The least essential movie of the year


I struggled through Greenberg last night, and the whole time I kept thinking ‘does the world really need this?’ Another unlikeable protagonist. Another stop-start romance. Another unresolved ending.

It’s not that it was bad, really. The dialogue was precise. The acting was realistic. Every scene went on precisely as long as it should have.

But what was the point? Baumbach has shown us all of this before. People who are unpleasant often hate themselves for being unpleasant. Yes, Noah, we have absorbed this now.

As I find myself watching fewer and fewer movies, I’m becoming convinced that filmmakers should approach each  movie like it’s a scientific publication. ‘What am I adding to the literature’, they should ask. I feel like this is one thing that action movie directors, for one, do really well. ‘What if the dinosaur terrorizing the city was bigger?’ they ask. Or, ‘What if the vampires could come out during the day?’

Sure, action movies are always playing the same tune, but at least they’re using different instruments. Movies like Greenberg are just lipsyncing.

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One response to “The least essential movie of the year

  1. So totally with you on this point. There's a health journal in Australia which has a summary at the beginning of each article which also includes an answer to a question: "So what?" I ask myself that all the time with my writing too, which is probably why I often dismiss ideas I have if someone has already done it before me, and better, too.I was actually just saying to Josh yesterday that the main way I watch movies these days is if I am physically sitting in a cinema. I still like to know what movies come out so I read reviews sometimes or listen out for recommendations, but it seems SO rare now that I say, "I really want to see that movie". I mostly just watch tv series now, because great shows come out all the time which interpret some new aspect of the human condition. Or they are otherwise genuinely entertaining.More broadly, I think my tastes have changed a little with regards to films. I'm a little over tortured indie-type films, and it sounds like you are too – if I have to choose to watch a movie now, I seem to opt more for entertainment rather than metaphor.