Thoughts on Southland Tales

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Jari, Apr 5, 2008.

  1. Jari

    Jari Stunt Coordinator

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    Finally received my Southland tales dvd last week and watched it yesterday. I was a bit nervous since most of the reviews were crapping all over it. But I loved it. I can see why people hate it, but I found it extremely fascinating watching it out first time and marveling the rich tapestry it has. Truly unique and boldly different that anything I've seen in years (excluding Lynch's Inland Empire of course). When the sad day comes that Lynch leaves us, I hope Richard Kelly will be here making interesting and original movies for years to come.

    About the dvd. There's something like 3 and half hours of material on one disc. That is too much cramming, I noticed several severe compression issues with the picture. Too bad they didn't offer two discer with separated bonus material. Also simultaneous Bly-ray release would have been great.

    So is there anyone else who liked this movie or is it just me? [​IMG]
     
  2. Reggie W

    Reggie W Cinematographer

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    I liked it a lot too. I think the complaints about it are blown way out of proportion. There are a lot of ideas crammed into this film and I like that Kelly tried to do that. Also I wonder how many people understand that the film is a black comedy. Kelly likes satire it seems, he showed this in Donnie Darko and again here. I think the thing is that a lot of people ignored the satire in Darko and enjoyed the film for other reasons and here they get the satire again but this time in a much larger setting with far more characters.

    To me Darko was a film that fans of American Beauty should have loved and vice versa. I think Southland Tales is sort of an update of one of my all time favorite films Dr. Strangelove. Wallace Shawn being sort of the Strangelove in this film. I'm not saying the films are the same but they are both black comedies about the end of the world with a goofball scientist in the middle of them. I see a lot more Kubrick in this film than I see Lynch. I also think like a lot of Kubrick films this film may not get much love now but over the years may come to be thought of in a better light.

    It's not as perfect a film as Strangelove is because I think he just does not have enough time to cover all of the ideas he's trying to cram into a single film. I would say the fact that there were three graphic novels that led up to where the film starts indicates he was very much trying to create something far larger than was possible. I think the film does stand on its own and I have not read the novels. I did not find it confusing but I can see why people would as there is a kaleidoscope of ideas constantly rushing by and due to the short running time all he does is wink at these ideas. Karl Marx, Revelations, alternative fuels, 50s atomic noir, Bushco, Philip K. Dick, George Orwell, T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, time travel, the 4th dimension, multiple winks at other films including his own Donnie Darko, making fun of Hollywood....I mean the list just goes on and on.

    It's a lot for an audience to grasp and be able to laugh at, which was his intention. I really enjoyed it because it's the exact opposite of most of what comes out of Hollywood. Most films are based on one idea or gimmick (sometimes less) and then ham handedly executed. Kelly packs his film with ideas and then parodies the ham handed Hollywood style to turn things inside out.

    I think people who enjoy films like Dr. Strangelove or O Lucky Man should enjoy this....but then again who knows.

    I give the film a big thumbs up and I'm dressed like Caligula as I type this....
     
  3. Jon Martin

    Jon Martin Cinematographer

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    I'm glad you liked it, but I just found the film completely dull with nothing of interest in it at all. I couldn't even watch it without fast forwarding through it.

    But then again, I didn't care for DONNIE DARKO either.
     
  4. Reggie W

    Reggie W Cinematographer

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    Well, I can understand that and I think Southland Tales will always be one of those love it or hate it deals. I will say that I don't think it's a film you should fast forward through because I think that would really make the film seem even more of a mess and probably far less enjoyable. I mean you'd be stopping and coming into the middle of things that can be confusing if you are following them from the beginning.

    I'll admit Kelly is pretty self absorbed in this one and unless you have some knowledge of the people or things he's making reference to you'll end up scratching your head. It's certainly not for everybody but that's not a bad thing. I don't think the film is much like Darko because Darko had a more narrow focus and character you follow through a sort of Twilight Zone story. It had a simple plot with a twist. This film is not like that at all and also features no real good guy. Everyone in the film is a jerk for the most part.

    I had fun watching it and it was the first time I've ever seen Dwayne "Rock" Johnson or Sara Michelle Gellar in anything. I've never had an interest in anything they have been in but I think they did fine in this. This film really is not about the acting and in a way the actors are just props here....sort of like chess pieces for Kelly to move around to reach his goal. That's one of the big differences between Southland and Strangelove as Strangelove did feature great acting and Southland does not.
     
  5. Eric Ten

    Eric Ten Extra

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    You know , I kind of liked it too, But I had the feeling that there was a really good movie in there somewhere,Kelly should have adapted Kurt Vonnegut novels like Hocus Pocus or Cats Cradle ,which said a lot of the same things he seemed to try to be saying but were fully realized,I could have done without Justin Timberlake's narration {and Timberlake himself.} the musical numbers too.But it wasn't the steaming pile of shit all the critics claimed it was. muddled maybe, pretentious, sure. but interesting.
     
  6. Jari

    Jari Stunt Coordinator

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    Yeah, I also didn't find acting anything special. Not that it was bad. The story was far more interesting though. Loved Gellar's bimbo performance [​IMG]
    Thing that really caught me off-guard was how frighteningly real Kelly's near future America was portrayed. Damn fascinating movie.
     
  7. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer

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    I saw this film just a little while ago. I disagree with the comment about losing the musical numbers. The musical numbers just added to the whole surreal effect that this film had. The Timberlake scene with "The Killers" song was bizarre. This film was a total mess and constantly left yoiu saying "WTF" as you struggled to figure out what the hell was going on, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Most films go in one eye and out the other. I watch them and then go on to the next one. I rarely think about the happenings in a film that I watched two weeks ago; however, thoughts about this film have cropped up, even at this late date.

    The acting isn't spectacular, but there is something humourous about watching a guy, whose entire career is built around being a tough guy, play a "pansy" who panics and starts twiddling his fingers during any stressful situation.

    I still think the graphic novel "DMZ" is a better precursor of a possible future USA, but this film has a lot to say about the Western civilization obsession with vacuous celebrity and its incremental slide into Fascist police state.
     
  8. SD_Brian

    SD_Brian Supporting Actor

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    Also, both movies are filled with bizarre characters who appear out of nowhere for no good reason and exist only to be as bizarre as humanly (or rabbitly, in the case of Inland Empire) possible. They both will leave you scratching your head wondering WTF? both during and for hours after watching them.

    With the two movies being so similar, I'm left to wonder why I loved Inland Empire and hated Southland Tales. Could it be that the charge made against Inland Empire fans that "If anyone other than David Lynch made it, you people would say it's pretentious crap!" is true?
     
  9. Don Giro

    Don Giro Supporting Actor

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    I liked "Southland Tales" more than I thought I would, and I'm a big fan of "Donnie Darko" (though it leaves me scratching my head every time I watch it). As for the musical numbers, I just think Kelly is a big fan of musicals. "Southland Tales" came across as a "kitchen sink" kind of film to me, and I think I'll enjoy it more and more after repeat viewings.
     

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