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MIDSOMMAR (Spoilers And Head Trauma)

Florence Pugh; Jack Reynor DSCF9328.RAF

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17 Responses to “MIDSOMMAR (Spoilers And Head Trauma)”

  1. leahnz says:

    what happened? i probably won’t get to see this for a while (for some reason it doesn’t look to open here till August) so as i doubt i’d be able to avoid spoilers till then i thought i’d live vicariously through the blog…
    so far i gather it’s long

  2. Sideshow Bill says:

    I just feel like I embarrassed myself in that post. That’s all that happened.

    It is long but if you’re in it’s grip you don’t feel it. I imagine if you’re not liking it it feels a month and a day.

  3. Monco says:

    I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since I saw the movie. It’s the best movie this year and maybe many years. All I know for certain is that it confirms Ari Aster as a major director going forward. These aren’t pleasant films. This movie is made with such precision and symmetry. I was left stunned by many of these shots, they are so beautiful but depict the macabre. It begs for repeat viewings but I don’t know if I can.

  4. Sideshow Bill says:

    The gist was I passionately love this film and Heredity and I truly have trouble maintaining objectivity when it gets bashed. Not liking it is one thing. That’s fine. But some of the things folks are claiming are just completely missing thoughtfulness

    But there’s a saying I like: ignore opinions that don’t enrich your life. Thoughtful negative opinions on these films are great and even helpful, but the fly-by “It suxxx” brigade needs to be ignored

    And I agree Monco. Passed Booksmart as my favorite film of the year thus far.

  5. Pete B. says:

    Just wondered if anyone else caught Phil Nobile Jr’s article on, where he says Midsommar is a stealth remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre?

  6. Sideshow Bill says:

    I haven’t read it but I can see the influence. But stealth remake? Nah. That’s why I don’t read BMD. Also because Devin Faraci tainted it.

    Any negative piece that says some variation of “Wicker Man” rip off life she’s me. I didn’t know we were only allowed one pagan cult movie. Someone better tell all the shark movies, slasher movies, clown movies, zombie movies…you get my point.

  7. Eden says:

    Once the festivities get under way, it’s no spoiler to say things go from beautiful to horrifying as the film makes its operatic descent into full-on freakout. Aster indulges in what have already become his characteristic preoccupations, from the processing of grief to devilishly friendly cultists. And anyone squeamish about graphic head trauma would be well-advised to move along, and quickly.

  8. Stella's Boy says:

    I didn’t care much for Hereditary. I think it starts strong, and that scene 30 minutes in is so shocking and brutal and memorable. But after that, I found it sort of slow and dull. I am definitely on Team Midsommar. It worked for me. I like just about everything about it. Love the daytime horror. Cinematography and sound are amazing. Love Aster’s framing and the overhead shots. Pugh is outstanding. It’s very funny. Truly unsettling images that get under your skin. And despite knowing full well that shit will hit the fan, it’s got some good surprises. I think the pacing is better than Hereditary’s despite being longer. Any gripes are very minor. Great flick that met my expectations. I do want to revisit Hereditary at some point and give it another chance, but I’m fully on board with Midsommar.

  9. Sideshow Bill says:

    Seeing Midsommar again this afternoon.

    I see what you mean about Hereditary, Stella, but for me the shock lingered through the rest of the film and kept me on edge. I enjoyed the unraveling of the mystery and the unraveling of the family hit too close to home. But, yea, it’s fair to say it peaks 30 minutes in, and where it goes after is different from viewer to viewer

  10. Stella's Boy says:

    But I also acknowledge you are in the vast majority Bill. Basically everyone I know, including the friend I saw Midsommar with yesterday, loves Hereditary. Which is why I want to give it another shot. That I like Midsommar so much makes me wonder if I’d feel differently about Hereditary after a second viewing.

    Enjoy the food, music, and pageantry this afternoon!

  11. Sideshow Bill says:

    Seeing it again was so richly rewarding. The layers and details and foreshadowing and clues are endless. Every word takes on a new meaning. Lines give away things you never thought of at the time. And I was still on edge and nervous as things come apart. It truly is one of my favorite films of all time. And that opening tapestry is a stroke of genius. Goddamnit. Oh, that music. Especially as it closes. Shivering. I bought the soundtrack.

    An all-time favorite already. It’s invigorating

  12. Christian says:

    Sideshow Bill: While I was cold toward “Midsommar,” I wanted to say how much I enjoy your enthusiasm for the film. I’m much more keen these days on praise for movies than I am for pointing out their weaknesses (of which, ahem, “Midsommar” has a few).

    I spent years reviewing films where I clung to anything – a performance, the cinematography, a score/soundtrack – that separated a film from across-the-board mediocrity, doing so at the risk of distorting the film’s overall quality by dwelling at length on the things I liked rather than a film’s flaws. I like to think I still approach films that way. But sometimes I allow anticipation to get the better of me. Then, when a film just doesn’t work – as I thought “Midsommar” didn’t, or, a bit earlier, the “Suspiria” remake, which I was very excited for – I let my disappointment carry the day.

    I enjoy having a thread like this where others can share their reactions.

  13. movieman says:

    Bill’s infectious enthusiasm for “Midsommar” makes me want to give it another look…once it hits DVD.
    You’d have to drag me kicking and screaming to see a movie a second time in a theater these days.

  14. Sideshow Bill says:

    I appreciate that you guys. It’s hard to be allowed to enjoy things in this climate so it’s refreshing. Conversely, as I say ad nauseum, we all watch with different eyes. I sat through films that just did not play for me. We all have. Midsommar isn’t perfect and I’m sure the seams will show here and there. But like Jaws or Halloween (my 2 go-to examples) for me it’s far more than the sum of its part. Halloween and Jaws are my 2 favorite films of all time, and both are dumb as hell with plot holes and problems.

    But I don’t care. It’s good to know I’m not the only one.

    The theater was empty yesterday, btw. Opening day there was one other person. It is not for everyone even though I’ve encouraged coworkers to go. I can’t wait to buy a 4K TV in December and watch those colors pop.

    The biggest question is, on Monday I’m seeing Die Hard But With Alligators. I expect that thing is going out Midsommar in the dust………….

  15. movieman says:

    From EW:

    In a Reddit AMA on Thursday, writer-director Ari Aster has revealed he is working on an extended cut of his recently-released horror movie Midsommar and that this new version will be “at least 30 mins longer.” The theatrical version of the film lasts two hours, 27 minutes. Aster also teased his third film after Midsommar and last year’s chiller Hereditary.
    “Next one will either be a zonky nightmare comedy or a big, sickly domestic melodrama,” he shared. However, Aster promised that he would at some point return to the horror genre.
    “It might take me a few movies before I wind back around to it, but I love horror and I’m sure I’ll be back,” he added.

  16. Joseph Straatmann says:

    I liked Midsommar, but a lot of me talking about it sounds like I’m insulting it. Maybe it’s just how we are taught to respond to certain critical key words as movie discussion.

    Right now, there is a burst of long, atmospheric genre films. That is neither good nor bad. It’s just describes things as good as Drive, or as bad as… well, Only God Forgives (I refuse to back down on that movie. It is giving the most luxurious cinematography to the most unfinished film school hogwash I’ve ever seen). It used to be the genre movies that experimented and played around with conventions were B-sides like the film noir Detour which was 68 minutes, and now the filmmakers get more room to breathe. That’s all. I’d put Midsommar at about Prisoners, which is good company. It doesn’t have a dynamite Melissa Leo supporting role, but it doesn’t need one.

    My only big problem is a matter of preference. I like more character-driven movies, and while there are plenty of little details of individuality, 3/4ths of the main characters felt more like tools of pre-destiny, or for lack of a better way of putting it, obvious dogmeat. What do you say about Christian as a person (Other than I see that obvious symbolism in his name)? His one trait is being horribly indecisive, but there’s not a whole lot on top of that which drives it. I get hanging onto Dani because he doesn’t want to be THAT GUY who breaks up with his girlfriend and refuses her requests after a horrific tragedy. But when he has that discussion about hijacking the thesis, it feels like it comes out of nowhere, a broken rung on the ladder that leads to the rest of his indecisiveness, and ultimately his humiliation and destruction. I understand it, but there are lots of fuzzy bits to him that bothered me. Much of it intentional, I will admit. You ARE supposed to be bothered by him as none of his decisions about Dani are made out of emotional caring, but I just don’t feel I was bothered by him in the way I was supposed to.

    One could say in this respect this is more like the Nicolas Cage Wicker Man since there are less discussions about the ways of life and more two sides trying to force their influence against each other, and the people who are use to having their way being completely out of their league. You see what I mean by sounding like I’m insulting this movie? The execution is obviously miles better with immaculate cinematography, going full-tilt into the weird instead of teasing, and the main character being Dani is an IMPORTANT perspective shift that leads to a far more interesting journey than the usual guys who are used to having their way in a world they understand having their roles flipped on them, though there is plenty of that.

    Dani being lead allows it to have its cake as a cult horror movie that rips down your illusion of having control of the situation, and also having an understanding of why this weird cult world is inviting which is even more disturbing. It’s a very good, smart movie with elegant craftsmanship. I just tend to grab onto the characters most when I have movies I LOVE, and I didn’t find as much to grab onto. But there is a lot to love in other respects.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon