Love old or unusual movies but never know when they’re on? Here are several I recommend.
Party Girl (1995): One o’clock in the morning is the perfect time for an insomniac movie lover to take in this fey gem from the mid-1990s. I have to admit, I was completely wrong about this movie when it first came out. I was also wrong about its star, Parker Posey. In 1995, I found her and the film irritating. But the more years pass, the more I appreciate both the film and Posey’s performance. Perhaps it’s because she’s grown into one of our most dependable comic performers in such movies as Best in Show, You’ve Got Mail and especially Scream 3. But give this movie a shot. It’s actually quite touching to watch this deceptively lonely girl find a way to break out of her poser existence to find some real meaning and purpose in her frivolous life.
Turner Classic Movies, Wednesday at 1 a.m.
Coastal Elites (2020): From the “preaching to the choir” file: Here’s a new confection from HBO that you may or may not like, depending on your political ideas. Developed as a play but adapted into a COVID-era film by necessity, five characters — played by Bette Midler, Kaitlyn Dever, Issa Rae, Sarah Paulson and Dan Levy — give us a glimpse of how our currently charged public atmosphere can make us all a bit crazy. It’s all beautifully performed and surprisingly funny and insightful. At least some viewers might think so. Your mileage may vary.
Now streaming on HBO MAX.
The Departed (2006): I had some reservations about this film when it came out, but it’s hard to deny its impact. It’s definitely made by a group of filmmakers operating on all cylinders. It’s a remake of the Korean film Infernal Affairs, and its subject is a juicy one: police corruption by way of infection from organized crime. The startling cast includes Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Anthony Anderson, Ray Winstone, James Badge Dale, Vera Farmiga and many others. Stick with it to the end, because the last 15 minutes contain some of the most whiplash-inducing storytelling I’ve seen in a movie. Martin Scorsese finally won his best director Oscar for the film.
Now streaming on Amazon Prime.
The Babysitter (2017): Remember when director McG seemed like he was going to be an A-lister for about five minutes? Yeah, well, that moment passed. He was a hack then, and he’s a hack now. But ... I put this ridiculous teen horror-comedy in his plus column. Is it a good movie? Absolutely not. I should probably be embarrassed to admit this, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Judah Lewis plays a shy and awkward kid, and his babysitter (Samara Weaving) sort of gives him confidence. Their cozy relationship is upended one night when she has a late-night party at his house after he’s supposed to be asleep. The bizarre events he witnesses turn the night into a bloody horror chase. It’s funny. It’s stupid, I really liked it.
Now streaming on Netflix.
Trivia Question 867: Which of this week’s performers is the son of an accomplished dancer/director and a noted Broadway actress?
Answer to Trivia Question 865: In addition to Big City Blues, Eric Linden and Joan Blondell were romantically paired in The Crowd Roars.
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