Harry Bagenstos

Harry Bagenstos

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college student; dumbass

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  • Tony Manero

    Tony Manero

    ★★

    This movie is obviously trying hard to be bizarre but in fact it's pretty conventional in the way it uses its gimmick as a blunt object standing in for what Larraín sees as the national pathology of the Pinochet years. I guess Alfredo Castro's lead performance is "good" but I didn't get much out of it: it's very committed but also very showy in a way that doesn't really work for me. Although the movie is sort of interesting as…

  • One Night in Miami...

    One Night in Miami...

    ★★★

    Middle school social studies class cinema that looks best in comparison to the last prominent entry in the genre, Aaron Sorkin's execrable Chicago Seven movie. King's direction is graceful, dignified, and almost entirely uninteresting. The performances are uniformly compelling enough to rise above Kemp Powers' script, which mostly reminded me of watching someone move action figures around, but although they're good impressions, they fail to register any deep insight into these characters. (As I think has become the conventional wisdom,…

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  • The Last Dance

    The Last Dance

    This is an infomercial with no insight into Jordan as either a player or a man. (It turns out he is a self-regarding dick... what a shocker.) At the risk of sounding like one of those guys who skimmed an interview with Noam Chomsky once and now is a self-appointed expert on politics and the media, there's really no need for a thoroughgoing critique when all you have to do to explain why this is so lifeless is look at…

  • High School

    High School

    ★★★★★

    Everyone says it's about conformity, which of course is right, but I think it's more, and more specific, than that -- it's a portrait of white middle-class identity formation. The key scene is towards the middle, when a teacher tries to give a lesson on Michael Harrington's The Other America; it just seems impossible for him to communicate the experience of crushing poverty so it's talked about in this very detached, academic way. The wrinkle there is that the conversation…