Why is it that when I have fewer things to write about, I end up writing so much more? All we have are a couple movies and a TV show that the director claims is actually a 13 hour movie. I suppose having about 17 hours of stuff to talk about is akin to a full week of movie watching, so it merits almost 2000 words? I dunno, I don’t need validation for this. Enjoy the really long reviews.
July 3: Requiem for a Dream (Amazon Prime Video, Starz division)
I’ve heard the Requiem for a Dream theme hundreds of times. At my old summer camp, they played it at the most tense moments of our colour wars. If whoever was in charge of music were to have actually seen Requiem, I highly doubt they’d want to have that song play as a constant reminder.
Taking the title of most disturbing movie I’ve ever seen is somewhat tough. I saw Oldboy, which was emotionally disturbing in every possible way. The Neon Demon and Suspiria are often physically disturbing. But Requiem is different. It combines everything that could possibly be unsettling or vile into one movie, making it both incredibly difficult to watch and endlessly intriguing in its own demented way.
Jared Leto is a method actor, which worries me when it comes to Requiem. I really hope he didn’t actually take up heroin for the role. Regardless, it sure as hell seems like he did, since he plays a drug addict as well as I’ve ever seen, as does Jennifer Connelly. Ellen Burstyn is terrifyingly convincing as an older woman driven insane by her need to lose weight, and even Marlon Wayans manages to keep up with the rest of the cast.
Addiction is the real star of the movie, though. All of our characters are addicted to drugs in different ways, and all of them end up with their lives irreparably ruined by said drugs. It’s on the nose in concept, but in execution, it’s something completely new, and something I’m not surprised to see hasn’t been done much since. The movie is frantic, ramping up more and more as our characters fall deeper and deeper into the pitfalls of substance abuse, reflected by surreal images and off-putting editing. It’s a fever dream of hideousness that I can’t help but appreciate. Don’t do heroin, people. Just, don’t do heroin. Don’t do it.
July 4: Too Old To Die Young (Amazon Prime Video)
I laugh to myself, alone in the house at 1:30 in the am, because I don’t know what else to do.
I’ve finished Too Old To Die Young, you see. I may be the first and only person to have ever done so willingly. I would not be surprised if that were the case. A 13 hour movie masquerading as a 10 episode TV show is enough to deter many. The name Refn deters some more. And the pacing that makes a sloth look like Secretariat, no, a Lambo, deters everyone. Only I remain.
I am here to tell you all about a show you haven’t seen. A show you never will see. A show none of your friends, none of your family will ever see. I don’t recommend this show. It is not for you. But Joey, you don’t know me, how can you know for sure? That’s because this show is made for nobody.
Nobody but me.
Why would anyone want to sit through hours of slow pans over pretty colours? Why would anyone want to wait 30 seconds for Miles Teller to deliver every line as if they woke him up mere seconds before rolling? Why would anyone want to take a break from all the nothing that’s usually happening to watch a freshly handless man beg for his own hasty demise? Or watch Augusto Aguilera attempt to elicit some kind of emotion from Teller by whipping him over and over, then hack him apart with a massive blade?
Why would you want to sit through 13 hours only for the show to end with a half hour episode in which nothing all that significant happens, and plot threads are left hanging like a falsely accused medieval witch? Why have Miles Teller’s character in the show…at all? Why couldn’t Damian have killed Jesus’ mother and have that revenge plot make a lot more sense?
Why, and this question is for you, Mr. Refn, are you obsessed with incest? I was a little disturbed by Ryan Gosling trying to bang his mom in Only God Forgives. I’m a little more disturbed by Jesus getting his wife to pretend she’s his mother and jerk him off and/or penetrate him with the handle of a whip. Yes, that same whip he used on Teller, I’m glad you’re keeping up! Having incest in one of your movies is a strange decision, sure, but it’s just the story you wanted to tell. Having it in two, well, Freud just rose from the grave and whispered something in my ear. It was in German, but I’m pretty sure he was asking me to set up an appointment with Mr. Refn immediately. That’s what “Ich höre auf, diese Mami-Scheiße ist selbst für mich zu verrückt” means, right?
You’re waiting, now, for me to say that after all that, I still enjoyed the hell out of Too Old To Die Young. You read my review last week; you know I can’t get enough of his boring bullshit. And my god, as much as I want to say that I finally saw through it this time, I can’t. I still love it. I can’t find a way to not love it. I watched a 13 hour movie that has the same amount of plot as ⅔ of a normal movie, and I still loved it. I’m wrong, probably. I’m sure the synapses in my brain are simply firing incorrectly, and there is, in fact, nothing to enjoy here. It’s a mutation that very few people have, and like many mutations, it comes as both a blessing and a curse.
Ok, ok, there may be some things about this show that normal humans would be able to love. There’s an episode in the middle in which Teller is hunting down some non-consensual porn producers (who, I just remembered, are incestuous brothers of course), and it culminates in by far the funniest scene Refn has ever created. I mean, that’s not saying much since it may also be his first funny scene, but that fact makes it even funnier. I won’t get too into it, but it involves an absurd car chase through the desert and the line “This motherfucker is a dead motherfucker!”, which I find absolutely hilarious for some reason. The entire episode works so well because it’s focused and deliberate without sliding too far into boring slog, making it all the more satisfying when we see the producers’ heads get reduced to dark red goo.
Alright, enough. I’ve said enough. Don’t watch this show, it’s great. That’s the takeaway here. I repeat, do not watch Too Old To Die Young. It isn’t worth your valuable time. It’s Refn at his absolute most Refn, meaning we’re pretty much just watching his masturbation unfold on Amazon Prime over the course of 13 hours. Thank you, Refn. It’s just what I wanted.
July 5: Spider-Man: Far From Home (Theatre)
Until Endgame, Spider-Man: Homecoming was my favourite movie in the MCU. It was the best comedy of 2017, and just happened to also have some good action, the best MCU villain, and a ton of heart. That’s to say, Far From Home had a lot to live up to.
So is it better than Homecoming? No. Is it as good as Homecoming? No, but I gotta say, it at the very least lived up to my rather high expectations. All I want from a Spider-Man movie after Homecoming is to see Peter Parker being an awkward teenager. That was the best part of Homecoming, and it’s the best part of Far From Home. Both movies absolutely nail the character, and Far From Home only serves to add even more depth to him. Following the death of [redacted], Peter is understandably in need of a break from being a superhero, and more importantly, in need of a person to fill the hole [redacted] left. He’s quick to trust new hero Mysterio, immediately seeing his potential as a much needed friend; someone to give him some guidance. SPOILERS…Mysterio’s betrayal not only leaves Peter not knowing what’s real, but also forces him to withhold his trust in others. His first father figure dies saving the universe, and his new one turns out to be a maniacal fraud? It takes a toll on him, and the movie doesn’t avoid Peter’s more complicated side.
But enough about how depressing the movie is, it’s also a great comedy! Angourie Rice takes a far larger role than in Homecoming and despite being pretty awful in that new Black Mirror episode I hate, she’s great here (and in The Nice Guys, obviously). Jacob Batalon is back as “the guy in the chair”, and he continues to be hilarious, as does Samuel L Jackson as straight man Nick Fury. Jon Favreau struggles to keep up sometimes, but ultimately doesn’t take away from the whole package. Tom Holland, born to be Spider-Man, is incredible as always. He’s awkward in ways Tobey Mcguire and Andrew Garfield could only dream of being, and has perfect chemistry with the equally awkward and charming Zendaya.
Far From Home actually excels at the very thing I hate: overly CGI heavy action dumps. There are breathtaking sequences that are clearly done entirely in CGI, showcasing all the best things that can be done with the technology. Seeing London get annihilated is fine and all, but I’ve seen it in plenty of other movies. Scenes in which Mysterio is messing with Peter’s reality are spectacular and somewhat scary, in that it feels like current tech isn’t all that far from holograms that can usurp reality.
Huh, I really have nothing bad to say about Far From Home. It’s just a great movie, if you’re into all that superhero crap I claim to hate.
It’s been a fun week. I can’t think of anything more fun than sitting on my ass all week to finish a show that can be described only as fantastically boring. Next week I’m seeing Midsommar, and I cannot contain my excitement. This week’s shoutout goes to books. Yeah, just all books. Nice job, books.