Everything Everywhere All at Once

Everything Everywhere All at Once ½

I feel like, in response to growing up and realizing they’re not meant to be important artists or leaders or activists or whatever, and that they’re just living an ordinary adult life like the rest of us, certain millennials have doubled down on that disappointment from the high expectations they had in childhood and are now like, actually I am the *most* important person in every universe that exists. Multiversal main character syndrome.

With an escalating mass mental health crisis underway in a country whose paltry private healthcare services are frequently out-of-reach to many, and inadequate for the lucky few who can even afford them, maybe it’s not a surprise that screen-damaged millennials have turned to making and consuming media as therapy. But should we have to be in the room while they process their solipsism and learned helplessness? Maybe if you’re a parent who wants to humor your child after they’ve been away at film school for years, and you want to see how your life savings were spent. The rest of us, though, have no such obligation, so we can safely abstain.

As it turns out, I was right about this bullshit before I even watched it, so trying to say anything now feels redundant as elaboration on my well-justified skepticism, that it would demand anymore of my time and attention after wasting them so rudely already. I should’ve just Žižeked this and posted a review without even watching.

I’d love to cut this thing to shreds in writing but — aside from it being chopped into meaningless, atrociously edited images already — it is something that can’t be written or thought about, a film flatly unwatchable. Like when someone shows you their phone and proclaims, “I can’t stop laughing at this,” but it’s two and a half interminable hours, and you have to pretend-smile and crack up along with them the whole time. (Or, like when you’re shown a Don Hertzfeldt film, maybe the closest comparable nadir in cinema.) I blame every rave review for the next decade of US cinema modeled on this. 

To my shock and dismay, I much preferred the last two Marvel movies I watched, both of which featured multiverses and, however clumsily, used them to some visual and emotive effect; what kind of supreme fuckups do you have to be for SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME to feel resonant in comparison? This was like the final boss of multiverse movies and, honestly, I’m not sure I won. It sure feels like I lost. I haven’t been this foul-tempered after a movie since LICORICE PIZZA, a boring and evil movie that, at least, didn’t make my eyeballs feel like they were boiling in my sockets. Whereas EEAAO is just aggressively, expensively a non-film.

Shoutout to the line about how “our institutions are crumbling,” and we need to go back to the way things were. That’s the level of genius everyone’s trying to convince you these guys are operating at: centrism as existentialism. Not that the Daniels know anything about politics, philosophy, or even the medium in which they peddle their pablum. For them, it’s enough to have an actor dressed like Tony Leung tell us he’s In the Mood for Kindness. Myself, I would simply avoid comparisons to one of the most beautiful and emotionally delicate films known to humanity if I were making epic bacon screensaver pastiche, but clearly embarrassment is not something they’re capable of, or their so-called ‘film’ wouldn’t exist in the first place. 

Can’t wait to see what they do with that A24 blank check for their follow-up!

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