Our next meeting is Thursday, January 21st where we will be discussing the 1973 film Badlands — Directed, produced, and written by Terence Malick. Malick is an interesting case in filmmaking history, having dropped two critically lauded bangers (Badlands and the sunset hour-horny Days of Heaven), then took a 20-year break from directing movies before making 1998’s The Thin Red Line. He’s made numerous movies in the 21st century, almost all of them capitalizing on the precedence he set in his early work a couple decades prior — all of which follow in a similar vein of being atmospheric, philosophical meditations with striking natural imagery.
Last week we discussed The Night Of The Hunter, about a serial killing preacher pursuing two children in the hopes of gathering their deceased father’s fortune. Badlands is similarly a tale of violence in America, loosely fictionalizing the true-life story of two teenagers, Charles Starkweather and Caril Fugate, who were responsible for a midwestern murder spree in the late ’50s. One of the many lenses I’m interested in viewing this movie through is how Badlands‘ interpretation of a real crime strikes us in a post-My Favorite Murder world where the exploitation of real-life violence is not merely the fodder of network television but is accepted by large swaths of our own culture as comfort food.
For more background on Badlands, Terrence Malick, and the culture in which this film was released, I encourage you to take a peek at this essay by Michael Almereyda on the Criterion Collection website.
I will see y’all on January 21st at 8:00 p.m.! I’m gonna drop the Zoom link on cuck.link at about 7:00 so that we can use the room to chat / catch-up / talk about other movies we’ve seen recently* before diving into full-on Badlands talk at 8:00.
I watched One Night In Miami and loved it
I watched Never Rarely Sometimes Always and really liked it
I watched Emma and thought it was nice and cozy
I watched Promising Young Woman and hated it