With the intent to help his troubled sister, a radio journalist embarks on a highly emotional cross-country trip with his young nephew.
THE GOOD STUFF
JOAQUIN PHOENIX- No surprise here, Mr. Phoenix is pretty good at his job. He’s the kind of actor that you know will be in spectacular form in some way or another. And although that very much is the case here, it is the case in a very different way. He’s just so damn lovable, likable, and empathetic in this movie. I don’t even know how many times throughout the history of this man’s resume where I’ve been able to describe ANY performance that he’s ever done as empathetic, but hey, there’s a first for everything.
Phoenix should be a lock for an Oscar nomination. The subtlety of this brilliant performance might be just as impressive as any of the flashy or super grimy stuff that he’s done before. That’s saying something I know, but it’s really true here.
WOODY F****** NORMAN- I’m not about to be hyperbolic in anything I’m about to say.
I defy anyone to show me a better child performance in any film better than this Woody Norman performance. EVER. Please let that sink in.
This is an 11 year old boy that is flat-out matching what I can only call intense tenderness, scene by scene… With an actor the likes of JOAQUIN F****** PHOENIX. Let that too sink in, and understand that it is absolutely true. I have seen many a child actor nominated for Academy Awards doing FAR LESS than Woody Norman does in this movie. Given the field of male supporting performances so far in the year, it is UNFATHOMABLE that Norman isn’t a lock for a nom himself.
AESTHETIC CHOICES- For those of you unfamiliar with arthouse film, you will always be able to tell if what you’re watching is full blown pretentiousness based off of the usage of the black-and-white aesthetic. And I will admit, for the 1st 10 minutes of this film I was rolling my eyes quite a bit.
But then, as the story got going, and the two main characters set out on their cross country journey, I couldn’t help but to understand that when you shoot three distinctive areas like New York, Los Angeles, and New Orleans in black-and-white as fixedly as the film does, those three cities look like different planets.
(I also learned, that if you shoot New York in black-and-white it looks poetic, if you shoot New Orleans in black-and-white it looks ethereal… And if you shoot Los Angeles in black-and-white in the way this film does… Then Los Angeles looks really ugly and sleazy. Seriously.)
THE BAD STUFF
GABY HOFFMANN’S STORYLINE- It’s worth mentioning right now that Gaby Hoffmann does a fantastic job in this movie. She is a fantastic actress, and the the flat out uselessness of her entire story arc is not her fault. I understand why the character exists, I understand that without the story arc of her character we don’t get to see our two main characters interact with each other at all. But she really could have just been a voice on the phone after the first ten minutes of this film and her character would have mattered just as much. It gets to a point where cutting back to her disrupts the rhythm of everything going on, and it’s jarring at times.
THE UGLY STUFF (?)
PACING- Simply put, there is a complete absence of narrative tension in this film. A complete and utter absence. And because of that common moviegoing jabronies can get the perception that nothing has happened in the story itself…audibly complaining about it whilst sitting directly behind me…
…consistantly implying that it was boring, and a waste of money because they ultimately wanted to be force fed the story… whilst I wrestle with the emotions within myself that this movie made me have to confront…
….actually F*** that. You know what? I’m gonna stop here. I must rant about something. I’m gonna activate my caps lock key and redo this section…
THE UGLY STUFF
L.A. PEOPLE– WHAT THE F*** ARE YOU HERE FOR THEN?!
Lack of narrative tension has been a staple of arthouse films for a VERY LONG TIME. No, it doesn’t happen a lot, but it does happen, and usually there can be an appreciation for pulling a film off that’s this good without having to resort to FORCED unnecessary narrative tension.
Upon leaving the theater, I couldn’t help but to hear the the yapping of typical jaded Los Angeles CHUMP MOFO’S complaining about the fact that nothing happens! FOH!
**Deep collected breath**
I wouldn’t say go experience it now because… it’s OBVIOUSLY not for everybody. But if you like arthouse film, if you UNDERSTAND it, then this is for you.
C’MON C’MON is playing in theatres now.