Sunday, February 22, 2015

DIY Double Feature | BOYHOOD and THERE WILL BE BLOOD or TREE OF LIFE | Wait for it...

This DIY Double Feature may seem a stretch, and maybe it is.

While watching BOYHOOD I was a bit on the fence as to how I felt about it.  Not until the final scene, when it won me over.  Rather than feeling like I had just seen a self-contained story, neatly wrapped up just before the end credits, instead I felt like the entire film was all primer, and the ending was just the start of the point of it all.  The rest was up to me.

What got me is the discussion about how it's less that we seize the moment and more that the moment seizes us.  Moments just keep coming, each day we are awash in moments, and maybe it's the volume, maybe it's necessary for survival, but we classify most moments as insignificant and forgettable and then life becomes a blur.

They can't all be winners, we do have to pick and choose, but perhaps it's just a matter of being more aware of the potential in any given moment - there may be more potential than we realize.  Maybe it's not so hard, maybe we don't have to go into battle to seize one, but instead just - to use a new and over used term - lean in.

Another film I experienced in a similar way was THERE WILL BE BLOOD. Not in the life affirming way BOYHOOD delivered, but in the brain prodding way. "I'm finished." - did wrap up the story, but it also prompted me to look outside the story to the larger implications - and the weight of history seemed to inform the future and...  I felt finished too.  We're all finished if we don't... act better somehow.

Now that I think of it, TREE OF LIFE did something similar, only without the final/near-final line that served as the post-movie contemplation kick-off.  And it's actually, probably, a better companion piece to BOYHOOD.

So, you choose.  Pair BOYHOOD with TREE OF LIFE if you want to feel pensive but hopeful, watch BOYHOOD with THERE WILL BE BLOOD if you need a more bracing experience and feel up to really giving things a good think.

No matter what you choose, let the film wash over you and wait for the end before giving anything much thought.

All three together would make an interesting study of boys, men and life in the modern United States.  But who has time for a Triple Feature?  (And who has time to write an extended piece for a blog no one reads, on that topic that might make people want to make time for a Triple Feature?  I should make time, but I'm pretty sure I won't).

Note: TREE OF LIFE is part of another DIY Double Feature, so check that out.

Released:  2014
Writer/Director:  Richard Linklater
Producer:  Richard Linklater, Cathleen Sutherland, Jonathan Sehring, John Sloss
Leads:  Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Lorelei Linklater, Ethan Hawke
Genre:  Drama

Released: 2007
Writer:  Paul Thomas Anderson; based on Oil! by Upton Sinclair
Director:  Paul Thomas Anderson 
Producer:  JoAnne Sellar, Paul Thomas Anderson, Daniel Lupi
Leads:  Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano
Genre: Drama, Epic

Released:  2011
Writer/Director: Terrence Malick
Producer:  Sarah Green, Bill Pohlad, Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Grant Hill
Leads:  Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain
Genre:  Drama