Kicking and Screaming is More Like Napping and Mumbling
Noah Baumbach’s Kicking and Screaming is full of really low-energy, quasi-adult men dithering about things for ninety-six minutes that feel more like three hours; it has not aged well.* Now that it’s not the 90s, well-educated white guys who can’t figure out what to do after college are not quite the selling point they once were.** It was interesting to see actors in their younger years,*** and I really enjoyed looking at the details of the craftsman bungalow**** the post-college students lived in, but this is not a good film.
The verdict: Skip
Cost: Netflix monthly fee ($8.99)
Where watched: at home
Consider watching instead:
- Noah Baumback Films after he got fun:
- Francis Ha
- Mistress America
- While We’re Young
- The Meyerowitz Stories
*It reminds me of Swingers in that regard, though this is if you took Swingers, extracted all the humor, the whirling friendships, dialed down the energy to 10%, and eliminated the fun swing dancing scene.
**This has a Metascore of 75, which is pretty high. The last boring movie I watched (One and Two)had a meta score of 47. I can only think that those reviews must have been from 1995, when the movie was released.
***Eric Stoltz is always fun. The big surprise that the main character, Josh Hamilton (Grover) is someone I’m familiar with as Clay’s dad in 13 Reasons Why and also Kayla’s dad in Eighth Grade. I would not have noticed, except I started looking up things on IMDB before I was finished watching it. The true sign of an uninteresting film.
****The floors needed redoing, but man, those built ins! To die for!
- Did you happen to watch this in the 90s? What did you think?
- Can you think of an equivalent slacker movie with women as protagonists?
Favorite IMDB trivia item:
The film was almost accepted in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, but Noah Baumbach refused to cut 15 minutes as they requested, and the film was ultimately rejected.
- Marjorie Baumgarten, Austin Chronicle
- Barbara Shulgasser, SF Examiner
You found that boring Baumbach film! To be fair, this is one of the few films of his I don’t like. If you have Netflix check out Marriage Story and I think While We’re Young and The Squid and the Whale are still kicking around on free platforms.
Here’s your next clue:
Movies based on books are a delight (and also sometimes terrible) I really liked the book Prince of Thieves even more than I enjoyed the Ben Affleck-starring heist film that was adapted from the book.