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.

One Outta Three Ain’t Bad: Gilliam, Gillespie and LaGravenese

I attempted three movies in the last five days and only got through one…I know, rescind my film fanatic card. Ya see, I need some comedy in my life and that wasn’t going to happen in any way shape or form in The Last Five Years (LaGravense-a name that works-‘grave’) nor in Lars and The Real Girl. Hence, Gillian’s the winner this week with The Zero Theorum (Gilliam).

Before I criticize LaGravenese, I did see he worked on Behind the Candelabra, well done and award winning. And what did I expect about a musical that ends in a break up? I’ve owned the song Shiksa Goddess on my ipod for probably ‘the last five years’ and was simply enamored with the song and the fantasy of being one once. But waaa, waa, waa, did not happen.
The good news, Anna Kendrick, who I slayed in Mr. Right is the perfect fit here. She can sing and she can pout, perfection. Jeremy Jordan, who plays the male lead, was too pretty for my taste, but I get how difficult it must be to find a great singer and rugged all in one body.

Round Two of weird sadness was Lars and the Real Girl. For once, I’m going to say I was right in the first place to avoid this film. Love Gosling and love Patrica Clarkson…even like Paul Schneider (why I gave it a chance), BUT it was schmaltz city. Perfect fodder for a short film, but a full length film about a guy in love with a mannequin that’s not absurdist is simply ridiculous.

And now on to the winner of the week, suggested by my friend Pat (THANK YOU FOR HAMILTON AND SAN FRAN!!!!). Zero Theorum stars Christoph Waltz who usually bugs me and even here with his glaring bald head was a tad annoying, but the film’s theme of ‘existentialism’ or rather existential crisis caused by technology and the corporate are my pet peeves, too. And there was that Gilliam light hearted ‘we’ll get through this together’ mood which is always affecting. Melanie Thierry was adorable as the love interest, and look at old or should I say pre-Manchester young Lucas Hedges who did a great job here as a kid with affluenza. Matt Damon and Tilda Swinton also do nice side action work.

So I’m left to focus on the positive, relishing a call from my good college friend Laurie who’s in the same boat (date people I don’t feel a connection with or feel lonely) and listen to jazz fusion to erase Lars and The Last Five Years.