Very observational doc of exams week at a university in Argentina – the same school Solaas attended. Some students do alright, some completely space on the works they were supposed to study or memorize, and some get caught trying to bullshit their way through a debate, their better-prepared colleagues caught on camera smirking at their attempts. A few perfectly opportune shots, students having an emotional moment, or swaying in and out of frame while calling parents on cellphones. Opening short Partial Differential Equation (Kevin Jerome Everson) was well suited to the feature – straightforward doc in a higher learning facility, observational to the point that you start focusing on the mathematician’s fingernails instead of the work. A morning screening, so the very ambient 3-piece Saltbreaker opened.
I wondered about the nursing home intro, but in the end felt it was the best framing device of an older woman recalling dead friends since Atonement. Bulk of the movie follows serious-minded, self-assured Marcus as he learns (and ultimately fails) to navigate a college full of distracting human elements – a patronizing dean, a sexy rich girl, noisy roommates and people who want atheist Marcus to define himself as Jewish (and at the same time want him to attend the school-mandated chapel services). After he’s caught buying his way out of church (he’s not wealthy, but felt that getting out of church was morally necessary), he’s expelled, sent to the Korean war, killed.
Marcus’s girl Olivia is Sarah Gadon, Gugu’s white sister-cousin in Belle, Pattinson’s wife in Cosmopolis, the sick celebrity in Antiviral – I should be able to recognize her by now. If I watch this again, need to pay more attention to her character, now that I know more about her emotional instability and tragic end. Marcus is Logan Lerman, who starred as loner high school freshman in Perks of Being a Wallflower, now a loner college freshman. He’s magnetic, and his clash with the equally serious and self-assured dean (Tracy Letts, writer of Bug, also in Homeland and Christine), mostly represented in one extra-long, tense meeting scene, was reason enough to keep watching, though I didn’t get much sense of narrative progression or the movie’s point until it all comes flooding in at the end.
A chilling illustration of nails that stick out being hammered down, lent additional blunt force by the strangeness of (fairly recent) history … Also rare and exciting to see intellectual ferocity onscreen, even if it’s the annoyingly self-righteous undergrad variety.
I don’t have the critical skill to explain why a slice-of-life movie following a college baseball team’s party antics for the three days before classes begin seems so essential right now.
Katy liked it but the drunk girls gave her unpleasant flashbacks to Saturday Night Fever‘s rape scene and she was unhappy that the college freshmen looked to be in their mid-20’s.
Let’s see, Jake was our freshman protagonist, Beverly was the girl he likes and Beuter was his cowboy roommate… I guess Jay was the argumentative freshman pitcher with giant glasses… a week later, the rest of the guys are kinda a blur, so let’s watch it again.
Said to be spiritual sequels to Dazed and Confused and Boyhood, so let’s say it’s also a prequel to the Before series, creating a whole Linklater Cinematic Lifetime (much preferable to a Marvel Cinematic Universe).
It’s rare that an IMDB trivia article is truly interesting, but check this out:
The character Willoughby has a complete collection of the Twilight Zone television series on VHS. The Twilight Zone episode “A Stop at Willoughby” concerns a character who longs for a more idyllic past and takes drastic steps to recapture it. Similarly, in the film, it is revealed that Willoughby took drastic steps -falsifying his transcripts and lying about his age – so he could continue to play collegiate baseball and cling to an idyllic past.
What initially appears like a mob of dumb jerks, reveals itself as a collection of lovably quirky and hilarious individuals of different backgrounds and beliefs … The team goes to a series of different clubs — disco one night, punk the next — which makes Everybody Wants Some both a lively survey of early ’80s pop culture and a microcosm of every college’s freshman’s search for identity.
D. Ehrlich: “Plotlessness is the new plot.”
Agreeing with J. Rocchi:
Dear White People pulls off a surprising number of things with startling ability. It’s an American film that talks about race with strong feeling, common sense and good humor; it’s an indie screenwriting-directing debut as polished as it is provocative; it’s a satire that also lets its characters be people; it’s a showcase of clever craft and direction as well as whip-smart comedic writing brought to life by a dedicated, charismatic cast that also conveys real ideas and emotion.
Set at an ivy-league school (but shot at the University of Minnesota – Katy recognized the buildings). Sam (Tessa Thompson of Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls) runs the titular radio show, semi-accidentally becomes head of her residence house after giving a provocative speech, defeating her ex-boyfriend Troy (soap actor Brandon Bell).
Troy is son of college dean Dennis Haysbert (last seen in Far From Heaven), starts kissing up to president of a different house, Kurt (Kyle Gallner of Red State), who is son of the college president (Haysbert’s boss). Troy is also dating Kurt’s sister / the president’s daughter, which gives Haysbert a certain racial/sexual-power satisfaction.
Other leads: Lionel is a nerdy gay writer (Tyler James Williams, title star of Everybody Hates Chris), Coco is a fame-hungry student (Teyonah Parris of Mad Men and They Came Together) and Reggie is Sam’s hanger-on at the black student union (Marque Richardson). Climax is Troy’s all-white house throwing a race-reversal/mocking party (blackface rap-video atmosphere with watermelon, etc). Probably the whole mystery surrounding the ending was unnecessary – Coco and Troy are both desperate enough to fit in that they get involved in the party, but it turns out to have been Sam’s brainchild as an anarchist racism-exposure idea. But the twists matter less than they might have, because the movie is so sharply shot and written, and remains warmly character-based instead of leaning too hard on story. Then it shows mind-melting photos of real college race parties over the closing credits.