Remember, I am not a film critic. I have no connections whatsoever to Hollywood or to the movie industry. So, with that, I am precisely as you: I pay to see every movie I attend with my own money and precious time. I have no assignments and if I chose to not see something, I do not have to. So, in that respect, there were so many movies that I did not see (umm..."CHIPS," "Baywatch"...etc...) and would not have seen even if you had paid me to do so...life is too short to waste on that kind of garbage.
Even so, there were some that rubbed me the wrong way...
And now for the bottom two...the worst of them all...
It's one thing when films try and fail--essentially all of the other films on this list (as horrible as "The Book Of Henry" is, it certainly tried)--but when films do not even try at all, that is when I find myself getting angry. In the case of this film, what we have is yet another "Alien" wanna-be, a copycat film to the point of plagiarism culminating in a utterly joyless, often incoherent, and self-congratulatory journey into the heart of prefabricated darkness complete with an utterly stupid "twist" ending that made me want to stone the screen.
This is a film that contains not even one original idea or moment and fro t hat matter, it is a horror film with not even one thrill, fright or scare as what we have is another installment of stupid people doing stupid things to only get themselves dismembered...and to keep the plot wheels spinning. And what a shame as the film houses a handsome production as well as some good performances throughout, yet all of them are wasted ina film that contains nothing to hold onto.
Daniel Epinosa's"Life" is essentially the equivalent of a White Castle slider. It's in. It's out. That's all.
(Originally reviewed June 2017)
MY LEAST FAVORITE FILM OF 2017
"THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI" Directed by Martin McDonagh
This may surprise you but I have to say that the more I think about this movie, the more I hate it and I am stunned that so many have embraced it so powerfully as, for me, it really is a sloppily written and directed feature that is not at all what it professes to be about and what it truly is about is something that is profoundly irresponsible.
Look, the core of the film is deeply compelling and truthfully, it is the only good material within the film. The story of Mildred Hayes, a Mother feverishly wanting justice for the unsolved rape/murder of her daughter so much that she publicly shames the local police department with the erection of three billboards outside of town is immensely powerful, blistering material and more than deserving of a film that is the equal to its own concept.
Unfortunately Martin McDonagh clearly chose to not make that film as his leading actress Frances McDormand, who does elicit a riveting performance of equal parts wrath, rage, grief, mourning and even a bit of mounting mental instability, is shuffled off to the sidelines and often forgotten altogether in favor of the the film's male characters: most notably, two racist police officers within a historically racist police department, both of whom through the convenience of McDonagh's heavy, manipulative and again, sloppy storytelling hand uses cheap tricks to manufacture some sense of prefabricated redemption and empathy, none of which is ever truly earned.
For those who do love the film and to some of those very people who have disagreed with my assessment of the film by explaining that "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" is indeed "messy" because life itself is "messy," plus the idea that I may be missing the point that sometimes simple solutions don't exist, the film is purposefully uncomfortable and that the characters are multi-dimensional and through all their dimensions we discover a sense of empathy in the process even though so many of the film's characters are irredeemable.
Yes, life is messy and the film attempts to reflect that very messiness. But to me, it completely failed on that account because so much of the film was so clearly prefabricated, in intent and execution. Yes, people are multi-dimensional but again, McDonagh failed at demonstrating that fact of life with his own characters. Having irredeemable characters performing irredeemable acts and somehow, we, as viewers, are not able to turn ourselves away is nothing new and certainly nothing McDonagh invented--especially as cable television is loaded end-to-end with all manner of anti-heroes and despicable characters that we either love to loathe or are so enraptured with that we would follow their descents or redemption absolutely anywhere.
But in doing so, it all comes down to excellent writing, which McDonagh failed at by injecting elements that are as cheap as they come when trying to elicit sympathy from your audience. And in doing so by forcing us to spend so much time with these men, they TAKE AWAY the film from Frances McDormand's character, the entire reason we're even watching this film in the first place. If the writing happened to be as good as some feel that it is, then I believe that all of those themes the film's supporters have professed to would understand that they are already contained in McDormand's character and therefore, we don't need any of the superfluous material. If only McDonagh realized that and just stuck to what he already had, we would have an infinitely better and more honest film.
By taking the film away from Frances McDormand's character, what we are left with is a film unnecessarily saddled with the subject of race and racism, topics this film did not need and topics McDonagh is clearly unable or unwilling to honestly tackle. Yes, any film about racism should be uncomfortable but in the case of this film, racism cannot be waved away through underdeveloped and marginalized to nearly non-existent African-American characters in favor of the supposed "good hearts" of the racist cops themselves. Very much like Director Kathryn Bigelow's disturbing for the wrong reasons docudrama "Detroit" (2017), I found myself asking the question: "Just who is this movie for?"
Because honestly, why should I care for police characters who have either abused and tortured Black people or were complicit in the abuse and torture of Black people just because they love their Mamas, have pretty wives and adorable children and are afflicted with certain spoilers I will not reveal but only exist because Martin McDonagh could not devise of any real ways to make his characters three dimensional rather than props being held up by more props that are only present to keep the plot wheels spinning. To ask that much of me is insulting to say the least and downright irresponsible at worst.
And then, add to this needlessly over-stuffed experience the tacked on presence of Peter Dinklage, completely wasted in a role that offers him or us absolutely nothing, a flashback sequence that is painfully obvious in its faux irony, the marginalization of essentially ALL of the film's female characters, badly presented tonal changes and a final scene of so-called profound ambiguity but is, in actuality, another piece of prefabricated pap that unearth some troubling concepts that McDonagh clearly just did not wish to involve himself with...so, just end the movie and roll credits.
"Deliberately messy"? Really?! Martin McDonagh's "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" is a mess due to its own incoherence, plastic emotions and its adherence to upholding White male authority figures as "good people" regardless of their unspeakable actions and at the expense of a woman undergoing an unspeakable loss.
This move had better not win the Oscar for Best Picture!
STAY TUNED: MY TOP TEN FAVORITE FILMS OF 2017!!!!