I started this site with the intention of writing about every movie that I watched... And while that was a noble goal it quickly proved unsustainable. The reviews kept getting longer, and it was taking me longer and longer to write them, and I just didn't have enough time in the day.
However, my well intentioned but short lived project continues on in at least two ways. The first is that I started a movie diary on Letterboxd where I can log every movie that I watch and give each of them a star rating. The one sentence synopses that I'm posting over there are less meaningful than the blog posts I was writing here - but they are also much quicker and easier to write.
The other holdover is that I'm still taking screen captures of every movie I watch. I had originally started taking snapshots so that I could have a visual element to make my posts more eye-catching, but I kept taking them long after I stopped writing posts because I felt like they might come in handy some day for some unknown purpose.
Well, that day is today, because I just decided to unveil a greatest hits collection of amazing faces I have encountered in my recent movie-watching.
The genesis of this post was this image from the Mighty Boosh. I felt like I had to share this ape-crotch-centric photo with the world - but how? I didn't actually want to write about Boosh, which I found to be pleasant but not earth shattering. And I didn't want to put that image into any sort of context, because a) the original show barely put it into any sort of context and b) it's much funnier as a stand alone image.
But then I realized: fuck it, I can just put it out there in the context of "images that I think are funny." The answer to my heavy metal orangutan problem was to double down on randomness.
So here then are a bunch of other photos which I couldn't find a way to contextualize, or which I could contextualize but didn't want to, or things that I just thought were funny or visually striking.
Let's do this, shall we?
This screen capture is a perfect example of a great image from a terrible movie. It comes from A Man Called Ove, which was sentimental garbage. (It's the sort of trash where the main character dies at the end because "his heart is too big". FUUUUUCCCKKK OFF.)
But come on: that's an amazing image. I can only hope that someday someone will look at me the way that Mr. Shirtless is looking at Ove. (Of course, if they do, I will probably respond with confusion and discomfort just like Ove does.)
Then there's this bad boy, from an Ethan Hawke movie called Getaway. Now, there's a part of me that really wants to write a long essay about Ethan Hawke because his career has been sort of fascinating - he's been in some stone cold classics, he's been in some terrible films, and he's been in some films that existed in a quantum state somewhere in between "so crazy it's amazing" and "so nonsensical it's barely watchable."
And while I might write an essay on Hawke's bizarre all-over-the-place career someday, I'm not gonna write about Getaway, which was straight up dumb.
That said: I still really like the goofy-ass face he's making there.
Another reason why I stopped writing about every movie I saw: sometimes it's better to enjoy something uncriticially.
Take for example Weird Science: I loved that movie as a kid. And honestly, a good 80% of the movie still holds up. It's definitely a chauvinist film - it's about some nerdy teens who use their computer to make their ideal woman (aka a supermodel who drives sports cars and can grant wishes) - but if you can excuse the manic pixie dream girl elements as being mere juvenile wish fulfillment it is a pretty charming little flick.
But that 20% that doesn't hold up... whoo boy.
There's a scene early on where Lisa the genie takes the boys to a bar...specifically, a blues bar in downtown Chicago. It's a very, very embarrassing scene that's chock full of unpleasant racial stereotypes, and even though it's an isolated bit that doesn't really impact the overall movie there's no way I could write about Weird Science in good faith without bringing it up. But I kind of don't want to do that, because deep down I want to like the movie, and liking the movie means not dwelling on that scene.
Fortunately, however, I don't have to spend much time talking about it when I can just post the above screen capture and say "yeah, me too, Lisa."
And sometimes I did end up writing about a movie... But I just couldn't find room for all of the amazing images I captured from that movie. For example, here's a bonus shot from Amarcord, a film from Fellini that I sorta liked.
A big part of my Amarcard review was fixated on a specific image of a woman's semi-orgasmic face that was juxtaposed next to a painting of a stern looking man. Because I was using that one image to make a larger point about the whole movie I didn't have a lot of space to post this semi-random image of two kids and a donkey.
But look at those kids! They're so cute! And look at that donkey! It's a donkey!
Then sometimes I have an image I love but which I can't use for tonal reasons.
For example, this is from a documentary called Best of Enemies: Buckley Vs. Vidal. Best of Enemies is actually a serious documentary about the war of words between the conservative Buckley and the liberal Vidal, and specifically how their public feud from forty years ago ended up helping to shape the way we talk about politics even today.
One of the bones of contention between Buckley and Vidal was that Buckley was kind of a prude and Vidal was more sexually liberated. As such, Buckley thought that Vidal's creative output was crass and unspeakable - which is actually kind of a fair charge, since Vidal did help write Bob Guccione's X-rated Caligula.
The above image (which comes from a non-Caligula but still sexually explicit film that Vidal wrote) makes sense in context because it helps to establish why Buckley had such disdain for Vidal. But applying that image to the movie as a whole would be misleading because the Best of Enemies is much more thoughtful than a photo of an adoring face leering at a bare ass would make it out to be.
Alright, it's time to start wrapping this up, because I don't want to spend all day writing about images that can speak for themselves. But I would be remiss if I made a post about amazing faces and didn't include Michael Shannon, who is basically the king of modern facial acting. (He picked up the mantle after Nicolas Cage stopped acting and began gesticulating, which is an entirely different sort of thing.)
Anyway, this is from Take Shelter, a film that is too muted for it's own good but which is nonetheless notable for Shannon's compelling lead performance.
And finally, no post on crazy faces in movies would be complete without a nod to the Coen brothers, who have always loved character actors with unconventional looks. I recently rewatched Miller's Crossing and even though it's one of the Coen's most straightforward films it still makes room for this guy:
That guy only appears in two scenes and is by no means important to the film's plot... But he's also an unforgettable part of the movie because what a goddamned amazing face. Bravo, sir. Bravo.