Blade Runner 2049/Stronger

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Rated Greg’s Top 5 Gosling Movies

  1. The Place Beyond The Pines
  2. Drive
  3. Blue Valentine
  4. La La Land
  5. The Nice Guys

The purpose of the Rated Greg rankings isn’t necessarily to outline what movie is “better” than another.  I can’t stress this enough.  Who’s to say whether La La Land is better than Moonlight, or vice versa?  That’s like declaring that the color red is superior to the color blue.  Movie preference is 100% subjective and mostly ingrained in our formative years, just like human attraction, window vs aisle, and condiments affections.

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No, the purpose of the Rated Greg rankings is simply, which movie would I recommend to one of my friends if they had a couple hours to spare, based on my own experience watching it.  Which movies were the most fun, which movies scared the crap out of me, and which movies had lasting effects on the more complex emotions?  Atomic Blonde probably won’t be listed on any Best of the Year posts from the mainstream media outlets, but it’s the most fun I had watching a movie this year (thus far), hence it’s current #1 spot on RG.  Stronger on the other hand, an impeccably acted and noteworthy piece of cinema, was absolutely grueling to sit through.  I’m glad I saw it, Jake Gyllenhaal is still the most talented actor working today IMO, but it’s not something I would necessarily recommend to a buddy (grade C).

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I say all this because I think Blade Runner 2049 is the most divisive and hard to grade film of the year (I haven’t seen mother! yet).  Is Blade Runner 2049 good?  It depends who you ask.  A lot of filmmakers and critics have raved about it, championing the dystopian noir as their favorite of the year.  The sense I get from the general public however is much less enthused.  It’s hard not to feel a little exhausted after spending close to 3 hours in a theater, but this is especially careful and slow for someone that might be expecting a sci-fi action movie (much like the 1982 original, it’s not).

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The more I think about the many specific, individual scenes though the more I realize that it does flirt with greatness. For one thing Blade Runner 2049 is the best looking film you’ll see all year and that’s not really up for debate.  There’s no safer Oscar bet than for legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins (No Country for Old Men, Fargo, Shawshank, Sicario) to get his long overdue win.  But even on deeper surfaces these scenes are really interesting, really profound, really weird, and ultimately just really cool.

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So I decided I’m a fan of the film, but that doesn’t mean I’m not aware of the flaws that the casual viewer will likely point out.  It IS confusing.  It IS overly “talky” at times (who invited Jared Leto?).  It’s definitely too long.  It IS a little boring even.  But I’m glad it’s flawed to the casual viewer.  Denis Villeneuve didn’t make it for the casual viewer.  In an era where studio executives are hell bent on mass appeal to the detriment of original ideas, it says something that WB was willing to spend $150 million on a film secretly meant for a niche audience.  The original Blade Runner after all is the very definition of a cult classic in that not everyone likes it (including me), but those that do fucking WORSHIP it. Sidenote: When I interviewed at WB, they asked me what my favorite movie of all time is (my heart said Bad Boys, but my mouth said True Romance) and two separate interviewers pointed to a poster on their wall and said Blade Runner when I returned the question. Anyways, my recommendation is to check out Blade Runner 2049.  It might really resonate with you, it might not, but at least you can enjoy the visuals and marvel at Gosling’s cool jacket.  Grade: B+

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