Archives For March 2016


Deadline posted a clip earlier today from Jesse Moss’s documentary, THE BANDIT, which premieres this weekend at SXSW in Austin. Word has it that none other than The Bandit himself — Burt Reynolds who recently turned 80 — will be there to intro the doc when it unspools at the historic Paramount Theater.

NOTE: It may have been changed by now, but in Deadline’s first post they listed the year of SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT’s release as 1997. We all know better. The movie was the runaway hit of 1977.

Here’s a clip from The Bandit


I have a love/hate relationship with David Thomson’s writing. (I don’t know the man at all so there’s no reason I could have a love/hate relationship with him personally.) His writing seems to me to be preoccupied with sex. Or maybe he’s occupied with sex the normal amount but he writes about it more than  other film critics. It seems to take me longer to read his books than other books. Not because they’re necessarily harder to comprehend, they just hit stretches that fail to keep my attention. I’ve been reading Thomson’s The Big Screen off and on for over a year. Inevitably, after I pick it back up, I hit a patch that opens a newly discovered subject for me or gives a rich insight into something about which I thought I was completely conversant.

Shortly after this past Christmas, I wandered into Barnes & Noble with a  gift card I’d received in my stocking. I walked out with Thomson’s How To Watch A Movie — knowing full well that it would be more (and less) than advertised. The book is a collection of meditations (a little over a dozen) on the elements that make up a movie – and therefore shape the movie watching experience. Compared to previous experiences with his work this book is short and to the point. My copy is full of notes in the margin and lists of films scribbled on the flyleaf that I must see.

Just when I think Thomson will lose me again, he comes up with a line like this:

One might as well, in considering how to watch a movie, recognize the extent to which public life in America has itself become an untidy, unrated motion picture that has a captive but disenchanted audience. – How To Watch A Movie, David Thomson

A disenchanted audience, indeed. It may be more my problem than Thomson’s.

HOW TO WATCH A MOVIE | David Thomson | 2015 | Knopf 228 pgs


A nun walks into a movie theater… It’s not the beginning of a joke. It’s the beginning of an intriguing story and a remarkable bit of programming on Turner Classic Movies.

Every Thursday night March,  Sister Rose Pacatte is hosting a line up of movies once condemned by the Catholic Legion of Decency. Twenty seven films in all with intros from Pacatte — a member of the Daughters of St. Paul and the founding director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies (Culver City, CA). Pacatte is a film fan and critic who teaches courses of media literacy from her home base in Culver City and as guest lecturer on the road.


Barbara Stanwyck (r) and Theresa Harris in BABY FACE, a “pre code” film condemned by the Catholic Legion of Decency in 1933


Turner Classic Movies is calling the series CONDEMNED and shining light on some of the forgotten history of the Catholic Legion of Decency. The Legion started around the time the Hays Office opened and continued to issue its own ratings through the 1970s. The strongest rating it gave was a “C” — for condemned. Enter TCM and Sister Rose.

Some of the films were campy then and just plain creaky now. Some of the films were breakthrough works of art then that have stood the test of time. BLACK NARCISSUS (1947) is a favorite of mine that’s on the list. You may have missed the first round (March 3) but you still have time to set your DVR for the rest of the festival.

Here’s the line up and info from TCM.

Here’s a great interview with Sister Rose on Flavorwire.

Here’s a blurb and handy list from L.A. Magazine’s Ask Chris.