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.

Anna and the Apocalypse

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone, do one thing that scares you every day, live for today cause you might be dead come tomorrow. These are the #lifequotes that drive me to live my life to the fullest every day. Which is why I enjoy engaging in risky behavior such as, seeing a movie in a theater without watching a single trailer or reading a review. I know, insert shocked emoji here, am I right?

Sometimes this risk pays off in a big way, like A Quiet Place. Other times it leads to me sitting through an entire musical-zombie-Christmas movie (Yes, apparently that’s a thing), somehow too mortified to stay and yet too embarrassed to leave. And to think, I was shocked when I walked into a completely empty movie theater. That should have been my first sign.

It’s clear what Anna and the Apocalypse wants to be: “What would happen if we took the main character from Lady Bird put her in Scotland to sing and dance like La La Land? Except there’s zombies! Not like, 28 Days Later zombies, but like, Shaun of the Dead zombies! Oh and make it Christmas-y!”. In reality it ends up being a Christmas special of High School Musical with zombies. It feels like a movie studio playing Dr. Frankenstein and ends up echoing Jurassic Park, “just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should.” The movie, much like the zombies it depicts, is not natural and should have been mercy killed from the beginning.

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Sorry to Bother You

Sorry to Bother You, the directorial debut of Boots Riley starring the infectious Lakeith Stanfield, is that strange reoccurring dream you have had your whole life. You know the one, maybe it starts with that darkly lit bathroom or those shadowy figures you never fully see or some room from your childhood that you have memorized by small detail. The one that has that feeling of something amiss despite everything around you seeming normal. That dream that you try to tell other people about but you can’t quite piece the details together. Actually you can. Because you’ve had the dream countless times. You know exactly what happened but it’s too weird to say out loud, in front of your coworkers or your loved ones. Lest you be judged for whatever your subconscious is capable of cooking up.

This is one of those movies that sticks. You walk into the theater, sit in your seat, silently observe for a few hours, stand up, leave. You say bye to your friends and maybe you get in your car, or maybe you start walking home. It’s dark out and you notice the silence. You feel the air and you sense something is different. You notice but you try not to. You want this feeling to wash over you and to never leave. It’s calming and spooky and freeing and all encompassing. Much like your reoccurring dream you feel desperate to wake up but oddly content with never leaving.

And the thing is, you aren’t thinking about the movie necessarily. Because you can’t. You are unable to, or maybe unwilling, because you hate it. No you actually love it. You try to just forget about it because the truth might reveal something about you to yourself. You also notice you can’t stop it from infecting what you’re feeling. You want to tell everyone about what you saw and you also want to lock it away like a secret, lest you be judged for admitting that your conscious self actually enjoyed something so…

That’s how the movie makes you feel. Nothing and everything. Depressed, happy, lonely, loved, contradictory. It unabashedly subverts what you think a movie should be or what you want it to be. It doesn’t say anything important. Or maybe it does, maybe it embodies the saying “the years are short but the days are long” and gives it a modern spin and turns it into, “the news cycle is quick but the effects are long”. Maybe it somehow takes the apathy of the modern world and makes you feel it. But you’re not quite sure because it’s a realistic unreal reality, it’s batshit crazy. And just when you’re in a dreamlike, depressed state of mind the movie completely…

The words don’t come. Not for days anyway. Because the film is stuck in your brain, marinating. It’s spinning around and around. You’re convinced it has all the makings of a cult classic. Then you realize it was all bullshit and you shouldn’t waste anyone’s time talking about it. But then you remember that scene where Cassius is starting to fall asleep after a long day of work but he is longing for a joint he just lit up while ignoring his artist girlfriend after the premiere of her art show.

The scene is innocuous and yet it’s stuck, no that’s not right, it’s jammed in your brain. It speaks to your exhaustion of balancing your job and your family and your friends. You feel the pressures of capitalism that force you to do things that you truly don’t want to. The force that drains you and distracts you and pulls you in even though you hate it and you want to escape.  Except maybe you love it because it empowers you and gives you more than you could ever dream. But it also takes from you, your time, your energy, your willpower, your motivation, your attention. It gives, it takes, you hate it and love it because you, like this movie, are an emotional pit of contradicting feelings.

You can’t prepare yourself for the experience that Sorry to Bother You is. It’s splendid and dumb. It’s beautiful and harrowing. It’s a cult classic or it’s stupid. Your experience will vary but it’s nothing you will soon forget.