Not as good as some think

From our special film correspondent, Esteban DeGolf:

Well, since I’ve already committed heresy by dissing “Darkest Hour”, let me move on to “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”. Despite being nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture I contend that this is a rather bad movie, dreary, awful even. Why do I have such a disparate opinion compared to the illuminati you ask. Well, let me explain:
First, to give credit where credit is due, the idea behind the movie was clever and the conflict between the grieving mother versus the police chief dying of cancer made things very interesting. Also, the movie made great use of the same sort of quirky, small town in the middle of nowhere vibe that helped make “Fargo” a hit.

That said, I found the movie depressing. The tone and message of the movie were very dark and ugly. The overuse of profanity bordered on bizarre. I’m a bit of a potty mouth, so I’m not put off by bad words, even the very bad ones (fuck, asshole, shit, etc.). I’m also not triggered by the words that aren’t supposed to be used any more (such as nigger or cunt, which by the way both make an appearance in Three Billboards). FYI, I find the practice of using terms such as “the N word” absurd and really resist this silly PC trend and will also say “Voldemort” on occasion ( my apologies if I should have typed “The N word” or “The N Word”).

The use of the term “fuck” would have seemed heavy handed in a movie about mobsters, gang bangers or soldiers under heavy fire. And there is a scene where the main character is called a “cunt” at the breakfast table by her teenage son – twice, in fact. In another scene the police chief is arranging a picnic game to keep his two very young daughters busy so he and his wife can slip away for some romance. He tells them the rules include that “no one can set foot off this God damn blanket” (I’m working from memory, so pardon me if I got the quote slightly wrong, and I believe he dropped two “God damns” in the scene). Maybe I’m out of touch, but using that language with 4 year olds just seems peculiar.

The movie also makes a point to impugn cops and religion. The police chief says (again from memory, so don’t hang me on the exact wording) “if we fired every racist cop there would only be a few left and they’d be homophobes”. The cop who we are led to believe is racist, or the most racist, actually viciously assaults a white man toward the end of the movie. The writers pull off a neat twofer by impugning religion and America in one short scene. A priest tries to get the grieving mother to remove the offending billboards and she tells him he is guilty by association since other priests were pedophiles. She backs this argument up by claiming that sometime in the past the U.S. government used similar reasoning on gang members: if you’re in a gang and another gang member murders someone, you’re guilty. I freely admit that I don’t know the details of the legislation in question or the arguments pro and con, but I suspect that this isn’t a balanced assessment.

One other example of how dark the movie is – we are told that the town generally sides with the police chief and disapproves of the billboards. So, when our protagonist goes to the dentist she gets a very chilly reception. So chilly in fact, that he tries to drill a tooth without anaesthetic. That scene definitely lost me – seriously, a dentist would torture a grieving mother whose daughter was “raped while dying” over billboards on a road we were told no one uses anymore.

So why did critics wet themselves over this dreary mess? The only explanation I can come up with is that it defecates on all the things that liberal elites deplore – Middle America, police, religion, etc. Seriously, I don’t know how else to explain it. I don’t really like to bring politics into things, but I find that when it comes to movies and television I find it hard to avoid. I’ve been searching for a movie review website that will tell me “this is a pretty good SciFi movie but if you get PO’d by preaching about Global Warming and 58 genders you may want to give it a miss”. Perhaps I need to start one – “Movie Reviews by an Old Fart” perhaps.

Support Continental Telegraph Donate

15 COMMENTS

  1. Movie Reviews by Sane people. Hollywood wants to die. It should die faster.

    my apologies if I should have typed “The N word” or “The N Word”

    I believe you have to call it “The Word of N” these days. Ask the SJW-ish Benedict Cummerbatch

  2. Come to think of it, Hollywood – or the Oscars at least – is culturally bankrupt. Yes, yes, people have been saying this since 19canteen, but it’s undoubtedly true now.

    Consider this:

    1995: Braveheart
    1996: The English Patient
    1997: Titanic
    1998: Shakespeare In Love
    1999: American Beauty

    Now, you can argue the relative merits of these Best Pictures, but they were all hugely popular movies which reached a mass audience and had broad cultural resonance. You’ve probably seen all of them. You probably still remember some of the best dialogue and scenes.

    Contrast:

    2013: 12 Years A Slave
    2014: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
    2015: Spotlight
    2016: Moonlight
    2017: The Shape Of Water

    You probably haven’t seen any of these films. The most popular one was 12 YEARS, which was only a modest box office success at $185m – chump change by Marvel standards. The rest did about £2.50 and a half-eaten Curly Wurly between them.

    Is anyone quoting lines from BIRDMAN? Will fish-fondling fantasy THE SHAPE OF WATER be a cultural touchstone for future generations?

    Nah.

    An Academy Award nomination used to mean something to potential viewers. It still means something, unfortunately that something is now “stay away unless you have a taste for racial self-abasement, weird sex, and being lectured by degenerates”.

  3. “Perhaps I need to start one – “Movie Reviews by an Old Fart” perhaps.”

    That would be a great idea… I would do it myself, but having to watch the films I would have to warn people against would not do good things to my blood pressure.

    FD

  4. Hollywood is run by people who hate us. I have said it often enough. They do. They show it by refusing to make the sort of films people like – especially the sort of films people like but they do not – and they insist on making films they know people won’t like.

    I mean how dumb do you have to be to think that there is a market for yet another film about how evil the American Army is in Iraq? They have made six that have bombed and guess what? They are going to make another one next year! Meanwhile The Passion of the Christ made serious money. It cost $30 million and it made over $600 million. With no Hollywood support at all. So why not make another Christian themed film? Well they did – about Noah’s Ark. A much more sympathetic character in Hollywood of course. They made it about Global Warming.

  5. When I saw black panther I couldn’t figure out what all the hype was for, it was very by the numbers superhero movie, I thought the recent Thor movie where they upped the humour was better.
    Guess the fact that it the social justice aspect and it was an African hero etc. Was enough for some.

  6. Bad language is peculiar. But especially in rural America away from the east and west coasts, and especially on the part of a police chief, and especially in front of children, and even women. It does seem inauthentic, unless the point is a dystopian portrayal of America, much like the way the only point of American Beauty, once you sat through it, was to show that the neighborhood’s only Straight Arrow was a total hypocrite.

  7. So Much For Subtlety March 7, 2018 at 12:38 pm
    Hollywood is run by people who hate us. I have said it often enough. They do. They show it by refusing to make the sort of films people like

    Really? Because I could have sworn that all the top grossing films of the last decade were made in Hollywood or with Hollywood money. They’ll hold their noses to make Star Wars repeats, Yet Another Super-Hero Film, Fast and Furious #121 or anything with Hobbits or Minions. People do seem to like them.

    I should point out that while Hollywood is now descending into increasingly “worthy” drudge, it’s really only catching up. It would never make anything as dire as Ken Loach makes nowadays or as bizarre and unwatchable as Lars von Trier. They had to import a Mexican (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu) to make Birdman as bad as it was.

    The only movies I have enjoyed recently have been French ones. They still make a pile of dull and weird stuff, but they also can make light-hearted movies that don’t take themselves too seriously. Can you imagine Hollywood making a movie where most of the main characters want to kill themselves — and still do at the end of movie (Happy End)?

    • Well not many other people are making films. Or have a distribution network. And a lot of people are willing to go to see films even if those films are about how much they suck because people don’t think about films much. Star Wars is a good example of a great first film – even though it was written with the US as Bad Guys in mind – that has gradually got bogged down in how much they hate white men. Their box office survives because of nostalgia and special effects. Even Star Trek can’t make a film these days without the bad guys being US Marines.

      Even the Hobbit had to be re-written with a kick ar$e feminist hero who is also into miscegenation.

      It is far behind Ken Loach. But there is no argument that Ken Loach hates us. And he doesn’t need to do the minimum to attract a paying audience.