Cut the Cord: Patrick's Favorite Movies
September 2022. Volume 1, Issue 9.
Welcome back to Cut the Cord.
And welcome to the new Feature Presentation website!
This week will give you a great taste of what we're all about if you're new here. You'll get this monthly issue of Cut the Cord, three different podcasts, and a whole bunch of other stuff introducing ourselves. We're spending this week writing and talking about some of our favorite movies so you can get to know our crew better.
I'll start. This issue of Cut the Cord is a little light (partially because of the move to the new site) because I'm gonna be talking about my favorite movies all week and at a certain point it's too much. So six movies this time around instead of the usual eight.
Enjoy the list. Enjoy the new site. And if you're new, welcome.
Cut the Cord will return in October with a list to get you ready for Halloween.
The Night of the Hunter (1955)
In the Deep South, a serial-killing preacher hunts two young children who know the whereabouts of a stash of money.
I'm gonna talk about this one on the first episode of the Feature Presentation podcast (coming out later today), so I'll just give you the skinny here.
This movie gets everything right. Mitchum's chilling performance will always scare me. The conviction from the rest of the cast. The booming score. The haunting scenescape. The thematic use of light and dark.
The fact that this was Charles Laughton's FIRST movie. And unfortunately, his last. And it's a masterpiece.
Logan Lucky (2017)
Trying to reverse a family curse, brothers Jimmy and Clyde Logan set out to execute an elaborate robbery during the legendary Coca-Cola 600 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
One of the things you'll learn about me (if we're meeting for the first time) is that all of my favorite movies have great performances. Every narrative you will see on this list has that special quality in common.
Logan Lucky has a stellar cast and they are all at the top of their comedic game here. It takes a few leading men like Channing Tatum and Daniel Craig and shows off their character actor abilities. Adam Driver is always excellent and is at his funniest here. And I will watch every Riley Keough movie.
And that's just to name the leads.
Put them all in a big Soderberghian mess and you've got a real winner.
First Reformed (2017)
A pastor of a small church in upstate New York starts to spiral out of control after a soul-shaking encounter with an unstable environmental activist and his pregnant wife.
Another great performance from Ethan Hawke as a small town priest struggling to deal with upholding the past he's been tasked to serve while being terrified of humanity's future. Hawke is one of my favorites, so I'm glad to have one of his movies on the list. Pair him with writer/director Paul Schrader (who seldom misses) and you've got another thing that I love to see in movies - great actor/director combos. You have seen that on this list and will continue to see it. Actors that fit the director's style and directors that can find the peanut butter to their jelly. In this case, the magical mystery tour to their...
At the height of the First World War, two young British soldiers must cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers.
What is there to say that hasn’t been said about the cinematography, direction, design, lead acting, featured acting, score, writing, anything? This movie is absolutely stunning in every way.
I'm not a big fan of war movies, so this one may stick out if I were to place it on something ridiculous like a Top-100, but it manages to make all of the cliches of the genre feel fresh and new. Maybe that's just because they don't make war pictures anymore. Maybe that's because director Sam Mendes can be gimmicky sometimes, but he pours his heart into his work.
Hoop Dreams (1994)
Every school day, African-American teenagers William Gates and Arthur Agee travel 90 minutes each way from inner-city Chicago to St. Joseph High School in Westchester, Illinois, a predominately white suburban school well-known for the excellence of its basketball program. Gates and Agee dream of NBA stardom, and with the support of their close-knit families, they battle the social and physical obstacles that stand in their way.
Hoop Dreams very well may be the greatest achievement in documentary filmmaking. Everyone in front of and behind the camera manages to capture this feeling of optimism, of beating the odds, of the American Dream, at a time when it's most prominent - late youth and early adulthood - like no other.
It's one of two movies I show my Baltimore City 7th graders every year. With 20/20 hindsight, we use Hoop Dreams as a celebration of idealism and hopefulness, but also as a cautionary tale. And we use it to talk about how the more things change, the more they stay the same. This story took place three decades ago but could've happened right down the street. The movie gives us the ability to look back and learn like no other.
Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
Seymour Krelborn is a nerdy orphan working at Mushnik’s, a flower shop in urban Skid Row. He harbors a crush on fellow co-worker Audrey Fulquard, and is berated by Mr. Mushnik daily. One day as Seymour is seeking a new mysterious plant, he finds a very mysterious unidentified plant which he calls Audrey II. The plant seems to have a craving for blood and soon begins to sing for his supper.
I had to include at least one musical on this list and Little Shop is easily the best that's currently available on a free streaming service.*
If you haven't seen this or aren't familiar, I'll never be able to explain it. Just go watch it and rock out.
*I think I forgot to tell anyone joining us for the first time that this is what Cut the Cord is - it's all about recommending great movies on free streaming services so you can Cut the Cord from Netflix, Hulu, and others.
See you all next month for another Cut the Cord. Until then, enjoy this week of “Favorite Movie” pieces and our first month of content on the new site!
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