XIXAX Film Forum

Film Discussion => 2017 In Film => Topic started by: polkablues on March 24, 2017, 02:52:59 PM

Title: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Post by: polkablues on March 24, 2017, 02:52:59 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jit3YhGx5pU

The new Martin McDonagh flick. This looks amazing.
Title: Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Post by: N on March 28, 2017, 01:46:02 AM
Finally a trailer. Been waiting for this one since like 2014. Hyped to see Frances McDormand in Martin's universe.
Love the balance of humor and sincerity in his work, does a better job than Wes Anderson imo.
Title: Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Post by: KJ on October 18, 2017, 11:42:03 PM
people really seems to like this

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/three_billboards_outside_ebbing_missouri/
Title: Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Post by: Something Spanish on November 06, 2017, 07:23:54 PM
Really excited to see this as well, was bummed when it wasn't released in August as originally planned. The trailer is the best I've seen this year, both the red-ban and audience friendly one.
Title: Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Post by: Fuzzy Dunlop on November 25, 2017, 01:21:00 PM
I loved this. I'm in awe of how his characters can be utterly absurd and painfully human at the same time. I've liked his other films but this is on another level.
Title: Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Post by: pete on November 25, 2017, 01:42:51 PM
Martin McDonaugh is great at inserting real anguish into 90s black comedy tropes. Can't get enough of him.
Ps. Frances played a game of millimeters here where she can break your heart or win you over with the subtlest change in her facial muscle. which is contrasted with Justice League in which the studio evidently thought you can throw away half an actor's face and somehow still retain any semblance of a performance.
Title: Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Post by: Something Spanish on November 28, 2017, 09:41:03 PM
Holy shit, Thee Billboards is precisely the reason I go to and adore movies: when you can feel the characters' emotions on such a personal level, their rage, anguish, what makes them tick, and watching the story unfold in a way that feels wholly new is the highest compliment a filmmaker can pay a patron of cinema. Just about every turn clicked perfectly. Frances McDormand was born for this role, she takes your heart from the opening frame. And it's not just her, the entire ensemble is humanized in ways that are too rare in the movies I've seen these past couple of years. From the Ebbing Advertising owner, to Rockwell and his mom, to Harrelson and his wife, to Lucas Hedges and his dad, you end up feeling for everyone no matter how minor a role.

McDonagh did an amazing job conveying the helpless rage people feel after experiencing tragedies so unthinkable that doing what these characters do feels like the only rational solution. Best I've seen so far this year.
Title: Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Post by: samsong on December 05, 2017, 01:49:13 PM
bargain bin coen bros.  wholly disingenuous, especially with its shoehorning of hot button issues for little more than easy emotional triggers.  woody harrelson’s performance and character are the only glimmer of actual humanity in the movie. 
Title: Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Post by: Tictacbk on December 08, 2017, 02:25:13 AM
No way, this movie is great. Such great characters, so many actions out of desperation that somehow feel motivated, and a complex story that manages to feel simple and relatable. Maybe you were looking for a Coen Bros movie, and didn't get it? Besides Frances McDormand* being in it, I'm not sure what is Coens Brothers-y about this movie at all. And that's great.


*also, she crushes it.
Title: Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Post by: jenkins on December 08, 2017, 09:53:59 AM
still, mentioned in zero year-end lists (http://yearendlists.com/category/2017-movies/). i want to send Manohla Dargis a thank you card for listing 40 movies and not listing this.
Title: Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Post by: ©brad on December 08, 2017, 03:51:22 PM
still, mentioned in zero year-end lists (http://yearendlists.com/category/2017-movies/). i want to send Manohla Dargis a thank you card for listing 40 movies and not listing this.

So we're cheering on critics not recognizing adult movies that aren't about super heroes like this one that are made with increasing infrequency?

Get a grip.
Title: Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Post by: samsong on December 08, 2017, 06:05:23 PM
No way, this movie is great. Such great characters, so many actions out of desperation that somehow feel motivated, and a complex story that manages to feel simple and relatable. Maybe you were looking for a Coen Bros movie, and didn't get it? Besides Frances McDormand* being in it, I'm not sure what is Coens Brothers-y about this movie at all. And that's great.


*also, she crushes it.

or maybe i just saw the coens bros influence all over this?  quite frankly i'm not sure how anyone can't see it. 

i wasn't particularly taken by frances mcdormand's performance.  it's as coldly calculated and overwrought as the writing.  three billboards is much more subtle than mother!, but it had the same effect of trying to do so much that it doesn't really do anything.  it all felt very forced and fake.  and i'm all for cynicism and misanthropy, but when it's doled out like it is in this movie without much to say passed it, i find that a bit worrisome. (even more so, how is it  "relatable"?)  the ending of this movie is absolutely ridiculous.  haven't rolled my eyes that hard in a while.

i should add that caleb landry jones is very good here, and his scene in the hospital is one of the best moments in in the film.

clearly we had different impressions of the movie. 
Title: Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Post by: jenkins on December 08, 2017, 06:24:12 PM
still, mentioned in zero year-end lists (http://yearendlists.com/category/2017-movies/). i want to send Manohla Dargis a thank you card for listing 40 movies and not listing this.

So we're cheering on critics not recognizing adult movies that aren't about super heroes like this one that are made with increasing infrequency?

Get a grip.

the specific critic i mentioned was Manohla Dargis (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/06/movies/best-movies.html), who very much champions non-superhero movies, as i do too. and i liked Justice League. i really don't think that's related to this conversation.

not all non-superhero movies are great. that's not reality. speaking of not reality, from my perspective Sam Rockwell's character is movie bad. i wish not to criticize this movie too much (i shouldn't have started) because people should like the movies they like. as for the movies i like, i would say the story in Three Billboards isn't complex. i'd say Sam Rockwell's situation became like a tragic opera which simplified the solutions to his psychological problems. i believe this is an impossible rhythm. i believe this is what paints false illusions in people's mind about reality. taken just as a movie, i like this movie as much as any other. in terms of making a story, good job. in terms of giving the audience a clear and full perspective of reality, bad job. but when i'll watch it again, which i wouldn't call impossible, i'll have already conquered this personal problem, and i'll see the movie in a different way.

everything's ok.
Title: Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Post by: Something Spanish on December 09, 2017, 10:52:24 AM
the coens don't deal with tragedy as steep as what's in this flick, so maybe it was McDormand's presence in a dark comedy that gave off those vibes. for whatever influence they did have (I guess I can see some in the way the script could poke fun at more simpleminded folk), it was all positive and worked for the story. i may have been too impacted by the emotional waves to feel slighted by some of the character stereotypes, because nothing about the flick felt manipulative when it could have easily gone in those directions. I'd chalk that up to the director. also thought the film spoke volumes about emotions like anger and grief, and didn't make anything easy for characters or audiences. after the high of watching it withered i was able to point a few flaws, but this is one of those films whose flaws I'd easily forgive due to the sheer power it possesses. some of the complaints i've read on places like twitter seemed valid, but i was too swept away during the experience to notice.

also, what hot button issue does it shoehorn? rape and murder? racism?
Title: Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Post by: Something Spanish on December 13, 2017, 03:45:57 PM
So good

https://youtu.be/crjPRji0mvU
Title: Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Post by: samsong on December 13, 2017, 04:00:51 PM

also, what hot button issue does it shoehorn? rape and murder? racism?

mostly the police brutality against african americans (is there ever a shot where that isn't alluded to--and it's alluded to a lot--where there isn't a black character conveniently present?) but it's the sum of all of these things not adding up to much that makes it feel disingenuous to me.  it's little more than set dressing and plot devices.  i'm still at a loss as to what anyone thinks this film is expressing.  also in what ways did you feel this film "didn't make things easy for characters or audiences"?  because part of the issue for me is that i felt it did the exact opposite of what you're suggesting.

it's stuck between wanting to be a darkly comical indictment of human foley and compassionate parable of the human condition.  i'm not saying these two things can't coexist, but that this movie doesn't pull it off.


Title: Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Post by: Something Spanish on December 13, 2017, 09:00:05 PM
SPOILERS SPOILERAMA





sorry bud, i think it's only alluded to in the beginning when Rockwell first passes by the billboards. the only other time that comes to mind is that same character locking up McDormand's friend, but I wouldn't categorize that as brutality, more like racism out of need to intimidate McDormand. as a device it is used quite effectively, culminating in the reveal of the replacement sheriff, who moments later relieves Rockwell of his duty. it's such a minor point the in the totality of the film anyway.

and by not making things easy i'm referring to us easily being able to hate the Harrelson character because he's not pursuing the investigation, but his illness and warmth towards his family don't make it that simple, ditto for Rockwell's Dixon who turns out to be not as bad as originally perceived. also the man Rockwell confronts in the bar in the end could easily have been the killer, but a resolution isn't made simple. the main point of the movie is anger begetting further anger and how to let it go, shown in McDormand's rage transferred from one character to the next. i get your criticisms, but just had a different experience. agree that it's most definitely a parable.
Title: Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Post by: samsong on December 13, 2017, 11:25:35 PM
spoilers

the first half of the movie constantly reminds us that sam rockwell tortured black people in custody.  racism really only enters the picture in the context of police officers/rockwell.  need some tension?  throw rockwell and a black person in a scene, that'll make things uncomfortable!  the fact that it comes across as slight in the context of the movie makes it that much more problematic for me.  it dips its toes in "controversial" topics and leaves it at that.

rockwell's gracenote arc is one of the more forced things ive seen in movies in quite some time.  i also found it pretty stupid that the townspeople would be so up in arms about the billboards but somehow there isn't much of a reaction to mildred assaulting dentists and children, or you know, lighting a police station on fire. (i know there's an "alibi", but cmon...) 

i didn't find anything particularly challenging about harrelson's performance.  any negative perception of his ineptitude as a sheriff stems entirely from mildred's vitriol and vengeful need for justice, and not actual negligence.  he also handles himself well around mildred, which only makes her antics that much more sociopathic and unsympathetic in a very simple, straightforward, uncomplicated way.  also why the fuck does he need to write in block letters not to look inside of his burlap headmask?  this was probably the most egregious example of the film's general tone deafness.  it picks strange spots to be cheeky or push for laughs amidst the darkness. 


end spoilers

i'm also still bewildered by how no one else seems to think that this movie is indebted to the coen bros.  i'd go so far as to say this is, in some ways, mcdonagh's love letter to fargo.  whatever.  at this point i've talked/thought about this movie more than i care to.  my distaste for it only deepens. 
Title: Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Post by: Tictacbk on December 14, 2017, 03:52:30 AM
The Coen Brothers deal in much more straightforward crime. Sure it's still senseless, but it's a bit more digestible. They observe cold, often capitalist, murder filled houses of cards falling, from a safe and amusing distance. Three Bilbs has more sympathy for its characters. It doesn't feel like you're watching dominoes drop, it's more like you're just watching people deal with grief in any way they can. It's less structured and/or steeped in genre than a Coen brothers movie. In the simplest terms, it's just not fun in the same way a Coen bros movie is. It's still enjoyable and surprising, but I can't really imagine the Coen Bros making a movie about a teenager being raped and tortured.
Title: Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Post by: Something Spanish on December 14, 2017, 01:48:07 PM


the townsfolk don't know Mildred set the fire, only Dinklage and later Rockwell really knew, and her action was retaliation for her billboards going up in flames. they townsfolk are upset with the billboards clearly because they're more sympathetic to the sheriff. Mildred has to resort to these extremes since there is no other venue available to vindicate her anguish. McDonagh did a good in never letting us forget her torment, the sadness of her loss the hovers over the film.

one of the most touching scenes is Rockwell reading the letter left for him, the first glimpse we get of him having this other good side. but you can tell from his racist mom who he still lives with that beneath all the instilled bigotry he was raised with lies another person.



a lot of what happens is not very believable, clearly it's a movie and a parable at that, but like i said in the context it's very easy to go along with. and even after seeing it a second time last week didn't detect any trail of coen bros.
Title: Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Post by: samsong on December 15, 2017, 05:41:52 AM
maybe a third time and you'll see it.

maybe you can accept that mildred is somehow above suspicion for the firebombing of the police station (dinklage says she was with him the whole time... checks out, moving along!  :yabbse-rolleyes:) but it's an inconsistency that only really occurs whenever mildred acts out in anger.  it becomes a comedic set piece and there are no consequences, and not for lack of circumstances in which she would or should suffer consequences.  it's lazy, bad storytelling.

as for mcdonagh conveying her grief... how?  because she breaks down every now and then?  because she's volatile but vulnerable?  because she talks to deer?  the flashback of her last interaction with her daughter didn't exactly suggest that she was any different before the incident.  once a cunt, always a cunt.  but she was in an abusive relationship, so sympathy points to counter the hard-to-take stuff, right?  speaking of which, why is there no concern expressed directly to the new girlfriend about that?  i get that she's her newer, younger, tighter replacement and there's probably ill will, but to the point where she just lets her be her stupid self and doesn't warn her at every opportunity that she's with a woman-beating maniac?  again, cunt!  also did john hawkes suddenly learn not to beat up women?  these things can be swept under the rug as true-to-life human inconsistencies, but the film's pretty tidy and weirdly consistent about the way it treats caricature and verisimilitude.  clearly it worked for you and that's fine, but i think a lot of it seems predicated on your being on its emotional wavelength and overlooking some pretty glaring technical errors in the writing.  or maybe i view them all as errors because it left me out in the cold.  either way there seems to be this sense on your end that i missed something, and i can assure you, i didn't.  i just didn't like the movie. 

the only moving and remotely convincing bit of rockwell's preposterous redemption narrative is the scene in the hospital with caleb landry jones.
Title: Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Post by: Something Spanish on December 21, 2017, 05:46:17 PM
maybe a third time and you'll see it.

 once a cunt, always a cunt. 

hey man, cunts have feelings too.
Title: Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Post by: Drenk on January 10, 2018, 08:01:47 PM
SPOILERS

I thought the movie was clumsy. But also kind of effective. I want to talk about the main criticism about it these days: the idea that it gives redemption to Dixon. I believed what I read. I thought it would be true. And at some point in the movie, I thought it was. And then the last ten minutes happened. That? A redemption? At the end, Mildred and Dixon succumb to their worst instincts. I suppose that the "discourse" around Mildred transformed her into a badass woman, almost a super-hero...? Well, she is and...she isn't...She acts out of anger and despair. The fact that she isn't in conflict with the sheriff is a great idea. Did she need these billboards? Not really. Kind of. She isn't dumb and she knows there's probably nothing to do. Nothing to do except paying for billboards, expressing her pain, her yearning for someone to answer her question: who raped my daughter while she was dying?

Dixon is violent. He's racist. He's still racist and he's still violent at the end. Mildred is still despaired and angry. Their union is, I thought, heartbreaking in a special way—I absolutely don't forgive Dixon for his racism or anything. Do I have some empathy for the anger? Yes. Yes. My main issue with Dixon is in the beginning of the movie, when he's supposed to be funny while everyone around him can't stop to speak about how he's beating black people: that's not good. I guess the movie does try to convey empathy for Dixon. He does try to do better, but then he fails. He's who he is.

Their finale failure was, in a way, beautiful, too. Like that moment of peace before you jump into the river, I guess.

Hey. What's the point of all this? Let's go. Let's end this.

(But that was a clumsy movie.)
Title: Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Post by: samsong on January 10, 2018, 08:12:42 PM
someone at slant magazine summed it up pretty well for me.

"three billboards outside ebbing, missouri is 'about' racism, sexism, police violence, and small-town corruption in roughly the same way a game of chess is about the problems of feudalism."
Title: Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Post by: Drenk on January 10, 2018, 08:18:45 PM
Yes, but is the movie pretending to be a profound exploration of these topics? Or are we giving the responsibility to the movie to be about that because of the current political discourse? Can't a movie have a racist cop as a main character without being about police violence?

Title: Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Post by: samsong on January 10, 2018, 08:43:10 PM
sure but art isn't made in a vacuum and context will always be relevant, if not integral to analysis.  as far as its empty topicality is concerned, i think there are too many things that hit on current events that makes it impossible not to assess it with those things in mind.  it's too deliberate and conspicuous to be incidental. 

Can't a movie have a racist cop as a main character without being about police violence?

i guess, but why else make a movie about a racist cop? 
Title: Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Post by: Drenk on January 10, 2018, 09:00:24 PM
I agree with what you said, but I see more and more criticism discussing movies in a weird way, as if they were failing to be The Relevant Movie of our Time, and I don't think Billboards is trying to be about our Time—it could have taken place in the eighties.


SPOILERS

Dixon is not the main character. At the end of the movie, Mildred, whose violence is supposed to be righteous, becomes as low as Dixon—or, at least, is tempted since we don't know what they'll do, if they'll murder the guy or not. The movie pretend to give some sort of redemption to Dixon, but it never redeems him of anything! It's not because he wants to be better at his job that he's less racist or violent! The movie never forgets that Dixon is racist. Do we need a scene explaining to us how bad it is to be racist...?

At the end, the movie shows people who act violently, criminally, out of what they think is righteous but is more selfishness and despair, and that's where Dixon enters the picture.

This movie is both clumsy and more subtle than most people think.

Title: Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Post by: jenkins on January 10, 2018, 09:31:44 PM
when this won the Golden Globe i thought of that-Crash, which is a movie that can be seen from another perspective as well, like Ebert mentioned back then. i mentioned Ebert, okay. Drenk i support your endeavor and believe you're proposing a broadened perspective, leading this movie to its redemption within me. i think you're proposing a devaluation of the movie's heightened qualities, an examination of its core, i think "selfish despair" is within reason and a brave thing to mention.

so what happens for me is time. you can't control what a movie does to you when it's just between you and the movie. although later you can take it a little less personal, that's what i always see and experience. i like when people bond through bad life experience and decide to make terrible life choices, but not when it's this dramatic. the heavy dramatics are going to come to mean less to everyone as far as this movie is concerned.
Title: Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Post by: Drenk on January 13, 2018, 07:56:03 PM
SPOILERS


Yes, I'm in the weird position where I think this movie is a mess but I can't see how it can be seen as a redemption story for Dixon, I can't. "Oh, that racist cop wants to be a good guy now, but he's not: what an outrageous redemption arc!"

Mostly, I read people demanding the movie to be about the consequences of police brutality. I think this is a dangerous trend. And being righteously angry at this movie in particular is ironic...

Look at this Slate title: "The Weinstein moment needs a better female vengeance story than Three Billboards." Ok. The Weinstein moment doesn't need anything but men not abusing their power anymore to harass women. And Mildred is wrong. She's not the hero of the Weinstein moment. What the fuck? Does it show an incapacity to see a protagonist failing as a human being? Do people think they're supposed to be on her side at the end?

I don't like the movie, but I really like that ending, I guess.

My issue is not with how dramatic it is, but how the cartoonish nature of the characters seems forced and is often not funny at all. And the flashback scene with the daughter should have been cut. The scene with the deer made me cringe, but I was asking at that point to care about her grief. Woody Harrelson's wife doesn't only look like she could be his daughter, but her makeup is ridiculous, she looks like she's about to do a shooting for Vogue in every scene! And the scenes with his family were sentimental in an artificial way. It didn't work for me.

You don't really enter the world of these characters the way you entered the world of In Bruges—a movie I love—which was funnier and, maybe because it was funnier, also sadder. There's not much atmosphere in Three Billboards.
Title: Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Post by: jenkins on January 13, 2018, 08:16:07 PM
i'm finding your conversational style calming and nurturing.

i think people expect a certain amount of character change to occur within a narrative. that's not so outrageous to expect. but i think you're doing a fine job of presenting a fuller perspective.
Title: Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Post by: Drenk on January 18, 2018, 02:16:16 PM
Wesley Morris wrote a thoughtful negative review of Three Billboards. I don't entirely agree with it, I don't think it's entirely flawed, but I liked reading someone who was making sense.


https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/18/movies/three-billboards-outside-ebbing-missouri.html