‘the florida project’ sucks

yesterday i saw someone’s ‘best films of 2017’ list and the florida project was on it. the list didn’t give too much away about what the story of film (which i like — i hate knowing too much going into a movie and creating expectations for it) so jenn and i watched it last night. i thought it sucked. but guess what, i read afterward that everyone is cumming in their pants about it, hailing it as great piece of cinema. well, nuts to that.

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“a bunch of random people have given it lots of stars so it MUST be good”

let me first give praise where praise is due though: willem dafoe is fucking fantastic in this film. that man is a god damned professional. when he acts, you don’t know he’s acting. it feels real and organic — that’s what a good actor should do. so my hat’s off to him. bria vinaite was pretty convincing as well.

aaaaaand that’s about it. the kids came off as kids being directed to act like kids. yeah i know, they’re just kids, what can i expect? listen, i’m not trying to tear them down. i think that most children will naturally have a limited capacity for acting due to their lack of understanding of the craft. considering that, you can’t expect top notch performances from them, so i don’t hold it against them. i’m just saying that part of the nature of most child actors is sub-par acting. it’s not their fault, that’s simply the nature of the beast, but it does have an impact on the films they’re in. so let’s be honest and as critical of the kids and the overall film as we would any other actors or film: their acting wasn’t believable and that detracted from the rest of the film.

moving on: mela murder, aka halley’s friend ashley, was absolutely horrible. every time she spoke, it sounded like she was learning how to read and was practicing doing it out loud. she was that stiff and unnatural in her delivery. 0/10.

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the LA times called murder’s performance “underappreciated,” “raw,” and “perfectly endearing.” i guess those must be the new industry buzz words for “terrible,” “film-destroying,” and “reminiscent of my grade 3 xmas pageant performance.”

something that particularly bothered me: the scene near the end when child protection services shows up to take moonee away was complete bullshit. i’m sick of totally unrealistic depictions of professionals as being completely inept and bumbling. people whose job is to remove kids from bad circumstances understand the gravity of their work. they anticipate and are prepared for the difficult scenes they encounter. they have extensive training in that particular field. they have a fucking clue what they’re doing. they don’t stand around like buffoons while situations escalate to a fever pitch, and they sure as hell don’t helplessly watch as the kids in their care just run off down the street to god knows where. that scene was insulting to the audience, and to people who work in that profession.

the story was shitty too. ‘film spends almost 2 hours showing kids entertaining themselves over the summer and illustrating what trash the mom is, kid gets taken away by CPS.’ it’s weird because there was enough coherent stuff going on that some of the film had a normal, linear story, but there was just as much stuff that was random and seemingly unimportant or unrelated to anything else (like bobby’s son getting angry with him while moving shit into the elevator) which made the film seem more like a character sketch of the hotel and its various inhabitants. these two approaches felt disparate to me, unfocused. maybe that was the director’s intent. don’t know, don’t care. i thought it sucked.

but i get the feeling that one idea the director really wanted the audience to think about with this film was the dual nature of halley: “she’s such a despicable piece of shit…but she truly loves her daughter.” i think that’s a really annoying and pretentious devil’s advocate position to take. why not make a film about hitler’s softer side? i know, that’s a bit of a stretch, but it illustrates my point — a film about hitler’s softer side is a dumb, offensive idea. similarly, suggesting people be more understanding of neglectful parents who do lifelong damage to their kids, intentional or otherwise, is also a dumb, offensive idea.

to sum the florida project up: unfocused; lots of terrible acting; pretentious; preachy. just another piece of shit (dafoe and vinaite’s performances notwithstanding) being lauded by the sycophants and phony industry twits.

business as usual in the entertainment world.

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dear mother, dear father

today my mom told me that when i was little, she used to run an informal daycare at home to make a little extra money. my dad worked for fisheries so he was away for about a month at a time but when he came home, he told her he didn’t want her doing the daycare thing because it was a nuisance to him. she told him to get stuffed, that the neighbours were already depending on her so even if she was going to stop doing it (which she wasn’t), she’d have to give them lots of notice. my dad’s response was to lock mom and all kids out of the house all day long.

i couldn’t believe it when i heard that story. i wondered if mom was exaggerating, and if the truth would be a little less damning to my father, but then i remembered that i personally witnessed him having enraged tantrums, ranting and raving like a wild man, and kicking chairs into walls. he clearly had some anger and control issues so maybe there is something to my mom’s story.

sort of similarly, tyrone told me that back when he was a kid, his dad bought a really nice big toy fire truck for ty or one of his siblings for christmas. ty’s dad wrapped the thing up but eventually decided it was too nice to give to his kids so he kept the toy in the christmas wrapping paper in his closet. and it’s still there in the wrapping paper today, 30 years later. that’s insane.

to me, those are both examples of extremely odd behaviour that both my dad and ty’s dad should be embarrassed of. ty said his dad just laughs it off whenever anyone brings the fire truck up and doesn’t actually address it. my dad totally denies ever losing his temper, even though there are still marks in his house where he put the chair through the drywall and had to repair it. my dad and ty’s dad should each be able to say, “yeah, that was weird/uncool of me. i can admit it now,” but they can’t. 30 years later, they’re still either ignorant of or in denial about certain aspects of themselves. that bothers me.

i want to be hyper self-aware. i try to constantly ask myself why i’m doing any of the stuff i’m doing. when i realize i’m doing something i’m not proud of, i try to acknowledge it and change my behaviour. of course, i’m not saying “my dad was a dickhead but i’m an amazing, great person. where’s my award?” but i do think i’m more self-aware than he is. and i wonder if that’s a generational thing, like if my generation is more focused on mental health and acknowledging feelings and root causes of our actions, or if this is the same thing that every kid thinks about their parents. i don’t know but i somehow feel pretty confident it’s a generational thing. i feel like the further back you go, the more people had a head-in-the-sand, “because i say so” approach to dealing with people and problems. so as much as i hate all the annoying touchy-feely bullshit that is ubiquitous these days, i have to admit there are benefits to being more in touch with feelings.

i want to ask my dad about locking mom and the daycare kids out of the house but am not sure i want to open that can of worms. i don’t want to make him feel bad for something dumb he may or may not have done 35 years ago.

humans suck

one of my hens hatched a half dozen eggs a week ago so i’ve spent most of my time since then watching her raise her new chicks. it’s fascinating and heartwarming on a number of levels. i love watching animals raise their young. their all-consuming interest in and concern for their young is so pure, so genuine, that i think you would have to be a serial killer to not be touched by it.

so it occurred to me as i made a sandwich for lunch today that it’s a shame that people are incapable of the same altruistic parental drive. people obviously have parental drives of course, but our very nature taints everything we do, including child rearing.

for instance, patty (the mother hen i referred to earlier) is interested in just a few things: protecting her kids, showing them how to forage and what’s good to eat, and keeping them warm. that’s about it. she just wants them to survive so the species will live on. she will never hatch chicks just because that’s what the other hens her age are doing. she won’t try to impress other hens with super cute, super expensive outfits she just got for the chicks. she won’t brag about her chick’s achievements to anyone. she won’t be ashamed of or disappointed by any of the choices her chicks make. she won’t worry that a dumb or runty chick is reflecting poorly on her. she won’t wish her chicks were more like that other hen’s chicks. she won’t post cute pics of her chicks on social media in the hopes of garnering lots of ‘likes’ and complimentary comments.

but humans will do all that stuff. a lot of the stuff we do is not for the person we think we are doing it for — we actually do a lot of it for our own pride and ego. parenting is no exception. now, i know all this can’t be helped, that it’s just a horrifying and sad aspect of the human condition, that we are simply victims of our powerful brains, but that doesn’t void my point. it doesn’t negate the fact that we are awful, ego-driven creatures, eager to cheapen even the things we hold most sacred just to satisfy our selfish, petty pride.

that’s why i’d rather watch animals raise their young instead of humans. their simple brains aren’t capable of the complex, twisted, horrible designs that are intrinsic in absolutely everything we do — even raising kids.

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i’m thinking we should start lobotomizing everyone.

the importance of driving for the conditions, having travel insurance, and good parenting

well, well. another irritating news story, another blog post.

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two canadian girls rented a hot pink jeep in thailand (girls and jeeps, of course). they crashed it (the father of one girl innocuously stated that “the rented Jeep apparently had trouble with heavy rains”), killing one girl and injuring the other. the surviving girl is now in hospital in thailand, and her parents are trying to raise funds for her medical bills because she didn’t have travel insurance.

there are a few things wrong with this picture.

first, let’s admit that the jeep did not crash into a lamp post on its own, that driver error is likely at least a partial cause of the accident. vehicles don’t just hop into posts as soon as it rains. that usually occurs when someone is driving too fast for the conditions.

second, why didn’t these girls get travel insurance before heading to the other side of the planet?

third, why didn’t the parents get travel insurance for their kids? this is the kind of thing parents are supposed to do. maybe the kids have never traveled internationally before and weren’t aware of how important insurance is in those situations, but the parents were probably aware and should have imparted that wisdom on their offspring.

on the bright side, when i went to the gofundme page to scowl and mutter to myself about how pathetic the world is, i noticed that lots of people — including the man behind the gofundme campaign — were already talking in the comments section about the lessons they hoped this story was teaching everyone about travel insurance. i guess this is really not a unique story, it is just one that happened to get picked up by major news networks, so maybe it will help prevent countless others from ending up in the same nightmare situation. that’s about all i can hope for at this point.