“Southland Tales” is the perfect hot mess of a movie for the 4th of July in the hellscape of 2020

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Southland Tales has long occupied a special place in my heart. The only thing I knew about it was that it was written and directed by Richard Kelly, the guy who made Donnie Darko, and starred my cousin’s former high school baseball teammate, the Rock, in a dramatic role. So I ordered it on Netflix DVD in the summer of 2007, and popped it in while I did some laundry, only half paying attention.

Reader, Southland Tales is not a movie to half-pay attention to. Hell, even your full attention won’t do it justice.

I was so confused by the end of that first viewing that I went and read the Wikipedia plot summary, which made it sound like the most ambitiously epic end-of-days political sci-fi movie based on the Book of Revelations. So I immediately re-watched it … and still only barely understood what was being implied as a “plot” that fit kind of loosely within the framework of that Wikipedia plot summary. Then my roommates came home, and I forced them to watch it with me — my third viewing of the day — and frankly, I still don’t think they’ve forgiven me.

I have remained fascinated by this glorious trainwreck of a movie ever since that first accidental triple-viewing, even seeking out bootlegs of the infamous Cannes cut (which is neither better, nor worse, but rather, a different disaster of beautiful ambition). I’m not alone in this captivation; the movie has developed a cult following of people who love it both for and in spite of itself. Read the rest