kailey’s review published on Letterboxd:
my brother goes to school in los angeles.
there aren't really that many diners there anymore- there's little pop-ups that offer vegan tacos or glitzy shopping malls with bustling food-courts. i imagine if a strange girl showed up on your doorstep, you could google possible news about an accident or paw through her phone for evidence of her existence. the hit-men industry has probably taken something of a hit- security cameras and more watchful eyes and all that.
we're all a little more jaded when it comes to hollywood: the veil has been lifted in some ways. there's been metoo, there's been a pandemic where celebrities seemed to flounder hopelessly out of touch, there's been untold amount of horror stories about abused workers piling up as nepotism babies get jobs and anyone arriving in tinsel-town with a starstruck look on their face is likely to find themselves scurrying home instead of performing under bright lights.
this movie feels so turn of the twenty first century to me- i don't think it could have been made too many years before or since. it's the american dream mixing with the american anxiety of the year that we went to war drunk on our own jingoism while our nations roots rotted underneath. the 2000s were the decade of the celebrity: we obsessed over britney spears and eminem and the center of the world seemed to be situated all on the sun-baked streets of los angeles. dreams seemed more important that decade- the realities could be created by the media and by the faceless men behind hollywood studios uninterrupted. women wore belly shirts and the furniture was in bright colors and it was a candy-colored nightmare, with something lurking behind that dumpster.
there's also something so particular to the early 2000s in how women's pain and trauma was commodified for entertainment. if naomi watt's character was a real person, blessed with a little more luck, her mental breakdown and torment would have been tmz news, fodder to be ripped apart. women came through hollywood with the promise of becoming stars and were torn to pieces while the audience laughed. they say we've become better. i hope we've become better.
times change but times also stay the same. my brother went to school in los angeles and we had lunch and i listened to a man and a woman argue about things i couldn't grasp. my brother's friend was going to an audition and i saw a man naked running down the boulevard. there was a key my brother had been given that didn't seem to unlock anything. there's a whole world out there that we may never fully understand because life is strange and mysterious and rarely gives answers to questions or questions to answers.
the last day we were in los angeles, we were walking down a street shrouded by palms and a man passed me a flyer to a club that promised to make all my dreams come true. facetiously, i asked him if that would really happen. he winked and told me that this was california before walking back into the smog.