I am chuffed to be back on the iHeartRadio Podcast Award-nominated Pop Culture Happy Hour this week to discuss Glass, fallen auteur M. Night Shyamalan’s joint sequel to 2000’s Unbreakable and 2017’s Split. It isn’t very good, but the movie has an anachronistic quality that’s sort of… sweet. While it’s made explicitly clear—every damn thing in this movie is explained and re-re-re-explained—that Glass is set 19 years after Unbreakable, Shyamalan acts as though superhero comics haven’t become Hollywood’s No. 1 source of grist during the back half of that period. (In the years since Unbreakable, we’ve seen three different A-list actors play The Incredible Hulk, for chrissakes.)
A goodly portion of those films have featured Samuel L. Jackson, who, to be fair, looks like he’s having at least as much fun sitting in a wheelchair staring into the middle distance in Glass as he does when he’s cashing another check as Nick Fury. After his brief return to acting in both Wes Anderson’sMoonrise Kingdom and Rian Johnson’sLooper back in 2012, I’d hoped maybe Bruce Willis would deign to open his eyes again, but no such luck. And the movie’s top-billed star continues to perform his solo show Scares Ahoy with James McAvoy.
We had to do a Pop Culture Happy Hour discussion of Die Hard because it’s holiday time and because the beloved classic turned 30, uh, back in July and because we just had to. I thought I was being punk’d when I got the invitation but I’m so glad it was real. This was the awkward Christmas Eve holiday party/attempted spousal reconciliation I’ve been waiting to be invited to since I was 11 years old. Yippie kai yay, podcast lovers. (My punishingly long Die Hard Dossier is here.)
Being a 1991 Bruce Willis action vehicle, written by Shane Black, produced by Joel Silver and directed by Tony Scott. I’ll be re-watching this soon for the first time in about 20 years for a little thing I’ma write, but the trailer is pretty much EXACTLY WHAT I REMEMBER ABOUT IT.
No, I did ask. I was just delighted they were willing to run it at the obsessive, possibly excessive — but by no means exhaustive! — length at which I filed it.
I wrote it in a fit of anticipation for A Good Day to Die Hard, a film that, after reading a dozen or so reviews, I’ve decided I won’t be seeing — not in the cinema, anyway, where movies live. “This is a Die Hard movie where no one is trying and nobody cares, which is depressing,” wrote Deadspin’s Will Leitch. I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch Amour yet, so if I’m in a mood for depression-inducing viewing, I’m not gonna waste that on a movie that by all accounts debases a franchise and a character I’ve loved since I was a kid.
I’m a big admirer of Matt Singer‘s writing on film. Besides co-hosting the brilliantly titled Filmspotting SVU podcast — a streaming video-focused spinoff of Filmspotting, the long-running Chicago-based movies show I had the honor of appearing on a fewtimes last year — he recently started Criticwire, a great blog about film criticism for Indiewire.
Each weekend, Matt sends a list of film critics a survey question and posts their responses the following Monday. I was thrilled to contribute for the first time to yesterday’s poll, on The Perfect Summer Movie. Almost every film I considered choosing for this honor did show up among the responses, suggesting strong generational (?) consensus on this issue. But I’m glad I went with a dark horse candidate. As always, I did a poor job of constraining my enthusiasm; Matt was kind to post an only slightly abridged version of my encomium — reproduced below in its breathless entirety — to Die Hard with a Vengeance. Continue reading →