Tom and Summer


It was a quiet week thanks to company at our place last weekend coupled with things like pub night and a renewed obsession with my Toronto Blue Jays. So the overall tally is down a bit. However, two first-timers did stick out.

The first was KUNDUN, one of the only two Scorsese narrative features I’ve never seen. The film is drippingly gorgeous (thank-you, Mister Deakins), and good…but it lacks the sort of snap that I’ve come to expect from Marty’s films. The usual emotional weight of a Scorsese film is absent, making it seem less like one he ferried from start to finish and more like a project he inherited. The plight of Tibet was a very trendy topic in the late 90’s, and if I didn’t know better, I’d swear this was Scorsese trying to capitalize…as much as one can capitalize on such things. I’m happy I finally saw it, but there’s only one shot from it that’s going to stick with me in the future.

The second film was BEAT STREET, which was screening at The Lightbox s part of their Back to The 80’s 2: Electric Boogaloo series. So if you’re asking yourself “What’s McNeil doing going to screenings that highlight the world of breakdancing, DJ’ing, and graffiti art”…well…good question. Earlier this month, I read a great book that compiled articles and essays about the history of hip-hop. The most fascinating bits for me were handily the sections that talked about late 70’s and early 80’s culture in NYC. It was the era that I knew the least about going in.

This point in The City’s history has come up a lot with me this year, thanks to Kim Gordon’s book that I’m reading now, and A MOST VIOLENT YEAR that I loved back in the winter. Besides the fact that it seemed to produce so much incredible art and culture, it stands in such stark contrast to the shiny beacon that Gotham has become.

So you take that idea, and surround it with some really exciting breakdancing – breakin’ that doesn’t require the bells and whistles of STEP-UP to amaze and excite. Then you add in some amazing rap and DJ’ing before it became something so mainstream, and what you have is a snap shot of counterculture on this rise and the sort of people who chose it as their manner of expression.

The plot’s not the greatest, and of course some bits of it are dated as all hell…but it comes with such exuberance that I found myself grinning like an idiot despite it’s insane “Eightiesness”.

Check it out if you get the chance – especially on a big screen!


Here’s the week at hand…


BEAT STREET – If you see me trying to breakdance, please stop me


Streaming/Blu-Rays/DVD’s I’ve Never Seen
KUNDUN – I wonder if “Scorsese Tries to Win an Oscar” will ever be a unit taught in film literacy classes?
THE HUSTLER – Speaking of Scorsese, is it complete heresy to declare that I like THE COLOR OF MONEY more?


Streaming/Blu-Rays/DVD’s I’ve Seen Before
MIDNIGHT – Mentioned on the last Matineecast. Track it down and watch a really clever rom-com play out.
IRON MANHow did I not remember that The Ten Rings are so easy to spot?
IRON MAN 2My first revisit in a long time; so much of Black Widow’s character seems wrong.


Boxscore for The Year
148 First-Timers, 88 Re-Watched
58 Screenings
236 Movies in Total
How’s about you – seen anything good?