January 10-16

Is it just me, or are we always tired these days? It can be the middle of the day, hardly any muscles being moved, the coffee has been sucked down, and yet everyone around me is yawning, and maybe even dozing off into sleep. The only certainty out there is that I’m not yawning, because I find the act obnoxiously annoying, and if it were up to me, there would be a $500 fine if a yawn is loud enough for others to hear. I can accept it if the night has settled in after a long day. Close to bed time is one thing, but the heart of noon is another hair across my ass that somehow bothers a fully developed human being.

Yeah, you can’t control being tired, but that’s what I’m trying to figure out. Why are we tired when all we’re doing is sitting in front of the T.V? Much to my chagrin, I also experience mild fatigue despite going weeks without ever doing anything worthwhile. The feeling always kicks in at the dawn of the afternoon. Coffee often does nothing for me, and I swear it makes me MORE tired on occasion. Writing this right now on a Sunday afternoon, the feeling is starting to kick in.

At least for me, the feeling is a result of lethargy. I could be watching my favorite movie, and I’ll think to myself “have I been overrating this?” Go figure, continuing the day by yet again looking at a T.V screen doesn’t energize me. I could inject sedatives into my blood stream, and I wouldn’t be able to nap. Sleepiness is never the issue. It’s merely the reminder that I should probably spice up my life. But because I’m afraid of the world around me, writing this shit is my solvent.

However, a first watch can give me a solid short-term high. Here’s what I watched this week.

Sully (2016, Clint Eastwood) – I regret being so uncurious about anything besides sports back in 2015-17. So many things that would’ve been right up my ally that I just missed. I hate that it took me this long to see this. This was marketed as the most mundane of biopics and “this ACTUALLY happened” movies with the draw of a big star. It overachieves quite a lot from its premise and script. We were taking Tom Hanks and Clint Eastwood for granted. If we got anything half as good as this in 2021, I would’ve gone to Sunday mass. I should note that I would take 2000s Hanks over 90s Hanks every day of the week Gimme this, Road to Perdition, and Catch Me If You Can over his most iconic work from the 90s.

The Trouble With Harry (1955, Alfred Hitchcock) – The Hitchcock collection on Criterion Channel will be leaving soon and I’ll be cursing myself for taking it for granted, just like everything else in my life. If there was any Hitchcock film that I could get a re-do for, it would be this one. The setup is great: a random murder drawing the curiosity of small town residents, mismatched by their folksy charm. This might explain why Hitchcock, while darkly funny at times, stayed away from comedies. Maybe the casting was off, because no one really knows how to sell jokes in this film. I still liked it though.

Sudden Impact (1983, Clint Eastwood) – What can I say, I’ve been yearning for Clint Eastwood. Not to go all Tony Soprano, but being a man was something else. I was aware of the film’s turn into rape revenge and surprisingly sympathetic depiction of sexual assault justice. Took a little while to get going (first half more or less playing the greatest Harry Callahan hits), but was always fascinated by its narrative directions for an action-thriller. I wish more people were interested in these movies.

The Tragedy of Macbeth (2021, Joel Coen) – Adam Nayman’s brilliant takeaway from this singular Coen film rung through my head while I was watching this. Three essential forces, Denzel, Frances McDormand, Joel Coen, mesmerizing production design and cinematography, but I couldn’t connect with it whatsoever. The hell with my illiterate brain for shutting down when detecting Shakespeare dialogue. Is this Coens cannon? Are we ranking it with the rest of their films? I say no.

Hardcore (1979, Paul Schrader) – Did anyone else rent a Paul Schrader movie about a conservative midwestern father’s voyage into the porn underworld immediately before watching playoff football? That’s when I can be proud of myself. This was everything I wanted. New Hollywood was simply the best.