Required Reading: What Summer Got Wrong and Docs That Changed Course

By  · Published on September 1st, 2014

Paramount Pictures

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere.

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“What This Summer’s Blockbusters Got Wrong (And Right)” – Kate Erbland at ScreenCrush debates with herself about blockbuster problems ranging from kind of stupid to truly moronic. Will next year’s summer movies benefit from the lessons? Probably not.

“Love Isn’t Dead: How Indie Films Became the Future of Rom-Coms” – Also from Kate (this time writing for Vanity Fair – she’s everywhere, people), a look at an orphaned genre that’s been adopted outside the studio system.

“The genre itself certainly isn’t dead – even a brief perusal of the Web site Box Office Mojo turns up 15 2014 releases that are ostensibly classified as “romantic comedies,” but it’s no longer the playground of big studios looking to make some money by tossing together two bankable stars and calling it a day. That model just doesn’t work anymore. Instead, it’s independent films that, like their Big Fat forerunner, latch on to humor and romance (and fresh talents) in order to tell a charming story that doesn’t need a massive budget (or robots or explosions or space travel) to strike a chord with audiences.”

“Cynthia Rothrock, Hong Kong Action Films and Expendable Women” – Michael Mirasol at Movie Mezzanine offers a video essay and non-video essay on a prolific actor who’s still kicking ass.

“Change of plan: 15 documentaries that switched course during filming” – The AV Club team puts together a list, offering insight into what happens when your real-life narrative is disrupted by real life.

“The Maysles brothers set out to record The Rolling Stones as they wrapped up the final weeks of their 1969 U.S. tour – a series of shows that marked the group’s ascension to arena-rock gods, and quasi-mythical legends of a counterculture that had consumed the era. But then they got to Altamont, a free festival added to the end of their already-exhausting sojourn that would change the narrative of both the film and the 1960s. As the Maysles’ cameras watch (some of them operated by a young Martin Scorsese and George Lucas), the already-restive Altamont crowd boils over until, almost inevitably, things turn violent: 18-year-old Meredith Hunter attempts to force his way past the Hells Angels members serving as security, who respond by beating him; as he draws a revolver, another Hells Angel grabs and stabs him to death – and it’s all caught on camera. Any ability to enjoy Gimme Shelter as a concert film becomes immediately lost in that bad trip. From there, the movie switches to a documentary about the Summer Of Love ending in murder – a “snuff film,” as some incensed critics branded it – that even Mick Jagger, in one of the film’s signature moments, finds himself unable to look away from.”

Movie stuff at VanityFair, Thrillist, IndieWire, Film School Rejects, and The Broken Projector [email protected] | Writing short stories at Adventitious.