Films I Neglected To Review: ''Don't Tell Me You Got Someone In B!"By Peter Sobczynski
Posted 08/10/18 13:53:54
Please enjoy short reviews of "Along Came the Devil," "Nico 1988" and "Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood."
To be fair, the film is not entirely a carbon copy of ''The Exorcist''--that film, which I must confess has never really worked for me in the way that it has with so many others over the years, was at least made with undeniable craft and care and seriousness of purpose. For this one, director/co-writer Jason DeVan has boldly decided to show us what that film would have been like without any of those ingredients. Instead, we get the usual array of badly timed ''BOO!'' moments and gross-out bits that have been seen in dozens of ''Exorcist'' riffs over the years that conclude with something that could only be considered an ending only in the loosest dictionary definition imaginable. Frankly, the creepiest scene occurs long before the possession even begins and involves Ashley and the young priest meeting for the first time--in a candy store no less--and engaging in banter that is more off-putting than anything else on display. The presence of this scene is all the more baffling because there is at least one seemingly important sequence, Ashley's first demon-induced freakout in school, that is vaguely referred to by other but never actually seen or explained--did DeVan shoot it and cut it, forgetting to remove the later references to it, or did he forget to even film it in the first place? One thing is for certain--years, or even days, from now, no self-respecting teen is ever going to ask a friend if they have ever seen ''Along Came the Devil.''
Like Nico's own music, this film from writer-director Susanna Nicchiarelli will no doubt come across as an acquired taste with some finding it to be a droning docudrama based around a not-especially-likable central character. For me, the film does work, almost entirely due to the performance by Dyrholm--although she does not bear even the slightest physical resemblance to the real Paffgen, she embodies her so thoroughly through her acting that you get the feeling at times that you are watching the real woman going through the motions of her life (and to prove this, check out the 1995 documentary ''Nico Icon'' for comparison). ''Nico 1988'' is not a particularly fun movie to watch but it is indeed a fascinating one and, if nothing else, it should inspire most viewers, if they haven't already, to go back and revise the Nico discography for themselves to see that there was more to her musical career than those three VU songs.
That book has just been optioned to be turned into a movie itself but until it finally gets made, we have ''Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood,'' a documentary by Matt Tyrnauer in which Bowers, now in his 90s, reflects on his past life and glories, occasionally reuniting with some of his colleagues from back in the day. Mixed in with these reminiscences are clips from old Hollywood classics in which the secrets of the stars are practically bursting forth with every now-charged line of dialogue or image (cue the inevitable bit from ''Bringing Up Baby'' where a peignoir-clad Cary Grant exclaims ''I just went gay all of a sudden!'') Watching Bowers cheerfully recounting his past will no doubt be amusing and eyebrow-raising for students of classic Hollywood in the same way that it can be fun to leaf through a copy of Kenneth Angerís equally salacious history ''Hollywood Babylon.'' The problem is that while Tyrnauer clearly adores Bowers as a subject, he seems oddly reticent to probe Bowers and his rosy recollections to get at any of the darker stuff involving him and his Hollywood connections that must have occurred at some point. Bowers is a little more open when talking about things not involving stars--he movingly speaks of the daughter who died following a botched abortion--but even when he talks about being molested as a child, he looks upon it only as a completely positive experience that helped to make him the guy that he became. Nevertheless, ''Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood'' is entertaining, albeit in an ultimately superficial manner, and I guarantee that after watching it, you will never look at the old Tracy-Hepburn movies in the same way again.
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