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

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Full conversation about "Bringing Up Baby" at the NewYorker Movie Facebook Club

Richard Brody shared a link.Moderator · November 20 at 3:38pm I'm obsessed with Bringing Up Baby, which is on TCM at 6 PM (ET). It's the first film by Howard Hawks that I ever saw, and it opened up several universes to me, cinematic and otherwise. Here's the story. I was seventeen or eighteen; I had never heard of Hawks until I read Godard's enthusiastic mention of him in one of the early critical pieces in "Godard on Godard"—he called Hawks "the greatest American artist," and this piqued my curiosity. So, the next time I was in town (I… I was out of town at college for the most part), I went to see the first Hawks film playing in a revival house, which turned out to be "Bringing Up Baby." I certainly laughed a lot (and, at a few bits, uncontrollably), but that's not all there was to it. I had never read Freud, but I had heard of Freud, and when I saw "Bringing Up Baby," its realm of symbolism made instant sense; it was obviou…

When Rose McGowan appears in Asgard: a review of "Thor: Ragnarok"

The best part of this film was when Rose McGowan appeared in Asgard and accosted Odin and his sons for covering up, with a prettified, corporate, outward appearance that's all gay-friendly, feminist, multicultural, absolutely for the rights of the indigenous, etc., centuries of past abuse, where they predated mercilessly upon countless unsuspecting peoples.
And the PR department came in and said, okay Weinstein... I mean Odin and Odin' sons, here's what we suggest you do. First, you, Odin, are going to have to die. No extensive therapy; when it comes to predators who are male, especially white and male, this age doesn't believe in therapy. You did what you did because you are, or at least strongly WERE, evil, so that's what we have to work with. Now death doesn't seem like "working with it," I know, but the genius is that we'll do the rehab with your sons, and when they're resurrected as somehow more apart from your regime, belonging as tropes …