Movies Watched, September 2019

Still from “Between Two Ferns: The Movie”

Just as in August, I wasn’t able to make it out to theaters to see a single movie in September. I try to go at least once a month, so this is a bummer for me. But work—and more specifically traveling for work—tends to constrain my free time during this part of each year. The only new thing I watched was Zach Galifianakis and Scott Aukerman’s “Between Two Ferns: The Movie” on Netflix. I had admittedly unwisely high expectations for it, given how much I’ve enjoyed the web series’ reliably raw comedic disposition over the years, but this adaptation felt flat and uninspired.

Watching old movies yielded better results. I continued powering through Quentin Tarantino’s back catalog by watching “Kill Bill: Vol. 1” and “Kill Bill: Vol. 2,” both of which fully stand the test of time. I also rewatched a few other old favorites, including the 1937 screwball comedy “The Awful Truth,” if for no other reason than to reconfirm for myself that this is one of the greatest movies ever made. Romantic comedies have earned a terrible reputation over the past few decades but this classic of the genre starring Cary Grant and Irene Dunne shows the true potential of the form.

Thanks to The Criterion Channel, I also got to see a number of other old movies for the first time—five of them, in fact. Jean Renoi’s “Grand Illusion” and Charlie Chaplin’s “Circus Time” were the standouts. Pound for pound, I get far more pleasure from this streaming movie service than Netflix, Hulu or any other. It’s just a treat to have access to this library of truly amazing films, and the fact that the service’s native apps now allow downloads to your phone or tablet for offline viewing makes it even more invaluable.

Here are all sixteen movies I watched last month. Regular readers may notice that I’m including the star ratings from my Letterboxd diary entries here too. More on that in a future blog post.

  1. Police Story” (1985) ★★½
    It’s hard to resist Jackie Chan, but this one is way too sloppy for my taste.
  2. Ralph Breaks the Internet” (2018) ★★★½
    Could be a pretty decent trilogy in the making.
  3. High Life” (2018) ★½
    The production values of a 70s sci-fi TV show, the brains of an insufferable art student video.
  4. Sympathy for Lady Vengeance” (2005) ★★★½
    Off the wall bonkers from Park Chan-wook.
  5. Kill Bill: Vol. 1” (2003) ★★★★½
    Rewatched. The thrills remain but the characters somehow work even better now.
  6. Stalag 17” (1953) ★★★½
    A prisoner of war movie as a cozy blanket.
  7. Widows” (2018) ★★★★
    Rewatched. A masterpiece hiding in plain sight.
  8. The Awful Truth” (1937) ★★★★★
    Rewatched. Just confirming that this movie deserves its spot on my top five all time best list.
  9. Battle of Britain” (1969) ★★
    Sounds like homework, and pretty much is.
  10. The Circus” (1928) ★★★★
    Chaplin at his most effervescent.
  11. Kill Bill: Vol. 2” (2004) ★★★★★
    Rewatched. This is the movie that convinced me Tarantino is a genius.
  12. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” (1971) ★★
    Why people are sentimental about this movie, I have no idea..
  13. Between Two Ferns: The Movie” (2019) ★★
    You can’t make a conventional movie out of an unconventional show.
  14. Grand Illusion” (1937) ★★★★
    A prison break tale with unexpected humanity.
  15. American Psycho” (2000) ★★★★
    Rewatched. A black hole of humanity.
  16. Un Flic” (1972) ★★★
    Painstakingly made but tests the limit of macho posturing.

This is the latest roundup of my monthly movie consumption. You can also see what I watched in August, in July, in June, in May, in April, in March, in February, in January and a full list of everything I watched in 2018, in 2017 and in 2016. And, if you’re interested, you can follow along with my movie diary at