Midnight Sun & Isle of Dogs

No I have the best emotions!

There's nothing to feel but feelings of feelings.
Reported on 2nd of May, 2018

It would surprise none of you to hear that I liked Midnight Sun more than Isle of Dogs. All the more so because you’ve never heard of former, and the latter is a Wes Anderson film. This means that one can somehow be more unsurprised by something. That’s certainly how I felt watching the latter, which I was simply too bored to hate.

Except in retrospect of course.

The Mood Organ

re: Midnight Sun & Isle of Dogs

Nobody likes emotions, which is technically an emotion. Nobody liking emotions is why I failed my PhD, which makes me hate them even more. But emotions are why we see films. We are sitting still in a theater, or anxiously playing Puyo Puyo and tweeting while having children running around the television playing How To Get Away With Murder in the background. We’re not interacting or even moving. Dogs, real ones, are staring at us thinking: ‘Seriously, what the fuck? You’re just…sitting there. It’s weird. Do you want a treat?’

Not the dogs in Isle of Dogs, as that would require insight or even observation. But you get the idea. We watch, read, and listen because we want to feel something. Feeling is the only reason, because nothing else is happening. Even if that feeling is pretending that there are no feelings at, we’re just like doing it because we’re rational. About feeling.

Midnight Sun

10 April 2018 @ The Norwich Odeon

$4.00 or, if one must be prosaic, and one must... 
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆


Midnight Sun, and I have to say I knew nothing going in, was a film foisted upon me by Dorothée, and I will be forever grateful. It is clunky workmanlike filmmaking, with a tone shift that it does not survive.

And yet, naturally, I cried copiously at the end. You’re not going to see it: she dies. It’s a light teen romance where she dies, and thus squeezes out more actual story beats than the entire Twilight œuvre.

Yes, the beats are by the book – she is sick, she hides her being sick from The Boy, she gets in trouble for the hiding, but they are, you know, there. What’s more it has a lot of sweetness in it. The characters love each other. I was thinking while watching Game Night, a perfectly serviceable though imperfect comedy, how rare is it that we see people in relationships…untested. People are always getting together or coming apart, but only rarely since Nick and Nora is that friendship is simply integrated into the story.

I’m tearing up a little just writing about it.

Midnight Sun: The Take

Initially terrible, there’s now something charming about the fact that the doctor – in full sunlight – asks why Ms. Thorne can’t be at her appointment, when her disease is not being able to go out into sunlight.
I felt something.
I felt no shame at feeling it.
Total Profits
The songs. They played them all the way through. @ $1.00 per song.
Total Losses


Isle of Dogs

19 April 2018 @ The Gaumont Rennes

-$2.00 or, if one must be prosaic, and one must... 
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆


Should have said something nice about The Grand Budapest Hotel, which I rather liked, leaps and bounds his best film since Bottle Rocket. Maybe I’ll do it now. Let’s try it again. Ahem… Should have said something nice about The Grand Budapest Hotel. As if by HTML magic…

I liked the movie and mention that now so late in the game so I will seem objective, which I am not. But revealing my lack of objectivity is objective…unless it’s a trick. Which it definitely is. Unless that sentence was a trick.

Have to say, was not expected to have one of these collectable babies. Right next to a place that sells tacquitos. You know, but the 16th century church.

Don’t know why I hate Mr. Anderson so much; I like pointless word games as much as he likes pointless visuals.

Throughout Isle of Dogs, I was largely thinking of Armageddon, which distinguishes itself by being a film about Mr. Bruce Willis sacrificing himself to save the world that didn’t make me cry. Likewise, Isle of Dogs is a film about a boy who risks his life to save his dog from a trash island. Unfortunately with the dictionary perfect definition of precious on display, it comes off as a thought experiment in not caring.

Which is a shame, because the film is there. It is the antithesis of Grand Budapest Hotel is one crucial way: just as that film could only be good if Mr. Anderson was the director, this is a film that could be good if anyone else was.

One can imagine Mr. Jason Schwartzman’s version, one of the co-writers and a notorious dog lover, going to Pixar or Disney or even, gulp, Dreamworks, and turning it into a great and simple tale.

Instead, every opportunity to distance the audience is taken: the self-conscious celebrity cameos, the proscenium staging, the reference to That Japanese Film I Totally Saw And Everyone Should See It Except They Shouldn’t Because Then They’ll Know I’m Just Stealing Shit Instead Of Having My Own Ideas.

Sorry, it was from the sequel to TJFITSAESSIETSBTTKIJSSIOHMOI. You know, TJFITSAESSIETSBTTKIJSSIOHMOI 2: Originality is just Obscurity of Sources.

That’s mine. You can’t have it.

Mr. Anderson’s perpendicular universe works in a tale about Nazis because Nazis at this point need that type of treatment; the pretension neuters them effectively. You feel how much they would hate it. The cutesiness and pastels suffocate a tale of dogs because they call attention to the form, which just takes us out of the emotion. All you really need to do is show a doggie.

Just made it in after weaving through a massive line of concert goers in front of Rennes concert hall. Who waits in line for anything? They were trying to stop me.

Scientifically, this is also because dogs are the opposite of Nazis. But if I bring Science into this, I won’t seem objective any more.

Look, there are people who like this movie, and who feel something watching it, just like there are people who like abstract art, beets and (shudder) opera. Mr. Anderson’s film will hit some people the way it missed me.

There’s something to be said for the emotion of appreciation, however empty I personally find it. It’s not unlike the way we avoid danger in stories – we want empathy, but not too much excitement. The desire for the illusion of tension is a feeling too. Not what I want in a film, but perfectly legitimate.

And Mr. Anderson has the precious emotion market cornered. I’m not being facetious here – it’s the feeling that trained architects get when gazing upon what is a monstrosity for everyone else. That’s a real emotion. I do believe it is slighter and more protected than a good cry, but it is real. I just don’t care.

Guess what that is.

The Take: Isle of Dogs

Wow. He made puppies not cute. That technically speaking is an accomplishment.
The Story as produced by Pixar in 1998
The dogs who are experimented on. A great idea for emotional resonant characters…
Total Profits
…unless they become an excuse for all kinds of neat-o design aspects for the poster.
Honestly, it might me sad that so many people worked so hard on such a shallow, affected with no risk of being affective, non-entity. Sorry animators. You deserve better.
Total Losses


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