Back in Time (2015)
Not rated, but this is pretty darned innocent. You know how Back to the Future is '80s PG? This is genuine PG. They discuss the weird incest motif of the first Back to the Future movie and that's the only offensive thing that I can think of in the entire movie. There might be some mild language. It is an extremely tame documentary without anything to worry about it. It's weird that Dan Harmon (a drinking Dan Harmon, nonetheless) still is allowed in a tame film. Unrated.
DIRECTOR: Jason Aron
Dan Harmon griped about his appearance in this documentary, so I watched it. Yeah, that's how it played out. It's also short, so I watched it. I watch a lot of movies, guys. I don't think that I should have to apologize for this. I like Back to the Future, a lot. But I never really put myself in the category of BTTF fans. It's really weird because I consider Back to the Future to be a comedy first and a time travel sci-fi movie second. But I do kind of like a genre of documentary a lot. It's not a special feature. I don't watch too many of those. But I do like dedicated documentaries to pop culture fandoms. The thing is, there is something that makes a fandom documentary great and I've only seen it work once. I'm referring to the best fandom documentary of all time: Trekkies.
The reason that Trekkies works when other fandom documentaries tend to fail is that they are way too reverend to their subjects. I love Back to the Future. I love Star Trek (probably more). But Trekkies is all about obsession in every form. It makes fun of nerds, but it also claims to be one of them. I don't think I ever want a documentary that trashes fandom, but I do like the idea that fandom is kind of silly. I tell my students that they should be fans of things. I like the idea of nerd obsession. But what it should also build is the ability to both be cool with yourself while not taking yourself too seriously. Fans who don't learn this distinction tend to be toxic. Back in Time is a documentary is a movie that is a love letter to Back to the Future. Coming from a guy who thinks that the movie is nearly perfect, even I think that this documentary is too much. It's too inside baseball. The audience for this movie is Back to the Future fans and really nobody else. That's a real bummer. So the entire time, the movie really gushes about the greatness of this film. We get that it's great. Instead of being anything that is good for a general audience, it kind of feels more like a video yearbook. "Look at all the clubs we formed." That's all well and good, but I want to explore the dark side of fandom. I want to tease this whole thing and take the air out of it a little bit. C'mon! Laugh at yourselves, Back to the Future fans. That's all that's missing. Without that sense of self-deprecation, this becomes a DVD extra and that's just a bummer. There's so much potential. I'm not saying that some things can't be precious. Trekkies covered that stuff too. There's very reverend things in Trekkies that balance out the teasing. But every Back to the Future fan is a superfan, not a dork. It's okay to be a dork too. This movie needs this kid hanging up the phone telling his friend that he "called at the worst possible time."
But since this movie isn't Trekkies, I suppose I should review what it actually is. It is slick. This is a fine looking documentary full of the stars. Back to the Future is an odd phenomenon. There's one section of the documentary that I really love and that comes from Dan Harmon. (Surprise.) He points out that the movie shouldn't work. I never thought about it because I've always had Back to the Future in my life. It's one of those movies that I've seen so many times that I can probably quote the whole thing. I loved this movie before I even understood that I should watch as many movies as I can. But Harmon is right. Almost every single element breaks the rules of story structure, but it still works. Maybe it works because it breaks every element of the story and that's fantastic. When the movie is focusing on the movie itself and not the fans, I find that extremely fascinating. I don't know whether or not to believe Christopher Lloyd about his love for Back to the Future. He tells the story about how he thought that the script was dumb at first and I appreciated that. But he feels like the generous host sitting through these interviews. I'm not mad about this at all. I think that Christopher Lloyd is the consummate professional and no more so than his agreement to do this movie. Michael J. Fox probably loves this kind of stuff. Lloyd knows that this role made him immortal, so of course he's not going to bit the hand that feed him. (You hear that, Christopher Eccleston?) But the real interesting pulls are Robert Zemekis, Steven Spielberg, Bob Gale, and --oddly enough --Donald Fullilove. Robert Zemekis and Bob Gale do their thing, only in a lot more detail. I think I've heard the short version of the origins of Back to the Future too many times and that part isn't interesting. Spielberg talking about the movie gives it a little bit more authenticity. There's something about Steven Spielberg that is so genuine that when he gushes, it sounds like he really means it.
But Donald Fullilove? That's the guy who played Mayor Goldie Wilson. (Spoiler: lots of people ask him to say "Mayor".) I just looked up his IMDB credit and he moved to the crew side of filmmaking for the most part. He had a voice role in Up, but he basically works behind the scenes for films now. That's fine. But what makes it interesting is that he and Lea Thompson kind of do the most interviews. Lea Thompson is her own person. Donald Fullilove became one of the fans...of his own movie. Not to tie it into Star Trek again, but that's a real Star Trek move. Lots of people ask Fullilove to say "mayor" and he's excited. He shows up for Back to the Future events. (I went to a Back to the Future event once where the guy who sang "Earth Angel" did that at an Enchantment Under the Sea dance. It was fantastic.) He wants to buy a tricked out DeLorean. (I mean, who doesn't.) But he's all in. Like, all in. I was surprised by that. But he's the nice transition moment in the documentary. The focus shifts from the filmmaking element of Back to the Future to the fans. The fan section I found a little less interesting. For those people who are nerds, showing convention footage isn't surprising. The movie really focused on the DeLorean collectors. I can see why Aron did it. It is a very iconic image from the movie and it does separate itself from other fandoms. I have to throw myself under the bus Trekkies style. The movie kept on calling the interviewees "Time Machine Owners". These were the people who refitted their DeLoreans to look like the one from the movie. I kept rolling my eyes because I thought it was dumb to A) call them "Time Machine Owners" and B) spend that much time and money converting these things. After all, they kept stressing how expensive it was to own a DeLorean, let alone refit it. Then I realized I was rolling my eyes mere feet away from one of my two TARDISes. (Mine are storage cabinets that I refitted to look like the TARDIS, but who am I to throw temporal stones.) Yup, as much as I complained about someone being a time machine owner, I guess I was part of the club as well.
There was one thread that I don' t think was completely explored, despite the fact that I kept hearing the phrase over and over again. Fans would constantly tell us that "Back to the Future showed me that I could be anyone I wanted to be." That's a really cool idea, that a fandom could let you express yourself. But that's not one of the themes of Back to the Future really. I mean, in an obtuse way. But there are way more fandoms that are all about self-expression. If anything, Marty is constantly disguising himself so he doesn't mess with the time-space continuum. If the fans are just talking about the fact that they can hang out with people who have the same interests without being judged, I'm in full support. But for all the messages of Back to the Future contains, "being yourself" isn't one of them. You can kind of force with with Marty always reacting to being a chicken or yellow in parts 2 and 3, but that's a bit of a stretch. The more I think about it, the movie might actually discourage being yourself. George is considered socially awkward for being himself. It's only once he beats up Biff that he's considered acceptable. This is where the documentary could have gotten something about the more noble value for being oneself. Just add confidence to social awkwardness and you can thrive. Maybe that's it. Also, you can propose to your girlfriend at a DeLorean convention. That's just a fun moment.
Back in Time is watchable. It just feels like sugar. There's nothing really all that challenging. We can watch about the lives it has changed and that's great. We can watch people perform service for Team Fox and I guess that's something. But the movie never really sells its initial concept of Back to the Future being something more important than a movie that a lot of people like it. It gets close. I would say that it gets up to 86 or 87 miles per hour, but it never really generates the 1.21 Gigawatts, if you know what I mean. It's a fine watch. I'm more afraid to watch Ghost Heads. I think that's going to be more of this. While I may love Ghostbusters even more than Back to the Future, I know that fandom gets even more toxic.
YOUR MISSION, SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, is to listen to these two nerds break down the Mission: Impossible franchise even more than they already have.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
PG, because Temple of Doom isn't out yet. That's the story, right? I know that someone is going to call "apocryphal" because I'm posting a secondhand story on the Internet. But Raiders of the Lost Ark is 21st century (not the studio) PG-13. There's some icky stuff I'm going to discuss. But this is some old-timey Fangoria Magazine gore. Like practical effects can get pretty gross when it comes to rotted bodies. Heck, even the doesn't-look-like-Alfred-Molina corpse is still extremely effective. So, technically PG, but I'm not showing my kids this one for a while.
DIRECTOR: Steven Spielberg
We had an argument on the podcast about which Indiana Jones movie was the best. People swear by Raiders of the Lost Ark. They say it is a perfect movie. There's even the documentary about the remake that swears by the same thing. I really wanted to watch Raiders of the Lost Ark again to see if it was as good as I remembered. Well, thank goodness for a night class the deemed it necessary to watch it for the first class. That was one think off of my pop culture To-Do list. While Raiders is still an absolutely phenomenal movie that deserves its place in the pantheon of great movies, I'm going to be the unpopular voice to say that it might not have held up nearly as well as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, my favorite in the franchise.
I know that this isn't an interactive blogging experience. I welcome your comments and will try to respond to them, but I'm asking you a favor. If I start dogging this movie, stop me. (That's how how chronology works, thank you!) It really is a phenomenal film that I absolutely love. But time hasn't been kind to all of it. Since it's topical, I want to break down a line that I never really noticed before. I completely misunderstood the Indiana Jones / Marion dynamic. I always read their history as a messy breakup. I put it down as a story of Indy abandoning Marion to live a life of adventure. While there is an element of that, I never heard the line, "I was a child! I was in love!" followed almost immediately by "It was wrong, you knew it!" Indy actually dismisses her in the middle of it by saying, "You knew what you were doing." A Google search took me to an even ickier place. George Lucas wrote it as the initial relationship taking place when Indy was 22 and Marion was 11 or 12. Spielberg put it at 25 and 15, which is still icky but 1920s less gross. (Nope, the more I think about it, still pretty gross.) The boys club then say that 17 or 18 would have been boring and I'm shook. It's such a weird element to add to the movie. Why couldn't Marion still have the same dynamic as a spurned lover. Indy is still a jerk for abandoning the woman he loved for adventure. Or just have him be a cheat. But child molester is super gross. This definitely made the movie way grosser for me. I'm actually mad at myself for never catching that line beforehand. It's even weirder keeping in mind how their relationship ends up continuing in Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Crystal Skull. But this also opens doors for things getting politically dated. I think I'm changing my mind on how to view certain movies. I know that everyone seems to be getting upset about everything nowadays, but I might be one of those people who is upset about things in my past. This is the '80s. It's not like we were living in a pre-civil rights America. (Or are we still? Think about it!) There's a lot of weird ethnic choices that might come across as fun. After all, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg were inspired by the serial action stories of yesteryear for Indiana Jones. Jones is in the '30s. But that doesn't mean that people actually acted like stereotypes. Also, Alfred Molina and John Rhys-Davies are cast for looking vaguely ethnic.
Okay, that's out of my system. Let's counter the negative stuff with some positive stuff before I go into one of my more controversial complaints about Raiders. (It's a matter of taste versus moral content.) It's so amazing how this character works. This kind of ties into my thoughts on more Indy movies. Bear with me. The original trilogy is very special to me. I actually really like Temple of Doom along with the other two, so I'm one of those guys. But Indiana Jones is a movie with a very specific tone. It takes all of this dark stuff that you normally wouldn't put in an action movie and makes it entertaining. I think Indiana Jones is the reason that people learned it was okay to be scared. A lot of people tell me that they don't like scary stuff; that they don't like to be scared. I never really understood that. Film scares are some of my favorite things in the world. It is this adrenaline rush followed with the instant gratification that you are okay. Even a rollercoaster doesn't offer that. You have to go through the whole rollercoaster along with the inner-ear stuff that 35-year-olds get to get an adrenaline rush and EVEN THEN there's a chance you wouldn't survive. There's nothing really clever about a rollercoaster. I'm not saying that you shouldn't like rollercoasters. I used to love them before they became ways for me to throw up my lunch. But a good scare in a movie is about tricking me. It's a magic trick. All of the elements are set up for a great execution. It's probably why people don't like jump scares that much because they are unearned in comparison. But any of the Indiana Jones movies wouldn't be considered traditional horror movies in any respect. They are adventure / action movies. Yet, Spielberg does this great thing by making me scared for a few seconds every so often and that's great. Like, I'm not showing any of the Indiana Jones movies to my kids right now. But when they pre-teens or teens, that is happening. I won't feel all that bad about showing them something scary. It's not like I sat them down for a horror movie or anything. (Golly, I hope Henry gets a little backbone before that happens because I need to have Indiana Jones bonding time with my kids.) The scares that happen in this one don't really translate as well into Crystal Skull. There's something uncanny valley about the digital stuff in part 4. That ant scene should have crushed, but it did nothing for me. I've seen Raiders at least a dozen times in my life, probably more. I still got pretty jumpy when Alfred Molina gets run through. But contrasting the scary thing, the movie doesn't let you exist in the scary moments. The movie is far from a compilation of scary moments that you are living in horror suspense. Rather, Spielberg makes the movie primarily about a competent (sort of) hero who enjoys navigating these scary moments...minus the snakes. Apparently, he hates snakes.
Now something else negative, and this is something I've held onto as long I've watched the Indiana Jones movies. Raiders drags a little. I KNOW! I KNOW! I hate me too. I don't want to be the guy who says it. I don't mind borign, but I've watched this movie so many times. There are moments that rock in the dragging section, but I genuinely want twenty minutes knocked off of this film. I don't even know where I would do it. There's something that happens to me every time I hit a certain part of the movie. Once they are out of the map room until after the submarine, I find myself getting restless. It might be the fact that there is too much action at one point that I need emotional resonance, but Indy doesn't really have a time to grieve. He drinks for a little bit in the bar after he thinks Marion is killed, but that just throws him back into conflict with Belloq. (I thought it was spelled "Belloc", which explains Sallah's pronounciation of "Bell-osh." Thanks, IMDB.) The thing is that some of my favorite scenes are in the dragging part of the film. Indy pulls the Ark of the Covenant in the Well of the Souls. He does the fight with the airplane (my favorite part of the movie) and gets dragged under a vehicle. I get it. I have no argument except for the fact that I keep checking the time once they get out of the map room. I honestly think that it might be too much time in Egypt or just that I need Indy to grab a good meal and laugh with friends. Heck, this is even the part with Sallah, one of my favorite characters in the franchise. I never really get bored with Last Crusade. Maybe because it gets way less funny during this sequence. Harrison Ford is still pretty great with his treatment of Indy, but a lot of the jokes are earlier in the film. I also don't know why I get invested again. Every time it happens. Indy is holding a rocket launcher and I care all over again. The end is exciting to me, but I don't know why I find one section to drag. Overall, this isn't the worst complaint. I admit that I still like the moments and the scenes. It must be something biological that I can't handle this sequence. You can actively ignore me or you can tell me the same thing happens to you.
But outside of the statutory rape (which I want you to never ignore), Harrison Ford as Indy is super fun. (All I can think of is Carrie Fisher's affair with Ford and how young she was now.) There's something compelling about Indiana Jones. It helps that Harrison Ford was also Han Solo because the best parts of Han Solo are in Indiana Jones. There's the rogue element that he has, despite the fact that he has a very clear moral code and he is part of the establishment. Would Indiana Jones be a rebel archetype? I have to think so. The very nature of tomb raiding has a certain degree of seediness to it, despite the fact that the protagonists that we like who tomb raid are often doing it for noble reasons. But Indy seems to play by his own rules in a way that is extremely entertaining. Indiana Jones doesn't have the best direct characterization until the third movie, but there are so many moments that just speak wonders about the character. That opening sequence sets a tone like no other. Yes, I'm talking about the big rolly ball part. But a lot of that comes from how he takes losing to Belloq. It's weird to think that the hero of this franchise is first introduced losing spectacularly. It's the anti-Bond opening. (Okay, Skyfall would eventually adopt this attitude.) Indiana Jones is shown as savvy, demonstrating the rules of this fictional version of archaeology. Everything is shown in this enhanced universe and he still loses. For all of his skills, he still has to run out of the jungle a buffoon. Then the snakes thing and that's just fun. But then he's completely juxtaposed with his classroom where girls find him dreamy and he just wants to teach about archaeology. Then it goes into action movie fun times. But that's a lot of stuff we learn just by seeing him do it very quickly. It's the rule about "showing not telling" done in master class form.
I don't know if I'll get around to watching Last Crusade any time soon. While I really enjoyed watching Raiders, I'm not in binging mood. I want to watch some more art films and other stuff. I think Indiana Jones might be a once in a blue moon thing. But again, if someone tells me that they want to come over and watch Temple of Doom, I won't even blink an eye. It's just too much fun.
Birth of a Nation (1915)
It's America's first motion picture. We were nowhere close to having an MPAA. But, man alive, if we did...well, they'd probably give it a pass because the attitude of the country was super racist. No one should be watching this movie outside of academia. It is the most racist thing that I've ever seen and ever hope to see. It involves rape and violence. It is nearly constant blackface. It lies about history and portrays the Ku Klux Klan as the heroes of the piece. This movie is without defense and shouldn't be viewed by anyone for entertainment.
DIRECTOR: D.W. Griffith
When I was post-college, I used to blog about movies, similarly to how I do now. But because I was in my early twenties and untouchable, I used to swear a lot in these movies. I'm sure that if I read those reviews, I'd cringe pretty hard. But right now, I wish I swore in my writing. I think that swearing in what is written is the sign of a poor writer, but I feel like this commentary needs to be laden with expletives for how I feel about this piece of cinematic trash. For those not in the know, America's first full length motion picture was an adaptation about a book named "The Clansman", a narrative where the advent of the Ku Klux Klan rescued America from the negro threat. It led to a second resurgence of the Klan. For a while there, it looked like the Klan was going to die off. But nope, Birth of a Nation came out and made America that much worse to live in.
I can blame the people of the time because we should have always been a base level of woke towards the plight of others. But I had to think of why this movie is just as evil as it is. I want to stress that: this movie is an evil film and I want to go back in time and punch D.W. Griffith in the throat for being as irresponsible as he was. (I haven't seen Intolerance yet, but I'm glad it bankrupted him.) But we're in a time before the Internet and television. The country is still remembering the Civil War. People were pretty racist and along comes this, admittedly, very well made movie. (That is probably the worst part. I'm not the first person to comment on it. The reason that Birth of a Nation matters is that it is a well-made movie, which means we have to keep on studying it.) Here comes the best looking movie yet and it is just confirmation biasing the heck out of everyone. It can rewrite history all it wants because no one can get the real message. I show this movie every year to my film class. It is fundamentally part of film history for multiple reasons. I thoroughly prep them for the things that they are going to see. But one of my students, immediately pointed out that "Of course this led to an uprising in the Klan." The movie presents so many imaginary moments as fact. It is incendiary and that content is meant to make the viewer angry. I know the entire country wasn't racist. There were all kinds of protests regarding this movie at the time. But Woodrow Wilson loved this movie. He has a quote in the movie introducing Part II of the film, lauding the actions of the Ku Klux Klan. To top it all off, it presents the Klan as the racist Avengers, solving all of the problems of the South through what appears to be justified violence.
Before I talk technical value, I have to say something else that is really gross about the movie. In this movie, there's a ton of blackface. There are genuine people of color acting as extras next to actors who are in blackface. The villains are mulatto. There's just insanely over-the-top ideas and propaganda attacking the black man and that's all gross. But one of the thing that rubbed me the wrong way upon watching it this time (I have to watch this movie every year) is the idea of the "good negro" versus the "evil negro." This bugged me this year. It is not only preaching to the already biased whites, but it teaches that there is a certain way to act if you are a person of color that is morally acceptable, that is few and far between. Shut up, movie. You are evil enough as it is. Also, I really can't stand the "rape the white woman" sequence. I think this takes the cake as the most mad I get in a movie or will ever get in a movie. I would say that this movie is better than this, but it really isn't. I precede the movie by stating that "Every time you think you've seen the most racist thing you have ever seen, it gets worse." One of the most famous shots of the film comes out of this moment. It is when the Klan gets a hold of this rapist. It is this line that just flat out screams, "The white men are heroes. The black men are rapists." We still see this today in cinema, but I'd like to think that it happens unintentionally and we are working to make it better.
But like I mentioned, the worst part is that the movie is actually really well made, especially considering that it is the first movie. If Star Wars was (more) racist, it had that level impact. Watch the movies before Birth of a Nation. None of them were full length motion pictures. There's some great stuff, no doubt. I love La Voyage dans la Lune. The Great Train Robbery is always a favorite. But they have that formalist style behind them. They are products of the theater scene and, while Melies jumps the medium into true art, it is in Birth of a Nation that the formula for film is discovered. It's three hours and fifteen minutes. That's a cinematic crime as is, but it doesn't really feel that long. Griffith understands pacing and spectacle. I'm going to get into his camera angles in a second, but that movie is actually made for entertainment. Again, we can't ignore the fact that it is a powerful piece of evil propaganda, but the movie is entertaining while watching it. The Civil War sequences are beyond comprehension from me. I'm going to put this into perspective. I love The Great Train Robbery, right. That short film is very basic. It is made with what appears to be plywood sets, very much like a traditional play. Look at the clock in that shot. It is only a few inches thick. Most things in Birth of a Nation are meticulously crafted. Nothing feels like a quickly made set. When it gets to the Civil War sequence, there was no CG army to do all of this stuff. Yet the battles are fully manned. The smoke is really filling the air. I can't help but compare Griffith to DeMille and his attitude of scope. When I see a lot of movies mimicking actual wars, it is always conveniently one of the smaller skirmishes. This never really pulls that. It gives everything full out. Also, jumping forward to one of the scenes that I actually like. I love the Lincoln assassination stuff. I'm amazing how reverent this movie is towards Lincoln. It never really criticizes him. The concept behind the title is that, with the Klan in place, the nation (White nation) can heal and form a single resistance against the black and progressive menace. I guess to do that, the movie needs to slightly deify Lincoln, but I digress. The assassination at Ford's Theatre, in isolation, is extremely effective. If the rest of the movie wasn't surrounding it, I would think that it was the greatest silent short of the era. But the rest of the movie sucks.
Then there is the cinematography. I swear, you have to watch this in comparison to the rest of the things going on. The guy has a tracking show in the movie. Think about the size of the cameras in the day and the bounciness of the road. I still don't know how he pulled off the brief tracking shot of the Klan riding horses, but it is impressive. The cinematography is dynamic and I'd like to remind you right now that I'm planning on going back in time to punch Griffith in the throat. The action sequences are decently choreographed, if not evil in themselves. All in all, we still kind of use Birth of a Nation as a formula for structure. But I'm going to go back to ragging on Griffith. I also hate Griffith as an individual. The entire first minute of the movie stresses how much this is Griffith's work and Griffith's work alone, shy of the source material. The guy was very full of himself and I know that he had a hand in developing United Artists, but shut up. I hate this guy so much.
We're in an era where a common argument we are having is whether or not we can separate art from the artists. I don't know if Birth of a Nation even matches that argument. I love Annie Hall, but Woody Allen angers me. That's not what I'm discussing. Birth of a Nation is a technical marvel that is evil. I hate giving it any merits whatsoever because I view it more of an act of genocide than I do actually watching it as a film. It's like admiring one of Hitler's military strategies. That makes me feel icky all over. I know that as long as I'm teaching film, I'm going to have to watch this movie over and over again. But you know what? The best part about finally writing this review is that I don't ever have to question whether or not I have to write about this movie ever again.
Not rated. Because it's a movie about a font. I think that there might be one curse word throughout this movie. It's really nothing to worry about. If there had to be a rating, I'm sure it would be G. (That's not actually true. I'm sure it would be PG because it is live action.) There is some talk about taking down the font establishment, so I guess that is something that a parent could be worried about.
DIRECTOR: Gary Hustwit
I thought this movie would be right up my alley. In college, I made a few bucks. I'm not talking about a lot of money, but I did cash the occasional check doing design work for people. No one ever taught me, but I did a project on Photoshop and learned that I really liked Photoshop. It was through my work for folks that I became obsessed with fonts. Unlike riding a bike, you have to keep up with fonts. I used to talk a really mean font game, but now I can only recognize a few of my favorites when they are used publicly. But I thought that I might ride the nostalgia train to a film that exclusively talked about fonts. I thought that this movie was for me and only for me. Nope. This movie is for graphic designers, despite what other people might say.
I remember when this movie started making the rounds. We can all agree that it is an absurd idea. The movie isn't even named "Fonts". I'm sure some people could jump on board that idea. No, the movie is primarily about Helvetica, the font. There is some deviation from that idea to some degree. Usually it comes from the Helvetica naysayers. The people who don't care for Helvetica tend to talk about why Helvetica sucks and why they use other fonts. But mostly, this movie stresses about how much Helvetica is used in daily life. This font is a variation of Helvetica, so I guess I'm kind of proving the movie's point. The most interesting aspect of this film is the awareness that the movie brings to how we've all established that everything should be Helvetica. It probably is the most common text style, especially when it comes to rudimentary marketing. If you want to make something seem modern (in terms of a genre of style), the movie advocates that you use Helvetica. American Airlines uses Helvetica and does everything else. Every interview is intercut with footage of Helvetica used in everyday life. There's a lot of Helvetica around. What is actually made me realize is that I'm more font blind than I thought I was. (I used to be the guy walking around just pointing out fonts, but what I'm really doing is pointing out obvious font / kerning combinations.) Because the focus of the movie is so narrow, the movie decides to teach the viewer everything about Helvetica. The first third of the movie is devoted to the creation of Helvetica. This is where things get a little dry. I don't think I've seen a documentary that was made for public consumption where a group of interviewees got so inside baseball. I would love if this was an intentional decision on the part of the filmmakers --but I doubt that it is --that the guys that are interviewed honestly think that they are rock stars. I suppose that, in their inner circles, they probably are legends. It feels like an old boys club talking about their punk rock childhoods. They talk about the chaotic days of the old savage marketing days.
I guess this is where they kind of lose me. I like the old days. I love handscripted text that is coupled with images. I know, it's not all of that stuff. I'm sure that if i was inundated with the same style of art design time and time again, I would itch for something more modern. Partly, the documentary advocates what I'm saying. The love of Helvetica and the beginning of modernism is contrasted with the anti-Helvetica movement. I guess the movie wants me to have my own opinion on the matter. But the old glory hounds talk about how they were changing the world. It's so weird that they are right. They did change the world. But it is in such a way that no one could really notice. It's a bizarre reason to be a rock star. There's a moment in the film where an employee for a lettering office shows the original binder for Helvetica. It's like opening the Holy Grail. There's nothing ironic about this moment and I applaud the filmmakers for not taking the movie in that direction. But the movie discusses the need to create one of the most legible and appealing fonts ever created and all I can do is sit back and decide "Did it matter?" I love / loved fonts. I really do / did. But the birth of Helvetica wasn't a movement to change society. It just kind of happened. The creator of Helvetica simply wanted a really crisp and clear font that just happened to be the most accessible font ever. The rock star attitude seems to stem out of admiration and a feeling of success. But the world only changed drastically in an innocuous way. If Helvetica didn't come around, I don't know if the world would look that different. Something else like Helvetica would have happened. Perhaps, somewhere in the multiverse, there's a variation that covers the breadth of ads that use this font. There's also a chicken-and-egg thing going on. The movie contends that Helvetica inspired people to think outside the box when it came to advertisement. But did graphic designers really see Helvetica first and were then surrounded by their ad choices. Some of them definitely did. It's funny to see some of the graphic designers discuss that they only use three fonts for everything they do. That's a weird choice. I don't deny that Helvetica is a good choice, but how boring would that be? (The movie criticizes this through counter-arguments, so don't worry.)
I partially don't quite get it. I thought that this movie was going to make graphic design something that could be discussed by anyone. But I'm a patient guy who really likes this stuff, so why did I find myself getting bored? While the movie is relatively short, the focus is still far to narrow to really be accessible to the common viewer. It was hard to write a review for this because, shy of commenting on every moment in nuanced fashion, I couldn't give the movie its due justice. Instead, I find myself commenting on moments and how they add or detract from the overall piece. Yeah, there's a part where a graphic designer equates Helvetica with the Vietnam War. But, to that, I have to relate the same idea to what I thought about Room 237, which was the ridiculous The Shining documentary. What you can comment is that an observation is silly, but what else can be added to writing about it? I wanted this movie to be more. I wanted to hear the common man or someone outside the world of graphic design commenting on Helvetica and how it changed their lives. Instead, this feels kind of jargon-y. Even more so, it seems like listening to a bunch of friends at a part that you don't know talking about a season of television that you've never heard about. It needs to be more and I'm a little bummed that it isn't.
LIFE FOUND A WAY! The boys welcome recurring guest Brian Murray to discuss the Jurassic Park franchise in a special bonus-length episode. We avoid spoilers for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom until the end, so feel free to listen if you are a fan of the rest of the series. Or if you aren't. Just listen. It's great.
Literally Anything -Episode Forty-One: Literally How We Spent Our Summer Vacations
WE'RE BACK! Summer is over and the boys get together to talk about what happened over the summer. Between the two of them, they consumed a lot and they discuss that along with some politics. It wouldn't be Literally Anything without some shoehorned politics. Regardless, check it out!
The Fate of the Furious (2017)
If I could accurately portray singing through text organically, know that I would be power ballad singing "PG-13" to stress that PG-13 just means "summer blockbuster." I know, it's not an absolute. But this movie should just accept the R-rating because we get close-up shots of girls' butts hanging out of shorts. Also, the language and the violence. It gives me the vapors! PG-13.
DIRECTOR: F. Gary Gray
I swear that I wrote a review of this movie already. While this helps me all around, I encourage devoted readers to scour my old reviews and find a copy of it. Weebly swears that I didn't write a review on it. My only theory is that I did the podcast on this episode immediately after watching it and then forgot to add it to my "To-Write" list. Regardless, I thought I was done with the Fast and the Furious movies until the next one came out. Instead, I had to REWATCH one of these movies just to make sure that this review was given a fair shake. That's right. I had to do it. There was no option. Sure, I was the only person who was probably aware that there hadn't been a written review of this movie by me. But if my goal is to critically watch and respond to every movie I see, then I guess that means I had to rewatch The Fate of the Furious.
SPOILERS BECAUSE I NEED TO TALK ABOUT IT: There's no narrative reason to name the kid Brian. If you wanted to do a tribute to Paul Walker, you name the kid "Paul" or "Walker" or "Paul Walker." Think about it. I'm going to seem really heartless here, but I can't get my head around the canon of what is happening in The Fast and the Furious movies. In the universe, Brian still hangs out with them on a regular basis. In fact, there's a line that is implying that Brian will be at the family BBQ any minute. They see each other all of the time. While they were still racing cars together and boosting equipment together, they didn't get along very well. Yes, there was a bond. But that bond was probably equal to or weaker than some of the other people in the crew. In fact, Han probably means more to Dom than Brian should. Han's death is all kinds of problematic given this whole film. This movie does one of my least favorite tropes: the bad guy becomes the good guy. (I suppose that's what this whole series is about, but this one is flagrantly bad.) I love Jason Statham. I actually genuinely and unironically like Furious 7, where he's the bad guy. He makes a great bad guy, but you can't keep on using him as such. This movie really goes out of its way to make Jason Statham's Deckard part of the team. I don't know if this is a future movies thing and I'm glad he's on the team, but Deckard is pretty unforgivable. He killed Han. But here they all are, joking around with this guy like, "He's not that bad." No, he killed Han. He was the emotional motivation behind the last film. It's the reason that a lot of the cast made silly choices: they were reacting emotionally because DECKARD KILLED HAN. Yes, he's great as a good guy. Lots of bad guys tend to be. But there is no "earning it" with this one. He just IS a good guy now and we all have to accept it. But I digress. I think that Paul Walker should be memorialized by the cast and crew. I think that's emotionally appropriate. I just think it is silly that the kid is named Brian in this context. (BTW, when mom says, "He doesn't have a first name. I wanted his father to name him." I said A)That's not a thing and B) He's gonna be named Brian.)
Oddly enough, The Fate of the Furious might be my second most favorite movie in the franchise. If you listen to the podcast, the series shifts from being about street racing and car jacking to saving the world by launching cars at things. I had the thought about the odd psychological connection that these movies have to the Transformers movies. At the end of the day, these characters really aren't people that often so much as they are cars. In the Furious movies, they change cars between jobs (except for Dom, kinda), but the style of cars represents their personality. Honestly, like Transformers, the characters just kind of ARE their cars. But moving on. The Fast and the Furious movies are known for their silliness. Fast 5 on, the movies get more and more absurd and that's really watchable. But I really enjoy watching movies critically. They aren't heroes. I have complained about this in movies before, but the team are awful people. They constantly endanger people in the name of saving the world. Even when they aren't saving the world, they are endangering people. (I know, I know. James Bond. But he's way more careful than these people are.) Cops die left and right in this franchise. Dom races in Cuba in a car that's on fire. Yeah, he tries to get the car away from the crowd that just seems to be gathering around the finish line near a flaming cannon car, but the rest of the scene is all about street racing. Street racing is always going to be morally problematic because there are people around everywhere. But I'm going to talk about the big moral quandary I have. I know that Dom has lessened culpability because of the circumstances, but Dom does some absolutely evil things in the name of saving two people. Okay, there's no right answer for Dom. The movie makes that really clear and I can at least wrap my head around that. But Dom does some straight up evil things in the name of family. On top of that, when you step out of action-movie logic, he does cross some lines that don't really explain his choice to save his son. To save his son, Dom steals a nuclear football. The idea is that Charlize Theron, who looks weirdly bored to be in this movie (as if she regrets signing up for multiple entries in this series and only just figured that out), takes control of cars (I need to get into this later) and tries zombie hoarding these cars into a Russian state official. Dom cuts into the car after threatening to burn the two men alive inside the vehicle and grabs a device that would give Charlize Theron the ability to launch a nuclear missile. I know, Dom's all about family. Say what you will about these movies, but they establish Dom's code pretty early. He will do anything for family. While the actions he has taken would make him a straight up super-villain, it's still inside his code. (By the way, the code really has some flaws with it, as illustrated by this movie.) But then he is almost captured by the team. His car is...um...tied up by the other cars. (I don't know how to explain this part.) To get out, Dom flips the other cars, pancaking them in a lot of cases. I know, The Fast and the Furious has really fast and loose rules about what people can survive. But it isn't ridiculous to think that someone would be seriously injured or killed with this action. If Dom's entire thing is family and the people trying to kill him are family, that doesn't really gel with the narrative. The movie tries backpedaling by having Dom refuse to shoot Letty. It's a cop out, but it exists.
Can I get honest for a second? This movie wins an award for me. The Fate and the Furious has the honor of having a scene that is both the most dumb and the most amazing at the same time. I told you I'd get back to the zombie horde, but it is my favorite scene in all of the Fast and Furious moments. For those unaware, Cipher (I just remembered that was her ridiculous name!) is trying to take out a police escort for a Russian ambassador. To do this, she hacks all of the cars near the route and has them auto-drive into the limo. This gets insane. In the real world, even following this goofy logic, there are only a handful of self-driving cars. Apparently not. Every other car is a self-driving vehicle. Except for the limo. You know, the thing that is infamous for being something luxurious. This isn't a world where everyone is driving a new car with the ability to be remote driven. Heck no. There are some old cars in there. Heck, there are cabs in that horde. Old cabs. I pinch my sinuses hard just thinking about this scene. It is so dumb. So dumb. All that established, it is the most entertaining scene by a lot. There are just more and more cars just flying by. There's a scene where the limo is drifting a corner and a second later, dozens and dozens of cars are just piling up trying to do the same move. Then they pass a parking structure and a whole mess of cars are just coming through four stories of a building from the sky. So many people had to die in this sequence. (Going back to Dom's culpability...) There were people in some of the cars, guys. They are just flying off of a building and getting dogpiled in cars. It's one of the most absurd sequences I've ever seen but I don't think I've giggled harder. It probably harkens back to my love of The Blues Brothers sequence with the cop cars. But there are movies that take it too far. I suppose I like this one because the entire movie isn't about pancaking cars on this level. It's a great five minutes of just sheer absurd destruction and I love it. But again...this is dumb. SOOOO dumb.
The Fate and the Furious has all kinds of moments that I can comment on. There's the prison sequence. There's the famous submarine sequence. There's the fact that there's a character named Little Nobody and that Kurt Russell becomes completely unbearable in this movie. But then there's a moment in the movie that makes me absolutely love Jason Stratham. I'm talking about the end. He's playing to his strengths with awesome choreography. I liked him in Furious 7. He's fine in that. But the fight sequence with the baby carrier is next level. He's just so charming. I didn't know he had that in him. He's talking to the toddler in the carrier while it's going on and I absolutely love it. I can't really put into words what he does that is so perfect, but he is amazing while doing it. I'm on board the Jason Stratham train, even though he shouldn't be a good guy in this franchise.
The movie is super dumb. I'm a little sad that I had to watch it again. I would rather watch the stuff from my planned pile, but I also had to admit that I had a good time with this rewatch. It's a level of liking the movie that didn't seem unbearable and that I had a good time. But I also have to say that I got it out of my system forever. I'm not excited for another movie on the horizon, let alone a new franchise. But that said, I can't ignore that my snob got silenced for a little over two hours for sheer dumbery.
Super Troopers 2 (2018)
I mean, you guys know this one is R. I don't have to write this whole long thing explaining how the Super Troopers movies are extremely R-Rated. They are infamous for language, nudity, sexual content, violence, and all kinds of other shannanigans. (You see what I did there?) Yeah, this movie appeals to the basest of instincts and loves that it is shameless to the extreme. Don't watch this with your kids. Heck, you might not want to watch it yourself. Hard R.
DIRECTOR: Jay Chandrasekar
My buddy, Roy, first turned me onto the first Super Troopers movie. At the time, Roy was obsessed with becoming a police officer, so he was a big fan of cop humor. I went into it, rolling my eyes, and left thinking it was pretty funny. It didn't blow my mind with that first watch, but this is the time in my life when I didn't try new films every time I got the chance. I loved rewatching the same movies over-and-over again. For a movie like Super Troopers, that's probably a good thing. It is one of those comedies that oddly gets better with multiple viewings. I watched everything that Broken Lizard made and I kind of became a fan. But then I also grew up. I started becoming the film snob I am today and I kind of forgot about it. Then the whole Kickstarter thing happened. I couldn't believe that they were going to make another one. My Facebook feed lit up with people who were excited that this movie was going to happen.
But then...no one really saw it.
At least I don't think that they did. There was a lot of talk about how this movie was going to be epic and how people were going to see it opening day. But then opening day came around and I literally never heard about anyone going to see it. I'm not saying that there were bad reviews. Bad reviews can, at least, make sense. This was a review blackout. No one praised it. No one tanked it. It just kind of came and went. That may be a commentary on nerdom as a whole. There's a lot of hype and then we can get tepid for the execution. I, also, didn't see it in the theater. It wasn't for a lack of trying. I can't say that I'm a Broken Lizard superfan or anything anymore, but I wanted to see the movie in the theater. But I had a very pregnant wife at the time and it seemed more than a little irresponsible to go leave her at home to see this movie. (I saved that moral quandry for Infinity War.) I will have to say that Super Troopers 2 is a good time. I won't go too over-the-top with my praise for the movie. Like the first movie, it is intentionally very base and dumb. I think that people started labelling "good comedies" as "smart comedies." I probably have to disagree with that. There's a lot of stupidity in this movie, but that's what the movie holds in currency. It is a movie devoted to stupidity done well and I think I really like that. Mind you, I feel like a college student laughing at drug humor, but it is so broad that it doesn't take much imagination for a straight-edge teacher to understand the jokes.
I really have to applaud this movie for one major idea that maybe a lot of people overlooked. When it comes to sequelizing comedies, it rarely works. I think Austin Powers is the only contemporary comedy (and that movie is pretty old) to get some of the sequels right. But even Austin Powers commits the sin that Super Troopers 2 tends to avoid. Austin Powers desperately relies on the nostalgia factor. It hits a lot of the same beats that the first movie did. It worked in that case because it doubled down on a lot of the jokes that the first movie presented. Super Troopers 2, while occasionally referential to the first film, really presents a lot of new jokes. The characters are still their root characters. The first movie didn't really educate the characters about changing their world views, so it makes sense that the characters are fundamentally the same. But there are only a handful of references to the jokes in the first movie. I honestly thought that Super Troopers 2 would be an hour and a half (already a big perk towards seeing a movie!) of people looking at the camera and acknowledging the jokes from the first movie. I know that someone is going to get all mad about my take on that because there are callbacks from the first film. Some of them are even in the trailer. It even becomes absolutely meta when Jim Gaffigan returns in the same role that he had in the first movie. But most of the movie is composed of new, well-polished bits. (No pun intended.) I actually had no idea that a movie could derive so much water from one stone.
But it doesn't mean that the movie is absolutely perfect. I can imagine the arguments that may have come from the writing of this film. The beginning of the movie SPOILER ALERT is a giant dream sequence. I'm sure that there was discussion about whether filming an extreme opening as a dream sequence was a cop out (pun intended). What is the line? The point of Super Troopers 2 is to be as funny as they can as often as they can. I mean, that makes sense. Look at the tone of the movie. The opening sequence provides a lot of jokes. These jokes are cheap, but they are ultimately effective. To complain about them is almost spitting in the wind. If the dream sequence was removed from the film, I wouldn't have those jokes. The point of the movie is to give me jokes. Thus, removing the cheap dream sequence from the film would deny me the jokes I'm watching this movie for. I also have to wonder if the cultural impact (small quotes probably needed) of Farva has affected how much Farva is in this movie. While I probably have the first Super Troopers memorized at this point, it has been a while since I've watched it to see how much Farva is in the first movie. He's in Super Troopers 2 a lot. Also, he might be more intense than he was in the first one. There's an odd confidence to him that may not have been in the first movie. Okay, he was remarkably confident in the first movie, but he was also desperate to be accepted as one of the team in the first film. This one strips what little doubt that the character may have had and has him cranked up to a thousand. I think it would be a bigger problem than it is if the jokes didn't work, but they mostly do.
Hey, this might be a fun game. I like that Super Troopers 2 avoids some stereotypes while leaning hard into others. I guess that's not accurate. The movie starts off with the American assumption that all Canadians are remarkably polite. There's a fantastic cameo by Bruce McCulloch establishing that idea. But then the idea gets turned on its head. The Canadians are almost trying to out-obnoxious the Americans. The film acknowledges that Quebec's reputation is different from the rest of the country's, but there's something to look at here. I like the idea of the Canadian being turned on its head. You have this fun dynamic. The protagonists, by definition, are boorish morons. But the contrast in the first movie is that the boorish morons existed in a society where everyone else lived by society's rules. (Okay, not everyone else. Certainly, some snozzberries taste like snozzberries.) But placing them in this extreme version of Canada, mayored by an insane Rob Lowe, makes them seem like the ones grasping onto sanity. I love the contrast, especially, of the Mounted Police. Golly, these characters are over-the-top. But this movie allows for that kind of stuff. I love the portrayal of the Mounties. I don't know why I find "French-Canadian" inherently funny. I guess that might be a latent racism or something, but the jokes work so well. Yeah, the jokes get dirty. Apparently, brothels are legal in Quebec. The Broken Lizard guys feel so inclined to show that and make it as uncomfortable as possible. But that kind of has the Family Guy effect where it is so in-your-face that you have to kind of laugh. There's just a lot of good elements here.
It's a bit hard to honestly review Super Troopers 2. I'm spending most of the time explaining why dumb raunchy comedy can be funny sometimes and why it isn't funny other times. Honestly, this movie isn't for everyone. I'm not even talking about if people are offended. I'm just talking about comedy is extremely subjective and Super Troopers 2 is for a specific demographic of people. I enjoyed it. I won't write home about it. (Although I kind of just did.) But this is not a recommendation movie. I'm sorry. I felt weird even watching it with my wife. Raunchy comedy is more miss than hit, but this one mostly hits. That's about as far as I can go. Give it a shot if you liked the first one.
All the Money in the World (2017)
Rated R, for being a serious film. Like, it's not that bad. There are prostitutes in the movie, but no actual sexual content. People be swearing. That's pretty bad, I guess. Also, someone gets his ear cut off. That's pretty graphic. Okay, maybe it deserves an R-rating, but I'm also thinking of the PG-13 horror movies out there and is it really worse than that? Probably not. It's just the language. And the ear cutting. BUT I DON'T REMEMBER ANY NUDITY, so that's a thing. R.
DIRECTOR: Ridley Scott
I like when I accidentally watch a Ridley Scott movie. I'm not a Ridley Scott fan or anything. He probably has more misses than hits. But I do really love Alien. Not so much the other ones. I mean, they are fine. I used to think that Hannibal was a great movie. (Note: I think that he really likes shooting in Italy. I mean, who wouldn't?) But then I just stumble across this movie? I mean, I thought it got a ton of press for the Kevin Spacey stuff. I thought that was the only reason that it got any Oscar buzz. I guess that original assessment is true, mainly because it only got a Best Actor / Supporting Actor award for Christopher Plummer. But am I the only one who thought that worked as a whole and might have been better than some of the other Oscar noms this year?
Because a lot of people are "meh" about this movie, I suppose that I should look at it with a more critical eye. That kind of stinks, because I really enjoyed it. I tend to binge the Oscar noms, so I get this deluge of great movies back-to-back-to-back. But it has been a while since I've seen a movie that was nominated for an award and it feels fresh. I think I have to write it off as a summer movie thing. I love the summer movies, but we don't tend to get the great dramas or thrillers during this time. We get popcorn / tentpole movies. I love those movies. Those are the movies I get publicly excited by. But they aren't very fulfilling. I know that All the Money in the World doesn't blow people away. I actually think that a lot of people actively don't like this movie. I get that. But I see quite a bit going on with this movie. Part of that comes from the fact that I didn't know much about the Getty kidnapping before this point. I know that it was the plotline of a season of Trust (I think that is the name), but All the Money in the World does a fairly compelling job of dramatizing a true crime. My wife loves true crime and I get excited because she gets excited. If the story was fictional, I think I would have been bored silly. A lot of that stems out of the fact that the protagonists are fairly ineffective at doing anything to get Paul back. But from a True Crime perspective, that makes an interesting story. What would a real kidnapping look like when many of the options are removed? What happens is a sense of infighting and misery that comes from the haves versus the have-nots. I know what a lot of complaints are going to be. I hear that a lot of the narrative makes Paul look like the victim when there is a substantial amount of evidence that points to the fact that Paul may have been complicit in his own kidnapping. I had the same problem when I saw (and hated) A Beautiful Mind. I can't begrudge those viewers. That is a valid point. It is really hard to tell a true story while completely ignoring major evidence to the contrary. But I seem to be more forgiving of All the Money in the World. I think it is because the story isn't about Paul; it's about Getty Sr.
Getty, Sr. is what makes the movie fascinating. That was Scott's goal. He wanted to tell the story of a man so frugal that he put other lives in danger. I'm really glad that Spacey wasn't in this role. If you watch that original trailer, all you can see is makeup. I'm not saying that the makeup was bad. The makeup is pretty good. But it is Kevin Spacey playing the part. It's the same thing when I see Gary Oldman or John Lithgow playing Winston Churchill. I see the makeup and think of the actor. Christopher Plummer, however, is makeup free and it makes it really easy to see Getty rather than someone working to get an Oscar. Plummer's Getty is the most realistic Ebenezer Scrooge imaginable. He, somehow, makes extreme frugality make sense. There's no denying that he is an awful person. There are moments in the movie that establish that Getty is an absolute monster, but it doesn't often paint it in wide strokes. Those major moments are there, but Scott does a solid job building up to these moments. There's never a lightswitch moment. Introducing Getty as a guy who does his own dry cleaning, at first, seems charming. It reminds me of my grandparents, who knew what it was like being without money, so they knew how to hold onto it. But then the movie just takes these baby steps towards establishing that money has corrupted him beyond a sense of humanity. The statue throughline is just so perfect and encapsulates so much. There's that moment of the dual "A ha" that follows that sequence that is so telling about his character. Then there is the art collection. Oh my goodness, these moments are so rich with character that it makes the kidnapping almost a secondary plotline. I say almost because that is what you are watching for, but Getty as a character is fascinating. I never knew anything about Getty. It's weird to think that Getty Images is the same family, but I digress. The thing about it all is that Getty's public reasoning is actually kind of sound. He says that if he gave the ransom money over to the kidnappers, all of his grandchildren would be kidnapped. It's why America does not negotiate with terrorists. It actually makes sense, but these moments lose their footing when we see what Getty spends his money on. He is these two different people. There is Getty who doesn't blink that he has made a small fortune in an hour and then there's the Getty who, while earnestly believing it, says that he has no money, despite being the richest man in the world. There's a reason that I watch Hoarders and it is almost the same neurosis. It's scratching the same itch.
It should be weird that I forgot that Mark Wahlberg is in this movie. Like, he's one of the two protagonists. (Also, it's a crime that Michelle Williams didn't make as much money as Mark Wahlberg because she's doing the heavy lifting in the movie.) Wahlberg's story doesn't really match his character. He's shown to be this expert on things like this. The movie does a bit too much telling rather than showing when it comes to Chase's skills. He's really there as a sounding board for Gail Harris (Michelle Williams) so she can act the crap out of this movie. There is also the scene where Fletcher Chase lets loose, but that seems like it probably didn't happen the way the movie played out. It was extremely satisfying as an audience member to get that scene, but I don't really believe it for a second that the real Chase and the real Getty had that conversation. It felt very Hollywood and I suppose that's fine. You needed to give Mark Wahlberg something to do besides sitting on his hands. But that also redirects me back to Michelle Williams. How did she not get the nomination. The movie partially is about the helplessness of the victims of kidnapping. Michelle Williams is in this position where she knows what will bring her son home alive and that she can't really do anything about it. (I'm thinking about the very publicly accepted theory that Paul was complicit, but Paul knew Getty, Sr., didn't he? He knew him to be a frugal man. Was it just a bet that he would pay?) Williams has these intense moments throughout the film. I love the relationship between Williams and the press and Williams and the police. The theme of victim shaming is palpable in this movie and I absolutely love it. It is so unique to see a movie that treats a character like Williams's as part of the problem as opposed to someone who needs support. Everything that she does is questioned and everything that she does, in the moment, seems appropriate. There is even this tone that Williams is making things worse by Chase. But Chase doesn't really deserve any of the respect because he keeps on messing up left and right. I do find it funny that there is a bond between the two of them by the end of the movie, but it works from a Hollywood perspective.
I tried to be critical about this movie, but I found it super interesting. It scratched that American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J.Simpson part of me. The aesthetics are cool. The story is a great post-game Wikipedia thing. The acting is top notch. The only thing I didn't really get was why Mark Wahlberg's part is so huge in this movie considering that he didn't do much. I don't know if I love the relationship between the kidnapper and Paul, but I also don't know how accurate that was. Regardless, I recommend this one simply because I found it fascinating. (I might not want to watch it again because that's when I start disliking movies.)
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.