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 👍