Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 2017)

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flyonthewall2983
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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 2017)

#1 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Thu Mar 23, 2017 3:23 pm

Last edited by flyonthewall2983 on Fri Mar 24, 2017 10:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Trailers for Upcoming Films

#2 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Mar 23, 2017 3:28 pm

Seven Psychopaths was about as bad as In Bruges was great, so I really hope this is the return to form it looks to be

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#3 Post by movielocke » Thu Mar 23, 2017 4:41 pm

Sold

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#4 Post by The Elegant Dandy Fop » Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:27 pm

Lol she had a potty mouth

If this is anything like Seven Psychopaths (stupid and profane for just the sake of it) I'll pass. That was arguably the worst movie I saw that year. I also have to say I'm surprised the producers and Fox Searchlight allowed what it is probably the worst title for a movie in a while and left a bad taste in my mouth even before the first frame of the trailer.

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#5 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:43 pm

I quite like the title (even though it made this threadsplit a pain in the ass), but you're 100% right about Seven Psychopaths. This appears to have a lot more potential than that overstuffed mess, though. It's impossible to predict the tone of his films from their trailers, In Bruges looked like a typical lad film (woman saying "You guys are crazy!" with a record scratch, etc) and the film itself is nothing like that.

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#6 Post by Luke M » Fri Mar 24, 2017 8:34 pm

I can't remember the last time I ever laughed at a trailer so much. I'm in.

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#7 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Fri Mar 24, 2017 11:00 pm

I like that we only see two of the three in the trailer, which makes me think the third one is what stirs the drama more.

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#8 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Fri Apr 14, 2017 12:41 am

Opens in October

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#9 Post by The Narrator Returns » Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:56 am

This is getting really great reviews out of Venice, with special praise being given to Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell (so maybe that Oscar nom isn't as far off as the Dick Cheney movie).

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Re: Trailers for Upcoming Films

#10 Post by MichaelB » Mon Sep 04, 2017 12:01 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:Seven Psychopaths was about as bad as In Bruges was great, so I really hope this is the return to form it looks to be
General consensus is that it's better than In Bruges, and up there with the best of McDonagh's stage plays.

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#11 Post by domino harvey » Sun Sep 17, 2017 2:54 pm

This somewhat surprisingly beat out Del Toro's film for the TIFF audience award, which is a big boost to its Oscar chances overall (Del Toro's film in fact didn't even place)

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#12 Post by Magic Hate Ball » Fri Nov 17, 2017 11:26 pm

Caught this tonight. It's a razor-sharp ninety minute film ballooned up to a gassy two hours by way of endless watery country music interludes and heedless complications, which highlights the plot's clumsier machinations. If his best work, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, is like opening a picnic umbrella in a thunderstorm, then this is more like watching an unattended baby choke on a hot dog.

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#13 Post by Brian C » Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:23 am

This is a movie where the cops of a small town are racist, petty, and vengeful, ... and yet, barely react when
SpoilerShow
their police station is firebombed, resulting in severe injury, and everyone knows who did it and why.
McDormand and Harrelson are both excellent here, but I don't think I find anything that happens in the film very convincing. And while characters talk endlessly, thereby inviting critics to talk about how brilliantly written the film is, in all honesty this film is extremely weak on a basic script level. Characters experience complete personality 180s literally overnight, other characters show up only at convenient times to move the plot along, motivations and basic plausibility are all over the place, and generally characters seem to be speaking in their author's voice instead of their own. As good as McDormand is, Mildred never feels like anything other than a conceit, a way for McDonagh to give big "fuck yous" to various authority figures - one speech she gives about priests, for example, is shoehorned in so awkwardly and is such a show-stopping non sequitur that it's embarrassing.

Which leads me to this other complaint - this movie is awash in pure hatred. I don't think I've ever seen a movie that hates its characters or their world as much as this one. I'd point to the wildly implausible incident with the dentist as an example of how bottomless the film's misanthropy runs. And yet, McDonagh can't quite bring himself to be honest about it - he invites the audience to hate these people too, only to chide them for doing so by engaging in some really transparently bullshit reversals. It just feels contemptuous all around, and it leaves a bad aftertaste much different from the one that seemed to be intended.

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#14 Post by mfunk9786 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:46 pm

You said it, Brian. This film didn't seem to have much to say, which for a movie swimming around in a tepid pool of "small town morality play," sort of leaves it empty. Unless this was McDonagh just scratching out a page of his notebook of ideas into a script bolstered by the best one in it (the billboard thing is the sort of 'stranger than fiction' conceit around which an excellent film could have been built), there's not really any other explanation for why this came out so uneven. It's one thing for a film to be darkly comic, but it's another for it to be dark and comic in ways that feel very far apart from one another--
SpoilerShow
Take, for instance, the ex-husband and his oft ridiculed 19 year old girlfriend. We're asked, in sort of separate chunks, to accept the fact (yes, two sides to the story, blah blah blah) that he would semi-regularly violently harm Frances McDormand's character. But we're also asked to laugh at his current girlfriend, at her intelligence and her value, despite the fact that she's dating a much older domestic abuser. And then we're left with a sort of lethargic request that he "be nice" to this girl. No warning to her, no show of this deep well of concern that the film asks us to believe that McDormand has in her. Just a dark backstory and performance by John Hawkes, a wide-eyed silly one by Samara Weaving, and absolutely zilch by way of realism in-between. This sort of divide happens over and over again around the edges of this story, and it always seems to center around McDormand's lack of any real respect for anyone but herself at this point in her life, which is funny to a point, and tragic to a point, but mostly just... without value from any kind of thematic or plot perspective.

Eventually, it's clear that her only real investment in what happened to her daughter is the fact that it's her daughter - that something of hers was taken away and she must get revenge for her property being swiped from under her. There's a hollowness to her chosen method of interaction with everyone else on screen that makes it difficult to interpret the film's central pursuit any less cynically than that.
Anyway, there are some interesting components here and it's not entirely without value, but they're difficult scraps to try to collect off the floor and slide together. In the hands of a filmmaker who finds themselves much less clever (Kelly Reichardt, Sean Baker, maybe? To name two of many?), and with maybe a half dozen less character actors who are only there so McDonagh can make his same tired midget jokes (for instance), this could have been a really compelling and deeply felt piece of work. But with the limited ambitions here, the most one can hope for is a limited movie, and I'm not even sure that Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is even that.

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#15 Post by Roger Ryan » Mon Nov 27, 2017 1:29 pm

I quite enjoyed it, but only as an over-the-top fable concerning the inability of humans to live together without cruelty and recrimination. At no point was I expecting the characters to behave in a logical manner nor did I have sympathy for any of them. So utterly cynical that it makes Fight Club seem humanist, but with some great characterizations and plenty of (sometimes uncomfortable) laughs.

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#16 Post by Luke M » Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:17 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:You said it, Brian. This film didn't seem to have much to say, which for a movie swimming around in a tepid pool of "small town morality play," sort of leaves it empty. Unless this was McDonagh just scratching out a page of his notebook of ideas into a script bolstered by the best one in it (the billboard thing is the sort of 'stranger than fiction' conceit around which an excellent film could have been built), there's not really any other explanation for why this came out so uneven. It's one thing for a film to be darkly comic, but it's another for it to be dark and comic in ways that feel very far apart from one another--
SpoilerShow
Take, for instance, the ex-husband and his oft ridiculed 19 year old girlfriend. We're asked, in sort of separate chunks, to accept the fact (yes, two sides to the story, blah blah blah) that he would semi-regularly violently harm Frances McDormand's character. But we're also asked to laugh at his current girlfriend, at her intelligence and her value, despite the fact that she's dating a much older domestic abuser. And then we're left with a sort of lethargic request that he "be nice" to this girl. No warning to her, no show of this deep well of concern that the film asks us to believe that McDormand has in her. Just a dark backstory and performance by John Hawkes, a wide-eyed silly one by Samara Weaving, and absolutely zilch by way of realism in-between. This sort of divide happens over and over again around the edges of this story, and it always seems to center around McDormand's lack of any real respect for anyone but herself at this point in her life, which is funny to a point, and tragic to a point, but mostly just... without value from any kind of thematic or plot perspective.

Eventually, it's clear that her only real investment in what happened to her daughter is the fact that it's her daughter - that something of hers was taken away and she must get revenge for her property being swiped from under her. There's a hollowness to her chosen method of interaction with everyone else on screen that makes it difficult to interpret the film's central pursuit any less cynically than that.
Anyway, there are some interesting components here and it's not entirely without value, but they're difficult scraps to try to collect off the floor and slide together. In the hands of a filmmaker who finds themselves much less clever (Kelly Reichardt, Sean Baker, maybe? To name two of many?), and with maybe a half dozen less character actors who are only there so McDonagh can make his same tired midget jokes (for instance), this could have been a really compelling and deeply felt piece of work. But with the limited ambitions here, the most one can hope for is a limited movie, and I'm not even sure that Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is even that.
In addition to your spoiler, I didn’t quite get
SpoilerShow
Woody Harrelson’s much younger wife and small children. More specifically how it was never brought up like Hawkes’s character. It seems it was ignored purposely or worse, his wife was a reward for him being the only sympathetic character in the film.

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#17 Post by Roger Ryan » Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:31 am

Luke M wrote:...In addition to your spoiler, I didn’t quite get
SpoilerShow
Woody Harrelson’s much younger wife and small children. More specifically how it was never brought up like Hawkes’s character. It seems it was ignored purposely or worse, his wife was a reward for him being the only sympathetic character in the film.
Since mainstream films are notorious for casting much younger female actors as mates for aging male actors, the viewer often has to be told that a relationship is not age-appropriate for it to work in the narrative. However, I don't see that as being a problem with this film (although you are told that Hawkes' character's girlfriend is too young for him). Harrelson is in good enough shape that I would not have trouble believing his character is ten years younger than the actor himself (his age is not specified in the film), which would place the age difference between husband and wife at around twelve years. Since the age difference between Hawkes' character and his girlfriend is supposed to be close to forty years, I don't think the two relationships are comparable in the way you're implying.
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It's also nice, for a change, that the McDormand character's romantic partner (although hardly realized) is roughly twelve years younger than her and nothing is made about the age difference.

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#18 Post by mfunk9786 » Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:57 pm

A lot is made about the size difference, though.

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#19 Post by McCrutchy » Fri Dec 01, 2017 5:55 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:A lot is made about the size difference, though.
Yeah, but that's the pygmy elephant in the room, though. Even not addressing it, would be addressing it, because everyone can tell right away. As someone with a permanent physical disability, I really hate the way that obvious disabilities are ignored in movies, and I would rather see more films that address disabilities with humor, too. Everyone knows being disabled sucks--and it does--so it's better to have a laugh about it, than to pretend it doesn't exist.

Look, I really liked this film, and I thought it was a refreshing take on grief and the grieving process. McDonagh's characters often tend to be rough-around-the-edges types, and it was fascinating to see him build a film around an unusual, empowered female character. My take on it is a lot like Roger's, in that I thought it was basically a middle-American farce, with characters operating outside of accepted social norms, and in preposterous situations. At the same time though, life often feels farcical precisely at moments where great tragedies (or successes) occur in our lives, so considering that the film deals with the greatest pain a parent can suffer, I found myself ready and willing to buy into everything that happens.

In fact, you could even argue that most of the film is
SpoilerShow
a delusion in Mildred's head
if you struggled to find much realism. For myself, I don't necessarily buy that, because I do think there are people in that part of the country who behave exactly as depicted, even though the United States as a whole would probably want to deny that.

The only problem I had with the film was its ending, which felt inappropriate. For a film that was so
SpoilerShow
driven by the actions of its main character, to have it simply end while she is in the car--in motion, before she has come to a stop and decided whether to kill the supposed "bad guy"--seemed premature. I'm not sure if this is the kind of film where it is wise to leave something so simple open-ended and without resolution. Let the characters make a final decision, and then end the film.
Other than that, I thought it was another great film from McDonagh, and I loved McDormand, Rockwell and Harrelson's performances, especially. Is it Best Picture? No, but it could get some love for McDormand, especially.

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#20 Post by Black Hat » Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:34 pm

Luke M wrote:In addition to your spoiler, I didn’t quite get
SpoilerShow
Woody Harrelson’s much younger wife and small children. More specifically how it was never brought up like Hawkes’s character. It seems it was ignored purposely or worse, his wife was a reward for him being the only sympathetic character in the film.
This right here was one of the reasons I couldn't stand this film. Everything about this movie screamed fake or let me fake shock you with this or that line or a shocking action when very little of it was earned. The film right down to it's ridiculous title reeks of someone trying to out Coen the Coen brothers. Each time the film took a turn it fell flat without any resolution or meaning, but I guess there were enough one liners and awkward pauses between characters trying to figure themselves out to make people think they were watching something intelligent. Highlight of the film was Lester showing up, but at the same time where the hell did he come from? His appearance didn't fit the story, it felt like a crowd pleasing character from a comic book movie showing up to do something the audience wants done and I for one find that kind of storytelling total bullshit.

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#21 Post by Daneurism » Sat Dec 02, 2017 4:29 pm

You guys are all speaking my language. Had many of the same frustrations with this movie. Another bit of writing that bothered me: Why were Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson's characters close to each other? One is the cop with a heart of gold, and the other a bigoted abusive ahole. It would be like if Gene Hackman's character in Mississippi Burning took Brad Dourif's racist psycho under his wing.

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#22 Post by Shrew » Fri Dec 15, 2017 1:25 am

So this proved to me that Lucas Hedges can give a poor performance and that Martin McDonagh knows shit about America. As mentioned above, there's a lot in here that feels false, but the details are what really stuck in my craw. McDormand's speech about Catholicism is out of place, but a Catholic priest in the rural midwest claiming to represent the town's opinion is absurd on its own.

Or how McDonagh heard that racist cops were a thing in Missouri, but didn't understand that Ferguson is a dense suburb, not a small rural town. So there's a bunch of black extras dressed in polo shirts in one scene. Apparently the black middle class up and moved to rural Missouri. Or how McDormand works in the "Gift Shop," which looks like many gift shops you'd find attached to some minor local museum or tourist landmark throughout the US, but who the hell would call such a place "the gift shop" and not the "X museum." Or, ughaf...

I wonder now how the citizens of Bruges felt about their depiction.

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#23 Post by Altair » Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:14 am

Shrew wrote:I wonder now how the citizens of Bruges felt about their depiction.
I haven't seen McDonagh's latest, but I think the depiction of Bruges worked because the protagonists were very much tourists themselves, so it was appropriate to have a tourists' eyes view of the city.

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#24 Post by geoffcowgill » Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:38 am

Shrew wrote:So this proved to me that Lucas Hedges can give a poor performance and that Martin McDonagh knows shit about America. As mentioned above, there's a lot in here that feels false, but the details are what really stuck in my craw. McDormand's speech about Catholicism is out of place, but a Catholic priest in the rural midwest claiming to represent the town's opinion is absurd on its own.

Or how McDonagh heard that racist cops were a thing in Missouri, but didn't understand that Ferguson is a dense suburb, not a small rural town. So there's a bunch of black extras dressed in polo shirts in one scene. Apparently the black middle class up and moved to rural Missouri. Or how McDormand works in the "Gift Shop," which looks like many gift shops you'd find attached to some minor local museum or tourist landmark throughout the US, but who the hell would call such a place "the gift shop" and not the "X museum." Or, ughaf...

I wonder now how the citizens of Bruges felt about their depiction.
And this small rural town apparently has a zoo, as well, or at least a zoo very near it. I agree, there are just a number of inexplicably inapt or improbable details in this. And although it's a very minor detail, what seems to sum up the phoniness of the whole thing to me is the comic book Sam Rockwell's character is reading. I didn't get a clear look at it in the first couple of scenes it appears (granted, there's no reason to assume he reads only one comic book, but regardless, there's no clear indication of exactly what kind of comic he's reading at first). I assumed, to be in keeping with his character, it would be some crass bullets, biceps, and boobs thing, but when a cover is revealed it is Robot Comics, complete with a mock-up of a late-50s or early 60s-style comic art style.

For a movie with so much surface brio, there's a real laziness to it, as well.

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#25 Post by Roscoe » Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:52 am

A valid point about the zoo in that locale, but I'd guess that "zoo" is a courtesy term -- if it comprises much more than a few ratty farm animals and a donkey ride, I'd be surprised. Much like the "gift shop" that Mildred runs -- how does she make a living out of that, who buys that stuff? It didn't bother me much.

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