Oof

Other than the James Bond films, I typically don’t pay too much attention to new releases. But I was so blown away by Midsommar that I’ve been loosely following the career of Ari Aster. Originally called Disappointment Blvd, the trailer for Aster’s next film Beau is Afraid has recently dropped, and, well, I gotta say…Beau is afraid for Beau is Afraid.

Perhaps I should be glad that the same guy who made the short film The Strange Thing About the Johnsons is getting carte blanche in Hollywood, but a cursory glance at the history of filmmaking will tell you that’s almost never a good thing. Ever heard of Heaven’s Gate?

Damien Chazelle is the latest victim of this curse of talent. You make a few great films on a modest budget and suddenly you’re the toast of the town. Producers then give you $100,000,000 to do whatever you want and you create a three-hour, self-indulgent mess called Babylon.

Not to say that Beau is Afraid won’t be interesting. One man’s unfortunate adventure to visit his mother sounds like a hoot. But here’s the problem: it’s also three hours long!

Very few movies across history deserve to be that long; maybe, like, five total. And if there’s any genre that absolutely should NOT be that long, it’s horror AND comedy. Audiences should stand up and say to Hollywood: if you can’t tell a good story in under two hours, you don’t deserve to be making movies.

That’s a hill I will die on.

But maybe Aster has earned the benefit of the doubt. Allegedly, we’ll be shown Phoenix’s gigantic (prosthetic) testicles. Maybe when his mother says “I am so sorry for what your daddy passed down to you,” she’s referring to his abnormally large wang? So this might be a story about the burdens of having a big dick. If that’s the case, then I think three hours are warranted (because I can relate, of course).

But if we really wanted to maximize Aster’s talents (Hollywood, if you’re reading), here’s my suggestion: Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian. Producers have been trying to adapt that book for years, but the truth is that it’s nearly unadaptable. UNLESS you have someone like Aster’s sensibilities. Clearly, much of the novel would be cut out, but Hollywood needs a horror film director to tackle that material. Moreover, you need a director that’s willing to pull the trigger on disturbing subject matters. For a guy that made a short film about a dude that sexually abuses his father, Ari Aster is just the man for the job 👍

8 thoughts on “Oof

  1. Caligula and what else?!

    I enjoyed Hereditary but didn’t much care for Midsommar. “Elevated horror” is hit or miss with me. I was bored during The VVitch, loved The Lighthouse. This could be good. Supertramp in the trailer is hype.

    I know Joaquin Phoenix is a megastar household name but I can’t tell any of these actors apart nowadays. Had to look him up to remember he was Merrill in Signs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In addition to Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate, there was also William Friedkin’s Sorcerer around the same time. Although it differs in certain aspects, I would throw in Darren Aronofsky’s mother! And personally, I’d throw in Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz as another overly self-indulgent film where a director was given carte blanche.

      I agree that ‘elevated horror’ is mostly bad. I think the genre is better suited on a shoe string budget and flying by the seat of your pants. But the reason why I loved Midsommar is because it’s one of the few films where characters face absurd situations, but instead of laughing at it, you’re somehow emotionally invested. I read somewhere that Swedish audiences thought it was a dark comedy, and I kinda agree with that. (Plus, there was once a rumor that briefly floated around the internet that stated Aster was a Cumtown fan. Which makes sense considering a lot of his material sounds like something Nick Mullen would write…and is also why I’m only partially joking when I say that Phoenix’s character might be suffering from having a huge…or small…dong). To me, Aster explores where the absurd meets the familiar, and that’s an interesting perspective which why I’m interested in how this film turns out

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’ve given me some titles to research. Haven’t heard of that western, despite its stacked cast. I instantly thought of the suicide cult. Sergio Leone’s epic westerns come to mind as movies deserving of long runtimes.

        The spiritual journey of a man coming to terms with his 25-inch penis is what the world needs.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Whoops! My mistake.

        No, nearly every movie over two hours that I enjoy…even The Deer Hunter and 2001…I always think that I could have shaved off 20 minutes here or there to really knock the film out of the park. But really, there’s no movie out there that I didn’t want to fix in some way.

        Fundamentally though, I don’t understand why Hollywood feels the need to pump out three hour movies these days. I mean, does the world really need a three hour Batman movie?

        Like

    1. I def agree. After watching the trailer, I don’t know how this won’t end badly. They should have kept the original title ‘Disappointment Blvd’ just to manage the audience’s expectations. It might be a good movie, or at the very least an interesting film, but three hours seems a bit excessive

      Liked by 1 person

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