Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Paint It Black, or: Do What You Want, IDK

Sadly, Halloween/horror month is over. What do we do now? As our pick this week demands, we express our deep sadness by painting it all black.

The Film:

Paint It Black

The Premise:

After a young man dies by suicide, his mother and girlfriend spiral into a dysfunctional relationship fueled by guilt.

The Ramble:

Josie is a stressed-out young woman who hasn’t heard from her live-in boyfriend, Michael, for a week. In need of a distraction, Josie goes out for a night of partying with her bestie, complaining about her infuriating boyfriend’s lack of consideration. Oh, how she will regret those complaints.

The next morning, Josie learns from the police that Michael is dead, apparently by suicide. His mother Meredith makes a devastating situation even more painful by calling Josie and bluntly blaming her for Michael’s death. Meredith goes so far as to actually choke Josie at the funeral when she attempts to place a rose on his coffin.

two men hold back a woman on the floor who is dragging a long aisle rug towards her, with people seated in rows on either side

Interspersed throughout the film are tidbits from Josie and Michael’s relationship. The two met when Josie modeled nude for a drawing class Michael, ever the tortured artist, was taking. Michael’s family is R-I-C-H, living in a huge mansion with its own pool courtesy of his mother’s career as a renowned concert pianist.

standing at the top of a hill in a city neighborhood, a young man and woman embrace as they lean against a piano

With nothing to hang onto except her rage, Josie decides to pay Meredith a visit. As it turns out, both now spend the majority of their time drinking and crying. Though the two seem to bond, it seems Meredith isn’t quite through wreaking emotional havoc. Wrangling an invite to see the apartment Michael shared with Josie, she uses the opportunity to reclaim all of his personal effects.

As the relationship between the two women escalates, it seems impossible they will ever accomplish anything beyond hurting each other. When they reach a tentative truce, Meredith opens up and even cares for Josie when she falls ill. However, when Josie begins to recover, she recognizes she can’t stay with Meredith forever.

a middle-aged woman sleeps next to a younger woman, one arm around her waist

When Josie makes her next stop the motel where Michael killed himself, will she find the comfort and closure she seeks?

The Rating:

3/5 Pink Panther Heads

Mostly because of Alia Shawkat.

Our film tries to be artsy and full of meaning, but it merely scrapes the surface. There are some rather beautifully shot scenes here, but they add little beyond visual interest.

One of the themes driving the plot is the messiness and unpredictability of grief. Josie and Meredith could be natural allies as two women deeply mourning Michael’s death; however, their feelings do not, of course, unfold in any logical way. The oddness and ambiguity of their relationship drives the film, yet it also makes the story unsatisfying and unresolved. And while the grieving process here feels realistic, it doesn’t feel particularly authentic.

Did my blog wife mourn this film’s end or merely the loss of 97 minutes of her life? Find out in her review here!

two women dance with each other at a club
Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Duck Butter, or: The Longest Day

Summer of Love/Gay July continues!  Though this week’s film definitely throws a huge bucket of water on the sparks of romance, we will continue to celebrate lesbians in the movies.  And lesbians in general, really.

The Film:

Duck Butter

The Premise:

Having met at a club the day before, 2 women embark on an experiment to spend a solid 24 hours together.

The Ramble:

Naima is an aspiring actress who has just landed a coveted gig in a Duplass brothers film (with Kumail Nanjiani in a brief cameo).  Upon her arrival on set, Naima feels immediately out of sync with the other actors and even fails to eat onion rings correctly in the eyes of the directors.  When Naima tells Mark and Jay that this isn’t working, they respond rather condescendingly.

a woman reading a magazine looks across a room at another person

Later that night, Naima is going on a first date with a girl at some kind of singer-songwriter lesbian club?  (We don’t have these in Ohio.)  When Naima’s date goes off with another girl, Naima becomes fascinated by one of the singers, Sergio.  Sergio is a young woman who may not be the best singer, but she’s certainly the most passionate.  While Naima tries to argue with some older ladies about the bleak world they have left for millennials to inherit, Sergio interrupts with an invitation to dance.

a woman on stage sings into a microphone

As the evening winds down, Naima goes back to Sergio’s place and meets the roomies and stray dogs.  After having sex, Naima jokingly suggests they just keep things as they are for the next 24 hours.  Sergio takes her up on this offer only to have Naima “Commitment Issues” McGee back out.

However, after receiving a heads up the next day that she’s being fired from the Duplass brothers film, Naima decides to go along with the plan to spend a solid 24 hours together, sharing absolutely everything.  As in leaving the bathroom door open when one has to take a piss.  Everything.  Oh, and they will have sex once every hour, which just sounds tiring.

a woman plays piano while a woman next to her sings

As the night goes on, Naima and Sergio have their ups and downs.  With Sergio’s encouragement, Naima sends a drunken email to the Duplass brothers, essentially telling them to fuck off.  They vent about their mothers, and Sergio rides a bike for the first time.  However, Sergio insults Naima’s fondness for song covers and is furious when she learns Naima changed her mind about the 24-hour experiment because she lost her job.

When Sergio’s mother arrives in town, will it bring Naima and Sergio together or tear them apart?  What about the suggestion of an orgy or the email response of the Duplass brothers?

The Rating:

2/5 Pink Panther Heads

Good lord, Naima is awful and utterly impossible to get attached to as her character remains so distant throughout the film.  Sergio is at least a bit more interesting, but grows tiresome quickly with all of her armchair psychologist advice that seems ripped from the pages of a paperback self-help book.  The characters are meant to be complex and layered, but they come across as completely unlikeable.

Worst of all, the film is just straight up boring.  The 24 hours Naima and Sergio spend together are the most mundane fucking hours of their lives.  Why lounge around and watch each other take a piss when presumably this is what people in long-term relationships have plenty of opportunities for after they’ve been together for a year?  I was hoping our leading ladies would at least bury a body together, but I would’ve settled for a road trip or taking a drive to the mall.

Color me surprised when the results of this rather boring experiment are…well, boring.

Would Christa spend 24 hours with this one or slam the bathroom door in its face immediately?  Read her post here to find out!