Skip to main content

Discussion over "Logan Lucky," Hell or High Water," and others, at the New Yorker Movie Facebook Club

After "Hell or High Water" getting so much attention, and now with "Logan Lucky"... and even perhaps with "Paterson," and even "Logan" (and "Manchester by the Sea"?), we appear to have the makings of an emerging pattern: people who've been long-ignored by society and felt the burdens abandonment made for them, testing to see if it might now be time for their re-evaluation. One of the things we take notice of in each of these films, is not simply the humiliations they've incurred, the sense of "smallness" they've had to suffer from, but a weighing to see if their weight sufficient so if the finish of the film does break for them, does weigh in heavily with them, for it to feel hedged against fallback. These films are video, dramatizing that a call has sounded, and something in people we haven't been much interested in lately is having them test themselves for the possibilities of flight, after only concluding hiding and hibernation and consolidating themselves as real options. Their not having cellphones, their not being socially connected, is an asset, as society begins to decide the creature of spoof... is not the retrograde but the twittering, social-media-star, nincompoop. Their associations with the military, are assets, deserving of deference, and keep them formidable when others lose what had given them easy range, which was always fluff. Their being for Jesus, is a sign of at least some effort to admonish themselves, however clumsily. Their caring about Nascar, rural Texas, working-class Paterson N.J., is their caring for quintessential America, that long neglected lovely. Their self-mockery, speaks loudly for their modesty and against everyone who's pumped up. They're all so... basic, and good; maybe with genuine promise. We see they've been ignored, and how unjustly. Yet these are all "communities" that if not Trump, still very deeply conservative, that we are being bidden to awaken to, essentially give ground to, as they test their wings. They feel patriarchal. 

To stop their gaining the staked high ground, which to me sounds like a very, very, bad idea, is our role then to stop lauding these films, hefting them to the top of the critical charts, and rather start applying stern critical pressure? Do we need to insist that they take all these protagonists away, and replace them with those forbidden flattering, fantastical covers? Not agree when we see "ourselves" transposed into these films, that we are ridiculous and deserve to be chased away or punched? I mean it was surely just a few years ago when they could all be ascribed "deplorables," assuming we'd agree. Show at least one of these hopeful souls sounding somewhere like Ann Coulter, and then we'll adjust our apperception, decide whether we honestly think it's great we see them feeling warranted a turn for the better... see their representing that a line has been crossed, and no more damage will be allowed to take place, not just 'cause it's right but because these are the people who may in the end be what'll save us--our reserve of hope.

Top of Form

Sam D Levan I thought he'll or highwatsr was very poor film making

Sam D Levan It had 100 percent on rotten tomatoes and so did baby driver. both films perpetuate a narrative of a lone white male who ultimately succeeds because of them self and themself alone.

Patrick McEvoy-Halston Sam D Levan It is made to seem as if they succeed owing to a bit more than that, though. It feels like they are allowed to succeed because of a whole amalgam of things they offer... they're charitable to the waitress who was kind and made an effort to flirt with them; the money is returned to the bank; the real money, the Las Vegas money that keeps their oil-rich property in their hands, goes entirely to his kids, and also perhaps because one of them, the brother who wasn't around to spend time around their mother, to care for her, when she got really bad before she died, dies: there is further sacrifice, a beloved brother. Also, it's made to seem like they succeed because... the other townsfolk are with them, even as it seems impossible to them that someone could get away with stealing money from a bank these days, and because the bank managers are sickly evil. It's all of this that FEELS, at least, why Chris Pine's character will come out okay, with the money to his sons... that they get "lucky." Not just 'cause alone, he's a badass. I believe that a vastly similar argument can be made concerning "Logan Lucky."

Sanford Sharp I thought Hell or HW had a lot to recommend it, but the politics were lacking in subtlety. And I suppose I'm getting tired of Jeff Bridges playing Rooster Cogburn.

Lizzie Nicholson it was a good effort, on the strength of the two lead actors, and yes it is a socially relevant film, mirroring the plight of people who lose their homestead or house to greedy people or bankers

Patrick McEvoy-Halston And why if FEELS like they get to be lucky, in "Logan Lucky" (spoilers): incurred war wounds (that are, absurdly, but apparently almost legitimately, open grounds for mockery); unfair dismissal; lost wife to wealthy man; insecure parental rights over child; being subject (regarding the sister) to repeated gross courtships by wealthy man, deflected each time with sass but feeling uncertain nevertheless for his being a winner in a land of very, very compromised losers; jail sentence, nearly served (lots of lost life) rather than just begun; large nest-egg of money, presumed safe but actually stolen day one, by girlfriend who absconded with other man; trying to be loyal to Jesus; definitely loving Nascar; preferring John Denver (and American country) and America the Beautiful over glitz; last to new-tech fashion, thinking old has worth; heist privileges money as actual bills, something dirty, shit that goes through the bowels... our familiar sense of it, the American-loyal sense of it as something tangible but also dirty; they keep small portion of total; Nascar loses nothing, owing to insurance; money is given to everyone who was compromised by their actions; money is given to everyone who facilitated them... and they willingly accept a stranger as sheriff amongst them, that will confirm them in their evident preference: to do nothing really showy with their incurred gains (lead protagonist will work at "Loews," brother at bar... the sheriff is insurance to keep them saintly; very welcome, not a downer, or harbinger of future ill-turn). 

And for this, it feels like something huge like America decides for them, a judge vastly more vital than the one who in court also decided for them. And the gains are actually, secretly, huge -- battered into accommodation by her child choosing the father as a direct link to American saintliness ("Country roads..."), the arrogant ex-wife turns pliant as dramatically as the landlord did in Godfather 2; a woman with an education lets herself be drawn within the vortex of someone who represents those who were never going to amount to much after high-school... tables feel they're beginning to be turned against those who used to make fun of an older America, and they'll be caught out for not realizing the gods who were once all in with them have changed their minds. They're about to shine sustenance on someone else right now.

Karthik Purushothaman "Paterson" the film didn't do any justice the town at all. I live here.

Lizzie Nicholson I don't think Paterson was supposed to represent a town...

Lizzie Nicholson I mean you're talking Jarmusch's universe here...;)

Scott Hartley The pattern you're defining emerged a little earlier. Henry Fielding created "Tom Jones, published 1749, taking the radical step of making a forgotten, ignored, denigrated, lower-class person -- a "foundling, ie conceived out of wedlock and having no claim to wealth -- making such a person the protagonist of a fiction, and representing his efforts, often self-effacing and occasionally miscreant but ultimately successful, to rise in the world.

Bill Randolph "Tom Jones" was not the least bit radical in this respect: this style of novel originated in 16th-century Spain, and in English the first example is Thomas Nashe's The Unfortunate Traveller (1594)

Mark Schaffer See Wind River, about Native American humilitions. In some ways, better than Hell..
Bottom of Form


Popular posts from this blog

Old Youth

You write about how poverty breeds creativity. You think about how scavenging for wild food gives you the perfect opportunity to slow down, to really appreciate your surroundings. You talk about how frugality is more environmentally sustainable. You pontificate on why creating meals from scratch is cheaper, healthier and deeply satisfying. Then you run out of cooking oil.You love fat. As a child you ate margarine by the spoonful. You didn't know any better. Now you've moved on to more delicious pastures. As a cook you can never resist sneaking in that extra bit of butter, that tablespoonful of olive oil, that dab of bacon grease. You believe that cake is a vessel for frosting, that salad dressing should be two parts oil to one part vinegar, and that packaged low-fat foods are a symptom of the decline of Western civilization. Fat makes food taste good.Under the best of circumstances, you have eight or nine varieties of fat on hand. In ascending order of importance: chicken drip…

Superimposing another "fourth-wall" Deadpool

I'd like to superimpose the fourth-wall breaking Deadpool that I'd like to have seen in the movie. In my version, he'd break out of the action at some point to discuss with us the following:
1) He'd point out that all the trouble the movie goes to to ensure that the lead actress is never seen completely naked—no nipples shown—in this R-rated movie was done so that later when we suddenly see enough strippers' completely bared breasts that we feel that someone was making up for lost time, we feel that a special, strenuous effort has been made to keep her from a certain fate—one the R-rating would even seemed to have called for, necessitated, even, to properly feed the audience expecting something extra for the movie being more dependent on their ticket purchases. That is, protecting the lead actress was done to legitimize thinking of those left casually unprotected as different kinds of women—not as worthy, not as human.   

2) When Wade/Deadpool and Vanessa are excha…

True Detective cont'd

Recently, Rachel Syme wrote this
As the dust settles on the “True Detective” finale, and the adventures of Rust Cohle and Marty Hart fade into the television firmament like the distant stars they found so meaningful, at least one thing is clear: it didn’t quite end the way we wanted it to. There is no doubt that the writer, Nic Pizzolatto, and director, Cary Fukunaga, pulled off a midseason coup, giving us a show in the January doldrums that caused temporary mass insanity. Like one of Rust’s intoxicating philosophical koans about sentient meat, “True Detective” cast a kind of spell over its viewers, convincing them that no matter what it was they were watching it was at the very least something worth the hours of debating, clicking, parsing, and comment-section feuding. Moreover, the gorgeous cinematography depicting Louisiana in the gloaming, the delectable short-anthology format, and the movie-star bona fides made us believe that we were watching something novelistic, even approachi…