Damien Chazelle's Babylon

It sure is a 3+ hour movie that is now out in theaters. The reviews are mixed and I think many will either love it or hate it.

NSFW trailer:

Anyone else see it? I’m still working out the kinks on my reaction.

One thing is for sure: I would LOVE a Kelly Wand synopsis.

First Man is pretty close to my film of the decade, so I’m really looking forward to seeing this.

We think it’s probably our Christmas day movie to see. Nothing else looks more interesting. Not happy it’s 3+ hours though. I can see myself falling asleep.

The last Christmas day movie we saw goes back to Little Women, which was fabulous. I hope this measures up well.

I hope your party has steely sensitivities, because Little Women this ain’t. It’s probably closer to Jackass. And I’d recommend ear plugs if you intend to sleep.

Based on the LA Times review of the movie I read today this wouldn’t be my first pick for a Christmas Day flick, but then there may not be many options.

That’s the problem. There isn’t anything out that seems like something we’d both enjoy. The Whale and The Menu might be good movies but I don’t think she’d go for either. We don’t like MCU movies so Wakanda is out. It’s bleak.

There’s a Bollywood movie, 18 Pages, out. Maybe we’ll try that.

Did you hear about the Morgans Fabelmans?

It looks like The Fabelmans has expanded into more theaters. That would be an excellent choice for a Christmas/Hanukkah movie.

Is this the Hollywood remake of The Great Gatsby that doesn’t understand what made the original work?

The review I read made it sound nothing like The Great Gatsby. It sounded more like a jaded history of Hollywood from the 20’s to perhaps the late 30’s.

Oh good! That’s way more interesting than a Gatsby knockoff. Or at least potentially.

Saw it last night. Babylon is a 3+ hour extravaganza of Harley Quinn crashing a Hollywood party in the hopes of becoming a star (guess what happens), mixed with a rise and fall of various tropes that get recycled throughout other Hollywood films (Pigmalion, Singing in the Rain, what else…), drugs, sex (apparently consensual), jazz, adaptation, and the rise and fall of actors and productions, all put into a spin-cycle of Damien Chazelle’s mastabulatory imagination. Oh yeah, and there’s an ode to Avatar. Wonderful.

Chazelle wanted to kind of tell a split story of the Hollywood party culture of the 20s and 30s, mixed together with the shift in tone, morality, racism, and technology that swept through films during that period. The shifts are dramatic (the bulk of the movie takes place over I think a 6 year or so period), but some are… I dunno, cherry-picked not to much to prove a point but almost glazed over to say… oh yeah, this happened, let’s move on.

The most interesting part I think is how actors could or could not adapt to the evolution of silent films to talkies–it’s a big change, and some couldn’t handle it. This is very much a true thing. Other characters make an adjustment, but flare out anyway because of who they are.

75% or so of the film is a fun high-energy blast, but the rest is just feels like a pointless over the top overacted mess. Margot Robbie is Harley Quinn as Clara Bow. Brad Pitt is a failed Clark Gable (oh the jiggedity jiggedity part from the trailer is not in the film–can they be sued now since people would have obviously seen this movie just for that scene?). Oh and there’s a super-fun part where the Margot Robbie-lookalike, Samara Weaving, shows up to play an actor who plays Robbie’s sister–which is amazing, because they could be sisters in real life. And I’d say Weaving is the better actor and they probably should have swapped roles.

Music’s fantastic.

Oh if you’re easily grossed out by piss and poop, don’t watch this movie.

— Alan

The review I read mentioned the opening and closing scenes. But like you he seemed to genuinely enjoy the in between parts, other than perhaps a few over the top moments.

I liked this a lot! I think. I’ll have to sit with it a bit and let my thoughts settle.

I saw this Christmas evening and enjoyed it. It may not be high art, but it is a hell of a lot of fun for those outside the ivory tower of Broadway.