Directed by Olivia Wilde (Booksmart) — Story by Carey van Dyke, Shane van Dyke, and Katie Silberman.
Whether by design (for marketing purposes) or not, Don’t Worry Darling has amassed one of the wildest behind-the-scenes on-and-off-set dramas in recent memory. Olivia Wilde’s sophomore effort as a director — following the hit teen comedy Booksmart — is one of the most talked about films this year, but ‘the talk’ isn’t about the film itself. It started with an embarrassing public disagreement about whether Shia LaBeouf was fired or if he left the project of his own volition (and a leaked video wherein Wilde tried to get LaBeouf back on board), but it snowballed into stories about on-set tension (alleged screaming matches between the director and her leading lady), internet sleuthing about whether or not Harry Styles spat on Chris Pine at one of the film’s premieres, and Olivia Wilde’s alleged absence from the set has even been compared to Boris Johnson’s rule-breaking COVID era behavior.
It’s a lot of noise that is far more interesting than the film itself, honestly. But it is also true that certain male directors (and their films), which others have argued, have gotten away with even more questionable behavior. It’s a mess that may ultimately help the film at the box office (again, inadvertently or not), but I just wish the film was anywhere near as good or memorable as the behind-the-scenes drama surrounding it.
Directed by Clint Eastwood — Screenplay by Billy Ray.
There is a lot to say when it comes to Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell, which is a biopic about the security guard who discovered a bomb during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, then alerted authorities, and was later wrongly accused of having planted it. While the film is not without problems, on the whole, I thought that Clint Eastwood’s 2019 picture was a success. This is a heartbreaking and infuriating film about the investigation into the Centennial Olympic Park bombing and the media circus and harsh media trial that followed as a result of an FBI leak, and at the center of the film is a breakthrough performance that I don’t think got the praise it deserved. Continue reading “REVIEW: Richard Jewell (2019)”→
We are already halfway through the year. 2019 isn’t coming to an end just yet, but we’ve already seen plenty of shows, episodes, or movies that we’ll remember the year for. In today’s article, you’ll find bite-sized notes and comments on the best films, shows, or performances from the first half of the year. Sure, my official awards winners and top tens won’t be published until the end of the year, but this is a great milestone or halfway-mark to look back upon some day in the future. Please follow the links below to read individual reviews of each film or series. Continue reading “Halfway Through the Year: 2019 – Special Features #52”→
The following is a review of Booksmart — Directed by Olivia Wilde.
Before I saw Booksmart, it had been impossible for me to avoid the online bombardment of incessant comparisons between Booksmart and Superbad. The comparison made sense, even when I hadn’t seen the film. This is a coming-of-age film about two best friends who want to have a good time before they leave for college. Also, one of the two leads in Booksmart is Superbad-star Jonah Hill’s sibling Beanie Feldstein. Having now seen Olivia Wilde’s directorial feature debut, I have to admit that it would be wrong to say that it isn’t very similar to Superbad. Thankfully, though, I grew up with Superbad. I love Superbad. So it pleases me to say that any comparison to Superbad is by no means meant to be anything other than a compliment of the highest order. Booksmart is a modern, sweet, and gender-swapped, next-generation version of Superbad and I loved every minute of it. Continue reading “REVIEW: Booksmart (2019)”→