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May 23, 2024, 05:42:47 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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McDead

Quote from: Joe Oakes on January 14, 2024, 10:15:59 PM
Spoiler alert
Not sure if we can blame the little girl for the curse, the stupid runt couldn't even force a small child to fall off a gym rope with the aid of gravity, I doubt she has the power to blast a fully-grown Nathan Fielder into orbit.
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She did make the other girl fall though, we saw it later that episode. It just didn't happen immediately.

Pimhole

I think the point with the little girl was that these insane adults have made the poor thing think that she has some sort of cursed power. But she's just an ordinary kid.

I love how the ending was fairly unambiguous. There's obviously the metaphor that once a woman has a baby, the father is relegated to a fairly minor role in her life and the child takes centre stage (and for Asher, what more minor role could he possibly take?) but I like that the show went "no, fuck your metaphors, THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED".


Pimhole

Quote from: Bartholomew J Krishna on January 15, 2024, 11:07:03 AMGood recap from The Daily Beast.

That's a really great write-up. Articulates my feelings about it way better than I could.

A couple more thoughts after a re-watch:
Spoiler alert
In the shabbat ritual of the final episode, Asher is the one singing the prayer while Whitney disinterestedly looks at her phone. This is a reversal of the first episode, where Whitney performatively sings the prayer at dinner with her parents while Asher is repeatedly shown as being fairly uninterested in his Jewish heritage. Whitney has lost interest in the one thing that Asher could offer her - authentic minority status. She's over her fetishisation of it.

And when Asher is talking to the baby bump, he looks up and says to her "there's a little me inside you!". That's when her face changes to stony resolve. She now has her own little mini-Asher who will make her the centre of his universe. The last thing tethering Asher to her - the centre of his world - is now gone.

And "I may need the crevice attachment" is now my single favourite line in anything ever.
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Bartholomew J Krishna

Quote from: Pimhole on January 15, 2024, 11:40:43 AMA couple more thoughts after a re-watch:
Spoiler alert
In the shabbat ritual of the final episode, Asher is the one singing the prayer while Whitney disinterestedly looks at her phone. This is a reversal of the first episode, where Whitney performatively sings the prayer at dinner with her parents while Asher is repeatedly shown as being fairly uninterested in his Jewish heritage. Whitney has lost interest in the one thing that Asher could offer her - authentic minority status. She's over her fetishisation of it.

And when Asher is talking to the baby bump, he looks up and says to her "there's a little me inside you!". That's when her face changes to stony resolve. She now has her own little mini-Asher who will make her the centre of his universe. The last thing tethering Asher to her - the centre of his world - is now gone.

And "I may need the crevice attachment" is now my single favourite line in anything ever.
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Great observations.

I'd love to rewatch the whole series. I also couldn't bear to rewatch the whole series.

Minami Minegishi

This series has been a pretty wild and somewhat uneven ride. Not keen on that ending although I'm not sure what kind of conclusion would have pleased me.

Yeah, just get on the other side of the branch mate.

Queen Peach


Pimhole

Quote from: Queen Peach on January 15, 2024, 02:28:45 PMdo you mean she's over HIS fetishing of it, Pimhole

No? Perhaps he comes to realise that it's the one thing about him that holds any interest for her, and gets more invested in the rituals as they are something that binds them together. I'd have to re-watch the whole series (which I'm as unwilling to do as @Bartholomew J Krishna ) but I think other than that, his relationship to his Jewishness is shown as ambivalent at best.

It's interesting that she feels comfortable enough to make a Holocaust joke which he then excuses, and says "don't think for one second that you're not as Jewish as me just because you converted". To which she might well think ok, identity assimilated - I don't need YOU any more, then.

Asher also says something about there being about as many Jewish Americans as Native Americans. This reminds us of her treatment of indigenous people throughout the show - she fetishises and manipulates them also, and tries to use them for cred and to cover for her rich, white privilege. We're reminded of Cara's speech about how being Native feels like having to give away a part of yourself all the time, which Asher does in this moment.

Memorex MP3

Wasn't too keen on the finale but mostly liked it, a lot more than I did the main arc of the rehearsal (although the highs of that show away from the whole son thing were much much higher). On the whole it felt a lot more like a Safdie/Bronstein project than a Fielder one (outside the reality tv stuff and some of the minority community stuff).



Interesting that some view Asher as the victim. I thought Whitney was far more sympathetic regardless of her many faults.

Quote from: Joe Oakes on January 14, 2024, 03:18:18 PMActually...

Spoiler alert
...I meant perching rather than hanging. He could have lazily sat upside down on the branch hands-free, thus easily demonstrating his predicament and avoiding the tree cutting and subsequent journey to space.
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Would never happen. 2/10.



Spoiler alert
It was essentially reverse-gravity so it's as if he was hanging for dear life from the tree limb. It wouldn't necessarily so easy in real life to pull yourself up to get on "top" of the branch, especially if you're terrified of flying off into infinity.

Though really they just logistically had to film it this way because they probably didn't have the budget for a fake-tree set.
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colacentral

Spoiler alert
I thought the second half was sign posted as a dream. They go to bed with Asher saying "You have a little me running around inside you." Then a bit later on he says something about the baby and she says "I'm having another one," word play on her contractions that makes it sound like Asher is her first baby. Then shortly after that he refers to himself as a baby when he's in the tree. Then he's pulled into the sky as the baby is pulled out. The first half is the misery of the prison she's built for herself and the second half is her resentful fantasy of Asher just floating away without explanation.

The house itself is also obviously then represented as opposite to its intended ecological function, subverting the laws of nature, and the mirrors giving it the appearance of a technological nightmare rather than the intended function of blending it into nature. I think those seeds are planted early on too, and there's probably more in there with all the art being a reminder of Cara and the resentment bubbling up in the wake of the article, etc.
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Queen Peach

Quote from: Pimhole on January 15, 2024, 02:56:49 PMNo? Perhaps he comes to realise that it's the one thing about him that holds any interest for her, and gets more invested in the rituals as they are something that binds them together. I'd have to re-watch the whole series (which I'm as unwilling to do as @Bartholomew J Krishna ) but I think other than that, his relationship to his Jewishness is shown as ambivalent at best.

It's interesting that she feels comfortable enough to make a Holocaust joke which he then excuses, and says "don't think for one second that you're not as Jewish as me just because you converted". To which she might well think ok, identity assimilated - I don't need YOU any more, then.

Asher also says something about there being about as many Jewish Americans as Native Americans. This reminds us of her treatment of indigenous people throughout the show - she fetishises and manipulates them also, and tries to use them for cred and to cover for her rich, white privilege. We're reminded of Cara's speech about how being Native feels like having to give away a part of yourself all the time, which Asher does in this moment.

unclear writing then

Petey Pate

I was taken aback by the very absurd turn in a series that had been grounded in reality, but in retrospect, it was an excellent way to end it which had been hinted at a few times.

Spoiler alert
I suppose realism is moot at this point, but it did seem a bit far fetched that the fire department would use a chainsaw to remove someone stuck in a tree and risk them being injured by the branch, but it was an great disturbing visual - also mirroring Cara's art piece with the sliced turkey meat.
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One could say the ending was uplifting...

neov1974

I laughed for a good minute as the credits rolled and that's not really like me.
Just like a crazy blend of audacious and "is that it? is that where we went here?"
Really very good, and curious to end with that view cos while I was compelled to stick with it, as many have noted it's not fundamentally enjoyable

colacentral

Spoiler alert
Thinking some more about my theory that the last section is a dream, it makes sense as a culmination of the themes built up in the previous episodes - the idea of building a fantasy world to live in. The house itself is a lie; Whitney manipulates Cara into a position where she has to say her houses are art; Whitney has Asher telling her she's just as Jewish as she is. The end is the manifestation of that idea from the Captain Phillips lad in an early episode, something like "anything can be real if you believe it enough" or whatever (the actual line didn't sound as Peter Pan as that). I don't take the sudden turn into supernatural as something that actually happens (the character reactions and dialogue read as deliberately off to me, as well as the slow zoom into Whitney's face as they're getting ready for bed and the subsequent on the nose parallel of Asher and the baby). I take it as something like a representation of how Whitney day dreams through life - even the concept of shoplifters don't exist in her world. Something like that. I not sure it really works but I have no intention of rewatching any of it to scrutinise it any further.
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sevendaughters

just seen it all now. I'm still gathering my thoughts. I do note that the strange 'surveilled' aspect of the show didn't seem to deliver how I expected it to. lot to think about.

Zero Gravitas

I absolutely loved the Mark Rose/Dean Cain scene in Ep5 his

Spoiler alert
quick-fire hitting all their proclaimed passions was beautifully over the top, and that little distancing pause on their stare as he starts on his opinion on the easements - delicious.
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Cain is himself just enough of a maverick-chud for it to work.

The only thing that rankled about the end:

Spoiler alert
I disliked the style break in way the camera was able to follow Asher on his final journey into the stratosphere, I'd have much preferred he just slipped off vanishing into the blue, the scene matching was already an inch thick, and we're already so deep into a clear break with reality.
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Joe Oakes

Quote from: Zero Gravitas on January 25, 2024, 11:11:34 PMThe only thing that rankled about the end:

Spoiler alert
I disliked the style break in way the camera was able to follow Asher on his final journey into the stratosphere, I'd have much preferred he just slipped off vanishing into the blue, the scene matching was already an inch thick, and we're already so deep into a clear break with reality.
[close]

Spoiler alert
Your ending might be better, but I assumed Asher's final location was intended as a cheeky 2001 reference.
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wobinidan

I finished watching it an hour ago and I still feel sick. That was horrible in its inevitability.

Spoiler alert
Anyone notice he ended up in the fetal position as he flew into space? As the 'little Asher' is born the big Asher dies. I'm not usually good at figuring out what's going to happen, but I figured out pretty quickly he'd end up in space. It was great how they tried to rationalise it as unequal air pressure, and blamed the house. In fact, it was immediately after they installed the AC unit, and betrayed the integrity of their design.
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wobinidan

Been thinking about Emma Stone's acting in this, and about fake, disingenuous people in TV. She really did an incredible job of portraying someone who pretends to be warm, and yet their entire social world is choreographed and planned for personal gain. And then there are other moments where she's being like that, especially around Cara, and it feels like she's really trying to connect and be accepted, but she's still on. The scenes with Cara might be the most uncomfortable in the whole show.

Unlike a lot of shows, where the character is fake and manipulative, and then as soon as they get home and the makeup comes off, they expose the horrible person underneath, Asher and Whitney are horrible people with these mangled threads of good intentions. They talk about how much they value the community and social justice when they are together by themselves. They are trying to be good people, not just perform it for others.

Or maybe I misread, and they are constantly performing. Asher definitely tries to impress Whitney with his justice-y acts, like at the bowling alley. Maybe he feels he has to constantly impress Whitney, because he's so scared to lose her, while Whitney is scared to lose Cara, because Cara offers a sense of authenticity that Whitney craves.

Anyway Emma Stone is really fucking good at acting. And that's really even more noticeable considering a lot of the rest of the cast seem to be locals who are almost non-acting. They feel like characters from Nathan For You. And among all those very down to earth and non-expressive characters, you have this whirlwind of fake laughs and desperation to be accepted from the privileged outsider.

mjwilson

Quote from: wobinidan on January 28, 2024, 02:49:33 PMThey are trying to be good people, not just perform it for others.

Or maybe I misread, and they are constantly performing.

At one point, Whitney was doing some kind of good deed and I remember thinking "oh well this is just for the cameras". But then I realised that Dougie's actual cameras werne't there, I was just getting tripped up because the show is almost always filmed as though it's a reality show.

Anyway, I do think they are often trying to do "the right thing", even if it's in a naive  way or if they haven't thought through the consequences.

sevendaughters

I think it is more of less Fielder's thesis statement that everyone is constantly performing all of the time and the job of the filmed work is to capture those breaks and lapses where we observe difference, and not to think of one as 'authentic' and the other 'fake', but more that people (possibly under capital) are multitudinous and shift continuously to play the game. Even those bits in N4Y that seem to show some kind of underlying sadness and desire to connect may contain some sincerity, but he knows they're also a terrible kind of performance.


neov1974

very few awful people think of themselves as awful.
that these characters are written in a way that shows they believe their own hype and don't understand their own inconsistencies is quite the skill.
most basic is the example of Dougie. He is an alcoholic and drink driver, who explains away his very serious consequences without accepting any fault, carries on doing the exact thing that caused the consequences, yet continuously believes he's doing good/the right thing in ever more convoluted fashion (taking kids keys, breathalyser) instead of doing the one thing that would solve it all: not drink

brat-sampson

Quote from: wobinidan on January 28, 2024, 01:40:20 PMI finished watching it an hour ago and I still feel sick. That was horrible in its inevitability.

Possible spoilers for Wonka I guess, if anyone cares
Spoiler alert
I thought it was really weird / 'funny' how that movie ended with essentially the same thing happening to these three terrible characters, and how Wonka plays it incredibly lightly / for laughs, whereas anyone who's seen the Curse would be having visceral flashbacks and feeling fucking *awful*.
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Quote from: neov1974 on January 29, 2024, 03:01:22 PMmost basic is the example of Dougie. He is an alcoholic and drink driver, who explains away his very serious consequences without accepting any fault, carries on doing the exact thing that caused the consequences, yet continuously believes he's doing good/the right thing in ever more convoluted fashion (taking kids keys, breathalyser) instead of doing the one thing that would solve it all: not drink

The issue there is, because of basic narrative structure, you then expect there to be consequences. During the bit where Asher was rapping, for instance, I found myself thinking "wouldn't it be good if Dougie crashed the car?"

checkoutgirl

Quote from: Minami Minegishi on January 15, 2024, 12:27:38 PMYeah, just get on the other side of the branch mate.

Even if they got him down he'd presumably have to live his life stuck under a ceiling or tethered to the ground. It would be a terrible affliction.

Oddly funny though. He was just soundly asleep on the ceiling before waking up and trying to figure out what the fuck was going on. And thinking it was the air conditioner or the weather. I'm laughing thinking about it now.

brat-sampson

Ok but so what would happen to his spit / poop / hair / nails etc? If you chop off a finger does it also fly up? Can we pit him against gravity to solve perpetual motion somehow?

checkoutgirl

Quote from: brat-sampson on January 30, 2024, 02:43:10 PMOk but so what would happen to his spit / poop / hair / nails etc? If you chop off a finger does it also fly up? Can we pit him against gravity to solve perpetual motion somehow?

Scientists could place him in a sort of upward rack and pinion gear system that would be powered by his movement and provide that electricity to the grid. Talk about ecological! And that's what Green Queen is all about.

neov1974

Quote from: ThaBiggPaybacc on January 30, 2024, 10:34:56 AMThe issue there is, because of basic narrative structure, you then expect there to be consequences. During the bit where Asher was rapping, for instance, I found myself thinking "wouldn't it be good if Dougie crashed the car?"
yes, indeed. where in fact (something I thought after I wrote this) quite the opposite and in the final scenes months later, he's driving a new/different sports car.