January 27, 2011

Justify My Netflix: Cyrus

(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: Cyrus, 2010 (Amazon | IMDB | Netflix | Wikipedia)

Why I added it to my queue: Because this is the latest by famed indie film brothers Jay and Mark Duplass (The Puffy Chair), the notorious "big-budget mumblecore* film" featuring John C. Reilly as basically the biggest loser you've ever met, Marisa Tomei as the masochistic middle-aged single mom with mental problems who falls for him, and Jonah Hill as her fat, rude, jealous, precocious, homeschooled son who still lives with her as an adult, and who shares so many creepy Freudian issues with her as to be a psychoanalyst's wet dream.

The reality: Eeeeewwwwwww. Although I want to make it clear, this is an absolutely well-done film, especially given the usual non-existent production values of most mumblecore films, it should also be noted that this is absolutely not the cutesy dark comedy its trailer makes it seem, but rather one of those perverted little Michael-Haneke-style intense psychological torture dramas, where we essentially spend two hours watching already deeply disturbed individuals then act as horribly as they possibly can to their fellow human beings, every single innocuous line of dialogue just dripping with unspoken, passive-aggressive hostility and violence, building and building until occasionally erupting into random moments of actual hostility and violence. I'm not denying that there are people out there who will love this -- say for example the same people who loved Borat -- it's just that you people scare the f-ck out of me, and I want nothing to do with your sick, sadistic little exercises in deriving pleasure out of other people's misery. You may very well end up liking this film quite a bit, but you should be ashamed of yourself if you do.

Worth your time? No

*For those still not familiar, "mumblecore" (a disputed term) was a minor film movement from the early 2000s, most notable for being one of the first in history to sprout up globally at once because of the internet, in which no-budget filmmakers created emotionally moving character studies using many times only home consumer equipment; the name comes from the fact that the sound was so bad on many of these early films, you can barely understand what's being said, which ironically doesn't matter because of these filmmakers so often relying on music and visuals for telling their stories. For more, see the long 2007 podcast interview I did with Chicagoan Joe Swanberg, another of the most well-known filmmakers from this group.

Filed by Jason Pettus at 11:11 AM, January 27, 2011. Filed under: Movies | Reviews |