Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

We Are The Best!

(Vi är bäst!, Sweden, 2013)

In 1980 three pre-teen girls of the type always categorized as “losers” are fans of punk rock and refuse to believe it’s dead. They form their own band, despite not knowing if you plug in a drum set or not. I wish I could tell you more, but the fact is that between the shaky camera work and the loud, obnoxious, and talentless music, I was beginning to get a headache fifteen minutes in, so ... Read more »


(Saudi Arabia, 2012)

In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia women are not allowed to drive. Well, everybody knows that (as they say in the Geico commercials). But did you know that in Saudi schools the Pythagorean Theorem is taught as being a miraculous gift from Allah? Did you know that strange men are not supposed to even hear the voices of young women? That the Koran is to be handled with a tissue, and never when a ... Read more »

The Wages of Fear

(Le Salaire de la peur, French, 1953)

The Wages of Fear (Le Salaire de la peur) (France, 1953) and
Sorcerer (1977) We just saw the former film, me for the second time, Lee for the first. It’s been some years since I saw the latter, but I’ve seen it at least three times, so I remember it well. It struck me that it might be useful to review them both, to compare and contrast. For ... Read more »

The Wagons Roll at Night


I don’t know how they did it, but I wish more moviemakers today could do it. Studios in the old days could take a story that was entirely and utterly predictable and make it fun. Maybe it’s a nostalgia thing. Maybe in 70 years the by-the-numbers romances they’re making today that just look so awkward and predictable will look fresh and fun to the people of that time. Who ... Read more »

What Maisie Knew


What I didn’t know is that this is based on an 1897 novel by Henry James. Not that it would have made any difference, but it is surprising. It has been updated to the modern day, and I guess the lesson is that a hundred years ago, divorcing parents could be as narcissistic, selfish, heedless, and just as generally fucked-up as they often are today. ... Read more »

Wait Until Dark


One of the all-time-best thriller movies. It was adapted from a stage play by Frederick Knott, who also wrote Dial M for Murder. It’s easy to see how it could all be staged on one set, as it almost is here with just a few outside shots. On Broadway the Audrey Hepburn role was played by Lee Remick, with Robert Duvall as the bad guy played by Alan Arkin. I’d like to have seen that. Honor ... Read more »

Waiting for Guffman


One of Chris Guest’s little gems, this time about amateur theatrics in a small town. He manages to tread the careful line, sometimes lampooning their pretensions and still managing to make us like them.



I guess everyone knows the sad story of this little film by now. The writer-director, Adrienne Shelley, was brutally murdered by a piece of human garbage, Diego Pillco, when she complained he was making too much noise in an adjoining apartment. Diego’s explanation? He was having “a bad day.” May he never have another good one. As of now he’s awaiting trial, and should never be a free man ... Read more »

Waking Sleeping Beauty


At the end of the ‘80s the Disney animation department was at a low ebb. Nobody had any new ideas, and the movies weren’t making any money. There was serious talk of shutting it down completely. Only Roy Disney wanted to stick with animation. Then Frank Wells, Michael Eisner, and Jeffery Katzenberg arrived, and within a few years they were making movies like {{The Little Mermaid, Who ... Read more »

A Walk Among the Tombstones


Lawrence Block is one of my very favorite authors. He is very prolific, and has several ongoing series, all of them good. The best of the bunch are the stories about Matthew Scudder, an alcoholic New York ex-cop who makes ends meet by “doing favors” for people, things a private detective might do, but off the books, because he doesn’t have or want a P.I. license. The reason he left the ... Read more »