- Dazed and Confused
- Before Sunset
- Before Midnight
- Before Sunrise
- Waking Life
- School of Rock
- A Scanner Darkly
- The Newton Boys
- Bad News Bears
- Fast Food Nation
- Me and Orson Welles
Some notes on this list: 1. I haven't seen It's Impossible To Learn To Plow By Reading Books. 2. Letterboxd doesn't have Linklater's fine documentary Inning By Inning: Portrait Of A Coach (which I reviewed here), but I'd slot it after A Scanner Darkly if it did. 3. I'd strongly recommend everything above (and including) The Newton Boys and strongly not recommend only SuBurbia and Tape. 4. I enjoy the films of Richard Linklater.
Peter Labuza watched
Bodies and machines
Sensual and orgasmic.
Searching for meaning
Amongst their scars.
Long live the metallic flesh.
A pitch perfect opening shot: a nipple rubbing against a metallic surface with all the pleasures that could possibly entertain. Crash is so distinctly Cronenbergian and ambitious in its thematic material it's hard to not enjoy the film: obsessions with the relationship between man and machine, how psychological developments manifest themselves into physical scars, and an addiction to the sexual perversity as a sign of humanity. Cronenberg's camerawork—his ability to diamond cut sequences together and move the camera into the compositions that evoke the anxieties of his characters without ever flinching—just as strong here as his best work. And it was never going to happen, but the makeup artist Stephan Dupuis should have won all the awards for designing both realistic and expressionistic scars, bruises, and blood.
But Crash seems to - wait for it - sputter once it gets revved up, preferring to riff on the same variation than dig deeper than its surface intrigue. Elias Koteas even proposes a greater than theme—seeing addiction as a search for faith, a theme prevalent in Videodrome, A Dangerous Method, and Cosmopolis—only to have him later deny that idea. Sequences become repetitive: an amusing car dealership trip, sex with a scar, and repeated sequences of creating car crashes for sexual arousal. Some of that is deliberate of course—the film is about repetition ("Next time," Ballard claims at the end), but it never adds to the insight of the film, especially when the characters begin to feel like ciphers for the concept, their motivations mostly singular. Lack of a clear narrative structure doesn't help either—Holly Hunter all but disappears till the penultimate sequence, which also reminds me that maybe I'm reading it wrong but Croenenberg links homosexuality in this film to perversity, and I'm not gonna lie that it made me feel uncomfortable. A lot of this sounds like the criticisms thrown at Cosmopolis, but the Pattinson film has a very clear arc for me, and I'm not sure how to piece together this film's meandering material. Links to great writing on the film appreciated.
Oh, I read the fucking signs, and they said this movie is T-E-R-R-I-B-L-E.
Not a single thing any person says or does makes any sense whatsoever other than to push forward the narrative, which in turn doesn't make any sense because it isn't motivated by a single recognizably human emotion, motive, or reason. No stupid observation isn't so obvious that it can't be written into the dialogue a moment after a thousand neon lights point to it.
Making a terrible romantic comedy is not the same thing as making a dark version of a romantic comedy. For someone who considers I Heart Huckabees one of the great modern comedies, this film is even more painful.
I've heard this film is "about" mental illness, but that requires that it say something about mental illness. This movie is about mental illness like Groundhog Day is about Puxatony Phil: it motivates some early action and then takes a back seat. Wait, did I just compare this to a film about a miserable individual who chooses to become a better man to earn the love of a woman? Dammit. I'm sorry to everyone involved in the very fine Groundhog Day.
Bradley Cooper reaches Ben Affleck levels of energy-sucking, and he's not the worse thing in this movie by a DeSean Jackson kick return. Jennifer Lawrence is either a far worse actress than I previously thought or is horribly miscast or both. Robert DeNiro stumbles through whatever Fockers hell he's currently in.
What a mess. The highlight of the film for me was noticing all the familiar New Haven locations in "Philadelphia."
Silver Linings Playbook, you are not a stand-up film.