Under the Silver Lake: Part Dos of Creepy Films

“Under the Silver Lake” (2018) Rated R graphic violence and at a tad bloated 2 hours and 19 minutes.

I’ve been trying to enlarge my podcast listening to more movie pods since I began my own with the super sharp Gus Mollasis. Already I know we need a sign off slogan, like how Siskel and Ebert said, we’ll save the aisle seat for you or Brother Wease’s ‘it’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice’, the latter oh so true.

At any rate, in an odd coincidence after seeing “Psycho” Saturday (see blog part UNO) I heard a gent I respect on The Big Picture Podcast say “Under The Silver Lake” was one of his top five of the year thus far. This intrigued me as I had heard mixed reviews, with some criticism saying it actually promoted what it was trying to negatively highlight (and that topic is: men who feel women owe them sex).
Hence, I decided to see for myself what I thought of David Robert Mitchell’s film.

The short answer is the movie definitely did NOT glorify patriarchal domination. In fact, if you choose to read on, the male main character has a heart. Sure, he enjoys sex, but from what I had read in the headlines, I was prepared for a date rape/sex by force scene which never happened (thankfully).

If you’re good at celeb dating trivia (and who isn’t, eye roll), you guessed at the end of Creepy Part Uno that the star of “Under the Silver Lake” is Andrew Garfield. Confession, I never really cared for this guy, mainly based on shallow reasons, like he’s too thin for me to find attractive, I know, a momentary shallow moment.
I do know that his acting has received accolades, one biggie, an Academy Award Best Actor nom for “Hacksaw Ridge”, and I had totally forgot his Golden Globe nom for “The Social Network” (lip bite, I don’t remember his part, but loved that movie and certainly recall Jesse Eisenberg).

But talk about ‘holy he could be Anthony Perkins son’…what an odd coincidence. If his character had been a bit more shrewd, he really would have nailed Norman’s persona. But here’s the rub, while his character Sam seems to be a drifting heartless pig, he actually redeems himself (won’t spoil it) by truly caring about the welfare of one of the gals he encounters.

I can see some of David Robert Mitchell’s possible influences, including David Lynch, Kwan & Scheinhart and Terry Gilliam in both the eerie sinister nature we all harbor, bizarre behavior and the magical realism of underground networks of hybrid human/animals respectively.

Is “Under the Silver Lake” as artistic as Hitchcock’s Psycho? No way, and not even as chilling. In fact, where Herman’s music added to the suspense of Psycho, the overly dramatic orchestral music took me out of the scenes in Under the Silver Lake.

Pretty typical for 2018 though where surplus or extreme is considered edgy when really good old black and white and a couple of violins are all you need to scare people.

On the other hand, Under the Silver Lake was worth seeing for Garfield, whose performance was multi-faceted and the story vivid enough to pain modern day Hollywood as a super sad and freaky place to live.

A Double Feature of Creeps: Part Uno

Fitting to recent real life soulless wonders in many ways, I’ve witnessed a double play of cinematic creepiness this week.
First, I’m glad to say that people have become hip to the Sarasota Film Society’s vintage warehouse at 500 Tallevast Road as it was packed last Saturday for Hitchcock’s Psycho from 1960.
And confession, I had never seen the movie all the way through, simply knew of the iconic shower scene.
And of course, Hitchcock was as amazing for first timers almost 60 years later (trippy how time flies, right?). His artistic vision to land unforgettable scenes is simply unparalleled. I can still clearly see Janet Leigh’s entire face, dead and wide eyed laying on the bathroom floor. Art is far more acceptable than gore and gratuitous violence. If only the current horror numbskull writers could reckon with that, I might start trying the genre again.
Anthony Perkins had enough vulnerability to dupe someone into thinking he deserved sympathy and the fact that Janet’s character had just stolen 40 grand made her more susceptibility blind to ‘Norman’s” red flags.
Sure, the screenplay’s a tiny bit slow in spots, and much like Hitchcock wondered, I thought the psychiatrist’s explanation was a bit long-winded. But as I read, people working on the film felt the need to explain Norman’s wickedness. Unfortunately today, mad men (and women) have become more common place with the advent of mass shootings. And in truth, there’s no explaining people (are they really human?) who care nothing for human life.
One other comment I’ll make here is that as a huge Ted Knight fan, I loved seeing him in a bit part at the end of the film. As usual, Gus Mollasis did a fine comedic turn as Q & A moderator post film.
If you live in the Sarasota Area, get thee to a showing, the next one on July 26th at 6 pm.
And here’s a hint to Part ‘Dos’ of Creepy Films, this one from 2018 starring an actor who use to date Emma Stone…..