OK. So. I’ve now aborted several attempts at properly reviewing Southland Tales so I figure I’ll just go for it. This might be a hack job; possibly one of the worst blogs I’ve ever written. In the spirit of Richard Kelly’s something-opus, I’ll do it anyway.
How much you love or hate (or are completely perplexed by) Southland Tales will rest on a number of factors:
How do you feel about overly-ambitious movies that sprawl in multiple directions? Are you OK with key plot lines not reaching resolution? Do you mind cartoonish violence and sophomoric humor mixed with biting satire? What about giant toilets? How would you feel about Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson relentlessly mugging for about 150 minutes? Would it bother you if thematic plot points hung on lines from poems by T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, and lyrics from, uh, Perry Ferrell? Would you think that that was pretentious (or just plain dumb, perhaps)? Do you love to see ex-Saturday Night Live members in seemingly incongruous roles? What about watching a movie made a couple of years ago that intended to satirize the (then) near future, only the movie had major troubles getting distributed so when it finally got a national release the future it was satirizing was, like, now? How much did you love Donnie Darko (that won’t make a difference, actually…)? Can’t get enough Sarah Michelle Gellar? Are you OK with watching a movie that, like the original Star Wars trilogy, begins at part IV? How do you feel about Justin Timberlake? What about a “tell-don’t-show” voiceover courtesy of said JT? What about a soundtrack by Moby? SUVs humping? Are these fair questions? Is it fair to frame a movie review in a series of questions? No? Really?
OK. So. Now. How about this:
Philip K. Dick, crime noir, Neo-Marxism, Apocalypse Now, Natural Born Killers, David Lynch, Repo Man, comic books, Strange Days, Wim Wenders, psychotropic paranoia, Terry Gilliam, MAD magazine, epic confusion, Spring Break apocalypse, the Revelation to John, Disneyworld on acid, strange loops, Stanley Kubrick, bogus quantum theory, Los Angeles, nightmare comedy soap opera…
No? Just listing a bunch of references doesn’t qualify as decent critical appraisal? How about this, then:
Wow. I was probably better off just not reviewing the damn thing. I want to see it again, like six or seven times, before deciding if I hate it or love it (my wife hated the parts that she didn’t sleep through, by the by. But she sleeps through about 75% of the movies we watch). Actually, after it was over, I immediately watched the whole last half hour again. Maybe you should just go here and read a bunch of real reviews of this movie. Or, better yet, just see it.