Films in 2020: November

Happy December! It’s almost hard to believe there’s just one month left in 2020 now; hopefully, these last 31 days are better than much of the year, and I’m wishing everyone a happy and safe holiday season. November is probably my favorite month of the year because of Noirvember, a month-long celebration of all things noir. As I’ve done since 2012, I watched a ton of noir films, both ones I’ve seen before and ones that were new to me. Another cool movie-related thing that happened this month: I was a guest on The Matinee (my first time on a podcast)! I joined host Ryan McNeil to talk about David Byrne’s American Utopia, which is one of my favorite movies of 2020. We also talked about some other fun movie topics, so give it a listen here, or wherever you get your podcasts! Before moving onto a new month of movie-watching, a look back at what I watched over the past 30 days.

New-to-Me: 73

Re-Watched: 26

New-to-Me Films by Decade:

  • 1910s – 1
  • 1920s – 1
  • 1930s – 9
  • 1940s – 12
  • 1950s – 22
  • 1960s – 7
  • 1970s – 1
  • 1980s – 3
  • 1990s – 5
  • 2000s – 8
  • 2010s – 2
  • 2020s – 2

List of New-to-Me Films:

  1. The Connection (1961)
  2. Tortilla Flat (1942)
  3. The Chase (1946)
  4. The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry (1945)
  5. The Killer Is Loose (1956)
  6. The Enforcer (1951)
  7. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006)
  8. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020)
  9. Bulworth (1998)
  10. Party Girl (1995)
  11. Working Girls (1931)
  12. Shoes (1916)
  13. True Stories (1986)
  14. Hollywood Story (1951)
  15. Naked Alibi (1954)
  16. Dark City (1950)
  17. Dangerous Crossing (1953)
  18. Fourteen Hours (1951)
  19. The House on Telegraph Hill (1951)
  20. Silent Waters (2003)
  21. Born in Flames (1983)
  22. City of Fear (1959)
  23. The Killer That Stalked New York (1950)
  24. A History of Violence (2005)
  25. The Cooler (2003)
  26. Sexy Beast (2000)
  27. The Beast of the City (1932)
  28. Hard to Handle (1933)
  29. He Was Her Man (1934)
  30. The Crowd Roars (1932)
  31. Lawyer Man (1932)
  32. Big City Blues (1932)
  33. Millie (1931)
  34. Come Next Spring (1956)
  35. The Mob (1951)
  36. Fear (1946)
  37. Ossessione (1943)
  38. Weary River (1929)
  39. The Life Ahead (2020)
  40. Port of Shadows (1938)
  41. Stories We Tell (2012)
  42. Finger of Guilt (1956)
  43. Two O’Clock Courage (1945)
  44. That Wonderful Urge (1948)
  45. On the Riviera (1951)
  46. Merry Andrew (1958)
  47. Berserk (1967)
  48. Earth Girls Are Easy (1988)
  49. The Phantom Tollbooth (1970)
  50. Water Lilies (2007)
  51. Tomboy (2011)
  52. A Simple Plan (1998)
  53. Jagged Edge (1985)
  54. Lourdes (2009)
  55. Crime Thief (1969)
  56. The Teckman Mystery (1954)
  57. An Angel at My Table (1990)
  58. Orlando (1992)
  59. Reign of Terror (1949)
  60. The Strange Woman (1946)
  61. Footsteps in the Fog (1955)
  62. Plymouth Adventure (1952)
  63. Billy Rose’s Jumbo (1962)
  64. The Big Circus (1959)
  65. Alphaville (1965)
  66. Bob le flambeur (1956)
  67. Branded to Kill (1967)
  68. A Colt Is My Passport (1967)
  69. Pursued (1947)
  70. Ruthless (1948)
  71. Suspense (1946)
  72. Backfire (1950)
  73. Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950)

A Few Favorite Discoveries:

Party Girl (1995)

Party Girl (1995), directed by Daisy von Scherler Mayer

Another gem I discovered thanks to TCM’s Women Make Film series, which started in September and sadly ends tonight! Parker Posey shines throughout as the titular Party Girl who starts to refocus her life while working as a library clerk, a job her aunt gave her after she had to bail her out of jail. Watching this though just makes me wish Posey had more lead roles, as it is it’s often a delight to see her on-screen.

True Stories (1986)

True Stories (1986), directed by David Byrne

As I mentioned during my conversation with Ryan on The Matinee, I watched this as a part of a triple-bill of David Byrne movies, re-watching his American Utopia and Stop Making Sense with his band Talking Heads before getting to True Stories, his directorial debut. It’s a wonderfully weird slice of life in the fictional Texas town Virgil filled with some colorful characters, led by a fantastic John Goodman. And of course, there are Talking Heads songs throughout that make it all the more enjoyable.

The House on Telegraph Hill (1951)

The House on Telegraph Hill (1951), directed by Robert Wise

The House on Telegraph Hill was one of the dozens of noir films I watched in November, and it’s one that stayed with me throughout the month. It’s a pretty atmospheric mystery thriller, with somewhat of a gothic setting mostly taking place inside a home in the upscale San Francisco neighborhood. Both Valentina Cortese and Richard Basehart (who married each other the year this film was released) are great in this and play well off one another, keeping the audience guessing on what their respective characters may do next. Always trust Robert Wise to put together a worthwhile film.

Come Next Spring (1956)

Come Next Spring (1956), directed by R.G. Springsteen

I discovered Come Next Spring through a night of programming on TCM, where Leonard Matlin talked about a few movies he considers to be neglected classics, and this certainly fits the bill. It’s a nice, wholesome movie that happens to star two actors who are probably best known for film noir, pretty much the exact opposite of this family-friendly picture. So it was also fun to see typical baddie Steve Cochran in a much more heartwarming role as a father trying to reconnect with his family alongside the fabulous Ann Sheridan.

Earth Girls Are Easy (1988)

Earth Girls Are Easy (1988), directed by Julien Temple

I watched Earth Girls Are Easy for the first time thanks to TCM Underground, and it is definitely one of the movies I’ve enjoyed watching the most this year. It is completely silly, but it’s not trying to be anything more than that, and I had a ton of fun with it. Plus it’s hard to resist a dream sequence that features both Jean Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast and Robby the Robot! Geena Davis is charming in this, as is Jeff Goldblum as the alien she ends up falling for (and they were, of course, a couple at this time and got married during this film’s production). I also have to add that this is probably the most ’80s movie I’ve ever seen.

Pursued (1947)

Pursued (1947), directed by Raoul Walsh

A couple of months ago I dived into the Criterion Channel’s Western noir collection, which I enjoyed quite a bit, so I made sure to watch at least one movie that falls under that subgenre for Noirvember. And it doesn’t get much more noir than Robert Mitchum in the lead, haunted by nightmares of his mysterious past as he’s brought up by a neighboring family after his family was killed when he was a boy. Teresa Wright, Judith Anderson, and Dean Jagger also do good work in Pursued, playing some of his adoptive family members who each have different feelings about his character. And as expected, cinematographer James Wong Howe offers up some spectacular black-and-white photography.

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