Reviews: Southland Tales
It's.. A Ride
I'll preface this review with one thing: This is my favorite film of all time. That out of the way, let me explain why. This film is sprawling, following multiple characters across multiple events in the midst of a coming apocalypse. It has no central focal point, instead shifting it's gaze toward bits and pieces floating about in the anarchistic cesspool that is Southern California, at the time of the film universes creation. It makes no attempt to be cohesive for the viewer, and it makes no attempt to explain absolutely everything that's going on within the film. This is why I love the film so much. It requires involvement. Many films, young and old, simplify life, and thus themselves. They are clear, clean cut, freshly baked bits of goodness. This film is not. There's a three part, prequel tie-in comic to introduce most of the characters. As the trope page suggests, it requires far more than passing knowledge of the Book of Revelations. It's a sendup to a number of bands, uses original music by Moby, and has been nearly CONFIRMED to take place inside the world of a Phillip K. Dick novel. It's a work of, not only masterful and elusive craft, but love. And it can be funny as all hell. Yes, this movie is confusing. Yes, this movie can feel. Yes, this movie has it's flaws. But I found all these flaws, this incomplete state, to be endearing. To be reassuring. This film doesn't feel like another blockbuster, or Donnie Darko sendup, or a cash grab, or even a love letter to Phillip K. Dick. This beautiful film feels like art. And I love it for it. But hey, that's just my opinion. Watch it yourself. Figure out yours.
Ok, i'll start off by saying that I liked it. Quite a bit. Let's just get that out of the way. Southland Tales is complex. Very complex. But it feels like it's supposed to be. It's not about a few characters doing things, it's about a Crapsack World that is rapidly getting worse, and follows many people in interwoven plots. At first, you'll be thinking and figuring it out. Then, you'll notice a whole lot of stuff that wasn't there before. Well, it was, but it was hidden within other stuff. Like I said, it's complex. There are some very strange parts, but then again, it's a very strange film. Although they either start making sense a little later, like the Car ad, or they're full of symbolism, like the Musical drug-induced dream. The film is at least in some sizeable part, about issues, both social and political. It's reminiscent of a political House Of Leaves. I personally find that pretty awesome, but there is no way on earth that it's for everyone. There are also a lot of things to be read into it. Seriously, watch the film without knowledge of the book of Revelation or a commentary, and the contemplation will be more than plentiful. One thing I could've done without was the all-star cast. Although despite Donnie Darko being written on the dvd cover, the film certainly needed it. The ending was - odd - but also nicely done. The end of the world conveyed all it had to convey, and some line about those who don't commit suicide. It wasn't all explosions and montages. It had those, some pretty ok ones, but there was more to it. Basically, if you're looking for a blockbuster flick, choose something else. If you tend towards the analytical, you might enjoy it. Then watch it once more for a little more clarity.
How Do I Explain This...
It's a bad movie. There is simply no denying that. On the other hand it does have this...it's not charm, but let's call it that. It has this charm, it has this draw. Not everyone is susceptible to this draw, which is not to say that there is anything to "get". It's about the enjoyability of the madness. It's a film that is extremely polarizing, people hate it because it is bad and people love it because it is just so insane and crazy that it doesn't matter that it is bad. There is just so much, the characters, the style, the world that is built... That second audience is small, but it's there. If you like movies that will astound you with it's audacity and balls-to-the-wall nonsensical gibberish...then check this out. But if you don't think so, then be warned...it might as well be the worst experience ever.
(sobbing) This Movie Took Years Off My Life.
My God my God my God this movie is bad. I mean wow, this is it, the worst fucking movie ever made, right here! Why? Where do I begin. First, this is not one movie. This is three movies that have been compressed into two and a half hours, and yet none of them feel finished. Yes, despite this movie being two and a half hours long, it feels like the ending is missing, bravo Mr. Kelly. The plot of Southland Tales is...I have no idea. I honestly do not know what this is about. I realized I didn't know when I saw two cars having sex (yes really), and the images of Republican midgets wearing rain coats, or fat woman holding men at gun point so they could give them blow jobs made me realize I didn't care what this movie was about. The characters are...dear God. Their are so many characters I might as well begin with the main...I think? I have no idea who is the star of this piece of shit, but if I had to guess I'd go with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. He plays a Republican movie star who has amnesia, has written a script that predicts the future (this never becomes important), is engaged to the daughter of the Republican VP canidate (Nor does this), is fucking a porn star (or this), was once thrown through a hole in the 4th dimension (or this), and who likes to twiddle his fingers. Just imagine a cast of about 50 people like that, including whiggers who say "Dawg" all the time, clone Stifflers, or porn star Buffy. This movie is a masterpiece of bad. Their is so much happening like random musical numbers, Bible quotes, and time travel that it makes no sense and is actualy hard to watch. What makes this the worst movie ever though is this fact. At the most basic level, movies are entertainment. Not art, not expression, they were created to entertain. When a movie fails to be entertaining, it has failed at it's most simple goal. This movie doesn't just fail to entertain, at times it's painful or offensive to watch. This movie is a nearly 3 hour long turd. Avoid at all costs.