There is high public interest in stand-up comedy, evidenced by the popularity of Louie, The Aristocrats . . . the ability of comics like Hannibal Buress and Amy Schumer to make headlines and the preponderance of specials on streaming services like Netflix. But the subject has been a hard nut for narrative features to crack.
Even while I worry about Lonergan's cinematic prospects, his film makes me optimistic about the state of the medium. I picked it for this symposium not because I foresee a litter of other Margarets in the future, but because of the happy fact of its existence.
The Twilight franchise has a reputation for lacking subtlety. The choice between a shirtless werewolf boy-man (Team Jacob) and a sparkling vampire (Team Edward) has thus far been the series’ major cultural contribution.
In this follow-up to Marshall’s similar ensemble romcom from 2010, Valentine’s Day, a bedridden Robert De Niro’s dying wish, croaked out of the side of his mouth in the manner of his Flawless stroke victim, is to be allowed onto the roof of his New York City hospital so he can see that precious ball drop one last time.
“I had progressed from being a person with a literary vision to being someone with a visual vision,” he told Kevin Jackson. “And with that film I tried to back off, I tried to suppress my new literacy.” The result of this suppression was a film of bland visual ambition without a balancing surfeit, or even modicum, of ideas, wit, or poetry.