One of the most pleasant things about New York in the summer, great smells aside, are the rooftop movies that seem to be showing nearly every summer night. My pal and I have been trying to coordinate a meet-up to catch one for months, but with only a few weeks left to the season, we each had to compromise a little and just commit. On Friday, we’ll be catching a showing of Dirty Dancing, which I don’t think I’ve seen since I was about 11. I guess they won’t pause on Swayze’s butt like we did in junior high, but it’ll still probably be fun.
And while crime and Dirty Dancing only intersect in one very important and specific way, I guess what I’m saying is maybe go revisit an old fave—be it Problematic or Evergreen. There’s only so much summer left. In that spirit, here are a few time-tested (read: old) recommendations from the world of true crime media I’ve enjoyed:
Post- some of his biggest successes, including Slacker, Dazed and Confused, and Before Sunrise, came an often forgotten Richard Linklater film called The Newton Boys, based on the familial gang of outlaws of the same name. The murderer’s row of actors starring in the film included: Matthew McConaughey, Skeet Ulrich, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Dwight Yoakam. It’s not a terrific film, but it’s a fun one. And one any Linklater fan should check out, even just for curiosity’s sake.
The X-Files episode “Irresistible” (S2, Ep. 13) is not only a deliciously unnerving episode of the series, it proved the show could do creepy, sans any kind of supernatural elements. It’s just an episode about a regular, old Scully-stalking serial killer, who also happens to be a “death fetishist.” I was always a fan of the show’s “Monster of the Week” episodes that offered up easily digestible, context-free terror—and this is a great example of that made at, arguably, the show’s creative peak. Oh, and reportedly the inspiration for Donnie Pfaster was Jeffrey Dahmer.
This one’s a bit of a cheat since I haven’t actually read it (yet!) but Janet Malcolm’s The Journalist and the Murderer is a work often touted by true crime writers and documentarians as a must-read. It’s a deep dive into the ethics of journalism, viewed through the prism of Joe MCGinness’s 1983 book, Fatal Vision. For a taste, here’s how the book opens: “Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible.”
Finally, I’ll leave you with a few longreads and some recent crime stories, plus a promise to meet you back here on Tuesday:
- Let’s start off with a nightmare caught on night vision
- Looks like Son of Sam is free for interviews
- “She was convicted of killing her mother. Prosecutors withheld the evidence that would have freed her.”
- Russian hackers compromising our cherished institutions/slot machines
Featured Image: 20th Century Fox