Frank Petronio photographer

Movie Critic

During my recuperation I’ve watched 5-10 minutes of a hundred movies on Netflix, Cable, Hulu, Amazon, etc. and most all have sucked. The movies that I’ve truly enjoyed over the past two months have been Mel Gibson’s masterful Apocalypto, Michael Ritchie’s Downhill Racer and Sydney Pollack’s Jeremiah Johnson (Robert Redford x2), and Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather Part II (but not 1 or III). I’ve also liked Andrew Niccol’s Gattaca and Antoine Fuqua/David Ayer’s Training Day (Ethan Hawke x2). Peter Weir’s Master and Commander (Russell Crowe) and Danny Boyle’s T2 Trainspotting were entertaining; Eli Roth does dark comedy and horror best of anyone, i.e. Knock Knock with my favorite Keanu Reeves (I also enjoyed him in Chad Stahelski’s John Wick movies, finally semi-realistic gun play.) The John Ford classic The Searchers (John Wayne) and David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia proved far too slow.

When the highlight of the movie is the rape scene you know it sucks.

I’ve forgotten a few good movies, like what I had for breakfast last week I can’t remember them… pfft. The women volk watched some decent chick flicks… like Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird with Saoirse Ronan (who is good in everything). Later I showed my daughter The Host (also by Andrew Niccol) which was better than average teen sci-fi due to Ronan’s performance. And Greta Gerwig is probably the best new and upcoming director, even though it pains me to acknowledge any hipster from Brooklyn. 

Speaking of hipsters, it’s enlightening to observe their paranoia and fantasy in Bushwick, a failed Netflix video attempt about a mysterious right wing attack on diversity-enhanced Brooklyn. Lousy movie but interesting for its cringe-worthy propaganda value.

My flavor of propaganda was better served by Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049. Watching Ryan Gosling, Mackenzie Davis, and Robin Wright was compelling, the futurism was novel, technically the movie was very well done, but it still wasn’t as good as the original. Far more disappointing was Dunkirk as Christopher Nolan has always been reliably based and supremely competent. Yes the British rescuers were brave but only because Hitler spared them in hopes of negotiating a peace, somehow this was left out of the story. Worse, Joe Wright’s Darkest Hour, in spite of Gary Oldman’s excellent performance, was inaccurate corny dreck. 

Funny, I usually hate Sylvester Stallone but James Mangold’s Cop Land was excellent and Rocky outclassed the flaccid De Niro and average Keitel. That led me to watch Ryan Coogler’s Creed. Then I found myself watching The Boondocks and Jordan Peele’s Get Out (the first half of which was great, then it got stupid). Apparently the movie industry must decide whether to make a movie marketable to either Blacks or the Chinese market (i.e. The Great Wall disaster…), if they ever figure out how to combine the two it’ll be quite the payday. 

While I love episodic series I haven’t found any to latch onto amongst the new Netflix or Amazon offerings. Usually the first episodes are so damn boring I lose interest versus say, The Walking Dead which opened with a bang (and took a while to suck). I suspect these series are so inexpensive/fast to write and film that they forget to build a hook into the beginning? The upcoming AMC show The Terror looks promising. Netflix’s Ozark and The End of the Fucking World were good. I enjoy Showtime’s Billions and Homeland, FX’s The Americans, HBO’s Silicon Valley… and that’s that. 

Tastes change, I used to eagerly await every Quentin Tarantino film but after deciding I didn’t like him as person I reevaluated his films and now I think they’re pretentious and way-too-long…. Granted it’s hard to separate your feelings once you decide certain people are assholes but I’ll still watch MiraMax films and enjoy Kevin Spacey’s performances. I detest Meryl Streep as a person but she’s a fine actress… I watched Woody Allen’s Manhattan and while I love the filming, especially the B&W cityscapes with the George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue accompaniment… I couldn’t help thinking that if you don’t realize the guy has sex issues and wrote the story so he could make out with a 17-year old then you’re either dense or complicit. 

Still most “good” movies with popular stars are dreck once you actually try to watch them… they’re only good for multi-tasking, when you give them a fraction of your attention and glance up from time to time. 

I’m also sick of being preached to. I’m open to watching movies from all sorts of people but it shouldn’t feel like Sunday morning or Soviet Roosevelt reeducation….

Not to rant anymore than usual ;-p but if the services simply had a better user interface I might be able to find some decent movies… filters, listing the principals, genre, date.

A Face in the Crowd

Wow… I finally saw Elia Kazan’s A Face in the Crowd and am blown away… first with the younger faces of well-known actors: Andy Griffith, Patricia Neal, and Walter Matthau. Then with the story as well as set design and photography. What a fascinating and relevant film. Now to watch more of Kazan’s movies…. 

I’ve only know of Andy Griffith from sleepy television shows but he was electrifying. It’s a shame his career went the way it did, he probably would have been one our greatest actors. Likewise I only knew of Patricia Neal from her matronly roles but in her youth she was very appealing ~ smart and beautiful. Walter Matthau was true to form at the relatively young age of 37 as he was in his later, more prominent roles. Also Lee Remick made her memorable baton twirling debut, talk about perfect casting. 


Turnips Emerging

Best picture I can do…. blah! 

NBC’s Olympic coverage is very frustrating, their coverage of alpine skiing is the worst I’ve ever seen. It’s very cool how Ester Ledecka came from so far back to win the Super-G, this is unheard of. But NBC missed it! 

Mo Ice

Mavic stills of ice forming on Lake Ontario at Hamlin Beach State Park.

I did these from the front seat of my car (with my broken leg). My joke is that if I get the pro DJI drone with the Hasselblad X1D kit then I’ll be able to be a famous landscape photographer while seated, simply parking near the location and launching out my car door. Someone’s probably already doing this and calling it art. 

Olympic Skiing Predictions

My ski jumping skis and Ford F100

Above photo is the last time I cared about Squareheads jumping through space. I never made it past the 30m jump and barely so at that. I did race Nordic but even less impressively (but I did meet Bill Koch!) 

Women’s Alpine Skiing

  • GS: Rebensburg
  • SL: Vlhová ties Shiffrin
  • Combined: Who Cares?
  • SG: Gut
  • DH: Goggia


  • DH: Feuz
  • Combined: Worthless Event
  • SG: Svindal
  • GS: Hirscher
  • SL: Hirscher

Team Event: Switzerland! 

I respect her performance but Lindsey Vonn creeps me out. I truly admire Shiffrin but I fear she’s running ragged so every weather delay helps her chances. The rest of the team isn’t podium quality yet, if ever. And while I like the US Ski Team coaches, the management of the USST is dumb. 

The weather delays at Jeongseon are so bad there is a chance they may not even complete all the events.

Perhaps the USST should look at the college programs as training grounds for the next generation? Especially since other countries figured this out and have been sending their talent to American universities for free training on our dime. And while racing older skiers make sense, our current crop of older skiers should be retired to make room and free up resources. Get a new director and start over. 

Blog Notes and Disclaimer

While this should be obvious, all the opinions expressed on this website are mine alone, Frank Petronio. Friends and family, companies and entities referred to have no association with my beliefs (and often disagree with me). I am confident I’m still making legal free speech (as of this date) per the First Amendment of the US Constitution. 

Almost every blog post has been revised to correct typos or to clarify thoughts, sometimes long after publication. I do my own proofreading and make my own mistakes (and I’ve made some doozies). Any corrections, comments, or questions are welcome. 

One more week in this cast.

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