The Letterboxd Files with Cory: Volume 6

by | Jul 17, 2022

The Letterboxd Files is back for another go-around with whatever in the world Cory has been watching of late. 

Happy hot-ass July! I’ve been watching some movies, and I’ve seen some movies; I’m sure you’re waiting with baited breath as to what I’m up to. I can’t keep you waiting any longer.

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On 

If you are allergic to cuteness, then even the world’s best EpiPen won’t save you from Marcel the Shell with Shoes On. It’s an adorable little family film where a stop-motion talking shell kid plays classical music for plants, rolls around in a little tennis ball and goes viral on the internet. While it could be found a bit guilty for becoming just a bit too glacial for its own good, it’s still just a heartwarming reminder that it’s always nice to have people in your life. In its best moments, it’s either pretty funny for such poignant subject matter or just touching enough to reach the most stoic grump. It’s a sweet ‘lil movie; one of those you just want to pinch the cheeks to and give all the little cookie crumbs in the world. Just, y’know, don’t go in tired. Marcel isn’t chugging Vault.


I don’t know, it’s really nice to go from Thor: Love and Thunder to something this weird and interesting for Chris Hemsworth. He seems right at home playing a faux-friendly science bro who could snap at the drop of a hat. Joseph Kosinski has obviously made a better movie this year in Top Gun: Maverick, but I really liked the way he digs at this “sci-fi of the week” movie. It’s better than most movies like this are on Netflix, that’s for damn sure.

Where to Watch: Netflix

The Adventures of Pluto Nash 

Between the Hillary money and the Trump moon colonies, Pluto Nash is the definitive “what if the 2016 election would’ve gone differently?” scenario.

It appears that I liked this movie more than the person who made it. At least to me, Pluto Nash joins Boomerang, Harlem Nights and Vampire in Brooklyn as being an Eddie Murphy movie that’s actually much better than the initial reaction. Now, saying this movie is much better than a 4% Rotten Tomatoes score isn’t revelatory or anything, but as far as early 00s studio comedies go, it’s okay!

You can tell Murphy wasn’t vibing with the comedy atmosphere on this, wanting to make Pluto Nash the next sci-fi action star. But he is funny enough to make this a bearable experience. It’s just kind of floating about, never earning its reputation but never becoming anything more than a lark with a decent concept. I think if anyone was on the same page who made this, it might’ve actually turned out to be not one of the biggest flops of the 21|st century. Even still, it’s a fine little movie (that cost $100m to make), though some of the innuendo has aged poorly and Murphy clearly found better ways to scratch his itch to be a more serious actor.

One of the worst movies of all time? No way. A middling-yet-relatively-enjoyable sci-fi romp? Why not.

Luis Guzman popping up for an extended cameo made me smile.

Where to Watch: VOD

Harlem Nights

Look, this is a better film than Dick Tracey, and almost as interesting aesthetically. This also has Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor and Redd freaking Foxx on the same screen. So, your move, Film Twitter. Also, the Arsenio Hall scream-crying his revenge scene is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.

Where to Watch: HBO Max, VOD

Minions (rewatch)

It’s weird that I wasn’t crazy about this when I saw it in theaters, but I found it to be pretty funny now that I’m older? I blame that in part to whatever’s in the water making us all dumber, and in part to spending most of my time with a chocolate lab.

What can I say? Removal from Minions Facebook posts and general Minions culture has given me a soft spot for the little guys. They’re cute, but also delightfully anarchistic. The plot here is ridiculous, but it wills Bob the Minion briefly becoming the King of England. I am sorry; I laughed at this more than I did in 2015. It’s probably me. I like this movie. It’s funny. Bob and his teddy bear are cute. Life is short. Minions was fun. What am I supposed to do?

Where to Watch: Peacock, VOD

Romeo + Juliet 

You really get the whole Baz experience here. I loved the insanity of it all, like when the kid’s choir sings Prince, or the rapacious production design and smash edits. It’s a movie high on its own supply, and I’ll take this over the chilly interiors of Joel Coen’s Macbeth. Though, I’m still an idiot and can’t understand half of Shakespeare, so my mileage varied. Still, Harold Perrineau, do your thing! Though, the modern setting makes the whole use of a letter maddeningly stupid. Just call each other!

Where to Watch: HBO Max, VOD

Graffiti Bridge 

Prince should never be one of the less interesting parts of a Prince movies.

More of an abstract compilation than anything else, a chance for Prince to stretch his artistic muscles with a new album into a movie that’s much more of a showcase than a story. If not for Morris Day hamming it up every time he’s on screen, this would be a pretty flat experience. That’s a shame, because the music is good, there’s visual flair and it’s Prince, so he’s always one step away from taking your breath away in the right moment. He really should’ve just done another concert film.  It’s a shame this is the last movie we got from him. It’s not as much of a failure than a shrug, something that can’t really connect any dots, internally with its story and externally in trying to be a “sequel” to Purple Rain. It’s also a damn shame that we haven’t gotten a Morris Day and the Time comedy movie, but I suppose anything is possible in that regard?

Probably just a movie for a completist or a diehard Paisley Park fan.

Where to Watch: HBO Max, VOD

A League of Their Own


There might not be any crying in baseball, but it’s sure getting a little misty on my couch!

Obviously a good movie, crowd-pleasing and incredibly thoughtful. We need more movies where Tom Hanks is just a wily supporting character spittin’ tobacco and yelling at people like a fool.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime, VOD

Hulk (rewatch)

I remember loving this as a kid, thinking it was stupid as a high school student. Now that I’m finding people were loving this in reappraisal, and thinking it’s quite good on a rewatch!

What a big, moody, anti-violent spectacle. Ang Lee strips the piece of its heroism and stages a Frankenstein story where superpowers are curses and weapons. I’m not sure Eric Bana was the right choice for Banner, as good of an actor as he is, but Nick Nolte and Sam Elliott are so spanking great that it doesn’t really matter. I love that a major 2003 summer blockbuster is a meditative Greek tragedy with a shortage of action and a surplus of sorrowful ruminations and bombastic dialogue-driven face-offs. The CG for Hulk himself is of course a little rough; it doesn’t quite have that timelessness of the CG in something like T2. It’s still a gripping revisit, proving you should never trust how you view movies in high school and always trust how you view movies as a 10-year-old. One of the best third acts in superhero film history, too. That Kevin Feige was involved with this film and set out to make a career of movies that are basically the exact opposite of this is so telling.

Where to Watch: Fubo, AMC+, Tubi, Sling, VOD


Malcolm and Marie 

The exhilarating film adaptation of “Sir, this is a Wendy’s.”

I don’t at all think Sam Levinson is untalented; he understands how to build the romantic aura of shooting on 16mm and in B&W, and I liked how he build mood with music. His direction is fascinating, and I loved the way he framed his actors and how he got the passion out of the performances. Zendaya and John David Washington seem completely bought in to what Levinson is doing; they’re both going to have wonderful careers.

This script was written on damp toilet paper and has the emotional intelligence of a garden gnome. It’s angry ranting about Hollywood, critics and goodness knows what else felt like being put into a Film Twitter blender and shuffled about without any end game.

It’s, and I’m saying this with full respect for Levinson’s talent, one of the most unconvincing scripts I’ve experienced in years. I found it to be deeply annoying and incoherent. I don’t really care what Levinson has to grind against film critics nor do I think his ideas really come home, and I couldn’t really grapple at all with how he views creative relationships as psychotic kaiju battles between the most insufferable people in the world. What I think Levinson fails at is making insufferable people believable. I’m fine with spending two hours with terrible people if I can buy the “why.” I could even vaguely buy the “why” here because it’s so convoluted and incredulously silly.

These characters exist purely to one-up each other to build cheap tension rather than try to even vaguely have any sort of meaningful conversation, even if it gets really messy. I just felt this was a cloying vanity project made with the excuse of COVID. There is nothing to it at its core. I think everyone here will see this as a blip on the radar, something we revisit in 20 years as a “lol do you remember that?” I’d say Levinson really needs to tread lightly with making films this perturbing, but he’s been more than fine elsewhere. This won’t matter in a month, and I don’t think it’s worth much cerebral exertion. It’s a beautiful-looking stupid movie.

Where to Watch: Netflix

Crazy World 


Wakaliwood is sacred and must be protected at all costs.

I think Crazy World is the best film I’ve seen this year (this was in 2020), if only because I felt like I was watching all at once the funniest movie I’ve ever seen and the smartest, most insanely creative homage/dissection of action movies I’ve seen since Hot Fuzz.

Anyone can make a movie and it can be great; Uganda just took basic camera equipment, insanely cheap CGI, regular people actors and a unruly amount of joy and love of movies and just absolutely pantsed the entirety of action filmmaking of the last couple of years. I am so sad it took me this long to find this oasis of fresh, bold cinema, but I found it, and it showed me that, yes, you can turn a man into a banana after he’s been blown to pieces by a machine gun during the climax of an action children’s film.

Wakaliwood is why we go to the movies: a factory of happiness and innovation, everything we’ve been told movies can do and revere that movies can be to people.

I hope Martin Scorsese gets to see this movie; I think it would make him happy to know the future of cinema is alive in Wakaliwood, and they seem to be having the time of their lives making it. The pre-film gag of a man claiming it was worth it to spend 20 years in prison for pirating Hobbs and Shaw was the first of maybe 20-25 times where I laughed so loud I was scared I would annoy someone in my house.

Long live the Waka Starz!

Where to Watch: VOD

Vegas Vacation 

A hilarious Vacation sequel where Clark Griswold nearly *checks notes* gambles his family bank account away because of onset gambling addiction, and his family nearly abandons him. That’s the plot! He needs to stop going on vacations, or let his wife plan them. They never seem to go well. Even Rusty’s vacation didn’t go well in 2015. This family just needs to stay home.

This was okay; nothing special, kind of amusing. Rusty just winning a bunch of cars was the best part.

Where to Watch: Netflix