The only disturbing thing that happened this morning was coming across a tweet by indie-realm happiness guy Ted Hope that spoke of Birdman, 99 Homes and Still Alice in the same breath. I haven’t seen Alice but the word on the street is that it’s “good but not great”…no worries. But 99 Homes doesn’t belong in the same paragraph with Birdman, and I just had to take issue. The instant I read his tweet the words of George Herbert Walker Bush welled up within: “This will not stand.”
“It’s obvious from the get-go that Garfield, known for his sensitive, doe-eyed expressions and an apparent preference for playing alpha good guys who would rather be fucked over than vice versa, is going to rebel against Shannon and the general venality. Because…you know, he has to do the morally right thing. This is what people do in films like this — they stand up like men and cleanse their souls at the end of Act Three. It’s a whorey-ass cliche, and one that is telegraphed, trust me, from the get-go.
“But the worst moment of all comes when Dern and Chavez, Jr. find out what Garfield’s job is, and they shun him. This is when I really bailed on this film. Dern: “My God…you have no morals! I can’t live with you…I’m going to move in with someone else!” Chavez, Jr.: “How could you take a job that makes people like us miserable, dad? That’s so awful! I’m going to sit on the couch and avoid eye contact with you!” [Note: these are satiric riffs and not actual dialogue from the film.]
“Again, only in the realm of manipulative bullshit. In the real world when families are hungry and treading water in shark-filled waters, they don’t care how dad is making money short of his becoming a mob assassin or child pornographer. Garfield isn’t an agent of God’s compassion, obviously, but the people getting tossed have left themselves exposed to predators, and if Garfield wasn’t doing this lousy job somebody else would. Why did these families take out huge loans in the first place? Have they ever heard of living within their means? All Garfield’s family would know and say in real life is that they’re not in the tank with those sharks. They have beds and clean sheets to sleep in, a 42-inch flatscreen to watch in the living room, food on the table and locks on the doors…good enough!” — from my 9.2.14 Telluride Film festival review of 99 Homes, titled “Dirty Eviction Money“.