Demolition (2016)

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The script for this is fucking FANTASTIC.

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LoneCooper wrote:The script for this is fucking FANTASTIC.
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LoneCooper wrote:The script for this is fucking FANTASTIC.
:D

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Plot: Davis (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a man who drifted through life, but had it pretty good on the surface. He married a beautiful woman who came from money. His father-in-law Phil (Chris Cooper; though, I kept imagining Harve Presnell from Fargo) gave him a job in finances where he didn't have to exert too much effort while bringing in a considerable income. But, it's after a car accident with Davis at the wheel which results in his wife's death that gets him to reconsider everything in his life. He realizes he never loved his wife, making mourning for her a considerable and confusing period. While at the hospital, he fails to get a candy bar from a vending machine for the proper amount of change. He writes a letter to the manufacturer, but what starts off as a complaint turns into a confessional. But, it doesn't stop there. He uses this vending machine company as an outlet for all of his pain, frustration, and woes, rifling off letter after letter. At the other end is Karen (Naomi Watts), who is touched and emotionally affected by the correspondence. This leads to a developing relationship. All the while, Phil--whose patience for the aloof and unaccommodating Davis grows increasingly thin--is pressuring Davis to sign off on a scholarship fund in his wife's name. Davis is becoming obsessed with taking things apart, in an effort to get to the heart of things, as well as a metaphor for the desire to start over. There's also a subplot involving Karen's son Chris [Judah Lewis] .

The script tackles themes of meaning in our capitalistic society. It's kind of a lower key American Beauty, without all the extremely designed plot mechanics, or, another way of looking at it is a variation on The Descendants. The script is self-referential and is aware of its own mechanics with some fantasy sequences which reminded me of Adaptation. Davis and Karen are quirky characters. Gyllenhaal is well-cast. Davis kind of reminds me of his Lou Bloom, but not as overly gung-ho about succeeding and lacking any kind of malicious intent. Karen could have easily been played by Kristin Wiig, so Watts is an interesting choice that should add to her variety of performances. Karen is a mother just barely getting through life, with a son who is displaying dangerous tendencies

Oscar Chances

This isn't particularly baity, but has sexy appeal because Jean-Marc Vallée has accrued four acting nominations for his last two films. His first of the two, Dallas Buyers Club--which won two acting Oscars--was textbook Oscar bait. The second was more a mediation on reconciling with death, which Demolition is also. However, the characters are more complicated. Davis is very impenetrable for most of the film, though he ends up having a catharsis. Karen has a scene where she melts down. So, this film will rely more on overall love for the movie, and especially its performances.

This movie also has Fox Searchlight, and we don't know what its priorities are going to be. So far, it has a period romance which opened up at Sundance to strong reviews (ala An Education). And, it also has a clever, modern coming of age film that opened at the same festival and won two of the top prizes, along with collecting 3/7 MC reviews with perfect scores.
I figured I would post this instead of my own review. This is much better than anything I could write about it, anyways, so.

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There was a test screening for this yesterday. Some reactions:
Demolition is really good folks! The film surprised me as being more of a character study than I anticipated. The film had an abrupt ending and I'm not entirely sure how it'll do at the Oscars? The film gets quite emotional towards the end, so perhaps that's a plus for its Oscar chances? I liked it though, a lot actually. I think you all will too. Jake Gyllenhaal is FANTASTIC and could definitely score a nomination. Gyllenhaal likes to break shit and there is an entire scene of him destroying his home. He's crazy!! He's also very lovable, but also kind of a dick. The film his Gyllenhaal's character dealing with grief and conflicted feelings. Gyllenhaal really does have a good shot at his first Oscar nomination since Brokeback Mountain.

I don't know about Nanny Watts, who's definitely not winning. She'd only land a nomination in a weak year. Naomi Watts actually gives a super low key, subdued performance. She doesn't do that much in my opinion. I actually preferred the kid actor who played her son, whom I thought was pretty great. Chris Cooper doesn't do much either.

The tone is super cynical and fucked up until the end when it becomes all sweet. It pissed me off, but will probably help the movie with awards voters. That quality may actually help the movie with awards voters though. Demolition is visually identical to Wild, especially the edits. The edits were quite reminiscent to Wild as well, very quiet and abrupt. It also had really good music choices in the film as well. It's very apparent when you see this this has the same crew as Wild.

For the acting nominations:
Actor - Gyllenhaal (not sure this is an actually winning performance though, but with FS on his side I think we're looking at a nomination)
Watts - Supporting (only if it's a weak year (I can't even think of a possible clip---just there?), although actors do love her)
The Kid - He would have a chance in my books, but I doubt it

Demolition is easily my favorite Jean Marc Vallee film. While it is my favorite Vallee film, I doubt it does as well at the Oscars as Dallas Buyers Club at the Oscars. The material is obviously not as baity.

Overall, Wild was him moving away from Oscar bait. I'd said this is continues the trend and is another step forward for Vallee as a director. It's less Oscar baity than both Wild and Dallas. Although, how can he reach the battiness of Dallas Buyers Club again?
"I loved Demolition! Gyllenhaal was FIRE. It's called Demolition for a reason. Gyllenhaal likes breaking shit! Movie's better than Wild."
"Watts is good, but it's definitely a supporting role. Tone... it's very funny but very much a drama. It's electric. Really well edited. Does a good job of aesthetically mirroring its protagonist's psychology"
Well, I enjoyed the movie for the most part despite having a difficult time connecting with Davis. His character is ridiculous for most of the movie and very unlikable as well. There's shades of his Nightcrawler performance in this movie but I think he goes deeper and gives a better performance in that. The tone of the movie reminded me of Silver Linings Playbook in how you have two quirky off-beat characters come together and sort of help each other heal and grow as human beings. Jake Gyllenhaal and Naomi Watts had good chemistry and the movie became a lot more interesting to me when her character is introduced. I am a fan of Watts but I must admit I was expecting a little more from her. Her performance is good but it's very subtle and is overshadowed by the flashier parts in the film. She will probably be nominated as a supporting actress but I am unsure if she can win since even her crying scene is not showy. The director has made a lot of progress since Dallas Buyers Club which I liked for the performances, but felt like a standard TV movie otherwise. His direction has become a lot more creative and cinematic with each movie and I would say this is his best directorial achievement so far. The editing was impressive as well. I just wish Davis didn't spend so much of the movie emotionless and cold, once he finally gets the chance to show some emotion at the end he nails it. As far as the Oscars go I believe this movie will do well. But this movie is much more quirky and intimate rather than conventional like his previous works and I'm not sure if that will work for him or against him. But Jake and Naomi should be good bets for nominations and Chris Cooper has two very emotional scenes as well as a strong presence throughout the movie despite limited screen time so he could get in as well. The subplot with her son and Davis was touching and was necessary in making his character somewhat likable by the end. The reviews for this should be strong and I believe it has a lot of commercial appeal as well. Everyone in the focus group enjoyed it, rating it either very good or excellent.

Just got back from seeing it. And I have to say, it's my favorite movie of the year. Both my girlfriend, and I walked out of the theater thoroughly pleased. Jake gave an excellent performance (as I have come to expect from him over the past few years.) Naomi Watts was great as well. She was no show stealer, but she gave a solid performance.

Judah Lewis however did steal the show. He gave a fantastic performance. His character was incredibly complex, and mature for someone his age, but nailed his role. This kid can act. Expect more from him in the future.

Now, for the person who said he heard mixed things about the script, I really didn't have any problems with it. My one complaint was that the movie was a little too heavy-handed with the metaphors. It could have been toned down just a tad. But, given that the script was self aware about all the metaphors, I'll let this minor complaint slide.

All in all, I really enjoyed Demolition, and I can't wait to see the final cut when it hits theaters.

8.5 at the very least.

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Jake never loses ever.

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Dodd wrote:Jake never loses ever.
Not lately he doesn't.

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Fox Searchlight ‏@foxsearchlight
This just in: we're releasing Jean-Marc Vallée's #DemolitionMovie, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Naomi Watts, on April 8, 2016!
Poor Jake! No Oscar hopes for him this year.

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People really need to stop obsessing about Oscars...it's all very political. At the end of the day you want quality films and performances and I still think this film will deliver that.

Regardless, he still will have a chance with Southpaw.

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