The 300 Week 10: The Miami Connection


Watching movies in theaters is what happens when you’re busy making other plans

Hello, friendos, and welcome back to The 300, a recurring feature on my harebrained attempt to see 300 movies in theaters in the year 2018. I’ll be watching new releases, classics, hidden gems, and festival films to experience the wide world of cinema in all its forms. Hopefully there’s something here for you to enjoy as well.

As always, there are three rules for The 300:

  • The movie must be at least 40 minutes long, meeting the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ definition of a feature film.
  • I must watch the movie at a movie theater, screening room, or outdoor screening venue.
  • While I can watch movies I’ve seen before 2018, I cannot count repeated viewings of the same film in 2018 multiple times.

This is probably going to be the slowest week of The 300 for the entire year. I only saw two movies in theaters last week because I was in Miami for a friend’s wedding and had plans the day I left New York and the night I got back into town. It’s much easier to sit down and stream something than head to the theater, especially when there’s so much other stuff going on in your life. If anything, The 300 has given me a much deeper appreciation of how I spend my time, how I could be spending it, and why I choose to do the things I do.

While this may seem like I’m falling behind, I’ll be more than caught up in the next few weeks. For one, I’ll be checking out a few movies at The Inaugural Dr. Saul and Dorothy Kit Film Noir Festival, running from March 21 to 25 near Columbia University. And from April 18 to 29, I’ll be coveringthe 2018 Tribeca Film Festival with fellow Flixist writer Jesse Lab. Both should get me back way ahead of schedule.

And so, onward.

64 of 300: Oh Lucy! (2017)

Director: Atsuko HirayanagiStarring: Shinobu Terajima, Josh Hartnett, Kaho MinamiCountry: Japan/USASeen at Village East Cinema (New York, NY)Thursday, March 8th

Oh Lucy! is a peculiar yet mostly endearing mix of strange, funny, quirky, and miserable. Picture a more active cousin to Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter. Terajima is a depressed office worker who falls for a slacker English instructor in Japan (Hartnett) and follows him to Los Angeles. It’s a story about lost misfits trying to make the most out of their bad decisions. Terajima’s prickly yet sympathetic performance is a strong center for Hirayanagi’s moments of cringe comedy and uncomfortable honesty. I was struck by Hartnett’s turn from heartthrob to character actor; his career seems more interesting now. I was also surprised to see Koji Yakusho as a goofy side character, just a reminder of how much I like seeing him on screen.

65 of 300: Mind Game (2004)(aka マインド・ゲーム)

Director: Masaaki YuasaStarring: Kōji Imada, Sayaka Maeda, Seiko Takuma, Takashi FujiiCountry: JapanSeen at Metrograph (New York, NY)Tuesday, March 13th

Mind Game is a remarkable work so off-the-wall it feels like outsider art; an indie anime hodgepodge of strange, beautiful, silly ideas that eventually reach the sublime. Yuasa’s Lu Over the Wall (The 300: Week 8) is more more controlled by comparison. Mind Game is all over the damn place, a ball of nervous, pervy energy. The animation is so expressive, wildly varying character models and styles, sometimes from shot to shot. Imagine a mix of Bill Plympton, Tex Avery, John K, and the early live-action movies of Terry Gilliam… but then also Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey. That is Mind Game. Initially a comedy about unrequited love/sexual frustration, the movie takes a very dark turn before it becomes a madcap spiritual journey through time and space. This is a celebration of stuff that makes life worth living, from sushi to sex to simple human connection.

The 300: By the Numbers Breakdown

In case you’re curious (and because I need to fill space this week), here’s how The 300 is shaping up by the numbers.

Movies by Decade

2010s – 292000s – 41990s – 71980s – 61970s – 91960s – 21950s – 51940s – 0 (how is this possible?!)1930s – 11920s – 2

Movies by Country

USA – 32Belarus – 1Chile – 1China – 2France – 4French co-productions – 2Germany – 2Hong Kong – 2Iran – 1Jamaica – 1Japan – 4Japanese co-productions – 1Mali – 1Netherlands – 2Philippines – 1Polish co-productions – 1Russia – 1South Korea – 1Sweden – 1UK – 2UK co-productions – 1Yugoslavian co-productions – 1

Multiple Films by the Same Director(s)

F.W. Murnau (Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans; Faust)Masaaki Yuasa (Lu Over the Wall; Mind Game)Susana Aiken and Carlos Aparicio (The Salt Mines; The Transformation)

Films by Women Directors

So in addition to The 300, I’m also doing 52 Films By Women, in which I try to see 52 movies (both shorts and features in theaters) directed by women.

Currently I have seen 11 of 52.

Daughters of the Dust (1991), dir. Julie DashLoving Vincent (2017), dir. Dorota Kobiela and Hugh WelchmanFrom Romance to Ritual (1985), dir. Peggy AhweshSoft Fiction (1979), dir. Chick StrandDis-moi (1980), dir. Chantal AkermanThe Ties That Bind (1985), dir. Su FriedrichThe Salt Mines (1990), dir. Susana Aiken and Carlos AparicioThe Transformation (1995), dir. Susana Aiken and Carlos AparicioStrange Days (1995), dir. Kathryn BigelowThe Party (2017), dir. Sally PotterOh Lucy! (2017), dir. Atsuko Hirayanagi

Top 5 Theaters for The 300

Metrograph – 21Quad Cinema – 9BAM Rose Cinemas – 6The Film Society of Lincoln Center – 4Alamo Drafthouse Brooklyn/Angelika Film Center/IFC Center – 3