Dystopias I: The Lobster 🦞

What I watched this weekend: 'Honey Boy' starring Shia LeBeouf // In movie news: Netflix is being dumb

👋 Happy Monday! Hope you had a great weekend.

Today we’re kicking off a new theme and since it feels like we’re living in one lately, let’s talk about dystopian movies 🌎.

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Okay, here’s day 1️⃣.

Today’s movie: The Lobster


What it’s about: In the near future, being single is outlawed. Single people are required to surrender themselves to a hotel — think of it as a purgatory — where they must find a partner in forty-five days or they’ll be turned into an animal and released into the wild.

Why you should watch it: If you haven’t seen any Yorgos Lanthimos movies, The Lobster is a great place to start. The worlds he creates are bleak and filled with nihilistic characters that carry his trademarked dry, black humor. So, to apply it to a world where the meaning of life is simply to not be single leads to a stunning story of absurdity that will have you laughing while also throwing you into an existential crisis — fun for the whole family (do not let your children watch this).

Details: 🎬 Yorgos Lanthimos // ⏳ 119 minutes // 🗓 2015 // 📺 Trailer

Fun fact: Colin Farrell gained forty pounds for the role. Christian Bale who?

Also available on: Prime Video | iTunes | YouTube

What I watched this weekend: Honey Boy


What it’s about: Based on his own experience as a child actor and time in rehab a decade later, Shia LeBeouf — he also wrote the screenplay — plays his own abusive father to a fictionalized version of himself called Otis (Noah Jupe as a child and Lucas Hedges as an adult).

Some thoughts:

  • The movie is mostly plotless and feels like LeBeouf’s screenplay is processing what happened to him as a kid like growing up in a seedy motel, working on a TV show, and dealing with his alcoholic father who’s also suffering from PTSD.

  • LeBeouf is terrific. He’s tasked with playing a complex character. One that isn’t vilified, but isn’t redeemed either. He deserves to be nominated for an Oscar.

  • It ends up being a little greater than the sum of its parts. There are a lot of thoughts brought up that don’t exactly form a coherent thesis, but emotionally it absolutely hits hard.

  • Alma Har'el knows how to make a scene that shouldn’t be cinematic look and feel grand. In one scene, the younger Otis mimes a game of baseball with a resident of the motel they’re living in played by Queen FKA Twigs that ends up being one of my favorite movie scenes of the year.

Should you watch it? ✅ Yes! You can read my full review here.

Details: 🎬 Alma Har'el // ⏳ 93 minutes // 🗓 2019 // 📺 Trailer

Fun fact: The first scene of the movie (and of the trailer) is a refererence to LeBeouf’s time in the Transformers franchise. It even pokes fun at the fact that he frequently yelled “no” in the movies.

In movie news: Netflix is being dumb

But like, why? Am I missing something? Let me know what you think replying to this email.

Thanks for reading! If you ever have feedback, movie suggestions, or just want to say hi, just reply to any newsletter or email me at karl@smashcutreviews.com.

See you Wednesday! 🥑
Karl (@karl_delo)

🍅 I’m also a Tomatometer-approved critic on Rotten Tomatoes! You can find all my reviews here.