Author Archives: Ashley Wells

The Boomstick Film Club: The Guest

The Guest

Watch it with us: Netflix streaming

I’m not going to spoil anything important about the fantastic Adam Wingard film The Guest. But if you want the optimum first viewing experience, stop reading right here and go watch it right now. Are you back? Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

The Peterson family is mourning the recent death of their oldest son, Caleb, a soldier who was killed in combat. One day a stranger named David (Dan Stevens) knocks on their door, claiming to have served in the same unit as Caleb. He has nowhere else to go so they invite him to stay the night. Gradually David gets to know all four family members and manages to charm them while raising more and more questions, with us and with them, about who he is and where he came from. The Petersons’ 20-year-old daughter Anna (Maika Monroe) is the first to realize David is not who he says he is, but by then he has his hooks into every member of the family, including her.

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The Boomstick Film Club: Lucky Them

Lucky Them

Watch it with us: Netflix streaming

Romantic comedies are not usually my favorite genre. I’ll watch anything, but I have a lower tolerance for the tired tropes that seem to be fixtures of crowd-pleasing rom-coms, so I end up snorting and rolling my eyes at movies my friends love. At first it seemed as if Lucky Them was going to fit neatly into that paint-by-numbers template: music critic Ellie (Toni Collette) is newly single and has just been assigned to write a story on her rock star ex-lover Matthew, who has become something of a legend since his disappearance ten years earlier. Meanwhile she also meets a handsome young street musician named Lucas (Ryan Eggold) who isn’t fazed by her attempts to rebuff him.

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The Boomstick Film Club: Look Who’s Back

Look Who's Back

Watch it with us: Netflix streaming

If Look Who’s Back had been released in any other year, it would have been a clever, amusing cautionary tale positing an answer to the age-old question: what would happen if Hitler was magically transported, unchanged and unharmed, to modern-day Europe? How would we respond to him now that we know what he’s capable of? And it’s certainly a clever, amusing film. But since it was just released in the US by Netflix in early April, it also reads as an eerily prescient political allegory.

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The Boomstick Film Club: No No: A Dockumentary

No No Dockumentary

Watch it with us: Netflix streaming

If you’ve been paying attention to baseball scuttlebutt during the off-season, you probably know there’s been some spirited back-and-forth among current and former players about the propriety (or lack thereof) of flamboyant behavior or emotional displays on the field. But this isn’t a new phenomenon. In anticipation of baseball season, I watched No No: A Dockumentary, the story of larger-than-life Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis, who, among other antics and anecdotes, famously threw a no-hitter in the summer of 1970 while high on LSD.

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The Boomstick Film Club: Girlhood

Girlhood film - 2015

Watch it with us: Netflix streaming

Girlhood is so outstanding I almost don’t know what to say about it. So let’s dive right in, shall we?

Marieme is sixteen and has a crappy home life with an older brother who beats her up recreationally and a largely absent mother. Faced with the prospect of vocational school or no school at all, she drops out and is immediately befriended by three female juvenile delinquents. They party and shoplift and brawl with other girl gangs, but they also form a close friendship and take care of one another. Marieme falls in love with a friend of her brother’s, and when her brother finds out she’s had sex, he beats her up and she runs away, bidding a tearful goodbye to her girlfriends and her younger sister. She starts selling drugs for a gangster named Abou, and he moves her into an apartment with a young prostitute in his employ. But Abou proves to be just as much a bully as Marieme’s brother, so she runs away from him as well. She has to find somewhere else to run to. Continue reading

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The Boomstick Film Club: Angel Heart

Angel Heart

Watch it with us: Netflix streaming

If you’ve never seen Angel Heart, there’s still a good chance you’re aware of its notoriously explicit sex scene between Lisa Bonet, who was nineteen and playing seventeen, and Mickey Rourke, who was thirty-five and playing washed-up. There’s obviously a conversation to be had about whether the scene was exploitative, and about the fact that Bonet’s most vocal critic at the time was America’s Dad, Bill Cosby. But for now I don’t want to lose sight of how extraordinarily weird that scene is, and how it fits within an even weirder movie. And consider yourselves forewarned: this movie has a twist that I am going to spoil, since there’s no way to talk about the film without it.

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