Hey there, I’m Jared. I have 496 movies and shows in my Instant Queue and that’s just way too many. I’m not adding anymore movies or shows to it until it’s empty. So, I’m going to start at Number One and work my way down the list and give you guys a choice of the next five in my queue, in order, all the way to the end. But, I’m also thinking of you and your unwieldy queue and all the movies you want to watch but no longer have the time to now that you’ve become so awesome and popular. Let me know what has been gathering digital dust in your Netflix Instant library and I’ll watch that too. Let’s get to it!
What’s the movie? A Fantastic Fear of Everything (2012)
What’s it rated? Rated R for constant tighty-whiteys, some fairly black humor and a weirdly dumb slapstickishness.
Did people make it? Directed by Crispian Mills & Chris Hopewell. Written by Crispian Mills. Acted by Simon Pegg, Alan Drake, Clare Higgins, Paul Freeman and Amara Karan.
What’s it like in one sentence? An obsessive-compulsive Grimm fairy tale.
Why did you watch it? Drew Dietch threw down the gauntlet.
What’s it about in one paragraph? A failed children’s author is now attempting to write a true crime novel about lesser known serial killers. As he gets deeper into the writing process, he is inhabited with a crippling and irrational fear of being murdered. As his paranoia (very) slowly becomes reality, he will have to face his fears to make it through the night alive.
Play or remove from my queue? That’s a tough question. The cinematography and direction are excellent and, combined with Simon Pegg’s effortlessly affable performance, the film should have worked but my god this was tough to sit through. The script is airless and paced so poorly that all of the goodwill built up by what works dissipates almost instantly.
Simon Pegg’s character Jack has a terrible fear of laundromats and he has a very important meeting to attend in order to meet the head of scripts for the BBC. The problem is that he needs clean clothes to go to the meeting. So the entire second act is Pegg ramping up and going to the laundromat and it feels endless. Everything up until that point worked pretty well, but this section made the film almost unfinishable. The film is visually very well made and mostly entertaining, but the script is just so flawed that by the time the closing credits roll you feel empty and are left questioning the point of the entire thing.
The script covers the same ground over and over again until I started wondering if I had fallen asleep on the remote and rewound the damn movie. Pegg’s schtick works well here, but his dialogue is so horrible that he can’t quite save it. He never has a chance to become a three-dimensional character, instead he’s stuck playing an ever expanding series of tics which, combined with the scripts weirdly unfunny slapstick humor, leave him out in the wild.
Once some actually dangerous shit starts going down, I was already so beaten down by the painfully unfunny and uninteresting laundromat section that I couldn’t bring myself to care about whether Jack or his special lady friend were going to survive. BTW, the whodunnit aspect doesn’t work either because I knew who the killer was the moment he stepped into frame and I’m terrible at guessing that shit. Every aspect of the film wants to work so badly, but the script hobbles it at every turn.
So yeah, I would say watch it if you just wanna shut your brain off and watch Simon Pegg be charming for 90 minutes, but he’s also more in his At World’s End mode anyway. If you found him irritating and a little too ugly as a character in that then you really don’t want to come anywhere near this.
How’s the music? The score by Michael Price has moments where it could slip into bombastic pomposity, but never really does. Instead it adds to the fairy tale theme that the script betrays at every turn.
What does Netflix say I’d like if I like this? Burke and Hare (really want to see this), The Venture Bros. (my very favorite cartoon), It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (my spirit animal), Four Rooms (used to like it but it’s been awhile) and Short Poppies (no idea).
Do you have an interesting fun-fact? Amara Karan is criminally underused here. She’s the Sweet Lime girl in The Darjeeling Limited. She should be in everything.
What is Netflix’s best guess for Jared? 2.9
What is Jared’s best guess for Jared? 1.5
Can you link to the movie? As you wish.
Any last thoughts? Just that I really wanted to like this more. I enjoyed the first 20 minutes or so, but it became more and more interminable to watch. It ended up being one of the longest filmic 100 minutes I’ve experienced in a long time.
What else you watching? Getting deep into Veep, Season 2 and Season 2 of Longmire. Just finished Season 3 of Homeland also.
Any spoilerish thoughts about last week’s film, The Institute? No, but the creator of the Jejune Institute wrote a very interesting and well written response to my review:
“Hi, I’m Jeff, the creator of the Jejune Institute (and not the film). I think this is a fair and accurate response to the movie. I very much appreciate the deep consideration given to the subject by Mr. Rasic. As a response, which I normally am not compelled to offer, I’d say that the entire effect given by the project and the film come from a sincere and exploratory place. Yes, there were certain statements given by me during the interviews that were disingenuous. (After giving a completely candid interview, I also later engaged in a more contrived interview that better served the narrative of the film). That, and plenty of other elements in the film, do not relate with complete accuracy the events and their motivations behind them. I believe that kind of fluctuation of reality / fiction was a part of director Spencer McCall’s overall point, and ultimate success. I would not have changed a thing about it; it was an uncompromising passion project. The ending, however “shitty”, for me, had incredible integrity. Participants were flying high on a fantasy/reality that could not uphold itself… how in the hell do you land that burning plane?? It’s going to be bumpy. The movie reflected that, but not with 100% transparency, and the day of the Seminar was actually filled with intensity and laughter for all involved. I’m glad the film gave you much to ponder. I hope this comment is in some way illuminating. Thanks for your review.”
Next Week? Witching and Bitching!