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About Overstreet

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    Sometimes, there's a man.

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    Assistant Professor of English & Writing at Seattle Pacific University
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  1. Overstreet


    I didn't like Madelne's Madeline. Shirley, by contrast, is my favorite film of 2020 at the halfway point. My review is up at Looking Closer.
  2. Overstreet

    Young Ahmed

    Regarding the question of comparison — since I'm the one that was doing that most insistently in the Zoom discussion, let me clarify. I don't mean to say "I love A, and since B doesn't impress me as much as A, I don't like B." For me, it's more like this: "B left me curiously unmoved. I'm trying to work my way to why. It is styled like other films — A and C, for example – that really did move me. And it deals with subject matter that other films — like D and E — have dealt with, and those films moved me. I can talk about what worked in A, C, D, and E stylistically and substantively. I can't make the same claims about B. Maybe this helps me explain, somewhat, why I'm disappointed with B. "Having said that... I can't deny that B is very interesting and very well made. I'm glad I saw it. And I will see it again, fully anticipating that I might come to appreciate it more the second time." Please remember that in that Zoom discussion, we also began making comparisons and asking questions that I found quite exciting — particularly when it came to moments of intimate touch in the film and what they represented. I remember being inspired by that and saying that now I was ready to go back and reconsider the film.
  3. I have utterly failed to provide new blurbs for anything. I'm going to make a run at it this weekend.
  4. I don't have Disney+ either, Beth. And the pilot episode to The Madalorian didn't persuade me to prioritize it..
  5. Every time I see it, I bump it farther up my list of all-time favorite films. It gives us a rare and honest depiction of just how complicated it is to discern "the right thing" — and how dangerous and costly, to oneself and others, that "thing" might actually be. It shows up just how commonly we settle for oversimplifications of righteousness in cinema. I've noticed recently that I cannot stomach anymore the kinds of common detective- and police-drama TV shows I've watched my whole life because I can no longer take the self-righteous grimaces of the detectives and cops when they murmur their contempt for the crooks once they've caught them. Watching Broadchurch Season Three last week, I couldn't even take it from David Tennant and Olivia Colman — their sheer contempt for the villain and their utter lack of curiosity about the forces that might have influenced the villain in his misdeeds. Unlike the first season, which was so richly nuanced, it felt like a standard "Well, we caught the monster — and what a monster!" Do the Right Thing, like so much of Lee's work, refuses to settle for the standard "Here is prejudice in America: Black people are the victims of hate." I reveals prejudice at work in everybody's hearts in myriad ways to the point that even Lee himself doesn't seem to know what "the right thing" is. I've come to see his films as trash cans thrown through windows: He figures that making messy art may not solve things, but at least it can relieve some of the tension and get people thinking and talking instead of just shouting and shooting.
  6. Overstreet

    Young Ahmed

    Since this is the Dardenne conversation currently in vogue, I thought I'd drop this link here. It's a good price on an increasingly rare DVD of The Son, which is, as far as I know, the only way to see the movie anymore. https://www.pricepulse.app/the-son_us_4885967
  7. Hartigan was a special guest via Skype in my Glen Workshop film seminar in Santa Fe last summer. We watched Martin Bonner and then he joined us for 45 minutes of Q&A. It was great. He was so generous with his time and perspectives.
  8. Overstreet

    Young Ahmed

    The body-on-body sequence you're referring to, while executed in an effectively creepy way, just checked the box of Tarkovsky Reference for me (or, at least one of the Tarkovsky references). It just felt to me like he was working through a list, incorporating a sort of Top Ten Ideas from Great Art Films. But by that point I was already somewhat frustrated with the footnotey-ness of the whole affair. I think I've described it before as like reading T.S. Eliot in a study edition filled with annotations. But for what it's worth — I'm not dismissing First Reformed or Young Ahmed. Not at all. They are entirely worthy of admiration, study, interpretation, and revisitation. I just find that I don't find them as rewarding or as satisfying as other work by those artists (any other Dardenne film, or several Schrader screenplays). I would hope that I don't come across as dismissive of — or, God forbid, hostile toward — either film.
  9. Overstreet


    Outside of Radiohead and Over the Rhine, this is my favorite band making music today. Once I'd spent enough time listening to Garvey's voice to stop thinking he was Peter Gabriel in disguise — their cover of "Mercy Street" resembles the original so much, it's uncanny — I started marveling at what a fantastic vocalist he is. The lyrics are always substantial, the stylistic range awe-inspiring, and the musicianship confident and constantly inventive. Live, they are out of this world. (I saw them in Seattle on the Little Fictions tour, and they surpassed my high expectations.) "The Birds" may be my favorite song of theirs too, but there are so many contenders. "My Sad Captains," "Grounds for Divorce," and "Lippy Kids" are way up there, along with the recent "My Trouble." I love the version of "Kindling (Fickle Flame)" that features John Grant. But the whole record of The Take Off and Landing of Everything rates with the very best albums I've heard in the last decade.
  10. For me, The Son is a masterpiece within which I cannot find a moment of weakness. I can't say that about The Kid With a Bike, but that's a conversation for another thread. I love them both.
  11. Overstreet

    Young Ahmed

    When we can talk spoilers, I want to hear others' takes on the ending. The last moment was in no way a surprise... or even interesting to me. It was just sort of like "Here endeth the lesson."
  12. Overstreet

    Young Ahmed

    As far as "regulars," no — but I think the soccer coach from Two Days One Night is in this; I recognized him at the Muslim community meeting.
  13. Overstreet


    This trailer is so much of what I don't miss about the closure of theaters. My interest in Nolan has waned in direct proportion to how much bigger and louder his movies have become.
  14. Overstreet

    Young Ahmed

    Due to the teetering tower of papers and essays I have to grade this week, I won't be writing a proper review soon. But here are my first impressions on Letterboxd.
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