Recently my favorite film critic Mike D’Angelo announced he would be discontinuing his signature Scenic Routes column at the AVClub.com. I was saddened to see it come to a close as Mr. D’Angelo’s column has been a near bottomless well of cinematic insight for the last 8 years. I would be lying if I said it hasn’t had a profound influence on my growth as a movie lover. Of course, Mike will continue to write excellent reviews for the A.V.Club and Las Vegas Weekly, but the kind of deep tissue, single scene analysis he did for Scenic Routes isn’t really compatible with the review format of those publications. Mike has a letterboxd account where he often shares his thoughts freeform, but the absence of structure means that most reviews don’t go into long form analysis (there are some fantastic exceptions however).
My mood of late inclines me to throw my hands up and exclaim: “film writing of this quality is dying!” Closures of sites like Moviemezzanine and The Dissolve certainly lend credence to that. Though it is important to point out that Scenic Routes is not the same situation–it was Mike’s decision to end the column, which is a small relief.
For your reading pleasure here are a few of my favorite Scenic Routes:
Kung Fu Hustle–Sometimes I’m just grateful for being introduced to a movie. The scene is unbelievably funny.
Moonrise Kingdom–Art of the montage.
More non-Scenic Routes stuff from Mike:
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2–Hilarious, biting, and succinct.
The Game–Maybe my very favorite. Mike gets personal as he explains why this oft overlooked David Fincher movie is one of his best. I read this shortly after being rocked by the film and found Mike able to articulate what I could not.