Posting one’s top four first film viewings of each month is a popular Film Twitter pastime. The limitations of that forum, however, leave little room to elaborate on the why. And what better time for me to start a new monthly column than literally the middle of the year?
So in no particular order, here are my Top 4 First Watches of July
Honestly, I suggest going into this as blind as possible. But if you need a logline, this is basically “Big Fat Liar” but with way more murder. Michael Caine plays a playwright dejected from his new show bombing. When he reads the play manuscript of a student (Christopher Reeve) who had attended his seminar, he plots to kill the man and claim the play as his own work.
The Old Guard (2020)
I previously wrote a piece on “The Old Guard” specifically focusing on its LGBT themes. It’s stuck with me this entire month as one of the best overall action films I’ve seen in recent years. Charlize Theron is a beast, Gina Prince-Bythewood better get more big budget projects after this, and the entire cast shines as immortal warriors on the run.
Elisabeth Moss delivers her second award-worthy performance of 2020 (and sparked the urge of me to own a porch swing) as The Haunting of Hill House author Shirley Jackson. It is an adaptation Susan Scarf Merrell’s novel, with the fictional aspects lending itself give an idea of the real life Jackson and the inspiration for her work.
The Singer Not the Song (1961)
I’m going through a bit of a Dirk Bogarde phase. Haven’t we all. What I should specify, and why this is top first watches and not exactly best first watches, is that I watched way better Dirk Bogarde flicks this month. This movie is not perfect. It’s a British-made Western set in Mexico with an entirely European cast. There is no set time period as people ride horses but then cars show an hour into the film. However, this was my personal fave as it resonated with me the most with its Huge Gay Subext. Bogarde gives it his all as leather pants-clad town baddie who finds himself drawn to the new priest in town. What follows is a theological, ethical battle between good and evil with an emotional climax that broke me and made me immediately show my friend so I’d have someone to scream with. So if you love Westerns and crying, have I got a film for you. (I couldn’t find the trailer online so enjoy a nice clip)