Uncut Gems (Josh and Benny Safdie, 2019)

Discussions of specific films and franchises.
Message
Author
User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: Uncut Gems (Josh and Benny Safdie, 2019)

#51 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Dec 26, 2019 3:11 pm

While other movies are more apt at depicting the symptomology and process through the stages of change in addiction (Smashed, The Spectacular Now, Days of Wine and Roses, and even Cooper’s A Star is Born for its authentic subjectivity, though I have huge problems with the social piece later on), the Altman outlines a truth few others touch and draws the path to the stage of willingness and surrender perfectly with humble vagueness. It’s a strange comparison but I think it mimics Stomboli in its specific aim to depict a journey to this difficult existential space. Also, on a purely entertaining level, I think it’s Altman’s best film, with one of the funniest lines in film history.

User avatar
mfunk9786
Under Chris' Protection
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: Uncut Gems (Josh and Benny Safdie, 2019)

#52 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Dec 26, 2019 4:46 pm

I'm not sure that I'm on board with the idea that gambling addiction and something like alcohol addiction come from the same place, psychologically. Or at least, even if they do come from the same place, what the addict is seeking out is different. Mess is what the gambling addict thrives on, where the drug/alcohol addict is seeking a temporary chemical vacation from mess, and avoiding withdrawal.

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: Uncut Gems (Josh and Benny Safdie, 2019)

#53 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Dec 26, 2019 5:58 pm

Many alcoholics will state that they thrive on chaos, and I think in both examples the rationale (if one can even call it such) can be a form of self-medication, whether that’s an escape through retreat or step forth into a different kind of intensity than the going ons of the mind (some people go out and get into brawling fights while others isolate, across both addictions- for plenty of gambling addicts play online poker under a blanket, but both of these extreme examples can be sourced in escaping the prison of the self- one’s dysphoric cognitive and emotional states, and the ensuing core beliefs). However, my point is that despite each person’s idiosyncratic personalities, reasons, symptoms, etc. there often emerges the same results in the addicted, of an obsession, compulsion, and spiritual loss of values through cognitive dissonance, where will power can not overcome the weight of those obsessions and compulsions of whatever addiction is may be. Often two drug addicts will even look completely different but the place they end up is similar. And yeah, I don’t know the exact source of the psychology and my graduate degree specialization was in addiction, nobody really does. The lack of information is why many people don’t buy the ‘disease’ categorization, and why I think we still have such a strong stigma against it, but no one can really explain the ‘phenomenon of craving’ either. Still, using Prochaska‘s famous Stages of Change model which is applied to any behavior outside of addiction, my point about the steps toward awareness, surrender, and willingness still stand. I agree that gambling addiction and drug addiction have differences just as much as any two people who are gambling addicts or drug addicts are different, but I believe those general processes can and do still apply across addictions.

User avatar
Matt
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:58 pm

Re: Uncut Gems (Josh and Benny Safdie, 2019)

#54 Post by Matt » Thu Dec 26, 2019 6:08 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:
Thu Dec 26, 2019 4:46 pm
I'm not sure that I'm on board with the idea that gambling addiction and something like alcohol addiction come from the same place, psychologically.
There may be different justifications, conscious or sub-conscious rationalizations for each behavior, but the neuroscience research suggests that they're fundamentally similar breakdowns in impulse control: Gambling addiction activates the same brain pathways as drug and alcohol cravings, suggests new research.

User avatar
mfunk9786
Under Chris' Protection
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: Uncut Gems (Josh and Benny Safdie, 2019)

#55 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Dec 26, 2019 6:21 pm

That was very poor phrasing by me to begin with and a very interesting read, Matt, thanks!

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: Uncut Gems (Josh and Benny Safdie, 2019)

#56 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Dec 26, 2019 6:59 pm

Returning to the film, the performance I find myself thinking about the most (after Sandler) with growing appreciation is Julia Fox, who turned a character that could’ve fizzled out to a caricature into a complex protagonist. While I was in Sandler’s court for the whole runtime, I went through all the stages with her: attraction, dismissal, judgment, questioning, and finally embracing her role and individual value. The part is written well, but ambiguously enough where the wrong actress could have easily ruined this very important character and I hope to see her blow up after this.

User avatar
The Narrator Returns
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:35 pm

Re: Uncut Gems (Josh and Benny Safdie, 2019)

#57 Post by The Narrator Returns » Thu Dec 26, 2019 7:18 pm

Part of what makes the ending work so well is
SpoilerShow
it being intercut with Julia's relationship with the weirdo in the casino, where Fox moves very subtly from initial suspicion to the realization that he can help her out. It's something straight out of an early Demme comedy, and it turns what would otherwise be a soul-shattering ending into something bizarrely moving, where we've witnessed one person's ignominious end but humanity can move on from it.

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: Uncut Gems (Josh and Benny Safdie, 2019)

#58 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Dec 26, 2019 7:40 pm

I never would’ve considered the Demme comparison but that’s a great point, I love that reading!

User avatar
mfunk9786
Under Chris' Protection
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: Uncut Gems (Josh and Benny Safdie, 2019)

#59 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Dec 26, 2019 8:13 pm

This got a C+ CinemaScore (same as Cats), and nearly half of the Google audience reviews (there are hundreds of them) are negative, and some riff on "it's too loud, there's too much cursing, and the camera moves around too much." When I walked out of the theater I thought this would be pretty universally beloved and buck the typical A24 trend of being popular with a certain type of film fan but disliked by mainstream audiences, but... whoops!

Hasn't been a film I've enjoyed this much that I can't imagine anyone else not enjoying in a while, though. BlacKkKlansman (the Tarantino has proven too divisive) is probably the last film I can think of that hits on this kind of intersection of being an excellent film and a mainstream crowdpleaser all at once. Although, that's what I thought, obviously has not proven out

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: Uncut Gems (Josh and Benny Safdie, 2019)

#60 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Dec 26, 2019 8:47 pm

That’s surprising, I’ve gotten a surge of texts in the last few days from friends, ranging from those who call themselves cinephiles to people generally ambivalent about movies, all with effusive praise and (oddly universally, so far) declaring it the best movie of the year, enough to raise both eyebrows. On the other hand, my girlfriend did get up and leave the theatre at the climax because it was too intense for her (and she likes intense movies, though she still said overall it was “well-done”). I bet word of mouth will quickly allow people to adjust their expectations and give in to the madness, but I guess when you make a film full of that much adrenaline you’re going to find more than a few handfuls will overestimate their abilities to handle it, or underestimate that filmmakers could possess that much audacity to take an audience to the places the Safdies do.

Jack Kubrick
Joined: Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:13 pm

Re: Uncut Gems (Josh and Benny Safdie, 2019)

#61 Post by Jack Kubrick » Thu Dec 26, 2019 8:55 pm

The Safdie Brothers directorial style is too abusive on a meta-level to connect to a wide audience. It's not surprising this is getting a harsh reception from the casual mainstream crowd who just wanted to see goofy Adam Sandler doing five year old imitations. The IMDB score is 8.1 with just only 7,546 logins into this theatrical run. This is the kind of film that will have a large cult on the average male targeted site while being forgotten or justly hated by other people who have the same complaints about the over profanity and the nerve-wrecking intensity. Mark Harris said this film will inspired the same "fuck yeah" following as Drive and There Will Be Blood had.

How does a person come into this movie criticizing the overt profanity? Mike Francesca drops the f-bomb in front of Sandler in the trailer!

User avatar
Never Cursed
Such is life on board the Redoutable
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2016 12:22 am

Re: Uncut Gems (Josh and Benny Safdie, 2019)

#62 Post by Never Cursed » Thu Dec 26, 2019 9:11 pm

I’m not surprised even a little bit that this film is proving to be so divisive. Based on what I heard fellow viewers saying in the lobby both before and after my showing, more than a few went into this knowing nothing about it beyond that it was an Adam Sandler movie that had gotten good reviews. We had around eight walkouts too, almost certainly of people that had gone in blind expecting something entirely different from the deliberately abrasive and exhausting film they got. I don’t intend any of this as a dig against Uncut Gems (I loved it), but I have no problem believing that it isn’t scoring highly with audiences. I think you need only look to A24’s television offerings this year to find something that marries (a specific kind of) popular appeal with the studio’s signature stylings, but that’s another story...

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: Uncut Gems (Josh and Benny Safdie, 2019)

#63 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Dec 26, 2019 9:51 pm

Those are all good points, and I certainly didn’t see it getting an A but I wasn’t expecting it to be that low, though I suppose I just don’t want this movie to be compared to Cats in any way, shape, or form.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: Uncut Gems (Josh and Benny Safdie, 2019)

#64 Post by domino harvey » Thu Dec 26, 2019 9:56 pm

Punch Drunk Love got a D+ CinemaScore

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: Uncut Gems (Josh and Benny Safdie, 2019)

#65 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Dec 26, 2019 10:05 pm

Image

User avatar
swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: Uncut Gems (Josh and Benny Safdie, 2019)

#66 Post by swo17 » Thu Dec 26, 2019 10:31 pm

I took a girl to see Punch Drunk Love when it came out and she said to me afterward "That's why I hate movies"

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: Uncut Gems (Josh and Benny Safdie, 2019)

#67 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Dec 26, 2019 10:41 pm

I mean, if you’re already averse to movies in general, that’s probably not gonna be the one to win you over

User avatar
mfunk9786
Under Chris' Protection
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: Uncut Gems (Josh and Benny Safdie, 2019)

#68 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Dec 26, 2019 10:59 pm

The reason I supposed this would break the A24 mold is because of the gambling/crime milieu - people always seem to love movies that have a lot of fast paced action and gambling is always a hit on some level (this seems like the sort of movie that some future Bill Simmons (shudder) will be doing a bunch of retrospectives on in 30 years). Will certainly develop a fervent fanbase as it already has begun to, just thought it'd land with more of a mainstream splash than something like Midsommar or The Witch did. This is not a film like Drive that's "slow," it's one of the most stimulating experiences I've had with escalating cinematic tension... just about ever. Every five or ten minutes there's a moment that makes you skip a breath out of second hand dread, so I can't imagine some dude three rows behind me thinking "man, when's Sandler gonna do the voice?"
swo17 wrote:
Thu Dec 26, 2019 10:31 pm
I took a girl to see Punch Drunk Love
I lent my Superbit DVD of it to LQ around 12 years ago right about this time of year and she watched it on a first date with some guy who wasn't me and told me how much she liked it. I asked her to stop going on dates with guys who weren't me and she obliged. True story. Not sure what he thought of it.

User avatar
flyonthewall2983
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Re: Uncut Gems (Josh and Benny Safdie, 2019)

#69 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Thu Dec 26, 2019 11:25 pm

Jack Kubrick wrote:
Thu Dec 26, 2019 8:55 pm
Mark Harris said this film will inspired the same "fuck yeah" following as Drive and There Will Be Blood had.
My brother would probably hate TWBB but he's likely part of this crowd. He'll watch stuff if it has good ratings on IGN and IMDB and appeals to his sensibilities, which aren't too far from my own in some cases. He doesn't like Sandler but he loved the trailer, and I told him it's kind of weird but he'd probably like it.

Sandler's performance is more than just great movie acting, I feel like it captures a lot of the anxiety, insensitivity and complete disregard for risk-reward management we seem to be experiencing all around us now. I could say something completely pretentious like it's your Twitter feed brought to life, but at the end of the day for me it just feels so completely of it's time that it will be seen as timeless soon enough.

User avatar
mfunk9786
Under Chris' Protection
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: Uncut Gems (Josh and Benny Safdie, 2019)

#70 Post by mfunk9786 » Fri Dec 27, 2019 12:08 pm

The vital comparison of There Will Be Blood and Drive that we need moved here

User avatar
Luke M
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2007 9:21 pm

Re: Uncut Gems (Josh and Benny Safdie, 2019)

#71 Post by Luke M » Fri Dec 27, 2019 2:12 pm

I enjoyed reading the replies in this thread. I don't quite share the same enthusiasm as others I do have a better appreciation of it. For me, I think the ending saved the film. I wasn't sold on it until that moment and had the ending been different I'd probably write it off altogether.

Sandler's performance is a bit overhyped. He was significantly better in Punch Drunk Love and had that film existed in the age of Twitter I think he'd have an Oscar nomination. He'll get nominated this year but Driver and Phoenix were better (haven't seen Pain and Glory.)

Anyway, thought this was a pretty good film. I'm not sure about the There Will Be Blood or Drive comparisons, it did not inspire those feelings from me, but then I'm not Jewish.

User avatar
whaleallright
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2005 12:56 am

Re: Uncut Gems (Josh and Benny Safdie, 2019)

#72 Post by whaleallright » Wed Jan 01, 2020 2:44 pm

I know that the Safdies' love of Sorcerer is no secret, but I was struck that numerous elements in this evoked Friedkin's film for me: the hectic opening scene in Ethiopia (and even the font of the title identifying the place and time) reminded me of the globetrotting openings of both Sorcerer and The Exorcist... there's the pounding, plesantly obtrusive electronic scores... the climaxes of both Sorcerer and Uncut Gems
SpoilerShow
involve protagonists killed—or about to be killed—at the moment of their greatest triumph...
...and the general atmosphere of heightened suspense combined with the muscular, aggressive (maybe even vainglorious) style.

The comparisons probably don't go much father than that, but that seems like plenty to me.


User avatar
Abronsius Fvk
Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2018 3:04 pm

Re: Uncut Gems (Josh and Benny Safdie, 2019)

#74 Post by Abronsius Fvk » Sat Jan 04, 2020 4:54 pm

Loved Uncut Gems, it reminded me the same tension and self destruction mode than Bad Lieutenant (Ferrara). I was stuck by the movie, totally under immersion, Sandler succeed to give fragility, humanity to his character. A great movie.

User avatar
soundchaser
No longer chasing skirts
Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2016 12:32 am

Re: Uncut Gems (Josh and Benny Safdie, 2019)

#75 Post by soundchaser » Sun Jan 05, 2020 5:33 pm

How was this not shortlisted for a Best Score Oscar? It’s such an integral part of the film, and extremely memorable.

Post Reply