Landline, an abrasive ringer, but it gets your attention

A GETROXY TRAILER: Coming soon, I’m going to try my hand at an audio widget! Stay tuned!

Landline is a new movie written by Gillian Robespierre (also the writer of Obvious Child) and Eisabeth Holm (creator of the doc Paradise Lost which sounds grueling to watch, but perhaps worth the torture considering it involves the Innocence Project).

Acting: Much like Obvious Child, Landline stars Jenny Slate, who I absolutely loved in Robespierre’s original film. In Landline, Slate’s character is less likeable, but in the end I respected her performance in an unflattering though very realistic role. Jay Duplass, who is a mystery to me based solely on the fact that he looks nothing like his brother Mark, does a very good job making a refreshing wholesome man who’s not a wimp. Edie Falco, who I’ve had mixed emotions for post Sopranos (horrible blase` role in The Comedian, too soap opera-like in Nurse Jackie) does well in Landline as the wife-in-denial-over-her-misandrist-role in her husband’s infidelity and fierce tiger mom. John Turturro is always rock solid and here he continues his prowess as the philandering Dad who wants to do right. Abby Quinn is a relatively new actress who has promise, if only as a gritty tom girl.

Plot: The narrative has verisimilitude in portraying marital engagement for the twenties set, when fear of choosing the right person and the perfect career path can make for emotional messes. Also marriage in general is viewed under an unforgiving 100 watt light, for all its blemishes and unrealistic expectations. I’m not sure we needed the 90’s motif to fulfill this as the movie (where the title comes from, pre cell phones) could have just as easily happened today*, but it was neat to see a floppy disk and telephone booths.

*One after thought that angers me, is the breezy look at heroin use in teenagers. I don’t care if this was a harmless 90’s thing, it is currently the main drug issue in our country. I think it is downright careless to have heroin in a film without some kind of skull and cross bones warning. “Opiod deaths have nearly doubled” is literally what I just heard on a WSRQ radio newscast.

Theme: Just today in a soulful conversation with a female co-worker, we agreed that these days (current times) we are realistic about the fantasy of this thing called a long term relationship, and the absolute importance, instead, of moments. Moments of connection, moments of fun, and if we’re lucky, moments of bliss. This is really all we have in 2017. This belief has made a former fan and recent visitor of mine head for the hills, rather than be grateful for the fun we had. Que cera cera. And for shame on folks who insist on everything being perfect in both materialistic and idealistic ways. Perhaps for some, image has become too much of their core, and therefore, too addictive to leave behind for precious ‘moments’. Though I understand and am not bitter (though I still invoke Todd Rundgren’s “Can We Still Be Friends?”, I am just grateful I have never cared for image over depth.

You need to wade through the muck of the first quarter of Landline in order to enjoy the prize. It’s not a perfect film, but is worthy in possessing heart, realism and dramatic arc.