My Week in Movies (3/12-3/18)

Fearless (1993) – dir. by Peter Weir

What a strange but beautiful movie, similar in operatic tone to Lorenzo’s Oil (1992). Both films are painfully earnest, though as far as I know this one isn’t based on a true story.

In Fearless, Jeff Bridges plays Max Klein, and we meet him as though he were an angel, or a ghost or something in between. He walks out of a smoking cornfield with a child in tow and a parade of dazed airline passengers in his wake. Maybe he’s Jesus. Or one of the ballplayers in Field of Dreams.

Max is the suddenly famous survivor of a plane crash. He is revered, considered an angel for how he acted bravely, calmly as the plane tumbled from the sky. Throughout the film we will see flashbacks to the accident, piecing together his experience and receiving clues as to why he is so gosh darn zen about it all.

Max’s response to the traumatic event is, in a sense, to dissociate. You might, as he did, see it as transcendence. He is apart from the world, less human, more angelic, extremely serene. He walks amongst the world with a slight chuckle at everything he sees. Nothing is too grave, too personal, too painful. But as this happens he grows distant from his family and others around him. Really he becomes a bit of a prick, with his ego running parallel to his enlightenment. Maybe it’s spiritual bypassing or toxic positivity, but his journey will be about finding his way back to being human.

You should watch if: You tend to ruminate.

You should not watch if: You’re impatient.

4/5 stars

I’m Totally Fine (2022) – dir. by Brandon Dermer

Not bad! But also felt a little slight, one of those movies where the artifice felt a little too noticeable. It’s a COVID movie, I guess, insofar as its limited in scope (mostly a single location) and actors (mostly two). It’s a nice story about grief and friendship, with a little quirkiness sprinkled on the top. But at the same time it hits a lot of predictable notes.

You should watch if: You like Jillian Bell and Natalie Morales

You should not watch if: You’ve seen Star Man before (or any other similar movies).

2.5/5 stars

Inside (2023) – dir. by Vasilis Katsoupis

Inside takes a different approach to the survivalist genre. It’s a movie with one person stuck in one location for the duration of the film. His goal is simple, to escape.

But as the movie chugs along it becomes more spiritual, metaphorical, and so on. It’s less a story about one person’s escape but about an entire life, anyone’s life. In a way, stick with me here, it’s as though the prison-like high rise apartment in which Willem Dafoe finds himself trapped is a brain, and he is the soul trying to escape. Along the way, however, he must make the best of his lot and figure out a way to live inside his little brain/high-rise prison.

So I see it as a metaphor for one person’s sought after transcendence, he rattles the cages, cycles through the five stages of grief and in the end… well you’ll have to see the movie.

You should watch if: You’re on psychedelics.

You should not watch if: You’re impatient.

3.5/5 stars

This Boy’s Life (1993) – dir. by Michael Caton-Jones

Young Leo doing young Leo things in this coming of age movie which is quintessential 90s, even though its set in the late 50s/early 60s. Similar to Stand By Me, Hillbilly Elegy or any of those nostalgic movies based on a book in which the author reflected on the pivotal moments of his or her childhood.

You should watch if: You like Stand By Me or Hillbilly Elegy or What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?

You should not watch if: You don’t like the 90s.

3/5 stars

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