALL TALK (Steven Soderbergh)
CAPONE (Josh Trank)
RESIDUE (Merawi Gerima)
DICK JOHNSON IS DEAD (Kirsten Johnson)
CUT THROAT CITY (RZA)
TESLA (Michael Almereyda)
WENDY (Benh Zeitlin)
I’M YOUR WOMAN (Julia Hart)
THE WOLF OF SNOW HOLLOW (Jim Cummings)
THE WAY BACK (Gavin O’Connor)
YES, GOD, YES (Karen Maine)
SHIRLEY (Josephine Decker)
WHAT DID JACK DO? (David Lynch)
JOHN WAS TRYING TO CONTACT ALIENS (Matthew Killip)
Other movies I liked: THE INVISIBLE MAN; CROCK OF GOLD: A FEW ROUNDS WITH SHANE MACGOWAN; THE JESUS ROLLS; HUBIE HALLOWEEN; ROY’S WORLD: BARRY GIFFORD’S CHICAGO; PALM SPRINGS; UNCLE FRANK; RUN; EUROVISION SONG CONTEST: THE STORY OF FIRE SAGA; THE BEE GEES: HOW CAN YOU MEND A BROKEN HEART; MY PSYCHEDELIC LOVE STORY; ARCHENEMY; MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM; BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIE FILM; SMALL AXE: MANGROVE
Still need to see:
SIBERIA; THE WOMAN WHO RAN; NOMADLAND; SAINT MAUD; CITY HALL; WOLFWALKERS; THE NEST; MARTIN EDEN; VITALINA VARELA; BACURAU; BEANPOLE; SYLVIE’S LOVE; SORRY WE MISSED YOU; ON THE ROCKS; KAJILLIONAIRE; BLACK BEAR; MINARI; JUMBO; POSSESSOR; VIVARIUM; LET HIM GO; THE ASSISTANT; PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN; THE PAINTER AND THE THIEF; the rest of SMALL AXE; lots more I’m forgetting
Riz Ahmed, SOUND OF METAL
Hong Chau and Brian Dennehy, DRIVEWAYS
Delroy Lindo, DA 5 BLOODS
Jessie Buckley, I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS
Michael Martin, BLOODY NOSE, EMPTY POCKETS
Isabel Sandoval, LINGUA FRANCA
Amarah-Jae St Aubyn, LOVERS ROCK
Eliza Scanlen, BABYTEETH
Sidney Flanigan, NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS
Russell Crowe and Essie Davis, TRUE HISTORY OF THE KELLY GANG
Maria Bakalova, BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIE FILM
John Magaro, FIRST COW
Candice Bergen, LET THEM ALL TALK
Radha Blank, THE FORTY-YEAR-OLD VERSION
Willem Dafoe, TOMMASO
Kate Lyn Sheil, SHE DIES TOMORROW
Natalia Dyer, YES, GOD, YES
Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman, MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM
Ethan Hawke, TESLA
Cristin Milioti, PALM SPRINGS
Peter Macdissi, UNCLE FRANK
Ben Affleck, THE WAY BACK
Rachel McAdams, EUROVISION SONG CONTEST: THE STORY OF FIRE SAGA
Elisabeth Moss, SHIRLEY and THE INVISIBLE MAN
I guest edited the noir volume of Nicolas Winding Refn’s byNWR.com. The title of the volume is DARK BRINK OF LOVE.
The first of three chapters is now live. Usually you need to create an account to see content on the site (it’s free and easy), but they’ve made this volume available to everyone, no log-in required.
Here are the contents:
First off, there’s the film: STARK FEAR from 1962. Made by two University of Oklahoma professors, Ned Hockman and Dwight V. Swain, it’s a psychological horror noir set and filmed in and around Oklahoma City and Norman. It stars Beverly Garland and Skip Homeier. The first time I saw it was on a very rough public domain copy–it’s been beautifully restored by Peter Conheim. It’s a weird, unsettling, dangerous-feeling picture. Watch it here.
In “Derrick Noir: Okies Go Hollywood,” Philippe Garnier introduces STARK FEAR, showing how the pieces came together on this singularly twisted curiosity. Read his intro to the film here.
In “The Planet Murderer,” Chris Offutt considers how his father Andrew Offutt, a prolific writer of porn novels, crossed paths with STARK FEAR scribe Dwight V. Swain, in the process meditating on literary heritage and the blood that runs from fathers to sons. Chris has allowed us to use some incredible photos of his dad, and there are also many book covers from John Cleve (Andrew Offutt’s alias). Read it here.
“‘Why’d You Go, Daddy? Was I Bad?'” is a stunning story from the author of BUCKSKIN COCAINE, Erika T. Wurth. Wurth imagines what it might have been like for Cortez Ewing, the Native American actor who plays “The Chief” in STARK FEAR. Accompanying the piece are James Mooney’s Ghost Dance Recordings and a selection of noir-infused public domain photos. Read it here.
J David Osborne, author of BLACK GUM, A MINOR STORM, and BLOOD AND WATER, gives us “Oklahoma: Heartland, U.S.A.,” inspired by the title of a tourism ad by Swain and Hockman. It’s head trip noir story about his Oklahoma fifty years after STARK FEAR, populated by a new variety of desperate people on the ropes: juggalos, small-time crooks, and searchers. Also accompanied by some weird, noir public domain photos. Read it here.
Gabino Iglesias, author of ZERO SAINTS and COYOTE SONGS, in a story and photo series, delivers a motel noir infused with paranoia and destruction and inspired by the shadowy locations of STARK FEAR. Read/view “Stark Raving Mad” here.
There’s a bunch of stuff from me and Tyler Keith:
1. I wrote a speculative memoir from the point of view of former child star Skip Homeier, “The Bad Husband.” Read it here.
2. I wrote a long story, “Cruising the El Nora,” inspired by the El Nora Motel, a key location in STARK FEAR. It includes original photos from Tyler Keith. Read/view here.
3. I read “Cruising the El Nora” with an original score from Tyler Keith. Listen here.
4. I interview Tyler Keith about writing noir songs, growing up in the Christ-haunted south, and touring in punk bands, and he plays a handful of songs live in the studio. Listen here.
5. I read a sci-fi story by Dwight V. Swain. It features a nudist camp, x-ray glasses, Nazi secret agents, and goatees that “jerk with contempt.” Listen here.
If you missed my volume intro, here it is.
That’s a lot. Sorry. This is a project I’ve been working on for about a year, and I’m glad it’s finally out there. Thanks to the amazing contributors. Thanks to James Banks, Jules Holland, and everyone at Bureau in the UK. Thanks especially to the minds behind byNWR: Jimmy McDonough and Nicolas Winding Refn. If you want to get a peek behind the curtains of byNWR, check out this piece in The Quietus.
One more quick note:
-Chapter 2 of DARK BRINK OF LOVE will go live on April 1st. It features contributions from Ace Atkins, Laura Lee Bahr, Violet LeVoit, and Theresa Starkey.
-Chapter 3 will go live on May 1st. It features contributions from Sarah Weinman, Scott Adlerberg, Marya E. Gates, and Jack Pendarvis.
Thanks for reading.
You are now entering the Dark Brink of Love…
My favorite movies of the year so far… still lots to catch up on.
1. THE IRISHMAN (Martin Scorsese)
2. UNCUT GEMS (The Safdie Brothers)
3. THE SOUVENIR (Joanna Hogg)
4. HIGH LIFE (Claire Denis)
5. LITTLE WOMEN (Greta Gerwig)
6. A HIDDEN LIFE (Terrence Malick)
7. TRANSIT (Christian Petzold)
8. HOTEL BY THE RIVER (Hong Sang-soo)
9. ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD (Quentin Tarantino)
10. HER SMELL (Alex Ross Perry)
Others I really liked:
PETERLOO (Mike Leigh); ROLLING THUNDER REVUE (Martin Scorsese); ASH IS PUREST WHITE (Jia Zhangke); KNIVES OUT (Rian Johnson); GRASS (Hong sang-soo); OUT OF BLUE (Carol Morley); BURNING CANE (Philip Michael Youmans); SWORD OF TRUST (Lynn Shelton); MARRIAGE STORY (Noah Baumbach); RICHARD JEWELL (Clint Eastwood); US (Jordan Peele); WILD ROSE (Tom Harper); DOLEMITE IS MY NAME (Craig Brewer); DRAGGED ACROSS CONCRETE (S. Craig Zahler); KNIFE + HEART (Yann Gonzalez); DOMINO (Brian De Palma); BETWEEN WORLDS (Maria Pulera); STATE LIKE SLEEP (Meredith Danluck); HIGH FLYING BIRD (Steven Soderbergh); PADDLETON (Alexandre Lehmann); THE KID (Vincent D’Onofrio)
Elisabeth Moss, HER SMELL; Joe Pesci, Al Pacino, and Robert De Niro, THE IRISHMAN; Adam Sandler and Julia Fox, UNCUT GEMS; Honor Swinton Byrne and Tom Burke, THE SOUVENIR; Robert Pattinson and Juliette Binoche, HIGH LIFE; Paul Walter Hauser, RICHARD JEWELL; Jessie Buckley, WILD ROSE; Ray Romano, PADDLETON; Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD; Da’Vine Joy Randolph, DOLEMITE IS MY NAME; Wendell Pierce, BURNING CANE; Lupita Nyong’o, US; Ana de Armas, KNIVES OUT; Kim Min-hee, HOTEL BY THE RIVER; Paula Beer, TRANSIT; Florence Pugh, Timothée Chalamet, Laura Dern, Chris Cooper, and Bob Odenkirk, LITTLE WOMEN; Ethan Hawke, THE KID; Zhao Tao, ASH IS PUREST WHITE
Still need to see & very excited about:
CHAINED FOR LIFE
PAIN AND GLORY
THE DEAD DON’T DIE
THE BEACH BUM
FORD V. FERRARI
THE STANDOFF AT SPARROW CREEK
LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT
THE BODY REMEMBERS WHEN THE WORLD BROKE OPEN
A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO
PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE
COLOR OUT OF SPACE
HOBBS & SHAW
JOHN WICK C3
WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE
Been thinking about 1999 for a lot of reasons. What a year for movies. Here’s a list of my favorites from ’99, as well as a list of my favorites from ’99 in ’19. Some crossover. Lots I was disappointed by in ’99 that I love now (Eyes Wide Shut, Bringing Out the Dead, and Magnolia) and some I just hadn’t seen then. Lots I liked in ’99 that I don’t like now. Lots I haven’t revisited or given much thought to. Lots I still need to see and/or revisit.
My favorite movies of 1999 in 1999:
The Straight Story
Being John Malcovich
The Blair Witch Project
The Talented Mr. Ripley
The End of the Affair
Sweet and Lowdown
The Ninth Gate
The Virgin Suicides
Boys Don’t Cry
The Cider House Rules
But I’m a Cheerleader
Man on the Moon
Ride with the Devil
Run Lola Run
A Walk on the Moon
For Love of the Game
My favorite movies of 1999 in 2019:
Notable movies left off: American Beauty, which was always terrible & is even more terrible now; Toy Story 2, which I’ve only seen in the last few years and is fine.
Need to watch/rewatch: