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🎬 Judy, Goldeneye, & Good Night, and Good Luck

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ESJ's Movie Project

October 11 · Issue #34 · View online
I'm reviewing every movie I watch, and watching every movie I own. Settle in, this is going to take a while.

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🚬 Good Night, and Good Luck
Pictured: This would not look cool with a vape pen. Sorry.
GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK is a lovingly made ode to the CBS journalist Edward R. Murrow, and transparently a passion project for George Clooney — then the most bankable star in Hollywood — who plays Murrow’s collaborator, Fred Friendly. If you know the history of Murrow and his broadcasted battles with Senator Joe McCarthy, then little in the film will surprise you, but it’s still worth seeing for David Straitharn’s performance as Murrow and the shadowy yet crisp black and white cinematography. Of course, the 2005 movie is also worth revisiting in 2019 for its enduring relevance to the unbalance between objective journalism and cruel, xenophobic American politicians.
🌈 Judy
Pictured: When you hear someone mention "Judy and her daughter Liza" in Good Night and Good Luck.
The new Judy Garland biopic JUDY is a fine movie, but never quite ascends to anything more than that. Renée Zellweger is perfectly cast as Garland in the last year of her life, a four-times-divorced former star forced to leave her children in one of her exes’ custody because she otherwise can’t provide for them. All throughout the movie, we are reminded of how awful this situation is, and are both shown and told that Garland has since her earliest years been a victim of parents, managers, pervy studio executives, and more. Yet despite Zellweger’s immersion into the tragic character, it never feels as though we get beyond that idea, of Garland as the victim. Judging especially by its final scene, the movie wants us to remember how talented she was, and how beloved by fans, but the rest of the story can’t quite strike the needed balance between her misfortunes and her agency.
🍸 Goldeneye
Pictured: I just wanted to say, tanks for reading my newsletter!
There’s so much GOLDENEYE gets right that it could have gotten wrong. As the first James Bond movie released after the Cold War, it had the precarious tasks of introducing audiences to a new Bond (Pierce Brosnan) while confirming that a new era of 007 movies could still be fun, and yet removing — or at least lampshading — the tropes of the series that were showing their age. Goldeneye has held up surprisingly well over the past 24 years, which I’d argue is a product of the filmmakers having to consciously confront those challenges. The end result is an adventure that is somehow smarter and dumber than you might expect, buttressed by a slew of character actors such as Robbie Coltrane and Alan Cumming, as well as a masterful command of tension by the writers and director. And I had totally forgotten how good Bond’s climactic fistfight with “Janus” is — a real contender for one of the best fight sequences in the series.
🏆 Every New Movie I've Seen in 2019 (So Far), Ranked
(new additions in bold)

  1. Booksmart
  2. The Farewell
  3. If Beale Street Could Talk
  4. Us
  5. Free Solo
  6. Avengers: Endgame
  7. The Favourite
  8. Amazing Grace
  9. Long Shot
  10. The Wife
  11. The Art of Self-Defense
  12. Toy Story 4
  13. Shoplifters
  14. Hustlers
  15. The Last Black Man In San Francisco
  16. Once Upon a Time … In Hollywood
  17. Apollo 11
  18. Spider-Man: Far From Home
  19. Aladdin
  20. The Peanut Butter Falcon
  21. Slut in a Good Way
  22. Green Book
  23. Cold War
  24. Official Secrets
  25. Ready or Not
  26. Always Be My Maybe
  27. Rocketman
  28. Roma
  29. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
  30. Ad Astra
  31. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
  32. On the Basis of Sex
  33. Shazam!
  34. Judy
  35. The Lion King
  36. Downton Abbey
  37. Fighting With My Family
  38. They Shall Not Grow Old
  39. Yesterday
  40. Mary Poppins Returns
  41. Captain Marvel
  42. Minding the Gap
  43. Tolkien
  44. The Biggest Little Farm
  45. Alita: Battle Angel
  46. The Dead Don’t Die
  47. The Great Hack
  48. Stan & Ollie
  49. Vice
  50. Bohemian Rhapsody
  51. Aquaman

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