domenica 25 agosto 2013

Drinking Buddies: the emotionally involved review

I should have every reason to hate this movie.

Joe Swanberg is one of those directors obsessed with telling real(istic) stories in a realistic way. Even, the movie hadn't a script and the actors improvised scene after scene, following a basic plot, to confer more reliability and spontaneity to the characters.

It's a way to make a movie that is opposite of my philosophy and typical of little indie movies.

I can appreciate real stories told in a fictional way, as Spielberg does with his Schindler's List and Lincoln or Ron Howard with Apollo 13, Cinderella Man and Rush (always with Olivia).

Otherwise I find it fascinating mockumentaries. In other words, pure fiction stories told in a realistic way.

But if i want to see the "real" reality, i watch a documentary, the news (not Fox News) or i look out the window.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not an enemy of the genre and there are products such as this that i even liked. I'm just saying that i like to see movies more... nerd. A good compromise are the Kevin Smith's movies or that little treat that is Fanboys.

Another reason for which this movie could be a pain in the ass for me is the fact that I am teetotal and i hate alcoholics. I don't even eat sweets if there is alcohol inside.

Above all i hate those idiots who come to tell you, with unbearable, entertained and self-satisfied mood,  to be returning from a hangover.

Well done!

No, well done!

What do you want, asshole, a medal?

So, you realize that i would have ignored this movie without any problems if it wasn't for the presence of Olivia.

Now, there are a couple of things to say about my connection with Olivia's movies.

First of all, her presence has never influenced on my judgements. I supported Tron Legacy against the opinion of the majority of the critics because i considered it and i still consider it an excellent movie (for reasons that most of the people doesn't care nor understand). Sure, Olivia was the added value. After all, castings are important even for this reason.

Moreover, i teared apart The Next Three Days, Cowboys & Aliens, In Time, The Words and Deadfall. I even refused to review some of her movies as far as they were bad (for example that INEXISTANT movie with Ryan Reynolds, Jason Bateman, poop and gratuitous offenses to disabled people). The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, with Jim Carrey and Steve Carell, has been such a flop in USA that it never came in Italy. The ONLY movie with Jim Carrey never arrived in Italy. Indeed it was bad but Olivia was adorable.

So, if my critical judgment can keep the fair distance, i can't say the same about my emotional condition, always too much involved.

After all, Olivia indirectly changed my life and saved me in a dark period. She and her former husband Tao inspired me to become a movie critic. I followed her every day for the last four years, i'm a horrible "fan" (i hate this word, fanatism is ALWAYS wrong) and an argumentative, obsessive and intolerant asshole on Twitter. Last year, i sneaked in the set of Third Person in Rome to watch her at work and i interviewed Tao. The best two days of my 2012. 

Oh, Tao offered me a drink.

Cold tea.

Take that!

How can i make myself not feel emotionally involved?

I try to not watch Olivia's movies in theaters. I dislike comments about her and if i hear some raunchy appreciation i risk to lay a hand on the poet of the situation. Even friends and coworkers talk with caution about Olivia in front of me. In effect they avoid to talk about her or they show the right respect. And i'm grateful for this.

Someone wasn't as much sensitive and he is no more my friend. (For example a fat guy who interviewed her in Locarno...)

Tao gave me some good advice to endure these idiots but it's not always simple for a movie critic to keep the distance.

Let's talk about the movie.

Olivia plays Kate, employed in a brewery and engaged with Chris, a music producer performed by Ron Livingston, just seen in The Conjuring. It is obvious that the relationship between them is dragging on.

Instead, Kate has an incredible feeling with her coworker Luke (Jake Johnson), happily engaged with Jill (Anna Kendrick).

The two couples go to spend a week-end in an isolated cabin in the woods. They find the Book of the Dead, a deadite possesses Olivia's right hand and she have to cut it off at the wrist with her chainsaw. Then she gets the chainsaw in place of her hand and slaughters the demonized friends.



Chris and Jill have to fight against zombies in the cabin and they discover that it is an Umbrella's laboratory. 


Ah, aren't they Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine?


Due to too much beer that makes everything a little more blurred, Kate makes a pass at Luke while a kiss happens between Chris and Jill.

Consequent complications rest on a persistent sentimental tension between chitchat, arguments and embarassing silences while the element beer is just the catalyst. The movie doesn't find an easy plot twist neither tries to gratify the audience. The characters are left undone, in eternal becoming, bogged in life and troubles of everyday.

Olivia's performance has been righteously defined the greatest of her career and she loads the most part of the movie on her back. Used to improv marathons for charity, Olivia created a genuine character, very fresh and natural, shaking herself off that damn sexy bomb's glaze that i hate with all my heart and that ballasted her career in the last two years.

On the screen, we see the most authentic and adorable Olivia. She is though, funny, friendly, playful, gourmand and smarty, capable to survive in a male-dominated environment.

But, then, Olivia ends and Kate begins.

And it's hell to pay.

Because, in the long term, Kate is the Olivia's character that i found more unpleasant. Not totally unpleasant but, at some point, it's instinctive tell her to buzz off. She makes a pass at Luke while she is still engaged with Chris. After two scenes, left by Chris, has a one night stand with a co-worker. Then, she pathetically tries to win Chris back. She is clearly confused and doesn't know what she wants.

In some interviews, Olivia said: "Kate is a mess. She is very much a version of me if things hadn't turned out quite so well."

Quoting Han Solo: "Wonderful girl. Either i'm going to kill her or i'm beginning to like her."

But Olivia realizes a masterpiece faceting in a so tangible and sincere way a so complex character that stimulates affection and dislike at the same time.

The chemistry with Jake Johnson is total. His Luke is the character for which i felt more empathy. He establishes an ambiguous relationship with Kate counterbalancing her. He's restrained, conscious, sympathetic, protective, less immature (but always immature) and more an older brother, just a drinking buddy than a real love.

For this reason it can't works between them.

Sure, the movie has some lack. Telling a story off the cuff, even with the target in mind, can often weaken the narrative structure.

Chris and Jill's flirtation is useless, forced and devoid of big consequences. They are left aside and the evolution of the plot concerns above all Kate and Luke. Some passages are also a little too fast.

Usually, script and actors'performances must be separately judged. In this case, the acting creates the story and makes the movie an interesting, experimental operation, a honest and no-frills study about the complexity of the sentimental sphere.

Olivia is simply perfect. After many flops, finally a movie that has satisfied critics and that is having a good answer from the audience. A reason more to be proud of my Muse.

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