Get Carter, Get Out, and a few more films

Gertie the Dinosaur (1914)
Streaming free at YouTube

#287  [archive]
MAY 6, 2024

Here's a story, possibly true, wherein several prominent men are joyriding on one of those newfangled automobiles, which gets a flat tire. While their hired man fixes it, the hoity-toity guys visit a museum, and marvel at the reconstructed skeleton of a dinosaur. One of the men wagers dinner that he can "make the dinosaur live again by a series of hand-drawn cartoons." Which — spoiler alert — he does, showing how animation works.

This is worth seeing for its historical value, and it's not an unpleasant way to spend 13 minutes.

Verdict: YES. 

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Get Carter (1971)
Streaming free at Internet Archive

Jack Carter (Michael Caine) is an ice-veined mobster whose brother has died in an auto wreck — a tragic accident, except that it was no accident. His brother was drinking drunk, Carter is told, and that's what caused the crash, but the dead brother had never been a drinker, so something smells rotten.

It's the whole town that stinks. The film takes place in a mid-size British city, but there are no post card shots, no good parts of town. Every scene is grimy, every street is run down, every place has a seediness about it — as do virtually all the movie's characters.

Carter runs around cryptically collecting clues and information from guys wearing poker faces, with little to say and they don't want to say it. And all through it, Carter seethes impatiently, has conversations in low tones and with few words, and now and again there's a burst of imaginative violence.

Carter admits he was a lousy brother, and in one telling moment he asks whether the killers knew that the man they killed was his brother. Which means, his quest for vengeance is driven by the insult to him — you killed MY brother, more than, you killed my BROTHER.

It's a smart action movie, a fine flick that doesn't feel dated at all. Lots of creative camerawork, bloody good atmospherics, and you can't settle in because it's always unsettling.

Verdict: YES.

Get Carter was remade in 2000 with Sylvester Stallone in the lead, a film I have not seen, nor have I added it to my list. Stallone couldn't touch Get Carter.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Get Out (2017)
Streaming free at Internet Archive

Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is going to his girlfriend's house, to meet her family. He's black, she's white, and he's nervous. Through the handshakes and small talk, everyone in her family seems pleasant, but Chris is ill-at-ease meeting all these new people, and they're all white.

The only other black people are employees — the groundskeeper, the maid. It's beyond awkward, and a few odd comments are made, and what if these white folks are only pretending to be nice?

The anxiety is perfectly captured, and so's the paranoia. Meeting a girlfriend's family is nerve-wracking enough, but it's worse, because (of course) the first layer of black history in America is being stolen, then enslaved for hundreds of years, by white people, and after that being held down via Jim Crow, lynchings, and more recently more subtle discrimination.

Being white, I only know all the above from a distance, but black people know it up close and personal. Can't hardly imagine growing up black in America, with big and small discriminations popping up constantly, from your earliest memories to this afternoon. It's gotta seriously fuck with your head.

Get Out wallows in those fears, and turns them into a frightful horror movie, which is probably what matters most to an audience. Will you be scared? Yeah.

But writer-director Jordan Peele built Get Out on those fears of racism, of a white conspiracy, which is used to great goosebumpy effect — and the fears are not unfounded.

There are millions of white people in America who believe freeing the slaves was a bad idea, and they'd love a do-over. Who knows which white folks can be trusted? If any.

Verdict: BIG YES.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Get Yourself a College Girl (1964)
Streaming free at Internet Archive

This is an attempt to reach the 'youth audience', but the day it came out this movie was already older than Grandpa. What a dull story, about a college girl at risk of expulsion because she's become a success in rock'n'roll.

But fast forward past the bad acting and lame jokes, to enjoy the early era rock performances, including the Animals, the Dave Clark Five, the Jimmy Smith Trio, Stan Getz, and the genuine Astrud Gilberto singing "The Girl From Ipanema."

Verdict: YES, but only for the music.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Getting Wasted (1980)
Available on DVD from your local library

A troubled teen is sent to military school, and it's the 1960s so the boy and his new friends run into some leftover hippies, and a pot dealer who looks about eight years old.

Bit by bit they become ever-so-slightly radicalized. Military school is obviously not going to be in their future, and San Francisco beckons.

There's a fine rock'n'roll soundtrack, and the movie is trying to say something, but it's lost in another clumsy, unfunny comedy. The biggest 'laugh' is when a toilet filled with gasoline explodes while Stephen Furst is pooping and smoking. Har, har. 

Verdict: NO.


• • • Coming attractions • • •     

The Ghost and Mr Chicken (1966)
The Ghost Goes West (1935)
Ghost in the Machine (1993)
Ghost in the Shell (1995)

... plus schlock, shorts, and surprises

— — —
Now accepting recommendations for movies,
starting with the letter 'H'.
Just add a comment, below.
— — —

Illustration by Jeff Meyer. Click any image to enlarge. Arguments & recommendations are welcome, but no talking once the lights dim, and only real butter on the popcorn, not that fake yellow stuff. 
← PREVIOUS          NEXT →


  1. Is it too late for the Fs? If so, next time around, please review the documentary "The Farthest". It's brilliant and beautiful and all you need to watch it is a library card.


    1. I just took an hour and a half to watch The Farthest. It is beautiful, thrilling, challenging, exciting and informative. It needs to be seen and enjoyed by the group of brainy, curious, artistic people who populate this remote speck of the Internet.


    2. You mentioned The Farthest a while back, which was enough to get it added to the list, but it might be a couple of years before looping back to the Fs.


🚨🚨 Click here if you have problems posting a comment. 🚨🚨