Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: Rian Johnson

Leaning into being weird

I hate movies. I always have, but it’s taken me some time to be comfortable saying it out loud. Twenty years ago when I was getting my masters, I mentioned to the substitute teacher that I did not like movies. She looked at me as if I were an alien and said, “That’s like saying you don’t like sandwiches!”

Which didn’t sound strange to me, either, to be honest. Her point was that there were so many different kinds of sandwiches, anyone could find something they liked. I didn’t have the wherewithal to say it at the time, but now, I would retaort that if you didn’t like one of the crucial ingredients, say, bread, then you’re not going to like sandwiches. In my case, I’m allergic/sensitive to wheat, so sandwiches had been difficult for roughly a decade. Now, with so many good substitutes, I can enjoy them again. But if I had remained allergic to all kinds of breading, then it would make sense if I didn’t eat sandwiches. As it is, I love, love, LOVE dumplings, but it’s hard for me to find dumplings that are GF.

I need reality in my movies. I need people to act the way they would in real life unless it’s a musical–then I don’t care. I know some people watch movies to escape, but I get way too distracted by how people would NOT do that in real life.

I know people might say, “Just turn your brain off and enjoy.” I can’t. Knowing how people act is something deep in my bones. It’s not even a matter of them acting in an inconsistent manner because that’s human nature. It’s more somethnig an ex called the ‘moving my face to hit your fist’ syndrome. It’s when the director has an end result in mind and then manipulate everything to meet the ending they envisioned. They become too wedded to it and force the characters to do things they normally wouldn’t to get to that result.

Then, my brain gets stuck on, “Marge is always late. She would not have ‘just happened’ to show up on time.” ” “Blade has obesssive tendencies. He would not just leave like that.” And such. I think it’s easier in books to explore the psyche of the characters, obviously, because you can write about it for pages. Whereas in a movie, you have to do it in snapshots. Which, it can be done! I’m not saying that there aren’t good movies. Of course there are. But I don’t like the format, and I don’t feel the need to keep trying.

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Knives Out (two reviews)–part two

I am reviewing Knives Out, the very popular Amazon movie by Rian Johnson that has been talked about ad nauseam on social media. The first half of my review is here, and this is the second part of the brutally honest review. Not coincidentally, I’ll be talking about the second half of the movie, which is where everything really went to hell and back. Let’s take it from the end of my last post.

I looked up Rian Johnson while I took a break from the movie. That’s when I found out his first movie was Brick and everything fell into place. It was moody and dripping with atmosphere, and it was pretentious as hell. It was raved about, and I found it highly overrated. I didn’t want to watch the second half of this movie; I really didn’t. However, I felt a push inside to do so. Why? For a few reasons. One, I was tired of not being able to talk about the hot new thing. I don’t like to bash things I haven’t seen/heard/read, etc. Two, my OCD traits do not like to let things go unfinished. I have, obviously, but it really makes me uncomfortable. Three, I was doubting myself. The chatter for this movie was so overwhelmingly positive, I had to be missing something, right? The movie was going to pull something out of its ass in the second half that would totally redeem it. RIGHT?????

I was, alas, too optimistic. I pretty much knew how the rest of the movie was going to go within the first five/ten minutes of the movie (minus a few twists and turns), and I thought, “Surely it can’t be this obvious, can it?” I read that Rian Johnson implored people not to give away the twists of the movie which made me snort out loud. I’ll get to all that later–if I remember.

Here’s the thing. The movie doesn’t hold together if you think about the individual aspects. In addition, it’s very much a popcorn movie. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it has aspirations of being above that station and is talked about in lofty terms. If I had gone into it with the mentality of ‘this is a B movie with an outstanding cast’ I might not have been as hard on it as I was going in thinking it’s a fantastic ensemble movie with a mile-a-minute thrills.

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Knives Out (two reviews)–part one

I heard tell of this movie called Knives Out by Rian Johnson, an Amazon original. All the rave reviews about how incredible it was. All I knew was it was an ensemble cast murder mystery, which should be up my alley. Somewhat. I LOVE Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot with all my heart despite knowing how problematic the books are. I’ve read each of them at least three times and up to dozens. On the other hand, while I adore David Suchet’s depiction of Poirot and think Hugh Fraser, Philip Jackson, and Pauline Moran are incredible as Captain Hastings, Chief/Inspector Japp, and Miss Lemon, I have to think of them as a completely different thing than the books.

Anyway. This is my longwinded way of saying that I watched he movie. Against my will, actually, since I tend not to like movies that other people rave about. But, I kept hearing how fantastic it was, and I decided what the hell. I didn’t know much about it except that it was an ensemble cast with Daniel Craig in it.

I will tell you how I felt about it, and I will do it in two different ways. The first is the glossy review I’d write if it was for a publication of repute. The second will be my brutally honest opinion that I wouldn’t tell anyone because I’m always wary about how my weird my opinions are. In addition, I know how beloved this movie is, and, well….Yeah. First up:

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