I have 491 movies in my Netflix Instant queue. I tend to watch one thing for every five that I add, but now my library is close to being full and I have to make room. So, every Monday I’m going to pick a random movie out of my queue and review the shit out of it. But (like Jesus), I’m also thinking of you and your unwieldy queue and all the movies in it you want to watch but no longer have the time to now that you’ve become so awesome and popular. Let me know what has been gathering digital dust in your Netflix Instant library and I’ll watch that, too. One Monday for you and the next for me and so on. Let’s get to it.
What’s the movie? Cold Weather (2010)
What’s it rated? Unrated for a couple of bad words, a couple of good ones and the face meting awesomeness of Portland, Oregon.
Did people make it? Written by Aaron Katz, Brendan McFadden and Ben Stambler. Directed by Aaron Katz. Acted by Cris Lankenau, Trieste Kelly Dunn, Raul Castillo and Robyn Rikoon.
What’s it like in one sentence? The Lady Vanishes meets the Duplass Brothers.
Why did you watch it? Louis Pantelakos Jr. and Gabe T said they’d hurt me if I didn’t watch it.
What’s it about in one paragraph? Doug (Lankenau) quits school in Chicago and moves to Portland to live with his sister, Gail (Dunn). He gets a job at an ice factory and makes friends with Carlos (Castillo), who encourages his love of Sherlock Holmes and his dreams of being a detective. Doug’s ex-girlfriend from Chicago, Rachel (Rikoon), shows up in Portland for a job and starts spending time with Doug, Gail and Carlos, only to disappear one night without a trace. But with Doug, Gail and Carlos on the case she’ll be fine, right?
Play or remove from my queue? Play this and then play it again. I unabashedly loved every square inch of this movie and I wish there was more to it. I kind of need this to be the first movie in a series of films about Doug, Gail and Carlos having low key adventures where they solve mysteries and investigate crimes. I would also accept this being a pilot and there being six more seasons of their wacky, do-gooder shenanigans. I fucking loves this movie and, because of how it ends, it stayed alive in my mind, allowing me to give it any kind of ending I want.
The acting is so naturalistic that it seems effortless (especially by Raul Castillo), which I’m sure wasn’t the case. This kind of quiet, low key acting, combined with a story that seems secondary to the characters is now considered “Mumblecore”, which I guess in some ways is accurate but, personally, I don’t think it’s Mumblecore unless Greta Gerwig is in it. Baghead and Hannah Takes the Stairs are Mumblecore to me because they truly do mumble 90 % of the dialogue in those movies and the films cultivate a mellowness that sometimes feels artificial. The mellowness of Cold Weather never feels artificial and always seems grounded in the characters and who they are. As you watch the movie, you’ll come up with all these different scenarios for the characters to come into conflict with and it seems like the story is building towards that explosion, only to release it with a knowing smile between brother and sister or a kind word between new friends and it fucking works. The release never feels like deflation, but a subversion of any expectations you have for a ‘mystery’ film.
Plus, Cold Weather pops around to a few pretty awesome Portland locations like the “big” finale takes place in le Bistro Montage, one of the best restaurants in the city. Seriously, if you’re around Portland and haven’t eaten there, make that shit happen. Also, my wife used to live in the same building Doug and Gail live in, which we found strange and slightly magical. The one thing I was hoping for was for the semi-sleuths to take a trip to Powell’s to research being a detective after they got some Voodoo Doughnut. That would have been sweet. The movie made me fall in love with Portland again, which I thought I was fairly insusceptible to by now.
Do you have a favorite line? The entire conversation between Doug and Carlos about Sherlock Holmes made me smile so big my face hurt.
Do you have an interesting fun-fact? In an interview, Aaron Katz explained that the film was originally just going to be about the brother\sister relationship and that they were going to get rid of the mystery aspect all together. If they had done that, I think it still would have been lovely because that dynamic is the backbone of the entire film and one of the most realistic sibling connections I’ve ever seen in a film. The mystery is a way to bring them closer together and really just a MacGuffin to draw you into their story.
What does Netflix say I’d like if I like this? The Burial Society (added to the queue), True Adolescents (I really like Mark Duplass, so it’s added), Certified Copy (halfway through watching this), The Puffy Chair (saw this at the Bend Film Festival and really enjoyed it) and Heartlands (sounds lovely. Added.)
What does Jared say I’d like if I like this? The movie I thought of the most while watching this was Bellflower. Thematically they’re very similar and the acting styles overlap, but that’s really the only connection. It would make for an interesting double feature, with Cold Weather being the softer view of male identity confusion.
What is Netflix’s best guess for Jared? 3.3
What is Jared’s best guess for Jared? 4.0
Can you link to the movie? I sure can!
Any last thoughts? The ending of this is really going to piss people off that find themselves more invested in the mystery portion of the film than in the brother and sister relationship. I’ll go into it more next week, but I found the ending to be beautiful and a subtle summation of everything the film was trying to say up to that point. Just a wonderful experience. Watch it this week.
Did you watch anything else this week? Bellflower (which felt like a stone in my chest) and The Devil Inside (which was shit covered piss).
Any spoilerish thoughts about last week’s film, Stuck? I wonder how much of the ending of that film was supposed to feel like wish fulfillment. With Stephen Rea killing both of his captors and getting away, when in actuality the guy just laid there on the windshield and bled to death, it made me wonder if the story was changed for any reasons other than making it more cinematic. Gabe T blew my mind when he told me that Stuart Gordon couldn’t get the funding for the movie if the main actress was black (which was true in real life) so he had to change it to Mena Suvari in cornrows. I wonder if funding issues caused them to make the ending more dynamic, as well.
Next Week? Point Blank? Bunraku? Meek’s Cutoff? Rubber? It’s up to you folks.