Birdman: Above Them All

I know I’m a bit late to the game on this review. Birdman came out in October of last year and I never got around to seeing it. Last night I went to the Pittsford Cinema 9 for the first time. Before I begin my review, I figured I should talk a bit about the theater itself. I like the wide variety of independent and big-budget films that they play there. They also have a great member’s rewards program and have some good snack deals. The one downside to the theater is that their seats are abysmal. Both the back and the front of the seat recline in a way that makes no position comfortable. I kept readjusting myself in the hopes of finding a more comfortable position. Nevertheless, after two hours of trying I gave up and relegated my back to a slouch style punishment.

With that in mind, I anticipate that I will be seeing more films at the theater. I’d recommend you check it out although it’s probably too late to catch it in theaters. SPOILERS BELOW.

The rhythm and cadence of the film were incredible. It shouldn’t come as any surprise that the movie was nominated for nine Academy Awards. I had no idea that Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton AND Naomi Watts were in the film. When Zach Galifianakis entered the movie for the first time, I was giddy. As usual, Galifianakis’ performance was spot on. I believed that he could be a slimy attorney for a washed-up actor. Naomi Watts was believable as a fragile and damaged actor. Edward Norton put on an incredible performance as a Narcissist the list goes on. I’ve come to expect that Naomi Watts and Edward Norton are going to be fantastic.

The performance of Emma Stone caught me off guard. I enjoyed her in Zombieland although; I’m generally ambivalent towards her. I tend to lump her into the same category as actors like Lindsay Lohan and Kristen Stewart. The range and the depth of character she displayed were incredible. She bore her soul as a burnt out, cynical misanthrope with some unresolved daddy issues. I believed her, and not in the way that I believe, she put on a great performance. I believed her in the way that I feel like I know her. As if, we’ve met a couple of times at the bar. In her character, we saw the clichéd prototype for many “millennials”: the selfishness, the cynicism etc. Emma Stone captured the somewhat clichéd trope impeccably. At one point, her father, played by Michael Keaton, catches her smoking weed. She launches into a diatribe, which was scathing and vitriolic. She fired her words off in a way that few others could have and left me in the back of my seat. I felt like she was vilifying me for her father’s inadequacies. After it was over, I needed a hug or an episode of “The Joy of Painting” to clear my head.

A cynical vitriol for “the Industry” caked the entire film. The film is billed as a “black comedy” but this turn of phrase just doesn’t do the proper justice. A few times, I laughed at the absurd scenes between Galifianakis and Keaton. They’re discussion on how to deal with an injured employee dripped with callous apathy. They don’t attempt at hiding their indiscretions. They’re cold in ways that would make Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling proud bumptious. On an unrelated note, I wish there was a word in English that meant more than proud. A nice way of saying, “Pulling your dick out”, without breaking decorum. If anyone knows such a phrase or word please let me know. Edit: HOLY SHIT THERE IS A WORD FOR THIS: “bumptious”.

bump·tious – /ˈbəm(p)SHəs/ – adjective – self-assertive or proud to an irritating degree.

It’s more than that though. They are so nonchalant about their disregard that it becomes absurd and laughable. No one in real life would do that sort of thing to anyone…
The final thing in my notes that I wanted to mention was the soundtrack. The use of drums as the primary background music was intriguing. I could gush all day about Birdman but I think I’ll stop here. We’re in a golden age of cinema, and if you aren’t seeing these films, you are missing out.

 

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