November 12, 2010

Justify My Netflix: Moon

(Like many Netflix customers, I too can get quite lax with the timely watching and returning of my movies, which of course defeats the entire purpose of having a flat-rate rental plan in the first place. To combat that, I am now writing standardized mini-reviews of each and every movie I end up watching through Netflix, both instantly and on DVD. Don't forget, all previous 'Justify My Netflix' reviews can be found on CCLaP's main movie page.)


Today's movie: Moon, 2009 (Amazon | IMDB | Netflix | Wikipedia)

Why I added it to my queue: Because this is literally one of those movies I just happened to randomly hear about a few weeks ago, because of subscribing to Netflix's "New Releases" RSS feed, which despite starring Sam Rockwell and Kevin Spacey and winning this year's Hugo for best feature-length movie, only played in a handful of cities for just a couple of weeks during its original run last summer.

The reality: So this is what it's apparently come to with the mainstream film industry, I guess, which is why subscribing to things like Netflix's "New Releases" feed is more important than ever -- that despite its Hollywood pedigree, despite the fact that this is one of the best genre films I've seen in years, this homage to dirtified '70s sci-fi movies managed to slip in and out of both theatres and now its DVD release with barely anyone even hearing of it, even while the major studios continue spending hundreds of millions of dollars cramming an endless series of slasher remakes down our throats. And, I mean, I'm used to that when it comes to truly underground cult hits, but by all rights Moon should've been the exact kind of mainstream multiplex hit that its predecessors like Alien, Outland and Silent Running were, and for Hollywood to have not even the slightest interest in pursuing such a thing feels to me like literally throwing money away, and makes me realize that the self-eating cycle of financial losses and dumber executives and financial losses and dumber executives is actually speeding up in the mainstream media, to the point where the people now in charge of things are literally too f-cking stupid to understand the concept of "moderate success," or too f-cking greedy to care anymore about any movie that makes less than half a billion dollars.

The surprises come fast and furious in this film, so it's best not to speak of its plot at all; but I can safely tell you that it takes place on the Moon, following the lone employee (Rockwell) of a helium-energy farm there, who has become anachronistic friends with a partially artificially intelligent computer (Spacey) in an effort to not go crazy during his three-year solo contract there, and that the movie itself is mostly about a bunch of crazy sh-t that happens to him during the final weeks of his stint, and whether they're really happening or if he really has finally snapped. But like I said, the real reason to revere this film is for the dirty, sweaty, very human look and feel that newbie director Duncan Jones achieves here in his feature debut, including the construction of an entire 360-degree lunar base set with closed walls and ceilings, filled with what looks sometimes like decades worth of scuff marks, moon dust and forgotten Post-It notes. It's one of those crossover hits that will please both fanboys and the bored girlfriends they've dragged to the theater with them, and for this to not get eagerly snatched up by one of the major studios after its splash at last year's Sundance seems to me to be as concrete a sign as we need to predict Hollywood's terminal downward spiral, an industry that literally no longer understands how to realistically operate, and that is now just moments away from a crash-and-burn bottoming out. Go rent this as soon as possible.

Strangest piece of trivia: Director Duncan Jones is David Bowie's son.

Worth your time? YES!

Filed by Jason Pettus at 9:24 AM, November 12, 2010. Filed under: Movies | Reviews |