Movies of the Week #5 (2018)

It’s been a while since I last had such a high quality week strung together. A lot of the stuff could have made a run at the movie of the week title, but in the end it was really hard to argue against…

Movie of the Week

The Florida Project (2017)

TheFloridaProject

When you watch a movie about a movie that you haven’t seen

  • Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond – Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton (2017): It’s funny, I had not seen Man on the Moon (1999) when I decided to watch this Netflix docu. The main reason behind it is that I always had a hard time keeping MotM apart from Jim Carrey’s previous movie about alternate realities, The Truman Show (1998). So every time it came up, I thought I’d seen it, when in fact I had not. With this docu in mind, it all feels terribly appropriate. Carrey was otherworldly on the set of MotM, inhabiting Andy Kaufman and his alter-ego persona Tony Clifton to an extreme degree. The way the movie manages to frame the questions about where a performance stops and where it ends (!), how Kaufman influenced comedians around the world and what it meant to Carrey really makes for a fascinating story. I do enjoy documentaries that play with the factual, go all out meta on our asses, which is what Jim&Andy gloriously achieves. Sure, it might be a matter of taste and Carrey isn’t that interesting when he straight-out philosophizes, but it doesn’t do much harm to the experience. 8/10

The Emperor of anime is in da house

  • Tonari no Totoro (1988): I’m overdue with a bunch of anime movies and every time I watch one, I feel stupid for not having watched the rest yet. Miyazaki’s My Neighbour Totoro is an exploration of childhood glee and angst (the allegorical equivalent to The Florida Project, detailed below), a sweet, little movie that thrives on its dreamlike features. It’s one of those experiences that take you away for a while and shelter you from harm. 8/10

Check…erm, mate?

  • AlphaGo (2017): The human fascination with AI and games is something that periodically pops up as an important theme. I still recall Kasparov’s defeat against Deep Blue, even though I was a mere youngling at the time. AlphaGo is a different beast, in the sense that it is a more accurate example of AI and AI learning than Deep Blue ever was. It’s the human elements brought to the table by Go champion Lee Sedol that make for a good movie – his conviction bordering on cockiness and its gradual transformation into an almost tangible despair. All in all a great story that showcases, first and foremost, human ability and ambition, be it on the side of Sedol or that AlphaGo creators, Deepmind. 8/10

When God comes a-knocking in your dreams.

  • Frailty (2001): This pic, starring and directed by Bill Paxton, takes on a deluded father who believes he is chosen by God to destroy demons roaming the earth. He pushes his two boys to assist him in a riveting example of the power and influence parents hold over the characters of their children. Three quarters of the movie amount to a taut thriller and some really exciting filmmaking. Unfortunately, the twisty finale is underwhelming and only manages to take away from the subtle unknowns hinted at throughout the build-up. In spite of this, I would still recommend Frailty instead of your weekly Sunday sermon. Just kidding. Or am I? 7/10

And the Oscar doesn’t go to

  • The Florida Project (2017): Sean Baker rocks. He really does, he’s one of the most exciting directors working today. I adored Tangerine (2015) and, somehow, had not doubt The Florida Project would be equally special. It’s hard to put into words how well this movie captures the extremes, the bad, the good and the normal, of a really complicated childhood situation. The harsh reality of the story is imbued with this force of life that comes from the boundless energy children have, perfectly balanced and nuanced, avoiding the sappy or the melodramatic in a masterful way. In spite of it’s more gut-wrenching moments, there’s this relief that TFP is littered with good people caught up in tough places. 9/10