The Souvenir (2019) Written & Directed by Joanna Hogg
She meets him during a party. He works for the foreign office, is older, and exudes that overwhelming sense of mystery and sophistication. They stumble through the first steps of a thing they haven’t entirely defined yet. She’s caught up in developing her first feature film, a story about a declining English city. He’s always bounding about for work. Then his secret comes out, divulged by a dinner guest and every single thing in her life goes spiraling. This is a semi-autobiographical film from Joanna Hogg which follows the character of Julie in the early 1980s as she sinks into the quicksand of a destructive relationship.
With the release of the CG Lion King remake, I got to thinking about which Disney movies I love that don’t get that love in return. Here are my thoughts on my favorite underrated Disney animated flicks.
The Sword in the Stone (1963, dir. Wolfgang Reitherman) While you might think this Disney version of the legend of King Arthur is just based on general stories it is, in fact, an adaptation of T.H. White which was one volume of four in The Once and Future King series, which was in turn a more modern updating of Sir Thomas Mallory’s Le Morte d’Arthur. Not only that, Walt Disney was inspired to approve the project as the studio’s next feature after seeing the Broadway musical Camelot in 1960. Instead of a high adventure film, The Sword in the Stone is a light comedy, focusing purely on Arthur’s adolescence and the first few months of training with the wizard Merlin. The primary arc of the film is not about Arthur becoming the king but finding strength and bravery within himself. Along the way, there’s lots of great visual comedy, especially when Merlin and his rival Madam Mim start breaking out the spells.
Lethal Weapon (1986) Written by Shane Black Directed by Richard Donner
I was looking over the films that came out in 1989 to find some 30th-anniversary content and saw Lethal Weapon 2 came out this weekend that many years ago. I realized I’d never seen the first Lethal Weapon and decided to sit down and watch this flick finally. I like both gentlemen involved in the making of this picture. Shane Black is a pretty good screenwriter, and I enjoyed both Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and The Nice Guys. Richard Donner is the filmmaker behind The Omen, The Goonies, and one of my all-time favorites Superman the Movie. I am a bit more negative on one of the film’s stars, Mel Gibson for obvious reasons if you have kept up with pop culture for the last twenty years. But I decided to give the picture a shot and see if it made sense there’d be three more movies and television series in this franchise.
Stranger Things is an unabashed recycler of 1980s movie tropes, so it is worth our time to explore the films that inspired the show. It’s easy to see the influences of Steven Spielberg, Dungeons & Dragons, Stephen King, and George Lucas in the show, but here are some inspirations that are not in the mainstream public sphere quite as much.
Stranger Things Season 3 (Netflix) Written by Matt Duffer, Ross Duffer, William Bridges, Kate Trefry, Paul Dichter, and Curtis Gwinn Directed by Matt Duffer, Ross Duffer, Shawn Levy, and Uta Briesewitz
When the 1980s is referenced in modern popular media it is typically with bright neon colors and pop music, nods to Ghostbusters, Goonies, and Gremlins, the sound of Mario snatching a coin backed by synthesizers. When did the 1980s as an aesthetic and unique cultural touchpoint begin? The early 1980s are naturally a carryover of the late 1970s but when did this decade come into its own? 1985 is a reasonable touchpoint; when the color got turned up, and the consumption of the Reagan era went into full swing. If you noticed a marked difference in the look and feel of Stranger Things, you wouldn’t be wrong. This third season is unashamedly dripping in its time, arguably more so than the previous seasons. This is also the most cohesive season if we look at the plot structure with very clear throughlines that bring us to a conclusion. There’s not a lot of character downtime, for better or worse.
New Teen Titans Volume 10 Reprints New Teen Titans v2 #10-15, Annual v2 #1 Written by Marv Wolfman Art by Eduardo Barreto, Stan Woch, Romeo Tanghal, and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez
This volume of the New Teen Titans is a bit of a mess. Marv Wolfman is entirely at the helm of the book’s direction and doesn’t seem to know exactly what kind of stories he wants to tell. The Titans feel directionless with multiple issues that have no weight on the characters or progressing any arcs. These issues are so far removed from iconography and characters most associated with the Titans that it feels like an entirely different comic at times. Other than the connections to the Crisis event, these are stories existing in their inconsequential pocket of the DC Universe.
The New Teen Titans Volume 9 Reprints The New Teen Titans (2nd series) #1-9 Written by Marv Wolfman Art by George Perez, Jose Luis-Garcia Lopez, Romeo Tanghal, and Dan Jurgens
After a prolonged absence, Raven returns, but this time possessed by her dark father, Trigon. Before the Titans can truly react, Trigon has transformed New York City into a hellish kingdom for himself. To stop the mad demonic being and bring Raven back into her right mind it will take the return of Kid Flash and Lilith. Even with the defeat of Trigon the Titans still face peril when Lilith is revealed to have origins that tie her to the Titans of Myth. The team is led on an adventure into the vast, mythic realms where they will find a new member for the team and bring an era of this comic series to a close.