Tar, Don’t Worry Darling, 99 Homes, & Everything, Everywhere, All at Once.

How are you?

Here are my thoughts on a few movies I’ve watched recently:

Tar

Tár was very well-done, but not necessarily entertaining. It told an interesting story in a way that was deliberately slow, uncomfortable, and dull. There were parts when I was a little bored and right before things came crashing down on the main character, I was thinking– If something doesn’t happen soon… I’m going to mentally check out.

Because so many elements of the movie were so underdone, when the plot started to pick up and everything collapsed in on the main character, there was nothing to compete for my attention. The intrigue and questions surrounding Lydia (or Linda’s) actions were very pointed, which stood in contrast to the boringness of the rest of the movie. I didn’t like the main character; I think that was the point of the movie, but I liked that it did not necessarily force a lecture on the audience. Although the main character seemed very lost and ugly, I didn’t feel like the movie was trying to force me to think anything specific about her. I probably wouldn’t watch this movie again, but I think it accomplished what it set out to do. The movie was basically an ode to Cate Blanchett’s incredible depth and range of skills. I wonder what percent of the script she carried. She had a lot of monologues. She can do everything.

Don’t Worry Darling

I loved everything about this movie. I can’t say enough good things about it. I loved the focus on female pleasure. I loved the illustration of what happens when someone less powerful shares information that proves to be inconvenient for those in power. It reminded me a little of Mormonism and Utah. Florence Pugh is an incredible actress and Harry Styles has a lot of talent. Olivia Wilde is apparently a very talented director. The dialogue in the movie was entertaining, simple, light, and painted a clear picture of the bizarre world of the Victory Project. The visuals were like candy. In many ways it was the opposite of Tár though; it was so entertaining that when the plot needed to thicken, it had a lot of other elements to compete with. I was so lost in enjoying the dialogue, the relationships, the visuals, the characters- that when the dinner happened and things were escalating, although it felt realistic, the conflicting actions didn’t feel quite sharp or uncomfortable enough to stand out from the rest of the movie. I thought there could have been a little more cerebral discussion, tension, disharmony, ugliness, fear, and examples of the manipulative power plays that cult leaders tend to play. Apart from that, the ending had several surprises and left me feeling satisfied. Overall, the movie was generous and well-done. Thank you, Olivia Wilde. Please direct more movies.

99 Homes

Watched this because I am on an Andrew Garfield binge ever since watching Under the Banner of Heaven. 99 Homes told the fictional story of Dennis Nash, who was evicted from his home with his mom and son during the housing crisis of 2007 and 2008. I know that not all fiscal conservatives are as mean-spirited as Rick Carver, but I don’t understand how those types of predatory ‘business practices’ were forgiven so quickly. I love Adam Smith and the invisible hand- I love the innovation and creativity that are part of a free market- but lying and deceit are not innovative, and kicking families out of their houses is not creative. I don’t love that America has such a long history of ignoring exploitative practices.

The movie effectively illustrated how poverty is criminalized, and I would guess all of the things that happened in the movie did happen to people in real life. The movie did not feel like a lecture to me, but that is partly because I already agreed with it. I don’t know if the movie is compelling or persuasive for someone with a different mindset or if they would see it as melodramatic. Michael Shannon, Laura Dern, and Andrew Garfield made a great combination.

Everything, Everywhere, All at Once

I just couldn’t get into this one, probably because I haven’t seen the Matrix (🙄). Watch it if you want. I’m sure if I had a more creative mind and in-depth understanding of cinema, I could have gotten into it. I just thought it was weird.

Hope you are having a great Veteran’s day and can find some time to relax and watch a movie!

Shannon

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