Movie Review: Southland Tales

Watch this trailer:

Looks pretty good, albiet a little quirky, right?

Unfortunately, it’s pretty quirky, and only a little good.

Southland Tales is Richard Kelly’s follow-up to Donnie Darko, a film that I though was very quirky and very good. In Southland Tales, A movie star, a porn star, some polititians, a bunch of artists/neo-marxists, a police officer, a soldier, and half the alumni of Saturday Night Live get involved in what may be the final days. Sounds like a good idea, except that it gets too caught up in what Kelly calls satire and I call heavy-handed preaching to a choir. Yes, Mr. kelly, your target audience knows that the Patriot Act infringed on civil liberties, and we know that the Republicans use fear as a platform issue.

I really don’t want to spoil to much, except to say that the film does have some interesting ideas, like the use of an alternative fuel source being worse than just drilling, and the parallells between this movie and the Book of Revelation. I think that the film’s fault is that it tries too hard to make a statement without really saying anything, and there are just too many subplots floating around. What could have been a gripping tale of the end of the world becomes an unfocused mess.

It’s not all bad, however. The Rock is a good actor (when he’s not trying to act scared), and Sarah Michelle Gellar has some great lines (and a hilarious song, “Teen Horniness Is Not a Crime”). That guy who played Stifler does a terrific job with the plot Kelly gives him, though it’s muddled and has a plot hole the size of a zeppelin going through it. And Justin Timberlake is a more-than-adequate narrator with some great scenes, including this one that happens right after he takes a drug that makes him hallucinate and become slightly telepathic:

Anyway, this could have been a great movie, but it turned out to be a pretentious wankfest. And I say that as a fan of the films of David Lynch, Wes Anderson, and Terry Gilliam.

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One Response to “Movie Review: Southland Tales”

  1. That’s a bummer. I was kind of excited about this when it was announced, totally forgot about it and am now disappointed to read your review.

    Pretty much anything with a message bums me out though.

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