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Taken as a body of work, the Before trilogy asks us to consider the tension between its fantasy and naturalism, and the extent of our own ability to exert similar control over a lonely world that ushers us through life without concern for whether we’ve found any meaning in it.


Elaine May's ISHTAR (1987) | original poster by Tony Stella
This month, we're waxing ecstatic about the humor and humanism at the heart of Elaine May's Ishtar. We match May’s compassion for the brashly stupid Chuck and Lyle (Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty, respectively) with special guest Frank Falisi, who lays out his theory that Ishtar is actually a high musical à la Vincente Minnelli.
This is Withnail and I: Hilarious, tragic, less a cohesive narrative film and more a series of rowdy and ruddy vignettes—like stumbled stops along a pub crawl—designed to make one laugh until crying, and cry until laughing, in equal, sorrowful, comical measure.

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