|Index||10 reviews in total|
In the low-budget indy genre, a lot can be forgiven, less than perfect acting, rough effects, poor lighting, touchy at times sound, shaky camera-work, all sorts of things can be overlooked if need be, but the cardinal sin is overwrought, uninspired, navel gazing writing. Jesus Christ, man, you're going to spend thousands of dollars because you have a story to tell, and THIS is it? Perhaps, one should consider that just because we can, doesn't always mean we should. If I had to use one word to describe this film, I think I'd go with, 'wasteful.' Not like, it wasted time (which it did) but like the fact that it was made is a wasted of time, money, resources, storage space on someone's macbook pro, and in their hard drive, needless hours of use on a poor poor camera that had to sit through the whole thing for god knows how long. Jesus. Just, Jesus.
Seems like most viewers are disturbed and offended by the main
Jimmy as a character is *supposed* to bother you.
His wild and offensive nature is written to show you how deeply you're unwilling to let yourself live fully and truly to yourself.
He says it himself in the last 30 minutes, but I suspect people just watch the movie as being about "some other guys in an apartment" and have no capacity to see art as a reflection to question their own lives.
I feel that this movie was written from the "cutting edge" of what's *actually going on* in the world today, beneath surface appearances.
It shines a brilliant spotlight on what, in my humble opinion, are some of the defining questions of this day and age:
What do we do with this incredible opportunity that being alive in the 21st century affords us?
If you were dying of a terminal illness (hint: you already are), and had all your basic needs accounted for (hint: you already do), what would you do with your life?
Would you want to dance around your apartment alone and naked like Jimmy? If so, is that what you *really* would want?
Would you want to "give back" by joining the workforce like Jimmy's roommate? If so, is that what you *really* would want?
While watching this movie it's a good idea to put yourself in Jimmy's shoes rather than having a kneejerk reaction of seeing him as "just some crazy guy", while having the also-kneejerk reaction of seeing his roommate as "the sane one".
Thank you Matt D'Elia for what you did here.
Jimmy and James have rich parents and live in a nice apartment in a big
city. Jimmy has long hair and a beard, and he takes a lot of pills
because, he says, he is dying. But he also abuses drugs that aren't
prescribed for him, sleeps when he wants, acts like a maniac, does
impressions of celebrities and pretty much does whatever he pleases. He
even made up his own language and has told people his name isn't Jimmy
any more. It's something that makes about as much sense as Prince's
James, on the other hand, tries to be responsible, though he too seems to smoke pot. He has gotten a job as a paid intern and isn't sure how Jimmy is going to take it.
Sharing their apartment is a dog named Billie who doesn't seem to do much of anything, and yet the camera focuses on Billie every now and then.
There are works of art all around the apartment, ranging from what kids would put on their parents' refrigerators to copies of the great works such as The Mona Lisa. Classical music is playing throughout most of the movie, and Jimmy pretends to conduct in at least one scene. It's not clear whether the music is really being played in most of the scenes, or if it is just the audience hearing it.
Most of the movie involves a visit from two pretty girls, both named Angela. The blonde one is a lot like Jimmy, casually dressed and carefree. The brunette one dresses like she has a clerical job in an office and seems more uptight. Yet both girls are willing to smoke pot, and both show evidence of being somewhat like we thought the other was.
The guys and the girls have fun playing games and even decorate for Christmas despite the fact it is August. A song obviously based on "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" plays, with a vocalist that sounds like Brenda Lee.
But the movie is not all fun. Eventually it gets serious, such as when Jimmy finds out the truth about James' job, and at one point Jimmy has to rant about just about everything that is wrong with the world. At some point, he does have to face the fact that he is dying. Or at least he says he is.
Is this a quality production? It sure feels like a low-budget film, and often these are some of the best. In fact, the man playing Jimmy directed and wrote it too. He does quite a good job with the impressions and the crazy behavior. Whether you have the patience to get through the more serious scenes depends on your taste in what are called "art films", which I guess this one is. It starts out as a crazy comedy, but that just can't continue.
The other actors do a good job.
The classical music does make this more pleasant than some movies which can't get along without today's hits.
I saw this on broadcast TV, but I could tell the language had been cleaned up A LOT.
Is it good? I've certainly seen worse.
before watching i read the summary, then reviews by other watchers.
then watched the film. so i was prepared for this odd film. not a
particular good art film but definitely a tour into the mind of the
first i believe jimmy is already dead at the beginning of this movie! why? because i cannot accept the 'acceptance' of his behavior by his roommate or the two girls. even if someone is dying there are limits to what others will tolerate. and jimmy exceeds this limit in every frame. as 'not blonde angela' kept saying "you're acting like a crazy person".
yes jimmy was erratic and peculiar in life but what we (the viewers) are seeing is the friends memory of him and their personal interactions with him in the past. jimmy is gone and his reconciliation with death is their acceptance of his passing. everyone remembers others quite differently. james has his own issue with jimmy because he actually never told jimmy about his job. james merely imagines how jimmy would react to this because james broke "the agreement".
i could write more but i think most people (if they actually read these reviews) will take my assessment of this film as 'too off the wall'!
American Animal is a very strange and thought provoking film that portrays the life of two best friends, Jimmy and James, who live in a bubble. They both have all the money they will ever need from their parents, and thus they have nothing to do but eat, sleep, have sex, and squalor. The juxtaposition between their life outlooks however keeps you sucked into the movie and wondering where each of these characters will end up. Jimmy, the drugged, animalistic, jobless, and idealistic friend, who has a severely skewed perception of reality, lives in a world with no rules. James however, is the character that represents someone who wants to have a job, give back, and make something out of his life by being an active participant in society. James's discontent with Jimmy's brain-dead outlook and stagnant life creates an immense amount of friction between the two, causing the viewer to stop and think, what is life all about? If you had all the money in the world would you remove yourself from reality and selfishly enjoy false physical pleasures, or would you give back to the world that gave you so much and keep trying to become a better person? As twisted as American Animal is, these valuable questions are necessary for you to contemplate in your evolution as a human being.
American Animal was a very unique film. This piece pushes the boundaries on what we are familiar with seeing. In an almost Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas atmosphere, Writer/Director/Star Matt D'Alia takes you for a wild ride through anything that crosses his mind. Matt stars as Jimmy, the dying son of rich parents who lives with his best friend in a high rise apartment. This apartment ends up being the only environment Matt needs to give you a visual tour you won't forget. With a great use of framing, Matt visually shows you the character dynamics between the only four characters you see: Jimmy, his roommate James, Blonde Angela and Not Blonde Angela. The women end up being pawns that Jimmy (Matt) uses to drive home some points, and show the differences in their characters. James, played by Brenden Fletcher, wants to finally branch out of the imaginary playland their apartment is for them and make an attempt to affect the outside world. Jimmy is much more concerned with releasing the internal world that now has free reign over the external world. Where James begins to see their apartment as isolated and hindering, Jimmy sees it as the apex zone for the animal's desire to rule reality, the ultimate American dream. Having no worries, no needs that aren't filled, Jimmy decides to take his desires to the extreme, which are relatively simple and rather animalistic. In an explosive scene between James and Jimmy, Jimmy explains how incredible he feels his opportunity at life really is, considering all the men and animals that worked so hard for him to have this opportunity to express his pure self freely with no chains attached. In a very telling statement Jimmy(Matt) says "I am scared of nothing, I think that's why they are scared of me, they see I am not scared, and that scares them." Not afraid of being who you want to be, free expression of what you are, an animal. Just see what Jimmy decides to do while James is at work.
AA was definitely an experience... One of the most unique art films
I've seen. At times it reminded a lot of American Psycho and Requiem
for a Dream. Some parts seemed a little over the top and melodramatic
but overall I thought it was a very interesting and well done film. It
was also interesting to make the connections with the various movie
nods within the film itself (for example: Gangs of New York).
Whenever I consider writing a screenplay I always want it to center around a main character whose mental health is questionable but he can't be called outright crazy, I think that the writer/director/star Matt D'elia did a superb job of it in the film and it made for a very entertaining and layered story that seemed somewhat one dimensional at first.
Words like "wild" and "madness" are cliché, but there's really no other
way to describe American Animal. Just like Jimmy's (Matt D'Elia) more
straight-laced roommate James struggles to voice his own concerns,
ambitions, and feelings in the face of Jimmy's relentless energy; it's
hard to describe the film as anything other than completely mad.
Ultimately this is what made it so challenging at times, but also so
engaging. This is no holds-barred madness that refuses to be channeled
in a single vein, and the film jumps from one bizarre scene to the
next; each a different manifestation of Jimmy's deranged psyche brought
to life. Jimmy is Fight Club's Tyler Durden reinvented; half as violent
and twice as zany, obsessed with Hollywood actors and costumes instead
of Project Mayhem and underground boxing.
But like Tyler Durden, Jimmy fights what he perceives to be the conformist indoctrination of the masses with his own extreme doctrine and is mercilessly intolerant of his friends' more "normal" views. He leaps before he looks. He acts, then asks for forgiveness, or doesn't. The film drags and is at times overly dramatic, but the whole thing builds and builds until it spirals out of control. It offers some severe gut-checks amidst the chaos, offering clarity in the confusion, and it gives the film the uncompromising point it searches for.
When I first walked into the film, I wanted to have an open mind about
what I would be watching, and I can honestly say I'm glad I did.
American Animal was really interesting as it combined the feeling of an
art-house film, with the song "Lazy Sunday". I thought it had some
genuinely funny moments, while raising a couple social issues that are
pretty present in my life. I had a fun time watching it and made me
happy to see an Indie director put his work on the screen.
I've seen a lot of films about eccentric personalities, (mostly because I have one myself) but Jimmy really out did himself in this one. When I was first introduced to him in the film, I got the impression that he was a "seize the day" kind of guy and that he was going to be a fun character. While I was watching the film I really got invested in his character and thought he was one of the strongest part of the film. While we was a bit grating at times, he had some really heartfelt moments and was definitely the most memorable part of the film.
I saw it like a month ago at SXSW and I still can't get it out of my
head. WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW. You have to see this whenever it becomes
available. Can't wait to see it again!
Don't want to say too much, words can't really do it justice. It's a one of a kind in the truest sense. Great acting, great writing, really colorful movie. Keep your eyes peeled. Am thrilled to say I was able to see it at its premiere at SXSW!
The director said he was inspired by Bob Fosse and Mike Nichols, two filmmakers whose work I'm not all that familiar with (I know, shame on me), and I liked this movie enough to check out more of their movies.
Anyway, I loved this movie. Wish there were more like it. Definite 10 out of 10.
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