March has been an interesting month for Readers Digested. All the aspirations I had to write about South Korean films went up in smoke, per usual. It feels like anytime I make a commitment to do anything on Readers Digested, something unexpected occurs that throws a wrench in the whole operation. That’s alright though. Instead, I wrote about a German film. The first German film we’ve ever talked about on Readers Digested, be it me or someone else! That film was called The Golden Glove, and you can check out my review of that film here. I will warn you – The Golden Glove is an uglier film.
In fact, I have been reviewing a lot of “uglier” films in recent months. It all started with South Korean films, but, really, the entire idea of doing a South Korean Sunday, or something like that was about getting myself back on the horse, so to speak.
I do appreciate authors like John Clarke (who recently reviewed The Lost Boys) who, I think, add a lot of prestige to Readers Digested’s review database. Clarke has reviewed films like The Lost Boys, Poltergeist, Dawn of the Dead, and An American Werewolf in London. All of which are films that have contributed and meant a lot to horror cinema and need to be discussed / celebrated on Readers Digested, but aren’t films I would likely have gotten to until after a very long time.
The mission statement I have for myself on Readers Digested is to have a certain yin and yang, balancing between relative unknowns and reveled classics. It’s why I write about a smaller film like Shookand have not written about the Halloween series or Scream yet. It is not because I did not love the series’, but, because I want to shine as bright a light on new or obscure content as I can, both because they deserve the notoriety and because that is the content I want to experience as a fan of cinema. I feel like enthusiasts can sit on their laurels sometimes, revisiting classics, building an inflated sense of worth to them until they become difficult to measure up against. I don’t like every foray into the old, unconventional, or foreign, per se, but I would not forgive myself if I let such prejudices keep me from talking about them altogether.
Writing about A Serbian Film was, admittedly, a peculiar one, to say the least. Both The Golden Glove and A Serbian Film have key factors in them I am conflicted about. With The Golden Glove, it depicts actual, real life victims unfavorably, depicting them as lowly, ignorant, and a lot of what it depicts, in likelihood, is built on assumption and not verified testimonials on each individual (a comment that I make which is, in itself, admittedly, built on assumption). Frankly though, that is what I want to write about. That’s what I want to talk about and confront. What actually may offend me? Where is that line drawn?
Then, with, A Serbian Film, the content is horrific, to say the least (likewise, it is our first Serbian film). But, while I am not actively offended by most of the subject-matter in the film, I did have one aspect I was conflicted about. The fact the film is knowingly offensive, as in, aware of itself, not imploring or endorsing an action, but, in fact, highlighting the horror of an action, buys it some leeway, in my opinion. I am a writer myself, and, taken at a surface-level, I write about a lot of ugly things, but I have a clear line of intent, of bad guys and good guys, bad behavior and good behavior. What bothered me about A Serbian Film was its decision to cast a child actor and implement them in such a graphic way (obviously not that graphic), but enough to make you wonder if that child could be offended with how their portrayed in the film as an adult? And, even if they’re not, the fact is, they could be, and if they were, they’d have the right to be.
Otherwise, out of the two, The Golden Glove is the film I would recommend, merely because the way it nabs out the glamor and romanticism associated with serial killers, making for an uglier, more unrelenting depiction.
After last Blog’s inclusion of the South Korean film Parasite, I have decided to look stateside for the next addition – in-fact, it is a film I have a lot of affection for. Directed by Martin Scorsese (in my opinion, one of the best directors of all time), The Departed winning the Academy Award for Best Director was treated almost as an act of mercy in 2006. After critical acclaimed features like Goodfellas and Taxi Driver, The Departed felt like an underdog, in that regard. However, I actually love The Departed a lot.
I have seen it at least half a dozen times (more recently with my fiancee, and prior, by myself, with a friend, and in a college film study), and the more I watch it, the more I admire and enjoy it. The film is a remake of the Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs (which I’ve seen, and actually own a physical copy of the Trilogy – hope to review it someday), bringing new elements to it, as well as a character inspired by real-life gangster Whitey Bulger (who you might have seen played by Johnny Depp in Black Mass). Similar to Parasite, The Departed is not a horror film, per se, but, most certainly meets the metrics of subject-matter, and I highly recommend it.
1.) The Departed
In the last edition of The Grey Fox, I said I wanted to be about halfway finished with my new novelette, stuck with South Korean Sunday, and unveiled my new videogame website. As of now, that was a major swing and a miss, to say the least. Although I did review a Serbian and a German film since then, I did not stick with South Korean Sunday. Also, I have not unveiled my new videogame website yet, but I hope to do so in a couple days, at the latest. On the bright side, I am about 6,000 words into my new novelette, tentatively titled Parlor Tricks, which is about halfway what my last novelette The One-Two Punchline was, so I am calling that a victory.
By the next Grey Fox, I hope to have finished the first draft of Parlor Tricks, I hope to have reviewed at least a couple more foreign films, and I hope to have more information on the Daydreamers Hallow anthology. Until next time, …
Peace, love, and chicken grease,