the simpsons movie (david silverman, 2007)
music friday

geezer cinema: the menu (mark mylod, 2022)

The Menu is the child of many influences. Nothing new, nothing bad about that. Director Mark Mylod has cited Get Out and The Exterminating Angel, among others. These are excellent influences, almost too excellent, for while The Menu is reminiscent of those films, it isn't nearly as good. Which is no crime ... Get Out and The Exterminating Angel are great movies. But while The Menu works on the level of a horror movie, I got the feeling Mylod was trying for something more, that he wanted to make a statement about, I don't know, capitalism and art? And I think he comes up short.

Like The Menu, Get Out can be seen as "just" a horror story. But, as I wrote, "Get Out plays with the usual tropes of horror movies, but the subtext is practically the text. The essential horror of Get Out lies in the dangers for black Americans trying to maneuver their way through the dominant white culture." In place of Jordan Peele's specific social context targeting the perils for African-Americans within a "liberal" America, Mylod offers a satirical peek at the follies of the rich. And I like movies that poke at the rich. A better comparison might be with The Exterminating Angel, which isn't really a horror movie but which also targets the rich. But Buñuel is better at this than is Mylod (again, not a crime ... Buñuel is a great film maker). Again quoting myself: "Only gradually do we realize that the breakdown of social niceties that occurs when the rich are trapped in the room is, for them, akin to the breakdown of civilization itself." I never get the feeling Mylod extends his satire to civilization ... it's always just rich people with food fetishes.

I'm making The Menu sound worse than it is. It's entertaining, has some top actors, and yeah, rich people come out badly. But I'm left with a repeated theme: The Menu is a good movie that never matches the power of its influences.


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