I did not pick the movies in G. Hunter’s Summer Film Festival for any particular style or theme. They were just on a mental list of films I’ve wanted to watch. One by one, over the course of the last three months or so, they arrived from Netflix, and I burned through them. Not until recently did I look to see if there were any consistent imagery, themes or storylines that would connect these movies.
So, in my retrospection, what did this list turn out to be? A Clinic in Man-Acting for the summer of 2011.
This list is piled high with Man-Acting pantheon members. The heroes are all men (almost all white) who must solve a tremendous conflict that has fallen upon their shoulders, both in an internal and external fashion. Some men use their fists to solve their problems, others use guns, others use alcohol or drugs, others use their mouths. Others lean on friendships. Most of our Man-Acting heroes don’t end up where they want to be so much as where they need to be. All are worth a gander. Here then, is the summer flick review and breakdown.
G. Hunter’s Summer Film Festival
Get Carter (1971)
Man Problem: London gangster Jack Carter must return to Newcastle, his childhood home, to exact bloody revenge against the men who killed his brother.
Solution: Kill’em all, methodically and with style. But don’t forget to make time for phone sex.
Best Residuals: Young Caine kicking ass. Gratuitous boobage. High Death count. North England in the last throws of industrialization. Slag conveyor belt dumping coal refuse into the North Sea.
Man-Acting Nominees: Michael Caine
The Damned United (2009)
Man Problem: Footballer coach Brian Clough knows he’s the right fawking man to coach Leeds United, a club that up until his arrival had been his chief professional rival.
Solution: After cussing and berating doesn’t work, you can always beg for mercy.
Best Residuals: Old football footage from the 1970s. Bad wigs. That Dude that Plays the Rat Guy from Harry Potter.
Man-Acting Nominees: Michael Sheen, Colm “Mr. O’Brien” Meaney
Tin Men (1987)
Man Problem: Baltimore aluminum siding salesmen BB and Tilley go to war after a fortuitous car accident.
Solution: Juvenial pranks escalates to adultery, but with funny asides.
Best Residuals: An epic vision of 1950s Baltimore. Sharkskin suits. Fine Young Cannibals. Diners. Barry Levinson’s always fantastic ‘bullshitting’ dialog.
Man-Acting Nominees: Richard Dreyfuss, Danny DeVito, 1962 Cadillac
Easy Rider (1969)
Man Problem: Two drug dealers want to smoke grass and drop acid while heading to Mardi Gras, but visions of a Utopian America haunt their progress.
Solution: smoke grass, drop acid during Mardi Gras and feel bad that you didn’t have sex with more hippy chicks.
Best Residuals: Epic hippy music. Monument Valley. Crazy young Jack Nicholson. Gratuitous redneck violence.
Man-Acting Nominees: Jack Nicholson, Dennis Hopper, Captain America’s Motorcycle
The American (2010)
Man Problem: How does an assassin find and keep love when the killer’s life is so 24-7?
Solution: Try Not To Get This One Killed while gearing up for an assassination gig in scenic Italy.
Best Residuals: Badass George Clooney. Lots of Quiet Scenes. Gun porn. Italian Tourist Board seal of approval. Gratuitous Priest Revelations.
Man-Acting Nominees: George Clooney
City of God (2002)
Man Problem:What’s the best path to cultural domination when you grow up in one of the shittiest holes in Brazil? Scarface Drug Lord rise it is.
Solution: Kill’em all. The more insane and violent the death, the better. And, shoot some small children too for good measure.
Best Residuals: Disco music. Vintage Brazilian TV. Nicknames Tender Trio and Li’l Dice. Curly hair.
Man-Acting Nominees: Alexandre Rodrigues, Douglas Silva
The Station Agent (2003)
Man Problem: Little person Finbar McBride attempts to hide from the crushing pressures of life in a train station in Bumpfuck, New Jersey.
Solution:Beautiful friends who don’t see your midget-ness as a detriment are awesome.
Best Residuals: Gratuitous train pornography. Gratuitous Patricia Clarkson nipplage. Bobby Cannavale turning his ‘Cuban machismo’ button to 11. Mystical black child. That other chick from Dawson’s Creek. John Slattery cameo.
Man-Acting Nominees: Peter Dinklage, Bobby Cannavale
Encounters at the End of he World (2007)
Man Problem: Insane German director attempts to find the Heart of Darkness at the scientific research bases on Antarctica.
Solution: Go to Antarctica, where director finds scientists more insane than himself.
Best Residuals: Fantastic underwater photography. Seal music. Mayan Prince cameo. Suicidal penguins.
Man-Acting Nominees: Suicidal Penguin