If a film is a classic, I know it almost immediately and certainly before it ends. I knew The Silence of the Lambs was a classic as soon as the first meeting between Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lecter had begun. I knew No Country For Old Men was a classic when Javier Bardem told that store proprietor to “call it.” I knew The Wolf of Wall Street was a classic when the quaalude scene had gotten underway.
I also know right away if a film is a pat-on-the-back-but-no-cigar. I knew that Moonlight was an approvable non-classic the instant that Barry Jenkins‘ film tried to convince me that Trevante Rhodes was the grown-up version of the wimpy little kid played by Alex Hibbert and Ashton Sanders. One look at Rhodes and I heard the penalty buzzer. I will never, ever see Moonlight again, by the way, and that goes double for If Beale Street Could Talk.