What I did: November 2023

Posted by Ryan C. Jerz on November 30, 2023

Here are the things I watched, saw, listened to, read, did, or whatever in the month of November 2023.

Movies

  • The French Connection (1971) directed by William Friedkin. I was a bit unsettled by the aesthetics, but it was also my first real viewing of a 70s gritty cop thing. (Review)
  • Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) directed by Francis Ford Coppola. An all-time favorite that continues to improve. (Review)
  • Fingernails (2023) directed by Christos Nikou. I didn't want to watch because I thought it would be all about ripping people's fingernails out. (Review)
  • Lifeboat (1944) directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Despite knowing better, the description seemed to me like this would be a bit boring. It wasn't. (Review)
  • Yojimbo (1961) directed by Akira Kurosawa. My first Kirosawa, and while I liked it quite a bit, there were things I found didn't quite...fit? (Review)
  • Häxan (1922) directed by Benjamin Christensen. I struggled early because it was densely packed with information. The movie found its stride in the reenactments. It was great. (Review)
  • The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) directed by James Whale. I didn't find this very fun. (Review)
  • Escape from New York (1981) directed by John Carpenter. Yup, it was as good as everyone told me. (Review)
  • Kiss Me Deadly (1955) directed by Robert Aldrich. Noir as hell, with some stuff that doesn't hold up too well, unless you're willing to give a nice pass to the times. (Review)
  • The Gold Rush (1925) directed by Charlie Chaplin. I haven't stopped thinking about this since I watched. It's possible I look back on this movie and attribute it to a change in my tastes. It was phenomenal and completely blew away my conception of silent movies. (Review)
  • High Sierra (1941) directed by Raoul Walsh. Came to see some great early-Hollywood eastern Sierra goodness and got a tremendous chase scene up the Whitney Portal, culminating in a hasty scramble up the rocks. (Review)
  • Black Narcissus (1947) directed by Emeric Pressburger and Michael Powell. I've already re-thought what I wrote at the time, but I'll save those thoughts for the rewatch. (Review)
  • Double Indemnity (1944) directed by Billy Wilder. Loved it. Will watch a few more times to pick it all up, but the dialogue was awesome. There are issues I have with this one as well, but again, for next time. (Review)
  • Videodrome (1983) directed by David Cronenberg. I am definitely not someone who seeks out this body horror stuff. I had the privilege to see this in a gorgeous 4k restoration, which did a lot to make this bearable for me. (Review)
  • Lost Highway (1997) directed by David Lynch. A theme for this past couple weeks: a bit much for the first watch.
  • The Trial (1962) directed by Orson Welles. The combination of Kafka source material and Welles as director made this a must watch for me. It didn't disappoint me and a lot of what I expected from Welles was in there. I'll be watching this again, but more because I liked it a lot. (Review)
  • Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood (2019) directed by Quentin Tarantino. DiCaprio plays a slobby drunk guy particularly well, and Brad Pitt is at his best while being Aldo Raines. (Review)

Reading

  • "The Rise and Fall of Mikey Williams" by Jeff Eisenberg. I'm game to read just about anything that explores the weird, gross world of athletic prospects. The guys that "manage" and "handle" these kids probably mostly belong in jail. The kids sometimes get rich, but mostly get exploited.
  • Plenty about the future of our democracy
  • "The Peculiar Rise of the Vanity Biopic" by Vince Mancini. This hits on one of the reasons I have largely avoided these things. They're not real, really. I could care about the people if there was something actually trustworthy in terms of a complete story. The biopics I've seen come out in the past decade aren't that.
  • "David Fincher's new movie 'The Killer' is sigma cinema" by Max Read. I am not particularly a Fincher fan, but literally the first thing I read about this movie was this review, and now I have to see the movie.
  • "Publishing an RSS feed to Mastodon" by Jesse Squires. This is what you came here for. It's just another in the growing list of things I'd like to learn to do on my own. For the future, you know.

Television

  • Began watching "Our Flag Means Death" which started out poorly to me. After the first episode, however, it's been all pretty darn great. This show is a good one.
  • "Halt and Catch Fire", seasons 3 & 4 -- The conclusion of a pretty great television show. This thing went from "Meh, I guess we can watch another episode" to watching two or three in an evening at my house. Season 4 has been a total new experience for me. I either don't remember it at all or never actually saw it (I'm sure I did)? Anyway, that works, as I get to see it for the first time this time.