Spent the weekend at the CWRU Film Society Marathon 47.
Traditionally they hold it in January, over MLK weekend, so in 2020 it went off without a hitch. 2021, they postponed it to May, and ended up holding a version that was “restricted to current students, with special exceptions for people who haven’t missed a single once since 1976.”
This year they decided to let the riffraff back in. With extra safety rules, and a warning that “if this becomes a superspreader event, we won’t be allowed to do it next year.” The crowd was still awfully thin, and we were good about masks, so I think it’ll be okay. (Knock wood.)
Dune (2021) definitely benefited from the big screen. The story was just okay, same as I’ve always found Dune — but they clearly had truckloads of money to spend on sets/props/CGI, and took full advantage. You could’ve watched most of it with the sound off and enjoyed it purely for how pretty it was.
Disaster Squad 2: Dawn of Armageddon (the first Surprise) was a wild ride. It’s a 2-hour movie made by four guys in 2000 while they were in high school. They have borrowed cameras, props made from cardboard and/or bargain-bin Halloween costumes, settings based on whatever buildings around town would let them in, all the effects they could hand-draw in Windows 98 editing software, and incredible dedication.
Also, their eye for visual gags and comic timing is genuinely amazing. (Fair warning, they’re not all winners — it has a few of the unfortunate jokes you’d expect from, well, four straight white teenage boys in the early 2000s.) The whole thing is on YouTube, treat yourself to a watch.
The Iron Giant is amazing, but you knew that. Paired with Howard the Duck and Muppets From Space, it almost made a running theme — “lone misfit from space tries to fit in with humans, while the military-industrial complex almost ruins everything.” Lawnmower Man was sort of a tangent to that — “human misfit from Earth tries to fit in, then goes down the path of becoming less human, while capitalism tries to ruin everything.”
And then there’s the absolute contrast of the Iron Giant to Pacific Rim. Giant robots, they even have similar weapon placements/designs, embodying “I am not a gun” versus “I am SO MANY GUNS and I am going to blast the giant monsters with ALL OF THEM and it’s going to be AMAZING.”
…don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t expecting anything out of Pacific Rim except high-budget robots punching monsters and smashing up cities. And it delivered! No complaints.
Okay, one complaint: Mako Mori deserved better. (I was expecting that too, but still.) The last movie before this one was Moon Zero Two, a 1969 film with exactly the same aesthetic/budget as Star Trek TOS but none of the compelling writing or likeable characters, and it was very notable how the One Female Character spends most of the movie having men send her places and tell her what to do. Then we jump forward to 2013, and get…One Female Character who spends most of the movie having men send her places and tell her what to do.
I always keep an eye on how many of the movies pass the Bechdel Test, and this year — not counting the ones I slept through — was a dismal two (Dune and the Muppets). Anyone know offhand about Lifeforce (1985) or Space Battleship Yamato (1977)?
It’s still a novelty to do the whole Marathon and then just…be home, basically instantly, no plane ride or 8-hour drive still to go.
Wasn’t fast enough as far as the cats were concerned — I’ve left the Fluff alone for a bit before, but this is the longest I’ve left him and Fiddlesticks alone together. Both investigated me pretty hard when I got back. Good news, I passed their tests. And it looks like they didn’t fight, or run out of food, or destroy anything! Which means they passed mine.