Here are the quick movie reviews for “Eighth Grade” and “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot”.
A portrait of social media saturation in one of the roughest parts of one’s life, “Eighth Grade” is a film that incapsulates all the, for some shocking, reality of being in the eighth grade today. Bo Burnham comes in firing here with his directorial debut and his screenwriting debut as well. Burnham’s direction here is quite strong as he brings the socially awkward feeling to life better than any director I’ve ever seen. You will likely catch yourself cringing at the awkwardness, which means Burnham’s got you right where he wants you. Burnham’s screenplay is pretty strong as he brings the near constant “yeahs” and “ums” in so many of the conversations. The only negative in the film comes from the screenplay as well, as we see the somewhat clichéd teachers, that are trying so hard to connect with the students and your average clichéd school crush. The performances on the other hand are very strong from our lead character, “Kayla”, played very well by Elsie Fisher, as well from her dad in the film played by Josh Hamilton. Their relationship in the film brings so many comedic and emotional moments throughout. “Eighth Grade” is a genuine, dry, awkward wide-eyed comedy that dives into social media depression and teen angst with the best of them.
Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot
A look at alcoholism in a new light, “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot” takes a look at a quadriplegic cartoonist and instead of focusing on his disability focuses on his recovery from alcoholism. Gus Van Sant has shown to be in the heart of the independent film movement and the studio mainstream and here he brings them both. From the ragged style of “Drugstore Cowboy” to the therapeutic uplift of “Good Will Hunting”, we see them clash and meld together here and it works pretty well. This isn’t your inspirational swelling music biopic, here we focus on a man destroyed by alcohol and his relationship with his mother. The performances here are nothing short of fantastic as we see Joaquin Phoenix take the leading role of “John Callahan” and he never disappoints for a second. His raw unchained emotion fills the screen, as his character attempts to inch closer to sobriety. Jonah Hill here gives maybe the best performance of his career as he brings a sheer playfulness to his character “Donnie”. Hill pours so much into his characterization as his character goes to many places with his cynicism, soulful intensity and philosophical AA discussions. Also even with the little screen time he has Jack Black gives some of his best work as well in two very different emotional moments. A criticism this film has faced from some has been its disjointed timeline, as it often jumps back and forth through time. And though at times it will throw you off, I feel Van Sant was attempting to pull you into Callahan’s life and show you how disjointed it was for him through all his ups and downs.