I’ve said (many times) that when it comes to movies it’s the unexpected small gems I love most. The Art of Self-Defense (2019), starring Jesse Eisenberg, is definitely a small (dark) gem, and doubly unexpected.
Firstly, unexpected in the ordinary sense of having no idea what the film would be or that it would be any good. But secondly, because I’d recently seen Eisenberg in American Ultra (2015), which I saw as another unexpected small gem. This movie’s artwork (as you see) suggested to me it might be similar.
It couldn’t be more different, except that both are really good small gems starring Jesse Eisenberg. I’m thinking he has good taste in picking scripts.
One Million Dollars!
Sometimes — and I guess I should count my blessings that it’s only sometimes — I’m really slow on the uptake. Slow, as in not noticing something that’s right in front of my face. Embarrassingly slow. For example, it took me forever to get the joke behind the Charmin bears hawking toilet paper.
And as much as I love puns, some of them have sailed right over my head without mussing my hair. For someone who tries hard to pay attention to stuff, it really lets the wind out of your sails.
So just imagine my chagrin when I was halfway through the second movie before I realized they both had “million” in their titles!
I never intended this blog to be a movie or TV review blog, but I’ve found myself posting about various films or TV shows I’ve really liked (or — in a few cases — really hated). I often get too lost in a story to see myself as a good reviewer or analyst (serious film critics often amaze me by what they pick up on), but storytelling is a favorite area of mine, and I do enjoy writing about it.
Hence forth, I plan to be more open to writing about movies and TV shows. I do enjoy sharing some of the little known gems I find, and — if nothing else — it’s nice to have a record of those and my reactions to them at the time. And (as always) I enjoy a good rant about the ones that pissed me off. I make no claim to being a particularly good critic; take any of these as just my 1/50th of a buck’s worth.
Today I want to share three critically acclaimed, utterly delightful, gems.
I learned the lesson so long ago that video rental stores were still a thing. Sometimes the most interesting movies are the ones that sit — one lonely copy — forlornly on the rental shelves. They’re almost lost among the popular movies with their dozens of copies. (Let alone the Big Hits taking up entire shelf sections.)
Movies imitate real life in many ways. The content versus popularity equation is no exception. Often, popular means shallow and bland — by definition inoffensive. (Almost always, greater appeal means less flavor or spice. No surprises.)
But that lonely outlier can be an unexpected and delicious meal!