An Expression of Gratitude! + A Poll

I want to give my most heartfelt thanks to all of you who’ve helped make this the most successful month at If You Want the Gravy… to date. September is traditionally a slow month for movies¹, and I figured after reaching a record high in July and seeing a drop-off in August, September would likewise fall short of July’s heights.

How wrong I was.

This month has set records by every metric of measurement:

  • It’s the best month to date, with 1,061 views, beating July by 259 views–an increase of almost a full third!
  • Likewise, this month has seen the most visitors; 714, beating the previous record by 132.
  • We’ve had the best single week thus far: the week 9/22 to 9/28 garnered 319 views from 213 visitors, breaking the old records by 87 and 48, respectively.
  • And last, but not least, we’ve had the single best day to date–9/19 saw a whopping 89 views, and that after the old record had been broken on 9/14, with 63 views. And 9/22 and 23 boasted 71 and 76 views, respectively–which I have to imagine breaks any record for any two consecutive days.

And it’s all thanks to you, the reader. I am most deeply grateful, and hope we can continue this success as the awards season kicks off in earnest.

The 5 most popular articles to date:

And now, the poll:

¹In fact, the last three years, at least one film in my top 10 was a September release: in 2011, it was Drive; in 2012, it was The Master (though as I recall that was pushed up from an October release at a fairly late point); and in 2013, it was Prisoners. This year, however, may have broken that streak. We’ll see.

THE EQUALIZER Review – ***½

Asses are kicked, but names are rarely taken, on account of death. ()

Asses are kicked, but names are rarely taken, on account of death. (Source)

How do you discuss a film like The Equalizer? Before you get too excited by my rating, let me say: it’s not a great film. But as badass action films go, as September films go, as films from semi-forgotten TV shows go–it’s very good. Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua may not have topped Training Day, but they’ve made a film that excites, engages, and at times, even stuns.

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TRAILER SALAD V: INHERENT VICE, MOMMY, THE BABADOOK, THE HEART MACHINE, BLACKHAT

It’s finally arrived. I can now only think of one more major trailer that has not yet arrived–that for Ava DuVernay’s Selma.

Now, what do I think of it? I think it looks fun. I’m getting a definite Big Lebowski vibe (which has been confirmed by a friend of mine who’s read the book), along with a hint of Fear and Loathing–and since I love both of those films, that is, I would say, a good thing. I will say I’m not sold on it being in my Best Picture lineup (not yet, at least), but I do think it’s got potential (from both the Academy and myself) for Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actor (for Josh Brolin), and Costume Design recognition. And who knows, Joanna Newsom’s narration might earn her Supporting Actress consideration.

Really, though, I don’t know what to expect. Anderson’s trailers often feature footage that didn’t make the final cut (The Master especially), so who knows what we’ll really get? I’ll read the novel before I see the film, but even that might not prepare me for what Anderson’s going to do to it. He’s going from arguably his bleakest film to his funniest.

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THE ZERO THEOREM Review – ***

I waited over a year for this? ()

I waited over a year for this? (Source)

The name Terry Gilliam and the words “checkered career” seem to go hand in hand. After Time Bandits was a hit, both Brazil and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen fell victim to studio politics, and the latter, which had gone well over-budget, was a massive bomb. But The Fisher King was a success (even winning an Oscar for Mercedes Ruehl’s performance), and 12 Monkeys became his biggest hit to date. Then Fear and Loathing was a failure on its initial release (though it has since become a classic), and worse, Gilliam got bogged down for years in attempting to make his Don Quixote film (which he’s still trying to do).

He eventually moved on, to the moderately successful but quickly forgotten The Brothers Grimm and the generally derided Tideland. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus did well overall and got two Oscar nominations, but that didn’t prevent his next film from taking forever to come out, and even then only in limited release. And sadly, it’s not hard to see why. Despite its strengths, mostly due to the cast, The Zero Theorem feels like a retread of Gilliam’s past glories without any of their thematic depth and not enough of their resonance.

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China Cola Review (with Bastard Cinnamon)

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I’d seen China Cola on the shelf at my local soda shop for a while, but had never gotten around to trying the stuff. I must admit, the prospect of a herbal cola worries me, but I’ve seen this in other stores, suggesting it’s a decently well-established drink. Plus, it’s got a cool, 80s-style label. And it’s caffeine free, which is great, since it’s 1 in the morning where I am! So, to hell with it, let’s give it a shot! Courtesy of Reed’s (whose ginger beers are quite good), it’s the “#1 selling natural cola”, China Cola!

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Cheerwine Review

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Who doesn’t like Cheerwine? Even Cheerwine knows how good it is–it says “Soft Drink Legend” right on the bottle! Now, it’s been a while since I’ve had it, so let’s see if I can’t bring some fresh perspective to a beloved soda. Ladies and gentlemen, courtesy of the Carolina Beverage Corporation, Cheerwine.

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TRAILER SALAD IV: A MOST VIOLENT YEAR, BIG EYES, THE BETTER ANGELS, JOHN WICK, THE TALE OF THE PRINCESS KAGUYA, NORTHERN SOUL, STRETCH (NSFW clip), THE INTERVIEW (NSFW), and FORCE MAJEURE

J.C. Chandor’s drama set in crime-ridden 1981 New York looks to be a solid period piece and a worthy progression from Margin Call and All is Lost. It’s getting early Oscar buzz for Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain, and I could imagine Chandor will get a second Screenplay nomination (he was nominated for Margin Call). I think it looks good, though I won’t say I’m totally dazzled yet.

There’s a lot of potential here. Tim Burton potentially returning to form (by reuniting with the writers of Ed Wood), and moving away from grotesque fantasy–while focusing on a different kind of grotesquerie. Amy Adams will be gunning for an Oscar with this, Christoph Waltz looks wonderfully slimy, and I’m really digging the score. So hopefully this pans out. I definitely liked the trailer more on the second viewing, which bodes well.

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