Love in the Afternoon (L’amour l’après-midi)

Written by Michael Clawson

90/100

The final installment in Rohmer’s Moral Tales is the only one where the tempted male protagonist is actually married, and not only that, but rather happily so. Frederic is, however, a daydreamer. After commuting into Paris from the suburbs everyday and busying himself with work in the mornings, his mind tends to drift in the afternoon, the throngs of attractive women he passes on the street stirring in him a longing for first love again, even though he is maritally content. One of the film’s greatest sequences is of Frederic, as he sits in a cafe, imagining himself actually courting a series of women on the street, each of them played by key actresses from the previous Moral Tales. 

He wants both, the newness and excitement he imagines feeling were he to take up with someone else, and the rhythm and comforts of loving familiarity with his wife. Rohmer’s suggestion that those desires exist in parallel, grating up against each other, drive a tension that’s only further magnified by the reemergence of Chloe, a woman out of Frederic’s past that he begins flirtatiously spending his afternoons with. Just like he reads different books at once to satisfy the desire for different forms of escape, he tries to do the same with Chloe and his wife, but it’s really just torture he’s inflicting upon himself, the temptation to sleep with Chloe felt every time they meet, but him never actually succumbing to the urge. 

Relative to the other Moral Tales, here Rohmer strikes me as more sympathetic to his male lead. While in no way excusing Frederic’s flirting with Chloe behind his wife’s back (I spent a good deal of the movie feeling sad for her), he recognizes the conflicting, concurrent desires of married people, and reveals an optimism about happy marriages withstanding temptation. Rohmer does risk looking like he’s patting Frederic on the back in the end for not cheating on his wife, which bothers me, but the hopefulness and romance of the conclusion is moving nonetheless.

Love in the Afternoon Trailer

Watch Love in the Afternoon on Criterion Channel, HBO Max, and Kanopy

Episode 98: Favorite Films of 2020 Part 1

“Archaeology is about digging. It’s like the work of moles, who live underground. A mole is virtually blind, but it has a nose and a feel for finding what it needs. And it has the patience to collect what it finds. It collects provisions to last through the winter.

In a dictatorship, the idea is to amass hidden stores of images and words, portraying the things that people living under the dictatorship might have actually experienced, but that could not necessarily be seen or heard. Then, when the dictatorship was no more, those images bore witness to it. Similar to the mole, the work of collecting those images required a certain nose for the worthwhile as well as practice, since a picture seldom makes it immediately apparent what it depicts and a sound seldom tells us of the part we can’t hear.”

Thomas Heise

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This week on Drink in the Movies Michael & Taylor discuss their number 10-6 favorite films of 2020. As well as hand out show awards for each of their Wounded Soldiers of the year, Squandered Talents, Top 3 Ensembles, Paths Back to Excellence and their Top 3 Documentaries.

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The Kid Detective

Written by Michael Clawson

70/100

A 31 year-old private detective in 21st century suburbia, Abe Applebaum’s glory days are behind him. When he was 13, Abe was a hot-shot kid sleuth who could crack any case brought to him by the members of his quaint little town. But then, his innocent, soda-guzzling secretary suddenly went missing, and his failure to identify the culprit disappointed everyone, destroying Abe’s sense of self-worth and drive, and slowly turning him into the hard-boiled slacker millennial he is today. The film begins in earnest when an opportunity for redemption presents itself: one day, a sweet blonde teenager (a winning Sophie Nélisse) hires Abe to find out who murdered her boyfriend—finally, someone trusting him to solve something more complex, more “adult,” than where a lady’s lost cat might have run off to. As Abe unravels the mystery, the film’s tone proves to be wide-ranging: it starts with light comedy that’s dryly and genuinely funny, but takes a sharp right turn into much grimmer territory for the final act. Morgan’s visual aesthetic is quite run-of-the-mill, which tempers my enthusiasm for the movie overall, but I was charmed by the performances and amused by Morgan’s sense of humor. The great last shot is minorly crushing: proving your value to everyone else doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve figured anything out for yourself.

The Kid Detective Trailer

Episode 97: Rescreening Dog Day Afternoon

“My job is to care about and be responsible for every frame of every movie I make. I know that all over the world there are young people borrowing from relatives and saving their allowances to buy their first cameras and put together their first student movies, some of them dreaming of becoming famous and making a fortune. But a few are dreaming of finding out what matters to them, of saying to themselves and to anyone who will listen, “I care.” A few of them want to make good movies.”

Sidney Lumet

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This week on Drink in the Movies Michael & Taylor Rescreen Sidney Lumet’s Dog Day Afternoon and provide a First Impression of the next Rescreening episode title, Satoshi Kon’s Perfect Blue.

Dog Day Afternoon Trailer

Dog Day Afternoon is currently available to stream on HBO Max

Drink in the Movies would like to thank PODGO for sponsoring this episode. You can explore sponsorship opportunities and start monetizing your podcast by signing up for an account here. If you do please let them know we sent you, it helps us out too!

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Episode 96: Doc Talk Part 5 / Man with a Movie Camera / Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound / Ex Libris: The New York Public Library

“I don’t like to read novels where the novelist tells me what to think about the situation and the characters. I prefer to discover for myself.”

Frederick Wiseman

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This week on Drink in the Movies Michael & Taylor discuss their First Impressions of Vivos & State Funeral and the Documentary Titles: Man with a Movie Camera, Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound, and Ex Libris: The New York Public Library.

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Streaming links for titles this episode

The Man with a Movie Camera on Kanopy

Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound on Hoopla, Tubi TV, and Prime Video

Ex Libris: The New York Public Library on Kanopy

Episode 95: RoboCop / Starship Troopers / Miami Vice

“I don’t underestimate audiences’ intelligence. Audiences are much brighter than media gives them credit for. When people went to a movie once a week in the 1930s and that was their only exposure to media, you were required to do a different grammar.”

Michael Mann

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This week on Drink in the Movies Michael & Taylor discuss their First Impressions of Project Power & She Dies Tomorrow and the Feature Films: RoboCop, Starship Troopers, and Miami Vice.

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Streaming links for titles this episode

RoboCop is currently available on Prime Video

Starship Troopers is currently available on Tubi TV

Miami Vice is currently available to rent or purchase

Episode 94: Rescreening The Thin Red Line

“I film quite a bit of footage, then edit. Changes before your eyes, things you can do and things you can’t. My attitude is always ‘let it keep rolling.”

Terrence Malick

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This week on Drink in the Movies Michael & Taylor Rescreen Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line and provide a First Impression on their next Rescreening episode title, Sidney Lumet’s Dog Day Afternoon.

The Thin Red Line Trailer

The Thin Red Line is currently available to rent and purchase digitally

Drink in the Movies would like to thank PODGO for sponsoring this episode. You can explore sponsorship opportunities and start monetizing your podcast by signing up for an account here. If you do please let them know we sent you, it helps us out too!

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1BR

Written by Michael Clawson

50/100

Shortly after moving to Los Angeles in hopes of a fresh start with only her cute cat Giles for companionship (don’t get too attached, Giles doesn’t last long), Sarah (Nicole Brydon Bloom), a soft-spoken twenty-something, is lucky enough to quickly land a one bedroom at an apartment complex where it appears she’ll enjoy the company of highly sociable neighbors. A lively and welcoming community is just what Sarah needs since not only is she new in town, she’s also bitterly estranged from her father after her mother’s recent passing, and we gather that mom and dad were her only close family. Loneliness, however, is better than what Sarah’s tightly knit neighbors ultimately have in store for her. Pain and suffering turns out to be a prerequisite for becoming a part of their cult-like community, and leaving isn’t any easier.

Bloom’s lackluster lead performance is one reason why this mediocre thriller doesn’t amount to as much as it should. Sarah is meant to be somewhat meek—that’s partly why her property manager identifies her as a suitable tenant—but Bloom overplays it, and doesn’t bring enough energy to the role. The rest of the cast also disappoints; when the sinister side of everyone around is Sarah is eventually unveiled, it’s not just unconvincing, it’s eyerolling. Writer/director David Marmor (this is his debut feature) does have good instincts for pacing. His freshest move is placing the film’s major revelation towards the middle of the movie, and focusing on Sarah’s response to her disturbing, imprisoning situation in the back half. Far less impressive is Marmor’s visual creativity. The film is fairly engaging, but there’s nothing interesting to look at.

1BR Trailer

1BR is currently available on Netflix

Episode 93: Preston Sturges: Easy Living / The Lady Eve / Sullivan’s Travels

“When the last dime is gone, I’ll sit on the curb outside with a pencil and a ten cent notebook and start the whole thing over again.”

Preston Sturges

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This week on Drink in the Movies Michael & Taylor discuss their First Impressions of Undine & Babyteeth and the Preston Sturges Films: Easy Living, The Lady Eve, and Sullivan’s Travels.

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There are no streaming links for titles this episode

The Lady Eve and Sullivan’s Travels are currently available to rent or purchase digitally

Easy Living is not currently available

You can read Michael’s review of Easy Living here.

Easy Living (1937)

Written by Michael Clawson

90/100

A comedy of coincidence causing chaos and one great big misunderstanding, with an enjoyably balanced combination of slapstick and screwball. Fed up with his wife’s extravagant spending, J.B. Ball, a oafish banker with a fortune as big as his ego, tosses his wife’s newly purchased sable coat off their roof. It happens to land on Jean Arthur’s Mary Smith, a single working girl without much money of her own, who thereafter is mistaken by various folks as Ball’s mistress. One of those folks is Mr. Louis Louis, the proprietor of an upscale hotel at risk of being foreclosed on by Ball, and who thinks he can stay in business by putting Smith (whom he presumes is Ball’s mistress) up in one of his rooms. 

The very first gag – Ball tripping and tumbling down a set of stairs – had me worried the humor would be too broad for my taste, but I was mistaken. It‘s plenty amusing. Edward Arnold and Luis Alberni as Ball and Luis respectively are very funny; Ball’s often looking hella confused and frustrated, while Louis mistakenly thinks he’s solved his problem. While Mitchell Leisen’s direction is more or less just point-and-shoot, it doesn’t need to be much more than that since the physical gags are cleverly and energetically executed, and Sturges’ witty screenplay offers many laughs. Even better than the accumulation of individual jokes is the joy in watching Arthur’s Mary revel in the luxuries of the rich. With sparkling tulle dresses, a lavish hotel suite, meals on the house, and of course that new coat, Mary couldn’t more pleased, and Arthur sweetly conveys her delight. A solid Sunday matinee.

Easy Living (1937) Full Movie

Easy Living is not currently available to purchase or rent digitally. The above link is a YouTube upload of the full film.