By: Henry J. Fromage –
Another busy, movie-lite week. I’ll keep this bonus TV series shout-out going, though, because we’re getting a lot of good ones about now.
130. Staying Alive
Oberst and I gave this a watch, and it’s quite a specimen indeed, a nearly plotless (let’s watch Travolta be a douche to multiple women and dance to some truly godawful 80s pop-trash) cash-in on the disco success of Saturday Night Fever, released years after disco up and died, and repurposed by director Sylvester Stallone (yes, really) as a thinly veiled tale of his own early career striving (yes, he was a dancer, and no, unfortunately this film doesn’t find room for any Italian Stallion action). Everyone involved will most assuredly hope nobody remembers this, and most will be right, except for Frank Stallone, for which this might actually qualify as one of the higher profile films on his resume. Poor Frank Stallone.
131. Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids
Despite his biggest success being Silence of the Lambs, it’s perhaps fitting that Jonathan Demme went out on this music documentary note, as music and people-watching described much more of his oeuvre than his Oscar-winner. This documentary is a pretty in-and-out account of Timberlake’s culminating concert in his tour with the Tennessee Kids, and it displays his personability and attention to detail before ever hitting the stage for a show that has plenty of spectacle and all of the hits. It’s the closing moments of the film, as we watch the stagehands tear down and the segue into a time lapse of the arena coming together before the show, though, that speak the most to our loss of Demme… he had a remarkable ability to frame life in the most everyday and yet evocative way.
Better Call Saul
It’s somewhat of a marvel how a spin-off focusing on one of the least appealing characters in insta-classic Breaking Bad has already surpassed its source material in many unexpected ways. On one hand, it makes sense that this creative team just keeps getting more mature and subtle the more they build on their previous experience, but on the other, man, what a treat. Season 2 might be trading in a little too much on the recognizance of its titanic forebearer, chock full of easter eggs and callbacks now that the inimitable Gus Fring is a third planet for its plot to revolve around, but the Jimmy McGill material remains as good of television as there is right now, bar not many, perhaps none.