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LGM Film Club, Part 407: Under the Silver Lake

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I’m on a run of movies from the last five years or so, trying to catch up on the many I have missed. In fact, partly due to my love of old movies, I’ve done a pretty bad job of watching movies released since the start of the pandemic. 2019 was both a great year for film and the last year I really have thoroughly investigated. So of course I would start this miniseries of films with one of the 2019 films I had missed.

Unfortunately, Under the Silver Lake is a total mess and the worst of the twenty films I have seen from that, and by a good margin. I presently have Dolemite is My Name at 19th and I would watch that 10 times before watching this crap again, as it is actually entertaining, if minor. David Robert Mitchell directs Andrew Garfield as a stoner slacker conspiracy theorist in his 30s who stumbles into a world of a weird Los Angeles underground after his hot neighbor disappears the night after they get high and make out. Somehow Mitchell was nominated for the Palm d’Or at Cannes for this failure. Garfield is intended to be a sort of pop-culture filled nod toward LA noir, but it is really a far dumber version of The Dude wandering out and getting his head filled with the kind of conspiracy theories that lead to nothing at all. You could try to explain what actually happens, but it’s not worth it because it adds up to nothing. And that’s the problem with a film like this–it needs to lead somewhere. The conspiracy theorist is a bore in real life, but as a character, they can be quite compelling. There’s a long history of conspiracy in film. This does not add to that because it’s just a great pile of empty. Instead, it is just a too-hip, too-self-referencing, too cynical take on a long history of film and it just sucks.

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