I’m not even going to pretend that this list of the last 10 films I’ve watched is, as a whole, anything to brag about. I will say that I enjoyed La grande bouffe a lot more than I anticipated. It is disgusting and a little thin, but there is real heart in the relationships portrayed by its impressive cast – Marcello Mastroianni, Michel Piccoli, Ugo Tognazzi, Philippe Noiret, and Andréa Ferréol. Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow is, on the other hand, just embarrassing.
- Good to Go (Blaine Novak, 1986)
- Nobody Waved Goodbye (Don Owen, 1964)
- Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow (William J. Hole Jr., 1959)
- Drylanders (Don Haldane, 1963)
- Deadpool (Tim Miller, 2016)
- Miracle on 34th Street (George Seaton, 1947)
- Inside Llewyn Davis (Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, 2013)
- La grande bouffe (Marco Ferreri, 1973)
- Tora-san’s Forget Me Not (Yoji Yamada, 1973)
- Blindman (Ferdinando Baldi, 1971)
I also listened to the Inside Llewyn Davis commentary provided on the Criterion Collection edition of the film and supplied by music scholars Robert Christgau, David Hajdu, and Sean Wilentz. While I’m not strong on musical concepts and the technical aspects of arrangements, orchestration, and the like, I do read music scholarship with some regularity. What I most appreciate about discussions of popular music, and this applies to the commentary on Inside Llewyn Davis, is how comfortable its scholars are with the idea of music being a commercial product. It seems intrinsically understood that popular music is something to be consumed and that success and circulation are meaningful, often desirable characteristics. Hearing Christgau, Hajdu, and Wilentz bring this perspective to the film, embracing it as much as a product as a work of art and being able to celebrate novelty as an achievement rather than as compensation for a lack of artistry or depth, was great. It fit well with the Coens who often seem willing engage in flourishes that tease at having meaning but do not necessarily contain any specific or reducible signification. I’m always cautious about celebrating art cinema over genre work or popular movies, and so it was great to hear from some scholars able to more freely find value within the medium.