Tag Archives: indie

John Dies at the End (2012)

15 May

John DiesSpace and time are fluid, our lives are constantly filled with existential crises, it might be the slightly-clueless-yet-lovable-20-something who saves the day or the world, zombies are a thing, and so on. Does this sound familiar? Have you noticed a trend in this type of movie lately?  John Dies at the End fits this 2010’s indie/alternative  formula to a T. It evoked recollections of movies such as Enter the Void (2009), The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle (2009), maybe even a little I Heart Huckabees (2004). It’s a Kevin Smith movie that read a Kurt Vonnegut bestseller and got knocked up by a zombie movie while watching Alien, thus producing a nerdy, somewhat disturbed film baby.

John Dies at the End takes us on a non-linear journey through Dave’s experiences with a strange drug that leads him to explore the definitions of  life and death, waking and sleeping reality, space and time, other dimensions. No, John-who-dies-at-the-end is not even the main character. And although the description above may render it as a serious movie, I assure you that it is as serious as its goofy title. Although it is based on a novel -written by David Wong, same name as the protagonist- it felt more like it was based on a comic book.

Dave (left) and John...who dies at the end.

Dave (left) and John…who dies at the end.

This movie brought with it a somewhat bi-polar movie experience. I would become engrossed in the plot, and think that the movie was genius and I couldn’t wait to see where they would go with it. Within five minutes my opinion would shift drastically as I realized how tacky it was getting. The “Jamaican” in the movie was a particularly hard character to swallow. Poorly-acted and grossly stereotyped, I tried not to dwell on his shortcomings too much. Before I could commit to shutting it off, it would take back off like a roller coaster, and I would become engaged once again.

So why not give it a shot? It’s a short, one and a half hour, weird space-time-continuum romp; it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and neither should you; and for real, John does die at the “end.” I hope I didn’t ruin it for you.


The Future (2011)

12 Nov

I finally found the time to watch Miranda July’s newest film, The Future. You may have seen in a previous post that I am quite a fan of hers, whether it’s her book writing or screen writing. I love her over-the-top awkward, quirky, emo, indie, hipster ways. Though in my image search for things to include in this post, I found that there are a lot of people who cannot stand MJ and her unconventional ways. I even had to wait for my boyfriend to be out of town to watch the movie, because I am allergic to haterade.

In this movie, married couple Sophie and Jason are about to adopt a cat. They have one monthbefore they can bring it home. This sudden deadline of responsibility falling upon these two thirty-somethings shakes them into living this month as if it were their last. They quit their shitty and unfulfilling jobs, and set out to explore new and exciting territory. Jason becomes metaphysical, taking everything as a sign from the universe that he’s on the right new path for him. Sophie loses faith in herself and her ability to act upon her new goals as a recently liberated and unemployed dancer. They both develop secret habits and secret lives, which serves to drive them further apart than when they were stuck in their mono


tonous daily rut. Their story intertwines with the narration of Paw-Paw, their rescue cat. This is an element that might be hard to take by those who have a weak stomach for July’s quirk. I flinched at some points of this odd narration, especially in the choice to open the movie with it. In the end, Paw-Paw’s monologues were the most heartfelt parts for me.

I approached this movie with my thoughts on Me and You and Everyone We Know. I expected a subtly humorous account of real life trials and tribulations through that uncomfortably intimate lens that July uses in her work. I expected a chronological narrative  bringing together a myriad of characters, and I expected to take the events of the film at face value. The Future is not that kind of film. It starts off realistic, but as it goes on, you have trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality, the real from the imagined, and the literal from the metaphorical. It stirs up your consciousness a little bit, and I like that. It’s a thinking wo/man’s movie, not to be watched distractedly out of the right eye. It requires a certain amount of engagement, and I liked that. All of the necessary themes are here: relationships and fidelity, life and death, time and space, “mid-life” crises and our attempts to find happiness and fulfillment.

Grade: B+
I liked it better after it was over and I had time to reflect upon it. It’s a movie I would prefer to watch alone.

I leave you with July’s “Shirt Dance.” Love the song: Master of None by Beach House. Toro y Moi does a bitchin’ cover of the song as well. Doesn’t get much more emo/hipster/indie than that!

God Bless America (2011)

29 Aug

Your Netflix robot has been prodding you to watch it, so you might as well go ahead and do it. Written and directed by…Wait…Did I read this right? Bobcat Goldthwait? Well, apparently he has a bone to pick with Hollywood and modern day USA (not to be confused with 1990’s USA, an epoch in which he thrived in all its cheesy glory).

This is a film about two middle class misfits turned renegade killers who have had enough with the America that they have been fed and are ready to bring down some mofucs for their own enjoyment. And now to introduce our diabolical duo: Frank is a middle aged divorcee who has just lost his job and his mind, Roxy is a teenage girl who is pretty much just sick of monotony and being told what to do. She joins Frank after catching him doin some gangsta shit. I am still reeeeeaching for her motivation for joining him on his homicidal rampage, but maybe she just cray. Had I seen this movie in high school, I would have definitely looked up to her, however. I would have certainly named my ideal badass female antihero Roxy, that’s a given.

Take Harold and Maude and reverse it, blend with a little Natural Born Killers and sprinkle in a little Taxi Driver or Falling Down (you know, some anti-hero shit), and you will have a pretty good idea of the aim and feeling of God Bless America. In theory, I am all for the movie and the message, but in practice, it may have fallen just slightly short of the mark.

Frank and Roxy start offing idiots for reasons we can all relate to, (I mean seriously, who picks up their phone in the middle of a movie at the theatre?! Although it’s probably too soon to be making light of movie theatre shootings, eh?), but at the same time, they get a little preachy and even start knocking on some things that I can actually relate to (who doesn’t like a good high five every now and again?). 

After writing this review, I believe Frank and Roxy might want to pump me full of lead for using too many unnecessary parentheses. But then again, I think I am decent and polite enough to avoid their rage, and cheer them on as they shoot up a television audience.

I would see God Bless America again, and I might even consider buying it. I give it a B+. I like its ability to bash on modern media and society for doing things for the sake of being edgy and shocking, and at the same time falling into that same trap (shooting babies into bloody oblivion for crying too much?) I can relate to Frank and Roxy’s complaints for the most part, and don’t mind watching fictional characters go on a murderous rampage as a result. However, when the bells and whistles of modern media drill into your brain like an electric spike, the last thing you need is something to remind you of it.