Got time on your hands? In the mood for some slow burning great contemporary films that go together like chocolate, peanut butter, and bananas? Let’s meditate on some genres.
The Car Chase: Drive (2011) This film accelerates at a steady pace, switching gears perfectly. Awkward, sweet moments build to shockingly real violence. The action, direction, and editing are impeccable. Believe the hype, Drive is gorgeous.
The Espionage Thriller: The American (2010)
This one sneaked up on me. Those expecting Bond or Bourne were let down, but Clooney embodies the constant, aching, paranoid fear that comes with being a marked man in an industry whose retirement plan consists of a blood stain in the street. Clooney squirms like a tiny hairless dog. He smiths a rifle by hand in a quiet Italian village. He bangs whores and kills a few people. He has a weird butterfly back tattoo. Odd, realistic, and incredibly suspenseful.
The Romantic Comedy: Punch Drunk Love (2002)
There are two good things Adam Sandler has done with his life: that Bruce Springsteen impression from the Courtney Cox episode of SNL, and Punch Drunk Love. Setting aside my unbridled love for the works of one Paul Thomas Anderson, this film is wonderful because it takes one of the most oversold and underwritten genres and turns it on its ear, while keeping true to it. It’s romantic: at times, it will make you swoon, goddamn. It’s funny: the mattress man scene is probably one of the best comedic performances in history. It’s art. The colorful interludes, the score, the sincerity, the running gags and moments of deranged non sequitur only round out its brilliance. It’s surreal, as if R Crumb made a Droopy cartoon. Shut up and choke-fuck this movie.