Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 14 Share on Twitter 1 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Exclusive to OpEdNews:
Life Arts    H4'ed 12/2/19

Silly Film Olympics, Part II: Midsommer & Joker

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages) (# of views)   2 comments
Author 64732
Message BK Faunce

Silly Olympics
Silly Olympics
(Image by Monty Python)
  Details   DMCA

[Author's note: In "Silly Film Olympics, Part I," two very silly films, Vice & Hereditary, were nominated for consideration in the first annual Hollywood Olympiad under the category, "Silly Films made by people with no sense of directing." In "Part II," the same inscrutable focus is applied to two more silly films, Midsommer & Joker.]

Spoiler alert!

Films are considered silly --- unbelievable, nonsensical, goofy or just plain ridiculous --- not because they fail to provide a few spills and chills. They do. A scene in which people jump off a cliff to their death, or a shot of a gas line taped in a young woman's mouth, or a character suddenly stabbing a co-worker all provide viewers with a jolt. The problem is the jolt is often all they get. The films below also suffer from what might be called "homage-syndrome," or an over reliance on allusions to other films, as if technique is an acceptable substitute for coherent storylines or credible characters. Hardened fans are challenged to keep a straight face. The shocks fade quickly. The surprises wear thin. The rest is silliness.

Silly Film #3: Midsommer (Aster 2019)

How much hooey can one group of filmmakers dish out? A lot, apparently. Full disclosure: this second dalliance "with false surmise" isn't a film so much as it's a loosely strung collection of horror film cliche's. Genre buffs will recognize them all: the deadly family romance, the struggle with insanity, the use of illicit drugs, the threats associated with sex, the lover's betrayal, the fateful journey into nature, the temptation (of a "Christian," of course), the Final Girl and so on. Unfortunately, without a creative fire to forge these familiar pieces into visionary form, they creak across the screen as antiquated plot devices loosely held together by a string of fright-night visuals. Nothing in the film satisfies beyond the momentary emotional rush, as fleeting as it is shallow, like a stone skipping across a puddle, or a boulder smashing a car. Pass the popcorn, please.

(For a more rewarding introduction to pagan rituals and human sacrifice, or the clash between primitive and modern cultures, check out Robin Hardy's The Wicker Man (1974) and Eli Roth's The Green Inferno (2013).)

The female protagonist in Midsommer, Dani Ardor, loses her entire family when her sister, Terri, kills their parents and then commits suicide. She is, understandably, on the edge of an emotional collapse, so much so that after Pelle, a complete stranger, mentions his own loss, she breaks down crying. Yet two weeks later she goes on vacation to Sweden? To be with her "boyfriend," Christian? The insensitive little poser who casually dismisses her family troubles, who confides to buds he doesn't want her going, who asks her only because he's certain she'll decline, who forgets her birthday, who avoids her virtually the entire time and, finally, who has sex with Maja because, well, why not? She's flying to Sweden with that guy?

Even the sacrifice at the end falls apart fairly quickly. Dani is (what else?) whacked on drugs and hallucinating, whipped into a Bacchae-like frenzy as the May Queen. She must choose the ninth victim for the Hårga and, to help clarify the choice she makes, the film ends in a series of shots that moves from Christian roasting to a freeze frame of Dani smiling. Smiling? Given her battered state of mind, surely it's nothing more than an expression of the happiness she feels at the conclusion of the ceremony. She can't possibly know what she's doing, can she? Unless . . . why, of course! Revenge! How clever! She's smiling because Christian is roasting! That's why she goes to Sweden! To be with a guy no one in her condition would want to be with and take a bunch of drugs no one in her condition would take just so she could wait for the right moment to unleash her vengeance! Good golly, women do the silliest things!

Speaking of silly, how about casting an African American to play a graduate student in anthropology who is writing his dissertation on the whitest ethnic group in human history? According to the Association of Black Anthropologists, out of a total graduate student population of 3.5 million, there are roughly 1000 African American graduate students pursuing degrees in Anthropology, and their research is focused on exactly what one would expect: the history, culture and evolution of the African diaspora. Religious rituals in Sweden? Eh, not so much.

The favorite, however, has to be Yiva and "the laborer's" death-leap. These two are at the end of their time and wish to die. They live in a village that makes all kinds of lovely drugs, for all kinds of occasions, but for some reason there is no drug that might help them pass peacefully. Besides, where's the shock-value in falling asleep? Better to have them jump off a cliff, fall 100 feet and smash against the rocks below. Think of the impact! And speaking of impact, remember that huge wooden mallet? It's for when a jumper survives, which, naturally, the old man does, so villagers can then take it up and bash his head to bloody bits. It doesn't make a lot of sense. It's hilarious to watch. But damn! How about those effects!

Silly Film #4: Joker (Phillips 2019)

"By Grabthar's hammer . . . what a [mess]!" From its narrative gaps to its treatment of mental health to its pro-status-quo politics, Joker is like that bowl of gruel served to orphans in the Work House: marginally sustaining but absolutely tasteless.

So many discrepancies, so few bullet points:

*Arthur smothers his mother in a hospital yet no one notices.

*Randall betrays Arthur, helps get him fired, then shows up at his apartment asking about the subway murders.

Next Page  1  |  2

 

Must Read 1   Well Said 1   Valuable 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

BK Faunce Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Teacher, writer, filmmaker living in California.
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The Neo-Catholic Sons of Brett Kavanaugh

War of the Roses

Vote for Hillary? Can't Get Fooled Again

War of the Roses, Act II

The Major vs the War Criminal

Paul Ryan - Liar, Fraud, Catholic

Comments Image Post Article Comment and Rate This Article

These discussions are not moderated. We rely on users to police themselves, and flag inappropriate comments and behavior. In accordance with our Guidelines and Policies, we reserve the right to remove any post at any time for any reason, and will restrict access of registered users who repeatedly violate our terms.

  • OpEdNews welcomes lively, CIVIL discourse. Personal attacks and/or hate speech are not tolerated and may result in banning.
  • Comments should relate to the content above. Irrelevant, off-topic comments are a distraction, and will be removed.
  • By submitting this comment, you agree to all OpEdNews rules, guidelines and policies.
          

Comment Here:   


You can enter 2000 characters. To remove limit, please click here.

Please login or register. Afterwards, your comment will be published.
 

Username
Password

Forgot your password? Click here and we will send an email to the address you used when you registered.
First Name
Last Name

I am at least 16 years of age
(make sure username & password are filled in. Note that username must be an email address.)

2 people are discussing this page, with 2 comments  Post Comment


BK Faunce

Become a Fan
Author 64732
(Member since May 4, 2011), 3 fans, 22 articles, 17 comments, 1 diaries (View Extended Stats)
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

  New Content

Films are considered silly --- unbelievable, nonsensical, goofy or just plain ridiculous --- not because they fail to provide a few spills and chills. They do. A scene in which people jump off a cliff to their death, or a shot of a gas line taped in a young woman's mouth, or a character suddenly stabbing a co-worker all provide viewers with a jolt. The problem is the jolt is often all they get.

Submitted on Monday, Dec 2, 2019 at 6:54:25 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
  Recommend  (0+)
Help

Bill Willers

Become a Fan
Author 8025
(Member since Oct 1, 2007), 8 fans, 38 articles, 4 quicklinks, 193 comments, 4 diaries (View Extended Stats)
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

  New Content

Your bio states that you are a film maker. Could you post links to some critiques of your films?

Submitted on Tuesday, Dec 3, 2019 at 1:33:50 AM

Author 0
Add New Comment
  Recommend  (0+)
Help

 
Want to post your own comment on this Article? Post Comment