Posts Tagged ‘Willem Dafoe’

Media Update 9/20/18

September 20, 2018

Mayans MC

I really liked Sons of Anarchy and I realized when this show was about to premier that I had never watched the rest of it. The drama surrounding a club of bikers exposed me to kind of a new culture that I had never really been exposed to. When I lived in New Jersey, bikers from Orange County would drive through every so often and I have also encountered them on the way to West Virginia. However, I never really had much experience with actual bikers. Sons of Anarchy added a Shakespeare flavor to a show about gun-running bikers. So far, Mayans feels even better. The show is about a south California chapter of the Mayans, a biker gang mostly made up of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans. The show has elements of Sons of Anarchy but it already has conflicts with the FBI, the Cartels, Mexican citizens, and other gangs. The Mexican cartels are the perfect villains as everybody knows how brutal they are in real life. JD Pardo is great as the star of the show, EZ Reyes, a man who is trying to get his life together by any means necessary. Edward James Olmos plays his father, a butcher, who he regularly goes to for advice. Daniel Pino plays the head of a Cartel and is an interesting twist on what you would expect from such a character. The rest of the cast is really great and I am waiting to see who is going to stand out and become more important. The show does not rely at all on the plot of Sons of Anarchy and it definitely stands on its own. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Boondock Saints

I had heard a lot about this cult classic not long after it came out but I never got a chance to watch it. Back then I did watch the documentary about it called Overnight. That details how much of a jerk the director/writer of the movie is and how quickly a person can firebomb their own success. After watching the movie, that documentary is even more fascinating to me. I say that because it was a lot of fuss over a movie that is not very good. I suppose it is kind of like The Room but for action movies. Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flannery play brothers who are spurred to action by the story of Kitty Genovese and a bar fight with Russian mobsters. They decide to just murder as many gangsters and criminals as they can. They are quirky but mostly uninteresting as characters. They are joined by a bumbling friend David Rocco who is kind of like a character from a bad SNL skit. The highlight of the movie is Willem Dafoe who plays an FBI agent who is absolutely out of his mind. His performance is so nonsensical that it is hard to look away. Without him, the movie would have been bland dialogue (in delightful Irish accents) punctuated by gunfire. However, it felt like each of his scenes was written by a different person. It felt like the movie did not know whether it was serious or a parody and it kind of just happened. I do not recommend it but I am glad to get a cult classic under my belt.

American Vandal

Like most people, I witnessed the explosion of popularity of the podcast Serial and its fresh approach to detailing a criminal investigation and the facts of a case. The crux of that podcast was to present all of the facts and then ask questions. The podcast itself proved nothing definitively but it was eventually enough to gain Adnan a second trial. This mockumentary feels like a loving parody of that style. Much like Serial, this is the story of somebody who was accused of a heinous crime but there are questions about the guilt of the accused. Right off the bat, there are a lot of parallels between the two stories that made me smile. It is enough that I will say that listening to Serial enhances the viewing experience. Instead of a murder, Dylan is accused of spraypainting dicks on every single faculty car at his high school. As the show unfolds, more details are brought to light and each point of data is measured to see if it makes Dylan look innocent or guilty. In the story, the documentary is being made by two members of the AV club who begin to question the established story. The performances of everybody are so good. Everybody plays it with a straight face so the humor comes from situations and more realistic strangeness. More than the humor, I found myself wanting to watch the mystery get solved. I started to pick up clues before the characters saw them and so far it is very satisfying. I definitely recommend it.


Music of the Week:
Ariana Grande – God is a Woman


Fozzy – Burn Me Out

Twice – What is Love?

YG & Nipsey Hussle – FDT


Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Not Quite Within the Law”
– I started watching The Blacklist Season 5
– I started watching Iron Fist Season 2
– I started watching Bojack Horseman Season 5
– I kept watching Once Upon a Time Season 7
– I kept watching The Good Place Season 2
– I started watching The Mae Young Classic 2

American Psycho

October 12, 2015

I have a bias against the rich and wealthy people of America. My family always had money but we were never rich, like most Americans we lived on a budget and we did our best. We had lean times and times that were not so lean. However, as I grew more politically aware and knowledgeable about the world I grew to resent the truly wealthy people. In a lot of ways they are like aliens that walk the Earth and somehow absorb our currency faster than normal Earth humans. Many of them lose touch with what it is to be human and their children are born never knowing the true value of a dollar. These people are scary. The mindset that there will always be more than enough money frees some of them from any regard for human life. They grow socially conservative and guard their money against those who desperately need it. Their concerns become trivial by average standards. This movie is full of these people and it is terrifying.

I’m a huge Christian Bale fan and I have been since I discovered him when he took the role of Batman in the Dark Knight trilogy of movies. He brings everything to a performance even in a bad movie. I’ve since tried to slowly consume all of his filmography bit by bit. I even lingered and watched the Shaft remake because he played one of the villains. He was even great in the Shaft remake, what more do you want from the guy? In this he’s incredibly creepy. He plays a wealthy young man who does something with business in the eighties. He is very successful but something is very, very wrong with him. He conforms to society but it is quickly apparent that he has deep psychological problems and is just going through the motions to cover them up. His speech pattern is very superficial and unnatural, almost always smooth but with a weird rhythm and tone to it. He ocassionally seems to have outbursts of incredible anger but the character he’s yelling at never reacts so you’re left wondering if that was just in his head. It’s a really good portrayal of a serial killer.

The movie lacks any sort of sense most of the time. The surreal atmosphere of the super rich coupled with the insanity of Bale’s character makes for a disjointed, uncomfortable plot structure. Half of the time there’s barely a reason for the next thing to happen and even Bale’s narration isn’t going to help you very much with his motivations. I really gave up trying to figure out exactly what was going on pretty early in the movie. Instead, I sat back and enjoyed the ride while letting little interpretations and theories bounce around in my head. The insane main character is not the only crazy part of the movie. The people around him tend to react very strangely in that they largely don’t react. He’s very strange, the kind of person I would desperately try to avoid at a party or any other engagement once I had met him. Yet, the world around him is permissive and nonchalant about his eccentricity. Maybe they’re afraid to dig deeper and find the madness underneath. When the madness finally does come out it’s like a volcanic eruption and it’s all the scarier.

This movie is very well put together. Unlike a lot of the movies I will have reviewed this month, there was an actual budget behind this one. The camera work and music feel more artistic and that helps add to the pretentious and shallow feeling that I got. The director, Mary Harron, has only directed four films in her career. However, she was also the co-writer for this one (and all her films) which earns her a lot of points in my book. She has worked on two films concerning Andy Warhol which explains some of the weirdness of the movie. Yes, I am aware that the movie is intended as a parody but parody often rings a bit true. The film is visually designed with a minimalist and simple eighties style. There is a lot of black and white and some other expanses of solid colors that just feel empty. She and her friend Guinevere Turner adapted the movie from the novel of the same name by Bret Easton Ellis. Ellis did a lot of true crime research for his novel which I admit I haven’t read. However, I do see that he did a lot of film work as well as novels and obviously his work translated really well into a great movie.

Really, I was surprised by how good this movie was. The atmosphere was creepy, the characters were offputting and every part of it really worked. The actors beside Bale are all really good and put in more subtle performances which happily clashes with Bale’s performance. Even Willem Dafoe puts in a subtle performance and that’s really saying something. I would suggest you checking this out if you can stomach a lot of gore and a little sex.

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