Ari Aster’s Beau is Afraid tries to be Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche but ends up more Darren Aronofsky’s Mother, an exhausting and unintelligible portrayal of deep psychological damage. There is some very good stuff, including then many 180-degree pans, the match-cut transitions, the blue paint overdose scene and the fantastic animated sequence.
But there is much more of the very bad stuff – countless scenes tediously rendered – and very stupid stuff too, including the inane finale and, yes, the penis monster.
After the stellar work of Hereditary ($10 million budget) and Midsommar ($9 million), this is what Aster does with $25 million? Yikes. What’s next? Courtside seats for the Knicks?
Maybe I’m doing this blog out of spite. Against whom, I don’t know. Not the Coens. Why would they care? More likely against the peons who profess their love for The Big Lebowski, which isn’t a good film at all. The Bottom Five Coen Films: Intolerable Cruelty, The Lady Killers, Hail Caesar, True Grit, and, yes, The Big Lebowski.
How is it possible that these films were made by the same guys who made (Top Five): No Country For Old Men, Raising Arizona, Hudsucker Proxy, Fargo and O Brother Where Art Thou? And by the way, why do people capitalize the ‘b’ in Coen brothers? That’s wrong too.
I have blogged on my concerns for the future as of late, a dread that worsens daily. Henri Charriere concludes his opus of astonishing escapes, Papillon, with the following thought: We have too much technological progress, life is too hectic, and our society has one goal: to invent still more technological marvels to make life easier and better.
The craving for every scientific discovery breeds a hunger for greater comfort and the constant struggle to achieve it. All that kills the soul, kills compassion, understanding and nobility. It leaves no time for caring what happens to other people.
Charriere wrote those words in 1970, 53 years ago. And how much worse is it now? And how much worse is it going to get? (HInt: Much fucking worse.)
I’m not a Royalist nor a Conservative, Republican or Democrat. These systems of rule have all been garbage. Their argument is fatuous: “Better than the alternatives imposed in Russia, the Middle East and developing nations.”
The problem is that, as flawed as it’s been to have old white men dictating misogynistic racist doctrines, the chaotic track we’re spinning down now looks an uglier thing. The lunatics are taking over the asylum – or at least they think they have – and they don’t give a damn about anything except personal monetization.
Libertarians and Anarchists will transform back into Nazis and Fascists because that’s what they are. Empathy dies. Hubris blooms. Terror reigns. Every being for itself. Fuck the rest.
Maggie arrived that year, the new head of curriculum planning. She loved meetings because there was food and idle chitchat. Maggie told me that she was very excited about my plan to take a group of teachers to the Museum of the Moving Image (MOMI) for workshops on film and how to apply media to a variety of curriculae. I enlisted a dozen teachers and was making final arrangements when Maggie emailed me: You will have to cancel. Next time! M.
I went to her office, which could have been a good idea but was not. “You can’t cancel now, Maggie.”
“Well, I am afraid that I already have.”
“You should have spoken to me. I’ve made all of the arrangements.”
“I’ve booked our workshop. It’s done.”
“Be that as it may, the plans have changed.”
“It’s a reflection of complete incompetence, Maggie.”
She stared back, mouth open, as I left. At least I had stood my ground. That was the thought in my head. Stupid me.