Friday, August 07, 2009

Mumble, Mumble, Mumble

Robert here, intrigued by one of the small-market releases this week. Andrew Bujalski's Beeswax is the latest of the uber-indie movement known (sometimes pejoratively) as Mumblecore. As a fan of Bujalski though with little knowledge of the movement outside his work, I often wonder how much exposure the Mumblecore films have really achieved.

To those unfamiliar, the Mumblecore movies are made on shoestring budgets and mostly feature non-professional actors portraying inarticulate post-college 20-somethings as they wander through the financial and romantic tribulations of young life. Fans suggest that at a time when "realistic" means artificial studio-contrived shaky cam nonsense, the pointlessness of these films (which mimics the meandering lives of their subjects) is a breath of fresh air. Truly they make a Fernando Meirelles drama look like a Douglas Sirk picture. Dissenters suggest that movies and subjects so aimless they make Antonioni characters seem like go-getters do not make for interesting cinema.

Either way, most reviews for Beeswax (which as with all Mumblecore are mixed) suggest the movement is reaching a bit of a turning point. So here is my question to you dear readers. Has the movement hit enough turning points to make its way to your television? And if so, is it wonderfully pointless or tragically pointless?


fruitburger said...

Tragically pointless and has been since it's inception. I don't get it and I'm through with trying to get through another "Mumblecore" film.

Wayne B said...

"And if so, is it wonderfully pointless or tragically pointless?"

When it's done right, it can be wonderful. I do sometimes get tired of Hollywood productions, BIG drama and movie-star charisma that its nice to take a break from those types of films and enjoy a slice of life. It can be refreshing to have realism, sometimes, in the fantasy of cinema.

Anonymous said...

DISASTROUSLY POINTLESS. I do not understand how this movement keeps momentum. Every mumblecore film I've seen is 70-80 minutes (because they never seem to really hit "feature length") that I regret wasting. Make it stop, please make it stop.

Anonymous said...

can you actually give us a review of this film? I never heard of mumblecore so it can't be such a good movement.

Hugh said...

I adore mumblecore, so I'd have to say "wonderfully pointless". One of the absolute best mumblecore flicks so far, IMO, is Aaron Katz's "Quiet City", available in a two-disc set with one of his earlier films.

If you haven't seen any mumblecore yet, seek it out! Other ones to check out would be Andrew Bujalski's first two features, "Funny Ha Ha" and "Mutual Appreciation". "Hannah Takes the Stairs" is also pretty good.

I haven't seen "Sorry, Thanks," "Beeswax," "Alexander the Last" or "Medicine for Melancholy" yet -- it's next to impossible to see any of these in New Zealand, except of course 18 months later on DVD.

Jeff GP said...

Alexander the Last is unbelievably awful. Truly. Beeswax, however, is a joy. I say this, because my feelings are similar to yours, though I think all Bujalski is the best of the movement, Quiet City is great too.