Celebrating the Unpopular Arts

As the day of my birth gets further away, it’s hard to call some of these movies ‘modern’ anymore, but I’m still doing it!

Hey, what do you know? More movies that I’ve watched and my deep, interesting thoughts about them!

Duel (1971). This is Spielberg’s big break-out movie, a few years before Sugarland Express and Jaws, and it’s famous because of that – it was a late-autumn made-for-television movie airing on ABC – but it also shows why Spielberg became such a popular director. It’s mostly Dennis Weaver’s show, as the other characters get a few minutes of screen time before Weaver moves on, and he does a good job as a hapless businessman driving through the California desert on his way to meet with a client. Early on, he passes a decrepit-looking tanker truck filled with something “flammable,” and the driver – whose face we never see – decides to mess with Weaver, stalking him and terrorizing him. Weaver can’t really go to the police, because there’s nothing really to say – he doesn’t have a lot of evidence – and he has to figure out what he’s going to do. It’s a very tense movie, as Weaver, in his Plymouth Valiant, tries to fight back against this giant truck, which is pretty ancient-looking and beaten-up, which makes it more menacing. Spielberg keeps ratcheting up the tension, and he keeps figuring out ways to put Weaver in jeopardy, which is harder to do than you might think. The biggest problem I have with the movie is that at some point, Weaver should just go home. He’s meeting a client who’s leaving for Hawaii, and if he misses the meeting Weaver will lose the account. At one point, when he’s in a diner where he has taken refuge, he realizes he probably won’t be able to get to the client in time. So why keep going? The truck leaves the diner before him and lies in wait ahead of him, so just go the other way! Later, he hides from the truck off the road, and the truck passes him. He even takes a nap, yet the truck still doesn’t find him, instead waiting for him up the road a bit. Turn around and go home, Dennis Weaver!!!! Still, it’s a good movie – a nice, exciting, gripping movie that uses the landscape really, really well (Spielberg has always been good at this) and features a creepy villain. If you’ve never seen it and you’re a fan of Spielberg, this is a cool thing to watch!

Night Watch (1973). Someone could write or already has written a doctoral dissertation on fiction in which a woman sees something horrible and the men in her life don’t believe her, because it has a long tradition in movies, at least (although, ironically, the most famous example, perhaps, has a man – Jimmy Stewart – as the “woman”). In this movie, it’s Elizabeth Taylor’s turn, as she plays a London housewife (in the early 1970s, Taylor, who was born in London to American parents, decided that she was English and made a bunch of movies in the Mother Country) married to Laurence Harvey (who was just about to die of cancer at the age of 45) … significantly, it’s her second marriage. Billie Whitelaw is her best friend, who’s staying with them until she moves to Glasgow to start a new job. Behind their house is a decrepit pile where no one lives, and one night Taylor sees a corpse in the window, a man with his throat cut. Harvey gets the police there, but of course they don’t find anything, and after they investigate her neighbor (who was suspiciously planting trees in a convenient grave-sized hole) and find nothing, they begin to suspect she’s not right in the head. Harvey and Whitelaw seem sympathetic, but they also begin to think she’s hallucinating. Of course, through flashbacks we find out that her husband died while he was cheating on her, and that has left her a bit paranoid, and the audience isn’t even sure if she saw anything, so we’re wondering, as well. We’re conditioned by this sort of thing to trust the protagonist and distrust the husband, so that’s where we are in this, but it’s not quite as cut and dried as that. Taylor does a decent job as a seemingly hysterical person, and Harvey and Whitelaw are pretty good, too, while Robert Lang as the neighbor is just the wrong side of weird, so we don’t trust him at all. It’s a nice, atmospheric thriller, and it’s so very Seventies it will make you want to snort cocaine and listen to disco!

Serpico (1973). This is, in many ways, a typical Seventies cop drama, except, unlike Popeye Doyle, for instance, Al Pacino doesn’t go around breaking the law. Sidney Lumet does a clever thing: he films this like a Seventies cop drama (I mean, how could he not?), except the central character is trying to fight corruption instead of reveling in it. Yes, Clint Eastwood and Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider were “good guys,” but they skirted the law a lot, and Lumet makes his crooked cops mostly just guys trying to get by – a few are actually threatening to Pacino, but most are just trying to get him to go along by claiming it’s all just victimless crimes. The fact that it’s a “true story” and that it takes place in the Seventies means it doesn’t end particularly well (I mean, Serpico is still alive, so he’s got that going for him), and Lumet and Pacino do nice work with the world-weariness of Serpico as he realizes he’s banging his head against an immovable wall. As usual with a lot of movies of the time, the editing is weird – scenes end abruptly, with very little resolution, never to be seen again, and Serpico’s first serious romantic relationship ends suddenly, while his second falls apart a bit more convincingly, but Barbara Eda-Young isn’t given terribly good material to work with. She complains about Serpico’s obsession with corruption, but it feels churlish of her, and Eda-Young devolves into histrionics a bit too easily. Only her farewell scene works pretty well. Meanwhile, Pacino does his good Pacino work – this is, of course, long before he became a parody of himself, so his blow-ups feel extremely real and earned, and the weight of the world bends him over throughout much of the movie. Pacino kind of slinks through this movie, and it works very well for a character who knows he’s put himself in the firing line and no one has his back. Lots of fun actors show up – John Randolph as the sympathetic chief, Tony Roberts as Serpico’s ally who has connections in the mayor’s office (not that it does them much good), Jack Kehoe as one of the corrupt cops – Kehoe is great at these weaselly kind of characters, who might not be evil but certainly aren’t good, M. Emmet Walsh is a spineless bureaucrat, Charles White is the oblivious commissioner, and F. Murray Abraham shows up late as one of the cops who really doesn’t feel like backing Serpico up. Judd Hirsch is in this in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo at the end, when Serpico’s parents visit him in the hospital. Anyway, it’s a good movie – not terribly action-packed, because it’s not really a cop drama in the traditional sense. Pacino was nominated for Best Actor (Jack Lemmon won for Save the Tiger, which I haven’t seen) and the screenplay was nominated (it lost to The Exorcist, which, fair enough), and this has become something of a cultural touchstone. It’s worth a watch!

Brannigan (1975). Since John Wayne turned down Dirty Harry, he made two movies later in the 1970s that jumped on that movie’s coattails – the urban cop with an attitude trend that was big in the Seventies – with McQ (which I haven’t seen) and this one, which isn’t bad. Wayne, who won an Oscar a few years earlier for True Grit (which I haven’t seen, but I wonder how much of a pity Oscar it was), is fine as the tough-guy Chicago cop who heads off to London to pick up an American gangster, but he’s never going to dazzle anyone with his acting skills, and he doesn’t here. The plot is a bit odd – the gangster, played with his usual oily smugness by Dean Wormer, is kidnapped from a spa because, as Scotland Yard dude Richard Attenborough explains to Wayne, the British police couldn’t hold him because he made bail, but they had him under (not-very-good) surveillance. Wayne decides to hang around and help get him back from the kidnappers, who keep demanding money from Dean Wormer’s lawyer, played by Mel Ferrer. Meanwhile, Dean Wormer hired a hitman to kill Brannigan, and he’s a nuisance. Wayne is helped by Judy Geeson, whom Scotland Yard assigns to keep an eye on Wayne, and it says something about the time period that Geeson manages to survive the movie (if this were an Eighties or Nineties movie, she definitely would have died). It’s a perfectly fine cop movie, a bit more light-hearted than you might expect (I mean, sure, it’s a drama, but there’s a goofy bar fight in the middle of it), and while Wayne is doing the fish-out-of-water thing, he doesn’t clash too much with Attenborough’s stuff British-ness. Lesley-Anne Down is in this for a hot minute, as is Barry Dennen, who’s probably best known as Pontius Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar. It’s nothing special, but it’s not bad.

Friday the 13th (1980). No, I had never seen this, because I was a bit too young for it in 1980, I didn’t have cable in the 1980s (that’s also the reason I’ve never seen Porky’s), and I’ve never been super-into horror movies anyway, so it just slipped through the net. But it was on HBO, so I figured I’d give it a watch, and … it’s pretty good, for what it is. It’s filmed far better than I thought it would be – the first-person POVs work nicely, and director Sean S. Cunningham and cinematographer Barry Adams use the woodland very well, with some very nice shots throughout. The budget wasn’t huge, but the effects are generally handled nicely – we don’t see a much actual murdering, but the dead bodies are made up well. It’s certainly not the greatest movie, but it’s a fun 90 minutes or so. The cast is very raw – none of the young people had done much or even would do much (except for that Bacon fellow), and Betsy Palmer had been around for a while but hadn’t done very much, either – and it shows, as they don’t really set the world on fire with their acting (Jeannine Taylor’s reaction when her head’s about to be split open with an axe is extremely laughable), but what are you going to do with such a small budget? There are some very ridiculous problems with the script, of course, which I’m sure thousands of people have discussed, but I’m still going to discuss. How does Mrs. Voorhees clean up the bodies so well? Why does she hide the bodies but then later begin displaying them? Where is she driving from when she shows up, and why? Why does she even reveal herself to Alice? Before she finds Bill hanging from the door, Alice doesn’t even know anyone is dead, and Mrs. Voorhees could have kept it that way, but instead she shows her hand. Why does Alice not kill Mrs. Voorhees sooner? She gets the drop on her THREE SEPARATE TIMES in the final showdown, and each time she just runs away when she could have bashed her over the head with something heavy. Come on, Alice! I know the answer to the last one is “So that their final showdown can be at the lake,” but that doesn’t make it less stupid. And I do like that Mrs. Voorhees is grumpy about teens banging, but only Marcie and Jack have sex (I was surprised, honestly, by how very little nudity is in this movie), and that only the one time. It’s not like everyone’s banging everyone else! And I love the ending, as Alice claims that Jason is still in the lake. I mean, shouldn’t one of the adults have explained to her what a nightmare is? Come on, adults! Anyway, this is a fun horror movie, better than it has any right to be, and you get to see the lovely New Jersey countryside in it!

Project X (1987). After WarGames, filmmakers seemed to want to make movies like it, with someone precocious (not necessarily teens, but young people) challenging our own government, which claimed that whatever they were doing was in the public’s best interests. If they could get baby-faced Matthew Broderick, all the better, and so we get Project X, in which Broderick plays an Air Force pilot who’s been grounded because he’s kind of a douchebag, but his new assignment makes him question everything!!!! The Air Force, it seems, is training chimpanzees to fly, and Broderick is tasked with supervising, but what he doesn’t know is that after they train the chimps, they put them in a cockpit and expose them to massive amounts of radiation so they can measure how long a pilot can survive to finish his mission if the same thing were to happen to him. Broderick eventually points out how stupid this is, but first he has to figure out what to do about it, and he gets help from Future Oscar Winner Helen Hunt, who trained one of the chimps to use sign language but lost him when her grant ran out, and she thinks he was sent to a zoo. Broderick finds her and tells her what’s going on, and they team up to save the chimps. It’s not a terrible movie, but it’s not terribly dramatic, as the action at the end is a bit enervating and the way the chimps escape is not exciting at all. I also find it amusing that in the 1980s, movies about nuclear holocausts had to be … occasionally goofy? There’s a sequence where the chimps get out and act like goofy kids, and it’s certainly silly, but it’s just a weird tonal shift in the middle of the movie. Did filmmakers in the 1980s really believe that nuclear war was that close, so they wanted audiences to not dwell on it quite so much because it would depress them too much? Beats me. Anyway, this is fine. William Sadler and Jean Smart show up, too, so that’s all right. But it’s nothing special.

A Dry White Season (1989). I like movies made during times when other countries were dealing with shit, because there’s always a whiff of condescending disdain for their policies by American filmmakers (or, in the case of apartheid and Communism, outright contempt), and it’s ironic considering that South Africa has done marginally better dealing with its racist past than the U.S. has done dealing with its racist past, but in 1989, filmmakers could still make movies like this, full of American actors, implying that we Yanks had just Done It Better. Just an observation!

I had never seen this, so when TCM was running a few Brando movies a while back, I figured I would check it out. This is Brando’s first movie since The Formula in 1980, and I wonder why he took the Eighties off and why he came back (I assume a need for money for the latter, but I don’t know why he quit in the first place). He was nominated for an Oscar for this movie, and he is pretty good as a human rights lawyer who takes a case he knows he’s going to lose just so he can show Donald Sutherland the foolishness of challenging the racist regime of South Africa (he succeeds admirably!). Sutherland is a teacher whose gardener gets caught up in the riots against the government when his young son is killed while in police custody, and when the gardener tries to find out what happened, he too is killed by the cops. Sutherland, yet another in a long line of white men in movies who don’t care about racism until suddenly they decide it’s a Very Bad Thing, decides to take the cops to court (which fails) and then tries to file a civil case against them, which goes a bit better but not as well as you’d hope. He joins forces with the black community and Susan Sarandon, who’s playing a reporter, and they build a case while the cops begin to target Sutherland and his racist family decides that he’s not that much fun to hang out with anymore. It’s not a bad movie, but it is a bit dull in spots. Brando’s and Sarandon’s roles aren’t very big, and Sutherland seems kind of inert for a lot of the movie. Jürgen Prochnow as the evil police dude exudes an icy, menacing quasi-charm, and the black actors – Zakes Mokae as Sutherland’s most steadfast ally, Winston Ntshona as the doomed gardener, and Thoko Ntshinga as the doomed gardener’s wife – are pretty good, but this also isn’t as much their story as perhaps it should be (which I assume is the fault of the source material, a novel from 1979, and the movie studio, as the movie is directed by Euzhan Palcy, a black woman who, presumably, would have been thrilled to focus more on them). Still, we do get to see how people live in a police state and how quickly it can turn against even the most benign of its citizens – Gordon just wants to get his son’s body back and suddenly he’s the target of the cops, and Sutherland just wants to find out what happened to his gardener, and the state quickly turns its baleful eye to him. It’s a depressing state of affairs. This isn’t a great movie, but it’s not bad.

Croupier (1998). Clive Owen, looking amazingly baby-faced (he was about 32 when he made this movie), gets his break-out role (he had been working for almost a decade when he made this) as a writer who decides to take a job as a croupier to make ends meet (he was once a dealer in South Africa, so he’s pretty good at it). He realizes he can write a book about his experience, and then Alex Kingston shows up and ask him to help her out with a robbery of the casino, and so things spin out of control pretty quickly. Owen is very good as the ice-cold Jack, who never gambles and is very honest … as a dealer, as he’s not the greatest boyfriend to Gina McKee that he could be (although she’s not the greatest girlfriend, either). The biggest problem with the movie is that the plot is a bit wonky. It’s a bit unclear what happens with the robbery plot, as it seems like it’s unsuccessful but the plotters don’t seem to care? It’s also unclear what happens with McKee, as her story ends with a clear conclusion but how it ends is a bit murky. The machinations of the casino are interesting, though, and Owen’s slight breakdown as he gains material for his writing and his personality seems to fracture a bit, much to the chagrin of McKee … who also doesn’t seem to know what she wants out of Owen, either. So the movie works much better as a character sketch of a dude who thinks he can remain aloof from the muck of life but finds he can’t, while as a movie with a good plot, it doesn’t work quite as well. Still, while Owen has never become the big star it seemed he would after this movie, he’s very mesmerizing in this movie.

The Last Vermeer (2019). This is a competent courtroom drama, in which Guy Pearce (very good, as always) plays Han Van Meegeran, a Dutch artist and art dealer who’s being investigated by Claes Bang, playing a soldier working for the Allies who’s trying to return looted art to its owners. Pearce sold a newly-discovered Vermeer to Hermann Göring, so naturally, he’s not going to be popular with the Dutch, and Bang has to figure out if he collaborated even more with the Nazis before, presumably, he gets shot as a traitor. It’s a decent movie, based on a book about Van Meegeran, and the twists and turns it takes are handled pretty well – I don’t want to spoil it, but presumably you can find out what you want on Van Meegeran if you so choose. What makes the movie interesting is that Bang, a Dutch Jew, is not working for the Dutch government but the Allied Command, so he’s at odds with the Dutch authorities who don’t really want to dig into who was collaborating too deeply, because so many of them were complicit and they’d rather have a convenient scapegoat like a dissolute art dealer. Van Meegeran, meanwhile, is a failed artist, and a good deal of the movie deals with what makes art “great” and who gets to decide (and subject near and dear to my heart, as Joe Rice used to pick on my taste in comics because I couldn’t recognize true greatness in, say, Chris Ware’s shit). Vermeer, of course, is not only a great artist, but specifically a great Dutch artist, so the Dutch are extra-energized when Van Meegeran’s case comes up. Bang, meanwhile, is married to a woman who could not simply join the Resistance like he did, so she became the secretary of a high-ranking Nazi in Holland and had sex with him to gain his trust, and Bang hasn’t been able to move past that. This just adds another layer to the movie (although I didn’t think it was developed as much as it could have been), as we see many ways the Dutch – and other occupied people – had to live in order to survive a murderous regime. Is Van Meegeran a traitor? Is Bang’s wife? Are the government officials? It’s not quite as complex a movie as it could have been, perhaps – it’s not a weirdo art film – but it’s pretty good. And it makes me want to read the book on which it was based, so that’s something!

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2023). DC movies get a bad rap mainly because the Zack Snyder ones were so bad, but this sequel is fine. Nothing great, but fine. It functions basically like every superhero/action movie you can think of, and is structured in very much the same way, and it cracks me up because it’s pretty much the same movie as, say, Black Panther, but that got nominated for an Academy Award (and no, I’m not ready to let that go, thank you very much). Momoa and Patrick Wilson, forced to work together, have decent chemistry as they hunt down Black Manta, who’s trying to release some ancient power that’s just danged evil – you know the drill! Everyone is fine – as I noted, Momoa and Wilson play off each other well, Yahya Abdul-Mateen is ragey as Manta, Randall Park steals his scenes as the scientist who is helping Manta but quickly realizes what a bad idea that is, and it all hums along. I don’t know – it’s a superhero movie. It’s not terrible, it’s mildly entertaining, and it does nothing to raise the level of superhero movies in any discernible way. But all that means is that it’s as good or as bad as 90% of superhero movies out there. Including that Marvel one that got all the praise!

Any thoughts of your own that you’d like to share? That’s why we have a comment section, so have at it!


  1. Eric van Schaik

    I’ve seen some of these too.
    I had the same feeling with Duel. Why continue the journey?
    I liked Serpico, but it has been a very long time since I’ve seen it.
    You have never seen Porky’s? Shame on you! 😉 I remember that it had some very funny scenes. Like the “Lassie” scene : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RL6GlKaVHXw&ab_channel=PissedOffPapa
    I’ve only seen Friday the 13th part 5, the final chapter. Yeah right. It wasn’t that great and 8 more would follow.
    The time that Matthew Broderick had some nice movies. What I remember of it that it was… ok. It’s more than 35 years since i’ve seen it. I’m getting old. 🙁

    Holland is in the semi finales of the European Championship Footbal. Yeah!

    1. Greg Burgas

      I don’t really have much of a desire to see Porky’s these days, but I assume I would have loved it when I was a young teen who just wanted to see naked girls! 🙂

      Good for the Dutch!

  2. Jeff Nettleton

    I’ve seen Serpico and feel like I’ve seen Brannigan and Project X, from clips. I remember when Project X came out and I saw the trailer. Didn’t sound like anything interesting and I caught part of it on cable or onboard ship, while at sea (we watched vhs copies of films, on the ship’s entertainment system) and I saw enough to know that initial assessment was right. I’d rather watch Broderick in Ferris Beuller or Biloxi Blues, than War Games of Project X. Even Ladyhawke!

    Duel is one where I have seen in bits and pieces, but never the entire movie, though it feels like I have seen every other Richard Matheson tv movie. I was disappointed Weaver wasn’t riding through New York and arguing with the Chief.

    Never saw Dry White Season but have watched the much better Cry Freedom, directed by Richard Attenborough, starring Denzel Washington and Kevin Kline. It is based on Donald Wood’s book about the killing of Stephen Biko, while in police custody and Woods efforts to get justice for Biko’s family, which led to his own banning by the Apartheid government and Woods and his family fleeing the country, via Lesotho. It covers the friendship between Woods and Biko, after Woods was originally critical of Biko and the ANC, for some of their rhetoric. It’s a good drama, with lots of great actors, which sometimes unfairly gets painted as patronizing, since Woods is the central POV; but, it was based on his book (he smuggled the manuscript out with him, when he fled the country) and Biko and the lives of the black South Africans are well explored, and it also dramatizes some of the government violence in reaction to peaceful protests.

    Never watched any of the slasher films; no desire, and I tend to side with Harlan Ellison about the rather Old Testament and Conservative message within them. He did a whole essay attacking the genre as misogynistic and reactionary, as it is always promiscuous young women who end up the victims, like a judgement for having pre-marital sex. I prefer something like Serial Mom, where there is a real social commentary and satire going on, rather than blood and gore. That kind of thing works better in psychological horror, where it is left up to the viewer’s mind, like in Psycho.

    I just watched Monuments Men, but haven’t seen The Last Vermeer. That was decent, but tries to cover too much and would have been better served by a mini-series. For something in that period and in the Netherlands, I recommend Paul Verhoeven’s films, Soldier of Orange and Black Book. The former was from the late 70s, with Rutger Hauer and Jeroen Krabbe as classmates, at a university, as well as other friends, whose lives are interrupted by the German invasion of Holland. We see them go down different paths, including one who joins the Dutch SS and goes off to fight on the Russian Front. Black Book stars Carice Van Houten (Game of Thrones), as a Jewish woman who falls in with a Dutch Resistance cell and is tasked with getting close to the German officer in charge of the police. Lots of twists and turns in it, with many characters and plot based on real people, including female Resistance fighters. Both films demonstrate the complexity of Dutch life after the Dutch government capitulated, as well as the Far-Right support for the Nazis. Derek De Lint is of special note, as he appeared in both films, which were done about 30 years apart. In Soldier, he is the man who joins the Dutch SS, his mother being German and his father Dutch. At one point, he is home on leave and runs into Hauer, who is working for the SOE, trying to get the leaders of the Dutch Resistance out of the country (they are betrayed). In Black Book, he is an older man who is part of the Resistance cell and runs soup kitchens to feed the population, with a thin soup made with tulip bulbs and whatever else they can scrounge up. In the commentary, Verhoeven remarks that he can still taste the nasty concoction, decades later (he grew up during the occupation). The Dutch did point fingers, as Verhoeven shows, but they were less vindictive about it, compared to the French.

    1. Greg Burgas

      Ladyhawke is awesome. You know it’s true!

      I’ve never seen Cry Freedom, but I don’t have any objection to seeing it, so maybe one day …

      I was reading a bit about the reaction to slasher films and the filmmakers’ defense of Friday the 13th, in particular, as Mrs. Voorhees certainly doesn’t like kids having sex, but the Final Girl is definitely having sex with the dude who revived the camp (he does die, but she doesn’t). I think the trope became something more later, because, much like, say, Alan Moore’s comics, filmmakers took some elements of the originals (and while Friday the 13th doesn’t have the reputation of Halloween, it’s still an original slasher film) and amped them up to the detriment of other parts, and the “people having sex must die” part meant they could show more naked girls, so they ran with it. Friday the 13th has its faults, as I noted, but being misogynistic doesn’t feel like one of them.

      You’re making me feel bad about not having seen Verhoeven’s early movies, because you or someone else mentions them a lot. I’ll get around to them eventually!!!! 🙁

      1. Like a number of movies, Friday the 13th and Halloween came out before the tropes for their genre were set, so they don’t conform perfectly.
        Friday the 13th is probably the worst of the big slasher franchises. It seems on its way to obscurity — I wound up watching it with some college students about five years ago and none of them had even heard of it. Which suits me fine, I found it thoroughly mediocre.

  3. I have recorded Duel twice now on TCM (I think the latest airing is the new/remastered version?) and still haven’t watched it!

    I remember watching Friday the 13th and having a weird sense of deja vu– and then discovering it was shot in Blairstown, and I had friends who lived across the street from the diner seen in the movie. The movie is fine, but it’s no Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives.

    Aquaman 2 was okay. A bummer, because the first Aquaman movie is, no joke, one of my favorite movies of the last 10 years or so.

    Meanwhile, after seeing Furiosa I revisited all of the Mad Max films, and liked them all better this time around. I still think Thunderdome is highly underrated. The Mad Max movies feel, to me, like the closest thing movies have to Jack Kirby’s Fourth World– this one visionary creating this world of characters with bizarre names and weird poetic slanguage, taking our contemporary life and exaggerating it to mythic proportions. Furiosa is both Scott Free and Big Barda, a babe kidnapped from paradise who forges herself into a female fury. Good stuff!

    1. A while back you asked what our favorite movie of the 21st century was, and I think I will have to change my answer to Mad Max: Fury Road. Somehow an Australian guy managed to make not just the most visually exciting action movie of the century, but also one that synthesizes so many American anxieties of the modern era– climate death and water scarcity, the cult of toxic masculinity, control of women’s bodies, etc.– and was prescient enough to release this in 2015. Plus it has a dude playing a guitar that is also a flamethrower.

      1. Greg Burgas

        I’m annoyed I didn’t get to see Furiosa in the theaters – there was never a good time, and now it’s playing in only a few places, late at night. I’ll see it when it comes on cable, but I’m still annoyed.

        I told you Fury Road was it!!! 🙂

    1. Greg Burgas

      Oh, yeah, Duel is definitely a trial run for Jaws. When Spielberg was making it, he probably thought, “Hey, that worked well in Duel, why don’t I just use it again?”

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