There’s a lot of good streaming media out there these days, if you know where to look for it – Netflix is still a major player, but as they move more and more toward TV shows, others are taking up the slack. These Stream It! columns may pull from any of the major streaming services, and will be sporadically produced as I have time and feel called. Films often expire from these services, so if you’re reading this from the future, the films I highlight may no longer be available.
New on Netflix: Wrong
Quentin Dupieux’s Wrong is as delicious a dry humor absurdist comedy as you could wish for. It ended up in my Top Ten for 2012, and here’s my capsule review from when I saw it at 2012’s AFI Film Festival.
I was a pretty big fan of Quentin Dupieux’s previous film Rubber, and I may have loved Wrong even more, with its full-blown absurdity bolstered by an ever-so-slightly more substantial story. Dolph Springer wakes up one morning to find his beloved dog missing, an event that sends his already spiraling life even more out of control. Other things he’s dealing with: his workplace is constantly raining (yes, inside the office), his coworkers seem very intent that he doesn’t belong there, his neighbor and seemingly only friend leaves suddenly on a driving trip to find himself or something, the girl at the pizza place seems to have developed an obsession with him, and what’s more, the palm tree in his backyard has mysteriously turned into a pine tree. “There shouldn’t be a pine tree here. It doesn’t make sense.” No, it doesn’t, and neither does anything else in the film – except, as true absurdity should, it sort of does, right down to the eventually-revealed reason for the dog’s disappearance. Everything in the film is wrong, from obvious things like it raining indoors and trees randomly changing types to the ways people interact with each other. It’s a perfect storm of the awkward and nonsensical, and thanks to the deadpan script and actors’ perfect timing throughout, it’s absolutely hilarious even as you feel bad for these people who can’t quite manage to get along in any way that even resembles normalcy. It’s definitely getting my vote for funniest film I’ve seen this year, and I think it’s safe to say that Dupieux is perfectly tapped into my sense of humor.
Double Feature: Being John Malkovich
Both films treat absurdity with a matter-of-factness that I find simply delightful. In Wrong, as mentioned above, it’s raining in Dolph’s office. In Being John Malkovich, John Cusack’s office is on a half-floor, and everyone has to crouch to be there. Crouching around, he notices a mytserious door and goes through it, finding himself temporarily in the head of John Malkovich, a discovery he decides he can profit on by selling it as a weird sort of tourism. Both films carry out their premises to ridiculous conclusions, and they’d make a great double feature.