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Subject: "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 2017)" Previous topic | Next topic
Frank Longo
Member since Nov 18th 2003
83336 posts
Fri Oct-21-16 12:52 AM

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"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 2017)"


  

          

Had its first test screening tonight. Word on the street is that it's terrific, that Frances McDormand is an Oscar contender, and fans of McDonagh's work will be tremendously pleased.

Cast is monstrous. McDormand, Rockwell, Harrelson. John Hawkes. Zeljko Ivanek. Clarke Fucking Peters. Peter Fucking Dinklage.

Put this atop your most anticipated list, people.

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Topic Outline
Subject Author Message Date ID
Mam, that cast is bananas. I need to be seeing John Hawkes
Oct 21st 2016
1
RED BAND TRAILER:
Mar 23rd 2017
2
YES
Mar 23rd 2017
3
Of course all in!
Mar 23rd 2017
4
This movie would be 32 seconds long if it was a black lead.
Mar 24th 2017
5
The movie addresses this relatively head-on.
Mar 25th 2017
6
      yeah. for being written damn near a decade ago
Nov 22nd 2017
13
      Ehhhhhh...how so? (spoilers)
Nov 25th 2017
17
           I really, really disagree with both these takes.
Nov 27th 2017
20
                Did you catch Red reading "A Good Man is Hard to Find"?
Nov 28th 2017
21
                I didn't! That's a nice Easter Egg.
Nov 28th 2017
23
                     My mom is a *huge* fan and wore me down
Nov 28th 2017
27
                Dixon literally does a 180
Nov 28th 2017
22
                     I'll just cosign everything Walleye said in Reply 21 and leave it there.
Nov 28th 2017
24
                     Our appetite for plot contrivances differ wildly, I think
Nov 29th 2017
28
                     of course I knew you did it. who the fucking else would've? (c) Dixon
Nov 28th 2017
25
Thanks
Mar 30th 2017
7
Put it in my veins
Mar 30th 2017
8
Reviews are glowing from Venice.
Sep 09th 2017
9
Really fun...
Sep 12th 2017
10
No surprise, but this shit was excellent.
Nov 07th 2017
11
Top notch
Nov 14th 2017
12
This was laughably bad
Nov 24th 2017
14
...
Nov 25th 2017
15
Agree with most of this
Nov 25th 2017
16
      ^^actual factuals^^
Nov 26th 2017
18
      i think you guys are blowing up two head-scratchy (to me) parts
Nov 27th 2017
19
      no one behaves like real humans
Nov 29th 2017
29
      Unfortunately, I think I agree 100%
Dec 10th 2017
34
walk away Renee…
Nov 28th 2017
26
wow the reviews here are pretty polarizing
Nov 29th 2017
30
The negative reviews here are exceptions. Go see it.
Nov 29th 2017
31
RE: The negative reviews here are exceptions. Go see it.
Dec 04th 2017
33
It will definitely be nominated
Nov 29th 2017
32
This is Crash-level bad.
Jan 05th 2018
35
So now that I've had a night to sit on this.
Jan 05th 2018
36
While I won't try to sway you at all...
Jan 05th 2018
37
And that's all fine, and makes sense.
Jan 05th 2018
40
what did you make of the ex-husband's girlfriend?
Jan 08th 2018
44
      Three things:
Jan 08th 2018
46
           Upon a rewatch...
Jan 09th 2018
53
was that the point to you?
Jan 05th 2018
38
      No, it wasn't the point.
Jan 05th 2018
39
Mine is I couldn’t suspend belief for a main plot point
Jan 07th 2018
41
But this answers your Woody question imo.
Jan 07th 2018
42
Just saw it, in this line as well
Nov 04th 2018
61
I dont get the bad reviews in here
Jan 07th 2018
43
it's just a matter of taste
Jan 08th 2018
45
The backlash to this is really bumming me out
Jan 08th 2018
47
this, i think, is my stumbling block with this movie
Jan 08th 2018
48
That's because I wasn't describing what I liked about the movie
Jan 08th 2018
49
      ^^^
Jan 08th 2018
50
      I'm used to shutting up about movies I liked
Jan 08th 2018
51
      Strongly agree.
Jan 09th 2018
52
I just thought it was...fun?
Jan 10th 2018
54
I finally got around to this Fake Coen Bros shite....
Feb 28th 2018
55
RE: I finally got around to this Fake Coen Bros shite....
Mar 01st 2018
56
      The first half makes the injustice the point.....
Mar 02nd 2018
57
           I don't see the first half that way.
Mar 02nd 2018
58
the out of town guy?
Mar 04th 2018
59
I liked the messiness of this movie.
May 29th 2018
60
i liked it
Aug 19th 2019
62

natenate101
Member since Apr 21st 2015
617 posts
Fri Oct-21-16 12:58 AM

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1. "Mam, that cast is bananas. I need to be seeing John Hawkes"
In response to Reply # 0


          

In more stuff too. Always dig his performances. Martha Marcy May Marlene and Winter's Bone solidified him as someone to follow.

  

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Frank Longo
Member since Nov 18th 2003
83336 posts
Thu Mar-23-17 01:53 PM

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2. "RED BAND TRAILER:"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jit3YhGx5pU

(btw, McDormand's crotch-kicking is heading her way into Oscar season, take it from me)

For beer lovers: http://thebeertravelguide.com
For movie lovers: http://russellhainline.com

  

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RobOne4
Member since Jun 06th 2003
56566 posts
Thu Mar-23-17 04:23 PM

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3. "YES"
In response to Reply # 2


  

          

looks great

November 8th, 2005 The greatest night in the history of GD!

  

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DJ007
Member since Apr 06th 2003
5447 posts
Thu Mar-23-17 07:35 PM

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4. "Of course all in!"
In response to Reply # 2


  

          

Martin's writing is hilarious..lol
_____________________________________________________
"You can win with certainty with the spirit of "one cut". "Musashi Miyamoto

  

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Innocent Criminal
Member since May 03rd 2003
14459 posts
Fri Mar-24-17 08:18 AM

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5. "This movie would be 32 seconds long if it was a black lead."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

________________________________
There are dozens of us! Dozens!

  

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Frank Longo
Member since Nov 18th 2003
83336 posts
Sat Mar-25-17 12:11 AM

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6. "The movie addresses this relatively head-on."
In response to Reply # 5
Sat Mar-25-17 12:11 AM by Frank Longo

  

          

Just in case this is an actual concern.

For beer lovers: http://thebeertravelguide.com
For movie lovers: http://russellhainline.com

  

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will_5198
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Wed Nov-22-17 02:12 AM

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13. "yeah. for being written damn near a decade ago"
In response to Reply # 6


          

it's absolutely a movie for the here and now, especially as it relates to positions of authority and corruption. there are good cops and bad cops, but they mingle in between redemption and betrayal so often, it’s too hard to tell the difference.

--------

  

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ternary_star
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Sat Nov-25-17 09:54 AM

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17. "Ehhhhhh...how so? (spoilers)"
In response to Reply # 6


  

          

I assume you're talking about Dixon? Early on, he's established as a racist good-old-boy; a caricature of a bad cop. Then we learn his Mom's also a racist *and* he can be equally horrible to white folks, too!

So what's the message there? An uncharitable reading could assume the movie's saying systemic police racism is an illusion created by bad officers who are equally bad to everyone.

But beyond that, the "turn" Dixon takes is so cheesy and unearned, it feels gross that we're asked to actually root for him after seeing what a piece of shit he is just minutes earlier.

  

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Frank Longo
Member since Nov 18th 2003
83336 posts
Mon Nov-27-17 11:30 PM

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20. "I really, really disagree with both these takes."
In response to Reply # 17


  

          


>So what's the message there? An uncharitable reading could
>assume the movie's saying systemic police racism is an
>illusion created by bad officers who are equally bad to
>everyone.
>
>But beyond that, the "turn" Dixon takes is so cheesy and
>unearned, it feels gross that we're asked to actually root for
>him after seeing what a piece of shit he is just minutes
>earlier.

I especially disagree with the idea that McDonagh wants us to "root" for Dixon. McDonagh's whole body of work deals with the fact that bad people do good things, good people do bad things, and everyone has the capacity to do both unforgivable things and morally right things. He's obsessed with Catholic guilt, but I've never seen a play or movie of his in which a character who does something good deserves to be forgiven.

I'd have to see the film again to do a deeper dive, but I don't think things like "rooting for" and "characters turning" are concepts that McDonagh is bringing to the table textually.

For beer lovers: http://thebeertravelguide.com
For movie lovers: http://russellhainline.com

  

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Walleye
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Tue Nov-28-17 12:02 PM

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21. "Did you catch Red reading "A Good Man is Hard to Find"?"
In response to Reply # 20


          

>I especially disagree with the idea that McDonagh wants us to
>"root" for Dixon. McDonagh's whole body of work deals with the
>fact that bad people do good things, good people do bad
>things, and everyone has the capacity to do both unforgivable
>things and morally right things. He's obsessed with Catholic
>guilt, but I've never seen a play or movie of his in which a
>character who does something good deserves to be forgiven.

This is exactly right, and he is extremely indebted to Flannery O'Connor for fleshing out how God's grace as a freely given, unmerited gift works. Both writers make us look at how the sausage is made in Aquinas' "grace perfects nature" and insist that rather than a subtle, elegant sanctification, grace smashes us to pieces. It's a horrifying, violent (often literally) destruction of the comfort of our world order and, because both writers are Catholic and understand that it is our responsibility to cooperate with something (as opposed to it being instantly and durably effective) that is truly a gift but doesn't really resemble one in any meaningful way.

Dixon is destroyed. Ditto Mildred. And Willoughby's wife. And Red. And, true to O'Connor's preferred medium of the short story, McDonagh is mostly interested in showing us the smash and the pieces - not the cooperation because that will be long and boring and not any easier.

______________________________

"Walleye, a lot of things are going to go wrong in your life that technically aren't your fault. Always remember that this doesn't make you any less of an idiot"

--Walleye's Dad

  

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Frank Longo
Member since Nov 18th 2003
83336 posts
Tue Nov-28-17 06:41 PM

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23. "I didn't! That's a nice Easter Egg."
In response to Reply # 21


  

          

Makes sense that McDonagh would acknowledge someone who swam in the same pool before him when given the opportunity. It makes me wonder what other books I'd find on shelves in his previous films.

I became obsessed with McDonagh in college. When I saw this movie a while back, he was sitting in the row behind me taking notes. Took everything in my power to not geek out, interrupt him, and ramble incoherently to him about what his work has meant to me. Figured he was working, so I let him be... but I did wonder how often he'd been recognized as a face in the crowd in LA. I imagine after this film/awards season, he'll definitely get spotted far more frequently in the future.

For beer lovers: http://thebeertravelguide.com
For movie lovers: http://russellhainline.com

  

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Walleye
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Tue Nov-28-17 09:05 PM

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27. "My mom is a *huge* fan and wore me down"
In response to Reply # 23


          

I should add that a personal, surprisingly durable intellectual weakness of mine is that I absolutely can't sit through live theater. I'm just too anxious for it to be fun. I'm also usually broke and it's not often a cheap pastime.

But my mom has a finely tuned radar for productions anywhere, of any quality of McDonagh plays so I've actually seen a fair amount of them. Lieutenant of Inishmore is my favorite.

>I became obsessed with McDonagh in college. When I saw this
>movie a while back, he was sitting in the row behind me taking
>notes. Took everything in my power to not geek out, interrupt
>him, and ramble incoherently to him about what his work has
>meant to me. Figured he was working, so I let him be... but I
>did wonder how often he'd been recognized as a face in the
>crowd in LA. I imagine after this film/awards season, he'll
>definitely get spotted far more frequently in the future.

This is a cool story. I actually didn't know what he looked like until I saw a photo in an article about this movie. That was cool of you to leave him alone, but yeah - that opportunity for you to be the one person who recognizes him and give him a good word might have been the last.

______________________________

"Walleye, a lot of things are going to go wrong in your life that technically aren't your fault. Always remember that this doesn't make you any less of an idiot"

--Walleye's Dad

  

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ternary_star
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Tue Nov-28-17 01:34 PM

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22. "Dixon literally does a 180"
In response to Reply # 20
Tue Nov-28-17 01:36 PM by ternary_star

  

          

He's a gleefully sadistic cartoon character for 80% of the movie, then gets injured and becomes a somber detective seeking justice.

Not to mention the absurd moments leading up to his turn:

- Dixon just so happens to be the only cop in the station when it's firebombed
- Dinklage, whose character exists mostly so others can call him a midget, and who just so happens to have a crush on McDormand, also just so happens to be the only human within earshot of the station as she's firebombing it
- Police chief ignores Dinklage's obvious lying and the fact that McDormand IS WEARING A BACKPACK AND HAS A GRUDGE AGAINST THE POLICE
- Dixon just so happens to be placed in the same hospital room as the guy he threw out a window
- Said guy, for no rational reason, forgives Dixon
- Dixon just so happens to be drinking in the booth adjacent to a guy loudly bragging about raping a girl
- Black couple, whose characters exist for no other reason than to witness Dixon's assault, just so happen to be in the same bar at the same time

That's just lazy writing. And the movie is full of it. It reminds me a lot of "Crash" in that these characters don't resemble real humans; they're just broadly-drawn archetypes, forced into a ham-fisted converging storyline to express a painfully obvious thesis ("Racism is bad!" "People can be both bad AND good!"). And like "Crash," I'm pretty sure this movie will win a lot of unwarranted awards and generate a slew of "What were we thinking?" articles in a couple years.

While I'm ranting, some other stuff that annoyed me:

- The ex-husband's girlfriend, who is so over-the-top cartoonish and tonally different than everyone else in the scene, that it feels like she's pausing for a laugh track
- The "hilarious" Big Bang Theory-level physical comedy of kicking two high school students in the crotch. Again, tonal whiplash.
- The most uncomfortable, unconvincing line reading of the year - "That was a real nice fuck. You got a real nice cock, Mr. Willoughby.” (what human would say that?)
- The one-dimensionality of the female characters. Girlfriend and office assistant are ditzy. Daughter is a bitch. Mom is old and racist. Wife is hot and loves husband. Black shop owner is...black.

  

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Frank Longo
Member since Nov 18th 2003
83336 posts
Tue Nov-28-17 06:43 PM

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24. "I'll just cosign everything Walleye said in Reply 21 and leave it there."
In response to Reply # 22


  

          

We have very different views on what's happening in the film, and I'm not sure there's much to say to convince you otherwise, just as your arguments aren't serving to convince me based on what I saw. I'll end by encouraging you to revisit in the future.

For beer lovers: http://thebeertravelguide.com
For movie lovers: http://russellhainline.com

  

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ternary_star
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Wed Nov-29-17 12:47 AM

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28. "Our appetite for plot contrivances differ wildly, I think"
In response to Reply # 24


  

          

McDonagh is really only interested in Mildred, Willoughby, and Dixon. Which is fine. It's just frustrating that, as a result, every other character is only used as scaffolding to get from plot point A to plot point B.

The stylized dialogue and tonal shifts (the ex's girlfriend does *not* exist in the same universe as anyone else in the movie) are a matter of taste, but I'm really struggling to understand how folks are swallowing the rickety construction underlying this film. It unavoidably comes off as Coen Brothers fan fiction.

  

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will_5198
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Tue Nov-28-17 08:23 PM

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25. "of course I knew you did it. who the fucking else would've? (c) Dixon"
In response to Reply # 22


          

>- Police chief ignores Dinklage's obvious lying and the fact
>that McDormand IS WEARING A BACKPACK AND HAS A GRUDGE AGAINST
>THE POLICE

knowingly ignorant police work is like one of the main threads of the movie.

>- Dixon just so happens to be placed in the same hospital room
>as the guy he threw out a window
>- Said guy, for no rational reason, forgives Dixon

I didn't see this scene as redemption for Dixon at all. the movie has a lot to do with acting out on your anger, and Red decides not to.

--------

  

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Lil Rabies
Member since Oct 12th 2005
1572 posts
Thu Mar-30-17 08:46 AM

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7. "Thanks"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Wont miss this

Taking shots in the dark/that's a bad call
Going straight for your head/ gotta saw it off

  

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Madvillain 626
Member since Apr 25th 2006
10016 posts
Thu Mar-30-17 01:26 PM

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8. "Put it in my veins"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Can't wait. As said above, John Hawkes always puts in work.

-------------------------------
If life is stupendous one cannot also demand that it should be easy. - Robert Musil

  

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Frank Longo
Member since Nov 18th 2003
83336 posts
Sat Sep-09-17 03:03 PM

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9. "Reviews are glowing from Venice."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

It's as good as they're saying. Keep an eye out for when this drops.

For beer lovers: http://thebeertravelguide.com
For movie lovers: http://russellhainline.com

  

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Mageddon
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Tue Sep-12-17 09:38 PM

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10. "Really fun..."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          


and doesn't let up much. Fastest 2 hours I remember in a long time.

McDonagh said the Mildred and Officer Dixon roles were written with McDormand and Rockwell in mind and they deliver. (especially McDormand.) Woody is really good as well.

Some "Niggers" and "Fags" thrown around in the movie. He mentioned during the Q&A that he based it in Missouri because of the race elements in the story. Still felt a little forced to me, but it's not exactly a nuanced film.



  

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bwood
Member since Apr 03rd 2006
8020 posts
Tue Nov-07-17 04:45 PM

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11. "No surprise, but this shit was excellent."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Layered in shades of grey and black humor like all of this movies but even more so this time.

Most def top ten material.

------------------------------------------
America from 9:00 on: https://youtu.be/GUwLCQU10KQ

  

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jigga
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Tue Nov-14-17 01:14 PM

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12. "Top notch "
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

I'd watch a Sam/Fran sequel

Caleb Landry Jones continues to impress too

  

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fif
Member since Feb 23rd 2004
1515 posts
Fri Nov-24-17 07:20 PM

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14. "This was laughably bad "
In response to Reply # 0


          

Got invited to see it knowing nothing about it and thought it was absolute dog shit. Was shocked to find out after that it's being critically lauded. The writing is garbage. Seriously at times thought they were intentionally making a cheesy bad movie with some of the lines/scenes. Makes some sense that it was written by a foreigner because it couldn't stop whiffing. Compares very unfavorably with say Winter's Bone (also set in rural MO) or True Detective Season one.

  

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Frank Longo
Member since Nov 18th 2003
83336 posts
Sat Nov-25-17 02:46 AM

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15. "..."
In response to Reply # 14


  

          

For beer lovers: http://thebeertravelguide.com
For movie lovers: http://russellhainline.com

  

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ternary_star
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Sat Nov-25-17 09:24 AM

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16. "Agree with most of this"
In response to Reply # 14


  

          

This movie is really frustrating. There's a good core to the story, but the execution - especially the writing - is wildly uneven, and in some spots just embarrassing. Everything is written very broadly and exaggerated, which is fine, but when the tone abruptly shifts to sentimentality, it doesn't work. I can't feel anything for characters who have been established as cartoon archetypes. There are many characters who aren't real people - they just exist to execute specific plot points or fumble through awkward, heavy-handed dialogue. The whole thing is just sloppy. To the point where it feels like there were last minute rewrites or problems in the editing room.

I'm baffled by the critics' love for this one. McDormand is fine; she certainly commits to the intensity of the character, but the performance is a little one-note. Harrelson is on cruise control, Rockwell and Dinklage are playing paper-thin cartoon characters, and the actress who plays Harrelson's wife is notable only because of how horribly miscast she is and how little chemistry she has with Woody.

There are a few laughs in there, but it's kind of a hot mess otherwise.

  

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seandammit
Member since May 28th 2003
6443 posts
Sun Nov-26-17 07:33 PM

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18. "^^actual factuals^^"
In response to Reply # 16


          

I, too, have been a bit baffled at how much this film has been lauded.

www.twitter.com/seandammit

  

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Robert
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Mon Nov-27-17 08:14 PM

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19. "i think you guys are blowing up two head-scratchy (to me) parts"
In response to Reply # 16


          

- dinner scene w/ dinklage & mcdormand. that little speech that he gave as he walks out.. "you know, i didnt have to go to hold up the ladder for you" *long awkward pause* *then he walks out* ---yeah that was weird/unnecessary

- scene where woody's wife shows up at frances's store--"not sure what we're gonna do the rest of the day..since he just died less than 24 hours ago" (or whatever the line)--i think it was her kinda shitty delivery?

both scenes kinda took me out of it for a bit..but otherwise i enjoyed. mcdormand is incredible as always--same for sam rockwell

also..making the 19 year old gf that much a dunce was overkill i thought

  

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ternary_star
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Wed Nov-29-17 01:24 AM

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29. "no one behaves like real humans"
In response to Reply # 19


  

          

>- scene where woody's wife shows up at frances's store--"not
>sure what we're gonna do the rest of the day..since he just
>died less than 24 hours ago" (or whatever the line)--i think
>it was her kinda shitty delivery?

This is a good example of a one-dimensional character existing solely to execute a specific plot point. Can you imagine an actual human, the day after discovering her husband's killed himself, hand-delivering a note to the woman she believes contributed to his death? Of course not. I get that it's supposed to be a contrast of the wife's controlled grieving with Mildred's uncontrolled rage, but my God, what a ham-fisted, jarringly unnatural way to do it. And Abbie Cornish is so grossly miscast, it just adds to the unbelievability.


>also..making the 19 year old gf that much a dunce was overkill
>i thought

She's a bad sitcom character. Jarring and unfunny. I'm seriously bugging how critics can give this movie five stars when this Jar Jar-ass character's in it.

  

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dba_BAD
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34. "Unfortunately, I think I agree 100%"
In response to Reply # 16


          

it should have all the makings of a film i should love, but i'm pretty sure you nailed each critique. disappointing

__

fairweather

  

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will_5198
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26. "walk away Renee…"
In response to Reply # 0


          

what happens when we get to our breaking point? or a series of breaking points? where do you put all your anger?

some give in to it. there is a lot of vengeance here; none of it painted valiantly. and once you commit to that cycle of retribution, you’ll keep going until there’s nothing left of the person you once were. it’s a classic story, and McDonagh and his cast nail it. McDormand deserves any accolade coming here way, in a part that could easily have gone in a bad direction with a lesser actress. Rockwell is nearly as good, which here is saying a lot.

the characters here break, they try to put themselves back together, and then they break again.

a wise man from another story once said, “all the time you spend trying to get back what’s been took from you, there’s more going out the door. after a while you just try and get a tourniquet on it.”

on the way to Idaho, putting on that tourniquet still seemed very much in question. I guess it's up to each one of us to decide if we think that's a good or bad thing.

--------

  

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BigWorm
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30. "wow the reviews here are pretty polarizing"
In response to Reply # 0


          

I only catch the BIG action/adventure/sci-fi stuff in the theaters these days cause, well, I have two kids, but I was probably going to watch this when it hit streaming. But man, I don't know. Half you guys think this is Oscar material, the other half think it is just plain awful.

Unless it does start getting award noms, I might wait on this awhile or forget it altogether...

  

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Frank Longo
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Wed Nov-29-17 12:22 PM

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31. "The negative reviews here are exceptions. Go see it. "
In response to Reply # 30


  

          

Even they'd admit that. 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, only one negative review from a Top Critic. It will almost certainly garner Oscar noms for McDormand, Rockwell, and the screenplay, and I wouldn't be surprised at all to see it nominated for Best Picture. If you're waiting to see what will happen during awards season, you'll miss its theatrical run, and it really in my opinion-- and the opinion of several others in this post and of the vast majority of critics nationwide-- deserves the support.

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Flash80
Member since Jan 03rd 2007
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Mon Dec-04-17 02:49 PM

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33. "RE: The negative reviews here are exceptions. Go see it. "
In response to Reply # 31


          

>Even they'd admit that. 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, only one
>negative review from a Top Critic. It will almost certainly
>garner Oscar noms for McDormand, Rockwell, and the screenplay,
>and I wouldn't be surprised at all to see it nominated for
>Best Picture. If you're waiting to see what will happen during
>awards season, you'll miss its theatrical run, and it really
>in my opinion-- and the opinion of several others in this post
>and of the vast majority of critics nationwide-- deserves the
>support.

i'm glad i didn't watch the trailer beforehand.

i thought it was good. by itself, mildred cutting that promo against the catholic church was worth the price of admission.

  

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ternary_star
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32. "It will definitely be nominated"
In response to Reply # 30


  

          

McDormand gives a very showy performance and I'd guess it'll be down to her and Streep for best actress. It'll probably get noms for script, director, and picture, too. I said this above, but it feels very much like the year "Crash" won everything. They're both movies made by talented people with thin veneers of "Important" social commentary but without much actual substance to support it.

  

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Ryan M
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35. "This is Crash-level bad. "
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

I’m...angry at how over the top, heavy handed, melodramatic, and pointless it was.

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Ryan M
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36. "So now that I've had a night to sit on this."
In response to Reply # 35


  

          

It's fucking bad.

Performance wise - Rockwell and McDormand are as good as advertised. So let's move on.

(SPOILERS)

The 19 year old girlfriend. What the fuck was this? It felt like a 3 camera sitcom character. I get the humor, I just didn't find her funny.

Is there ONE likable character in this whole movie? I'm barely rooting for them to find the killer.

Maybe it's because I'm not as familiar with small town life but what dentist is risking his license over the police chief? Who are these people and why do none of them act like something other than a caricature?

Which takes me to Dixon's mom...the scene where she says, "Well, does she have any friends? Mess with them!" - okay, come the fuck on. What on the nose terrible writing is this?

Gift shop dude...if he's not the killer, then his scene intimidating Mildred is utterly pointless.

Mildred is wholly unlikable - there's next to no redeeming qualities about her character, even prior to her daughter being murdered. I mean, the scene of her yelling, "I HOPE YOU DO GET RAPED" is Crash level on the nose.

Willoughby and his wife have negative chemistry.

"Ooopie Daisy - I Got Arrested! " - what?

Apparently, heat is only something you can hear because it took 5 molotov cocktails for Dixon to realize EVERYTHING AROUND HIM WAS ON FUCKING FIRE.

Anyway, I could go on, but this was trash...and the worst part about it is how it's not even a little bit self aware.

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Frank Longo
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37. "While I won't try to sway you at all..."
In response to Reply # 36
Fri Jan-05-18 02:12 PM by Frank Longo

  

          

... suffice it to say, I do think McDonagh is more self-aware than you give him credit for, and his what I'll call "heightened reality" (what the film's detractors would call "caricatures" and "terrible dialogue") is an intentional choice, without question. No one's ever accused McDonagh's of being un-theatrical or of being overly subtle. It's just a matter of whether that theatricality/presentational style detracts from your experience with the story/world/characters or not-- hence why the film has passion from both its defenders and its critics. (It's unsurprising to me that Colin Farrell enjoys working with McDonagh and Yorgos Lanthimos so much-- both have strong style to their voices and both are as a result frequently accused of writing shitty dialogue/thinking unfunny things are funny/making bad movies for the same movies that other people rave over.) And I'll take the odd line of dialogue that goes for something piercing and fails in exchange for all of the dialogue that does work for me.

I totally get the complaints. I don't not understand them. Those elements just didn't negatively impact my enjoyment of the film whatsoever. Maybe because I'm a McDonagh fanatic. The style works, the wit works, the anger works, the characters who don't deserve our sympathy or forgiveness work, the mess works. The messiness of this movie is a big reason why I enjoy it so. Maybe I'll like it less upon revisit. (I kind of doubt it, though.)

Finally, as a guy familiar with many a red-county small town in Florida, while it may not have happened in the same way it happened there, yeah, I don't doubt that people would try ways of shutting up a woman who's trying to excoriate a well-liked police chief, even if common sense would dictate those methods may risk getting into trouble themselves. It's certainly a heightened, more exposed attack than maybe a normal one would be-- but fuck, small town shit is outside of reality anyway, so if someone pointed me to a CNN story about a dentist doing exactly what this one tries to do, I'd be less than surprised (I also think the scene where Mildred is threatened in the gift shop is a good reminder that she will always live with this fear, and the number one tactic to try to stop people from speaking out is fear. I don't mind if it doesn't have a clear narrative solution, personally).

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Ryan M
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40. "And that's all fine, and makes sense."
In response to Reply # 37


  

          

I think if you take a movie like...say, Baby Driver...or Kill Bill, or some heightened genre film...I'm much more forgiving with dialogue that is campy or, well heightened. It honestly felt like this was trying to be a movie of the world that we know, and for that reason it felt beyond improbable for some of this stuff to happen and for people to talk/act the way they do.

For what it's worth, I also really didn't love Seven Psycopaths and I haven't seen In Bruge. I don't remember much beyond just being like, "Meh" at the former.

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ternary_star
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44. "what did you make of the ex-husband's girlfriend?"
In response to Reply # 37
Mon Jan-08-18 02:49 PM by ternary_star

  

          

Honestly, her character made me check out completely. It just felt almost condescending; like McDonagh was seeing how far he could push things and still have Americans laugh. The only way her character works is if it's an intentional commentary on poorly written sitcom characters (but to what end?). It's just hard to buy that considering this is coming from a writer who found a way to awkwardly jam midget jokes into another script.

  

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Frank Longo
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Mon Jan-08-18 03:08 PM

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46. "Three things:"
In response to Reply # 44


  

          

1. I've seen like 50 movies since I saw Three Billboards, so my memory on specifics is fuzzy. Take everything with a grain of salt and know that my thoughts may change.

2. I wouldn't begrudge anyone who didn't like that this was McDonagh using a female character as ostensibly a punchline to reveal something about Hawkes and McDormand. I get that criticism. McDonagh's been criticized for this before: using underdeveloped women to reveal something about main men/women in the script. That's definitely a valid complaint. For better and worse, everything in the script focuses on the main couple of characters. Maybe it's because his plays tend to be about three-to-four people, so that's what he knows. Regardless, I hear that criticism, and even though I wasn't bothered by it, it's not something I find invalid in the slightest.

3. As someone whose mother has been friends with several women McDormand's age who were left for girls in their early 20s because the man just wanted someone young and pretty whom he could control, I didn't mind her inclusion, honestly. I remember that she's mostly just set up as a punching bag for Mildred, but IIRC, there's also a moment in their last scene together in which Mildred addresses her as a human being for the first time. I get why people don't like how she's written, but it didn't bother me when I saw the film.

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Frank Longo
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53. "Upon a rewatch..."
In response to Reply # 46
Tue Jan-09-18 03:15 PM by Frank Longo

  

          

... I would agree that it's the weakest part of the film. The moment where I said she addresses the 19-year-old as a human, she isn't even addressing her-- she's addressing Charlie. "Be good to her." It's a nice, tender moment, but yeah, the girlfriend's part is broad, even in that scene. (Although I do like that she conveys one of the central themes of the film-- "anger begets greater anger"-- because she read it on a bookmark in a book she can't remember. Feels appropriate considering how prevalent and messy all the anger is in the film. And, as Walleye said below, her outsider status definitely brings something to the table as well.)

I still love the movie. But I don't begrudge anyone who doesn't like that character, really.

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will_5198
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38. "was that the point to you? "
In response to Reply # 36


          

>Is there ONE likable character in this whole movie? I'm barely
>rooting for them to find the killer

and you are complaining about self-awareness?

--------

  

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Ryan M
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Fri Jan-05-18 02:47 PM

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39. "No, it wasn't the point."
In response to Reply # 38


  

          

The point was obviously the very, very spelled out "Anger Begets Anger", the (sometimes purposeful) ineptitude of police, etc. etc.

But honestly...this shit sucked.

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BigReg
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41. "Mine is I couldn’t suspend belief for a main plot point"
In response to Reply # 35
Sun Jan-07-18 09:36 AM by BigReg

  

          

>I’m...angry at how over the top, heavy handed,
>melodramatic, and pointless it was.

Ok, everyone loves Woody even in real life: I can get a small town caping for him against outside forces, an unliked asshole in town ,etc.


But someone who as a staple of the community and presumably well liked considering how much leeway they give her....

...In a small town her kid getting raped and murdered would be a forever pass. Thats the kind of wound a small town doesn’t recover from for years. Dentist would’t have tried to press up on her, etc. People would be checking up on you, people would take pity (at tims condecendingly so)

Having the town turn on her being the obstacle i couldnt wrap my mind around so it made everything seem Hallmark hokier and things like the racial flaws more apparent. I haven’t seen a movie with such strong performances and strong character ideas ruined by a lifetime movie plot outside of the last third of the movie.

Furthermore i dont know if a small town would cape for cops that hard. There they arent an abstract concept of law and justice, its just Craig, the kid that used to masturbate in class.

that history they got that everyone knows humanizes them which the movie hints at but still gives them this untouchable gravitas even tho everyone know (for example) Sam Rockwell char was an asshole. Its like they showed him no respect but saw him as harmless even tho he beat the breaks off several other towns people who they would have equally liked

  

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Frank Longo
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Sun Jan-07-18 01:29 PM

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42. "But this answers your Woody question imo."
In response to Reply # 41


  

          


>Furthermore i dont know if a small town would cape for cops
>that hard. There they arent an abstract concept of law and
>justice, its just Craig, the kid that used to masturbate in
>class.

Woody is very well-liked around town and Mildred is a standoffish bitch to the townsfolk before her daughter is killed. So of course they're going to be angry that Mildred is trying to ruin the captain's career in the media. I don't think anyone tells Mildred she shouldn't be mad, they just take strong issue with her impropriety and her desire to ruin the captain-- a "good man-- in the media over something they see as outside of his control.

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calminvasion
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Sun Nov-04-18 09:48 AM

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61. "Just saw it, in this line as well"
In response to Reply # 35


  

          

People seem to be bringing all kinds of externalities to praise it. The thing itself was not good.

Good acting performances by actors who always give good performances does not a good movie Make

  

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Sofian_Hadi
Member since Jan 03rd 2003
3085 posts
Sun Jan-07-18 09:56 PM

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43. "I dont get the bad reviews in here"
In response to Reply # 0


          

This shit was hilarious, purposefully over the top, and very very entertaining

---------------------------------------

"The world is before you and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in." - James Baldwin

  

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ternary_star
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Mon Jan-08-18 02:52 PM

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45. "it's just a matter of taste"
In response to Reply # 43


  

          

I think if you chuckle at the scene of Mildred kicking kids in their crotch, you'll dig the movie. If not, it probably won't be for you.

  

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Walleye
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47. "The backlash to this is really bumming me out"
In response to Reply # 0


          

I recognize it's not productive, or even a sign of a good movie that I want to make Flannery O'Connor required reading before people comment on this. But whatever. The irritating thing is that I find myself wishing that McDonagh had just steered the ship away from the giant, flashing political symbols like racism and police brutality because those are the things that keep making people compare it to lightweight political movies like Crash.

It's not a political movie. Or, rather, that scope is way too small. It's about sin and grace and how, in the fallen world, they both play as horrifying, destructive violence. O'Connor's work treated violence as the beginning, the middle, and the end of the story. Violence and pain isn't an instigation for personal growth beyond anger and into peace, it was transformative *in itself* because, in a rotten world, violence is grace. It's a purely unmerited gift that makes us into something new (notably, not necessarily something that looks better to observers) and destroys everything old.

The idea isn't complex but it is hard because we want to see a "beyond" to the story. Augustine's distinction between justice and mercy would be useful here too. We don't want justice because that means getting what we deserve - and that's death. We want mercy, but that's not going to be pleasant either. But when O'Connor did it, it resembled a tonally weird, grim joke. I think the pure recklessness of The Violent Bear it Away is probably best here, even if there's a real lack of 1:1 character analogues. But the title, Matthew 11's note that the kingdom of heaven HAS ALWAYS suffered violence and that the violent would bear it away warns us that looking for more is actually just looking away. You don't get to look past the child neglect, alcoholism, arson, child murder, and strongly implied child rape because that's the world we inherited. Instead, you get a secondary warning about "the terrible speed of mercy".

______________________________

"Walleye, a lot of things are going to go wrong in your life that technically aren't your fault. Always remember that this doesn't make you any less of an idiot"

--Walleye's Dad

  

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ternary_star
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Mon Jan-08-18 05:17 PM

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48. "this, i think, is my stumbling block with this movie"
In response to Reply # 47


  

          

Everyone who enjoys it seems to be bringing their love of other texts to it. Very little of what you mention is actually on screen in *this* movie.

What we do have are three semi-dimensional characters surrounded by a pack of thinly drawn caricatures, cobbled together with contrivances and happenstance.

I just need anyone who loved this movie to explain how the ex-husband's girlfriend isn't an embarrassingly juvenile, C-level sitcom reject? This is a character who, having just read a book, doesn't know if it was about polo or polio. How am I supposed to care about anything of substance that happens in a universe that includes that person?

The lazy, half-addressed politics of the film didn't bother me half as much as the messy construction of the script.

  

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Walleye
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49. "That's because I wasn't describing what I liked about the movie"
In response to Reply # 48


          

I loved the three-beats-too-long violence. And the absolute cruelty shown by the our alleged protagonists to the rare innocents like James and Red Wellby and even Penelope - who was funny and worked perfectly as an outsider in a drama where the nastiness was heightened by small-town shared histories. And most of all, I liked the collapse of the almost-promised redemption narrative and its replacement with ambivalent and misplaced revenge and the promise of continued violence.

______________________________

"Walleye, a lot of things are going to go wrong in your life that technically aren't your fault. Always remember that this doesn't make you any less of an idiot"

--Walleye's Dad

  

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Frank Longo
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Mon Jan-08-18 06:24 PM

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50. "^^^"
In response to Reply # 49


  

          

All of this.

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Walleye
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51. "I'm used to shutting up about movies I liked"
In response to Reply # 50


          

If I managed to keep quiet about the Passion of the Christ while I was in Divinity School, then a live-and-let-live approach to a tough nut like Three Billboards that intentionally rushed into a pretty idiosyncratic political background should be easy. But I can't stand the notion that there's something facile about this film.

If people keep testing me on this, I'm going to make my students watch it. I've got sixty six young, shape-able minds this semester and I'm ... not very professional. Stakes are high.

______________________________

"Walleye, a lot of things are going to go wrong in your life that technically aren't your fault. Always remember that this doesn't make you any less of an idiot"

--Walleye's Dad

  

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The Analyst
Member since Sep 22nd 2007
4621 posts
Tue Jan-09-18 11:33 AM

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52. "Strongly agree. "
In response to Reply # 49


  

          

I'm with you and Frank and the rest of the the folks who dug this.

It's obviously self-aware and not at all interested in naturalism or "realistic" plot contrivances. I was totally fine with the stylized, theatrical dialogue and the allegorical/biblical nature of the plot. Like Frank said earlier, I can also understand why that might not be everyone's cup of tea, but if you can get on its wavelength there's a lot here to savor.

Cast is good, but Harrelson is being under-appreciated IMO. Wonderful, surprisingly nuanced performance. A perfect foil for McDormand.

One of the better movies I've seen all year.

----

  

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dgonsh
Member since Aug 14th 2002
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Wed Jan-10-18 11:38 AM

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54. "I just thought it was...fun?"
In response to Reply # 47
Wed Jan-10-18 11:41 AM by dgonsh

  

          

for a movie centred around the rape and murder of a teenage girl, police brutality and racism, and socio-economic failures in a small-town thats been left behind, I found this movie utterly enjoyable. I loved how over-the-top and exaggerated the characters were. I thought Woody's VO in the stable was almost comical and touching and not something I saw coming (early on, that is). I thought the way McDonagh writes his protagonists as awful people was almost a nod to the "im not a bad person, but i did a bad thing" trend in prestige television the last 10 years. Watching McDormand sink deeper into a progressively villainous role, while Rockwell (a disgusting, racist cartoon character for the first half of the film) rises from the muck to almost protagonist level is a massive success from a performance and storytelling perspective . These are unlikeable, reprehensible people, and we're stuck with them. Woody is the most likeable person in this thing, and his story is really just a device to remind us that bad things happen to good people and bad people are still here.

I loved the casting and performances. I was thrilled when "Mac's mom" from it's always sunny in philly showed up as rockwell's mom. She is so good at playing that character which, as someone who has spent time in very small towns, not really a caricature at all.

Yes it's over the top. No, not everything works. But this is NOT crash.

********************************************************************




"I *always* quote myself. I'm the only reliable source on *most* subjects" - OKP's First Lady of Knowledge, Janey

  

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rorschach
Member since Nov 10th 2004
7723 posts
Wed Feb-28-18 10:01 PM

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55. "I finally got around to this Fake Coen Bros shite...."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Like someone else said in here, Three Billboards was sloppy with its plot. The movie didn't know whether it wanted to be about a tough mom seeking justice or a film about pain and grief. I prefer to think that this film was trying to be about the latter.

There are some really good scenes toward the end of the film but by then I had already come to the conclusion that this film was basically half-baked.

I could go on about what I didn't like but I'll leave it there. This movie isn't by any stretch an awful film...just mostly ugly.

  

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The Analyst
Member since Sep 22nd 2007
4621 posts
Thu Mar-01-18 08:56 AM

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56. "RE: I finally got around to this Fake Coen Bros shite...."
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>The movie didn't know whether it wanted to be
>about a tough mom seeking justice or a film about pain and
>grief.

How are these things mutually exclusive? Isn't there a lot of overlap between those two topics?

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rorschach
Member since Nov 10th 2004
7723 posts
Fri Mar-02-18 12:04 AM

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57. "The first half makes the injustice the point....."
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only to abandon that in the second half. I'm not saying that the themes couldn't overlap but I don't think it was done that well here.

  

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Frank Longo
Member since Nov 18th 2003
83336 posts
Fri Mar-02-18 02:24 AM

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58. "I don't see the first half that way."
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The grief stuff is all right on the surface even in the first few scenes of the film alone. I'd say the suffering and the quest for a redemption that isn't easily earned is the focus throughout.

For beer lovers: http://thebeertravelguide.com
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Mynoriti
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35651 posts
Sun Mar-04-18 09:43 PM

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59. "the out of town guy?"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

spoilers
i had a hard time with motivations. as bigreg said above fat dentist going so hard didn't make much sense to me. And also, misdirection aside, I didn't get idaho rapist going out of his way to harass Frances. Like, the billboards offended him as a rapist? lol

I'm having a hard time articulating why i didn't like this movie. I thought it was a mess. Crash did come to mind while watching, but it's not nearly as bad as Crash, and I have a pretty easy time explaining what i hate about Crash. And really, it might just be Rockwell's 'redemption' that brings it to mind.

Frances did good but it felt like a rehash of her character in Almost Famous. In fact the movie kind of felt like what if Cameron Crowe tried to get edgy with it.

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http://ambitiondeficitdisorder.tumblr.com/

  

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Buddy_Gilapagos
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45363 posts
Tue May-29-18 03:29 PM

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60. "I liked the messiness of this movie. "
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I can see every complaint written in this post, but I think the strengths of this movie far outweigh those complaints.

I like messy morality, purposefully messy storytelling (the cameron crowe comparision makes a lot of sense in this regard, and the not fully formed but recognizable characters in this movie.

More than anything I really enjoyed not being able to predict what was going to happen in each scene and still wanting to know what happens next.

These days I feel like every movie bores me to tears but this movie did not do that.


**********
"Everyone has a plan until you punch them in the face. Then they don't have a plan anymore." (c) Mike Tyson

"what's a leader if he isn't reluctant"

  

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makaveli
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15336 posts
Mon Aug-19-19 03:46 PM

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62. "i liked it"
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surprised to see how much people in here hated it.

“So back we go to these questions — friendship, character… ethics.”

  

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