Magnolia E.D.W. Mulqueen/Dec 21st, 2016 — I must say, whenever I’m watching a movie that I discovered entirely from scouring Netflix for something to entertain me, I go in with a very cynical predisposition, picking at every little detail that doesn’t fit into my frame of what makes a good movie. However, today my chronic depression decided to come home and visit for the holidays, leaving me in a state of utter exhaustion all day. I was, in fact, too tired to even be cynical, or even nitpicky, at least, not my usual amount of nitpicky. Perhaps that is why my review of this movie is so much kinder than my past reviews.
This movie takes on the very unique perspective of John Wayne Cleaver a sociopathic high school boy with homicidal tendencies. In the beginning the viewer learns about John’s struggles with human interaction and accepting the predictive behaviors he shares with many serial killers. John creates a set of rules to keep him and the people around him safe, one of which is to smile and compliment anyone who makes him want to kill. Roughly 21 minutes into the movie John gives a monologue about this rule to a bully, which I thought was delivered very well, definitely gave me some chills, it almost had a Batman Joker type effect, if that makes sense. I’d actually like to include some quotes from it, just to really illustrate my point:
“I’ve been clinically diagnosed with sociopathy, Rob. To me you’re an object. You know, you’re a- you’re a thing. You’re about as important to me as a cardboard box. And the- the thing about cardboard boxes…is that…you know, they’re totally boring on the outside, right? But…sometimes you can cut em’ open, there’ll be something interesting inside. So while you’re saying all these boring things to me, I’m thinking about what it would be like to cut you open. But I- I don’t want to be that person, and so I have a rule that anytime somebody says something to me where I- I think about, ya know, cuttin em, I- I- I just smile and I say something nice. So that’s why I say to you, Rob Anders of 232 Carnation St. You are a really great guy.”
So that was like, the whole thing, but really, I mean reading it is good, but you really have to watch it to get the full effect, it’s really brilliant.
Real conflict arises when a chain of murders begins in John’s town and he soon finds out that his elderly neighbor has been gutting these people and taking their organs, because he is actually not human, but this all powerful black goo monster who has been stealing organs to stay in his human body, so that he could stay with his wife.
What I found the most interesting was the irony used in this movie, where the killer was not the boy incapable of connecting with others, but the man who connected with one too much, I thought that was quite clever.
I must say, among the few complaints I have, one is that John’s therapist is far cooler than any therapist I have ever had, unrealistically cool. All of his meetings were in different cool places, like on roofs and shit, with hot chocolate provided and he was hella real with John, where in reality therapy is always in the same tiny dim room, with a soft voiced therapist, always treading carefully, which is fine, but I might like a cool therapist that takes me on therapist excursions and stuff.
Overall, I would give this movie a solid 8 goo monsters out of 10, would love to watch again.
After some research I found this movie was based off the first book in the John Wayne Cleaver trilogy which I am now hoping to read.