Aubrey's Movie Diary

About This Diary

My name is Aubrey Raech, and I watch too many movies. Aside from some very mild coding, it's pretty much my only hobby, and fills up most of my time outside of work. This is my personal diary for the movies I watch, with less focused, less relevant, and less meaningful commentary than I put on my Letterboxd profile.

In 2019, I set a goal for myself to watch 500 new movies, and some time in November I hit that goal. I even wrote a sort-of thinkpiece about the experience, and the things I learned.

In 2020, I naturally aimed a little lower, but with slightly more focus: I would watch 50 new films not in English, 50 new films directed by women, and 50 new films more than 50 years old. I identified those as the biggest holes in my film literacy from my experience last year. Here are some nice CSS progress bars to show how that's going.

2020 Movie Goals
Non-English 16 / 50
Dir. by Women 16 / 50
Pre-1970 13 / 50
Death Proof
2007 Quentin Tarantino Mar 30, 2020

This might have been a passion project with countless references and homages, but as a standalone film... I dunno. The second half was pretty good. It was a fantastic car chase, well-shot, well-performed, incredible stunt work, and the ending! Comically satisfying end to an unsatisfying film.

Fast Five
2011 Justin Lin Mar 29, 2020
Freaks
2018 Zach Lipovsky &
Adam B. Stein
Mar 29, 2020
No Country for Old Men
2007 Joel Coen &
Ethan Coen
Rewatch Mar 28, 2020
The Thomas Crown Affair
1999 John McTiernan Mar 28, 2020

My family stopped subscribing to a television service in 2002, but in the years immediately prior, The Thomas Crown Affair (edited for TV of course) was a staple of both cable and non-cable channels. I've seen extended passages of this film, all when I was perhaps 11 or 12, so there was something definitely familiar about this movie, but I'd never actually watched the entire thing. It was nice, a perfectly fine film. I think I may have enjoyed it a little more than the original Steve McQueen / Faye Dunaway, but not by much. Rene Russo is such a bombshell, and she owns this role hard.

Audition
1999 Takashi Miike Non-English Mar 27, 2020

I don't know if it was culturally tied to corporate Japan in the late 90s or whether it was garden variety misogyny, but gee whiz the main character rubbed me the wrong way. I felt so squicky it hurt to keep watching. The gore/horror, that I was fine with. The handling of mental illness in the case of Asami Yamazaki, woof, not great. But Jesus, what a trashmonster shitbag he was.

Judge Dredd
1995 Danny Cannon Mar 26, 2020

Wow. I knew this was notoriously bad, but wow. Diane Lane was the best part of this movie, followed by the production design, and then the abject absurdity of it all.

The House of Yes
1997 Mark Waters Rewatch Mar 26, 2020

When I grow up, I wanna be Parker Posey in this movie. Kind of a messed up aspiration, but there you have it. #lifegoals

Blrghlhghlrhgl, I love this movie so much it hurts. I generally like films adapted from stage plays, which this very much is, and I adore the material. I needed something familiar, something that makes me happy, because this COVID-19 thing is completely awful and hope-destroying. The House of Yes did the trick, hard.

Savage Grace
2007 Tom Kalin Mar 25, 2020
My Cousin Rachel
2017 Roger Michell Mar 25, 2020
Not Another Teen Movie
2001 Joel Gallen Rewatch Mar 24, 2020

What an absolute comedy masterpiece. There isn't a moment not used for a gag, a callback, a reference, something ridiculous. Comedies are notoriously hard to act, hard to edit, hard to everything, and somehow every aspect of this movie's production came together like divine providence. I've seen this maybe a half dozen times, but not for several years now. The perfect rewatchable movie.

The Exterminating Angel
1962 Luis Buñuel Non-English Pre-1970 Mar 23, 2020
Gilda
1946 Charles Vidor Pre-1970 Mar 23, 2020

Ohhh so that's what they were watching in The Shawshank Redemption.

Morvern Callar
2002 Lynne Ramsay Female dir. Mar 23, 2020
Starship Troopers
1997 Paul Verhoeven Rewatch Mar 22, 2020

I love Paul Verhoeven. I love his movies so much. I wanted so badly to rewatch this, I put up with periodic advertisements on Sony Crackle. I hate interrupting a film for ad-breaks, hate-hate-hate it, but for this, it was worth it.

The Most Dangerous Game
1932 Ernest B. Schoedsack &
Iriving Pichel
Pre-1970 Mar 21, 2020

What a buckwild film. Never could have been made post-code. Fay Wray was a total delight, her over-the-top reactions to everything were perfectly tuned to what the film was, and was very reminiscent of silent-era performances—which I guess wasn't too long before this was made.

Any time somebody does something even remotely dangerous at work, I like to say, "You're playing the most dangerous game right now." You know, as a goof. Glad I finally saw this.

Thriller: A Cruel Picture
1973 Bo Arne Vibenius Non-English Mar 21, 2020
Newsies
1992 Kenny Ortega Mar 20, 2020

Wow, what a mediocre film. Apparently the stage production that this spawned is better? I only checked this out because a co-host on one of my favorite podcasts marked this as one of her favorite movies, and after seeing it I'm thinking it's the sort of movie you have to see when you're a kid to find decent. Liking it necessitates nostalgia. I know that's really harsh, but so much of this is just... garbo. :(

Safe
1995 Todd Haynes Mar 20, 2020
The Haunting
1963 Robert Wise Pre-1970 Mar 19, 2020

Whoa, whoa, whoa.

I started watching this on the TV in the main room of the house, and my recluse roommate walked by and immediately sat down just from looking at the opening sequence and realizing this was an adaptation of The Haunting of Hill House. She raved about that book, and noted what was the same and what was different between this adaptation and the original story. Say what you will about my roomie, but she has good goddamn taste in just about everything. Now I've got to read the book.

Robert Wise managed something remarkable with this movie, which is scare and thrill me in a manner relating to spooky supernatural nonsense. The gothic themes were bolstered by a wildly inventive cinematographic style, reminding me of some of the B&W cine work in Joseph Losey's The Servant, which came out the same year.

I do wish they hadn't downplayed what was apparently a heartbreaking one-sided crush Eleanor had on Theodora (in the book), but you couldn't get away with that in a major studio release in 1963. The amount that was kept felt scandalous enough, despite its tameness. This one's an easy recommend to everyone I know.

The Kid
1921 Charlie Chaplin Pre-1970 Mar 19, 2020
Truth
2015 James Vanderbilt Mar 19, 2020
Shaft
1971 Gordon Parks Mar 19, 2020
Timecop
1994 Peter Hyams Mar 18, 2020

It absolutely baffles me how a time travel martial arts cop movie could exist with so few remotely redeeming qualities, yet here we are. The only way to make sense of Timecop is that it's a satire of the genre, but it's just not that clever. Holy moley.

The Kid Who Would Be King
2019 Joe Cornish Mar 17, 2020
The Woman
2011 Lucky McKee Mar 16, 2020
3:10 to Yuma
2007 James Mangold Mar 15, 2020

I was not expecting to be as disappointed as I was. This was good as a western, I guess, but I honestly don't think it had anything to say. "Ahh isn't this morally ambiguous and gritty and realistic? I'm-a cummm." And that was the extent of the commentary. I thought I liked James Mangold as a filmmaker, but the only films of his I've really enjoyed are Logan, Knight and Day (which I admit is kinda iffy), Kate & Leopold (which is admittedly garbage but a very guilty pleasure), and Girl, Interrupted. Seeing Ford v Ferrari and this middling meh in such quick succession is making me reevaluate my position.

The Irishman
2019 Martin Scorsese Rewatch Mar 14, 2020

Third time. I had my dad over to see it this time, since he's the only person I know patient enough to watch this all the way through, and he's old enough to tell lots of stories about his experience seeing Jimmy Hoffa on TV, people talking about the Teamsters, watching the Senate testimonies... he was really into it, and I was as rapt as I was the first time around. I freaking love this movie.

It
2017 Andy Muschietti Rewatch Mar 14, 2020
Happy Death Day
2017 Christopher Landon Rewatch Mar 13, 2020

I haven't watched this since I saw it in the theater, but god damn I like this dumb movie. I needed something actually fun after the alien nothingness of Tiptoes, and I'm so glad I found this on HBO Go.

Tiptoes
2003 Matthew Bright Mar 13, 2020

I've got this friend who lives in Canada. Every once in a while, we watch a dumb/bad movie at the same time and talk on the phone throughout. I made the mistake of telling him that this movie exists, and as a result, he decided that it must be our next riff. Big, big mistake.

This movie is nothing. No character has an arc. No plotline actually develops, it simply is. It has ultimately nothing to say. It is tonally alien, inasmuch as the concept of tone is completely alien to it. It was cut down from a 2h30m raucous sex comedy with little people to a 90 minute nothing, without the director's involvement. And it ends on an unmotivated 10 second shot of Kate Beckinsale tonguing Gary Oldman pretending to be a little person. This is hardly a movie. The only thing it has going for it is that it didn't offend quite as badly as the trailer would lead you to believe, certainly not to the red-mist-descending level of the bullshit fuckwad assburger called Hot Bot.

So, not high praise.

One Cut of the Dead
2017 Shinichiro Ueda Non-English Mar 12, 2020
The King of Comedy
1982 Martin Scorsese Mar 11, 2020

I did not enjoy Todd Phillips' Joker, for a whole lot of reasons. But then I saw The King of Comedy, and with every passing minute, I liked Joker less and less.

Maybe I'll have more to say on this later, I dunno. It's probably the most viscerally uncomfortable I've been in a movie rated PG.

The Fourth Man
1983 Paul Verhoeven Non-English Mar 11, 2020

I've now seen four films from the Netherlands. There may very well be a day that I watch a Dutch film I don't absolutely love, but that sure as heck ain't today.

Talk about using sex and sexuality to strengthen the atmosphere and terror of an erotic thriller! I'm not sure what it is about Verhoeven that jives so well with me and my sensibilities, but it's truly astounding that he's been able to masterfully grip me so completely from The Fourth Man in '83 into the 21st century with Black Book and Elle.

This was a real effort to find; the non-profit video library here in Seattle had one copy, but because it's out of print and so rare, your have to put down a $200 deposit to rent the DVD. Absolutely worth it. Seek out this title.

Satanic Panic
2019 Chelsea Stardust Female dir. Mar 10, 2020
South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut
1999 Trey Parker Rewatch Mar 10, 2020
Mouchette
1967 Robert Bresson Non-English Pre-1970 Mar 9, 2020

I honestly had a very hard time with making heads or tails of Mouchette. It's my first Bresson film, so I don't think I understand how to watch him yet. What is interesting? Yes. Did I like it? Was I even supposed to? Did it accomplish what it was trying to say, or was it more asking me to instill meaning into it?

I can't in good conscience rate it right now, kind of like I couldn't rate The Double Life of Veronique or Booksmart (the latter because of personal reasons that greatly impacted my ability to be even nominally impartial). I'm not even sure a rating is warranted. This is definitely a "I'll have to revisit it later" movie.

Haywire
2011 Steven Soderbergh Mar 8, 2020
There Will Be Blood
2007 Paul Thomas Anderson Mar 7, 2020
GoodFellas
1990 Martin Scorsese Rewatch Mar 6, 2020
Torn Apart
2006 Jean Châteauvert Non-English Mar 5, 2020
Sleuth
1972 Joseph L. Mankiewicz Mar 5, 2020
Emma.
2020 Autumn de Wilde Female dir. Mar 4, 2020
The Lure
2015 Agnieszka Smoczyńska Female dir. Non-English Mar 4, 2020
Breathless
1960 Jean-Luc Godard Non-EnglishPre-1970 Mar 4, 2020
The Rock
1996 Michael Bay Mar 3, 2020

So high concept it hit the ozone, The Rock is a film I watched solely because the Rewatchables podcast kept mentioning it in relation to Nick Cage's career.

As the minutes progressed, I realized that despite its enormous strengths (explosions and exposition) this movie could not possibly be any less interesting to me. I can't remember the last time I saw something that thought so little of its audience. I really don't think I grok Michael Bay, not even on a basic level.