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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

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Poster for the movie "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

20171 h 55 min
Overview

After seven months have passed without a culprit in her daughter's murder case, Mildred Hayes makes a bold move, painting three signs leading into her town with a controversial message directed at Bill Willoughby, the town's revered chief of police. When his second-in-command Officer Jason Dixon, an immature mother's boy with a penchant for violence, gets involved, the battle between Mildred and Ebbing's law enforcement is only exacerbated.

Metadata
Director Martin McDonagh
Runtime 1 h 55 min
Release Date 10 November 2017
Details
Movie Media VoD
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Very good

If I had to use just one word to describe this movie, it’d be “sorrowful”. The film is very much a black comedy, but there are segments where it leans a lot more towards “black” than “comedy”. The premise is pretty simple; this woman’s daughter was raped & murdered, the cops didn’t catch whoever did it, and that is destroying her. It’s pretty obvious from the get-go that Frances McDormand’s character Mildred does not take shit from people. But at the same time, she feels powerless in so many ways and it’s hard to watch all the struggles happening to this woman and the people around her all stemming from this one horrific act of violence.

The performances here are amazing. Just about every time Mildred opens her mouth, you can feel the anger and resolve of her words in the air. But we also see her moments of grief; she is a very 3D character. One moment you’re laughing at how she’s made some bastard feel like a fool and the next you’re sucker-punched in the gut by seeing her vulnerable. And it all just feels…real. Movie characters can be pretty 2D and simplistic, but everyone knows that real life is a swirl of emotions. Horrible things like this actually happen, all the time, and even fictional stories like this one (built with a grain of truth, mind you) can hurt even while being entertaining once you remember that.

Now, I have seen a couple of other reviews that complain about the portrayal of racism in this film. On one hand, I definitely agree that the racist characters turning over a new leaf and all is forgiven is bullshit. On the other hand, this movie takes place in rural Missouri. It would be weird if there weren’t any racist characters. I say that as someone who lives in Missouri, born and raised. You get more than a couple of miles from the major city limits around here and you start to hear banjos.

This is definitely one of the emotionally strongest films I’ve seen, ever. Everybody goes through some form of pain and loss in their life, but my god, I cannot imagine what it would be like to lose a child. Most people can’t, thankfully. But this film comes shockingly close to giving audiences a taste of what those emotions can do to people. And despite all the plot holes…well, it’s still a movie. Suspension of disbelief is a thing, use it and just enjoy the film.

January 31, 2021

Freaky

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Poster for the movie "Freaky"

Freaky

20201 h 42 min
Overview

A mystical, ancient dagger causes a notorious serial killer to magically switch bodies with a 17-year-old girl.

Metadata
Runtime 1 h 42 min
Release Date 12 November 2020
Details
Movie Media VoD
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Very good

So, the premise of Freaky is pretty simple. It’s Freaky Friday but instead of a teenage girl swapping bodies with her mom, it’s a teenage girl swapping bodies with a deranged serial killer. Why this wasn’t released in October, we’ll never know, but it was still a fun film. Would I call it horror-comedy gold? No, it’s a far cry from Tucker and Dale or What We Do in the Shadows. But seeing Vince Vaughn play a teenage girl is one of the best things I’ve seen since seeing Jack Black play a teenage girl.

Now the main issue this movie had was the pacing. It starts off fairly slow and not that different from any other 2nd-rate slasher flick. Despite the main premise of the movie being the bodyswap, it takes a while for it to actually happen. Once we get to that point the movie finally gets going. But it’s more the actors than anything else that carry this film. The writing is just ok and there aren’t really any surprises here, you’ll see what’s coming. But the delivery is on point from pretty much every member of the cast, particularly the leads.

Vince Vaughn has a pretty good range, but I’ve always liked him best in Dodgeball. Comedy is just where he shines for me and that carries over into Freaky. Plus, the fact that he plays two extremely different characters, one comedic and one serious, but nails both roles really sticks out here. Likewise, Kathryn Newton does the same thing and nails it even better. She flips between a stereotypical teenage girl and a sadistic monster pretty seamlessly, much to the horror of her victims. And I’m sure there’s something to be said here about how we as a society make assumptions towards other people based on their appearances, but that’s a bit more meta than I want to get here.

Anyway, is this film a cinematic masterpiece? No. Is it a fun, goofy horror-comedy? You bet it is. So long as you’re not taking it seriously, Freaky is a fantastic film. They knew what they were aiming for when they made this movie and they hit the mark. This obviously isn’t for everyone, but if you like these kinds of movies the way I do it’ll scratch that itch.

December 27, 2020