Give 'Em the Ol' Razzle Dazzle

Give 'em an act with lots of flash in it and the reaction will be passionate.

I like looking at movies.

I’m not talking about watching, but looking. I like looking at silk dresses and double-breasted suits. I like looking at palm trees waving in the breeze, freshly-washed cars rolling down wide streets, polished fingers working away on an old-fashioned typewriters. I like looking at neon flashes and dark apartments with spots of light. I like looking at big weddings and big parties and big fight scenes.

Today, I’ve got a list of lookers — what I call razzle dazzlers. These movies and TV shows don’t quite fit into Chicago lawyer Billy Flynn’s description, because these aren’t fakes or finagles. They really do have good plots, characters, actors, directors, screenplays, what have you, but this is really about visual feasts, things that keep your attention with what’s on screen. I’ve broken this quick list down by genre (some could be included across multiple genres) and included a few words on what to expect from each pick.

Action: Pacific Rim, in which big robots fight big aliens.

Children’s: Wall-E; the future is bright and sparkly.

Comedy: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World; the final showdown.

Drama: Big Little Lies for its gorgeous lighting.

Historical, historical fiction: Hollywood, with wide ties and shiny cars; what inspired this list. The Great Gatsby; such beautiful shirts. Mad Men for Joan Holloway’s wardrobe.

Horror: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night; gorgeous black-and-white throughout.

Musical: Chicago; all that jazz. The Get Down; disco. Rocketman; camp.

Romance: Crazy Rich Asians, with a wedding scene that’s so pretty that I cried when I first watched it.

Sci-fi: Star Trek (2009); space, the final frontier.

Western: Hell or High Water; lonesome open spaces.

The above is the shot from Hollywood that actually made me go, “Yup, that’s it. That’s the newsletter.”

Stay safe, sane and healthy friends. Happy looking!