PG-13. It's a war movie so you have to deal with some of the horrors of war. Again, as an aggressive pacifist, these are the things that kind of trigger me. But for a war movie, the movie focuses more on the honor of the soldier / seaman rather than the brutality of war. The movie does make the Nazis to be rather scary, which I'm very okay with. The language is very mild. PG-13.
DIRECTOR: Aaron Schneider
I take it back! There's a war movie that is only an hour-and-a-half and that is wonderful. Do you know how many more war movies would be on this page if they had a runtime of an hour-and-a-half? There's something so darned pure about the movie. It's not like we were lacking on the character stuff. It's just that there wasn't this attempt to cover an entire war. Instead, what Greyhound presents is a story of fear at sea with such focus of vision that the story, despite being light on direct characterization, presents the tale of humanity and the fight for survival.
I mean, I'm preaching it pretty hard. I should probably pump the brakes. But I'm a cup-of-tea in right now and I'm riding high on caffeine, so this movie is the cat's pajamas. I ran a half-marathon to this movie (almost --I really ran a half-marathon to Zack Snyder's Justice League. But I didn't stop running for the entire film and that felt pretty great as well). Perhaps the movie bleeds a little bit too much in to patriotic propaganda at times, but I like the fact that we don't get Das Boot from the other perspective too often. Das Boot is basically the same film from the German point-of-view, but there is a very different tone to the film. Both movies rely heavily on the function of suspense to tell a story and I really appreciate that. But there is something horribly bleak to Das Boot that will make it a cinematic classic, while Greyhound's optimistic and noble tone will perhaps make it forgotten shy of its production design Academy Award nomination.
But the biggest question that this movie really had me asking: who is Tom Hanks? I find Tom Hanks to be remarkably charming. I think in another blog --and I couldn't tell you for which movie --I wrote about how I want Tom Hanks to be my dad. I hope the blog was for a Tom Hanks movie or else that would be really awkward. But he's the kind of guy who always gets criticized for being part of the Hollywood elite. I don't believe that there really is such a thing. I really believe that conservatives tend to minimalize anyone who criticizes anything that they believe in. But Hanks keeps on playing these prayerful, solemn, and humble people and he's really good at it. Just as a preview of the upcoming News of the World blog, we watched that movie last night and my wife commented that she didn't think that Tom Hanks was that great of an actor. I don't know if I would go that far. I think that Tom Hanks has a niche thing going on and that niche is excellent. Like Anthony Hopkins usually has his thing that he does over and over again, Tom Hanks keeps playing these parts where he is the gentle giant who fights these extraordinary odds time and time again.
Captain Krause is an interesting character. I know that he's based on a real dude and I know that I can't really trust adaptations in biopics to find out what the real dude was probably like. After all, A Beautiful Mind exists and that guy was a monster in reality. Also, Tom Hanks also played Captain Phillips in the titular role and apparently that story was completely mistold to make Phillips this daring hero. But Hanks apparently really likes courage-at-sea movies and he creates Krause as someone I really respect. It's this guy who does the right thing at all times, but is constantly doubting himself. Yeah, the movie is about survival and survival in an almost horror like environment. The Germans are torturing the American sailors with mind games and the Americans are completely overwhelmed. There's this captain who is way above his head and is expected to fail. We see his confidence falter and waver as the story progresses. And I think that Krause is the kind of guy who sees himself as the wary leader. He has greatness thrust upon him. He probably views himself as a failure while the observer sees him in a place of command.
That's why, I think, that we have have the little slip ups. The movie has a lot of jargon. If there's anything that bores me more, it's a movie filled with jargon. I get that movies should aim for degrees of verisimilitude, but jargon gets to be very boring. I know that my wife probably wouldn't really dig this movie because jargon tends to just be noise. It isn't really dialogue. It's the equivalent of a sound effect in a war movie. Moving certain degrees and talking about stuff like ballast (I don't even know if that word was used in this movie) isn't about character. But it's when Krause gets things wrong that we find out about character. There aren't a lot of moments where Krause has the time or the opportunity to talk about his mental resolve. There's a little bit of that, but it's pretty sparse. But it is when he calls people the wrong name, we starts seeing those cracks in his characters. When he's shouting out jargon and orders, there's no real way to say if he's right or wrong for the layperson. Perhaps sailors and those who otaku about military history might be able to see if he's smart or foolish with his commands. But for the rest of us, it is in the fact that he doesn't eat. It is in the fact that he keeps calling people the wrong names. It is this weight on his shoulders that is relatable. Because we can imagine being a sailor under his command in that moment.
When he makes those mistakes, we identify not with Krause, but with those people who are on the receiving end of the orders. As much as Krause is trying to survive this ambush by German U-Boats, Krause seems more intent on ensuring the men under his care survive to fight another day. It's not about pride at any point. If anything, Krause could probably use a dash of pride to level himself out. Instead, we feel the fear of those sailors. The most experienced of sea captains would have a hard time in the predicament that they find themselves, let alone this first time captain who seems to be making silly mistakes here and there. Yet, those silly mistakes are red herrings in the grand scheme of things. Krause never really makes a mistake in his actual soldiering and leadership. These mistakes are not signs of incompetence, but rather exhaustion and responsibility. And to bring it back full circle, that's why an hour-and-a-half are perfect for this movie.
Because the movie is about one thing: Krause and his confidence. As much as this is one giant external conflict (Greyhound's convoy versus the U-Boats), the knowledge that Krause is dealing with the world on his shoulders and maintains his cool in overwhelming crisis is what we should care about. Instead of panning out to the grand scope of the war, we instead can find an inspirational tale from this guy who beat the odds in a small, seemingly unimportant convoy. This little guy saved a lot of lives and never really pointed it out. There are these very brief scenes that don't take place on the boat. We get this flash back to normal civilian society, knowing that he has a love waiting for him at home. Instead of deep diving into this story, these moments simply act as juxtaposition for the continual war footage. Yeah, you easily could write this movie off as one giant war action sequence and I really couldn't fault you for that. But I see indirect characterization and a reluctant hero more than I see strategy.
I don't think I'll ever really watch it again unless someone wanted to watch it with me. It's a good movie that affected me the way that it should have. But I also get the message. It's a Tom Hanks movie, through-and-through, and that usually means something inspirational.
Rated R mostly for language. I mean, sure, you could rate it R for violence. But this movie feels equally grizzly to Zack Snyder's other entries in the DCeU and those guys are all sporting a family-friendly PG-13. No, Zack Snyder really wanted Batman to drop the f-bomb Frank Miller style, so now I have to leave this for the adults to watch a movie about a guy who dresses in a rubber bat-mask. R.
DIRECTOR: Zack Snyder
If you asked me in 2016 / 2017 that I would some day be rooting for Zack Snyder's version of a Justice League movie over Joss Whedon's version of a Justice League movie, I would 100% not believe you. Seriously. I was ride-or-die Joss Whedon and I safely knew that Zack Snyder was one of the worst directors working in Hollywood once the travesty that was Man of Steel came out. As much as I criticize people who hate-watch movies, I would hate-watch anything that Zack Snyder came out with just so I could complain about it. It was all pretty toxic. So when people started whining about the Snyder Cut, I was ready to hate watch all four hours of the movie just to prove that Zack Snyder couldn't fix such a bad movie.
But you know what? I have to eat crow. While I still want a clean reboot of the DCeU, I have to admit that Zack Snyder's Justice League isn't just better, but it is actually pretty good. Now, am I going to completely backpedal my thoughts on Zack Snyder, who has his name on this version of the movie an offensive amount of times? No. As much as I'm tempted to go back and to give Man of Steel another watch, I realize that he still really sucks at Superman. The reason that his Justice League mostly works is because most of the movie isn't Superman. I'm going to get the whiny thing out of the way first because I want to talk mostly about why this is more than simply a Director's Cut of a bad movie. Zack Snyder has stated in interviews that he really doesn't like Superman. While I appreciate Tom Taylor's work on Injustice, I always liked Injustice as an Elseworlds tale as opposed to what we should see as Superman. Zack Snyder and Tom Taylor both have the same idea: if you broke Superman in just the right way, he would be come this absolute despot.
But I always viewed Superman having more in common with Captain America than with Thor. In terms of punching and violence, Thor and Superman would be the grudge match. But Superman and Captain America both have the attitude of "I could do this all day." They continue to take hits both physically and emotionally and get up when they should stay down. Zack Snyder doesn't see Superman that way. He sees him as the most emotionally fragile person on the planet, a god who would turn on us given the smallest provocation. He really stressed this in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. I know that the message of that film was that Bruce Wayne was wrong about that theory, but Justice League kind of confirms Batman's paranoia about the alien. Superman is meant to be the best of us. He would fight for us even if he had no powers. That's the point of him. Zack Snyder's Justice League has him as someone who has to be coaxed into goodness and that people have to walk around pins and needles for. That's no good.
But the rest of the movie is actually kind of genius. I hate to say it --mainly because the quality isn't QUITE as good --but Zack Snyder's Justice League might have been Avengers: Endgame before Avengers: Endgame came out. Again, there's a big caveat there. Endgame is one of the greatest payoffs to a series that I'll ever experience. It's absolutely brilliant and Justice League isn't exactly there or well-deserved. But there are a lot of the same beats. As opposed to Thanos getting all of the Infinity Stones over the course of two movies, Steppenwolf and Darkseid are hunting for three Mother Boxes. If all of these are unified, the earth would be remade in the bad guy's image. It's the same story, but Justice League technically got there first. I don't ever want to admit that, but it is true.
There's also something where you can see Christopher Nolan far more in this movie than in the past. I always felt that the Snyder movies in the DCeU were in the shadow of Christopher Nolan. They were gloriously cinematic, but completely hollow in storytelling. Snyder --and I still believe this to be true -- is terribly broey and cool a lot of the time in his storytelling. But the one thing that a four-hour runtime allows for is a sense of nuance in the characterization and storytelling. This means that Whedon's version has a couple of things going against it. First of all, it is a SparkNotes version of a much longer story. I know that my wife commented that I just watched a four hour version of a movie that I knew sucked. Yeah, but now I know that it sucked because it was like reading a summary of a book as opposed to reading the book. Snyder might actually need to have a decently long runtime to get away from his big epic setpieces. While I still got a little bored at the fighting scenes, I was far more okay with them because they all felt kind of earned.
But the big thing that the movie taught me about filmmaking is about the dangers of script doctoring a movie. One of my biggest complaints in the DCeU was always a matter of tone. These were these giant movies about superheroes and they were bleak as heck. No one ever smiled. There wasn't a healthy relationship to be found in the Snyder movies. So when Whedon was brought in to tell jokes, I thought it was a good idea. Honestly, some of my favorite moments from Whedon's version of the movie was when Superman was being funny and light. Like, I like the idea of a Superman / Flash race to finish the film. But with those scenes removed, I realized that it was trying to put sweet with savory and neither of them worked together. Snyder had a pretty good movie that worked in spite of having a dark tone. While there are jokes in the movie, they seem far more organic and downplayed than the outright gags that Whedon put in his film.
But the smartest thing that Snyder did, besides really make the DC Universe feel alive and fleshed out in his cut, was allow the characters who didn't have tentpole movies of their own to stand out. The movie is really about Flash and Cyborg. Aquaman was already slated and probably filmed by that point. So when Flash and Cyborg become the center emotional core of the film, it made sense. Yeah, I'll probably never love Ezra Miller's Barry Allen, despite the fact that he has some of the best lines. But I do like the idea of the two kids of the stories being the ones who have to figure out how to get things done. One of the dangers of a Justice League is that it always seems to be a Batman or Superman problem that the others are lending support to. But with the case of Zack Snyder's Justice League, we have the story of Victor Stone and how he is the reluctant hero. We have Barry Allen, who doesn't know what to do with his life. And these two characters, the gravedigging characters, are the ones we care about the most. They get the most new footage and they are the ones that we relate to. As much as I love Diana and her awesomeness returned in this version, I applaud the characterization of the Flash and Cyborg.
And this movie made me really like Snyder's Batman a little more. Yeah, I still don't love the constant use of guns for that guy. It's, like, one of his two things. That's it. But Batman now has completed this redemption arc that, admittedly, might be undone in the Knightmare Reality at the end. But he seems like he went on a bigger journey than Superman, who started the whole DCeU in Man of Steel.
It's a really well made four hour film. I didn't hate watching it at all. Yeah, Superman still sucks in this canon. But at least the rest of the movie has a lot to offer.
Not rated. I was going to say that there was nothing of concern in the movie, but there is some very mild nudity. I don't think I've ever written the term "mild nudity", but there is a victim of a fire who does a nude photo shoot. I don't think you really see anything that would be considered offensive, but it is in the movie. I also think that there is some mild language. The documentary also focuses on death, so keep that in mind. Not rated.
DIRECTOR: Alexander Nanau
Why is it always on sleepy Mondays that I get stuff like Collective? Like, I have a lot of thoughts about Zack Snyder's Justice League, but here I am talking about a documentary that made my wife fall asleep about halfway through. There are some really well made documentaries this year and Collective, unfortunately, isn't one of them. I have no problem with the subject matter. The subject matter is fascinating...for a short. So I'm stuck on a Monday morning, after only getting about three hours of sleep, writing about a movie that I watched a million movies ago, that really should have been half an hour long. If I call it quits a little early today, just be aware that I tried my best and I'm very sleepy.
Collective's marketing department needs to chill a bit. The disc said something about the scandals keep getting deeper and deeper. And for a while, I really believed that. The opening infodump involved the story of a nightclub that caught fire, killing way too many people for what had actually happened. That's the starting point. Since we didn't know the details of what happened, the first quarter of the movie was shocking. Through a series of investigative articles by a sports magazine (which may be the most telling thing about Romanian media), the newspaper finds out that the victims of the fire shouldn't have died not due to lack of proper fire safety, but due to Romanian hospitals being death traps. The major bomb in this whole thing is that the chemicals used to sterilize rooms and instruments were being diluted to save money. We're not talking about slightly diluting products, but the stuff that they were using was so fundamentally ineffective that it would have been safer had the victims never been taken to the hospital at all.
This is the first fifteen minutes of the doc. And from that perspective, that's a fascinating first fifteen minutes. But the rest of the movie is the equivalent of watching the natural paperwork go through. Perhaps that's a harsh assessment of the film. Collective almost runs for two hours. It's not the longest film in the world, but it certainly ain't the shortest by any stretch of the imagination. And over the next hour-and-a-half, the movie does eventually tie this hospital's practices of cost cutting to government corruption, which totally needs to be addressed. It's just that...it isn't done through leaps and bounds. It's through the slow, mundane meetings of government officials. It's from the perspective of the new Minister of Health in Romania discovering how crappy his job is. It's about people being up in an uproar and then forgetting about the uproar, but some people don't forget? It's got this message that is kind of muddled by the way that he documentarians forget what the point of it all is.
And if I was Romanian, this is something I should be angry about. While the film covers the reaction of the people, it really is centered about what happens behind closed doors. Listen, I probably would have made the same choice. Given the opportunity to follow the minister of health through this process seems like an opportunity of a lifetime, the story should be about the victims and how they view bureaucracy. The movie almost completely loses its emotional resonance once the victims of the fire are relegated to the B-or-C-plot. There's nothing more like a cold shower than ignoring the grass roots movement to change things and focusing on a guy who feels impotent in his position. Nanau tries to bring in an element of humanity into the piece with the now maimed model and how she is the public face of this tragedy. But it really does feel like an afterthought that isn't fully explored. This image of this burned woman publicly displaying her injuries should be powerful, but it comes across as "Don't forget this element too".
Nanau also might not be the perfect voice for this piece. I know that is harsh, considering that I haven't seen his other documentaries. But Nanau pretends to be a guy who stumbled upon this while rubbing shoulders with investigative journalist Catalin Tolontan. Tolontan is definitely the hero of the piece. But Nanau came in clearly once this was publicly broken. However, instead of acknowledging that this was his process, Nanau clearly seemed to ask Tolontan and his staff to pretend like they were discovering this information while the documentary was being made. Acting in a documentary that is supposed to be cinema verite is super clunky. It really pulls you out of the story. I believe that Nanau is present once the film shifts from Tolontan to Vlad Voiculescu because, as awkward as Vioculescu is, there are miles between faking reality and the clunkiness of having a camera in your face the entire time. It's so bad, guys. Like, I get that there's a good message. But presenting the information like this is just completely lacking authenticity.
I think I might close up here. Anything else I write is just for lengthening my blog entry, which probably doesn't really serve anyone. It's a documentary that absolutely needs to exist. The work of Tolontan and his staff, despite being the staff of a sports newspaper, should be celebrated and heralded. But the way that this information is presented doesn't really hold the emotional weight that it should. There is corruption in the Romanian government that keeps being encouraged by the same things that happened in the United States for the past four years. It's what happens when we question the media because it doesn't align with our political mindsets. But there is definitely a better way to tell this story than Collective.
PG for scary wolf related things, including violence towards wolves. The thing about scary wolf things is that it often involves blood and tearing, so that can be pretty traumatizing. I was kind of surprised that my kids powered through it. But there was more than the normal share of knowing glances between the adults while watching this one. PG.
DIRECTORS: Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart
Maybe I'm just becoming a broken old man. I really think that's what is going on. When I saw that his was an Apple TV+ original, I really wanted to shotgun it before we lost our subscription. Then Apple TV+ extended our subscription and I forgot about it. When I watched it with the kids, it is exactly what I thought Wolfwalkers was going to be, but I couldn't really get into it.
Stuff like Wolfwalkers, The Secret of Kells, and Song of the Sea are absolutely gorgeous passion projects. They kind of feel like the Irish Studio Ghibli. So why am I being more critical about something like Wolfwalkers than other stuff? Because I cannot deny the quality of Wolfwalkers. If anything, Wolfwalkers might be an even more gorgeous movies than its predecessors. I think part of it comes from the very deep dive into Irish mythology. See, my daughter is the mythology nut. She probably really understood this and appreciated it more than I actually did, and I was the one watching. There comes a certain point where the novelty of being outside of a culture kind of wears off. It's watching someone else appreciating their favorite show, but not actually enjoying the show yourself. And when it comes to Wolfwalkers, it has a very strange effect.
See, the formula of the story has been done before. Heck, I just saw this in Flora & Ulysses. I mean, with Flora, it was at least a comedy. But the idea of the antagonist being a committed animal hunter for the sake of the citizenry is kind of a weird archetype. Now, I'm also not exactly a pet person. But I kind of relate to the villain of the piece, the Lord Protector, more than I do the protagonists of the piece. The easy write off of this is that the Lord Protector is a terrible person socially, so I can see why we don't like him. But Robyn's father kind of makes a lot of sense. Wolves running around a village seems like a terrible idea. (I just realized that this is the same issue in How to Train Your Dragon.) Wolves are scary. Not all of them are Wolfwalkers. Heck, the vast majority of the population don't really know that wolfwalkers exist, let alone that they shouldn't kill these wolfwalkers. It's such a specific problem that Robyn and Maeb face that it is weird that the antagonist gets demonized like he does.
Which really makes me question the intention of the Lord Protector. The big thing that is at stake is the life of Maeb's mother. Yes, I see that this is the objective good in this story, but I can't really fault the villains for not knowing that Maeb's mother was trapped in the body of a wolf that they have kidnapped. But my bigger question is why the Lord Protector is actually holding onto this giant wolf? I'm not saying that he should kill it, but killing it makes way more sense from a characters' perspective anyway. What's the deal with making it a huge show for all of the people to rise up in arms? Isn't the point of the Lord Protector and Robyn's father taking care of all of the wolves to bring peace to the village? If carting out this giant wolf just to slaughter it in front of everyone would solve anything, I would understand. But wouldn't it cause the townspeople to live in greater terror of the wolves. Maybe there's a political structure that I'm not really aware of in Wolfwalkers? Maybe the Lord Protector is on the verge of being unseated, so he needs to prove the threat that is out there. But wolves are something apolitical. They kind of just exist and eat people.
I do appreciate the fact that Robyn is given a certain set of moral questions that don't really have good answers. Robyn tries to do right by everybody and finds out that she can't really do right by anybody. Her father want her to stay home, but he can't really track wolves as well as he thinks. Maeb really is a bit much and did cause Robyn to become a wolfwalker. It's kind of stunning that the directors actually brought me around to sympathizing with Maeb considering that she basically ruined everyone's life with this choice to bite Robyn. Yet, we still tend to hold Robyn accountable for her mistakes, despite the fact that she often finds herself in no-win scenarios. Yeah, the movie is called Wolfwalkers and wolfwalkers seems way more mystical and fun than what I instantly associate them with: werewolves. But this is just a werewolf story where being a werewolf is fun.
So then why am I not instantly calling this kids' version / werewolf equivalent of The Lost Boys? Oh my goodness. Did I just fall in love with this movie through my writing of the blog of it? I mean, there is a real connection there. The entire town finds wolves to be these evil creatures who ransack and pillage villages for food. They looks scary as heck in this movie. But once Robyn becomes one of them, all of the sudden it looks like it would be really cool to be a wolfwalker. There's magic yellow energy that just seems like this positive vibe is behind it. And the wolfwalkers are a group of outsiders who make it look really fun and dangerous to be a wolf. The only difference is that The Lost Boys --a movie that definitely needs a rewatch pretty soon --stresses that the vampires are still awful, despite how cool they look. The wolves end up coming out of Wolfwalkers as the oppressed characters. Okay, maybe I'm coming around.
For as pretty as the movie got, I just got a little bored. Maybe I wasn't in the mood. Maybe I just had unreasonably high expectations for it. There's nothing wrong with the film, but I just wanted something extra.
Rated R, primarily because the film's core subject matter is about rape and rape survival. The film deals with the element of sexuality that doesn't feel exploitative, but it is intense. There's language and drug content. Similarly, there's violence that is very uncomfortable as a pillar of the film. It's a well-deserved R rating.
DIRECTOR: Emerald Fennell
Guys, it's one of the big ones. Even before the nominations had been announced, I knew that people were talking about Promising Young Woman. Man, you guys and the hype machine, forcing me to have unrealistic expectations about film. The thing is, one of the people I follow on Letterboxd even stated that it wasn't as amazing as people made it out to be. But that means that I'm going to be constantly backpedaling throughout this blog entry because I enjoyed it. I just didn't Academy-Award-Winning enjoy it.
Promising Young Woman might be the next great entry in the horror subgenre that was started by Get Out.s I'm a big fan of this movement. The idea that genre films don't have to be one thing is fantastic. I know that A24 has been moving parallel to the stuff that Jordan Peele introduced with Get Out. Promising Young Woman, like Get Out, centers its narrative around the idea of a message that needs to get out there. With Get Out, it was about the deceptive element of allyship and privilege. With Promising Young Woman, writer / director Emerald Fennell wanted to talk about what it means to be a woman. I was going to say "...in the 21st Century", but that's clearly not the case. It feels like I'm cheapening the whole point of the movie by tacking on "in the #metoo era", but I can't deny that the specter of the movement colors the film as a whole. Fennell is going after perhaps the most toxic element of the whole thing: the good guy. Cassie doesn't necessarily go after the most horrifying looking guy at the club. She is hunting the guy who keeps justifying his actions. He sees himself as the hero who is the better alternative to the violent rapist. But it is this character that continually justifies the evils that he inflicts.
I also love how Fennell doesn't just go after the "I'm a good guys" of the film and the clear evildoers of the film. But she also really makes a point to stress that anyone-who-is-not-for-us is against us. With this, I kind of want to look at Alison Brie's Madison. Madison is gross. But Madison is realistic gross. That probably makes her worse. Heck, everyone in this movie is a bit realistic gross. But Madison is a woman who has the same vulnerabilities as Nina did. She is this charismatic attractive woman who is in a male-dominated field. She is popular and understands that her social status is what has made her life possible. So when Nina is raped, Madison sees the world as this binary choice. She could defend Nina and lose the power that she has over men or she could attack Nina and cement her standing in the group of male colleagues that have allowed her to succeed where others have failed. And it isn't an active choice for Madison. She emotionally distances herself from the victim because that's who she is. It gives her culpability, which makes her downfall all the more satisfying.
But there is something really sadistic about Cassie's forms of revenge. It's odd because sometimes I'm not exactly sure what the actual revenge is and I don't know why that makes it all the more troubling. Cassie's entire revenge against Neil, safely one of the most insufferable characters in the story, is quiet humiliation. When we see Adam Brody's Jerry react to Cassie's instant sobriety, we don't know what happened to him. My brain instantly flashed to horrific murder or castration or something of the sort. His name being penned in a Lilliputian notebook, the scribblings of a madwoman, implies horrors upon horrors were inflicted upon him. But we see the whole ballet with Neil. And Neil's entire revenge was based around shame for what he had done. There was nothing physical. Heck, it almost feels like vigilante justice rather than a horror trope because Cassie's goal is to scare him straight. There's not even confirmation that anyone else would ever find out about his misdeeds.
But her revenge on Al is personal. We know that it is a new level of hate and rage when it comes to Ryan and Al. Al makes sense. He's the Bill from Kill Bill. Everything that she has done has led to getting Al in her sights. So when Al is kidnapped, we know that there has to be a physical element. But even with that sequence, Fennell doesn't really give us specifics of what will happen to Al because Al kills Cassie before we have the details of the revenge. It's almost more haunting to think that Cassie doesn't have to touch anyone to completely destroy them. And it makes Cassie the villain that we root for. I can't help but make immediate connections with the OG Friday the 13th. The reason that we applaud Mrs. Voorhies is that she's systematically destroying those people who wronged her. The sequels just had Jason loosely attack anyone who has succumbed to the mildest vice, but the original movie made a lot more sense. Cassie allows her targets to do the right thing. The horrifying element comes from the fact that they never, ever do. They keep making the same stupid choices over and over.
That's kind of telling. Yes, I get that Promising Young Woman is a work of fiction. But it also is a work of fiction based on a very concrete reality that men excuse their sexual choices based on a culture that allows that behavior to go unpunished. If this was really happening, I can't state for certain that every night that Cassie gets picked up in her faux drunken stupor that someone wouldn't take advantage of her every night. But she gives them the chance to do the right thing and everyone fails to do it. I know that there is a demographic out there that says "Not all men", but the story clearly implies that there are enough awful human beings that we can't applaud those who don't rape Cassie. It's troubling.
But all that being said, I have to talk about the quality of the film. I keep making these comparison's to Jordan Peele's Get Out. I really rallied for Get Out to get the Academy Award. It was clearly a genre piece, but it was also an expertly crafted genre piece that defined a time period in cinema. It was brilliant. Yeah, it was also fun, but Peele put his soul into that movie. While I love Promising Young Woman as a genre tale, I don't see the transcendence that Get Out provided. Emerald Fennell is up for best director and Promising Young Woman is simply directed traditionally. It's A-to-B storytelling. The shots in the movie are phenomenally safe and unchallenging. The script, for as much as I liked it, could use some tweaking. It's kind of like looking at Juno versus Jennifer's Body. Juno was this next-level script that worked really well because it was coupled with Jason Reitman's sense of direction and aesthetics. Jennifer's Body was written by the same author, Diablo Cody, but doesn't really have the nuance that Juno did because of the direction. The message in Jennifer's Body, which really does remind me of Promising Young Woman, is fantastic. It's just that the product doesn't hold the same weight as it should.
But at the end of the day, I really dug this movie. I didn't really discuss the Ryan plot twist because I saw it coming and it really spoke for itself. This is a great movie that should be watched free of the shadow of the Academy Awards.
Rated R for language and sexual content. While the film is fundamentally about the civil rights violations upon the disabled, the movie does stress and encourage sexuality even at a particularly young age. There are also drug references, mostly in the context of the hippie generations. While most of the movie probably would get a PG rating, the language, drug, and sex stuff --although minimal-- definitely have a presence in the film. R.
DIRECTORS: James Lebrecht and Nicole Newnham
You can't only write your blog on good days. There is nothing I would rather do than to blow off this blog right now and to curl up with a good book while eating junk food and destroying my diet. Well, guess what? I can still destroy my diet while writing this blog. It's free cookies. Of course I'm going to eat them while frustrated.
I'm going to confront some personal biases. After all, real change happens not when people write off their own insecurities by making comparisons. I've always wanted to be cool with the disabled. I just know my own nervousness does actually poke its head when in the presence of those people who are handicapped. Does the intellectual part of me realize that those feelings are completely irrational? Totally. Do I hide behind the fact that most of the abled society also hides behind the same insecurities? Sure. But Crip Camp's great success is that it forced me to really look at myself objectively and take inventory of my own fears and discomforts. As a teacher, I had my own battles with 504. I feel like I'm confessing too much, but I know that 504 is absolutely necessary for the advancement of society. But sometimes, it is really hard to find a clear and direct argument to support 504. But Crip Camp does that.
What is brilliant about the film is the format of the movie. Yeah, I wouldn't necessarily preach about sexual promiscuity in a film where the moral high ground is so darned clear. I mean, I get it. Part of humanizing people is acknowledging that they have the same sexual needs as other people, but now I have a harder time recommending this film to everyone because it is so "get it any way you can" about it all. But the movie's brilliance (since I find myself so distractible right now) comes from the small-to-large build of the film. The movie starts off with the tiniest of premises: James Lebrecht had a hard time fitting in being handicapped in an abled society. Cool. Then it finds the connections to the titular camp and it seems like the documentary is going to be all about how these people found each other and found their new normal. Cool. But then, it goes into this insane spiral of how this one camp connected the major power players of the disabled civil rights movement and how those people tied into the actual civil rights movement, leading to a cultural revolution that still plays out today.
That's insane. I mean, when I saw that the Obamas' names were on this film, I thought it was simply to raise awareness for the disabled culture. Little did I know that this was a fundamental part of American history that most people didn't know about and that the world wouldn't be what it is without the existence of Camp Jened. Yeah, I wish the movie was called something else despite the very catchy name Crip Camp. But a lot of credits goes to the documentarians who used all of this old footage to make us relate to people who would go on to change the world. Since Crip Camp is about the disabled civil rights movement, I would harken this to a story about home videos about a young Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (you know, before he was Dr.) Imagine just having a place where we see young King feeling accepted for the first time ever and then wanting to spread that message to everyone because of his youth. That's this movie. Because this movie was made in 2020 using documentary footage from the '60s and '70s, we get to meet all of these legends as kids without really the knowledge that they would go on to shape policy for decades to come.
And that's where the James Lebrecht focus is kind of genius. I don't want to downplay anything that this guy did, but he's kind of the Nick Carraway of the story. He's rubbing elbows with greatness and he doesn't even know it. Yes, he did exactly what he wanted to do in life and he never let anyone stop him. That is documentary worthy in itself. But he's this guy on the sidelines of history. We think this story is about him, but it is really about Judy Heumann and the people she influence. It's this amazing redirect that completely recontextualizes the movie. James Lebrecht becomes this focus of how her efforts can really change a life for the individual. Because the movie takes this small scale, as well, it allows the message of anyone being able to make a difference to a point where the abstraction is taken out of it.
Yeah, I wish there wasn't the sex stuff in it. But that's just because I want to share this movie with my kids. It's such an amazing documentary and it is done smartly.
Rated R. There is fairly regular vulgar language and drug references, the real content involves the uncensored look at police brutality and racial inequality. When it is violent, it is uncomfortably violent. I would love for every demographic to watch this, but it is definitely and undeniably an R-rated movie.
DIRECTOR: Aaron Sorkin
Like, I get why so many people really get into The West Wing based almost entirely on his movie credits. He's such a fun writer. His stuff seems so cinematic. Now, I'm already starting to get into the analysis element of this blog, but that might be one of those things that is actually a criticism of him. After all, this ending, as much as I enjoyed it, is really cornball. I mean, next level. I suppose that I should do some research and look into what really happened at the real Chicago 7 trial. But as of right now, my view of history is that Tom Hayden stood up and read the list of fallen from the Vietnam conflict.
If Sound of Metal is the quiet, independent drama about a personal story, The Trial of the Chicago 7 is the movie that feels like the cinematic epic. This movie has this absolutely stellar cast, a script that won't quit, and tugs on the heartstrings throughout. It's one of those movies that makes me ashamed that I didn't know more about this trial. But Sorkin is really good at doing something that conservatives don't like talking about: it makes America not look great sometimes. Sorkin loves contrasting and juxtaposing what America should be in a progressive state and what America actually is. Normally, --and I'm not sure that I'm completely allowed to say this --he tends to make progressives as the heroes while making conservatives come across as pretty rotten. And he definitely does do that with The Trial of the Chicago 7. Again, I've only seen the first season of The West Wing, so that might not be completely fair.
But he doesn't mind casting a little bit of shade on the progressives of this story. The seven come across as heroic for the most part. But there is the notion that they also can be so heroic because they stand on the shoulders of the suffering around them. Everyone who is on trial has a degree of privilege. Perhaps Sorkin is commenting on his own privilege with this one. The seven people actually being represented by council are constantly aware of the injustice happening to Bobby Seale. As much as I am an advocate for what the seven are fighting for, we really have to look at the injustice being done to Bobby Seale, a Black Panther in this story. Seale straight up says that the only reason that he's being tried with the seven is because he is a Black man and that scares juries. There's this guilt that washes over the seven from this moment. It's this telling feeling that says that Seale is completely right. As much as the Seven are fighting for a noble cause, they know that they couldn't possibly even have a chance of basic human rights if they were all Black men. Their courage came from the knowledge that they can't be killed or beaten publicly without backlash.
But Sorkin really does point out the problems with the American justice system, especially when it comes to the relationship between the police and the court system. Because all of this falls under the jurisdiction of criminal justice, the judge clearly comes in with a sense of bias against the Seven. The Seven have questioned the role of police in society, which questions the role that the court system presents. While Sorkin doesn't go as far as to say that it is impossible to get a fair trial when you are against the police, it does imply that there's going to be a heavy amount of bias behind that decision.
Because the story of Bobby Seale, despite being the secondary plot of the movie, is the soul of the film. For all of the exposition that the movie offers about the role of protest rights (of which I'm a firm believer), Bobby Seale's rights constantly being violated is the focus of the film. Yes, I watched the film with the knowledge that I wanted to see if they could get a fair trial for the Seven. I don't deny that I wanted justice for the protesters. But in every scene, there's Bobby Seale being abused by this judge who harbors such hatred for his power being questioned that I had to look at my blessings as a White American. It's actively depressing to think of the advantages that I have because I'm not a Black Panther. And --being something that I've thought about lately --how we still in white America think of the Black Panther Party as exclusively a terrorist organization. Heck, Forrest Gump alone has a really messed up portrayal of the Black Panthers. But between Judas and the Black Messiah and The Trial of the Chicago 7, I'm starting to see that the Black Panthers, while not being a perfect organization, was the response to an America that actively relegated Black Americans to second class citizens. It was the voice that had to be loud because all other voices were suppressing the voice. It's in the beating that the culmination of actions is heard.
Similarly, the film kind of has to question the role of the advocate. Richard Schultz for the prosecution has a pretty gross political stance from my perspective. But Schultz also seems to be a good man. He acknowledges universal truths and rights as part of who he is as a lawyer. The role of the lawyer is one of those altruistic roles, at least it should be. Schultz is there for the planning meeting for the protests. He's this guy who reads the room of the Nixon administration and has this fine line to walk. He understands that the agenda of the administration is a crummy one, to make a public display of anarchists. But he also knows that a crime has been committed. He's really trying to play both sides by knowing that there needs to be a prosecution and his own understanding of fairness might at least fulfill the role of a prosecutor. But Schultz never really opposes the choices that the judge offers. The judge keeps violating rule after rule and right after right and, despite the fact that Schultz is visibly shaken by the judge's decisions, he never really holds back. He still comes at the Chicago 7 in full force, knowing that they are receiving unfair treatment.
And that's where Sorkin is smart. He takes something that I would not find interesting in the least and makes it really accessible. To a certain extent, that involves manipulating me emotionally. That's what entertainment does, to a certain extent, I suppose. But he takes this really complex dynamic of characters and doesn't forget that they are there to tell a story. Now, I don't pretend to think that the real trial played out as cinematically as all this. I mean, I saw The Social Network. The world of Aaron Sorkin follows act structures and has entertainment value. But he also gets to the heart of a matter in a way that a lot of other storytellers struggle with. I'm watching The United States vs. Billie Holiday and it isn't having the same effect, despite the fact that both could have the core of a court case in the center of the film. The Trial of the Chicago 7 is a powerhouse of a film that I wouldn't mind seeing win the Best Picture.
PG and I'm not really sure why. Like many other animated films, the movie deals with the loss of a parent. There's also some selfish behavior, but that selfish behavior is addressed and becomes part of the overall message of the film. There aren't any dirty jokes that I can remember. The peril is fairly mild. Honest to Pete, I'm not really sure where the P in PG is coming from. PG.
DIRECTORS: Glen Keane and John Kahrs
Oh man, this is the not the blog I want to be writing on a Monday morning. A while ago, my kids watched this movie. They had started it a few minutes before I got there, so I used that as a Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card and read a book. (Maybe I played a game. I just remember that I felt like I didn't need to watch it.) My wife then said, "You know, when it is up for an Oscar for Best Animated Film, you are going to have to watch it." She was right. Never marry a psychic or someone who knows you all too well.
There were moments, guys. There were real moments. I'm talking about moments when this felt like Netflix had out-Disney'ed Disney. I started this movie in awe of how much I was really enjoying it. It was this adorable movie about the loss of a family member. Again, you know my neuroses / catnip at this point. Watching a movie where a kid loses a parent and has to deal with the changes that the world throws at them is something that gets me far too much. And then there were moments where the movie became kind of boring. It's the parts that everyone else enjoys. Yes, I am a better person because I like slow moments. But Over the Moon works when it is a vulnerable film about grief and healing, not about going to the moon to find a magic pendant.
I'm sure someone out there is automatically disagreeing with me. I know that the journey is a metaphor for Fei Fei's pain and acceptance of life moving on. It's just that the metaphor...isn't very good? There's this attitude that kids really need high adventure in every kids movie. Similar to what I thought about Up, the movie really crushes when it isn't hiding behind the high adventure. I didn't know what this movie was about when I first started it, so I simply assumed it would be this story about this girl being awful to her perfectly nice stepmom. But the movie starts to tease that only to remove Fei Fei from the story. I get it. Fei Fei has to come across as being sympathetic, so when she discovers that she's the villain of the piece, we can forgive her actions. So it makes Mom to be this absolute saint and Dad to be a wimp when deciding to play it passive around his daughter about his new fiancée. But riding on giant frogs doesn't really keep the metaphor going. I know and appreciate that the film roots itself in Chinese mythology, but I don't see the one-to-one connection between Fei Fei's personal journey and chasing down this gift.
And I really wanted to see the connection. Do you know how much I root for the underdog when it comes to taking on Disney? As much as a I gush over the quality of the Disney film, it gets a little old. I mean, I love that Over the Moon has a lot of music to it. It felt like it had more music than any Disney movie of the past five years, and that includes Frozen II. Maybe I'm crazy about that, but I really appreciate it. But there weren't any really memorable songs. Maybe it is because I don't have people singing those songs every two seconds or requesting Alexa to play those songs on a loop, but I can't think of one song in the bunch. It's not like these songs were bad. It's just that they weren't catchy.
I'm about to spiral out into my own personal demons, so bear with me. The logical and objective part of me roots for the message of the film. Fei Fei should give her new stepmother and stepbrother a chance. They seem like personally nice people. It's just that, what if they weren't great? It's a story that I can't get behind. There's this assumption that someone coming to help a parent heal is automatically a lovable character. But we really leave this film knowing nothing about Mrs. Zhong (I think that I have the right character) or her kid. I think that I can get behind Chin because it isn't his fault that he's in this situation. Fei Fei really punishes him for his optimism and positive outlook towards life. It's probably why Chin is in the story, to make you turn on Fei Fei when necessary.
But then there's the problem with Chin: he isn't a character. Okay, that's being harsh. He's a very flat character. He's likable as heck, being so optimistic. But Chin is going through the same thing that Fei Fei is. He's gaining a sibling very quickly. He doesn't know Fei Fei, but he clamps onto her very VERY quickly. It is understandable that Fei Fei finds this kind of annoying because he's just so aggressive. If you try defining Chin, he also makes no sense. I feel like there's the metaphor of "no barriers" being a funny metaphor, but also having the benefits of being an actual superpower. We know that the no barriers thing shouldn't work. But it works when it has to. Also, Chin's Ping-Pong talent is in the movie just to have scenes that need it. I don't really think that the character is developed enough to justify these moments.
Also, the dog is just an attempt to be Olaf.
But for all of my complaints about the movie, it does have a lovely representation of Chinese culture. Yeah, there were many things that I just don't have the personal experience with. But it did seem like this rich world where reality and mythology kind of intertwined into a fun mixture. It was a gorgeous movie. Perhaps it lacked the spit and polish of a Disney movie, but that didn't stop it from being absolutely breathtaking for a lot of the movie. It's a pretty movie with pretty music.
So for a kids' movie, it does the job. Yeah, it is nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, but that's some pretty low hanging fruit. I don't see it winning, but I appreciate having watched it.
R for a decent amount of language. Yeah, there's not a lot of audible talking in this movie, but it doesn't meant that the movie isn't afraid to swear. There's also discussion of a history or drug use. The protagonist is also sleeping with his girlfriend, which, you know, he probably shouldn't be doing in a G rated film. R.
DIRECTOR: Darius Marder
I think I need someone to explain this year's Academy Awards like I'm an old person. Okay, an oldER person. I understand why some of the films up for an Academy Award are from 2020 and 2021, based on the fact that the Awards themselves have been delayed to allow for a slower film slate. But why have I been writing about films from 2019? Okay, I just wanted to put that out there. For my five readers, Google it for me.
It's so odd that I hadn't heard of this one until the Academy Awards because I wouldn't mind if this won. My wife and I had the epiphany that, for the most part, the Best Picture noms are actually kind of great. It should have been the year that we wrote off decent films, but with stuff like Sound of Metal, Nomadland, and Judas and the Black Messiah, it's actually very impressive. I haven't seen The Father or Minari yet, so for all I know it could be even better than I thought. But I didn't think I would be excited for Sound of Metal based on the description of the movie coupled with the first few minutes of the movie. Death metal, I have to say, has never been my genre. I remember when I was in high school, I had the Spawn soundtrack and I really wanted to like it. That stuff is light compared to what is coming out now. But the movie, considering its title, is actually extremely vulnerable. That's part of the film. It's not the core of the film, by any means, but it is an element. People aren't one thing, which makes the story so much more fascinating.
I adore the title. Sound of Metal implies the protagonist's background as a death metal drummer. In terms of being on the nose, it's great. But then there's the horror of realizing what hearing is like for people with cochlear implants. Yeah, there's a nom for Best Sound and this movie completely deserves it. But Sound of Metal kind of acts as this rallying cry against hope. That sounds bleak and, in many ways, it is extraordinarily hopeless. But the film comes down to philosophy and choice. Ruben represents...a lot. From a critical perspective, Ruben's alcoholism represents his need for control. I want to explore this in a minute. But he's both noble and selfish at the same time. We get frustrated with his obsession with grasping onto the past. But if Ruben was in a different film, we'd be admiring his resilience to get back to his art.
What I'm dancing around is the fact that the protagonist is wonderfully complicated. As a culture, we've probably been a bit too ableist. I can't say that I'm not. The idea of what Ruben is going through in this movie is relatable and the idea of acceptance just seems toxic. So many of us have jobs and passions that use the wide range of senses on a daily basis and simply accepting the loss of one of these senses as giving up. Yet, Marder teases us with the knowledge that the right thing is to abandon control and power for the things that they can control. That motif of alcoholism parallels what Ruben goes through. He tries to be in control of his disability and the world around him. But it is only once Ruben abandons all pretense of control that the world starts gaining a sense of serenity.
He doesn't see that, though, because he is in it. We know that he won't be able to return to the world of drumming with the implants. I even think that Ruben knows this too. But he sacrifices that sense of belonging that he has with the deaf community. I can't help but make the connection to Moses in the Bible. Moses leads the Israelites through the desert. He's told by God to strike the stone to bring forth water. But because Moses doubts God and hits the stone multiple times and is not allowed to enter the Promised Land. The same thing happens to Ruben. Ruben becomes the healthiest he has ever been in the community. Joe invites him to become a leader of the group, continuing to teach deaf students, which gives him value. But Ruben, like Moses, doubts. He takes a rule that seems innocuous enough: this isn't a place for people who can hear. And when he returns, he's not allowed to stay in the Promised Land.
It's such a morally understandable choice. Because Ruben doesn't necessarily see the cochlear implants as something exclusively for him. He views this surgery as a way to get back to Lou. Lou, for all of her understanding, can't help but view Ruben as something as less than what he was before. Joe, on the other hand, views him as something more and bigger. That decision to embrace his deafness is what the community is about. Yet, that really comes down to a matter of faith, doesn't it? (Oh, to have this kind of insight when I was writing for Catholic News Agency!) Joe and the people at the commune probably all could have the surgery that would allow them a sense of normality in the outside world. But they have faith that they are not any less, abandoning the Ableist philosophies that society has bred. There's nothing evil about the surgery. In fact, in a lot of communities, it could be a moral good. But for Ruben, it is an attempt to return to a place of control, a return to his drug addiction.
Ruben is an honorable character throughout. Lou's father even acknowledges that it is easy to view Ruben as a toxic element, considering his tattoos and his self-destructive past. But Ruben is self-actualized in a lot of ways. I'm not saying that he needs to be out there doing his own thing. But he should get credit for thriving as well as he has. But that brings in another theme: the idea of needing help. Ruben is a guy who treads water all the time. Yes, he is more successful than a lot of addicts. I don't think the movie ever shows him at rock bottom. But Ruben was living a life where time was going to be his greatest enemy. We know this because of the peace he gains with the community. And the tone of the cochlear implants acts as the Tower of Babel or the monkey's paw. It is a return to the world of mediocrity. The world, cochlear implants or no, is a sound of metal, overwhelming and sad. It is through the abandoning of one of his senses that Ruben finds the peace that comes with silence. It is the removal of that extra input that allows him to become whole.
As bleak as the ending is, Ruben divided from Lou, it is also incredibly optimistic as well. Ruben, without telegraphing this, finds the value of his own infirmity. By removing the implants at the end and absorbing the silence, it is Ruben accepting himself and accepting the good instead of the evil.
I loved this movie. It was gorgeous, smart, and avoided preachiness all throughout. I hope it wins. But even if it doesn't, it still was a reminder about what cinema can achieve.
G rated. I never know what to write here about the MPAA. Maybe it is because it is British? Like, Wallace and Gromit probably get a pass. But there's nothing really all that objectionable. There is a villain, which is par-for-the-course for a kids' movie. But none of the characters talk, so there's nothing objectionable said. Oh, there's a butt on camera. That's something. But it is made of clay. G.
DIRECTORS: William Becher and Richard Phelan
Do you know what my life is like? I create this big masterplan to write about every movie I see. I mentally make a plan to make it about a movie a day. I eventually come up with a schedule that is an attempt to prevent burnout. Then the Academy Awards show up, so I get revitalized and ignore my scheduled vacation. I power through some movies that AREN'T Academy Award nominees.
And then my first intentionally-written Oscar blog is a Shaun the Sheep movie?
I love me some Shaun the Sheep. I do. These are movies that are genuinely wholesome. My kids tend not to freak out at them. My three-year-old, Penny, absolutely was riveted by this film. But in terms of heavy themes? There really isn't that much. Since I don't really expound on the craft as much as I look at the greater meaning, I have to really start digging beyond things that would be considered acceptable. I mean, that's what I tell my students to do with every writing assignment. Find an argument that is actually challenging and defend it. But my brain gets tired and sometimes I just want to talk about the themes that really scream to be discussed. Instead, I'm going to be talking about how this movie is just a more fun E.T.
The movie has to know that it is doing E.T., right? My kid screamed that there was an overt E.T. reference. It's just that there seemed to be more Doctor Who references than there were actual E.T. references. In terms of great storytelling, the movie feels insanely safe. Because we all know the beats of the Spielberg modern classic, the movie ultimately becomes a vehicle for jokes. And that's completely fine. The filmmakers are good jokesters and aren't stepping out of their comfort zones. While I tend to lambaste creators for having this attitude, I have to keep in mind the target audience for this movie. This is a G-Rated film. It's intended audience is young kids. There's no need to really complicate matters with an overly involved plot or deep themes. It comes down distilling it, this is another celebration of claymation. The people who make these movies get what tone is. The tone comes across as effortless, so this feels like a passion project to bring these stop motion characters to life. Who ultimately cares if there isn't an original story? Sheep brings baby alien back to his parents? Cool. Let's work with that.
But there is one thing I really want to explore. I don't think it will be the deep dive I want it to be, but I do appreciate that there was thought put into the antagonist. One of the things that movies like E.T. always tend to do is to make this shadowy government agency (which in my head is NASA, which is an odd flex) completely unsympathetic. Farmageddon (which isn't the best name for this movie) starts to do that, especially considering that no one is really allowed to talk. But then, we are given this leader who has an altruistic reason for being the bad guy. S She becomes sympathetic. She sees aliens as a kid and wants to prove that she wasn't making them up. There is a nobility to her pursuit. I'm only kicking out the foundation from under my feet by quoting The Dark Knight, but this unnamed antagonist lives the Harvey Dent quote about living to see herself become the villain. Without actually having dialogue, we get this picture of a passionate advocate for the existence of a greater truth than is visible on the surface. Her malignance is unintentional. She is wholly unaware of her own malice and that's what makes her kind of compelling. She's Mulder if things got out of hand. She became the very thing she fought and that's fascinating.
But again, this is a kids' movie about a rascally sheep who befriends the most adorable alien child ever. It's about the jokes. The jokes land pretty much every time. I guffawed a lot. My kids were embarrassed about me laughing so hard, but they liked it too. It's a really cute movie that might actually take a hit from me overthinking it.
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.