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Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street, 2019

In 1985, Mark Patton was an actor whose career was really taking off following successes on Broadway and in both stage and film collaborations with Robert Altman. Landing in Hollywood, Patton was cast in the lead role of Freddy's Revenge: Nightmare on Elm Street 2. A horrible, perfect storm landed on Patton, a closeted gay man, as the film began to get negative attention for its less-than-subtle gay subtext, Hollywood began moving into an era of gay/AIDS panic, and Patton's romantic partner died of AIDS. Patton abandoned his Hollywood career, but was pulled back into the controversy when a documentary about the Elm Street series made him aware of a revival of attention to the movie, and also of the way that both the writer and director of the film denied any intention in the film's queer content.

It seems obvious to say it, but this film is really best if you have already seen Nightmare on Elm Street 2 and are aware that the gay aspect of the movie is deeply ingrained in the whole film--this is not just a case of clever YouTube editors cherry-picking moments and stringing them together to give a false reading.

There are several compelling elements of this documentary, which genuinely moved me. The first is simply Patton's personal experience. Growing up gay in a small southern town, he takes the advice of his high school drama teacher to get out as fast as he can, and leaves for New York. As his star rises, he and his boyfriend, actor Timothy Patrick Murphy, live in a nice house near Madonna. It's all a dream until Murphy becomes seriously ill with complications from HIV. Patton, due to gay panic, is told by his agents that he must become a character actor because he can't "play straight" and that he must put on as stronger front of being straight in his personal life to avoid negative press attention. Patton leaves Hollywood, discovers that he also has HIV and tuberculosis, and after his recovery moves to Mexico, completely leaving fame behind. And when he does get pulled back into the Hollywood world by the documentary crew making Never Sleep Again, he ventures online to discover hundreds of people calling him a "fagg*t". Patton's decision to engage with the world of the horror fandom clearly causes him conflict, but he is also unwilling to be stonewalled anymore when it comes to just how the film came to be made the way that it was.

The part of the film that made me the most angry was the way that Patton is treated by David Chaskin (the writer) and Jack Sholder (the director). As Patton points out, Chasin repeatedly asserted that there was only meant to be a little gay subtext in the film and that Patton's performance is what made it "gay". But when fans begin to celebrate the queer elements of the film, Chaskin is more than willing to take credit for that "transgressive" element. When Patton confronts Chaskin with interviews he did ("Oh boy!" Chaskin says, "This is where I get haunted!" Yes, imagine. Being haunted by THINGS YOU SAID), he claims that he was "joking" when he asserted that the film was so gay because of "casting". He gives what must be one of the worst non-apologies I have ever seen. He claims that he doesn't want to promote homophobia (what a stand up guy!), but so many of his statements come across as homophobic, especially when he repeatedly talks about Patton "screaming like a girl". Chaskin seems unwilling to admit that a lot of what is in the script comes from his own homophobia--after saying that he'd never met an "out gay"--and he seems entirely unwilling to engage with the emotional damage that Patton has suffered as a result of his words.

The director, Sholder, is even worse. He repeatedly claims that he didn't realize that the film had gay content. "We shot in a famous gay bar!" Robert Rusler, another of the film's stars, exclaims. Sholder then "remembers" that he scouted the bar when it was closed so there were no gay men in there at the time, and then further clarifies that actually in the script it wasn't mean to be a "gay bar" but rather a "transvestite bar", which is why they included "some weird looking women" in the scene. It is so painful. Rusler, clearly an ally of Patton's and an audience surrogate, just shakes his head in disbelief. When Patton asks, very reasonably, why no one ever said anything if he was playing the character as too feminine or too gay, Sholder has no answer for him. It's additionally damning that many of the cast, including Robert Englund, talk about how obvious it was. Englund even talks about asking Patton's permission to make one of their scenes more homoerotic in the way that Freddy caresses Jesse's face.

Maybe one of the most interesting things about the film is thinking about how it is perceived among gay horror fans. There is no doubt in my mind that the blatant gay/queer elements in the film came from Chaskin's own homophobia. And yet, a film in which the intent seems to have been to make homosexuality the monster seems to have been read by many gay fans as the horror actually being the fear of coming out and the fear of one's true identity. Many of the gay fans can identify with the idea that their sexuality, especially in the 80s, was something monstrous inside of them that they could not control and which could ruin their lives. Patton and the film take time to remind the viewer of the tremendous amount of violence and hatred that was directed at the gay community at the time. Despite the film's intentions not being in the right place, you can really see how a young gay person would identify with Jesse.

While I found Nightmare on Elm Street 2 pretty underwhelming, the character of Jesse was actually my favorite thing about it. Starting with the inclusion of a "final boy" instead of a "final girl", but even more in the portrayal of a lead male character who is emotionally vulnerable and sensitive. I totally agree with the commentator who remarks that an audience likes a final girl because of the transformation from victim to hero, and that audiences are less comfortable seeing a male character in a prolonged "victim" role. Jesse's fear feels very real, as does his sense of being out of control. It makes me sad to think that a performance that I admire was the source of years of pain for the actor who gave it.

I really admire Patton for telling his story. I like that he is both willing to speak up and confront others, and at the same time is quick to forgive. I think that the way that his co-stars talk about him speaks to the fact that he's not being over dramatic about things.

This documentary is a really amazing look at one man's life and experience in Hollywood, but it also raises some interesting discussions about horror movie culture and its complicated relationship with minority characters, especially because those characters are often filtered through the lens of straight/white/male writers and directors. Highly recommended, especially for horror fans.








A woman gets raped and left for dead. Turns out to still be alive and starts stalking and killing the men responsible. The plot has been done but who doesn't enjoy a good revenge flick, right? There were a lot of things wrong with this movie but most can't be discussed without spoilers so I'll discuss just a few.

An experienced hunter calls his shotgun a rifle and actually has a scope on it. Said shotgun is used as a rifle, firing a single projectile per shot, except once when the shot actually does what it should do. The shotgun is a pump action but is fired as a semi-auto.

Another issue is the cauterizing of a wound with a beer can. The print on the can is seared into the flesh as raised welts, like a brand. Not really possible.

The woman is impaled on a tree and is stuck there. She sets it on fire so it will break and she can escape but, because of her proximity to the flames, she would have been burned very seriously long before the tree would have broken.

The human body does not hold nearly so much blood as this movie would have you believe.
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Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street, 2019

In 1985, Mark Patton was an actor whose career was really taking off following successes on Broadway and in both stage and film collaborations with Robert Altman. Landing in Hollywood, Patton was cast in the lead role of Freddy's Revenge: Nightmare on Elm Street 2. A horrible, perfect storm landed on Patton, a closeted gay man, as the film began to get negative attention for its less-than-subtle gay subtext, Hollywood began moving into an era of gay/AIDS panic, and Patton's romantic partner died of AIDS. Patton abandoned his Hollywood career, but was pulled back into the controversy when a documentary about the Elm Street series made him aware of a revival of attention to the movie, and also of the way that both the writer and director of the film denied any intention in the film's queer content.

It seems obvious to say it, but this film is really best if you have already seen Nightmare on Elm Street 2 and are aware that the gay aspect of the movie is deeply ingrained in the whole film--this is not just a case of clever YouTube editors cherry-picking moments and stringing them together to give a false reading.

There are several compelling elements of this documentary, which genuinely moved me. The first is simply Patton's personal experience. Growing up gay in a small southern town, he takes the advice of his high school drama teacher to get out as fast as he can, and leaves for New York. As his star rises, he and his boyfriend, actor Timothy Patrick Murphy, live in a nice house near Madonna. It's all a dream until Murphy becomes seriously ill with complications from HIV. Patton, due to gay panic, is told by his agents that he must become a character actor because he can't "play straight" and that he must put on as stronger front of being straight in his personal life to avoid negative press attention. Patton leaves Hollywood, discovers that he also has HIV and tuberculosis, and after his recovery moves to Mexico, completely leaving fame behind. And when he does get pulled back into the Hollywood world by the documentary crew making Never Sleep Again, he ventures online to discover hundreds of people calling him a "fagg*t". Patton's decision to engage with the world of the horror fandom clearly causes him conflict, but he is also unwilling to be stonewalled anymore when it comes to just how the film came to be made the way that it was.

The part of the film that made me the most angry was the way that Patton is treated by David Chaskin (the writer) and Jack Sholder (the director). As Patton points out, Chasin repeatedly asserted that there was only meant to be a little gay subtext in the film and that Patton's performance is what made it "gay". But when fans begin to celebrate the queer elements of the film, Chaskin is more than willing to take credit for that "transgressive" element. When Patton confronts Chaskin with interviews he did ("Oh boy!" Chaskin says, "This is where I get haunted!" Yes, imagine. Being haunted by THINGS YOU SAID), he claims that he was "joking" when he asserted that the film was so gay because of "casting". He gives what must be one of the worst non-apologies I have ever seen. He claims that he doesn't want to promote homophobia (what a stand up guy!), but so many of his statements come across as homophobic, especially when he repeatedly talks about Patton "screaming like a girl". Chaskin seems unwilling to admit that a lot of what is in the script comes from his own homophobia--after saying that he'd never met an "out gay"--and he seems entirely unwilling to engage with the emotional damage that Patton has suffered as a result of his words.

The director, Sholder, is even worse. He repeatedly claims that he didn't realize that the film had gay content. "We shot in a famous gay bar!" Robert Rusler, another of the film's stars, exclaims. Sholder then "remembers" that he scouted the bar when it was closed so there were no gay men in there at the time, and then further clarifies that actually in the script it wasn't mean to be a "gay bar" but rather a "transvestite bar", which is why they included "some weird looking women" in the scene. It is so painful. Rusler, clearly an ally of Patton's and an audience surrogate, just shakes his head in disbelief. When Patton asks, very reasonably, why no one ever said anything if he was playing the character as too feminine or too gay, Sholder has no answer for him. It's additionally damning that many of the cast, including Robert Englund, talk about how obvious it was. Englund even talks about asking Patton's permission to make one of their scenes more homoerotic in the way that Freddy caresses Jesse's face.

Maybe one of the most interesting things about the film is thinking about how it is perceived among gay horror fans. There is no doubt in my mind that the blatant gay/queer elements in the film came from Chaskin's own homophobia. And yet, a film in which the intent seems to have been to make homosexuality the monster seems to have been read by many gay fans as the horror actually being the fear of coming out and the fear of one's true identity. Many of the gay fans can identify with the idea that their sexuality, especially in the 80s, was something monstrous inside of them that they could not control and which could ruin their lives. Patton and the film take time to remind the viewer of the tremendous amount of violence and hatred that was directed at the gay community at the time. Despite the film's intentions not being in the right place, you can really see how a young gay person would identify with Jesse.

While I found Nightmare on Elm Street 2 pretty underwhelming, the character of Jesse was actually my favorite thing about it. Starting with the inclusion of a "final boy" instead of a "final girl", but even more in the portrayal of a lead male character who is a bit feminine and sensitive. I totally agree with the commentator who remarks that an audience likes a final girl because of the transformation from victim to hero, and that audiences are less comfortable seeing a male character in a prolonged "victim" role. Jesse's fear feels very real, as does his sense of being out of control. It makes me sad to think that a performance that I admire was the source of years of pain for the actor who gave it.

I really admire Patton for telling his story. I like that he is both willing to speak up and confront others, and at the same time is quick to forgive. I think that the way that his co-stars talk about him speaks to the fact that he's not being over dramatic about things.

This documentary is a really amazing look at one man's life and experience in Hollywood, but it also raises some interesting discussions about horror movie culture and its complicated relationship with minority characters, especially because those characters are often filtered through the lens of straight/white/male writers and directors. Highly recommended, especially for horror fans.

Need to check this out. I've said it before but seeing Nightmare 2 back in the 80s, when I was 9? 10? That subtext really went waaaaay over my head. Revisited the film a couple of years ago and it hit me like a truck. I'll be curious to check out what Patton and others have to say about it. Will add this to my watchlist.
__________________
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An experienced hunter calls his shotgun a rifle and actually has a scope on it. Said shotgun is used as a rifle, firing a single projectile per shot, except once when the shot actually does what it should do. The shotgun is a pump action but is fired as a semi-auto.

Another issue is the cauterizing of a wound with a beer can. The print on the can is seared into the flesh as raised welts, like a brand. Not really possible.

The woman is impaled on a tree and is stuck there. She sets it on fire so it will break and she can escape but, because of her proximity to the flames, she would have been burned very seriously long before the tree would have broken.

The human body does not hold nearly so much blood as this movie would have you believe.
Taking the physical elements of this film literally--especially things like the beer can scene and the amount of blood on display--is probably going to give you the least possible bang for your buck in terms of what the film is after.



ANTWONE FISHER
(2002, Washington)
A film with an African-American cast



"Who will cry for the little boy, Antwone?"
"I will. I always do."

This film follows the events that surround Fisher (Derek Luke), a Navy sailor that is sent for a psychiatric evaluation with Dr. Jerome Davenport (Denzel Washington) after yet another violent outburst against another sailor. But Fisher says there's nothing wrong with him, or at least that's the front he tries to put up with Davenport when we all know he's just a boy trapped inside a man. The film follows the typical motions of other similar films, with Davenport standing strong beside Fisher, as he eventually opens up to reveal his troubled past; a past that involves abuse of all kinds.

Grade:



Full review on my Movie Loot



On Dangerous Ground -


This is a lean yet affecting film noir from Nicholas Ray. After 11 years on the police force in a crime-ridden metropolis while mourning the loss of the football career that never happened, Jim Wilson (Robert Ryan) is at his wit's end. After brutalizing one too many suspects, Captain Brawley (Ed Begley in a small and functional role that he still makes memorable) assigns him to a small town in the mountains to join the hunt for a murderer on the run. There, he meets Mary (Ida Lupino), a lonely blind woman with whom he bonds and sees a little bit of himself in (no pun intended). Jim's pursuit of the killer and his time spent with Mary amount to an affecting story about the importance of not letting your work rob you of your humanity. His assignment ends up being just what he needs to realize this because aside from meeting Mary, he sees how he would have ended up if he had stayed on his previous path in Walter (J.K. Simmons ringer Ward Bond), the father of the murder victim who only has vengeance on his mind. Luckily, the movie is not all human drama: those who love film noir for its tension and action will find it here, the highlight being when Jim and Walter pursue a suspect through the Colorado wilderness. Again, the movie is lean - perhaps too lean - and while the ending is sweet, it seems a little tacked on and studio-mandated. The movie is still guaranteed to satisfy even die hard film noir fans, especially ones who aren't particularly satisfied with their jobs. Oh, and Bernard Herrmann's bombastic score is one of his best.



JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH



Malcolm X meets the Departed. Stylishly shot, sleekly edited and superbly acted.





Bright Leaves, 2003

This documentary was created by Ross McElwee, a man whose family has always believed that the Gary Cooper film Bright Leaf was based on the story of their great-grandfather, a man whose formula for tobacco was stolen by the men who eventually created the brand of Bull Durham. McElwee looks into the family's history but also investigates the role of tobacco in the North Carolina economy and society.

The portion of this film that deals with the family history is medium interesting. But what I most enjoyed were the interviews with the different residents of North Carolina and their complicated relationships with tobacco. Many of the people who grow and sell it also have multiple family members who have died or who are dying of lung cancer.

Maybe the most interesting interview is with a woman who grows and sells tobacco, and whose mother has just died of lung cancer. When McElwee asks her how she squares selling tobacco with her mother dying of lung cancer, the woman responds that her growing and selling tobacco has "nothing to do with my mother dying. It has nothing to do with anyone dying." It if fascinating the way that their economic dependence means that they will live in denial about the impact of their actions. Later, another woman says, "Everyone dies of something. You might as well die of something that helps our, what do you call it, economy."

This was an interesting watch. Maybe a bit underwhelming, and I wish that despite the personal connection, the film had really just been about the people and their relationship with the tobacco economy.




The trick is not minding
Taking the physical elements of this film literally--especially things like the beer can scene and the amount of blood on display--is probably going to give you the least possible bang for your buck in terms of what the film is after.
I donít know what this film could have been after. Itís a straightforward revenge thriller. It wasnít even an entertaining one at that.



I donít know what this film could have been after. Itís a straightforward revenge thriller. It wasnít even an entertaining one at that.
The whole film exists in a heightened state where everything is kind of extra, from the bright colors to the amount of blood splatter. It trades in extremes. Each of the three men embodies a different facet of sexual abuse (the rapist/the bystander-observer/the cover-up). I loved that the main character is a big middle finger to the idea of "asking for it". The care that went into the distinction between sexuality and sexual violence was some of the best I've ever seen. I thought it was fabulous, and especially as a Friday/Saturday night midnight movie, which is how I watched it. I genuinely am sad that I didn't see this in the theater.





My kid asked to watch this, so we did. It has its moments, but it's not as good as the first one.
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There has been an awekening.... have you felt it?



The trick is not minding
The whole film exists in a heightened state where everything is kind of extra, from the bright colors to the amount of blood splatter. It trades in extremes. Each of the three men embodies a different facet of sexual abuse (the rapist/the bystander-observer/the cover-up). I loved that the main character is a big middle finger to the idea of "asking for it". The care that went into the distinction between sexuality and sexual violence was some of the best I've ever seen. I thought it was fabulous, and especially as a Friday/Saturday night midnight movie, which is how I watched it. I genuinely am sad that I didn't see this in the theater.
Eh. Idk. I didnít get that feeling from the movie myself. It felt like, hey, letís have this woman dress sexy, have her assaulted, plant it as her fault for her poor decisions, especially from the male point of view in the film, then empower her after the fact when she gets her revenge.
I think I just object to the idea of how every rape/revenge movie like this frames it around how she is dressed and/or acts towards men, as if itís her fault.
Iím rambling here. But obviously, I have strong (!) objections



Eh. Idk. I didnít get that feeling from the movie myself. It felt like, hey, letís have this woman dress sexy, have her assaulted, plant it as her fault for her poor decisions, especially from the male point of view in the film, then empower her after the fact when she gets her revenge.
I think I just object to the idea of how every rape/revenge movie like this frames it around how she is dressed and/or acts towards men, as if itís her fault.
Iím rambling here. But obviously, I have strong (!) objections
I thought that was actually the point!

As I wrote in my review, she makes literally EVERY wrong decision: she is with a married man, she goes alone with him to an isolated location, she dresses sexy (even after two other men show up), she flirts with them, she does a sexy dance for them. It's intentional and over-the-top and it's excellent, because the point is that she absolutely does not deserve what happens to her. And you also get the sense that this probably isn't the first time any of these three men have been party to an assault of this kind.

Unlike almost every other rape/revenge film, this one doesn't linger on her attack. Most movies of this type love to linger on the assault itself, including a lot of nudity from the victim. This film places the emphasis on the dynamics between the men during the assault---Dimi closing the door, eating a snack, and drowning out her screams with the TV. Richard offering her money to stay quiet.

I see this film as breaking the mold of rape/revenge in many ways. It's as much about the way that the male characters react to what has happened as it is about the revenge of the main character.

Here is just a thought: from the male point of view in the film, there would have always been something she did to "deserve" or "ask for it". Richard tells her "You know how hard it is to resist you."



The trick is not minding
I thought that was actually the point!

As I wrote in my review, she makes literally EVERY wrong decision: she is with a married man, she goes alone with him to an isolated location, she dresses sexy (even after two other men show up), she flirts with them, she does a sexy dance for them. It's intentional and over-the-top and it's excellent, because the point is that she absolutely does not deserve what happens to her. And you also get the sense that this probably isn't the first time any of these three men have been party to an assault of this kind.

Unlike almost every other rape/revenge film, this one doesn't linger on her attack. Most movies of this type love to linger on the assault itself, including a lot of nudity from the victim. This film places the emphasis on the dynamics between the men during the assault---Dimi closing the door, eating a snack, and drowning out her screams with the TV. Richard offering her money to stay quiet.

I see this film as breaking the mold of rape/revenge in many ways. It's as much about the way that the male characters react to what has happened as it is about the revenge of the main character.

Here is just a thought: from the male point of view in the film, there would have always been something she did to "deserve" or "ask for it". Richard tells her "You know how hard it is to resist you."
Hmm. Maybe I should give it another try, from that viewpoint, sometime. I didnít get the feeling it ďbrokeĒ the mold so to speak, but maybe I missed something in it. Who knows?



Hmm. Maybe I should give it another try, from that viewpoint, sometime. I didnít get the feeling it ďbrokeĒ the mold so to speak, but maybe I missed something in it. Who knows?
By virtue of watching a lot of horror and thriller movies, I have seen many, many variations on a rape/revenge dynamic. This one felt different to me in a positive way.

Here is a really spoiler-y thought:
WARNING: spoilers below
I almost felt like the film was more about the men. The main character literally doesn't speak after she falls off of the cliff. Not a word. But there are numerous conversations between the men, including Richard calling his wife. It's almost as if the main character transforms into a borderline supernatural "Ghost of Rapes Past" to punish the men for their crimes. There's no "training montage" of her learning to fight or whatever. She burns an eagle into her stomach, does some peyote, and destroys them. I also really appreciated that Richard's body was on display as much as, if not more than, the protagonist's. The angles of the film just felt really fresh and different to me.


I feel as if our reactions are pretty typical. I have read several reviews of people who love it and think it is innovative (like me) and also several reviews of people who think it is more of the same (like you). I'm not sure if a second viewing would change your mind, but from the minute the film starts with a sex scene that shows his body and not hers, I felt like I was in a different kind of rape/revenge flick, and it continued to impress me for the rest of the runtime.



The trick is not minding
By virtue of watching a lot of horror and thriller movies, I have seen many, many variations on a rape/revenge dynamic. This one felt different to me in a positive way.

Here is a really spoiler-y thought:
WARNING: spoilers below
I almost felt like the film was more about the men. The main character literally doesn't speak after she falls off of the cliff. Not a word. But there are numerous conversations between the men, including Richard calling his wife. It's almost as if the main character transforms into a borderline supernatural "Ghost of Rapes Past" to punish the men for their crimes. There's no "training montage" of her learning to fight or whatever. She burns an eagle into her stomach, does some peyote, and destroys them. I also really appreciated that Richard's body was on display as much as, if not more than, the protagonist's. The angles of the film just felt really fresh and different to me.


I feel as if our reactions are pretty typical. I have read several reviews of people who love it and think it is innovative (like me) and also several reviews of people who think it is more of the same (like you). I'm not sure if a second viewing would change your mind, but from the minute the film starts with a sex scene that shows his body and not hers, I felt like I was in a different kind of rape/revenge flick, and it continued to impress me for the rest of the runtime.
As have I, which is why I didnít feel it was different enough to set it apart from the others. Youíre really talking about a scene or two, maybe more, and it wasnít enough to convince me that it didnít have a ďbeen there, down thatĒ feel to it.
Again, though, a second watch might change that thought. Couldnít hurt, anyways.



"I smell sex and candy here" - Marcy Playground
Q & A (1990)
+



I see Brennan as the hero in the movie. The only guy who actually does some good. He is stuck in his ways and a racist, but, he is a brute and a warrior for the good guys. Maybe it's because Nolte plays him, but I doubt it. The reality is, you can't win a war on crime if you don't have animals and gladiators on your team. The other side will have worse creatures.

Just like you can't go around pretending you will stop crimes by having informants with no criminal records. I don't know what the world is changing into, but, it isn't strength and a decent way of life. It's weakness and appeasing wrongdoers at almost every step.

In my opinion, the desirable parts of the world to live in, are desirable because animals have had people like Brennan to deal with. That's why many parts of the world flock to these places. Their home countries are worse, with no one to balance the evil out.

What we, as a society, do to our front line workers and our thin blue line workers, is investigate, undermine and scrutinize them at every turn.

In the end, I think Brennan was proven to be right and correct on all counts. His only fault is that he was transparent in his actions and not a coward. Self preservation was also at stake. Those around him and above him, can't say the same.
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__________________
"I may be rancid butter, but I'm on your side of the bread."
E. K. Hornbeck



Need to check this out. I've said it before but seeing Nightmare 2 back in the 80s, when I was 9? 10? That subtext really went waaaaay over my head. Revisited the film a couple of years ago and it hit me like a truck. I'll be curious to check out what Patton and others have to say about it. Will add this to my watchlist.
For me, it really got me thinking about the degree to which the inclusion of minority characters in horror (whether that was race/sexuality/gender) was often dependent upon how straight white male creators chose to include them. And it's not to say that it's always a negative thing (for example, Candyman is an inclusive film in many ways and it was written and directed by a white male creator), but it can be very easy to demonize the "other", which is what I ultimately think happened in this case.

As have I, which is why I didnít feel it was different enough to set it apart from the others. Youíre really talking about a scene or two, maybe more, and it wasnít enough to convince me that it didnít have a ďbeen there, down thatĒ feel to it.
Again, though, a second watch might change that thought. Couldnít hurt, anyways.
There were whole scenes that I felt were different, but also just little moments.

For example, I liked how after
WARNING: spoilers below
Richard has pushed her off of the cliff, the actual rapist is really shocked. He talks about finding her and getting her to a hospital and is clearly uncomfortable with the idea of killing her. But then they actually go out on the "hunt" and he ends up in the truck with the heat on. And when he hears via the radio that she is being taken out, he is visibly relieved. Despite believing that it is wrong to kill her, he falls in line with Richard's point of view that her being dead is better for all of them.


I also just generally thought that the film did a good job of showing the dehumanizing way that people can be treated by those who think they are better than them. The way that the men create a narrative among themselves that she is the enemy and that killing her is how they must protect themselves because she has refused to be logical and accept a bribe.

I'm not saying that parts of the film aren't a bit rote (like some of the parts of her stalking them in the middle third). But I thought that the first third and the final act were so strong that it more than made up for it.




AN AMERICAN PICKLE
(2020)

First viewing. Seth Rogen plays two roles in this silly but dramatic comedy that pokes fun at today's cancel culture. Rogen has potential to turn in some good dramatic performances, but this didn't really do it for him. Still has its moments.

__________________
ďLet me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done!Ē ~ Rocky Balboa



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
.

La Vťritť aka The Truth(1960)
Ahhh, sweet, beautiful, intoxicating, free spirited, Brigitte Bardot. . .

It is Paris. She is young and firmly believes that:


And, rightfully so.
So she does.
And yet, there are some who think terrible, terrible things.
That she is:


They declare them, in-depth, in a Courtroom.
At her trial.
For the murder of her lover: Gilbert Tellier (Sami Frey).


This exceptional Courtroom drama is my second Henri-Georges Clouzot film. The first being Le corbeau (1943). And, as was my experience with Le Corbeau, I am extraordinarily struck by Clouzot's brilliance delving into the "hearsay" of the crowd. Speculation and insinuation dissect young Dominique Marceau (Brigitte Bardot) with relentless precision via the Prosecution's MaÓtre …parvier (Paul Meurisse)


Her defense supplied by an empathic MaÓtre Guťrin (Charles Vanel)

An equal in litigious combat.
Both men are clever, unyielding, and at times, sardonic, in their judicial "dance" with one another. Ranking them, for me, in the echelon of Courtroom adversaries.

Dominique and the deceased Gilbert's turbulently torrent love affair play out in flashback format. The segues executed with mercurial efficiency.
Each storyline captivates and never, ever, disappoints as the court proceedings reach "The Truth".
Its unveiling, for me, was a unique surprise that I did not fathom; giving an exceptional ending to, what I found to be, an entertaining, intriguingly captivating, movie experience.
One I shall be returning to, quite often.

I did have one minor obstacle with the, otherwise excellent version, I found on youtube. The English subtitles missed the occasional sentence or two of dialogue. Nothing that caused missing vital information, mind you. Nor will it be a deterrent should I be incapable of locating another, more complete version during future, multiple revisits.

DAMN, I loved this film!
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What to do if you find yourself stuck with no hope of rescue:
Consider yourself lucky that life has been good to you so far. Alternatively, if life hasn't been good to you so far, which given your present circumstances seems more likely, consider yourself lucky that it won't be troubling you much longer.