Late to the movies: Only The Young, Hitchcock
I’ve been laid out flat with some kind of stomach virus all day, which I’ve treated as an opportunity to watch some of the screeners I’ve had laying around the house. First up was Only The Young, which snuck to the best films list of the publication I used to edit unexpectedly. Watching it, I can see why and wonder if it would have snuck on to my own list, too. A lyrical documentary co-directed by Elizabeth Mims and Jason Tippet, it follows a year in the life of some Christian skate punks living on crumbling edges of the north L.A. suburbs. It’s beautifully shot, delicately observed and I’m pretty sure I’m going to wonder about the goodhearted kids at its center for the rest of my life even though the film’s very much about a specific moment in their lives. Filmed across the year leading up to their high school graduation, it finds them making choices about who they are, who they want to spend their time with, and what one means to another as they wander a landscape filled with broken-down miniature golf courses and abandoned buildings. The setting is particular but the feeling of childhood drawing to an end feels universal. (I’m not sure if it’s still in theaters, but it’s worth catching on the big screen if you can. If not, as an Oscilloscope release it will likely turn up on Netflix at some point.)
Hitchcock, on the other hand… yeesh. I’d heard bad things but I didn’t expect this account of the making of Psycho to feel so thin. Hopkins’ impression is uncanny but it feels like the sort of thing that a good actor could put together just by studying Alfred Hitchcock’s old TV intros. (And, indeed, the film uses that as a framing device.) One scene—Hitch conducting the screams of an audience seeing Psycho for the first time—almost redeems it but this is otherwise a pretty half-assed attempt at Hollywood history.