"Nomadland (2020, Chloe Zhao) - streaming on Hulu"
Now that it's finally watchable by us peons this has been getting a lot of renewed attention and strong Oscar buzz. Zhao clearly has a knack for exploring and showing sides of America that aren't often displayed on the screen, efficiently using mostly non-professional actors (outside of McDormand obvs; it's almost distracting when David Strathairn shows up) to give this a quasi-documentary feel. There are many shots of McDormand's character Fern traipsing through empty locales and stunning scenery, highlighting the kind of luminous open-lensing that was so effective in The Rider.
Based on a 2017 book about wandering (white) seniors who embrace the mobile life at the twilight of their working lives, using seasonal work at Amazon or during crops to make ends meet. I haven't read the book though I get the sense that this movie takes a lot more subdued approach to showing the systemic failures brought on by late-capitalism. It does show that this isn't an easy life, but it seems to balance it with a near-paean to rugged individualism that Fern constantly embodies. Maybe that's the limitation of fitting such topics in a 100min movie, but I thought the end message was a bit muddled. Zhao deserves all the acclaim she gets as potential future great, but I thought it was interesting that this movie, made at the tail-end of the Trump era, was so apolitical, or at least worked so hard to sand off those edges and making the film a sort of a blank slate. Clearly The Eternals and Dracula won't answer the question of how far Zhao is willing to keep digging through the American psyche (though it would be kind of amazing it they did), but it'll be fascinating to see if she will want, and manage, to keep fitting these indie projects in between tentpole work
------------------------------ For the record, my teams: MLB: Mets / Soccer: PSG NCAA BB: Arizona / NCAA FB: Michigan NBA: Spurs / NFL: Jets
2. "I really liked it. Immersed me in a world I didn't know existed" In response to Reply # 0
It's a really beautiful film, and I've heard some people say that it actually is way less sad than it should be, since its does so much to find the moments of beauty in the van lifestyle, instead of rage and despair at the economic system that makes it necessary for so many people. I definitely got the impression that they went easy on Amazon probably in exchange for the company letting them film in their facilities.
One kind of funny thing about the mix of non-actors and actors is it sort of seems like Frances McDormand is chewing scenery, just because she's acting--you know, trying to let her emotions register through her face and body language. When the non-actors are so low key and real, it makes her stick out like she's Jim Carrey. She does a good job, but it just sort of underlines the vast gap in behavior when acting for a camera versus normal every day behavior.
---- I check for: Serengeti, Zeroh, Open Mike Eagle, Jeremiah Jae, Moka Only.
4. "i love movies about little worlds i don't know about" In response to Reply # 0
For some reason it had me remembering Chop Shop just in the sense that it was this whole little universe that i never paid attention to, but just these kinda niche cultures and loose surrogate families. that stuff is always interesting to me.
also even the use of locations like bumfuck south dakota or whatever town in nebraska they were in. Also that it's just about entirely about people who are at retirement age but can't afford to actually retire. The loss, regret, health issues that come with being over 60, but still want to soak up life on their own terms. Fucking beautiful.
McDormand was great, which made me happy because i had kind of cooled on her since 3 Billboards. Not sure what it is, it's this kinda character she plays often who's quirky and defiant, judgey in the sense that she sees through your bullshit, but also extremely likable. I wish i could articulate it better, but after 3B it started to feel a bit like shtick. It's all present in her character here but its understated. She was also able to portray a broken woman, and a wide eye'd little girl all at once. It was really impressive.