I smashed my way to my target of watching 50 movies during lockdown, so now I’m ears pinned back, really going for it. I’m going to see if I can clock up 100 (unlikely).
Here’s another eight watched (taking me to 58), digested, and judged on the Covid Rating scale – 1 being turdballs, 19 being unbelievable.
The Kid (1921) – one of Chaplin’s silent classics, from way back when a hairy stamp on your top lip didn’t draw Hitler comparisons – unfortunately for Hitler, neither did it evoke the intended Chaplin comparisons a decade or so later.
Covid Rating: 9
The Bad News Bears (1976) – a sporting underdog tale that veers refreshingly from cliché, possibly on account of being made before the clichés all started. Walter Matthau’s alcoholic baseball coach stays alcoholic, and the rabble he cobbles together SPOILER ALERT don’t become champions in the way you’d expect. Matthau is excellent, as are the kids playing the team, particularly Tatum O’Neal who like all child stars went on to marry a famous sportsman and become a crack addict.
Covid Rating: 15
I, Tonya (2017) – as proven by the OJ Simpson TV drama seemingly arriving in tandem with the in-depth OJ Simpson doc, while the wildest stories can work in both mediums, a thorough documentary will tip the balance every time – the same thing applies here. Good film, would’ve been an even better doc.
Covid Rating: 10
Coffy (1973) – I’ve played the Roy Ayers soundtrack numerous times but never seen the film, so I thought I’d remedy the sitch. Main character “Coffy” Coffin is a nurse by day (and also by night, presumably) and a vigilante by night (and sometimes during the day you’d expect), seeking vengeance against the pushers who turned her kid sister into a junkie. At times it’s like a bad daytime soap, at others like a busty Russ Meyer flick, but it’s considered a Blaxploitation classic for a reason. And that reason is Pam Grier, playing every tough female Tarantino role you can think of.
Covid Rating: 11
An Autumn Tale (1998) – my corona love affair with Eric Rohmer continues with this leaf-dropping rom-com set in wine country, bigger on the romance than the comedy. He’s the master of pinpointing how vulnerable people mask their discomfort without any need for gloss, which gives you a love story with an ending forged in reality – via a little bit of Shakespeare, and a little bit of farce. J’adore this guy.
Covid Rating: 16
Stolen Kisses (1968) – I’d given Godard, Rohmer and Melville a spin around the block, so obviously (OBVIOUSLY) it was time for Francois Truffaut – starting with his short film Antoine & Colette before graduating up to this, a further adventure of his recurring hero, Antoine Doinel (think Ferris Bueller with a Frenchman’s intensity). Tis a tale of love, young adulthood, and how you can easily kill time in 1960s Paris with a quick visit to a prozzie.
Covid Rating: 14
Letter to Brezhnev (1985) – Her from Brookside just wants to get out of Liverpool and move to Communist Russia to be with a sailor. Highlights include 90s legend Margi Clarke essentially playing Margi Clarke, and the bit where one girl calls another girl a “jealous bastard”. Other than that, it’s late night Hollyoaks.
Covid Rating: 5
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) – widely revered, this was a little bit lost on me. The major downside is that I felt like I was watching a really nuts version of Stomp, the West End musical. I also tend to struggle with any movie or TV show that references Valhalla – I’m not a Valhalla guy. That said, the last half hour sucked me in.
Covid Rating: 10