The Virgin Suicides
The Virgin Suicides (1999) is a remarkable film adaptation of the 1993 novel by Jeffrey Eugenides. The novel uses the unusual first-person plural viewpoint – ‘we’ – for a group of boys, which feels completely right for the story. There’s an intriguing lit-fic ambiance fused with horror tropes – the creepy neighbourhood house where weird things happen, the basement lair, the house ‘possessed’ by evil spirits (or in this case, the mother’s puritanical Christianity). Both the novel and film evoke a strong sense of time, and place – nostalgia and loss.
- Stranger Things (Season 3) is back on track after a iffy second season. We return to the formula from Season 1: kid-adulthood, adult dysfunction, and a dark mirror-version of the town, below ground, where bad things come from. Season 2 was desperate to impress on us new characters and show that the kids are growing up. This season achieves so much more, without telegraphing the message along the way. The CGI is better too. The whole season seems more comfortable with itself, because it’s not trying so hard.
- Rachel Cusk’s Arlington Park (2006) begins with rain, and more rain. It’s rainy. And when the rain stops, we get passive-aggressive anger. Quite a lot of it. The novel doesn’t really go anywhere, not that it should. This feels like it’s missing something.
- Red Dawn (1984) is a surreal time capsule from the 1980s, and the Cold War. It features Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey who went on to star together in Dirty Dancing (1987). The film echoes right-wing US values of independence and freedom – the right to bear arms Vs the ‘Evil Empire’. It’s a cocktail of the Western and Afghanistan-style guerrilla warfare against Cuban and Soviet invaders. A cheesy and brilliantly-dated document from another time.