Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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A quiet understated movie about challenging the status quo and the powers that be. In recent days we have seen power struggles played out in a very overt ways. But people who have power have not always gotten their way with guns or brute force. In this movie, we see the genteel class in beautiful clothes and pearls and seemingly perfect manners imposing their will on others using their ability to yield their influences behind the scenes. Our protagonist is not able to overcome her antagonist, but In the end though, but her influence on a younger person allows her vision to be eventually be carried out. Sometimes this movie was a bit too quiet and a bit too slow, but it still won me over in the end.
At first, I had trouble getting into the movie because I found Howard to be so obnoxious and every bad decision the main character( Howard) made just aggravated me. Over time though, no matter how flawed I realized Howard was and even though he was so aggravating, I found myself liking him and wanting him to succeed or at least find some peace of mind. He really was the uncut gem, unfinished with the beauty hidden, but it was still there inside, like it is was so many of us very flawed humans. The movie itself is very loud and the camera itself takes the viewer on a very jumpy and jagged ride. For some people this might be too anxiety producing, but for me, even though I have lots of anxiety, it took me out of my own world for a while which is what I always want a film to do. Great movie, it is not going to be for everyone though.
It was better than I expected. The movie had both style and substance. It managed to strike a tone of being funny at times and entertaining but ultimately stayed with me in a deeper way about how people make choices. I thought before I actually saw the movie that J-Lo's performance was probably overrated. But after I watched it, I thought she had been robbed from getting a nomination for best actress. J-Lo's last line describes American capitalism like this "It's all a strip club," "You have people tossing the money and people doing the dance." In the movie, the choice some of these woman have based on their family upbringing and educational levels is to strip or to make minimum wage. Right or wrong, the movie does a very good job in showing the viewer how these women could have made the choices that they made and it also makes the lives of the "strippers" very real, as we see them with their families and just as people trying to get by.
I love Judy Garland but was disappointed by this movie. Scene after scene we see Judy suffer in one way or another. We also see her perform well sometimes on stage but even then we see her being miserable directly before or after the performance or even during the close ups during a successful show. Good movies obviously often deal with serious topics and can involve sad people, but to make them watchable it needs to feel like there are some underlying themes or something we learn about the human experience to make watching a movie like this worthwhile. I did not think Judy left the viewer with anything more than feeling very bad for Judy. We see how horribly Judy was mistreated by the studio she was under contract with. Her mother and the industries treatment of her as a child obviously scarred her forever. But the mistreatment kind of just sits there in the movie. Maybe in could have been connected in some way to reflecting on how children can be protected by this type of mistreatment. Or maybe there could have been a message of some sort about how we project what we want onto celebrities that is disconnected from the lives they live. I am not talking about an obvious, preachy message but there has to be more than watching Judy suffer. It turns into a slow movie about watching Judy struggle.