The movie this week was…the Prairie Light Film Festival!


Yeah, it was a bunch of movies, and I saw most of them. My eyes! Need a nap now.

The only one I missed was The Rider, which looked good, but I did see the other four, listed here in ascending order of my appreciation.

4. Hereditary. You know, I heard a lot of praise for this movie, but I didn’t care for it much at all. It’s a supernatural horror film, which means that it is a succession of creepy/scary/gross events which don’t need to make much sense, because spooky/mystical reasons. It’s well-made, but I just didn’t see much point to it all.

3. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Mr Rogers! I like Mr Rogers! But you’ve probably heard—you shouldn’t find out about your heroes. A couple of things bugged me: 1) He was a lifelong Republican, and 2) while he was happy to support a black cast member (Officer Clemmons), on learning that he was gay, he warned him that he better not ever be publicly exposed. I guess there were limits to his tolerance. While he did good things, it’s clear he was a wealthy, privileged Christian who was locked into his comfort zone — he wasn’t going to support anything that made him uncomfortable.

2. Sorry to Bother You. Nobody told me that this was SF/fantasy/dystopian story! It was on the weird side, and enjoyable, even though it was taking a painfully humorous look at capitalism and racism. Fun! And grim! This is one I’d like to see again, because the first time through I was wrestling with trying to figure out what kind of movie it was.

1. 8th Grade. Best of the bunch. A fantastic performance by the lead, although maybe she was just living the real experience of being in junior high. It’s just a simple slice-of-life story, but it’s made compelling by the actor and the remembered awfulness of 8th grade. Yeah, it sucked. The movie brought it back to life.

We’re going right back to the popular cheesy stuff this weekend: it’s going to be The Meg! I guess I’ll have to go to bring some balance back to my movie-going.

Comments

  1. ridana says

    while he was happy to support a black cast member (Officer Clemmons), on learning that he was gay, he warned him that he better not ever be publicly exposed.

    Could you clarify this? What was he warning him about? Given the time frame, it might’ve been good advice, considering he’d likely be labeled a pedophile for working on a children’s show if people found out he was gay. Was the warning about that? Or a threat of firing him?

  2. William George says

    @1-

    Apparently Rogers wanted Clemmons to hide his homosexuality and like a lot of folks of the era thought being gay was a phase. He pushed Clemmons into getting married. When that marriage ended Rogers was deeply apologetic and regretful he pressured Clemmons to do it.

    In the end Rogers was supportive of Clemmons but felt that having an openly gay man on a show for kids simply was not going to fly. At the time he was probably right. While his religion probably informed that most of the people who knew him agree that Rogers was overly protective of the show to the point of obsession.

    As for Clemmons himself, he has nothing but love for the man: https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2018/06/mister-rogers-neighborhood-wont-you-be-my-neighbor-francois-clemmons-officer-clemmons-fred-rogers

  3. weylguy says

    It’s amazing how many people believe there are 75-foot-long megalodons living in the Mariana Trench. The Meg will no doubt add to their number. The first of many sequels: Megnado.

  4. microraptor says

    weylguy @3: It’s because The Meg is based on one of two novels from the 80s about 75-foot-long megalodons living in the Mariana Trench. Never mind that megalodons lived close to shore and there isn’t anything that could sustain a large, active apex predator down there.

    Personally, I’m holding out for Megalodinocrocnado vs Octosnappingturtlemosasaurcano.

  5. Cynical Skeptic says

    There were good people 50 years ago and I don’t expect that they would have behaved the same way back then as they would now. I suspect Fred Rogers was one of those people. He was a white man born in 1928 in Pennsilvania. Geez what do you expect? He wasn’t perfect and he didn’t think like I do now, but he doesn’t “bug” me.

  6. Cynical Skeptic says

    Spoiler Alert –

    I’m not hypercritical of movies like PZ and I can enjoy them for what they are (i.e. not realistic), but The Meg was just not enjoyable. After it was over I was thinking so what? I wasn’t scared, I wasn’t thrilled, I was only happy because the little paddling Yorkie made it.

  7. tacitus says

    Hereditary’s ending left me cold, especially the way they had to include a bunch of exposition to make sure people got what was going on. Ruined the film.

    Sorry To Bother You was a lot of fun, though. I loved the surreal touches, like the ever changing photos of his father, and they found a way to make the old “evil corporation” trope fresh and relevant again. Well worth the price of admission.

  8. batflipenthusiast says

    We’re going right back to the popular cheesy stuff this weekend: it’s going to be The Meg! I guess I’ll have to go to bring some balance back to my movie-going.

    Perfectly Balanced. As all things should be.

  9. Matrim says

    I quite liked Hereditary, I liked it even more when I heard a fan theory that the film is actually about a trans man coming out to his family. (I’d link to it here, but I know FTB can sometimes eat posts with links, just go on YouTube and look for the user NyxFears and her video “Hereditary Hot Take”)

    @4, microraptor

    Never mind that megalodons lived close to shore and there isn’t anything that could sustain a large, active apex predator down there.

    The movie supposed that the “floor” of the trench is actually a thermocline concealing a contained ecosystem with lots of things like colossal squid. So, while it’s still very silly, they did try to handwave that part away.

    It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t entertaining either. My feelings on the film can be summed up by the fact I fell asleep 20 minutes before the end, woke up 25 minutes after the movie ended, and I’m largely ok with that.

    Regarding Fred Rogers, I think given his background and the time he lived, his handling of his friend’s homosexuality was about as good as could be expected. His early reactions were poor, and he later expressed remorse for them, and according to his wife he would come to accept gay people for who there were and had lifelong friendships with people of various sexual orientations. The Republican thing bothers me too, but no one is perfect, not even Fred Rogers.

  10. says

    I think hereditary was the best horror movie I’ve seen in ages.
    It was a drama about a deeply dysfunctional family, that turned into a horror flick.
    The mood was awesome, I had a knot in my stomach almost from the start, and I don’t think I took a single breath of air for the last 3rd.
    The performances were all top notch, but Toni Colette, who is always a solid actor, took it to a new level!

    For anyone in to horror movies, I would recommend it 100%

  11. addiepray says

    The Rogers movie suggests that part of the issue was that because Clemmons was “the black character” on the show, whose presence was pointedly used to stand against racism, to have him come out as gay would be devastating to that work. The implication is, as mentioned above, that rogers’ opposition was less from personal animus (they make it clear he embraced many gay friends through the years) and more because the sponsors would revolt over a gay character. That’s about the most negative revelation about Rogers in the film, who comes across as genuine and sincere, dedicated to using his show as a force for good and progress. And Clemmons’ teary testimonial, where he talks about how much he loved Rogers, and how much Rogers loved him shows that he held none of it against Fred.

  12. Scott Simmons says

    People say, “It was a different time,” trying to excuse terrible behavior all the time. But it seems to me this is a pretty fair statement to make in Rogers’ case. The descriptions of his behavior and relationship with Clemmons makes it very clear that he cared for his well-being and didn’t personally judge his sexual orientation; but he was well aware of how the society of the time would judge if it became known, and was trying to protect not only himself and his show but Clemmons himself.

  13. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    He was a lifelong Republican

    Well, yes, but 1) he came of age at a time when it was possible to be a Republican and still be a good person, and 2) he wasn’t a very good Republican:

    By the time President Nixon was prolonging the Vietnam War, Rogers had already used “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” to spread his pacifist belief that “war isn’t nice.”

    Before Nixon opposed busing for the purpose of desegregation, Rogers had welcomed into his neighborhood home an African-American teacher, Mrs. Saunders, and her interracial group of young students. “Come on in!” he said as they arrived at the front door.

    Not long after Nixon nominated antifeminist G. Harrold Carswell for the Supreme Court, Rogers employed his feisty puppet Lady Elaine Fairchilde to spread his belief in the equality of women. Tired of being a lady, Lady Elaine eventually became an astronaut and a news anchor.

    Rogers even testified before the U.S. Senate, as the documentary shows, to oppose Nixon’s proposed cuts to funding for PBS. His lobbying effort melted the heart, and loosened the purse strings, of Republican Senator John Pastore of New Jersey.

    Rogers wasn’t a faithful Republican during the Ronald Reagan years, either. He abhorred the nuclear arms race touted by Reagan, and in 1983 he penned episodes depicting King Friday as bumbling and silly for pursuing an arms race in the neighborhood while slashing funds required for music education.

    In 1984, shortly after a presidential task force announced that there was no widespread hunger in the United States, Rogers broadcast episodes highlighting the desperation caused by hunger and the urgent need for King Friday to help eliminate it.

    And while Reagan relentlessly pursued the collapse of the Soviet Union, Rogers traveled to Moscow, appeared on a Soviet children’s television show, and used his own program to suggest that Soviet people were nice and friendly, not evil residents of an Evil Empire.

    President George H.W. Bush was also not immune to Rogers’s tendency to dissent from the policies of Republican presidents. While the Bush administration laid plans for the Persian Gulf War, Rogers lobbied for a bill that would have exempted from combat one parent of military couples or single parents who were their child’s sole provider. “We must not perpetuate abuse from one generation to the next — and separation from a young child’s security (their loved ones) is a gross form of abuse,” Rogers wrote.

  14. Reginald Selkirk says

    A movie you may enjoy:
    Science Fair

    In theaters: Sep 14, 2018 limited
    Hailed by critics as “immensely likeable,” “brilliant and quirky” and an “ode to the teenage science geeks on who our future depends,” and winner of the audience award at Sundance and SXSW, National Geographic Documentary Films’ SCIENCE FAIR follows nine high school students from around the globe as they navigate rivalries, setbacks and, of course, hormones, on their journey to compete at The International Science and Engineering Fair…

  15. consciousness razor says

    A couple of things bugged me: 1) He was a lifelong Republican, and 2) while he was happy to support a black cast member (Officer Clemmons), on learning that he was gay, he warned him that he better not ever be publicly exposed. I guess there were limits to his tolerance. While he did good things, it’s clear he was a wealthy, privileged Christian who was locked into his comfort zone — he wasn’t going to support anything that made him uncomfortable.

    So … has anybody else seen this movie? Did it give a very misleading impression, or is this just PZ’s own bizarre take on the subject?

    I mean, for fuck’s sake, when one of the most decent human beings imaginable tells you truthfully (and in much more polite terms) that there are hate-fueled shitheads everywhere who’d jump at the chance to ruin your life, because they are the intolerant assholes and it will not help you to pretend otherwise, saying that is not intolerance or a failure to “support anything that made him uncomfortable.”

    PZ, you’ve apparently never had problems being open about your atheism, for example. So I get that you’ll have trouble comprehending it fully, but most people aren’t so lucky.

  16. Miserable Git Says says

    Sorry to Bother You is a fantastic dark comedy. Seriously recommend it anyone who can enjoy something dark, twisted and laugh out loud hysterical at times. It covers an incredible number of social issues and skewers them wonderfully. Little detail like how when “Evil Corp’s” cruel plans were exposed the value of the company skyrocketed on the stock market show the level of thought that went into the movie.
    The only down side is you will never be able look at anyone wearing one of those silly horse head masks and not be horrified

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