Apocalypse TV Guide Vol. 2: Period Pieces to Help You Forget That Now is Actually Also Pretty Terrifying
And sweet, sweet nostalgia for stuff you never experienced.
I’m Not Crying, You’re Crying: Portrait of A Lady on Fire (2019) (film)
Utterly ravishing. Elegant. Passionate. Slow-burning. An 18th century period piece without men. Irreparable heartbreak. Longing. Greek mythological literary allusions. Harpsichords. The female gaze. Lesbian tears. A perfect film. 10/10
Groovy and Smells Like Weed: American Hustle (2013) (film)
Corduroy, crochet, and chest hair galore. American Hustle is a lush to death and expertly manicured inspired-by-a-true-story story of two con artists in love and in trouble, both rife with complication. This film’s selling point is truly its commitment to the late 70’s texture, as evidenced by the sets, the costume design, and the location shots all curated to sepia-stained perfection. But more than a satisfying pastiche, characterizations are well-defined and well-executed, each one earnest, flawed, and believable. The disregard for moral absolutism is palpably erotic, fun, sad, cheap, melodramatic, and gross at times. All the right hairs are out of place. Even Jennifer Lawrence is good in this movie. And Bradley Cooper is actually kind of a good dancer??? 8/10
Rich Girls Still Don’t Marry Poor Boys: Great Gatsby (2013) (film)
Speaking of killer textures, Great Gatsby goes big in exactly the opposite way. Luxe Roaring Twenties art deco, delightfully anachronistic, and dripping with the glitz and glam of modernity, the film and its half hip-hop/half electroswing soundtrack breathe fantastic new life into a high school English classic. Baroque and bejeweled, the fast pace and dramatic camerawork take a surrealist approach to a grounded story. However, my chief beef is its depiction of the titular character, Jay Gatsby, whose composure slowly deteriorates over the course of the film. Maybe I’m a book nerd, but in the novel, Gatsby was cool and collected to the bitter end, and in my mind, deserves to stay that way. Dazzling in true Baz Lurhmann form, but just a little too distant from its beloved source. 7/10