Mia Goth Reveals the ‘Pearl’ Within

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Pearls Prays for Popularity (CREDIT: Christopher Moss/A24)

Starring: Mia Goth, David Corenswet, Tandi Wright, Matthew Sunderland, Emma Jenkins-Purro, Alistair Sewell

Director: Ti West

Running Time: 102 Minutes

Rating: R for Bloodlust Breaking Free and Some Peaks at Naughty “Stag Films”

Release Date: September 16, 2022 (Theaters)

What’s It About?: Did you see this spring’s X and wonder what the deal was with that old lady? I know I sure did. Well, it turns out that Ti West actually made two movies at once, so now we get to discover what Pearl’s formative years were really like! It’s 1918, Mia Goth has shed the old lady makeup, and she and her family are living a semi-secluded life to avoid the horrors of World War I and the Spanish Flu pandemic. But Pearl longs for so much more than that! She wasn’t born to care for her paralyzed father (Matthew Sunderland) and simply wait for her husband’s return while her domineering mother (Tandi Wright) browbeats her into submission. She can’t help but dream of stardom, which she hopes to achieve while hanging out with a local hunky projectionist (David Corenswet) and auditioning for a dance troupe with her sister-in-law (Emma Jenkins-Purro). And if any of this doesn’t work out for her? Hoo boy, you’d better stay out of her way.

What Made an Impression?: I haven’t seen very many movies set in the 1910s, so I didn’t know quite what to expect in regards to Pearl making the most of its setting. But I was still thrown for quite a loop. When the title character starts dancing around her barn and serenading her animals, I was getting wholesome classic sitcom vibes in the vein of Green Acres and Petticoat Junction. The fanciful font used in the credits is also reminiscent of fantastical programs like Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie. Maybe those shows were taking some of their cues from Old Hollywood? Regardless of the exact nature of the influences, this is an unmistakable throwback to an era when all of the main character’s most melodramatic emotions are all over every single inch of the celluloid.

Let’s make absolutely no mistake about it, this is a 100% tour de force for Ms. Mia Goth. With her big saucer eyes and ethereal voice, she’s always been a distinctive screen presence, and that’s never been truer than it is here. Her sheer force of will ensures that the connection between the two movies (thus far) in this series is as deep as possible. Pearl and her other X character of Max are historical doppelgängers, bound by a shared desire to become a star at all costs. When that drive manifests itself in the form of an impromptu song-and-dance number with a scarecrow, there’s no question that I’m all in. You all should feel the same.

Pearl is Recommended If You Like: Classic Hollywood, Classic sitcoms, Classic slashers

Grade: 4 out of 5 Axes

Time to Confess What I Thought About ‘Confless, Fletch’!

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So many confessions, so little time (CREDIT: Miramax/Paramount)

Starring: Jon Hamm, Roy Wood Jr., Lorenza Izzo, Ayden Mayeri, Marcia Gay Harden, Kyle MacLachlan, John Slattery, Annie Mumolo, John Behlmann

Director: Greg Mottola

Running Time: 98 Minutes

Rating: R for Some Gunfire and a Little Bit of Wacky Horniness

Release Date: September 16, 2022 (Theaters and On Demand)

What’s It About?: Irwin “Fletch” Fletcher is back! But did he ever really go away? Well, yeah, kind of. Chevy Chase played him in a couple of outings in the 80s, but they haven’t really left much of a lasting cultural impression on the younger generations. If you’re wondering how Jon Hamm could ever take over a part made famous by Mr. Pratfall-in-Chief, be assured that it doesn’t matter. The version of this slippery investigative reporter we meet in Confess, Fletch hardly resembles the white guy who sported an Afro wig and a Lakers jersey. He bumbles around a bit, but so would just about anyone who gets accused of murder in a case of mistaken identity. Anyway, Fletch sets out to clear his name and interacts with a bunch of wacky characters along the way. But, you may be wondering, are they wacky enough?

What Made an Impression?: There are a few early scenes in Confess, Fletch in which Hamm seems to be trying to summon his inner Chevy Chase, and I’m like, “I don’t know if that’s a good idea.” Sure, he can be funny despite his preternatural handsomeness, but it’s not of the crash-into-everything, smart aleck variety. What he can nail is the psychopath lurking underneath the pristine surface. But ultimately he’s not asked to deliver either of these personas. Instead, he’s more of the straight man reacting to all the chaos around him (in various flavors of cockamamie from the likes of Annie Mumolo, Marcia Gary Harden, and Kyle MacLachlan). Hamm can certainly provide that competently, but it’s hardly spectacular. Which pretty much describes this movie as a whole.

But one actor does shine especially bright, and that would be Ayden Mayeri, who’s having quite the breakout year, along with her turns in Spin Me Round and Apple TV+’s The Afterparty. She’s one of the two detectives (alongside Roy Wood Jr.) on Fletch’s tail, and at first it seems like she’s playing your typical flummoxed, overmatched authority figure. But she knows what she’s doing, despite her bouts of clumsiness. Sure, she may spill a milkshake all over her shirt, but her investigative instincts are sharp. She gets a big “thank you” from Fletch at the end, and I’m happy to second that sentiment.

Confess, Fletch is Recommended If You Like: Fidelity to source material that’s not super famous

Grade: 2.5 out of 5 Lakers Caps

‘Moonage Daydream’ Transports Us to the David Bowie Dimension

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Rockin! (CREDIT: NEON)

Starring: David Bowie

Director: Brett Morgen

Running Time: 140 Minutes

Rating: PG-13 for Some Brief Snippets of Profane Rock ‘n’ Roll

Release Date: September 16, 2022 (Theaters)

What’s It About?: David Bowie lives! Not in the most literal sense, of course. But certainly in plenty of metaphorical senses, as his entire discography remains readily available to listen and re-listen to, while his on-screen appearances are also similarly accessible. But in the six years since his death, his presence has never been more profoundly felt than in the new Brett Morgen-directed documentary Moonage Daydream. It’s a montage primarily consisting of rare and never-before-seen concert footage and interviews. Edited in a stream-of-conscious, mostly chronological fashion, it gives off an uncannily transcendent vibe of simultaneous familiarity and revelation.

What Made an Impression?: If you’re a fan of David Bowie, Moonage Daydream will make you fall in love with him all over again. If you’re not a fan, hopefully you can at least appreciate the deep dive into his psyche that this film offers. And if you’ve somehow never heard of Bowie, hoo boy, I don’t know if there’s any way for you to fully prepare for this experience.

This is the type of movie where you could rearrange the order of every single scene, and it would still feel pretty much the same. Or maybe it would feel a little different, but still equally satisfying. In my attempt to recreate it in my mind since watching it a few weeks ago, I’m not sure what followed what exactly. I didn’t take as many notes as I usually do, as it felt much more appropriate to let the whole thing just wash over me. (The only Bowie quote I did write down was “What’s my relationship with the universe?”, which feels apt.)

Mixed in with all the Bowie-centric footage are snippets of thematically similar pop culture artifacts, including quick clips of some choice sci-fi B-movies, like Plan 9 from Outer Space and This Island Earth. Is this some sort of cosmic message assuring us that Ziggy Stardust has found his otherworldly place alongside these classics? I’m certainly happy to interpret it that way.

Moonage Daydream is Recommended If You Like: Koyaanisqatsi

Grade: 4 out of 5 Personae

That’s Auntertainment! Episode 46: Bob Odenkirk and Better Call Saul

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CREDIT: Screenshot

God d*** it, folks, it’s showtime!

2022 Emmy Predictions/Preferences

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CREDIT: @TelevisionAcad/Screenshot

Interesting. Apparently they give out awards for TV now. Well in that case, I’ll let you know who and what I think’ll win AND whom and what I would vote for! Then we can commiserate together via NBC on Monday, September 19.

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Entertainment To-Do List: Week of 9/9/22

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Time to be a Barbarian!!!! (CREDIT: 20th Century Studios/Screenshot)

Every week, I list all the upcoming (or recently released) movies, TV shows, albums, podcasts, etc. that I believe are worth checking out.

Movies
Barbarian (Theaters)
Clerks III (Theaters Beginning September 13)

TV
College Bowl Season Premiere (September 9 on NBC) – The dynamic Manning duo are back.
-Creative Arts Emmy Awards (September 10 on FXX)
Jeopardy! Season 39 Premiere (September 12, check local listings)
-Primetime Emmy Awards (September 12 on NBC)
The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 Premiere (September 14 on Hulu)
Atlanta Season 4 Premiere (September 15 on FX) – Final Season Alert!

Music
-Ozzy Osbourne, Patient Number 9
-Santigold, Spirituals

‘Clerks III’: The Middle-Aged, Post-Heart Attack Version

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That’s so Clerks … III (CREDIT: Lionsgate)

Starring: Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Trevor Fehrman, Austin Zajur, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Rosario Dawson, Amy Sedaris

Director: Kevin Smith

Running Time: 100 Minutes

Rating: R for Casual Potty Mouths

Release Date: September 13, 2022 (In Theaters September 13-18)

What’s It About?: Are Dante Hicks and Randal Graves stuck in purgatory? Or maybe they’re happy to still be working at the Quick Stop nearly 30 years after we first checked in with them. Randal (Jeff Anderson) is certainly his same happy-go-lucky self, but maybe he should take things a little more seriously, since Clerks III does start with him having a heart attack. But instead of focusing on eating healthy and exercising, he decides to direct a movie about life as a convenience store clerk. Uh-oh, is Kevin Smith making a stealth remake of his own signature film? Kinda-sorta, as there are plenty of in-jokes and callbacks, but he’s actually more concerned about just giving his characters some proper story arcs. So while Dante (Brian O’Halloran) gets roped into the whole production, he’s also pining after a now-deceased Becky (Rosario Dawson), while Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Smith) are still hanging out, and there’s also a whole lot of talk about crypto and NFTs.

What Made an Impression?: I’ve never seen the first Clerks, though it’s not for lack of interest. (It’s on my long to-watch list, I promise!) But I have seen Clerks II, every episode of the short-lived animated series, and now Clerks III. From my vantage point, it’s almost as if Numero Uno exists in a completely different universe. It emerged in black & white during the indie boom of the early 90s, and then II was released in the summer of 2006 as a crisp studio comedy. Now the third one is opting for a roadshow tour alongside a limited-time wide theatrical release. If you’re wondering why Clerks III even exists, it’s because Kevin Smith just wanted to make another one for all the people who have supported him over the years.

Considering the circuitous preproduction path and untraditional release strategy, it might be a little surprising how straightforward the plot is. Randal has a big idea, everyone else bands together to make it happen, then he and Dante have a falling out, and finally the whole crew ultimately realizes what’s truly important. This is by-the-books comedy feature writing, nothing revolutionary about it. And that’s okay! Sometimes we just want to check in on our friends and see how they’re doing. And if you can throw in a running gag about size anxiety, go for it. It might be a little juvenile, sure, but it’s also open-minded and comforting. In conclusion, I chuckled here and there, I soaked up the bonhomie, and I was happy to live another day.

Clerks III is Recommended If You Like: Late 90s/Early 2000s Alt-Rock, Shameless celebrity friend cameos, Eternal youth evolving into something a little more adult

Grade: 3 out of 5 Moobys

How to End an Episode

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In the past few weeks, Paramount+’s Evil concluded its third season, and Better Call Saul aired its series finale. So that makes this the perfect time for me to talk about how these are my favorite current shows when it comes to episode endings. They always leave you wanting more. Their cuts to the Executive Producer credit shots are generally silent, but they feel deafening.

With Evil, it feels like a thick book has pretty much plopped down on the table right in front of me. Whereas with Saul, it’s like someone has just walked out of the room and closed the door with absolute certainty. I want to know what happens next, but I also know I’ve just gotten exactly how much I was supposed to get.

This musing originally appeared in the Official Jeffrey Malone Newsletter. Subscribe here!

Entertainment To-Do List: Week of 9/2/22

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If it’s season, I’m sneezin’ (CREDIT: Hulu/Screenshot)

Every week, I list all the upcoming (or recently released) movies, TV shows, albums, podcasts, etc. that I believe are worth checking out.

Movies
Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. (Theaters and Peacock)

TV
Rick and Morty Season 6 Premiere (September 4 on Adult Swim)
The Good Fight Season 6 Premiere (September 8 on Paramount+) – Final Season Alert!
The Simpsons: Welcome to the Club (September 8 on Disney+)
Wedding Season Season 1 (September 8 on Hulu) – Rosa Salazar’s in this.

Music
-Megadeth, The Sick, the Dying… and the Dead!

Music on TV
-Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert (September 3 on Paramount+ and CBS)

Movie Review Catch-Up: ‘Fall,’ ‘Spin Me Round,’ ‘Orphan: First Kill’

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What’s going to Fall? (CREDIT: Lionsgate)

Fall:

Starring: Grace Caroline Currey, Virginia Gardner, Mason Gooding, Jeffrey Dean Morgan

Director: Thomas Mann

Running Time: 107 Minutes

Rating: PG-13

Release Date: August 12, 2022 (Theaters)

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