Qt3 Movie Podcast: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri


#1
We’re not in Bruges anymore.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://www.quartertothree.com/fp/2017/11/21/qt3-movie-podcast-three-billboards-outside-ebbing-missouri/

#2

I really enjoyed this movie. it kept subverting my expectations.

I liked the ending. I suspect that Dingus is right about what will happen, but I think that misplaced vengeance will continue to motivate and haunt them.

One of the moments that stood out for me in retrospect is when Willoughby is putting his daughters to sleep and one of them asks if they can have tomorrow off school as well. I want to watch the scene again to see if his face changes at all when he answers her.

Dixon’s mom was the aunt in Napoleon Dynamite.


#3

What did you guys think of the moment where Frances McDormand’s bunny slippers talk to each other?


#4

This was exceptional, up there near Fargo in my book. Must see.


#5

Just saw this last night. What an awesome movie. Frances McDormand killed it. And the actress playing Dixon’s mom did a fabulous job (my wife, who runs a theatre company, kept muttering how awesome she was during her scenes… don’t worry, it didn’t disturb the other person in the theatre!).

As for specific parts, I especially liked the bunny slippers talking to each other. I also liked how the movie kept “subverting my expectations” as @marquac put it. I’m glad I finally saw this.


#6

Yeah I finally got to see this. Excellent and bleak. Not the laugh riot In Bruges is, that’s for sure.

We were a way in at the police station inferno with the audience letting out that dark kind of laughter people do when they’re not sure if they should be laughing, you know? and the old geezer next to me leans over to his wife and says, “You know, I think this IS a comedy after all.”


#7

This is back in the local theaters. Saw it last night, and boy did I like it. Rockwell and McDormand were both great. Martin McDonaugh writes exactly the type of movie I love to watch.

I like how in this the airhead gf is the one to bluntly explain to the audience what the theme of the movie is. And with a theme that basic, we get an excellent movie. Probably my favorite of the year, until I watch ladybird again.


#8

I would concur these are two of my very favorites and not just for this year either. 🧐


#9

Yeah, God they were both good. Ladybird was really good because I was in high school during the same time, and also grew up catholic (though I didn’t go to a catholic high school).

Ladybird is a bit more optimistic than this one.

What a great year for movies though.


#10

Finally watched it a liked it a lot. It has a great mix of dark content and dark humor, and the cast was firing from all cylinders. And the soundtrack was terrific, too.

I didn’t know much about the movie other than Sam Rockwell playing a racist cop and Mildret renting the billboards to accuse the local police department of not doing their work.

I went into it thinking it’s gonna be this plot about how the all this kicks off events that will reveal some ugly truth about the community or systematic failure. Whatever. But the movie throws the wrench into those expectations right from the get-go when Willoughby visits Mildret to chat with her. You think it’s gonna be some kind of intimidation thing, but it’s not. And even though him mentioning his cancer feels like a bit of a sleaze move to get some sympathy, you instantly get the impression that he cares about the case and feels like he exhausted all options there are. And it shows that she doesn’t have any specific suspicion or evidence of foul play or the investigators having been sloppy because she doesn’t have any specific suggestion other than the “Get DNA samples from EVERYONE” bit, which ain’t really feasible.

Loved the actress who played Dixon’s mom. Seems ruthless at first, but it’s more about her being ruthlessly protective - and seeing her crying when Dixon locked himself in the bathroom because she was afraid and didn’t know what was doing on… heartbreaking.

With regards to the podcast:

Not sure where Dingus got the idea that Mildret fire-bombing the police station was an ambush intended to kill Dixen. She called twice to check that no one is in the station. She had no way of knowing that he’d be at the station at that time - the letters were delivered by Willoughby’s wife, and Mildret couldn’t have known that Willoughby had written a letter to Dixon to begin with. The only way of knowing that Dixon will come to the station at night would have been the old cop (Ivanek) being in on it and telling Mildret about it. But we know that the old cop doesn’t like her based on his previous interaction with her. Also, his act of forgiveness at the end (“Well, who else would have?!”) after her confession works in the context on her attacking the institution, not her trying to kill him. (Based in his previous behavior, we can assume that there actually are a few people who have an axe to grind with him.)

Where I’m agreeing with Dingus: while the ending is left open, I’d say the trajectory of it hints at them not actually following through with their plan. It’s one thing to have a really determined conversation at the phone, but once you actually got to commit and do the work … yeah, I think, the further they drive, the more doubts they’ll have. I’m glad the movie didn’t end with them tracking down the guy, being about to pull the trigger just to then have that “This isn’t right! What monsters have we become!”-style realization.


#11

She is such a wonderfully flawed character, isn’t she? Righteous, but not above being misguided or impractical.

That’s a perfectly viable guess about what might happen next, but it’s not the story McDonagh opted to tell. If that’s their trajectory, why doesn’t the story end with them turning around? Why does McDonagh keep that information from the audience?

I think it speaks volumes that he isn’t concerned with their decision. He is only concerned with their willingness to keep going forward even after they know for a fact that they’re not punishing the right person. That’s ultimately the story he opted to tell.

-Tom


#12

Everyone should see this movie. It is astoundingly good.


#13

I liked this a lot-- just had a few small criticisms: Willoughby’s character was too simple; his wife’s acting was terribad; and by the end I started to feel that subverting the audience expectations was too much the point of the movie.


#14

I just watched this. Excellent movie.

Often when I’m watching a movie I like, I sometimes feel like it’s gotten to where it should end, and I say “this is the perfect time to end, please end right here”, and it never happens. The movie usually keeps going past where it needed to (IMO of course).

Well, I said that today while watching this. I said “please end now. Right now”. And the movie ended and it said “Written and Directed by Martin McDonagh”. Beautiful. Finally someone who knows precisely when to end a movie.

P.S. I noticed on IMDB that McDonagh has done one more movie in between “In Burges” and this movie. Is that one as good as these two movies?


#15

Nope5.

-Tom


#16

Just came back from seeng this and…I’m not feeling it. It looks good, there’s a lot of actor’s doing some fine work, and it’s always fun to see Frances McDormand be ornery, it’s overall contruction was aimless and ramshackle.

And while it’s nice to see Sam Rockwell get some recognition, it’s a shame it had to be for playing a character straight out of fucking Crash.


#17

I really enjoyed this movie. It subverted my expectations a number of times, and I found the characters very interesting. Some of the character arcs felt a little rushed, but that’s probably inevitable at a movie length. At times McDormand’s character would approach things in a way that annoyed me, but then I remembered what her character had been through and that characters are supposed to be flawed!

One of the scenes really baffled me though, where Rockwell beats up the marketing guy and throws him out of the window. None of the other police officers thought to come outside when hearing people screaming and glass shattering, and when Rockwell came back inside noone even had a “what the f— did you just do?” to say. It’s not as if the whole department knew it was going to happen or also thought the marketing guy deserved to be beaten almost to death. All we get is the outsider Lester Freamon, who didn’t even think to attend to the horrifically injured man, leisurely walk inside and fire him. To me, the scene was less believable than most you would find in even science fiction movies.