Maciej at the Movies: A March Movie Return, and a Summer of Soul

| February 10th, 2022

Maciej Kasperowicz is a good friend and one of the more trusted movie voices in my life. Today he shares his recap of 2021 especially for us, the DBB throng.

It was a Saturday, a few weeks into March 2021, that marked two weeks since my second Pfizer dose.

I planned my whole day around going to the movies.

Film Forum was playing a double feature of Pedro Almodovar’s new short paired with one of his classics, so I went there for those, got some delicious fish and chips for lunch, and then walked up to the Quad to see Shiva Baby.

I went to the movies 55 times in 2021, and part of that was making up for lost COVID time, but I also think that, because of the uncertainty of 2020, a ton of good shit came out last year. There were movies that I adored, that I told my friends that they absolutely HAD to go see or rent, that I couldn’t squeeze into my top 40 for the year.

For you, though, and for DaBearsBlog, I’ve whittled the list down a 40. Make some popcorn and enjoy.


Psycho Goreman, HYDRA, The Night House, The Novice, The Tragedy of Macbeth, Test Pattern, Never Gonna Snow Again, Malignant, The Power, Plan B


Drive My Car, Matrix: Resurrections, The Green Knight, Annette, The Queen of Black Magic, Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy, Judas and the Black Messiah, Identifying Features, In the Heights, Prisoners of the Ghostland

20. Memoria

This movie’s oddly hard to actually see right now, but I’m optimistic that you’ll get the chance at some point, and when you do, you’ll get one of the best Tilda Swinton performances in years, and the coolest sound design of any movie that came out last year.

19. West Side Story

It can often be counterproductive to remake a movie and spell out its subtext in capital letters (I hated this year’s very ABOUT TRAUMA Halloween Kills), but Tony Kushner’s sharp focus on the racial, economic, and real estate dynamics in one very specific neighborhood of late 50s NYC only enriches the text. Visually, Spielberg is just showing off here, and it’s so fun to watch. I’d love it even more if I didn’t think it didn’t have a black hole of charisma in the middle of it in the form of Ansel Elgort.

[Editor’s Note: If Maciej and I ever start a Siskel and Ebert type program, we could do three episodes on Elgort’s performance in WSS.]

18. Pig

Seems out like it’s gonna be John Wick but about a kidnapped pig and, structurally, it kind of is? But it replaces Gun Fu with real talk about fine dining, tender cookery, and baguette sourcing. It’s the most unexpectedly sweet movie of the year.

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Niners at Bears Game Preview: Loser Goes Home, The (Beautiful) French Dispatch, Snoozer Coming?

| October 29th, 2021

Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears.

But currently there are elements of the franchise I like far more than others.

Offensively, the team is an off-night at the Comedy Cellar: predictable, boring, bad. Every time you think things might improve, maybe THIS comic is the next big thing, you are drowned in a sea of discarded Louis C.K. material.

And it is very hard to like the them defensively without Khalil Mack and possibly without Robert Quinn. The entire defense is built on the availability and dominance of those two players. Without them, and without a pass rush, what are they?

Loser Goes Home Match?

The Bears are 3-4. They’ve been embarrassed in all four of their losses. Another loss sends them to 3-5, and leaves them needing a 6-2 finish to play in the tournament as the likely 7-seed. (And hey, that might earn them a return visit to Tampa!) Their head coach even has me calling for his firing. This is it. This game is the fork in the schedule.

The Niners are 2-4. They’ve lost four straight and their season is drifting away from them. They don’t know what they’re doing at quarterback. They’ve played about 28 running backs. Their head coach – who until this point has received zero criticism from anyone – is now being asked to defend a pretty poor NFL coaching record. A loss Sunday and it’s another wasted season.

There’s always a mathematical argument to keep a team alive but the loser of Sunday’s game at Soldier Field is dead. The Bears will not lose to a bad Niners team at home and then go on the road, in primetime, and beat the Steelers. (Especially without the ability to pressure Roethlisberger.) The Niners won’t be marching Jimmy G. out there much longer as the losses mount. And a move to Trey Lance, while inevitable, will announce the end of their 2021 prospects.

No, both of the teams are desperate to win Sunday. But more honestly, they are desperate not to lose.

HughesReviews: The French Dispatch

It is often hard to explain what one doesn’t like about a particular filmmaker but in the case of Wes Anderson, I have never found that to be the case. His films – at least the films since Rushmore – have always felt like artifice for artifice’s sake; polished, pretty, planned within an inch of their lives, while being devoid of all human life. They are admirable works, sure, in the same way a high-end French restaurant can deliver a plate of beautiful cuisine. But at some point you have to pick up your fork and eat the fucking thing.

The French Dispatch is a distinct, and powerful, departure. Because of the picture’s narrative framing – stories told by the brilliant writers of an expat periodical in the fictional village of Ennui, France – the visual devices that might have previously felt indulgent instead feel essential to the storytelling. Dispatch is, in my ways, the first perfect marriage of story and style for Anderson. And in that regard, it is arguably his best picture: a beautiful story, beautifully told.

And while Tilda Swinton’s toothy lecturer had me cackling in my seat as she announced the crowd she’d be taking her drink, the entire cast, even in truncated form, are delightful. Anderson lets his performers breathe in this film. He frames them beautifully, of course, but he lets them live in that frame. And we should all be thankful for that.

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