November 06, 2014

Podcast Episode 37: BIRDMAN Or The Virtue Of Artistic Douchery


First things first: Birdman is a film whose technical beauty is irrefutable.  The cinematic prowess on display by director Alejandro Inarritu is nothing short of breathtaking and his "all-in-one-shot" aesthetic not only creates a tremendous sense of tension and momentum, but it recreates the breathless frenzy of being backstage at a major theatrical production with deft perfection.  On top of that, you've got some great work from stars the likes of Edward Norton, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Ryan, Naomi Watts and the single greatest performance from Michael Keaton in a decade.  With all those things working in its favor, Birdman is an easy film to praise.

But I don't think it's an easy film to love.  Actors will love it.  Theater people will love it.  And having been both of those things in my life, I'm probably a little more forgiving of the movie than many.  But I suspect most of middle America is going to have more than a bit of trouble identifying with any of these characters.  I'd hardly blame you for walking out of the theater hating all actors, or at the very least feeling like you just spent two hours watching an indulgent circle-jerk about artists doing "important work."  After all, this is a movie in which the protagonist stalks around the theater treating his self-scripted, self-directed attempt to remain socially relevant like it was a matter of actual life or death while completely ignoring pain and injury of a fellow actor who had a stage light fall on his head during rehearsals for seemingly no other reason than "he was a terrible actor."

Then again, it's also a movie in which my favorite Batman screeches like a bird and levitates in his tighty whities.  Suffice it to say, I'm more than a little conflicted.

Bart and I discuss all things Birdman with my wife Jamie and his girlfriend Jenna Gabriel.  We also address Marvel's finalized Phase 3 slate, whether or not Gotham is actually a sneaky comedy, and the disheartening first look at Terminator Genisys.


Next Week: We take to the stars with Chris Nolan's Interstellar.