Drinking Buddies

This sums up the whole movie.
"A comedy about knowing when to say when."

Hey everyone, welcome back to The Tagline! I'm attempting to get through The Mortal Instruments, which I swear to god has to be like 70 hours long (that's how the first 40 minutes felt at least) so in the mean time I'll have to entertain us by talking about that not so good movie that I watched over the weekend. That movie was Drinking Buddies, a thrilling film with the tagline above, that I think was dubiously about any of those words. Starring Anna Kendrick (see her more relevant work here), Jake Johnson (his more relevant work here) Olivia Wilde (All over the place, here have Deadfall) and Ron Livingston (The guy from Office Space you know) as they drink lots of beer and carry on with their intensely mundane existences. It features drinking in a bar, making phone calls to potential clients, walking in the woods, and moving furniture. Yeah I can see you all practically falling off your chairs you're so into it. I'm gonna go into more detail though, so hold onto your hats kiddies.

I'd want to drink that MORE after. Should I not admit that?
So the movie starts with Kate (Wilde) and Luke (Johnson) who are co-workers at a brewery, Kate seems to be on the PR and marketing side of things, Luke actually is involved in the brewing process, okay that's nice. They are both ridiculous slobs who probably have actually very serious problems with alcoholism if the amount of time they spend drinking on camera in this movie is any indicator. They spend the day flirting or whatever at work, but they both also have significant others (well I guess not THAT significant) so that makes things AWKWARDDDDD. Luke is dating Jill (Kendrick) and has been for 6 years and she is wayyyy younger than him so THAT'S COOL, and Kate is dating Chris (Livingston) who is a douchebag music producer or something whatever he seems like a real tool. Some days pass and they go on a double date and then hang out at some cabin or something of Chris' I guess? Then Chris and Jill go on a hike together and Chris kisses Jill and honestly they seem to get along better than Jill and Beerman, but whatever. Jill goes to Costa Rica for something and Kate breaks up with Chris, presumably because he's sick of dating a lush who doesn't love douchey poetry like he does. That's fair I guess. So Kate is single and bangs Ti West (ew gross Kate don't do that, his movies are awful!) and then later spends a weekend with Luke, who is helping her move to a smaller apartment. Stuff gets kind of weird, lines get blurry thanks to liberal volumes of alcohol, and then they fight about stuff. Afterwards Jill admits to Luke that she kissed Chris, he forgives her, end scene. They've been talking about marriage, but haven't made definitive plans yet.

So what is the result of all of this? Nothing really. Kate is out a boyfriend, but things don't seem to change much between Kate and Luke at work, and Jill and Luke are about where they were before the whole weird middle part of the movie. Status quo maintained, which would be great in a TV sitcom, but is not the best way to conduct a movie. It would not be a huge leap to say that in this movie, basically nothing happens, some relationship conflicts were presented, and then not resolved. If I wanted to watch some people dance around each other and then never find out what happened, I would go to a bar for two hours, and then leave. I'm not saying movies need a neat bow tied around the end of them, but aside from Kate's relationship ending with Chris, almost nothing had even changed from the beginning of the movie, and that wasn't exactly a profound alteration of the landscape. Here's a review from a critic, let me quote it in a block quote and then we can talk about how full of shit it is. Joe Swanberg is the director BTW (he was the older tough guy brother in You're Next actually):

"Mr. Swanberg’s camera weaves through bodies at rest, at work and at the bar in no particular hurry, and his script captures the idioms of men and women who are equally inclined to waste words and to say very little. But the busy tedium of their lives is given shape and direction by the skill of the cast and by the precision of the director’s eye, ear and editing instincts."

This one sums up my FEELINGS about the movie.
Yeah okay what the fuck does that even mean? It's funny that he talks about men and women inclined to waste words and to say very little, because he managed to waste a whole fucking ton of them by saying nothing. Basically what this guy (A. O. Scott of the New York Times) said in that gratuitous volume of words is "In this movie, we follow the boring lives of some boring people, and the movie is meandering and nothing in particular happens, but that's okay because artsy sounding nonsense talk." Yes, Joe Swanberg's precise eyes and ears made it okay for me while I watched this movie, because even though nothing was happening especially it was all edited with such fine instinct. Remember that this man is paid to write these things. I'm going to try not to think about that and move on with my life. I discovered while reading up on this movie that there was actually no script, just a general outline given to the cast which they then improvised dialogue off of. So Joe Swanberg didn't even really write this movie. He wrote an outline that was probably slightly vaguer than the one I did above, and that was it. So kudos to the cast for making that work, at least into an intelligible framework that was an effective simulation of real people. That probably took a lot of skill, and I am impressed! (No really I was seriously impressed when I found that out, but I'm not surprised, there's a lot of grade A talent wasted in this movie) It doesn't change the fact that this movie was not comedic, was boring, and barely anything happened in it.

What is Joe's explanation for this non-ending? Well let's ask the man himself:

"it's hard for me, knowing how uncertain the world is, to put a certain, definite ending on a movie. I feel like I'm hopefully hinting that there's a resolution without it being cemented down, or hammering you over the head with it."

Fuck you Joe.

That's it for this week! Join me next week where maybe I can tell you just how listless The Mortal Instruments made me feel! 
Now I know why his brother wanted to kill him in You're Next.

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