Under the Silver Lake ★★★½

"You're living in a carnival.... hoping to win a prize." - Sex Cult Guy,

- 2019 Ranked: boxd.it/2lsbC

I know this is a weird thing to say but I find movie scenes where children are beat up to be funny and this one has an awesome one.

Under the Silver Lake is a neo-noir missing person film with a Scott Pilgrim flair, and here I am take my money. Sam is an aimless young adult looking for meaning when he meets a woman named Sarah that he finds interesting, mysterious and fun. When she disappears the very next day Sam goes on a quest to find Sarah and the quest brings him through secret codes, various encounters with hipsters, and a strange California culture that needs to be checked. Fuck this movie for making me love it which makes me hate myself which makes me hate myself again for hating myself... then comes regret for being mad at myself because I'm trying to be more positive you know? At least that's where I'm at... I'm saying I liked it.

I like the feel and characterization in this film despite not especially loving any of the characters on a personal level. People that find this boring or slow aren't wrong but that is the intent, and not a mistake. This movie nails a neo-noir feel from the meandering pace, smart women and fast-talking guys, loose slang, chance encounters, etc. While I dread that this will spawn dozens of bad ripoffs I really enjoyed the overall aesthetic of Under the Silver Lake. The characters also feel like elevated hipster nerd archetypes. I feel more comfortable interacting with people like this than with people that think everything is fine in the world. I like listening to paranoid stories and theories about why things are the way they are... Sociologists are susceptible to conspiracy after all. Topher Grace's character is 25% of white male students I teach and Andrew Garfield is another 25%. I just find the film very successful at what it is apparently trying to achieve.

Recommended to fans of noir and/or mystery, especially if you are into 80s and 90s culture but that is not a necessity.

P.S. This one time I went crazy for a little while looking into deeper meanings of the Adventures in the Valley of the Unknown mystery quest at COSI, the top rated science center in Columbus, Ohio. This was a 6-10 hour mystery with codes and secret meanings that many people would spend multiple days trying to figure out. You had to do math and decode languages and figure out riddles... it was great. I went with my daughter but she got bored so I just kept going back. I had a special notebook. Once I solved it I delved further, thinking there was more meaning than they were letting on. I even watched a TV show referenced in one of the clues just to figure out what else was there. I even tried to contact the creator of the exhibit but he never responded to my email. I guess I'm saying that as a crazy person I appreciate movies about crazy people.

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