An Ode to a King: 42

My eyes are red and puffy this weekend. I’ve been crying. I started crying as soon as I heard the news.

It’s truly devastating that Chadwick Boseman passed away.

I’m not trying to be flashy with that title. Boseman was a true king in many ways: he selflessly gave his time and effort to others, used his considerable talent to portray multiple black icons in film and just genuinely seemed like a good dude. Oh, and he spent the last years of his life battling colon cancer without ever saying a word about it. I can’t imagine the courage and resilience it took for him to handle that the way he did, but Boseman never missed a beat. It’s truly difficult for me to fathom that he’s gone. 2020 has been cruel and unfair virtually across the board, but this one hurts in a completely different way.

We made a pledge recently to spotlight more films by black directors, actors and writers. While the circumstances are terrible, we thought it would be best to honor Boseman’s legacy by talking about his contributions. That brings me to 42.

I can’t think of anyone else who could’ve played Jackie Robinson. There are undoubtedly other fine actors who would have done justice to the role, but would they have brought as much charisma and defiance as Boseman? Could they have so effortlessly depicted a man who held up extraordinarily well under the duress he was thrust into? One of my favorite scenes comes early in the film. Wendell Smith has to move Robinson to a different house after a threat on his life is made. Speeding away in the middle of the night, Robinson begins laughing hysterically.

Wendell asks, “Man, what is so funny?”

Robinson replies, “I thought you woke me up because I got cut from the team.”

I think that says about all you need to know about who the man was and what his priorities were. And perhaps that partly explains how Boseman so naturally disappears into that character: he understood Robinson in a way that few of us can. Those two only ever had their eyes on the big picture.

42 has been accused of overdramatizing Robinson’s first season with the Dodgers, such as the dugout scene where the racism of an opposing manager causes Robinson to lose his temper, and he lashes out in anger. I continue to be befuddled by critics who hold a movie to the same expectations as a documentary, but that scene is also an important one. Robinson is the vehicle for the audience and we are disgusted to see how he was treated, and that these things still happen in our country today. A sane person would probably get fed up far before Robinson did.

It’s a real treat to watch Boseman and Harrison Ford exchange dialogue, expertly capturing the relationship between Robinson and Dodgers owner Branch Rickey. Ford, who said being apart of this story was a great honor for him, gave one of his best performances in years. I wonder how much that had to do with him playing opposite of Boseman, and how much a great man truly lifted everyone he came across.

While celebrating his films is one way to honor Boseman, an even better one is to uphold the values that he believed in while he was alive. Support the type of change that you want to see in your community. The best way to do that is to get out and vote this fall. That link will help you register if you haven’t done so already.

BlacKkKlansman Entertains and Educates

Part of the reason that I touched on Charlottesville last week was because of the end of BlacKkKlansman. Before the final credits, the film cuts to a recap of the Unite the Right protests and counter-protests, ultimately coming to rest on a dedication to Heather Hayer and an upside down American flag. Spike Lee’s award-winning social commentary is a stark reminder that racism and white supremacy are still alive and well in our country, and you never have to go back very far to find the proof.

That ending had a profound impact on me. Aside from the fact that it was a classy gesture on Lee’s part to pay his respects to Hayer, he made it clear that we’re too quick to forget what happens in front of our very eyes. Upset as I was upon learning the horror that unfolded in Charlottesville, I admittedly moved on with my normal life and gave it very little thought until I saw BlacKkKlansman. Lee knows this about our society and isn’t going to let us off the hook just because we found his movie entertaining.

And that really doesn’t even do justice to the film. BlacKkKlansman is a riveting, surprisingly humorous account of Ron Stallworth’s infiltration of the Ku Klux Klan. He can’t do this on his own, since the Klan isn’t big on recruiting black guys, so he enlists the help of his white co-worker Flip Zimmerman to pose as Stallworth in person. What follows is a series of tense encounters between fake Stallworth and the Klan, and the real Stallworth and his fellow officers. Not surprisingly, racism emerges in both situations and the reluctant partners are forced to rely on each other more than they would like.

John David Washington, the son of Denzel, commands the screen like his father while simultaneously setting himself apart. His Stallworth is a determined, tenacious officer, forced to juggle multiple responsibilities in a town where some of his peers want to see him fail. He makes a connection with the president of a local Black Student Union, and she openly expresses her disdain for cops (with good reason based on how a certain racist officer treats her). It’s a literal no-win situation, but Stallworth remains steadfast through it all, The man turned in a remarkably impressive performance and I look forward to seeing the prodigal son in Christopher Nolan’s Tenet next month.

And what a relief it was to see Adam Driver with a script that matches his talent, considering they completely wasted him in Rise of Skywalker. To Zimmerman, this whole operation is just another assignment. He grumbles at Stallworth’s directions not because he’s a black man, but because Zimmerman doesn’t like a rookie telling him how to do his job. And yet, he sticks with it and stands in solidarity with Stallworth. At a certain point, you can see it slowly dawning on the Jewish Zimmerman that he should probably have personal motives for bringing down the KKK. Driver is a Rubik’s Cube of emotions, bringing a complexity to the role that resonates all the more in this day and age.

There are scenes in BlacKkKlansman that strongly evoke recent events. That’s because instances of racism in America are never that far removed from present day, if at all. The question isn’t what we’ll do to finally address this issue as a country, but when.

When will America finally own its racist ways and implement some meaningful change?

A Statement from Flimsy Film Critics

I vividly recall hearing about the events in Charlottesville back in 2017.

That was the summer of the Unite the Right rally, where white nationalists, neo-Nazis and other various pieces of crap protested the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, among other things. Tensions escalated and it ultimately resulted in the murder of Heather Hayer, who was killed when a white supremacist drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters. I was despondent over how atrocities like this could still take place in America (which was incredibly naive to say the least) and I wound up getting drunk and despaired over the state of our country. This followed a pattern that I established for myself whenever something this awful made headlines in the news: sympathy for the victims from afar, silent support for any movement protesting against racism, but no action taken by myself to try and help be a part of the solution.

Fast forward to today. The murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers sparked nationwide protests against racism and police brutality against black people. These protests seem a little different than others from the past 10 years, as the public outcry has been more vocal and united to address the never-ending issue of systemic racism in the United States. I haven’t personally attended any of the protests. At first, I didn’t really know what the hell to do. Kevin and I weren’t even sure if we should keep posting on this blog, because white guys like us should just be listening and learning right now. Writing about films may be a passion of ours, but it pales in significance to what is happening in our country and what has been happening to black people since well before either of us were born.

However, I also don’t want to revert back into my cycle: outrage at the atrocity and sympathy for the victims, but only silent support from afar. I want to do better this time. And I think the first step towards that, in addition to being willing to listen and learn, is to admit that I’m part of the problem.

Allow me to repeat that: I AM PART OF THE PROBLEM.

I am not a racist, but my white privilege has afforded me the luxury of resuming my normal life after each one of these horrific events. What I didn’t understand before is that falling back into my usual cycle only perpetuates the problem and allows it to continue. To quote The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., “Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.”

The appalling silence of the good people.

This is not about my guilt or my own inaction. All I really want is to help. There is a problem and I can do more to try and make a difference. I’ll take steps in my own life to learn and educate myself more. And I won’t allow myself to forget this time and blindly retreat back into my comfortable life. But what does that mean for this blog?

What I’d like to do is use the platform that we have to try and elevate films from black directors, black screenwriters and black actors. Shine a spotlight on those who understand what it’s like to be treated differently because of the color of their skin. Sure, we’ll talk about some movies and documentaries that you’ve heard of, but even more important will be to focus on the ones that you haven’t. Those are the voices and the people that need to be heard right now. And it’s not about furthering our own self-interest or about any sort of monetary gain. Truthfully, we’ve never made money off of this blog anyway, but that’s not the point. The goal would be to try and help these stories find a bigger audience. Then it’s up to the rest of us to open our hearts and listen.

That doesn’t mean we’ll never write about other films again. I have no idea when we’ll get back to that, but that doesn’t matter right now. What matters is that there is something terribly wrong with this country.

And we’re going to do what we can to help.

Jojo Rabbit Denounces Fascism, with a Dance and a Laugh

Taika Waititi is a name you should know by now. If he didn’t win you over with What We Do in the Shadows, Hunt for the Wilderpeople and Thor: Ragnarok, surely Jojo Rabbit is the one that will make you want to hop on the bandwagon. And if you’re a fellow cinephile and the man still hasn’t earned your respect, I’m not really sure what else he has to do. His work over the past decade speaks for itself, and my word does Jojo Rabbit have a lot to say.

One reason why I prefer to go into a film as blind as possible (try and avoid trailers, don’t read reviews, etc.) is that it eliminates any preconceived notions that our minds tend to create. That way the story and performances present themselves as they truly are and I can form my own opinion. So when I heard that Waititi was making a black comedy about a young boy trying to prove his worth in the Hitler Youth (complete with Hitler as his imaginary friend), I was sold. I didn’t need to see or read anything else before watching the movie, because based on Waititi’s track record I fully expected he would deliver the goods.

Plenty of humor? Check. Absurd portrayals of Hitler and his Nazis? Check. A likable young hero that comes of age with the love and support of those older than him? Check and check. Tender moments that wallop you right in the feels, alongside poignantly voiced opinions regarding the pitfalls of bigotry and hate… wait, I’m sorry, what? That last bit caught me a bit by surprise. Waititi had already established himself as a reliably entertaining and amusing voice in cinema, but here he proves that he can educate us with those same elements. He doesn’t want us to forget this ugly period of history, lest we see it repeating itself in the modern day world. I’m sure there’s a lot of people out there other than myself that can relate to that.

Of course, none of this works if you have the wrong actor playing young Jojo. I have a feeling that Roman Griffin Davis is another name we’re all about to become familiar with. His Jojo is a very enthusiastic member of the Hitler Youth. The propaganda he’s been fed his entire life has him convinced that becoming a Nazi and upholding all of the ideals of the party is the best life that a little boy can hope for, and so he pursues that goal with relentless zeal and vigor. The Jewish Waititi turns in a wonderful and ironic performance as the imaginary Hitler, cheering Jojo along to become the best Nazi he can be. As expected, the boy’s pursuit comes to clash with both his true nature and the not so little secret that his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their house.

The perspective of the film is extraordinarily unique. Yes, a child who has been brainwashed by fascism is going to perceive his country in a much different way than the rest of the world, but Waititi ensures that this perception is still childlike in nature: Nazi officers are dashing and brave, Hitler can (and should) be your best friend and Jews are dangerous monsters to be feared and avoided. It’s the type of satire that the Monty Python boys would’ve strived for in the same position, and it results in some rather thought-provoking exchanges. When Jojo encounters Stephen Merchant’s Gestapo Agent, Merchant towers over him and compliments his admiration of Hitler: “I wish more of our young boys had your blind fanaticism.” Or when Jojo is confiding in his friend Yorkie about the Jew in his house. “I saw some (Jews) that they caught hiding in the forest last month,” Yorki says. “Personally, I didn’t see what all the fuss was about. They’re not at all scary and seemed kind of normal.”

The propaganda machine is telling Jojo one thing, while he begins to see the world and his own beliefs for what they really are. When those moments of childhood innocence are abruptly halted by real life horrors, that’s where the lessons begin and where Jojo Rabbit becomes more than just another fun time at the movies with Taika. Veteran actors Scarlett Johansson and Sam Rockwell are strategically cast as Jojo’s mother and Hitler Youth Captain. They have the chops to be light and breezy when the situation calls for it, but also come through in some of the more dramatic elements of the film.

That tonal balance is a tricky line to walk and is my only real critique of the film. When the narrative is coasting rather comfortably through satire, then suddenly veers off into a very real and tense moment, that shift becomes a little jarring and at times it feels like you’re watching two different movies. On the other hand, growing up as a kid in Nazi Germany was probably chalked full of jarring shifts, so perhaps I’m being too nit-picky. I do reject the idea from critics that this subject matter is taboo and shouldn’t be poked fun at. What better way to truly see how dangerous and ridiculous this ideology was?

In case you’re wondering, there is still time to hop on the Waititi bandwagon. It’s getting a little crowded and a few people will have to scooch together, but we’ll make room.

100 Movies Bucket List: Her

100 Movies Bucket List was a poster given to Jesse by his sister on Christmas 2019. We are committed to watching all of these movies and writing about them. We have no idea how long this will take. What even is time during the quarantine? And sometimes, these posts will include spoilers. Just a friendly warning from two friendly guys.

This is the second time we have written about Her on our site. I don’t think we often feel the need to touch on a film more than once. We either collaborate on a Let’s Talk About post or just trust the other guy to write about it. I trusted Kevin when Her first came out and he nailed it, as usual. I’m not here simply to tell you how great this movie is, because he already made that point rather emphatically and there are plenty of reviews and articles to support that. So why am I here?

Is Her being revisited just because it’s part of this series? Partly, and as we continue to to forage our way through this list of 100 movies, maybe that will happen more and more. But I think I would have had something to say even if I wasn’t obligated to share. This film hurt me. It reminded me of a time in my life when I was very withdrawn and afraid. The story conveys those emotions in such a realistic way that I was right back there again: a depressed introvert that badly needed a connection, but wasn’t going out of his way to find it.

And for that, I’m grateful. While it can be painful to reflect on these difficult moments that we all experience in our own way, it’s equally important to not forget them. How else can we truly appreciate how far we’ve come in our lives if we don’t take a second to look back and remember where we used to be? I like to think that’s where Theodore, Joaquin Phoenix’s character, finds himself at the end of the film: accepting of the failures of past relationships, appreciative of the good times and the love that was shared, and finally willing to embrace the change and see what a new day has in store for him.

Did I mention this is a guy who rebounds from his divorce by entering into a relationship with his operating system?

A premise that absurd on the surface would’ve been a disaster in less talented hands or if a studio just wanted to make a fun rom-com out of it. It’s a testament to the performances of the lead actors and the tight direction from Spike Jonze that things don’t go completely off the rails. Is there another actor in Hollywood who could’ve done more with this role than Phoenix? Is there anyone that we could’ve related to so effortlessly when he is mostly emoting without anyone else on-screen? I don’t think so. To be fair, I can envision this type of OS actually being released in the real world and many men falling hopelessly in love with a voice that sounds like Scarlett Johansson. Credit goes to Jonze for depicting a future that is not too distant and entirely plausible.

And then there’s the score. It is the perfect soundtrack not just because it works for the film, but because you can easily picture it playing over all of those uncomfortable moments of your own past romances. The courtships, the instances of joy, the rough patches, the breakups and all of the empty spaces in between. It’s the empty parts that pack the biggest wallop, I think. When I listen to the score, I can remember myself floating for seemingly endless amounts of time in that relationship purgatory. I felt trapped there, as most of us do when we are in pain and aren’t doing anything practical to try and fix it. 

I hope I’m making sense here. The point is I don’t always connect with a film on a deeply personal level, but when I do I try to understand why. Her resonated with me and so many others because we’ve all been Theodore at one point in our lives. I certainly don’t think Jonze and his crew were trying to make us all miserable by digging up our past trauma. Rather, I think the message delivered is a very positive one.

It’s okay to not be okay, but don’t be afraid to embrace the opportunity to be happy when it presents itself to you. Love and heartbreak has a profound impact on us, but what we learn and take away from them can help us grow and change. I’m happy to say that I find myself in a much better place these days.

If you aren’t there just yet, give yourself some time. Eventually you will too.

100 Movies Bucket List: Life of Brian

100 Movies Bucket List was a poster given to Jesse by his sister on Christmas 2019. We are committed to watching all of these movies and writing about them. We have no idea how long this will take. What even is time during the quarantine? And sometimes, these posts will include spoilers. Just a friendly warning from two friendly guys.

“Its been a rough year so far” will probably wind up being the most understated and repetitive statement of 2020. With all the uncertainty in the world and the negative impact that COVID-19 is having on all of our lives, it can be hard to keep your chin up and carry on through your normal day to day. Probably because none of this is normal and we all feel a bit powerless as we wait to see how the rest of the year is going to shape up.

Which brings me to Life of Brian. Our main character (shocking, but his name is Brian) finds himself in a variety of situations that are completely out of his control and mostly to his detriment. Just to name a few, he is mistaken as a messiah, taken on a ride in a spaceship with some aliens and ultimately finds himself condemned to die via crucifixion. Yes, there are aliens and messiahs and crucifixions all in the same movie and if that sounds absurd to you, it’s on purpose. Give the Monty Python boys their due: they don’t hold anything back and unapologetically stay true to their style of humor. Also, those set designs are on point.

Whether or not that appeals to you is going to go a long way in determining how you feel about Life of Brian, and if you agree that it should be on any 100 movie bucket list. And while it may be partially due to the times we live in, here’s one part that resonated with me:

Yes, that is Eric Idle breaking into song and convincing all his fellow doomed companions, Brian included, to always look on the bright side of life. “If life seems jolly rotten, there’s something you’ve forgotten, and that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing.” The sentiment is obvious, but it’s the execution and the people delivering it that makes it work so well. If Brian can sing and face death with a smile after the unfair hand that life dealt him, why can’t everyone else?

And for those who might object by saying, “Well, that worked then but there’s no way audiences would buy that these days,” here’s Idle performing the song again back in 2010.

Everyone in attendance sings along in unison to an absurd song from an absurd film about how absurd life really is, and that we can’t change that. But you can change your perspective and how you cope with it. I found that to be a refreshingly positive message. Life of Brian was streaming on Netflix as recently as the last few weeks, so if you’re sitting at home and feeling pretty down about the state of the world and all of your favorite events being cancelled, see if Monty Python can give you a little pick me up.

They certainly provided me with one.

Friday Film Roundup

Our Friday Film Roundup is an attempt to share what we are reading, watching, and listening to as we head into the weekend. We plan on sharing major film news, interesting film essays/videos, good reads and recommended films you might want to check out.

Hello again friends. We haven’t exactly lived up to the “Friday” portion of Friday Film Roundup, have we? Sorry about that. These are strange times and we’d be lying if we said that Covid-19 hadn’t impact our personal lives to some degree. Even so, we’re going to try and deliver a more consistent product. Thanks for hanging in there with us.

So join me on the very first Sunday edition of our Friday Roundup.

Reading

Last week I gave some recommendations that didn’t exactly consist of uplifting material. Let’s go the opposite way this week. I haven’t really been reading much in terms of film news lately, mainly because most of it is regarding delays of upcoming releases, but there is ample time right now for film analysis. One of my favorite reads is Roger Ebert’s first entry in his Great Movies collection. It will remind of you of two things: 1) Ebert understood the medium so well and was a hell of a writer, and 2) There a lot of great films just waiting for you to discover them, regardless of your age or preferences.

Recommendation to Watch

*61 – I mentioned last week that I’m going through a bit of a sports withdrawal. The Colorado Rockies aired a live stream of past Opening Day games on Friday and I absolutely had it on for a bit. Not the same, but I always look forward to baseball this time of year and you make do with what you have.

Which is why I recommend you check out *61. The retelling of Roger Maris’ and Mickey Mantle’s historic 1961 season was an HBO original film and I don’t believe ever saw the inside of a movie theater. For that reason, it doesn’t receive nearly as much love or attention as it deserves. And I suppose that’s fitting, considering the same could have been said of Maris at the time. *61 does come off as a little hokey, but director Billy Crystal deftly guides us through his personal recollection as a fan of the Yankees.

Let’s just say that sports fans and reporters didn’t need social media to make Maris’ life miserable back then.

What I’m Watching

Love is Blind – I can’t in good conscience recommend this to anyone. It’s arguably the most ridiculous thing I’ve watched on Netflix recently, and that’s saying something considering I sat through Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness. Single romantic hopefuls interact with the opposite sex and go on dates without ever leaving these “pods” that they stay in or seeing the person they’re dating. Yes, there’s literally a wall between them. They then have to decide whether they want to propose to that person and they don’t actually meet until after they agreed to get married. The kicker is that there’s then only FOUR weeks until their wedding, and that’s if their relationship doesn’t totally go off the rails in the meantime.

To an introvert like me, the mere idea of any of this is completely terrifying. It’s an insane concept and makes for some cringeworthy viewing. I guess in that way it’s like a car wreck: you just can’t look away.

Upcoming Flimsy Film Posts

Welcome to New York: Mystery Film

I asked Kevin about this last week and he seemed to imply that this was going to centered around I Am Legend. If that turns out to be the case, you guys saw it here first in my roundup last week. Totally my idea.

Let’s Talk About: 100 Movies Bucket List

Yes, this is still coming. I wouldn’t share my neat movie poster with the world unless we were committed to writing about all of the movies on it. Stay tuned.

Friday Film Roundup

Our Friday Film Roundup is an attempt to share what we are reading, watching, and listening to as we head into the weekend. We plan on sharing major film news, interesting film essays/videos, and recommended films you might want to check out.

Good afternoon friends! I hope you’re all hanging in there okay as we continue to weather the storm of these unprecedented circumstances. If there’s one thing that’s well-served for getting us through a quarantine, it’s watching movies. We’ll be here to continue providing new content that will hopefully distract you from how crazy things are right now.

So join me on a Saturday edition of our Friday Roundup.

Reading

The fiance and I recently started watching the Watchmen TV series (which we’ll get to in a bit), but Kevin piqued my curiosity when he told me that the show uses the graphic novel as canon, rather than Zack Snyder’s 2009 film adaptation. I grabbed Alan Moore’s masterpiece off of my shelf, flipped through a few pages, started reading and haven’t been able to stop. Beyond just being a fan, I find a measure of odd comfort in immersing myself into a story about superheroes in the face of Armageddon.

So if you’re weird like me, I would definitely recommend giving Watchmen a try if you haven’t read it before. The Dark Knight ReturnsThe Road1984 and Old Man Logan are a few others that I’m fond of, and if reading isn’t your thing, there are film adaptations of all of those. Enjoy!

Recommendation to Watch

When done right, the threat of mankind’s extinction makes for some riveting stories, and Children of Men absolutely gets it right. This somewhat forgotten classic is available to rent on Prime Video. Here’s the trailer if you want to decide whether or not it’s worth a few bucks:

What I’m Watching

Watchmen – A faithful continuation of the beloved graphic novel. A standalone series that doesn’t require its audience to be familiar with the source material, but winks and nods at those who do. It’s not often you get an adaptation that checks both of these boxes. Two episodes in, Watchmen does. I’ll see if that changes or not as I get through the series.

Hook – Recently added to Netflix, this childhood favorite seemed like a no brainer to help kill some time during the quarantine. The fiance was thrilled when she saw it as an option. We took the trip back to Steven Spielberg’s Neverland and while the nostalgia factor will always make that a worthwhile voyage, there is absolutely no way that this film would be well-received today. Sexual innuendos in a movie about Peter Pan? The social media police would burn Spielberg to the ground if he tried that again.

But hey, maybe I’m overthinking it. Give it a watch and see if you agree.

Upcoming Flimsy Film Posts

Welcome to New York: Mystery Film

It’s possible that Kevin just wanted to do something less obvious, but if he’s looking for a New York movie with an apocalyptic setting, he could do a lot worse than I Am Legend. It’s also possible he already figured this out and has a different post coming for you soon!

Let’s Talk About: 100 Movies Bucket List

We are still planning on introducing this. Be on the lookout for it next week.

Bought It Before I Watched It: Arrival

Bought It Before I Watched It is a series dedicated to all of the blu-rays that Jesse purchased without seeing the movie first. He then watches said movie and writes a post about whether he wasted his money or not. He also interviews himself and tries not to come off as pretentious or patronizing. Sometimes that’s easier said than done.

What did I buy Arrival?

Aside from being a critically acclaimed film about an alien invasion? That will earn a bought it before I watched it from me pretty much every time. However, in this case I was mainly intrigued because Arrival was helmed by Denis Villeneuve, one of the best filmmakers working today. Certain directors become so accomplished that all I need is to see their name attached to a movie and I’m hooked. Scorsese, Tarantino and Nolan are a few good examples of that.

I believe that Villeneuve belongs in the same company.

What did I think?

I knew going in that Arrival wasn’t your typical “aliens have come to Earth movie,” much to the chagrin of audiences with the predisposition that it would be another Independence Day. An actual criticism of a review I read (after I saw the film, of course) is that, “Arrival is a mystery masquerading as a summer blockbuster.” I feel sorry for anyone who felt that way, because while Arrival definitely weaves a mysterious web around its narrative, it certainly doesn’t lack for drama or tension and doesn’t pretend to be anything that it’s not. This is why I prefer to go into new movies blind, if possible, and just let the story play out as it was supposed to.

In short, I thought it was another excellent showcase of Villeneuve’s talents, and featured a particularly nuanced performance from Amy Adams. Personally, I thought it was refreshing that the hero wasn’t trying to blow all the aliens up, per normal.

Do you regret buying it?

Absolutely not. Villeneuve never lets me down. Every one of his films is different enough to stand out from the others, but the story always remains taut throughout and the visuals leave an indelible impression on me every time. Any new work from him will always be an instant purchase from me.

How often will you come back to it?

I definitely want to see it again. One idea that we’ve kicked around here is to highlight specific actors and directors, watch their most famous and underrated work and then provide you with some analysis on how these films impacted and inspired us, among other things. If we ever pull the trigger on that concept, Villeneuve will definitely be on that list.

Any parting thoughts?

Enemy with Jake Gyllenhaal is another Villeneuve blu-ray that I purchased before I saw it. Considering I still haven’t gotten to it yet, and that I just waxed poetically over how much of a Villeneuve fanboy I am, that’s going to have to be one of the upcoming entries for this series. Stay tuned.

Bought It Before I Watched It: Sorry to Bother You

Bought It Before I Watched It is a series dedicated to all of the blu-rays that Jesse purchased without seeing the movie first. He then watches said movie and writes a post about whether he wasted his money or not. He also interviews himself and tries not to come off as pretentious or patronizing. Sometimes that’s easier said than done.

Why did I buy Sorry to Bother You?

I did this thing in 2018 where I closely monitored the Tomatometer on Rotten Tomatoes for all new films that were released. If one had a high score, I did some research on it and if I was intrigued by the plot and the talent involved, I made a note to pick it up when it came out on blu-ray. I suppose my logic is that it’s easier for me to support these films that way than going to the theaters, which may not even make any sense.

Sorry to Bother You was one that fell into this category.

What did I think?

That’s a very difficult question to answer. Kevin wrote a banger of a piece when he saw it and I could tell that I was in for something different. There’s just no preparing you for HOW different this one is until you actually witness it for yourself. But Kevin was correct in saying that Sorry to Bother You is a film you can’t shake. Regardless of how you personally feel about the plot and everything that ensues, it bores its way into your brain and remains there for days after. Weeks even.

It likely takes a rewatch or two to try and fully grasp everything. And even then, I don’t know if you can fully comprehend how squarely you get leveled by all the social commentary.

Do you regret buying it?

Not at all. I never kick myself for adding a unique film to my collection. Maybe it’s not quite my cup of tea or maybe I’m a little put off at first, but we need movies like this to keep finding their way onto our screens. I have nothing against more popular films. I adore the MCU. It’s just that for every smash hit like Avengers: Endgame, there are hundreds of new movies that fall completely under the radar and go unnoticed by popular culture. And so many of them have a daring voice and crave to be heard and seen.

How often will you come back to it?

I honestly have no idea. I’m of the belief that films evolve and change for us as we make our way through our lives. Right now, Sorry to Bother You is a weird, well-made piece of art that I admire, but we aren’t exactly going steady yet. Five years from now? I could declare this the most underrated film of the 2010’s. I have no freaking idea.

Any parting thoughts?

If your dream is to one day make films, be part of films or if you just like watching something weird every now and then for the hell of it. you have to check out Sorry to Bother You. I can’t say that you won’t regret it, but I think that’s part of the appeal. It has and will impact people in different ways, and you just won’t know until you give it a shot.