Cloud Atlas (2012)

Cloud Atlas needs no long review, although I secretly think it wants one. I think it wants to be discussed, and it certainly can be. This time, however, I’ll keep my interpretation to a minimum and allow you the pleasure of sharing your critical thoughts on the car ride home with the people you love. If you didn’t know already, multiple characters are played by the same actor in Cloud Atlas. Tom Hanks plays an old sailor, a face tattooed island grub, a murdering writer, etc. etc. etc. and so does everyone else. Each actor plays anywhere from 3 to 7 characters and I will admit, you won’t be able to tell who is who all of the time because of the way the make-up is done. I wish I would’ve known Hugh Grant was playing a skull faced evil blood drinking savage… but I didn’t until the credits rolled. So that part is fun. I also didn’t recognize Hanks as a thug at first. If you enjoy that sort of thing (which I do), this movie may be for you.

can we still call Hugh a pussy?              yes.

It is entertaining no doubt. I must say I went because the name Wachowski was mentioned in it’s creation (The Matrix and… SPEED RACER!!!!). Again, you must give respect where respect is due. Overall Cloud Atlas was less flashy then The Matrix or Racer but the futuristic chase scenes and shoot outs where obviously done by some of the best in the biz. I was thoroughly entertained. It was the rest of the movie that dragged a bit. And here’s why… Cloud Atlas is trying to do A LOT. It’s basically trying to recreate time, recreate the universe, provide an explanation for existence, and still sell popcorn. Oh, and instead of doing it with a single story, it’s going to try and do it on a multi-layered chess board where eight separate stories must intertwine seamlessly. Needless to say… there’s going to be some stretching.  I was bored a lot during this movie, and quite frankly a little unsure which sub-drama I should really choose to invest my emotions in.  Like flipping between channels on cable, I enjoyed the plots about space better than the 70’s journalism drama.  So I couldn’t help but be anxious to return to what I liked best.  The language they we’re using in the future/past? With Tom all tattooed in the face… “Nay, you fall. Rope never give. You fall, I catch.” Y’know… I get it… over the course of 1000’s of years even dialects and speech patterns change. But… I didn’t know what the hell Tom and Halle we’re talking about.  Never underestimate the power of a modal verb to keep a scene relevant these days.

A shout out to all the actors. Especially Doona Bae (she’ll be back around). She plays a fantastic robot who finds feelings. I was also impressed with James D’Arcy. Those we’re my favorite “new comers”. Jim Broadbent has a fantastic old man face. He is my new updated replacement for Walter Matthau for what I want my facial expressions to look like when I’m an old man. By then maybe I’ll have that acting career I’ve always wanted. Hugo Weaving is a badass. He’s a committed actor, always good at what he does, but also blessed and possessed with that underbite growl of a manface.  Can I say it????  Halle Berry was a little dry (?)

Art direction was superb. Detailed and dialed in. It’s so important.  What else can I say?

There are a lot of good movies out right now, I think I counted and there were about ten that I said I would go pay money to see. I obviously can’t see them all, but with a free movie pass I chose the road less 007 and went to check out The Wachowski’s and Tom.  I wouldn’t rush to see this in the theater, especially with all the other options out right now (not to mention a night out at the movies costing $20 at least).  I would rent it on video, however, soon after it comes out. It’s definitely a flick worth a seeing and discussing. I’m headed back to the theater to see Bond and/or Wreck It Ralph because I’m not totally satisfied yet.

Who is this?

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The Master (2012)

Well I knew this movie would be weird. It’s by P. T. Anderson (Magnolia, Boogie Nights, Punch Drunk Love, There Will Be Blood), and this is his latest project. Which snatched up a very hermitted Joaquin Phoenix after his recent (failed?) stunt to “fool the world” into believing he was a born again rapper. While Casey Affleck filmed it all. I haven’t seen the movie yet (although I’ve heard it’s… something), but I will see it soon. Puffy is apparently in it, and apparently Puffy’s not pleased.

The Master is about Scientology in from what I gathered to be the mid 1940’s or so. Phillip Seymour Hoffman plays the mock El Ron Hubbard without ever dropping the words Scientology or it’s creator’s actual real name. But it is no question that is the environment in which the story takes place.  It IS merely an environment though.  Don’t think you are about to see a movie about Scientology, probably something you’re too scared to even investigate because of “what you’ve heard”.  P. T. wouldn’t waste his time with your poppycock fears, he’s got more to say than that… I’m just not sure I always want to hear it.

This time I did.  Like Radiohead, P. T. is one of those entities that has survived long enough for me not to trust myself with my own opinion.  I Must keep checking back in.  Like a lot of worthy art, this movie is about what it means to be a human being.  How fucked up we are and how that’s ultimately Ok and With Punishment.  The struggles it takes to be a human being. The ways human beings try to heal and fix other human beings. The question of whether we are to be distinguished from animals.  Are we something more?  Says who?  El Ron (who I respect)?  And ultimately asks and answers the question of can misguided humans be saved? It says, no… but who’s saving who anyway?  It criticizes those who claim to save… Scientifically (all you Scientists!!!)… others that are made of the same flesh and blood, same atoms and Energy Fields.

People need help.  But let’s not forget you do too.  I do.  We all do.

Don’t offer help without first realizing you are just as poor.

So you got a suit on. But you’re lying.  Worst off to yourself… and it comes around.  Praise to those brave enough to sleep with the dead dog.

You still eat shit, but you’ve covered it with the gravy of sacrifice. And that’s what people tell me life is all about once they all start eating the same gravy.

Am I off topic here?

If you’ve seen a P. T. Anderson movie before you know they aren’t like the rest of them. There is an original formula here and perhaps maybe one of those types of art that inspires by making people want to understand it. Terminator 2 is art… but you know exactly why.   P. T. will make you figure it out… and it’s in there where his unphased spirits are dancing around my cerebral fire.

Paul Thomas Anderson

I hate Magnolia. I love Punch Drunk Love. Boogie Nights is cool because it’s about porn. Roller Girl is cool. William H. Macy is cool when he shoots his wife for being a bitch (IT’S A MOVIE, THAT’s WHERE WE”RE SUPPOSED TO SHOOT PEOPLE) . But I still don’t know if I LIKE that movie. There Will Be Blood… I… I… I just don’t know… I need to see it again.

Point being… before seeing this movie I would not have even called myself a P. T. Anderson fan.  Most people are drooling if they’re into him, and I’ve never met anyone who likes P. T. Anderson and hates Magnolia as much as I do. That movie sucks.  But I had to go see this movie because I gots respect for the man. The acting is always good (can not deny Daniel D. Lewis in There Will Be Blood). And the camera work is always really, really good. Like lens choice and color correction/color scheme type stuff.  These both hit the mark. Joaquin Phoenix’s (not so) big return is spectacular. That man acts in scenes in this movie that earn him Double Rainbow Oscars for Decades.  Seriously.  But this is because he is a psychopath in real life too. Or just awesome and misunderstood, like me.  Anyways, Joaquin.. I don’t care. You ruled my world.

Phillip is always good. So I will see anything he is in. He is convincing in character, and that is the true job of an actor. Many actors are good because they are cute and can Entertain doing one thing (Clint Eastwood, and yes my older friends even Robert Redford are guilty here). Phillip Seymore Hoffman can Fucking Act.  Pay the man.

In conclusion… P. T. Anderson movies are just really, really weird. Sometimes good. And mostly really, really weird. You want to see Joaquin Phoenix masturbate into the ocean, fingerbang a sandwoman , and walk back and forth trying to tell the difference between a wall and a window… go see The Master.  Half the time I had no real idea what was going on… but I could Think about it. For those of you who enjoy such challenges… keep enjoying art like The Master.

Spiderman… the Amazing (unedited) in progress… Review

Spiderman

Well, well, well… here we go again. Surprised I saw this movie? I keep asking people about it, after I saw it and I’g getting responses like “Oh.” … Oh? … “Oh, really?” … Yeah.

Well Ok. I went to go see it with my buddy Gabe. We ran into our buddy Brian at the theater. We are all 30. Yeah! You going to see Spiderman? … “No” … Oh … “Magic Mike” he says …

Anyways, Gabe didn’t really like it either. But I did! I’m a self proclaimed tough critic and I thought they did an amazing job. And I did not write that pun intended.

But how cool is that, that that is the word that comes to mind. So many thats! The movie was good start to finish, although the same trickery is played as mentioned with Avengers and Prometheus… am I not getting something, or did the intro to Spiderman (although capturing) made no real sense by the end of the movie?

To the good stuff. Eduardo! You did it! I liked you as an actor and you have a face men want to hate. It’s not that it’s pretty. It’s foxish.

See… makes men cringe. But I loved the performance. There was distinction between Eduardo and Peter. Some famous actors can’t even claim real “acting” skills, they are merely Entertaining People being themselves in every movie. (Eduardo) did it right. He became a better Peter Parker. I’m sorry Tobey, I enjoyed your movies (the second one is my favorite, as is often the case). They did nail SPIDERMAN a little bit more in this movie. It must be said, What we’re we doing with the musical scene in the 3rd Tobey Maguire Spiderman?

Emma Stone. Is the best flirt in the world. Does it go deeper? It works for me currently. She is a young actress in a HUGE SPOTLIGHT. She is doing very, very well. Keep it up girl, I wish I was younger, but that doesn’t really matter in the movie business does it.  I’m not…   I’m just..    i’m just sayin.

Now… Spiderman can bound up, down, left, right, through, twist, punch, flip, web, and essentially fly right? So what the fuck are you going to do with a camera and angles and the grid of New York City Sewers Included. You’re going to be smart and enroll a lot of people and a really smart visual designer of the camera kind and give him the opportunity of a lifetime.  With new technology.  And a team of Hollywood monkeys.  (Which are proudly my brothers and sisters).  Jerfs hat is off.  He, She, They totally did it.  The crawling scenes we’re not cheap tricks, not to a trained eye.  Not if you’re paying attention, and you have to be paying attention to see good art, hopefully with NO PRECONCEIVED NOTIONS.  It was methodical. Probably Inception influenced. But beautiful, another reason to chalk up on the board the few reasons to remake the Spiderman franchise again.   I got to walk into the theater, and sit in my chair, and watch it all unfold and then come together.

Go see the Amazing Spiderman.

(random internet picture)

Everything Must Go (2010)

Will Ferrell is a funny fella. And yet, he’s managed to secure himself as a “versatile” actor; that can portray hilarious characters as well as or mixed with… characters with no “funny business”. The question should be posed… which do you prefer?

The answer is… you don’t have to choose! (Try applying this in other areas of your life… any statement with the word “but” is actually made up of two things that have NOTHING TO DO WITH EACH OTHER!).

Will Ferrell plays an alcoholic. Like the PBR swilling kind. The kind I can relate to. Not the liquor swimming drunk. The beer and loneliness. The confusion. So it’s great! I learned things watching this movie. For those of you who don’t have problems keeping cans of beer from your lips, who knows what there is to learn?

 I did like Ferrell’s performance. There are times when the script is over melodramatic to the end. THe young black kid is a predictable story… but kid was cool (Sir Christopher Wallace).  Not enough thought though ultimately. I’m surprised this one made it through the machine (pronounced ma’ cheen!!!).  I praise thought into things cinematic (see recent film reviews). I feel a breakdown somewhere with this flick unfortunately. It is not a film for the main stage, and yet it tried to be. There is no harm in that I suppose (marketing bastards sucking our Independence Day teet.  bastards). Next time pick someone other than Ferrell, a no namer, and let them do the role. You sold out on a star. Ferrell did ok. And i think he made your money back.  But a younger, less known for comedy, new face would sell that script better and be a better piece of art.  Depends what you’re going for.

 Glenn Howerton of It’s Always Sunny in Philidelphia is in this movie.

 Also.Lots of PBR.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

 

Remember this one? But did you see it? Or maybe you’ve never even heard of it? As Jemaine and Bret say in Flight of the Conchords Hip Hop Hippotomas… Why? Why was this movie made with Brad Pitt that no one’s heard of? Was Brad trying to “keep it real”? Why does Casey Affleck all of the sudden get a major role starring next to Brad? I only know him from the masturbation scene in Good Will Hunting (he talks about how convenient the baseball glove is for catching the… uhhh), and also he filmed teamed up with Joaquin Phoenix to trick the world into believing Joaquin was reborn as a rapper. What the fuck Casey?

Why? Why did I rent this movie? Because I trust Brad. I watched the goddamn Descendants because I trust George. I trust Brad. Let’s check it out.

Short and sweet…unless you’re a weirdo and content with that, don’t rent this movie. It will be confusing and ultimately unsatifsfying. If you know what the Criterion Collection is, then perhaps check it out. Cinematography is gutsy, and for the first time in a review I will point out that these risks are not always rewarding. Someone was geeking out on the fact that you can shift focus around quickly and the technology… ok yes it’s possible… but it adds nothing here. This is essentially a western, so just let the landscape do it’s thing without blurring the focus. Straight landscapes with dudes in cowboy hats have been selling movie tickets for 60 years. You don’t need to fuck with that, especially when you have Pitt.

So you don’t watch this movie for the story or the any one thing, it’s a take away bits and pieces kind of film. A film for geeks and weirdos as mentioned before. You watch for gold nuggets. Here are a few… in the second scene on the movie a gang of characters are established that become key characters in the film. I recognized the first guy. “Hey, that guys from the first season of Parks and Recreation!” I said. Pan left… “Hey! That’s Jeremy Renner! (The Hurt Locker, The Avengers, The Bourne Legacy (to be released). Keep panning… “And that’s Sam fuckin Rockwell!”, I said.

“Do you need some dental work?”  — Jeremy Renner

Well here’s the goddamn deal. You got a movie with Jeremy Renner, Brad Pitt, Sam Rockwell, Casey Affleck, and Paul Schneider and none of us no about it. Or we know about it and you didn’t trick us into seeing it. I didn’t know all these people we’re in it. Sam Rockwell and Jeremy Renner hold down movies by themselves. So… FAIL marketing crew. Rareley am I so harsh, but FAIL. FAIL!

Is this movie a good movie? The answer is I can’t answer it for you, and it may not be clear cut. Honeslty, I can’t answer the question, but I got my gold nuggets and that’s all that I’m after watching films. Plus all the really good ones are risk takers, so you gotta do your research.

Brad Pitt gets shot in the head. Hard. (This doesn’t ruin the movie)

One more thing… Casey Affleck does a really really good job in this movie. Like Oscar worthy. BUT… I think it’s cheating when actors get to play characters too close to themselves. Acting… is acting. A serious nod Casey, I will no longer think of only Ben, masturbation, Good Will Hunting, baseball gloves, Joaquin Phoenix, and Joaquin Phoenix getting pooped on in that movie (i’ve heard that happens). Now I will include your great acting performance into the Casey Affleck recipe blending in my head.

 

Prometheus (2012)

Noomi

 

Months of preparation, focused anticipation, and a committed human defense mechanism allowed me to walk into the movie theater on Wednesday night, and feel real good about what was about to unveil. I first wrote about this movie when I saw the trailer months ago. Now it is done. A gift from old Ridley.

 

Now, I have expectations for films that can ruin decent movies. I’ve been excited about Prometheus as much as any movie that has ever come out in my lifetime. As much, not more than. So did it live up to my galactic expectations? Yes. Yes, it did. (Applause!!!) Was it a perfect movie? No, it was not. But it will go down in my history of good movies for the experience I had watching it, and the events leading up to it’s release.

 

With high expectations I was into it. It is done well. The intro is perfect. A good movie has GOT to grab you right away. Film has that power to sweep you away from the dogs and buildings and people passing by on the street. That’s why I go. So let’s not miss the opportunity for a change of experience that a good intro can bring. Reference The Office. Always, a great attempt at a good intro. Anyways, the intro begins, it is stunningly beautiful and I can’t reveal anything, but within those first testing minutes… my anxious fears we’re extinguished. I knew I wouldn’t be dissappointed.

 

I’m happy for Ridley and you’re icy, peircing suspense, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), the Aliens (so many forms!!!), the new old super blue humans with Abs, Us, robots, Space, the future combining of robots and humans (i’m into it), Art, and lastly Film. It wasn’t just about the film Prometheus for me, but the waiting, the hiding my eyes everytime a Prometheus trailer would appear during the NBA Playoffs. (Lots!) Pre-Avengers I plugged my ears and went LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA because the damn audio was so loud during the Prometheus preview. I had strangers on either side, but I didn’t care. Nobody was going to ruin this movie for me.

 

It is key for my deep felt pleasure that I did revisit the Alien series within the past year. Directed in sequence by Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner), James Cameron (Aliens, The Abyss), David Fincher (Alien 3, Fich Club, The Social Network, I could go on…), and lastly Alien: Resurection, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie). It’s quite a list. And people ask “Why do you like film?” This is the way to do it. Geek out, get into it, build the anticipation, and go to the movies. I once watched all 10 Star Trek movies in order to prepare for the reboot that happened in 2009. This was no weekend binge, it took a year. The company I had “endured” that with… all be damned if we didn’t all just get our tops blown off in the first 20 minutes of that movie. We we’re into it from there… and now it continues.

Prometheus might too… but not for a while.

For the praises, too much probably goes to Ridley, but that is Quarterback credit. There we’re 1000’s of talented people that individually gave real passion and talent to make this thing hum. I just want to acknoledge that. The stars… Charlize Theron, not your average Charleeze mind you, if there is such a thing (note to self rent Monster [I think?]), Michael Fassbender (Magneto from a recent veiwing of X-Men: First Class) does a pretty kick ass job as a… goseethemovie, Noomi Rapace (whoa…), Guy Pearce (weirdo). How ’bout this, hats off to the Casting Director (and the Director I’m sure) for installing Noomi for her tough role. It took an Actress as DieHard as her Character to pull that off day after day. And also a quick but proud nod to Idris Elba who Killed it as the Captian. So subtle, but a groovy dude. Crosby Stills and Nash… whaaat?. I’d like to see him soon in another recognizable role.

Now a few days out, there are criticisms I could make about the storyline that is ultimately too layered, and doesn’t quite make sense a few days later. But don’t worry, you won’t even notice! And plus, I’d much rather them err on that side of the spectrum than the dumbed down version of… Whatever Stupid Movie Is Coming Out. It’s a trick Hollywood has been pulling lately. Last recognized during the Avengers. I was throuroughly entertained, but afterward… whatever happened to Lodi’s great plan to release the Hulk? Remember that scene with Scarlett Johansen where she tricks Lodi into revealing he’s going to “release the Hulk!”. It’s like Oh Shit, that’s the evil plan (Climax!). It’s a great scene. You get to see Scarlett at her best. But then, guess what, he does and then the Hulk helps save the world. I don’t know, I guess my point is, it doesn’t matter if all the pieces fit together in the end, if you’re entertained… but in order to make a great film all the pieces have to fit. And to me that’s the structure of a good film. When it starts as a pin drop, it explodes into a spider web, it fire crackers. And then all the little pieces magnetically come together again… all the characters learn something and change and settle or don’t settle for the right or wrong reasons but it makes sense. And it teaches you something. And it makes you feel like a human being. Prometheus is pretty damn close. Thanks again Ridley.

 

The Avengers (2012)

Granted and admitted, I saw the Avengers weeks ago. But it does not discredit the Potency of a film that should’ve/could’ve sucked, but was done Right. Quarterback credit goes to Joss Whedon, who directed and wrote the script. That’s what I’m talking about. You want something done right… you do it yourself.

So… how do you fit Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Samual L. blah blah blah Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk… do you see anyone making Teenage Mutant Men In Black in the City starring Nicolas Cage, Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Nick Nolte, and Al Pacino? No! It’s like the Lakers with Kobe and Shaq. Will it work? Sometimes it does, and the Avengers does. And that is why I am a writer.

There’s story here folks. You go thinkin’ “Ahh hell, they’ll be some explosions and Scarlett’s boobs” (I’m a man), but damn if I got what I wanted. Intrigue! Brain excersize. Wait, you’re going to encourage me to believe in these Superheroes as if if they are real Superheroes with Real Superhero Problems?!? And it’s working?!?

Don’t go to the Avenger’s seeking explosions and Scarlett Johansson’s boobs. There’s more meat here than she can carry. I saw a picture of the villian Loki and was like “whaaaaa?’ Dude looks like a pussy. How can I believe in that? Well, I’ll be he’s a real Superperson, with real Superperson issues too… that I believed in! A shout out to Tom Hiddleston who played Loki, a relatively unkown who holds his own among some serious Hollywood players these days. That is until the Hulk just obliterates his ass (sorry, you’ll see what I mean).

On subject, cheers to the treatment of the Hulk. Christopher Nolan needs a nod here. The Avengers RIGHTLY SO have stolen from Nolan’s candid interpretation of comic book universi. That’s a word I made up to mean multiple universes. Everyone’s anticipating The Rise of the Dark Knight. It’s the ability to turn these so easily manipulated flashy objects (superheroes) into Hollywood dollars, that I’m appreciating Nolan and Whedon clearly rejecting. For those who need reference, watch the Batman franchise that began in 1989 unfold over the years. The movies became fashion shows and fodder for Taco Bell commercials. Money was made, but Jerfalerf was saddened.

And so Joss, Robert, Scarlett, Samuel, Jeremy, Tom, and the rest, thank you for putting together a great movie that took thousands of people to make. You did really really well. And I honor the challenge you had. Keep it up Hollywood.

 

Your Sister’s Sister (2012)

I have not been writing as often lately due to a new job. A new job that got me a pass to the opening night of SIFF (the LARGEST Film Festival in the World?). Anyhoo… Seattle hosts. This year there are over 400 movies. The opening night film was a tribute to local and “independent” film Lynn Shelton’s Your Sister’s Sister.

I was excited. Lynn is a local hero. A somewhat successful (if you can even call it that) filmmaker that has at least from the little I know forged her way ahead the long way, as dreams are made… one challenge at a time. I know her from her last film Humpday (2009) in which two straight dudes agree to bone backwards style in order to prove they’re cool with the whole gay thing. It’s awkward. And I loved it.

So what the hell will the follow up be like? Your Sister’s Sister?? What the hell does that even mean? So, I didn’t know. I arrived at the Gala, and everybody was dressed fancy and being very smiley because everyone was dressed really fancy. We got seats in the back row of a 3 story balcony agaisnt the wall. And I ate my vegetable pie during the pre-movie speeches. (Next time SIFF… I tell you what. Go rent Humpday, it’s absolutely worth watching if you make it through it or not. And if you want more of Lynn, I highly recommend Your Sister’s Sister. I can’t tell you much about it because it would ruin it, and that’s not a cop out, so your welcome. This movie is funnnny! It had people laughing aloud. Great acting. And it showed off Seattle well, in a very candid way. No kissing on rainy street corners, just still shots of the islands at dusk. Keep going Lynn.

and if you’re in Seattle, go support SIFF!

http://www.siff.net/

Barton Fink (1991)

Barton Fink. Barton… Fink.? Barton. Fink. Kind of a Finkle and Einhorn thing going on there. Barton Finkle and Einhorn. John Goodman. Turturro. Good man John Turturro. John Goodman.

It’s funny that I was this close to moving to LA just a few months ago to work in the film industry and find a wife. Pay attention watching Barton Fink and you won’t ever make that decision. From the looks of it, there are a lot of morons in charge down there. You gotta feed Jabba his spaghetti and meatballs in order to make your art.

The opening shot is cool. Thought! Thought went into that. The opening dialogue is even cooler. It ain’t what you think it is.  Don’t go get the pop corn.  Get the pop corn before the movie starts.  Produced by Ethan Coen.  Directed by Joel Coen.  Written by Ethan and Joel Coen. And that’s always the way it is.  What is reeeeallly going on there?

Watch Barton Fink and you’ll see the Coen’s are not afraid to shove Hollywood’s heavy load of filth right back in it’s own pie hole.   Eww.  They have managed to become millionaires making art that critiques the very investors giving them millions of dollars.  ha Ha!   Right?        Well, they’re also making those bastards more millions.   Who cares!

I want to talk about John Turturro’s acting skills. How he should’ve won the two academy awards for his performance in this movie. Seriously.  He’s amazing.  Acting is hard!  He nails it in every scene.  He is Barton Fink.  Why isn’t he in more movies? More recognized?

John Goodman also. UNDERATED. I know, he’s John Goodman. He’s fat.  Jesus Christ watch this movie. The man is dedicated and mostly just a big overflowing mug of talent.  Hat’s off to you sir and thank you.

It’s Coen brothers… so aside from the well thought out camera movement, and the art direction… you get dialogue that is delivered with straight faces and cracks you in half with laughter.  At least it does me.  “Sex?  He was a man!  We wrestled!”   That’s brilliant.  Also, a Coen trait that I’ve always appreciated whether it be Bunny in the Big Lebowski or the dentist in True Grit… no screen time character is ever wasted.  in a Coen brothers movie, if you’ve got dialogue… you are a character.  You are not a “normal” person in the wallflower sense. You are not trying to “act natural”.  You are acting.  You’re hamming it up.  Judy Davis as Audrey Taylor is a Southern Belle.  What’s she doing in Hollywood??  Being a character in a Coen brothers movie that’s what.  They never explain it.  And life doesn’t either.  Lerner as Lipnick.  Turturro as Fink.  He just wants to help people.

Writing can do that. For those of us who sit in our basement, talking to you, we just want people to relate.  Me to you.  You to you.  Some folks kill themselves, boredom in an office… boredom at home.  Old decisions still lingering.  Artists try and kill themselves everyday, so that close to death they can find some eye opening gold nugget.  And then they can share it.  That’s what Barton Fink and I are trying to do.  ANd he shouldn’t have gone to Hollywood to do it.   

The Descendants (2011)

Alright George Clooney, I respect you enough to watch pretty much most anything you’re involved with.  You don’t make stupid decisions.  AND an Oscar nod… OK… I’ve heard this movie is about a guy dealing with the fact that his wife was cheating on him (not really my cup of tea)…  but because of the aforementioned credentials… I guess I have to watch it.

Here’s the deal ok?  here is my review in a concise paragraph.  People will take away very different things from this movie.  This movie is about what it’s like to be a human being and suffer shit really hard to deal with on a daily basis.  Whether it’s your job, your wife, your finances, your parents… whatever it is, life can be really really really almost unbearably hard, and yet… what the fuck are you gonna do?  You either kill yourself or keep living.  And if you keep living, you have to find a way to cope with all of the crazy ass shit that goes down in life (i.e. loved one’s dying that we’re cheating on you).  Wow, heavy load!

And this is going to take more than a paragraph.  So… why do you want to watch this movie?  You have 2 hours to kill.  You could get high and have sex.  You could take a bath.  You could eat, watch The Office.  No, I think I’m going to watch this movie about a guy’s wife dying with two kids who was cheating on him (with Mathew Lillard!!!! d Shaggy from Scooby Do movies and bad guy with huge mouth in Scream 1).

So that is the review.  Just ask yourself the question after you’ve watched the movie.

More thoughts.  A shout out to the music.  The setting.  Have you ever seen another movie where Hawaii is used as a normal place to live?  A shout out to Sid, the boyfriend.  Embarrassingly, I have been him.  And lastly, George Clooney is the man.  I wanted to watch this movie to see how he handled serious situations.  Situations where an actor has the opportunity to cry or not.  George manages to get you to feel the emotion while remaining a man.  I have mad respect for George, and I loved watching him deliver his lines in this difficult role.  He really is amazingly talented and makes it seem easy.  Now…

Does seeing George Clooney deal with this crappy stuff all of us have to deal with make you feel better about being a human being in what at times can be a fucked up world?  Somewhere subconsciously, ‘well, if beautiful George handled it with such grace, then I can too.’   Do you find strength in watching George live out your strife when the bottom drops out?

I get it without The Descendants.  I know life can be what we perceive as “hard”.  It is and what’s new?  It’s really fucking hard.  It’s hard for everyone.  People with money.  People with good homes.  The most put together man or woman you know has a hard fucking life.  Do we need art to tell us life sucks, and do we need to find strength by watching a more beautiful version of ourselves handle the challenges gracefully while we sit in our sweatpants on the couch not doing a thing about our own?

I don’t.

Shailene Woodley