As Kid, Jake Gyllenhaal Wrote ‘Complaint Letter’ to KFC

11 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Demolition’ review: It’s the quirky bastard child of ‘Silver Linings’ and ‘Garden State’.

Jake Gyllenhaal came out swinging sledgehammers — literally and emotionally — on Thursday night with the world premiere of his new movie Demolition at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film by director Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club) is heartbreaking and often humorous as Gyllenhaal’s character Davis Mitchell has trouble dealing with the death of his wife. Despite a decent lead performance (really, it takes something like Prince of Persia for Gyllenhaal to be bad), a mishmosh of tone and fundamentally idiotic premise make Jean-Marc Vallée’s latest a real chore to watch. The polarizing documentarian displayed his very secretive project Where to Invade Next, and brought down the packed Princess of Wales theater in Toronto with a standing ovation.

Instead of reaching out to someone, he gets his thoughts out in a complaint letter directed to the company whose vending machine “ate” his peanut M&Ms, and Davis finds a confidante in a customer-service woman named Karen (Naomi Watts) who receives his snail mail. “This is about a guy who really doesn’t know what he feels or how he feels because he’s been mired and locked in convention for so long. The film, which many, including us, originally believed was about America’s continuous cycle of war around the world, is really an optimistic look at policies other countries have gotten right and how America could adopt them in the future.

What I loved about it is it’s a story that begins the movie in the conventional way and ends the movie through an unconventional journey, feeling however he’s supposed to feel and not how society’s told him to feel. Moore ventured to Italy to highlight the amount of paid leave each Italian citizen receives as part of its country’s laws; to Finland to illustrate how the country turned around its failing school system; to Norway to show off its humane incarceration policies; and to France to demonstrate the gorgeous, healthy, and inexpensive gourmet meals the country serves its children in school. That’s a bit uncomfortable, particularly as an actor, to try and figure out not what you’ve been told grief is supposed to be but just discovering as you go.” And his character REALLY likes to destroy household items — the movie title isn’t just a coincidence.

If you took Silver Linings Playbook’s treatment of mental health issues and the cheeseball forced epiphanies fromGarden State, this is their quirky melodrama bastard child. Moore called it “Mike’s Happy Movie” in a lively post-screening Q&A, a film that, in a drastic change for the director, focused on none of the problems in the U.S. but rather offered a bunch of solutions. Gyllenhaal explains how in one scene Davis and Karen’s son (Judah Lewis) go to down with the destruction on half of a house that Vallée had created during the New York shoot: “He built an entire half of a hous and then he gave me and Judah tools and we destroyed the house ourselves. In order to achieve that Moore didn’t shoot a frame of the film in the states. “It was more devastating to shoot elsewhere,” he said, opting for news footage of U.S. strife – police brutality, poor education, crumbling infrastructure – when necessary to illustrate some of his finer points. He destroyed a couple things because he needed to after spending so much tome preparing it, and he probably looked forward to breaking some windows.” Gyllenhaal also was able to dance a little bit when Davis has a sort of breakthrough in the movie and it’s one of very moments of expression for the character.

And after his interviews and meetings with business leaders, politicians, and workers in these various countries, he’s more optimistic about real change occurring in the United States, about most of the issues he presented: from free college education in Slovenia, to an equal rights amendment for women in Tunisia. It’s empowering and I encourage people to really express themselves and bring back whatever they feel like has been taken away from them in their lives – in my case, really important things like fried chicken.” As if these letters weren’t far-fetched enough, he eventually gets a late night phone call from the company’s customer service rep — who turns out to be the beautiful (and local!) Karen, played by Naomi Watts, in a role so thankless I feel like I personally owe her dinner. When he ends up in danger in the film’s final act, it’s a cynical use of a talented performer. (Young Lewis isn’t to blame for this; I can’t wait to see this handsome, engaging kid in more and better films.) Sure, it’s amusing to watch these two act irreverently, racing grocery carts in a hardware store and whatnot.

You soon get the sense that this whole enterprise is just waiting for Davis to have his emotional breakthrough, then come out the other side a better person.

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