If I were to sit down and actively mine which magazine stories or longform reporting of 2018 stayed with me (I sorta did but the results are very East Coast-heavy and I’m ashamed of that; although last year’s was just as bad, it turns out), critic A.S. Hamrah’s Bookforum essay on Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and a new chronology of the film would’ve made the cut.
As part of their print issue retrospective on 1968, Hamrah front-loads his review of Michael Benson’s Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece with an assessment of American cinema fifty years ago, when the Hollywood’s stale condition was overturned by a work starring “a deadly computer, a trippy acid freak-out, and an intergalactic hotel room.” From Bookforum:
Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey was not a flop when it came out. It was a big hit and ended up the highest-grossing film of 1968. It was especially popular with acidheads and pot smokers, science geeks, budding filmmakers, and people under forty in general. The critics in New York, however, all hated it (except for Penelope Gilliatt in the New Yorker), and it had not done well in preview screenings with studio execs and celebrities, who found it boring and confusing. Those preview screenings and early reviews have become part of the film’s legend. People love to remember how the snobs got it wrong.
At Guernica, writer Kyle Paoletta reviews The Earth Dies Streaming: Film Writing, 2002-2018, a new collection of Hamrah’s essays on film, “columns (that) stand alone in their ability to evoke what it feels like to go to the movies in the 21st Century.”