lover of great cinnamon
The "Is Nathan Fielder's docu-fiction comedy series an unethical and exploitative piece of entertainment?" debate had me feeling nostalgic for my old problematic documentary faves of the 90s. This one is definitely gawking and a bit arch, but I'm glad it exists. One can imagine an approach that goes too far the other way and paints everything as noble and tragic rather than freakshow heehaw. I prefer this approach, and Jesco is just happy to have that camera lens pointed his direction.
Stern reminder of the influence New Hollywood cinema had on Wes Anderson with its central character being an aimless dilettante, born into wealth but bucking against the expectations of his family and his class, an obsession with the conflicts of a hyper-spefifc microcommunity (here, bodybuilders), and random bursts of slapstick and violence. The cast (accents aside) is wild: you got The Dude, The Terminator, Freddy Krueger, Maniac, and Mrs.Mrs. Doubtfire all doing laid back, hang out Americana 70s shtick. Just delightful.
Jean-Pierre Leaud failing to look cool while flipping a cigarette up into his mouth, failing to find the right way to express his feelings, failing to engage in philosophy or poetry beyond laundromat soliloquies and record-your-own-record booths, failing to engage with politics beyond graffiti slogans and condescending interviews conducted with young women, failing to impress the projectionist with his knowledge of aspect ratios, and failing to impress anyone with his whistling.
Fiddling with the aerial doesn't always make the signal more clear. The cat is both dead and not dead (Clive understands the dead cat, but not the math). The man in the prologue is or isn't a dybbuk. The bookends suggest an unbroken cycle that may or may not relate to what characters have and haven't done. "Accept the mystery."
Rabbi Nachtner: "We can't know everything."
Larry Gopnik: "It sounds like you don't know anything! Why even tell me this…