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The New Classics and the return of Michael C

The Film Experience is very pleased to announce that one of our long-lost contributors, Michael Cusumano, is returning to the fold. After a few years off, he has a new weekly column launching Tuesday and new readers are in for a treat because Michael is a fine and insightful writer. We asked him about where he's been and what we can expect. Please welcome him back with open arms! - Nathaniel R.

Michael, where the hell have you been? We haven't seen you around these parts in 4 (gulp) years! We hope you've been having film experiences without us at least.

I’ve been living in New York doing my own creative writing. I needed to take a step back from online film culture and clear some mental space. I had tried to write a first draft of a screenplay and I ended up with a ranked list of all the meaningful glances in Carol.  

You’ll be relieved to learn I still have plenty of film experiences, although I no longer feel the pressure to stay up to date with everything playing...

Not having me writing for the site means you were spared several dozen posts of me working through my (ongoing) obsession with Phantom Thread. Also I haven’t checked my rank at the Alamo Drafthouse recently but rest assured it’s very impressive. A Lance Corporal or Tenth Level Necromancer or something.

Awesome. Since we've missed your takes, please list your favourite movies of 2015 through 2018 AND at least two of those meaningful glances in Carol.

I thought you’d never ask. Gold Medalists in order: Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), The Witch (2016), Phantom Thread (2017), and The Death of Stalin (2018).

As for looks freighted with meaning, you can’t beat Kyle Chandler’s look of understanding when he comes home to find Cate Blanchett mid-seduction. I also enjoy the stare Cate shoots at Rooney Mara after the “flung out of space” line, particularly the beautifully measured pause Cate takes before leveling her with it. Terese can’t quite match it in return, but who among us could?

I understand your girlfriend loves Kedi and discovered it thanks to my enthusiasm (my work is done!). What other movies get a lot of play in your apartment?

During those rare times when Bojack Horseman isn’t running on a loop, mutual favorites include Big Night, Punch-Drunk Love, All About Eve, and The Grand Budapest Hotel. My personal fallback choice of late is Master and Commander. Peter Weir’s maritime adventure film is a movie just so endlessly rewatchable. It’s a movie I quote with the frequency other people quote The Princess Bride or Anchorman

Okay final question. You have a new series starting Tuesday at The Film Experience (yay!) tell us about it and what we can expect?

Appropriate that I mention that modern masterpiece, because my new column is all about films that are passing the test of time with flying colors. The new classics. In each episode I will discuss a scene from a 21st century movie that I deem to be a classic in the making. 

I relish the chance to dispel that rose-colored “they don’t make 'em like they used to” attitude and highlight scenes from the past two decades that I think will eventually settle into the pantheon right next to Butch and Sundance debating whether to jump off a cliff or Nigel Tufnel showing off his amplifier.

I am also excited for the opportunity to step back from the daily torrent of scandals, speculation and hot takes and revisit some of my modern favorites. The conversation moves so fast these days the films themselves can sometimes seem like afterthoughts. I'm eager to go back after the awards season dust has settled and really dig into some of these titles.

Can't wait!

Readers, do you have any suggestions for Michael for this column as he begins?

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Reader Comments (13)

Welcome back, Michael!í

April 20, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJames T

I adore Master and Commander. An underloved gem of a film. great taste!

April 20, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAnon

Michael!! And as handsome as ever.

April 20, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

Welcome back Michael! The movies you mention here are impeccable choices - I love anything on "Fantastic Mr. Fox," one of my faves. You mentioned "Grand Budapest Hotel" as a repeated watch, so maybe you love Wes Anderson too (would also love to read anything on that movie.)

April 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

Holy fuck, that new series sounds absolutely amazing. I can't wait.

April 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Welcome back, Michael! Excited to read this new column.

April 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSquasher88

We can always use more Phantom Thread love here. Welcome back.

April 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

This is great news! I’ve missed Michael- welcome back!
Suggestions for 21st century classics:

In the Mood for Love
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
The Grand Budapest Hotel/ Moonrise Kingdom
Black Swan
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Lost in Translation
Moulin Rouge!
I ♥️ Huckabees

Is it too soon for?:
Under the Skin

April 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSFOTroy

I'm really looking forward to this series. Some suggestions (trying to give a wide range):

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
Malick double feature: The New World and Tree of Life
Ghost World
Shaolin Soccer
Moonrise Kingdom
School of Rock
Let the Right One In
Minority Report
Spider-Man 2
Casino Royale
12 Years a Slave
Chicken Run
Spirited Away
Marie Antoinette

April 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCash

“I had tried to write a first draft of a screenplay and I ended up with a ranked list of all the meaningful glances in Carol.”
I’m still laughing about this line hours after I first read it.

April 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterE

Thanks for the very generous comments. As always, The Film Experience remains warm and generous. One of the few remaining comment sections anywhere that doesn't make me want to self-harm.

Great suggestions. Most of them are on the initial list of candidates I jotted down. I spotted more than one for which I've already outlined posts.

Glenn - If I knew I was going to get such an ego boost I'd have returned years ago

SFOTroy - I don't think those are too soon. My rule of thumb is about a two year waiting period. You have a pretty good idea if something has staying power after that.

Rebecca - You are correct in assuming my love for Wes. I have written about him more than once on this very site. You can see my Oscar nomination morning post about GBH here:

I also wrote about my deep love for Moonrise here:

I think there is probably one or two others I'm forgetting...

April 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMichael C.

Well, since you mentioned Spinal Tap, I would love a New Classic look at Wet Hot American Summer, the cult comedy that launched a thousand careers and absurdist skits

April 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterNate

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