John Venable

John Venable

Favorite films are the four most recent 5-star ratings.

Favorite films

  • The Executioner
  • In the Realm of the Senses
  • Taboo
  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

Recent activity

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  • Trouble in Mind

    ★★★★

  • Charlie Says

    ★★★

  • The Executioner

    ★★★★★

  • Spinners And Losers

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  • The Executioner

    The Executioner

    ★★★★★

    Dirty work and clean consciences. A wife, a child, a three-bedroom apartment in a modern highrise, a paid holiday in Mallorca. All in exchange for a largely functionary job with the state whose disquieting duties you rarely wind up having to carry out. Monsieur Verdoux with an extra set of teeth. José yelling at a vagrant taking a shit next to the constuction site of his future domicile, in osseus, a moment that recalls both Buñuel (Viridiana's beggars' banquet in…

  • Drums Along the Mohawk

    Drums Along the Mohawk

    ★★★★

    Objectively, I know this is middle-tier Ford, meandering and mawkish, but non-objectively it's among my favorites: Technicolor compositions on par with She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, nuanced takes on class and colonialism, a fairly shocking (for its time) crucifixion/immolation scene that prefigures the spaghettis by a quarter-century, and humor that's actually funny (one of my Fordian bugbears) — Arthur Shields' sermon, replete with paid advertising, is one of the best comic bits Pappy ever pulled off. Moreover, his treatment of…

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  • Detour

    Detour

    ★★★★½

    "Hey, glamorous, gimme change for a dime, will ya?"

    A 67-minute Poverty Row noir masterclass that's actually about poverty. The theme is how one bad decision can snowball when you're hard-up, the subtext is how stuff like this never happens to people with money, and the setting is the big empty you have to cross to get to the City of Angels. The companionship? Nightmarish. As fast, mean, elemental, and endlessly riffed on as they come.

  • Lourdes

    Lourdes

    ★★★★★

    At 17, I cheated death, walking away from a car wreck that should’ve, by rights, killed me. The car was a blue ’66 Dodge Dart that my friend was refurbishing with his dad. They had just replaced the front bench seats but had yet to install the lap belts, if those, indeed, were ever in the plans. Noting their absence and his propensity for driving like an asshole — and because I was high and there was a box of…