Watched This Week, Vol. 2

In January, I introduced Watched This Week as a series that was supposed to publish every Friday — and, clearly, I failed at that! But I’m bringing it back this week with the hopes of keeping up with it from now on. Here’s a look at everything I’ve watched since last Saturday (3/28), in order of viewing.

(Image via Pinterest)

Art School Confidential (2006)

  • About: Based on the comic by Daniel Clowes, Art School Confidential follows an obsessive illustrator who finds that the art world isn’t quite what he expected after starting college.
  • Viewing method: Criterion Channel
  • Thoughts: Ghost World is one of my favorite films of all time (maybe THE favorite, if I had to choose only one). When I saw that the Criterion Channel was highlighting some of director Terry Zwigoff’s work, I decided to finally watch Art School Confidential, which I’d avoided because I figured it wouldn’t hold a candle to Ghost World. I was right, it doesn’t — but I loved it nonetheless. The cast is strong, and I especially liked John Malkovich as the disgruntled Professor Sandiford. It’s a cynical, strange, and honestly funny film, and I enjoyed every minute.
(Image via Film School Rejects)

Dark River (2017)

  • About: After her father’s death, a woman returns to her family farm, where she and her brother battle over its future.
  • Viewing method: Prime Video
  • Thoughts: This film is well-made and acted, but was entirely the wrong choice for me to watch in the middle of quarantine. The subject matter is very dark, exploring Alice’s (Ruth Wilson) family history and trauma. On an average day, I would be probably be praising the brooding atmosphere and gloomy landscapes, but the mood is so heavy that I just couldn’t wait for it to be over.
(Image via YouTube)

Badland (2019)

  • About: A Pinkerton detective works to track down Confederate war criminals in the ol’ west.
  • Viewing method: Netflix
  • Thoughts: Interesting premise, not so good execution. The pacing is strange, the acting isn’t great (even with familiar, usually reliable faces like Bruce Dern and Wes Studi peppering the cast), and the dialogue is sometimes distractingly bad. That being said, I didn’t find the film to be a waste of time. The Western has unexpectedly become a “fun to watch even when it’s dumb” genre for me (similar to mysteries), so I didn’t mind it.
(Image via NPR)

Western Stars (2019)

  • About: Bruce Springsteen shares musings on life and performs songs from his latest album.
  • Viewing method: FandangoNOW
  • Thoughts: Springsteen is, of course, a great musician and performer. The barn performance setting and dusty desert landscapes shown throughout the film perfectly complement these songs. If you like the album, you’ll probably enjoy watching this.
(Image via SFFILM)

Brittany Runs a Marathon (2019)

  • About: Practically broke and feeling down on her luck, a young woman takes up running in an attempt to turn her life around.
  • Viewing method: Prime Video
  • Thoughts: I didn’t enjoy this as much as I expected to from the trailer, but it’s a decent watch. Made me laugh a few times, and has a sweet ending.
(Image via Amazon)

Wild Rose (2019)

  • About: A young Scottish woman, recently released from jail, dreams of leaving for Nashville to become a country singer.
  • Viewing method: Hulu
  • Thoughts: This was my favorite watch of the week! Appropriately, the story plays out much like a country EP: Rose-Lynn gets out of prison, struggles to adjust to life back home (and struggles to accept her responsibilities), goes off on a grand adventure to Nashville, and finds her purpose in the end. The ending seems a bit too quick and neat, but I didn’t mind at all because the film left me in such a good mood. Jessie Buckley’s performance as Rose-Lynn is fantastic, and the supporting cast is excellent as well (including Julie Walters and Sophie Okonedo). Bonus points for the cameo by Kacey Musgraves!
(Image via Media & Madness)

Shock Corridor (1963)

  • About: A reporter gets himself committed to a mental ward to crack the case of an unsolved murder at the institution.
  • Viewing method: Criterion Channel
  • Thoughts: Watched This Week isn’t meant to cover older films, but I didn’t take notes to review this one in full, so I’ll briefly gather my thoughts here. What a wild and twisted ride Samuel Fuller takes us on in Shock Corridor. The film is chaotic and, at times, uncomfortable to watch but has a lot to say about obsession and madness, which kept me thoroughly hooked. Great performances and camera work, to top it off.

6 thoughts on “Watched This Week, Vol. 2

  1. Well, I’ve seen none of those, including Shock Corridor, but I do want to eventually see that one, and of the newer ones, I think that Bruce Springsteen show would interest me most. And what, no cheesy NEW movies to watch?

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    1. Anything cheesy and new is usually the cringey type of cheese rather than the fun kind, in my experience. I did watch something very cheesy this morning, though it wasn’t too new: a one-man Godzilla film made by a Japanese student in 1991! You can find it on YouTube if you’re interested, “Godzilla vs Mito Komon.”

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  2. Shock Corridor is so good. The loony bin detective.
    “I used to work in the Female Wing. But the “Nympho Ward” got too dangerous for me.” LOL
    PS I also love Ghost World. I bought the comic book by Daniel Clowes for my daughter few Christmases ago. Still haven’t seen it together yet but it’s on our list. Will be sure to look out for Art School Confidential though I had/have the same fears that I wouldn’t like it. One day, but Ghost World again first :)

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    1. YES Ghost World is amazing. I’m so glad to hear you’re introducing your daughter to it! I hope she loves it! Would be interested to hear how they compare for her, having read the comic first — I love the movie more, but didn’t read the comic until maybe 10 years after I first saw it.

      I’ve read that a lot of people consider Art School Confidential a “spiritual sequel” to Ghost World. It’s similar in quirkiness but more cynical. As a pair they make an interesting mirror of the late high school/early college years for an art kid haha.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the info on Art School Confidential. She’s in her first year at college too so she is sure to really relate to it.
        I also got American Splendor to introduce to her soon too. More comic book stuff in films… Hopefully this lockdown we can make our way through some fine essential films. All the best.

        Liked by 1 person

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