LI.ST FILM SOCIETY SELECTION FOR AUGUST 2016

Thanks to @jakebrandman
  1. Here's a movie that I like and am excited to recommend even though I don't know if it's actually any good
  2. It's Southland Tales, written and directed by Richard Kelly
    His follow up to Donnie Darko
  3. Trying to explain the plot of this movie is like trying to assemble a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle on the deck of a ship during a storm and also a bird has made off with at least 75 of the puzzle pieces
  4. It's set in 2008 (came out in 2006)
  5. And takes place after the destruction of Abilene, Texas has launched the US into WWIII
  6. It's a satire of the military industrial complex and the news and the entertainment industry
  7. Sort of
  8. It stars The Rock as an amnesiac action movie star who is married to Mandy Moore but in love with Sarah Michelle Gellar
  9. SMG plays a psychic porn star who has written a screenplay that predicts the end of the world
  10. Sean William Scott plays 2 characters
  11. Cheri Oteri plays the leader of a terrorist cell and Jon Lovitz plays a tough cop
  12. Justin Timberlake narrates the movie. He's a veteran of WWIII and speaks in William Blake quotes
  13. Wallace Shawn plays a guy who has figured out how to turn the ocean into an energy source. He's kind of the bad guy
  14. It's also got Wood Harris and Amy Poehler as slam poets/Marxist terrorists
  15. And Kevin Smith looking like this
  16. Also Will Sasso from Mad Tv plays a guy named Fortunio Balducci
  17. The film concerns alternative energy sources and hallucinogenic drugs and government surveillance and lots of Philip K Dick references and holes in the fabric of time and space and there's a part where 2 cars have sex
  18. It's a huge mess
  19. If you should somehow manage to catch some random 15 minutes of this out on context on HBO you might think it's a fun, weird romp
  20. But when you see the thing in context it's weirdly slow and disjointed
  21. The movie was somewhat famously booed at Cannes, where a 160 minute cut was shown
  22. Afterward the thing was chopped down to 140 minutes. You can't get the original cut anywhere but I somehow doubt that it matters
  23. It's almost impossible to watch in a single sitting anyway
  24. Maybe I should get into why I like it now
  25. Where to start
  26. I read an interview with Wallace Shawn where he said that even though the script made no sense to him he didn't want to be like some actor who turned down starring in Waiting for Godot just because he didn't get it
  27. A few months after the disaster at Cannes Richard Kelly came to the comic book store where I worked for a signing and he showed a clip from the movie
  28. The scene is a blood splattered Justin Timberlake hallucinating that he's dancing around to this song by The Killers
  29. Before showing the clip, Kelly tried to contextualize it
  30. This remains one of the most fascinating 7 minutes of another human speaking that I've ever witnessed
  31. He couldn't do it
  32. He kept pausing and backing up and forgetting things...
  33. "Timberlake is playing a dude who is guarding this outpost in the ocean and he's guilty because...wait, did I mention the wormhole in the desert? Okay, there's a hole in time and space..."
  34. "So when the Marxist Rebels get ahold of the screenplay they take it to...no, hold on, first I have to tell you about the ice cream truck."
  35. After showing the clip Kelly took some questions and for every Q he gave a rambling answer that went on and on and revealed nothing
  36. Maybe this is because the film was currently being re-edited at the time
  37. But I also suspect that on some level he could never actually explain the movie, because I don't think he understood what he made
  38. The film feels really personal when you watch it. And I think it is a very personal movie. But it's also like communing with a mind that's struggling to make sense of itself
  39. It feels like everything that happens happens because it FELT right, with no intellect guiding it
  40. Or maybe an intellect that's become overwhelmed...and maybe there's an argument to make about this being a kind of important post 9/11 movie. It's about terrorism and Surveillance and all that, but it's also frazzled
  41. Ideas and images just come flying at you...it's overwhelming. It's anxious
  42. It's urgent. Although also strangely plodding. Which might be because the available version is all chopper and trimmed
  43. So I think it's worth your time because
  44. A. Even though it's a swing and a miss, it's such a mighty (weird) swing
  45. B. You've never seen anything like it
  46. C. I think about it all the time, only know a few other people that have seen it, and want more people to talk about it with.
  47. D. I wish we there were more movies like this...big crazy anything goes toss the kitchen sink and the baby and the bath water in the mix cinematic freakouts that, even if it isn't clear, feel like someone trying so hard to tell you something so important