my Movie

Movie Details

Title:   Mandy
Director:   Panos Cosmatos
Year:   2018
Genre:   Revenge
Times Seen:   1
Last Seen:   11.14.22

Other Movies Seen By This Director (0)

Notes History
Date Viewed Venue Note
11.14.22InternetThis Screening is part of event: DVRfest 2022
Mandy. The movie everyone loves. The movie I should love. The movie I was afraid I wouldn't love. I had it confused in my mind. I know Beyond the Black Rainbow played at Fantastic Fest, but there were several films like that in the early 2010s and I remember watching some Greek art-meets-genre film where all the sets were wild and colorful but the story was a huge bore that didn't go anywhere. so I thought they were one and the same, I was hesitant to watch this because I thought it was by the same guy. The film I saw was actually called Norway by Yannis Veslemes, I haven't seen Beyond the Black Rainbow, so that clears that up.

Mandy does play largely like how I imagined it would. The story is very simple, the pace is glacial (for the first half), the simplicity of its story is obscured by a heavy veil of color and lighting, it puts you in a trance-like state, etc. The difference, for me at least, is that the movie is actually good enough to pull it off. The colors and shot composition are beautiful to look at, the score is sweeping and evocative, enough to keep things from getting boring. The title treatments are very cool, i love how the movie's title comes up halfway through the film.

Then there's one "normal" scene smack dab in the middle, between Nic Cage and Bill Duke, where there's actual dialogue and shit. After that, the last half plays out an incredibly satisfying revenge.

Cage is great here. The scene where he screams is amazing. That sentence probably sounds funny if you haven't seen the movie, which I now have.

So I liked it quite a bit. I was surprised by the quality of it and how I wasn't bored. I watching with my headphones on which probably helped as the score is such a huge factor. I now understand why so many people bring it up. constantly. Because it's really good.


And that finally wraps up another DVRfest. This is the part of my notes where I typically list off the annual stats, mention how Peter Bogdanovich kept his notes for 17 years, and talk about the future of my movie-watching habits...

...but the numbers are crap (19 in the past week fora 2.71/day avg, 20 in the past month for a 0.67/day avg, 62 in the past year for a 0.17/day avg, and 3378 since the site started for a 0.51/day avg)...

...and Bogdanovich died this year...

...and this is the 18th birthday of this journal, so I have officially beaten him. Of course I didn't have a full career making movies including some amazing classic films, but whatever.

So instead of apologizing for another lackluster year of watching more television than cinema and not going to a theater once, I am going to fill up this space talking about my movie-going habits BEFORE the journal started. If this site is to be the document of my cinematic experience, then indulge in a prequel of sorts.

I was born in LA. The valley more specifically. I remember passing a Pussycat theater on my way home from and loving the huge marquee... not realizing it was a porn theater at all. Other than that though, I didn't see LA as the movie town. We lived in the valley, my mom worked for Western airlines (the airline that Arnold sneaks out of at the beginning of Commando), my dad did some vaguely business-y thing, our family wasn't connected to the entertainment industry at all. I remember we went to a drive-in a few times and I've been told that Temple of Doom was the first movie I saw in a theater. I was 6. I do have a memory of sitting in the lobby hearing that iconic theme play over the end credits of the previous show but nothing about if Mola Ram or the bugs scarred me for life or anything like that. I do remember seeing the trailer for Ghostbusters which showed the librarian and thinking that was scary. I also remember watching some movie with Dudley Moore about a tank and my mom asking the ticket clerk what gave the movie an R rating. She was alright with profanity but I guess didn't want me to see too much nudity or violence.

As an only child I was spoiled. I loved Star Wars, somehow, so had those toys. I had a ton of toys. But as far as actually watching them I only have fleeting memories of Empire being on one saturday or something, watching the hoth battle in the living room. We had a Zenith floor model that I think was our only tv so it's not like I had any command over what we watched. I usually slept in too late to catch the Saturday morning cartoons although I did see them once or twice.

We moved from LA to Colorado in 86. I remember the reception being terrible in the mountains; my mom trying to watch tv through the fuzz and snow. She was a movie fan. John Wayne was her and her sisters' favorite star. She had a habit of watching this mini-series called Centennial every year. It was like 20 hours long; she had a VHS box set that was like 12 cassettes, looked more like a log than a box. She also loved The Godfather and had "The complete saga" on VHS as well (that's the first two movies with Part 2 split in half to tell the story sequentially). She also loved Gone with the Wind and had a framed poster of it down in the basement. What I knew was that she liked very very long movies.

Sometime during my short stint in Colorado, we started regularly going to the theater. My dad travelled a lot for business during that era so it was her and me for the most part. There were a couple multiplexes around so I remember seeing a lot of stuff. Lost Boys, Predator, Die Hard, Back to the Future Part 2, Batman, and we also had a drive-in where I saw Friday the 13th part 6 or 7, not caring about the other half of the double feature.

This was also the time where a video store popped up. I remember they had these massively-wide boxes with the actual video cover centered between pillarboxes almost. That's how I first saw Stand By Me.

Sometime around then we also got cable and the snowy barely-there image was replaced by bright vibrant stable colors. We had a tv in a basement room next to the garage (our house was on the side of a mountain so was multi-level) so I'd live down there, watching SNL and American Gladiators and the Friday the 13th series (which didn't have anything to do with Jason Voorhees).

Somewhere around here, my mom also started recording movies she liked onto tape. I remember the earliest still being crappy over-the-air antenna quality but she recorded so many she had to put little number stickers on the spines and keep a record of which movies were on what tapes.

In 89 we moved again, this time to Maryland. We got cable again not long after moving in and this is where my agency in what I saw started kicking in. We had 2 tvs (one in the living room, one in the fully-furnished basement) so I could usually get access to one. I also met my neighbor Camron and became best friends with him, who was into comic books and movies and video games like me.

My mom's catalog begat a rolodex to keep track of, video stores proliferated including one just a mile or so from the house (B&B Video, soon to become Hilltop Video), we got HBO, our town had like 3 theaters to choose from. Not too too long after, I got a tv in my room (at first just to play games but eventually got a cable box attached). I saw a lot of stuff during this period.

Cable also meant cinemax. My puberty was fueled by Cinemax after dark, picking movies to watch based on if anyone got naked in them, and... yes... I had a Boner Jams type tape where I would just record the sex scenes from the softcore flicks to watch back later. I'm sure it was laughable, spending more attention hovering over the record button trying to guess when the sex would start rather than actually exorcising the demons, but it made sense at the time.

By the early 90s Camron and I were in the theater every friday, followed by a good hour of choosing what to rent from the video store for the weekend. I never worked in a video store but these were the years where I memorized all the boxes looking for some diamond in the rough. Sometimes it worked (Amazon Women on the Moon, especially Arsenio Hall's bit at the beginning really made me laugh), sometimes it was a bust (usually if it had Full Moon Entertainment on the spine). Still, I watched it all. And if it was good, I'd watch it twice before returning it. And if it was really good, I'd tape it myself when it hit HBO.

This is how I spent most of high-school. The main difference was that I graduated to a deeper pool of resources in the form of Wonder Book & Video, a sprawling complex that was half dusty overburdened video shelves and a labyrinth of stacked and unorganized used books. My mom would get lost looking at the books while I spent hours scouring the shelves. I found a Night of the Living Dead / Reefer Madness double feature on one tape, Lars Von Trier's The Kingdom (thanks to a Stephen King quote on the box ("like ER on acid")), the two-tape Dawn of the Dead re-release just to name a few. As a testament to its quality, the place is still there today.

Around now I began to do deep dives on directors. My friend Jim and I became preoccupied with Alfred Hitchcock. I got an assignment for German class to do an essay on Fritz Lang (my other choice was Fassbinder. I had no clue who either was). I started to wonder what the deal was with this Citizen Kane movie. So I began studying each issue of TV Guide and setting my vcr to record anything that looked interesting. Tapes and Tapes full of stuff off TCM... the intros were all over the place: early morning birds chirping, late night guy in coffee shop, so many Robert Osbourne introductions. I saw most of Hitch's films this way. For Lang's films I had to go to Wonder, who had Metropolis and Die Nibelungen in their silent section (seriously, we had no art-house theater in town but this video rental store had a silent section).

I went away to college, where I got "serious" about movies. I fashioned myself a movie geek, having spent untold hours staring at the idiot box already, but soon met friends who actually worked at a theater, new stuff like digital sound and how the popcorn was made. A Cinemark Tinseltown opened outside the college town my first or second year there. It was the late 90s- a heyday of good studio stuff. I didn't rent much at first, instead going as a group at least once a week to the theater to see whatever was playing.

My second summer, AFI came out with their first Top 100 list. A straight up Top 100 Best Movies to celebrate 100 years of cinema. A guy that worked where I was doing a co-op offhandedly mentioned that he and his wife were working through the list as something to do and that sounded like a great idea to me. I had already seen a bunch of them, probably 60% of the list so why not fill in the rest? Thus began my film snob period of the hobby.

At one point I was so naively hypocritical that I was criticizing a roommate for reading a list of classic literature even though he wasn't liking them WHILE I WAS DOING EXACTLY THE SAME THING. Like gosh, why is he reading goddamn Siddhartha? Anyway, I'm off to rent Sunrise.

To help in this endeavor, Blockbuster had a extreme-level membership dealy with a bunch of coupons like renting 2-for-1 on tuesdays or whatever, so I basically descended upon that store (which was nothing compared to Wonder Book & Video) and rented everything from their foreign and classics section over the course of one summer. I'm sure my roommates hated my ass.

But by then DVD was also a thing. DC Was one of the test markets so I saw them show up at Suncoast Motion Picture Company and became an early adopter. Friends and I started a DVD review site where we offered 4 opinions on the same disc, including technical specs and commentaries and stuff like that. It was fun until we got sued for our domain. We tried a second iteration that didn't have the same energy and it quickly faded. But my collection was growing, this time with high-quality digital content that was more compact than VHS but way way cheaper than LaserDisc. My mom's collection of home-recorded tapes had grown to take up an entire wall of shelving in the basement: a uniform run of TDK or other VHS manufacturer's cases with orderly little stickers on the spine only spotted with official releases like Star Wars, and Fargo (which came with a fun little plastic snow globe), but my collection was a dizzying array of colors and typesets, dense and alluring as the films held within.

One such class had an arrangement with the local arthouse theater (The Little) where the class would see a movie (in this case In the Company of Men) then the manager came out afterward to direct a conversation with the handful of people who stayed after. It struck me as something I wanted much much more of but it never happened again. Many many Q&As with lame non-questions later, i think it probably would never be that constructive again... so it's better than it just happened once.

College ended with a burn-out. I had a tech degree but didn't want to use it. My senior year was spent taking freshman-level film courses. I wanted to double-major but it didn't really work that way and the shool told me i'd basically have to stay four extra years to do it. So I was a senior, firmly in love with the medium, amongst incoming freshman more interesting in partying and getting laid. I had a film history class with weekly screenings and the students wouldn't show up. Like, who doesn't want to watch Sunset Blvd!? "Oh, I'm going into animation. this live action stuff doesn't matter." Idiots!

I wound up living back at home, basically in my room for a few years trying to figure stuff out. They had moved while I was in college so no more cable but satellite with Tivo and pay-per-view instead. And the DVD collection kept growing. I'd watch these documentaries on movies like Visions of Light or Martin Scorsese's personal journey through cinema and come out with laundry lists of things to see. I read Truffaut's biography and finally got into the French New Wave (predisposed to like him more than Godard). Criterion Collection was fueling my art-house queue while TCM gave me an education on film noir. I read Bogdanovich's Who the Devil Made It which sent me on more excavations. IFC ran interesting documentaries on Sam Fuller and for Halloween did programs on Cronenberg and Tom Savini. The movies were coming in on all cylinders. These 2 years after college was probably the height of my interest in movies in a vacuum. I had no one to talk to about these, not outlet to vent or share. I felt I had grown too big for my pond.

And it's right about then that I created this site. My Aunt Suzy mentioned years beforehand that she had started keeping a list of books she read so she could remember since she'd started a couple books just to realize she'd already read them. This combined with off-and-on efforts I had made to start or keep a journal but never kept up with. The thought was to record initial thoughts - no format or expectation or pressure at all - and if I saw a movie again, I could compare my thoughts, like if I liked the movie more a second time or less or whatever. It was important for me to be able to say if I didn't have thoughts on a movie I could keep the entry short. Just make it and say whatever I felt, that's it.

And that's what it's been. 18 years later and here we are. Unfortunately this wasn't around for my past forays into classic hollywood or Hitchcock or film noir, but it was here to record me moving to Austin, finding a community in the Alamo, living there for a few years, then having to get a job and slowly diminishing my viewing habits to the point now where I think about watching movies more than I actually do. It's been a long and varied journey but a few things have remained constant: there's always more good stuff out there to see, I've never known as much as I thought I've known, and the next great movie is always just over the horizon.
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