I’ve finally got to the end of this one. After not sleeping well for a week or so, I managed to focus for long enough to complete this book. Admittedly, I had to buy the audiobook to do it but I really wanted to get to the end. This was the book that everyone picked for me on Instagram and I was really looking forward to it. The premise was so different and original. It’s a shame that I didn’t pick it up when I was a better reader.
This film had one of the strongest debuts that Netflix has ever seen, so I had to give it a watch eventually. I put it off for ages because I was worried that I would never recover from the themes. Also, I’m not sure how much I care about Adam McKay. I liked The Big Short but didn’t like Vice quite so much. And when I say that I liked them, I mean that I thought they were clever but wasn’t sure how much I enjoyed them. It all just seemed a bit too clever. Given the subject matter of his latest film, I had no idea how I would react.
I’ve had this book for a while now and never even attempted to pick it up. It’s the first book by Jasper Fforde that I’ve tried to read but I know of him. By which I mean I’ve heard of his Thursday Next series but never bothered to read them. They just sounded a bit too whimsical for my liking. In reality, I’d probably enjoy them but I just haven’t had the inclination. This sounded too good to ignore and I always prefer a standalone to a series. It sort of sounded like Snowpiercer and was released during the time when I was still fully obsessed with that film. So, I bought it and, last month, I finally decided to read it. Mostly because I’m pretty short of E book titles.
The first Borat film came out just before I headed off to university, which meant my entire 3 years were full of bad impressions and catchphrases. I lived on a floor with about 50 people in total and there were a lot of idiot guys who thought the only indication of their sense of humour was being able to regurgitate film quotes. Oh, and let’s not forget one of flatmates who bought the character’s trademark mankini and wore it to every social event possible. I know it sounds like I hated the film but I didn’t. It was just fucking endless. It was everywhere. My undergraduate course was defined by Borat quotes and that Linkin Park and Jay-Z Numb/Encore mash-up. It was an interesting time.
There was a point yesterday when I wasn’t sure that I’d get a chance to write this review. We had a power cut at about 5 o’clock in the evening and it made everything a bit difficult. For one thing, I had to use my mobile as a hotspot to finish my work for the day, which was a nightmare. For another, I hadn’t actually watched my TBT film for this week. The last few weeks have been pretty stressful and I’ve just been a bit off. Thankfully, my internet came back and I was able to get everything done. Except write the review, which I’m having to do quite late on Wednesday night in the knowledge that I have to get up early for medical appointment. Part of me just wants to forget it but I don’t want to start setting that precedent for myself.
I used to listen to Brett Goldstein’s Films To Be Buried With podcast when I was working. For those who haven’t listened to it, each episode was based around a series of film question that Brett put to his guest. It included the question “what is the funniest film ever?” Comedy is one of those genres that is so subjective, which is perhaps the reason why comedy films don’t have the same lasting appeal as dramas. Some comedies do have staying power but funny films tend to age quicker than straight films. There are only a handful of really important classic comedy films, so most people answering this question would pick more contemporary ones. Of course, the one major exception is This Is Spinal Tap. It was the film that was picked most often in this category. So, is Spinal Tap really the funniest film ever made?
It doesn’t bode too well for this week’s film that I completely forgot what I was writing about. It clearly didn’t make much of an impression on me. Although, I wasn’t completely bothered about seeing this film. It never really seemed that promising from the trailer. I know its Michael Winterbottom and Steve Coogan together again but it just seemed too good to be true. Although, I am a sucker for a strong British cast and I do always love seeing David Mitchell in things that aren’t panel shows. So, why not give it a chance? I’ll be honest though, writing this review has been painful. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Either I’m having a bad time with lockdown or this film just sucked the inspiration out of me. Whatever the reason, there will be no denying that this review won’t be one of my best. One could argue that none of my reviews are of a good enough quality for this distinction to be necessary but that would just make me sad.
As you’ll know from my review on Tuesday, I loved Jojo Rabbit. It was the funniest film I’ve seen in a long time. But since I watched it, I’ve read a lot of criticism about it. One of these was based around the fact that Taika Waititi’s portrayal of Hitler just came down to pulling silly faces. As if that didn’t make it enough of an anti-war film. Which is ridiculous. Waititi’s version of Hitler would be at home with any of the propaganda that the allied forces were putting out during the war. We have always been well aware that one of the best ways to take power away from a dictator is to turn them into a laughing stock. It’s been a tradition that has been handed down to us and that we should continue with. Look at America. Donald Trump is gaining support in many places in America but he’s basically a laughing stock around the world. Yes, it helps that he’s a fucking moron but it means he’ll never be a full figure to fear.
Sometimes it sucks living in certain parts of the world. Jojo Rabbit came out in October 2019 in the US. In the UK, we had to wait until the New Year before we could see it. Talk about unfair. By the time I finally saw the film, it felt as though I’d been waiting for years. Of course, when it was released a lot of people in America thought it was tasteless to release a comedy film about Hitler. It’s such a ridiculous notion. There is a strong history of satirising figures like Hitler. Look at the propaganda that came out of World War 2. Look at Charlie Chaplin’s The Dictator. Look at The Producers. We use comedy as a way to belittle and take power away from these people. The ability to see comedy in situations like this is important. For one thing, it helps us learn from them and see these moments in history for what they are. I’m not saying you should go too far or get too offensive. It’s important to be respectful. But, if you can’t find the funny in Taika Waititi wearing bright blue contacts and pretending to be Adolf Hitler, then I don’t know what you’re looking for in a comedy film.
I’ve wanted to see this film since I first saw the trailer. Even though I was super freaked out by bald Matt Damon. I’ve lusted after that man since I first saw Ocean’s 11 but, I have to say, he can’t carry off the no hair look and no eyebrows look. It’s really off-putting. Like the opening of Captain America when Chris Evans is CGI’d to be tiny. It’s creepy. I hate it. He looks like a puppet that’s come to life or something. It’s like Marvel didn’t let him eat for months before filming. Bleurgh. It’s not right to take something so pretty and purposefully make it look bad. Especially when, in Downsizing, it feels super unnecessary. And Matt Damon’s head looks so huge and round without hair. What’s going on with that? Still, I managed to get over my anger at hairless Matt Damon and finally saw Alexander Payne’s new film.