Frank

I thought it was supposed to be vague, then bland, then vague again


A level of wacky that is flipping a car because its 'Why Be Normal?' bumpersticker was upside down.
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Reported on 13th of June, 2014

Offhand thoughts and not much more energy to be expended on what can only be called an unrealized film. To save you the trouble, Everyman joins a weird band because nothing happens, and we learn that what makes music authentic is when it’s real, man. Thinking back, this is the opposite of an ex post facto film (a pre facto?) in that I’m starting to like it less as time wears on.

Frank

26 May 2014 @ The Curzon Victoria


-$13.40 or, if one must be jejune, and one must... 
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

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And it could be that I just didn’t like the music, and that’s fair enough, because I didn’t. But the film, like any, could work if it had some direction, or jokes, or something to say. Instead it’s the same ol’ confusion we’ve seen so many times before: it’s about fame, and also about how it’s really not. It’s about the music! And how it should get famous. Like the America we all hate and want, it’s the rich man selling the poor man a fable where it’s noble to be poor as long as you get all the money in the end. Which you totally will. I promise. You’ll get it. It’s coming. There it is. Oh, sorry. It’s coming though. Any minute now.

Ah, ambiguity. The cheap Art Film shortcut for having a point of view and making a case for it.

Vis-a-vis the in no way secret desire for fame, it’s less egregious than Inside Llywyn Davis, but this merely means it’s more diffuse. Ah, ambiguity. The cheap Art Film shortcut for having a point of view and making a case for it. As such, the film ends well, with a heartbreaking Fassy making music in a dive bar, which makes the case it is about the music you want to make. And I think that’s why people like it, you can see the film it could have been, and maybe there’s a tendency to rewrite the film in our minds to make it seem like it earned the ending.

But in regards to the first nine-tenths of the film, I spent a great deal of the time not watching and thinking very fondly of Mr. Michael Cera for having not been in this. Technically I thought fondly of everyone who wasn’t in this, and even some people who were, and not so fondly of people who weren’t. Hmm. Not a terribly useful observation.

Instead we are stuck with Mr. Domhall extremely twitchy means likable right? Gleeson, previous reprehensible in About Time. Mr. Gleeson finds himself in a situation where band members do vaguely odd and possibly threatening things, and proceeds makes the genial choice every time. In Mr. Gleeson’s defense, this is because these quirks are of a level of wacky that flips a car over because it has its ‘Why Be Normal?’ bumpersticker upside down.

Hey, leave my car alone. It was printed that way.

Tried out the Curzon Victoria, convenient to the station. Nice place, very, very bad service. And if you get theater one, do not sit in the second row.

Tried out the Curzon Victoria, convenient to the station. Nice place, very, very bad service. And if you get theater one, do not sit in the second row.

I do blame Mr. Gleeson, because this is the job of the everyman characters of the world. Though the hijinks are lifeless at best (a word I struggled to capture while watching, for reasons that should be self-evident), they might have, maybe, worked, if there was a straight man somewhere in there. React, godammit! Yes, it’s crap, but you’re not at an audition for Kulashov. Trick us!

But it’s more than that, and if Mr. Cera is the gold standard, it’s because he brings both innocence and a quiet protest of the straight man. There’s a guy wearing a giant head. That’s kind of something. Everyone is calling him a genius, even when the music they are making comes off like a too late and low rent Animal Collective. You gotta call him on that.

And so, instead of comedy, tension or interest, we have the astonishingly unpleasant conveyor belt of characters talking about whether or not your music is shit, or isn’t, when let’s face it, nobody knows. If one point one billion people can love the five tone scale, anything can be music. This is the film’s reaction shot. Your music is good. Your music is bad.

Yuck.

From the digital ashes one could make a fairly interesting film about musical taste. Talent isn’t luck, or genetic, or upbringing. It’s salesmanship. Either conferred by fame, success or critical acclaim, or some self-deluded person believing in it so much that others do, all truth is social. And this film doesn’t so much explore this myth, as it does take a bath in it. In other words, your music is good if you’re lucky enough to possess a lack of shame.

If only there was some way to create a metaphor that kind of character.

The Take

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Profits!
Mr. Fassbinder is pretty good. Never really cared for him before this. Hey, that’s wacky.
$2.00
Total Profits
$2.00
Losses!
A character walking across the street is hit by a car so that something will happen.
$1.00
The trope so nice, we did it twice.
$2.00
Also, what purpose did the everyman character serve? Was he supposed to destroy them? Was he Yoko, and he just didn’t know it? Does Yoko know that she’s Yoko? Is Yoko Yoko?
$1.00
Minutes of writer’s block onscreen @ $0.40 per minute.
$8.40
Here’s something that you should never, ever have a character say: ‘I thought it was supposed to be hilarious.’
$2.00
Total Losses
$15.40

-$13.40

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