Films in Brief, 9/1/21-9/21/21

Time Warp: The Greatest Cult Films Ever Made Part 2, Horror and Sci-Fi and Part 3, Comedy and Camp: I enjoyed the first parts of this and was eagerly waiting to watch the other two. Part 2 is the gem of all three because of its focus on genres that for years were on the B-list and are now really getting their due. Part 3 tried a little hard to give us “cult comedy” movies in some places (Fast Times at Ridgemont High isn’t exactly a movie I’d call “cult”). But the interviews, the commentary, and the panel are great and they’re both great watches, especially if you were a fan of late 1990s/2000s-era VH-1 retro specials. Watch.

VHS Revolution: A documentary that details the history of the VHS format along with people who have massive VHS collections. It’s not too long (about an hour?) and as much as I enjoyed it, it’s the type of piece that you might watch if you come across on cable but not necessarily seek out. Skip.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: I’d seen this in the theater, but this made my “to watch” list because I’d bought the blu-Ray but never watched it. We’re almost done with our MCU re-watch, and this wound up being just as fun as I remember it. In fact, it’s kind of nice to remember that not every MCU film has to be the most important film ever made or something like that and can just be an enjoyable action-comedy. Watch.

Seoul 1988: The recap of the 1988 Summer Olympics. These were produced “in house” by Korea’s Olympic Committee and not Bud Greenspan. As a result, the film’s shorter and as interesting as it is when they look at the goings on around the Olympic venues (sharing of cultures, the Olympic village, etc.), it’s really nothing more than an official PR highlight reel than a more in-depth documentary. If you’re an Olympics film completist (am I? I’m not exactly chomping at the bit to watch the 1936 documentary, yunno?) you’ll want to watch, but otherwise, it’s a Skip.

All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records: I never really went to Tower Records back in the day, mainly because there wasn’t one close enough. My record stores of choice were Nobody Beats the Wiz (which was pretty much like a Best Buy), Sam Goody (at the good mall), Record World (at the dirt mall), and Middle Earth Records (our independent store). But this Colin Hanks-directed film is a nice took at the rise and fall of a retail giant and like The Last Blockbuster does give us a look at how these mammoth companies have set themselves up for nothing less than a gargantuan collapse. I’m not economist, but the amateur historian/sociologist in me really enjoys seeing the way retail evolved through the post-war era into it’s current state. It’s also pretty cool to see people wax nostalgic about a record store. Watch.

The Endless Summer: The granddaddy of surfing documentaries, and one of the seminal films of the documentary form, Bruce Brown’s 1960s travelogue of two guys trying to find the perfect wave is dated in places (especially in its language of using words like “natives” toward people of various cultures along with some very of-the-time jokey bits with said natives), but is timeless in others. To say it’s a Ventures or Beach Boys song on film is an obvious statement, but it really is a masterpiece and holds up very well. If you can also find its sequel from 1994 (which I saw years ago and remember fondly), that will make a great double-feature … and you don’t even have to like surfing. Watch.

Our Towns: An HBO Max documentary where two veteran journalists visit a number of small towns and mid-sized cities across the continental United States during 2019-2020, which is based off their book of the same name. It’s a piece that reminds me of a number of other “A Day in the Life of …” films, and I actually think would be worth an entire podcast episode because this is a subgenre of sorts. But it’s worth the Watch.

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