Come for the sleep. Stay for the failure.

I think they're trying to sell it as a comedy. It ain't, but stick with it.
Reported on 23rd of January, 2018

Having just arrived in CST from the EST at 8a, after a moderately terrifying aborted landing and an extremely satisfying noisette (un noisette, the chocolate cake. Une noisette is the coffee. Because ‘noisette’ means hazelnut), I decided to see Downsizing at the Gaumont Opéra. It was 2h15 long.

I was tired, and I needed to sleep. Using a bed would mean I had admitted defeat.


19 January 2018 @ The Gaumont Opéra

$8.00 or, if one must be prosaic, and one must... 
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆


If there’s a complement to a film, it’s keeping me awake in the best of time zone circumstances, more so in the worst. Disastrously marketed as a comedy, not perfect, and the persona of Mr. Damon overshadowing a serious section of the film, this is a weird one. After an unnecessarily long first act, the story suddenly finds itself adrift. You don’t – can’t – know what’s going to happen next. In the best way possible.

Like all great science fiction (Wall•E, Idiocracy), the conceit (overpopulation, sigh) is very much not the film’s topic. Regardless, probably the only film that correctly portrays the environment-o’s (and now I’m thinking of a cereal that makes you feel like you’re saving the environment. And all I have to do is buy it? How much, does it have quinoa, and is it still okay to eat quinoa or is there something new that we can steal from poor farmers and upmarket?!) correctly, as members of a sad cult that hates humanity. I should know; I’m one of them. We’re right, but we enjoy being right way too much.

Let’s get to the film’s strong violation of The Roger Corman rule. During the first ten minutes, really the first forty minutes, my ass was squirming like a director watching Harry Cohn’s ass watch his movie. Harry Cohn. Not the ass. That’s a William Burroughs’ film. And you want your ass to squirm in that case.

What I’ll also remember is the ad for Star Wars…The Experience now at EuroDisney. I think it’s called Season of the Force. I’m glad that ‘The Force’ is so easy to translate into French. And so is Derrida.

Roger Corman tells us, via me, that a film that can’t get you interested in the first ten minutes has told you all you need to know about itself. I’m less inclined to believe this, and it’s why I see everything in the cinema. Lately (The Post is a good example, as is myself, as I sit down to slash the first thirty pages of something for which I will never be paid, but about which I can wistfully read years from now) otherwise good films have mistaken exposition for story.

The film validates, as it’s a corollary, the Behind the Backstory rule, which is to say: there’s exposition and there’s story. Know the difference.

The first forty minutes, despite its copious peni, is largely unnecessary. As I was noting throughout, this is a Kaufman movie, and Mr. Kaufman would have known to make the film about how we already had the technology, and the tragicomic ways to which we had inured ourselves to it.

Ms. Wiig’s is swell as the ultimate narcissist/mommy replacement, but her departure is the inciting incident, which you put ten minutes in, thus to avoid ass-twitching.

This would count as a spoiler, but you know. I was initially disappointed that something so telegraphed had actually transpired, until I realized: the film now has no place at all to go.

And hence its charm. It remains the strangest film of the year certainly, made all the more so by its impossibly huge budget. They’re never going to let him make another film again, but unlike The Second Peter Hyams Rule, I feel like Mr. Payne knows he got away with something. You sense his snicker throughout.

It is further the most relevant studio picture about class since They Shoot Horses Don’t They? and I really cannot recommend enough that you stick with it. I think they’re trying to sell it as a comedy, but I, it, and they don’t know what the fuck it is.

You tell me.

The Take

Total Profits
Hr. Christophe Waltz. Jesus, that guy can play anything.
I like that the movie is rooting for Mr. Damon to do the stupid thing.
Whatever you think, this is a product of our time, and they’ll be showing in the teensies film classes in thirty years. Easy Rider isn’t that great, but you’ve seen it.
Total Profits
The film suffers because of the way it got made: with Mr. Damon’s casting. We spend too much time wanting it to be something that it isn’t.
Having just seen Three Billboards (here re-titled Three Billboards, Panneux de vengeance, that is to say, Three Billboards, Billboards of Vengeance, sigh), the level of writing needed to be higher. Still pretty damned high.
Total Losses