Sunday, February 7, 2016

I ought to be God to you.

I almost died. 

Among all the stupid things people say, this one has always rubbed me the wrong way. I know it's an expression, and I also know that 80% of the actual words people say are f--king absurd when examined, but we have to bury this one immediately (along with the unholy trio of bruh, thot, and bae). 

There have been many people who have almost died and I think they might take offense (or at least raise a stitched eyebrow) to someone capping the story of sort of stumbling on the staircase (my students) or sneezing while holding a steak knife (uh, that one was me) with those three words. 

This simple, throwaway phrase, wholly undermines the epic f--king journey that almost dying surely is. And even though it was a movie, I have seen this journey. And it was so gut-wrenching, so heart-breaking, so unbelievably grueling...well, just watching it...almost killed me.

One day. One day. I too, will have ice in my beard.
By now, you've probably seen The Revenant (and know what it's about), but as the lights dimmed last Saturday, I wasn't sure what to expect. I knew it was a story of survival, I just didn't have any clue as to what that actually meant, and how f--king daunting it would be. Hundreds of films prior to director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's latest have featured a protagonist hanging on, I'm just not sure to this degree. Like, I wasn't sure actor Leonardo DiCaprio was going to make it, let alone Hugh Glass, the character he was playing. It's unbelievable, to say the least.

Balls deep in the misery known as early 1800's America, we meet Glass as he is leading a group of fur traders through the snowy frontier of the Dakotas. Minutes in, their camp is attacked by Native Americans and all Hell breaks loose. Glass and his son, Hawk, manage to get to the boat with a small group of men, some of whom are wounded in the bloody chaos. After their narrow escape, Glass makes the relatively unpopular decision to abandon the boat and head back to Fort Kiowa...on foot.  Even with everyone (momentarily) relatively healthy, this is going to be quite the bogus journey. Good thing Glass knows these woods, and as long as they can move quickly, they should be able to survive. I mean, what could really go wrong?

Oh, right. Everything.

Soon after their new-found journey begins, Glass is mauled by a bear and left for dead. In one of the most exciting, amazing, and insanely visceral scenes ever thrust upon a theater full of adults, Glass is thoroughly devastated by a giant grizzly bear. With their guide's slashed f--king throat not topping his list of sustained bear-related injuries, the snow-bound trek through the wilderness has gone from God-awful to something much worse. Honestly, at points, I found myself wishing Glass would give in and die.

But whether it's can't or won't, I'm unsure, as Glass unflinchingly refuses death, after a selfish, murderous a-hole named John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy, once again disappearing into his character) further f--ks everything up and kills Glass' teen-aged son, Hawk. Right in front of Glass' helpless eyes.

Even though I wanted the trigger pulled, I was afraid...because I actually thought they would show it.
Having nothing left in the world other than a score to settle, Glass sets out on one of the most arduous revenge missions in cinematic history. The bear attack was certainly the foundation, but trouble will find Glass in many forms along the way. Some too painful to mention (uh, up here anyway). 

Undoubtedly, it's a simple story, but in the hands of everyone involved, it grabs you by the back of the neck and drags you to the bloody finish. Normally, I'd balk at a movie running over 150 minutes, but I will watch this film again, as soon as I get the chance. The performances alone warrant another look, not to mention the complete technical brilliance used to capture them. Simply put, The Revenant is an amazing film.

Not amazing, and likely dying under vacation-like circumstances, are the Yays and Boos. Sure, the bear has been haunting them, but it's actually the horse they've been tossing and turning over. Pussies.

This is going to slay the Red  Carpet.
  • After a super-quick prologue, the chaos starts. And...never stops.
  • The initial raid of the trappers' camp was so good, it alone might be my favorite action movie ever.
  • Not only was I convinced that I'd never see Will Pouter in a good movie again (after admittedly killing it in We're the Millers [review], but I was damn sure I'd never love his character whole-heartedly. (Happily) Wrong on both fronts.
  • Bridger (uh, Poulter's character), despite inadvertently ruining everything, is such an honorable dude, I loved it. Oddly, everyone is. Fitzgerald (at times), too. It's like they all know that every aspect of the planet is conspiring to kill them, so all these hardcore guys respect each other. Well, the guys from the uh, same tribe, anyway.
  • Even though I couldn't understand some of it, I was a big fan of the God is a big meaty squirrel story. They ain't nothing to the frontier, other than trying not to die.
  • Arthur RedCloud. This guy. This role. If only I could catch snowflakes on my tongue with this fine gentleman.
  • That Dreamcast canteen was pretty clutch, huh?
  • You know, Glass isn't the only one looking for revenge here. The other instance is probably just as intense, too. Yikes.
  • I've actually seen four of the five nominees for Best cinematography, and I'm rooting for all of them, but let me just say: the worst frame of this movie is infinitely better than 99% of what I have seen in my movie going lifetime. Say what you want about the plot, but visually, this film is breathtaking.
  • And finally, the long-fought, heard-earned finale. Being that the beginning and middle and were so f--king good, I would have understood if the end had been a bit of a letdown. But, trust me, it isn't. And that final shot? Loved it.
Good thing this guy's all about customizing his canteens.
  • Fine, I get it, but shooting a f--king horse? Seems like a dick move, even in a sneak-attack. Though, I guess that horse got off easy.
  • Yeah, Fitz, lay off the boy. You psychotic piece of shit c--ksucker.
  • Hey, I'm all for carrying an injured guy...across flat, sunny land. But this? Well, you've had a good run, haven't you? We'll come get your ass in the Spring.
  • I live in a shitty little town in Pennsylvania, and let me tell you, all bullshitting aside, everybody here sounds like Tom Hardy. Even the women.
  • Though, for the most part, none of our locals are partly-scalped. Goodness!
  • Too much sizzle. I think it was in the third Rambo flick where I first saw a man close a hole in his body via fire. Young m. brown could barely handle Sly sealing up his side. Old m.brown? Well, what that f--ker got? Much, much worse. 
  • Oh, and speaking of cooking flesh, can we take a minute and cook our damn food, Glass? Hey, your stomach's empty, I get it. But that shit is raw. 
  • All I had was that boy.
  • And finally, Tom Hardy's grade-A f--ker, John Fitzgerald. I understand this man, I do, but holy f--k is he the worst person in the history of America. I'm an asshole, too, no doubt, but damn...even I know when I've taken things too far (even if the continual updating of this blog strongly suggests otherwise).
I actually brought my timid, blood-shy wife to this film, and shocking all of us, not only did she stay awake, but she really enjoyed (though I'm not sure that's the right word to describe how anyone feels about this one) the grueling events of The Revenant. Even the scenes she watched from behind her jacket.

Again, for the record, my wife, someone who in fifteen years has fallen asleep during three out of every four movies we've watched together, not only enjoyed an almost three-hour film, full of realistic, graphic violence (that also had twenty minute stretches of near silence), but stayed awake the entire time!

Shit. Just thinking about it...takes my breath away. Seriously. Like...

I almost died.



    This movie only gets better and better the more I think about it. I can't wait for this to sweep the Oscars.

    LOL, and thank god none of your locals are partly scalped. That was probably the most disturbing thing in the whole film.

    1. I don't know why I'm kinda...surprised?...that you liked this film so much. Maybe it's that we agree or something. Weird.

      While I agree 'partly scalped' is pretty f--king disturbing, c'mon, man. That shit doesn't crack the top 10 of things I will never be able to unsee from this one. I should go add WORST NUDE SCENE EVER to the Boos. *shudder*

    2. BAH! I was exaggerating about the part-scalping thing...but for real...I was not prepared for that!

  2. Oh stop everybody with the abuse of poor Hardy's character. I'm sure he is nowhere near as awful as Amy Schumer and Lena Dunham, who actually exist and poison the world with their awfulness.

    At least from what I read in the script Fitzgerald didn't rape anybody, so that means he isn't even the worst person in this movie

    1. No, he's a massive piece of s*it. He plays it amazingly, but he's f*cking awful.

    2. Ha! That's awesome that Fisti beat me to this one, even if I was mulling it over for an entire school day.

      So...Hardy's character. On the one hand, you kind of win this argument any time you drop 'rape' into the conversation, but then I had to think...Fitzgerald killed a helpless man's son right in front of him. It's a ridiculous conversation...but if I had to choose...uh...well...*runs the f--k away*

      If Dunham and Schumer ever make a movie together, I'm flying to your neck of the woods and we're going together. My treat!

    3. So a man who was driven to madness in large part because of physical pain and has very good reason for being driven further into that madness because he fears he will get captured again by the savages who will finish the job is 'fucking awful'? I find it very troubling how in the movie where there is a rapist there is so much acid spit on Fitzgerald who is the script's most ambiguous character

    4. It's probably just because Fitzgerald is in it more and the main antagonist that he gets more shit. But really, he's awful. Hardy absolutely slays, but I can't defend Fitzgerald at all. He's not even motivated by fear of getting captured again, he's motivated by getting paid.

      Great review, M.! Easily one of my favorites of the year. Though I'm still pulling for Sicario to win best Cinematography. I still think they have a leg up.

      And Poulter is awesome in this. Little Eustice is all grown up.

    5. Sati, I get that you LOVE Hardy, but part of what makes Hardy an awesome actor is that he can play this absolute piece of s*it so authentically. The man is AWFUL...there is no excusing his behavior.

    6. I also want to touch on what Britt mentioned about how he's motivated by greed, not madness. There is no indication whatsoever that Fitzgerald is mad. He's not. He's a bigoted, self-centered bully. Sure, part of his gruffness may be a result of what he's endured, but he's a terrible person. I mean, he literally volunteers to stay behind with Glass, not only for his 'extra money' but offers to take the extra money of the other two volunteers (who say they will do it for free) ONLY so that he can kill Glass. That was his only reason. Kill Glass and take the money. He's a manipulative prick.

      Phenomenal performance...but a gross character.

    7. I have yet to see the movie but in the script he has that moment when he talks of scalping before abandoning Glass so as I read it it was fear that drove him to do it

      And Andrew, it's very fucking cheap that you are suggesting my opinion of a character I so far only read of in the script has to do with me liking Hardy. I haven't even seen the performance yet, just read the script and from it for me, the madness and the fear were clear.

    8. Sati, it wasn't meant to be cheap. But, as you said, you haven't seen the movie and yet you are TELLING everyone who has seen the movie to "leave Hardy alone" because his character isn't that awful. He is. We've seen the movie.

      And yes, he has the moment when he talks about the scalping, but there is no indication that it drove him mad. He's just an a**hole.

    9. I thought a lot about what you two have been saying and I think the bottom line is that both of these men are awful individuals, with or without justification.

      And Brittani, I won't be mad if Sicario gets the Cinematography was brilliant, too.

  3. Haha, I loved reading this! I haven't found the right word to describe how I feel about The Revenant yet, because 'enjoyed' is definitely wrong.
    - Allie

    1. Allie! Thank you!

      I think instead of 'enjoyed' I should have went with 'managed' or 'survived'. Either one seems more fitting!

  4. Yeah, the squirrel story was pretty cool. I remember thinking I want to go back and watch that again. ...along with the rest of this film.

    1. A very interesting story, delivered with scary intensity by Hardy. I would love to hear it again, myself.

      Even as long as this film was...really looking forward to seeing it again, too!