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March 02, 2024, 09:30:45 PM

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The Curse - new A24 Fielder/Safdie/Stone scripted TV comedy due in the autumn

Started by Tiggles, August 17, 2023, 04:39:19 PM

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checkoutgirl

Didn't know Safdie was a big Fielder fan and his favourite was Smokers Allowed.


checkoutgirl

Quote from: convulsivespace on December 09, 2023, 06:51:21 PMI think Safdie's acting is superb in this actually. Stone as well of course.

Agree. Can't understand people ragging on Benny's acting, I find him magnetic. Although he did remind me of Scottish stand comedian Phil Kay.

Part of the fun of this is reading people's various theories in different places and that's the sign of good art in my 15 year old boy sensibility.

Looking back I was taken out of the moment occasionally. One being Captain Phillips stone faced ingratitude when being given a 300 grand house for free. On what planet would somebody act like such an entitled ingrate? The scene needed the Siegels to require a certain reaction and not get it but sacrificed believability to achieve this.

Maybe there are people out there who get given 300k and barely shrug even though they haven't a pot to piss in but it seems unlikely. Presumably having not got the reaction she wanted, Whitney will renege and yer man will change his tune.

In fact that's what will happen, I've just decided.

The thing is, we're supposed to think less of the Siegels for wanting more gratitude but in this instance their desire seems common to folk. If you handed a stranger 10 grand in cash say, you'd be taken aback if you got no reaction.

Pimhole

Quote from: checkoutgirl on January 31, 2024, 02:25:29 PMLooking back I was taken out of the moment occasionally. One being Captain Phillips stone faced ingratitude when being given a 300 grand house for free. On what planet would somebody act like such an entitled ingrate? The scene needed the Siegels to require a certain reaction and not get it but sacrificed believability to achieve this.

Maybe there are people out there who get given 300k and barely shrug even though they haven't a pot to piss in but it seems unlikely. Presumably having not got the reaction she wanted, Whitney will renege and yer man will change his tune.

In fact that's what will happen, I've just decided.

The thing is, we're supposed to think less of the Siegels for wanting more gratitude but in this instance their desire seems common to folk. If you handed a stranger 10 grand in cash say, you'd be taken aback if you got no reaction.

I assumed he didn't really believe it and suspected it was another empty gesture from them which would end up causing him more trouble, or a stunt for their mostly fabricated TV show. He probably just wished they would fuck off and leave him alone. He seemed to be getting by just fine until they crashed into his life.

He says "but what about the property taxes for the next year" – he senses it is only short-term, something that could easily be taken away from him all over again but in the meantime he won't be able to afford. Plus now he has to get involved with lawyers and legal proceedings, something people in his position tend to want to avoid.

It reminds me of what Fernando says after Whitney employs him as a security guard and then tells the jeans shop employee to turn a blind eye to shoplifters: "Why are you trying to get me in trouble?" 

The actor could have put more distrust into his reaction but honestly I think irritated dismissal is fair enough.

Quote from: checkoutgirl on January 31, 2024, 02:25:29 PMLooking back I was taken out of the moment occasionally. One being Captain Phillips stone faced ingratitude when being given a 300 grand house for free. On what planet would somebody act like such an entitled ingrate? The scene needed the Siegels to require a certain reaction and not get it but sacrificed believability to achieve this.

Maybe there are people out there who get given 300k and barely shrug even though they haven't a pot to piss in but it seems unlikely. Presumably having not got the reaction she wanted, Whitney will renege and yer man will change his tune.

In fact that's what will happen, I've just decided.

The thing is, we're supposed to think less of the Siegels for wanting more gratitude but in this instance their desire seems common to folk. If you handed a stranger 10 grand in cash say, you'd be taken aback if you got no reaction.

I found it perfectly believable. Being of a certain disposition, shall we say, the thought of having something unexpectedly thrust in my face (guffaw), however good, by a couple of awkward creeps turning up unannounced, wouldn't make me jump for joy - at least not straight away. I'd be wondering what the fuck they were up to. It's really manipulative and transparently self-serving. I always feel uneasy when I see this kind of altruistic stuff online, because I personally don't like surprises and wouldn't like the feeling of being indebted to some weirdo on a power trip. If you're going to do it, ask the person first or do it through a phone call or letter or something less direct...

...he says hoping there is some millionaire reading.

I haven't stopped thinking about this show since it aired and it appears I'm not alone. It really was that good. I can't think of another ending as satisfying as this since Twin Peaks 3.

I've been reliving it through repeated plays of the absolutely beautiful Jagadishwar by Alice Coltrane, which plays in the final moments of the series.

@checkoutgirl My interpretation of the Barkhad Abdi subplot is that he was squatting in the house to begin with and lying about it, that he and his girls are possibly undocumented, and that he just wanted Fielder to leave him alone. Not based on much, but I got the impression from the final sequence that he was in the process of leaving town and asked about property taxes to potentially get a cash payout that he could run with.

checkoutgirl

Some good theories. Sort of different interpretisations and that.

Armin Meiwes

Quote from: checkoutgirl on January 31, 2024, 02:25:29 PMAgree. Can't understand people ragging on Benny's acting, I find him magnetic. Although he did remind me of Scottish stand comedian Phil Kay.

Part of the fun of this is reading people's various theories in different places and that's the sign of good art in my 15 year old boy sensibility.


Definitely, I've been really enjoying the various Q&As on YouTube they did after showing each episode at the Lincoln Centre.

And yeah don't know who doesn't rate Safdie as an actor but I've thought he was pretty great since Good Time when he was so good as the brother with learning difficulties that embarrassingly enough I actually thought it was a guy with learning difficulties.

wobinidan

Quote from: checkoutgirl on January 31, 2024, 02:25:29 PMLooking back I was taken out of the moment occasionally. One being Captain Phillips stone faced ingratitude when being given a 300 grand house for free. On what planet would somebody act like such an entitled ingrate? The scene needed the Siegels to require a certain reaction and not get it but sacrificed believability to achieve this.

I don't think the show was ever meant to be believable. It's a weird art piece that is doing an impression of reality, but there's a lot of moments that are literally unreal (even ignoring the last episode).

Regarding the house, Abshir's reaction is exactly the same as everyone else in the neighbourhood. Whitney and Asher aren't virtue signalling, they are forcing their virtue on the local area. Everything they do is so fucking aggressively good, from patronisingly giving people jobs, to opening some hip coffeeshop, to making passive houses (that don't work), they are barging in with their idea of what the world should be, and everyone around them just shrugs.

For all the effort they put in, people don't even like them. Giving someone a free house is just another extension of their performative forced virtue. They even let people steal jeans from their shop! Are the people stealing the jeans meant to be grateful too? Because they are equally as ungrateful as Abshir.

I think there's a message in there about how rich people view charity. About how they long to exchange their power for admiration from the lessers. Look at what we do for you, and all you regular folk have to do is adore us.

checkoutgirl

I love Whitney's insistence that it's a loan to justify her sponging a million quid off her parents and giving it an air of legitimacy.

Donald Trump was a self made billionaire. Never mind the fact he inherited 200 million from his dad and at 10 years old was already worth 10 million.

I just got this from Wikipedia "on the presidential campaign trail in 2015, he acknowledged borrowing $1 million from his father as a young adult. He described both of these amounts as "small" and emphasized that he repaid both loans "with interest."

Sound familiar?

bobloblaw

Quote from: Armin Meiwes on January 31, 2024, 11:40:23 PMDefinitely, I've been really enjoying the various Q&As on YouTube they did after showing each episode at the Lincoln Centre.

And yeah don't know who doesn't rate Safdie as an actor but I've thought he was pretty great since Good Time when he was so good as the brother with learning difficulties that embarrassingly enough I actually thought it was a guy with learning difficulties.

I loved learning that one key inspiration is the Columbo scene that was doing the rounds a little while back which captures all the thrills of slowly walking up to a payphone and dialling the number very slowly - the stuff that most directors now wouldn't even think of bothering to film

Which reminds me of the bar-sweeping in Twin Peaks 3 and the deliberately interminable slow walk of both the bank vault guard with his keys in the final ep of TP 2, and the old bellboy shuffling around after Cooper is shot in ep 1 of that series

checkoutgirl

Has the cherry tomatoes situation been addressed? It's probably stupid to think this but the situations Fielder creates in his work almost make it look like he has a humiliation fetish himself. The culmination being some of the scenes in The Curse.

Like there's no way he would film a sex scene with him in it and allow it to be at all normal. No actual penetration. Then he has a small dick. Then his father in law inexplicably does a Max Clifford in front of him. Then his supposed mate taunts him with porn. Then grovelling to Whitney. And so on.

The absolute depths of humiliation. It's easy to think Fielder can't bring the character any lower but that would probably be a mistake.

AngryGazelle

Really enjoyed this and I think it begs to be watched through again. Possibly the best finale I've seen in years, too.

What's next Nathan?

McFlymo

Enjoyed reading everyone's different takes!
Absolutely loved this show! That ending was magical!

It's not enough to just be rich and live your entitled life (like the kids stealing the jeans, so passively), Asher and Whitney had to try and prove they were "better" than that. And failed miserably.

I liked the subtle hints at
Spoiler alert
something supernatural  (the kid hitting her head, the power cut when Asher was watching the CCTV footage).
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I liked how Asher, Whitney and Dougie went through their own painful retribution at different times. All experiencing "the curse".

The commentary on how horrible gentrification is was satisfying. It now makes a little more sense why these weirdly expensive shops sometimes appear, never do any business, but never seem to close down. How money people have their fingers in all sorts of pies, when they're looking to take over. Patronising racism. Model citizen bullshit. The parallels to colonialism etc. Loved all of that.

A lot of cynicism, but for the right reasons, I felt.

Two very small things I didn't like:
Spoiler alert
-  I also didn't believe Abshir's ingratitude. I understand why we needed that moment, to remind us how deluded Asher and Whitney were, but I didn't buy that reaction from someone being handed an entire house for free (maybe it just stings, as I come to terms with probably never having a mortgage myself!)

- And when they brought up the big ladder to the tree, I was dying for him to just grab onto it and slowly work his way down.
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One conspiracy theory...
Spoiler alert
When Asher said, "There's a little me inside you", Whitney's face froze, which I took to mean, "Actually, you're not the dad!"
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wrec

Absolutely loved this too and binged it over a few days. Loved the slow pace of it, the direction, the setting and locations, and was much more into how it incorporated real people and situations than Fielder's other shows. I think Safdie and him are good influences on each other. The characters aren't as one-note as some of the discussion I'd seen suggested - they all have awful traits and show delusional and/or manipulative behaviour but everyone suffers and elicits sympathy at different points. And the finale enriched the whole thing.

I don't understand the confusion about
Spoiler alert
Abshir's reaction. Its dramatic purpose is obviously to deny Whitney and Asher the satisfaction of being praised as generous philanthropists, and to fail to embody their idea of the deserving poor. But also I think it rings true. Abshir seems to get by via means of varying legality, as people do - e.g. they may have been squatting in the house (I forget whether this was just hinted at or confirmed). He's justifiably suspicious that there's a catch to being given the house and immediately identifies the property tax as a potential headache. Once that's sorted he's satisfied and just wants to be left alone. To him Asher and Whitney are essentially the authorities, with whom you have as few dealings as possible and give nothing away to. Also his suspicions have been repeatedly verified, and their influence has been consistently disturbing - Asher talking to the daughter about curses, Dougie freaking out, the visit to the chiropractor that Whitney arranged turning out to be traumatic. Abshir's perception of them is more accurate than their perception of him.
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I didn't have any issues with
Spoiler alert
the execution of the finale either. Love how straight this was played, like when the doula guy turns up and assumes Asher is just being awkward.
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So many excruciating scenes but
Spoiler alert
Asher's attempt at the non-verbal exercise in the comedy class was perfectly, profoundly wrong to a chilling extent. I wonder if it takes someone as naturally funny as Nathan to portray someone chronically incapable of being funny.
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Minor quibble:
Spoiler alert
Dougie reacting to Whitney and Asher's concerns about the ethics of the show by showing them Love to the Third Degree seemed exactly the wrong thing to do.
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McFlymo

Quote from: wrec on February 28, 2024, 12:06:14 AMI don't understand the confusion about
Spoiler alert
Abshir's reaction. Its dramatic purpose is obviously to deny Whitney and Asher the satisfaction of being praised as generous philanthropists, and to fail to embody their idea of the deserving poor. But also I think it rings true. Abshir seems to get by via means of varying legality, as people do - e.g. they may have been squatting in the house (I forget whether this was just hinted at or confirmed). He's justifiably suspicious that there's a catch to being given the house and immediately identifies the property tax as a potential headache. Once that's sorted he's satisfied and just wants to be left alone. To him Asher and Whitney are essentially the authorities, with whom you have as few dealings as possible and give nothing away to. Also his suspicions have been repeatedly verified, and their influence has been consistently disturbing - Asher talking to the daughter about curses, Dougie freaking out, the visit to the chiropractor that Whitney arranged turning out to be traumatic. Abshir's perception of them is more accurate than their perception of him.
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Maybe I'm being swayed a little:
Spoiler alert
I had forgotten about the traumatic chiropractor moment, but I still feel the house gifting scene didn't give Abshir much depth in that moment. As you say, he had good reasons to distrust these people, but could we have seen that a bit more? Instead, I felt there was something a little shaky about, "look at this guy, so ungrateful! Typical of these foreigners!" Maybe that's my own sensitivity to how non-white people are often portrayed. In previous Nathan Fielder work, I think we've debated this uncomfortable mockery of immigrants and working class people, and definitely in this show he turned that round: Mocking the privileged white characters. But yeah, that one moment, I felt Abshir could have been allowed to show (even briefly) his many justified reasons for feeling suspicion and distrust.
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Quote from: McFlymo on February 28, 2024, 02:15:18 PMI had forgotten about the traumatic chiropractor moment

Don't smile, you've broken your neck!

Spoiler alert
ALTERNATIVE APT PARTRIDGE QUOTE: Calm down, Abshir! You're suffering from minor immigrant's whiplash.
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wrec

Quote from: McFlymo on February 28, 2024, 02:15:18 PMMaybe I'm being swayed a little:
Spoiler alert
I had forgotten about the traumatic chiropractor moment, but I still feel the house gifting scene didn't give Abshir much depth in that moment. As you say, he had good reasons to distrust these people, but could we have seen that a bit more? Instead, I felt there was something a little shaky about, "look at this guy, so ungrateful! Typical of these foreigners!" Maybe that's my own sensitivity to how non-white people are often portrayed. In previous Nathan Fielder work, I think we've debated this uncomfortable mockery of immigrants and working class people, and definitely in this show he turned that round: Mocking the privileged white characters. But yeah, that one moment, I felt Abshir could have been allowed to show (even briefly) his many justified reasons for feeling suspicion and distrust.
[close]

Spoiler alert
I get your point but I think the anticlimax of it played out really well. The expectation that he should express gratitude highlights how the gesture is not entirely selfless but transactional and by not doing that he fails to fulfil the role of the patronised deserving poor.

Also the scene and the episode is very much from Asher and Whitney's POV and with the time jump feels a bit detached from previous episodes - we're following them in their little bubble of relative happiness so I suspect it was a considered choice not to move outside that and revert to Abshir's perspective.
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PlanktonSideburns

Getting to the end of this, its very good, but christ, its the most relentlessly awkward thing I've ever seen. Got a chest infection and I'm binging it on the sofa, its causing shallow breathing panic attacks

PlanktonSideburns

Half way through episode 10, if this doesn't end with Lionel Ritchie over the credits I will put my foot thought the ceiling

glork

Quote from: Pimhole on January 14, 2024, 03:35:39 PM
Spoiler alert
Also, what was with the lingering shot of her smiling in the delivery room? The nurse asks if she wants them to see if her husband is there and she just... doesn't answer.
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Spoiler alert
i just finished watching this episode and came to read the thread so can confirm she does answer, she says 'sure'
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Quote from: Joe Oakes on January 12, 2024, 09:37:34 PMWas anyone else expecting...

Spoiler alert
...Emma Stone to give birth to a roast chicken?
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Spoiler alert
yes, for a split second when the doctor lifted the baby out and you couldn't see it for a fraction of a second i thought i had it all worked out. nope!
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PlanktonSideburns

Spoiler alert
i felt like part of whineys joy at the end is having someone she doesn't have to be akward round. Her parents, friends, colleagues, husband, are an exhausting minefield to be around, and she can just be real with this child. Asher was a threat to that so she filed him with helium while he slept
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