Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 2017)

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

#51 Post by Boosmahn » Thu Mar 01, 2018 12:26 am

mfunk9786 wrote:Who can forget that monologue to that absolutely out of place Catholic priest about the bloods and the crips? Is that what you mean by requiring suspension of disbelief?
I was more referring to when
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Mildred bombarded the police station with Molotov cocktails, where any suspicion of her involvement is waved away with a testimonial by someone who is known to like her.


And I actually had forgotten the priest scene... the whole religious part they were going for could have been done better.

When I first saw Three Billboards back in November, I was floored (I even wrote a glowing review about it for our school newspaper), but thinking about it now, a lot should have been changed. The movie is a solid 20-30 minutes too long, and basic cuts like removing the mentioned priest and co. scenes would have made it a sharper film.

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

#52 Post by pandroid7 » Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:40 am

TMDaines wrote:
Altair wrote:I thought it was terrific and think a lot of the criticisms about believability are sort of missing the point - the film operates as a tragic farce. Everything is amplified, both in terms of emotions and actions (such as the police station firebombing) and it didn't go the easy way by providing a convenient narrative resolution, only the final exchange in the car hinting towards redemption. The performances were uniformly excellent and I admire McDonagh's ability to switch between humour and raw emotion so deftly - the audience I saw it laughed a lot. Best picture of the year? Probably not, but for once I won't begrudge it if the Academy chooses to shower the film in glory.
Right. People seem to be taking this one way too seriously. It’s a black comedy, a tragic farce as you say. The audience I was watching with was laughing throughout.

I’ve read people trying to skewer and dissect the casting as poorly representing the intended locale. Next you’ll be telling that Shakespere didn’t accurately depict his chosen settings. Whoosh...
I don't think the people criticizing it here are taking it too seriously but more saying that the black comedy tone didn't work for them and came across as uneven, zigging and zagging so hard as to give one whiplash. The intent of the film is so muddied, and I think part of that is what DarkImbecile was saying about how it takes on a plethora of heavy topics without giving any of them their due before chugging on to the next hot button issue. Even if a film is intended to be a dark comedy and not designated as a Drama ™, there is a balance that needs to be struck in the elements to pull the desired effect. I just didn't find that here.

I don't know if I've ever walked out of a film more bewildered and unsure what the hell I was supposed to glean from it. I tend to be a filmgoer who needs things to percolate for a while. I generally don't like giving my full assessment of a movie until I've had a good amount of time to sit with it. However, thinking about this one longer only made me like it less instead of appreciating new aspects. I was about 50/50 split on it directly after viewing (most of the positive 50% being due to McDormand being the powerhouse performer she always is), but the ratio just kept gradually tipping toward unfavorable.

I agree with the opinions of a few that it feels very much like an outsider making a film about America. That isn't to say that some elements don't ring true. I grew up in a small town in the midwest, characters like Rockwell's Dixon absolutely exist, but I don't think their existence is what people are objecting to. Rather, it's that the characterization is pretty superficial and doesn't delve in deep enough to feel like it's giving me anything memorable. In fact, when reading through this thread, I was struck by how much of this film has already been wiped from my brain.

I do appreciate seeing the thoughts of people it worked for though. When a film doesn't strike a chord with me but does with a lot of others, I'm always curious to see those opposing opinions to find where the disconnect lay and whether or not I should give it a second viewing. I don't think I'll be revisiting this one, at least not for a long while, but I've really enjoyed the fleshed out arguments of this thread on both ends.

Slightly tangential topic: it was a weird Oscar movie year for films addressing domestic violence. I grew up in a DV household, and man...between this and I, Tonya, I did a lot of cringing in my theater seat. I don't mean that I was offended or triggered but again just left with that perplexed "uuhhh...well, okay then" feeling where I did not know what they were trying to accomplish.

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

#53 Post by domino harvey » Fri Mar 02, 2018 7:51 pm

I thought how the film treated domestic violence as another "joke" was par for the course. Though I was much more bothered by the script conceit that Lucas Hedges would keep the cereal on his face and in his hair completely unwashed for the entirety of the scene just so it can be referred to several times as cheap, non-existent punchlines

pandroid7
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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#54 Post by pandroid7 » Fri Mar 02, 2018 8:16 pm

Oh god...the cereal. Yet another thing I forgot even happened! And yeah, I didn’t mean that I expected more from the domestic violence plot line. By the time John Hawkes showed up, the movie’s odd tone was no longer a surprise. It was just a weird experience to have twice in one week with this and then I, Tonya.

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Never Cursed
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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#55 Post by Never Cursed » Fri Mar 02, 2018 8:45 pm

You're all forgetting the part in that scene when John Hawkes flips the kitchen table and pins Frances McDormand to a wall, Lucas Hedges responds by holding a knife to his father's throat, and the whole situation is defused not by a realization that one of the three has or some de-escalation on the part of one of the parents, but by the ditzy girlfriend coming in and asking if she can use the bathroom. That was the point at which I understood that the movie had no idea what it wanted to be or say.

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

#56 Post by domino harvey » Fri Mar 02, 2018 8:51 pm

And she's so dippy that she doesn't even react to the melee!! So funnie!!! Crossing fingers for someone to overlay the most hilarious lines from this movie onto pictures of Minions so I can post 'em to Facebook between LuLaRoe boss babe posts #squadgoals #literally

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

#57 Post by Cde. » Fri Mar 02, 2018 11:41 pm

Remember when she couldn't remember if polo or polio was the one with the horses, despite reading a book on the subject?

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mfunk9786
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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#58 Post by mfunk9786 » Sat Mar 03, 2018 12:09 am

What a dummy! Well, she'll get what's coming to her, surely.

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

#59 Post by domino harvey » Sat Mar 03, 2018 1:01 am

She probably thinks domestic abuse is a beer, which she can't drink yet because she's not 21 Image Image

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

#60 Post by McCrutchy » Sat Mar 03, 2018 1:38 am

I wonder what many of the people in this thread are going to do if this wins Best Picture. Obviously, it has a really legitimate shot at the award, so I wonder if you guys have been saving up for new TVs, should any of yours have an "accident" on Sunday night...

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mfunk9786
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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#61 Post by mfunk9786 » Sat Mar 03, 2018 1:52 am

Last year I was jazzed (ha!) about La La Land vs Moonlight because they’re both good films, but I feel the latter is a great one, and former winning was a foregone conclusion 101% of the way.

This year, I know that barring some groundswell of very unexpected support, the best film in contention has no chance of winning, and there are several (even The Shape of Water, which I hated even more than this) which I wouldn’t mind seeing win for a number of reasons... but wouldn’t say I’m super invested in, either.

Plus, if this wins it’ll draw more attention than ever to what a pile of shit it is. So in the words of Superintendent Chalmers, “I say lay back and enjoy it. It’s a hell of a tobaggan ride.”

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

#62 Post by movielocke » Sat Mar 03, 2018 4:57 am

In the last ten years, there have been two films made that are set in the Ozarks (where I come from originally). One got it so completely right that even though I didn't particularly love the film, I was compelled to rewatch it a few months later just marveling at the details. Accents, diction, people, look, attitudes, profanity, clothes, body language, exterior locations, "Winter's Bone" just nailed it, across the board.

Then there is Three Billboards, which gets absolutely nothing right, at any point, in any respect. The landscape is off from the opening shot, it has a vaguely Missouri-ish look to it, even if the mountains are all 50% too big, it's a reasonable look alike, easy to forgive.

But then literally everything (except maybe the wallpaper inside the houses) is wrong. It's so breathtakingly wrong it is almost as though the filmmaker is projecting contempt.

On the other hand, John Ford deliberately made a film about Wales and populated it with nothing but Irish tropes, and I love the film in spite of that, so I think, maybe this can still work.

but every step is wrong, and it's more and more grating with each additional scene. wrong people, wrong clothes, wrong attitudes, wrong mountains, wrong... river (WTF rivers are smaller in the state, except THE river, which doesn't look like that), wrong religion, wrong... zoo? A zoo? seriously? okay so they're near Springfield then? and wrong, random accents, no attempt at diction, particularly the incorporation of profanity into the diction was just approached all wrong.

I'm also increasingly confused by McDormand's mountainside palace, presumably she got it in the divorce, but that house would be shatteringly expensive in state, she works in a gift shop and he was a cop.

In any event. everything being wrong aside, (this would be quite good set in Dublin, perhaps, or maybe in Bruges, even), the film is quite well done and entertaining. Sure I'm put off a bit at Dixon's pivot from one kind of bad to another kind (and I guess we're supposed to think he-done-gud?), but the ending itself it nicely conceived.

It's not the worst film nominated this year, and not a bad film, but probably in the bottom three ish for me.

wattsup32
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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#63 Post by wattsup32 » Sat Mar 03, 2018 8:30 am

What about the DRAMA(!) McDonagh tries to wring out of the early scene in the car between Hedges and McDormand where Hedges rages against her for intentionally driving the route home past the billboards and forcing him to be thinking about his raped and murdered sister? Hedges brings a lot to that scene and it hits such a deep emotional truism about guilt and grieving.

And, then, we get shot after shot of the billboards from McDormand's porch showing that the billboards are only about 100 yards from the entrance to her driveway. I took those repeated shots to be McDonagh trying to show us how emotionally close to her the fight still is by letting the physical closeness of the fight (the billboards are almost right in her front yard) stand as proxy.

Which brings me back to the car scene with Hedges. These repeated shots of the billboards from Hedges own front porch invalidate any of the emotional truth of that scene in the car. After all, how did he expect to make it to his driveway without passing the billboards? The film takes great pains to show us that there is no other way.

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

#64 Post by FrauBlucher » Sun Mar 04, 2018 12:15 am

I hated this. I read and heard folks refer to this as a dark comedy. If so, the humor isn't clever, just condescending. Anyway, this review I read from Battleship Pretension which made it's worst of list, pretty much sums up the way I feel.
5. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Films with sloppy executions are just a fact of life. We’ve all seen films go for something and then fall short. But Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is so sloppy in its exploration of so many sensitive subjects that the result is a film that feels deeply irresponsible. Topics such as rape, racialized police brutality, domestic violence, cancer, and suicide are all valid subject matters for film, but it must be understood that to devote a narrative to just one of those subjects requires a deft-hand. Instead, writer-director Martin McDonagh gives us a film filled with all these subjects that tells its story like a first draft (sometimes called the vomit draft, which would be an apt for how this film makes one feel). The film comes close to saying something about loss and regret with Frances McDormand’s character of Mildred. But anytime it does, it loses its footing but having her make some self-righteous speech that only draws the focus away from her personal situation. Those speeches represent the film’s other problem: not only is it sloppy, it’s incredibly arrogant at the same time. The film stops cold so Mildred can make a proclamation comparing Catholic priests to gang members that doesn’t say anything anyone hasn’t heard before. Yet we’re meant to think this is a Paddy Chayefsky moment. The worst example of the film’s lack of focus is Sam Rockwell’s Dixon. While Rockwell’s performance bridges a gap between comedy and drama that transcends the script, you cannot escape that this is a film where his character, a white sheriff’s deputy, tortured a black man, yet is given the “redemption arc” of the film. Such a story could have been told by a director who put great care into such a task, but that’s not what we have here. The few black characters that do appear in the film are props for the white characters’ stories, and two of them go on a date only to silently witness a step on Dixon’s road to redemption. There’s a small aspect of the film that gets to the heart of why Three Billboards is a failure. Abbie Cornish plays Woody Harrelson’s wife. Despite another May-December romance being noted in the film, no one mentions the 20-year age difference between Harrelson’s Sherriff Willoughby and his wife. What’s more, Cornish’s accent swings wildly between American and Australian. Did McDonagh not stop and work with Cornish on her performance? No, that would be responsible. Instead, the film just limply gives us an inconsistent and unbelievable performance, a disservice to both the actress and the audience. That’s what Three Billboards ultimately is: a film that takes on subjects that deeply affects millions of Americans and does a disservice to them. – IB

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

#65 Post by knives » Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:00 pm

movielocke wrote:particularly the incorporation of profanity into the diction was just approached all wrong.
This was probably the most distracting part of the film for me. I'm not from MO, but have lived in OH, PA and VA which I imagine has some similar things with regards to profanity (or at least WVA which of course surrounds all three) and the words used and when they were used just seemed completely false. The use of cunt for example was really inexplicable. That used regularly in Ireland, but is basically unheard of in the US and especially that southern/ midwest area. The film just couldn't convince that this is what the characters would be saying.

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 2017)

#66 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Mon Aug 06, 2018 8:05 am

I live in the midwest and I've heard it used by members of my family, in perhaps the most offensive and unrepeatable ways possible.

I tried keeping an open mind to this, and not really taking in the negative word of mouth but now having seen it and reading more into that stuff I can see their side of it more than I am the positive (of which I thought there were a couple things this had going for it, that weren't completely mangled by the end).

And maybe not that it matters at this point to any of the nay-sayers of which I'm a freshly-minted member of now, but...
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Regarding the girl's death, the father/ex-husband totally did it. Quick and likely brutal temper, "likes 'em young", and a former cop who knew how to cover his tracks. Not to mention his unexplained anger over the billboards, and his subsequent admission to torching them. The movie never really swerves that way, but it's perhaps indicative of some cognitive dissonance Mildred has towards him (even not holding back from comforting him for a brief moment during his otherwise tense and potentially violent visit).


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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 2017)

#68 Post by swo17 » Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:25 pm

Yikes

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