Pre-Meeting #2 (Badlands)

Hello all,

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 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


  1. Hello, people!
    I had such a good time at our last meeting! It was very cool to see how we all differ in what we perceive and focus on and then what we converge on. Since my movie choices are already gone on criterion I am gonna put my new ones here.
    In lieu of The Vampire Lovers (1970) (which is great btw…adapted from Le Fanu’s 1872 Gothic short story Carmilla which is a vampire story that predates Dracula [story is super short and good too if you’re into that] and is a foundation for the whole lesbian vampire villain thing), for the movie I’ve seen that want to watch again I’m choosing Daughters of Darkness (1971). For the movie I haven’t seen but want to watch is Cronenberg’s The Brood (1979).
    Looking forward to seeing you all Thursday, and thanks for letting me be a part of this! I have never been in a movie-watching group, and I don’t have a background in anything related to film or the arts so bear with me…I’m definitely interested in learning more from you all about story construction and the technical aspects of making movies. Hopefully, my background can bring a different perspective as well.

  2. Yo one of the biggest treats of this whole thing has been feeling like I FINALLY get to spend time with you Kelly! I’m taking these recommendations and running with them (the ones not on Criterion I mean).

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