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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

Ready or Not

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Poster for the movie "Ready or Not"

Ready or Not

In-Laws Can Be Murder

20191 h 35 min
Overview

A bride's wedding night takes a sinister turn when her eccentric new in-laws force her to take part in a terrifying game.

Metadata
Director Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett
Runtime 1 h 35 min
Release Date 21 August 2019
Details
Movie Media VoD
Movie Status Available
Movie Rating Very good

Somehow, I 100% missed this movie when it came out last year. I don’t remember it being in theaters and none of my horror movie buddies were familiar with the film when I brought it up. Man, did I miss out. What a fantastic horror-comedy this is. Ready or Not is somewhere in-between You’re Next and The Babysitter, with a bit of Get Out sprinkled in there. Or just a more well-made version of Satanic Panic. What’s not to love about a film where the crazy killers have no idea what they’re doing against a “helpless” protagonist who turns out to have the survival instincts of Laura Croft?

While Ready or Not can clearly be compared to a lot of other movies, the most obvious is The Babysitter because of Samara Weaving. If all you’re reading is the cast list, you might be thinking this is the start of her being stereotyped. You would be wrong. I can’t think of another movie off-hand that puts an actress/actor in the same situation but flips their role. It’s not just that she’s the protagonist now either; her new character’s personality is completely different. And Weaving just nails it.

Now I will say that Ready or Not leans a bit more towards horror than it does towards comedy. This is more in line with something like Tremors than Tucker and Dale. But the thriller aspect is incredibly well balanced with the funny bits. Yeah, there are laughs in a dark humor type of way, but the sense of danger is still there. It all fits together nicely like a puzzle box.

The fact that some of the antagonists are skeptical about this whole thing but still go along with it is just icing on the cake. “Murder? Sure, why not.” There’s something to be said there about people are who born into privilege not being willing to do real work. Get Out pretty clearly established that cultural critiques can make films like this one much more impactful. And there’s certainly a lot that can be said about crazy rich people. And in-laws.

Anyway, fantastic film. If you’re looking to fill out your Spooktober watchlist, Ready or Not is a solid flick to pick. And a kickass female protagonist is always nice to see, we still need more of those.

October 25, 2020