Three Out of Four Good Movies
I Used to Be Famous
Vinnie D. struggled to write a solo album for twenty years after his stint in a popular boy band. He wanders aimlessly with his keyboard – through the diverse Peckham neighborhood in southeast London – trying to complete a song. By chance, Stevie, a neurodiverse drummer, escapes the control of his mother for a few minutes and begins to play music with Vinnie D. This feel-good film explores the development of their relationship, Vinne D. (Ed Shrein), Stevie (Leo Long), and Stevie’s Mom (Eleanor Matsuura).
I Used to Be Famous is a genuine film with excellent character development and likable people. Both musicians have different aims for their music and struggle with different wants and desires. The Mom is perfect as a protective Mom trying to let go.
The diverse music range is appropriate for the film, from the Doobie Brothers to many by artists I have never heard of, such as Frazey Ford, Sister Nancy, Autistix, Mysie, and more. The stars Ed Skrein and Leo Long also sing. The neurodiverse Leo Long is an accomplished musician in the U.K. I Used to Be Famous is Leo’s first film.
I Used to Be Famous has a satisfying and emotional ending that makes you happy. There is a bit of ambiguity to make it interesting and suitable for a little bit of discussion.
Do Revenge is a stylized and well-written coming-of-age comedy film set in a wealthy high school in Miami. However, all of the actors have been out of high school for five to ten years. This film is a perfect vehicle for Maya Hawke, the new fresh face, first seen by most playing Robin in Stranger Things Season 3 & 4. Do Revenge allowed her to transform from a depressed hippie chick to a rich, stylish calculating mean girl. The other lead is Camila Mendez, who also evolved in the film but took a different path. Both leads are perfect in their roles.
The film is way over the top in how the decadent rich kids party and behave. However, the Do Revenge story is intricate, with a couple of twists that catch you. Another stand out with a small role is Sophie Turner as one of the rich girls that didn’t make it.
Netflix has over 220 million paid subscribers in 190 countries, which is why there are a lot of foreign films on Netflix. To take full advantage of Netflix, watch a foreign movie occasionally; they sometimes will surprise you. However, I cannot recommend The Swarm.
IMDB lists The Swarm as a French horror, fantasy, drama movie, but it is mostly boring. If you are a real horror movie fan, this film will not satisfy you; just a big build-up to only a bit of horror, not worth the wait—maybe a good movie for newbie horror fans.
No – the swarm are not killer bees – that is the 1978 swarm movie. This 2021 film’s swarm originates at a locust farm. Virginia owns sluggish locusts and could not make enough locust flour (high protein flour) to stay in business. So, she starts feeding the locust blood. You can figure out what happens next.
Overall, The Swarm is a slow film with a fast and disappointing ending – try a different foreign film.
The Outfit is a psychological crime drama set in one location, the inside of Leonard Burling’s (Mark Rylance) tailor shop. Leonard is a cutter who makes suits for the Irish Mob in 1956 Chicago. The story is flawless, with every word and action having significance. The story slowly grows into a complex series of problems, with multiple parties warring with each other.
Mark Rylance’s performance is masterful, as is his assistant Mable (Zoey Deutch). Several mobsters come and go, but Francis (Johnny Flynn, The Dig) gets deeply intertwined in the story and can’t seem to get out of the tailor shop.
There are no special effects or fast-moving action, but the actors and story easily keep you engrossed in the film. The Outfit is an excellent screenplay executed flawlessly. It feels like The Outfit must have originated from a play, but it is just a story written by the Director, Graham Moore, and Johnathan McClain.