Guys, I am still pretty sure the end of the world is imminent, and we’re way passed Idiocracy.
I give you a less comedic, and yet, completely insane telling of the world’s ultimate demise, Southland Tales. “Not with a whimper, with a bang.”
Set in an alternate LA just before July 4, 2008, this flick tells the interwoven stories of an amnesiac action star (The Rock), a police officer (Sean William Scott), a tripped out soldier (Justin Timberlake), a porn star (Sarah Michelle Gellar), and, I don’t know, half the cast of SNL and a gaggle of B list stars, teeing up to a 4th of July celebration that may or may not be the apocalypse.
From the mindhouse of the guy behind Donnie Darko, this bent timeline ensemble is an insanely fun star studded romp that, while pretty out there, rings a little bit true. Made in 2007, the porn star trying to get a reality show story seemed somewhat far fetched. Call in 2016, and the satirical alternate LA seems all too real.
Aside from it’s… story, this movie is also a lot of fun when treated like an anthology of scenes. It has the futuristic campness of an acid trip Blade Runner, a soundtrack that dreams are made of, and scenes that could be standalone short films. Timberlake has a music video like interlude that is his complete antithesis and, alone, is a great film. (See below if you need convincing)…. (Honestly, it could be a standalone short film about a veteran returning from war, turning to illegitimate work after being left behind by the government after a war injury, PTSD, valuing over masculinity, and vets turning to drugs. And watch Justin do his best to hide his Justin-ness, and at 2:40, let his Justin-ness spill over into a casual dance move).
It’s campy. It’s crazy. It’s real. It’s allegorical. It’s biblical. It’s a TRIP. It’s full of space and future bullshit. It’s sci fi. It’s comedy. It’s star studded. Honestly, look at the cast. Most are bona fide standalone characters, but it also gives it that “everyone in hollywood showed up to add a layer of cameo” vibe from bonkers flicks like Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. It’s also full of quotes that are completely unquotable and yet, you’ll want them on an inspirational poster.
It’s also pretty long and comes with a comic book prequel, so save it for a Sunday if you’re willing to dive right in.
Great if you liked: Blade Runner, Idiocracy, Donnie Darko, Dr. Strangelove