Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans


A bit of checkered history here. Abel Ferrara made a movie Bad Lieutenant in 1992. I’ve never seen it, and so also claims the director of this one, the always baffling but usually intriguing Werner Herzog. He claims it is a re-imagining, but Ferrara says he felt he had been raped. Both are clearly the same story, of a cop (Harvey Keitel in the original, Nicholas ... Read more »

The Bad News Bears


Regular visitors to this site may have noticed that we’ve gone on an October World Series exploration of the world of baseball movies. So far we’ve dealt with the major leagues (Bang the Drum Slowly, The Pride of the Yankees), the minor leagues (Bull Durham), the Negro League (The Bingo ... Read more »

The Bad News Bears


One of the Rules of Cinema is that it is always a bad idea to remake a good movie. But one of the Laws of the Universe clearly states that there is an exception to every rule, and this is one of them. If there is anybody in the world who can out-curmudgeon Walter Matthau, it is Billy Bob Thornton. You can’t really compare the two performances, even though some of the dialog is virtually ... Read more »

Bad Santa


Bad Santa is the perfect antidote for Elf. From the very first scene when Billy Bob Thornton, as the world’s worst Santa, turns the tables on the little brats he can’t stand by (not voluntarily; he’s very drunk) pissing on one of them. He and his dwarf partner (the hilarious Tony Cox, and has there ever been a ... Read more »

The Bad Seed


Nature or nurture? That’s the center of this disturbing movie. Is human bad behavior determined by the environment in which a child is raised? Or is it the result of a “bad” gene? It is clear to me that the first notion is ridiculous. Take two brothers raised side by side in a terrible home and neighborhood. Abusive father, addict mother, killings on the streets, gangs threatening your ... Read more »

The Bad Sleep Well

(Warui yatsu hodo yoku nemuru, Japan, 1960)

Not one of Kurosawa’s best, which just means it’s a lot better than 90% of the films you will see this year. There were two alternate titles used in various countries: The Rose in the Mud, and The Worse You Are, the Better You Sleep. I kinda like the second one. It’s a bit of Hamlet—son seeks revenge for death of ... Read more »

Bad Times at the El Royale


It is 1969, and four people arrive at a motel that is situated right on the Nevada/California state line. In fact, a red line goes through the middle of the lobby, so you can gamble only on one side. None of these people are what they claim to be, and the motel itself has its own secrets. It is a place that used to be host to members of the Rat Pack and other celebrities, but has fallen ... Read more »

The Badlanders


What a dumb idea. Let’s take the novel that was made into a masterpiece by John Huston in 1950, The Asphalt Jungle, and downdate it (the opposite of updating) to the Old West. Instead of a big jewel heist, let’s make it a vein of gold ore. Instead of Sam Jaffe let’s cast Alan Ladd. Instead of Sterling Hayden, Ernest Borgnine. Sounds like a recipe for ... Read more »



Terrence’s Malik’s debut film ranks up there with Citizen Kane and Blood Simple as films that can be described as having “Burst on the scene.” He stuns, as both writer and director, and how did he learn all that before he ever shouted “Action!”? Loosely based on spree killers Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate (who is still ... Read more »

Baghdad Cafe

(Germany, 1987)

A nice little small movie that has a cult following. Jasmin, (Marianne Sägebrecht) a German woman traveling through the Mojave Desert, has an argument with her husband and she leaves him, or rather he leaves her, at the side of the road. She makes her way to the Baghdad Café, sitting out there all by itself on Route 66. Since Interstate 40 bypassed the place, hardly anybody ever shows up ... Read more »