2017 Movie Moments You Might Have Missed

You can’t see every movie — nor would you want to, because most are terrible — but some have little moments of transcendence that make everything worth it.


Dancing in the Deathly Triangle in Nowhere to Hide
Making his way through a section of Iraq known as “The Triangle of Death” in Zaradasht Ahmed’s documentary, videographer Nori Sharif meets a young shepherd boy. He asks Nori if he has any dance music on his phone, and after transferring a few songs to the boy’s phone via Bluetooth, Nori gives him an impromptu dance lesson. The sound from the 2012-era phone is tinny, but the pleasure they get in this moment of respite is worth more than a stack of 180g vinyl.

The Joy of Selfie in Distancias Cortas (Walking Distance)
As part of his slow but steady campaign to rejoin the outside world, 450-pound recluse Fede (Luca Ortega) acquires a digital camera. If you’re one of those scolds who scoffs at selfies because you hate it when other people are having fun, Fede’s sheer happiness as he takes his first pictures will bring you to the side of the angels.


Tripping Balls Under the Big Sky in The Bad Batch
Howard Hawks is often quoted defining a good movie as containing three great scenes and no bad ones. A corollary is that one great drug scene can elevate an otherwise underwhelming film. After accepting a communion-style dose of LSD, young exile Arlen (Suki Waterhouse) wanders into the desert and peaks under the spiraling Milky Way. Constructed from the ground up via greenscreen, subtle CGI, and a lovely sound mix, it’s the high point of the film in more ways than one.

Pixellicious Psychedelia in Videofilia (and Other Viral Syndromes)
Working with a far lower budget and a Web 1.0 aesthetic, this Peruvian film is already wall-to-wall distorted images and video noise, but it finds its apotheosis when recent high school graduate Luz (Muki Sabogal) fries atop ruins overlooking Lima. Though lacking the crisp sparkle of The Bad Batch, the overlapping pixelated images and thrummy noise soundtrack come closer to capturing the sensation of an acid trip where all is not well.

Rolling Up the Dank in One Week and a Day
The best thing about living in a glorious wonderland where pot is available in countless forms is no longer having to roll a joint, which is the worst. But Tel Aviv isn’t quite as green, and at the end of the prescribed week of mourning for his deceased son, Eyal (Shai Avivi) kifes his son’s leftover medical marijuana and buys a pack of rolling papers. In a sequence equal parts hilarious and frustrating, Eyal attempts to roll a joint. Which, it bears repeating, is the worst.


Answering the Call in Person to Person
After a very bad first day as an investigative reporter, the anxious Claire (Abbi Jacobson) ruminates about a different career path: “I worked at a library last year, and I just felt like this responsible, organized, community-based woman in touch with the English language.” You can’t argue with that logic … or can you?

Dodging the Bullet in Columbus
Already a responsible, organized, community-based woman in touch with the English language via working as a library page, architecture buff Haley (Haley Lu Richardson) is at a crossroads. Among other things, she’s considering getting the degree necessary to become an actual L-on-the-forehead librarian, but a coworker who already has one points out that it was recently declared the worst degree for getting a job, and flat-out tells her, “You don’t want to be a librarian.” Jeez, Columbus, stop mincing words and tell us what you really think.

Words About Words in A Quiet Passion
Most writers ain’t Emily Dickinson, but does that stop even the hackiest of us from getting cranky when our prose receives a necessary tightening from our beleaguered editors? Nope, which makes this exchange between Dickinson (Cynthia Nixon) and her newspaper’s editor such a vicarious — and entirely unearned — thrill.

“Sir, you have altered some of my punctuation.”

“Good lord — what’s a hyphen there or a semicolon there?”

“To many, nothing. But to me, the alteration of my punctuation marks is very hard to endure.”

“Then I apologize. I was merely trying to make your meaning clearer to my readers.”

“Clarity is one thing, sir. Obvious is quite another. The only person qualified to interfere with a poet’s work is the poet herself. From anyone else, it feels like an attack.”

Editors: Good people doing a hard job. Hug your editor today!

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