I just got back from a six-week vacation in the United Kingdom and I have very little but awesome things to say about it. I learned a ton, walked a lot, saw beautiful stuff, and ate mostly tasty things (steak and kidney pie….I’m not talking about you).
But the one thing I don’t love about a vacation so long is how I — and I don’t think I’m alone in this — tend to fall out of touch with pop culture.
I didn’t see a single movie, didn’t watch a minute of television (not withstanding a few seconds of amazin’ New York Metropolitan baseball, baby!), and missed that White Claw has taken over the world.
So when I got back to New Orleans one of the first things I did (after a failed fantasy football draft in which I accidentally spent half my auction budget on two tight ends in a one tight end league) was to see four movies in four days. And, even though you didn’t ask, here’s the order in which I liked them:
Fourth place: Midsommar, the Director’s Cut. (Creepy, cool imagery, a lot of fun to watch, but too many of the characters were acting like irrational idiots for me to care much about their well-being.)
Third place: The Peanut Butter Falcon. (Heartwarming, some good acting, nice character journey, but not much as far as original and interesting themes.)
Second place: Luce. (Hold your horses for a second, the rest of this blog post is about this movie.)
Grand champion: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. (The story is interesting enough, but the acting, the imagery, and the self-awareness make this movie special. +1 if you love feet.)
So why is Luce the “Movie of the Summer” if I like Once Upon a Time in Hollywood better? I don’t know — maybe it’s because I want to write about Luce and…click bait.
Or maybe it’s because — even though I think [this name is too long] Hollywood is superior in a lot of ways — Luce has given me more to think about than at least any movie since Us. It has interesting themes up the wazoo and, in fact, one of the reasons yada yada yada Hollywood might be better is because Luce is probably weighed down by all those interesting themes.
It’s trying to say so much.
I, on the other hand, don’t want to say too much because part of the fun of Luce was going in cold and discovering it on my own. But if you’re interested in thinking and talking about who is the gatekeeper to success in our society and who isn’t, then this is a movie for you. If you’re interested in thinking and talking about if there are any limits to how far one should go to obtain true equality, then this is a movie for you. If you’re want to consider whether there should be a limit to parental love and trust, then this, too, is a movie for you.
There’s a lot of great acting in this — especially, in my opinion, from Octavia Spencer and Naomi Watts — and New Orleans’ own Kelvin Harrison, Jr. is getting tons of love for his work as the title character.
I don’t mind that the movie had a lot to say, and I don’t mind that it didn’t give a ton of answers. The only place I feel a little negative — and this isn’t necessarily a shot at Harrison (though I am qualified to take shots because I, too, was a title character in my 5th grade play, Aladdin) — is that I don’t know if Luce was totally believable. Is he a good kid? Is he a sociopath? Is he damaged beyond repair by his past?
I have my opinion, but — no matter the answer — not all of his actions and reactions feel believable to me. Is it even possible to walk the extremely fine line between all of these while still being believable?
All I know for sure is that I’m surprised at how few people I know have seen this movie so far! And that’s sad, because it’s really good. If you liked talking about Jordan Peele’s “Us” and “Get Out” then I think you’re going to enjoy this experience, too.
**What do you think? Did you see the movie? Did you like it? Any critiques or just feeling overwhelmingly positive about it? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section. I think we can drop some spoilers down there!**