Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Let's Shoot the Moon

"I wonder however why we are even splitting hairs...."
-Brandon Musa

Yes, the man who only yesterday said that thinks I should have given MOONRISE KINGDOM 4 and 1/2 stars out of 5 instead of just a measly 4. My response is that I'm glad he cares about my star ratings enough to even split such hairs, considering it took me a whole 30 seconds to arbitrarily give those star ratings and post them. I would gladly give MOONRISE KINGDOM a 4 and 1/2 star rating. It deserves it. I like it a whole lot, and in fact, love most of it. It's a really strong film that should hold down a high position on my year end list.

As much as I love most of it, the truth is, I definitely do not love it as much as you do, Brandon. I would never give it an A+ grade or even a 5 star rating. For it to receive either, it would need to be on the same level as SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK, THERE WILL BE BLOOD, CERTIFIED COPY, and THE TREE OF LIFE. In my opinion, though it is pretty great–it just isn't on that level. Chris brought up LE HAVRE after seeing it, and at first I didn't even think it was on that level, but now I feel that both films are quite comparable. Two moving comedies about the importance of community. I have strong feelings for both and really respect and admire them.

You asked me to explain why I don't love MOONRISE KINGDOM as much as you, and I almost don't want to. To do that would be to focus on minor negatives in a film I feel very positively about. I know you. If I give you a few quibbles, you will turn them into enormous gripes and unfairly conclude that I hate the film. It happened with THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, and it will absolutely happen again here. I basically love MOONRISE KINGDOM and think it's terrific. If I don't love it as much as you do, it doesn't matter. You don't love THE TREE OF LIFE as much as I do, and I've accepted that. Different tastes, homie.

But to give you answer anyway, I think most of the problem for me is not connecting to Sam and Suzy's relationship like I felt I should. I understand the importance of their relationship as two outsiders finding solace in one another, but I didn't really feel the nascent love or blossoming romance between them. I thought they would work better as friends, and in fact, was hoping things would stay platonic. I felt genuinely uncomfortable during their underwear make-out scene. This may have had something to do with watching two 12-year-olds acting sexual, but it was mostly a desire to just not have their union ruined with sex or even romantic feelings. As you can tell from my last post, I cared more about the spirit of friendship in the film than any of the romance.

With that being said, I do agree with everything else you wrote back to me. I love that Anderson is able to create these signature "kingdoms." It's the stamp of a true auteur to be able to reflect your personality outward into a constructed world. I don't find his worlds closed off, and can't really understand that argument. In fact, I think it's a bad one.

I also agree that there is some darkness that undercuts all the cuteness and quirk. It's the darkness of loneliness, sadness, violence, and even cruelty that is always threatening to creep in on Anderson's little sequestered island. This keeps the stakes real.

I guess I wasn't referring to anyone in particular with the comments about the quirk and dry humor. I just figured those were the easiest targets for dismissing the film. And I don't think the film should be dismissed on those grounds. I think it has too much to say at its core.

John, can we get a completely dismissive review from you soon? Brandon's clearly looking to go at it with someone over this one. It shouldn't have to be me considering how strongly I feel about it. I'd truly much rather focus on the positives of this film than the negatives because the former HUGELY outweigh the latter. It's the best film I've seen all year. It deserves to be praised, not criticized.

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