Monday, February 25, 2013

Killer Joe A Comedy of White Trash Horrors Sep 08, 2012 11:18PM PST

So I just got back from watching Killer Joe, a movie that is set and partially filmed in my hometown of Dallas (other parts filmed in Louisiana, as was Beasts of the Southern Wild which I saw this summer), and I'm still not sure how to describe it.

Not the plot, mind you, the plot is a very straightforward murder-gone-wrong tale, featuring Matthew McConaughey as a Dallas Police Department detective by day, and a hired assassin by parts of the day he's not doing that detective paperwork he mentions in passing. Actually, aside from one scene where he stops by the station to get a gun out of his locker, he seems to have an awful lot of free time and/or lack of cases on his hands, but whatever, movie magic.

No, it's with the disturbing, and awkwardly hilarious dialogue, the dumbest and most depraved caricatures of white trash I may have ever seen on the silver screen, and penchant for brutality, emotionally, mentally, and physically, that the movie elicits simultaneously from the viewer (at least speaking for myself) a sense of pure trainwreck entertainment and the need for a long, hot shower amidst the depravity. And, consequently, a failure to know how or who to reccomend this to, or even how to put together the plethora of mismatched puzzle pieces that make this movie one of the best reasons the government could have to warantlessy wiretap my creepy self's phone, given how much I enjoyed it.

Without spoiling anything, there's a 20-something named Chris who owes some bad people some money. He gets kicked out of his mom's house after throwing her against a refrigerator in rage (one of the few scenes of violence not actually shown) and goes back to live with his ready-to-be-fried-by-the-trigger-happy-state-of-Texas IQ bearing father, played by Emile Hersch (Sandman, Spider-Man 3), his step-mom that loathes him, and his traumatized, disconnected, but easily excitable sister, Dotty, who adores him. Chris convinces Hersch's character that if they hire Killer Joe to kill his mother, Hersch's ex-wife, they can get $50,000 out of her insurance, which would be left to Dotty, which would be enough to pay Joe his $25,000 fee, get Chris out of trouble, and be split between the two male role models. Unfortunately, Joe requires payment up-front, and only agrees to do the dirty work if twelve-year-old Dotty can be his "retainer." 

After a series of sad, miserable misunderstandings, bloodshed, pedophilia, and infedelity, everything culminates in a scene that screams, "If Matthew McConaughey ever becomes the spokesperson for Buffalo Wild Wings, and there is a God, Armageddon will rain down from the heavens, because we all will deserve it." And yet, I enjoyed myself immensely, fixated on the scum of the earth, feeling sorrow for people who mostly deserved what they got, and laughing, perhaps because I was so shocked, I just had to let the air out.


But it's not just shock value; this movie is a well-crafted suspense thriller, the twists and turns it takes for the eternally worse surprising me, but with enough out-in-the-open hints of their coming, I felt as dumb as some of the characters when they came, caught off-guard by how obvious they should have been, and somehow weren't. The movie's appeal is also a result of expert comedic timing, the characters' stupidity coming in at just the right time amongst the horrors of the situations presented.

Killer Joe was originally a play, but unlike the god-awful House of Yes (which, apparently some people love, and I don't know why), you can't really tell, the actors playing it very quiet and intense in a natural, and not overly exaggerated way. 

If you can stomach a movie that earns its NC-17 rating with a vengeance, and like having your conflicting emotions hypnotize you into enjoying something part of you doesn't want to look at, see this immediately if you're near an art house theater that's playing it. For you and I, it's a masterpiece of sorts.

If the bloody belligerence of depraved and/or dumb hellbound hicks sounds like something you'd walk out on (people did at the Angelika screening I attended), save your money, and quite possibly your cheerful soul.

- In happier news, Grimaldi's Pizzeria in Dallas is still amazing, brick-oven baked, NY style pizza. My friend and I took advantage of their $1 cheesecake deal, opting for the oreo cheesecake. Inadvertently supporting LGBT rights never tasted so damn good.

- My SFA Lumberjacks lost to SMU 52-0. Well, my friend's sister is happy, as is my middle school best friend who also attended SMU (and was SMU's Young Democrats head-of-something-or-other, and now works in Dallas as a Democrat campaigner, putting his jobs score after college as a 1 to my 0... please hire me radio, I graduated Magna Cum Laude while holding a supervisory position FFS)

- I hope to have the first installment of My Gaming Timeline, focusing on my experiences with and around the NES, up tomorrow. What are you all up to?


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