Have you guys been watching this season of Curb Your Enthusiasm? It’s not bad. The scenes in which Larry is just sitting around goofing it up with Jeff and/or Richard Lewis and whatever other goons are around from his group of Exhausted Jews have been pretty funny and have this genuine sense of jovial comraderie. Larry is often smiling in those scenes and as is likely to be laughing at someone else’s joke as he is to be whining or complaining or whatever it is that he usually does. All in all it is much better than last season, which was unbearable. That show has always been very YELLY, but last season had really jumped the shark and then turned around and blamed the shark for being there in the first place, in terms of yelling. So much yelling, which is to be expected, but over nothing. “LARRY HOW THE FUCK ARE YOU GOING TO GO TO THE BATHROOM IN THE MIDDLE OF A DINNER PARTY?!” “What? I had to go to the bathroom!” “OH FUCK YOU, LARRY!” That is my snapshot summary of the last season of Curb Your Enthusiasm. That show has always been pretty hate-it-or-love-it because it’s so dependent on your reaction to Larry David both as a character and as a performer. It’s the kind of show that’s not really worth arguing about because even people who love that show UNDERSTAND COMPLETELY anyone who feels differently. “I hate that show because he’s obnoxious and awful and egotistical and selfish and everyone is always yelling all the time.” Well, right. CORRECT. I bring this all up because there was something about Ben Stiller’s character that reminded me of a younger Larry David. Except, imagine his character if he never told any jokes, he never apologized for any of his mistakes not even with one of those half-hearted Larry David non-apologies, he didn’t at least create Seinfeld so you don’t have to give him any credit for that, and when you thought about it it turned out he was an unambivalently terrible human being. Greenberg!

Greenberg is about a middle-aged man named Greenberg (Ben Stiller) who comes to LA to housesit for his brother while his brother and his family are vacationing in Thailand. He used to be a musician in a band and in the 1990s he almost got a bigtime record deal with a major label, but he blew the deal out of some misguided (we are told) adherence to “artistic integrity,” so now all of his old friends/bandmates hate him for blowing their big shot. Mostly, Greenberg spends all his time moping around his brother’s family’s beautiful mansion (we never learn what his brother does for a living, but whatever it is, he is apparently VERY GOOD at it), writing angry letters to airline companies and Mayor Bloomberg, and taking care of their dog, Mahler. P.S. Their dog’s name is Mahler, so you kind of see what kind of world we are living in here. His brother leaves him the number for Florence, the family’s personal assistant (right) who can help him out with things around the house and also the dog. She can also help him out with having sex with her and getting into a torturous, agonizing relationship. So that happens. That’s most of the movie, really. Mahler gets sick. Some teenagers who have a completely unexplained relationship to Greenberg and his family through a drug-fueled party at the mansion. Greenberg and his best friend have a fight. Florence gets an abortion. Greenberg leaves her a voicemail. The end.

You guys, I’m worried about Noah Baumbach! Like, kind of for real! I know that you cannot know THAT much about someone’s life just by their work, but if Noah Baumbach’s work is even slightly representational of the world he lives in, then he lives in a terrible world where everyone is a real fucking asshole! Greenberg is easily the most awful, least sympathetic, icky-feeling-making character I’ve seen in a movie in a very long time. I guess he’s not an actual MURDERER, which is pretty bad, and you see those in movies a lot, but murderers are a little more sympathetic because at least murderers have PASSION or are at least DOING SOMETHING.

Greenberg’s whole thing throughout the movie is how he’s “trying not to do anything” these days. What does that even mean? And how are the rest of us supposed to react to it? Must be nice, I guess. Hey, if anyone ever gets the chance to kind of not do anything for awhile, I would recommend that they seize that chance! It’s very rare that any of us get time to breathe and think and reflect and consider. Although, that’s not really what Greenberg’s doing. He’s mostly just complaining and yelling and deflecting and insulting. Cool. Cool dude. Very fun to spend two hours with him!

The thing about that is: OK, fair enough. A counter-argument would be that movies do not always need to be about people that are fun to spend time with, and I totally agree. There are certainly lots of neurotic, self-indulgent people with very little perspective on their lives out there who abuse the patience and emotional generosity of other people. They are like little blackholes of want and need and it can be very hard at times to escape from their crushing gravitational pull of narcissism and sadness. Is this a type of person about whom I would like to watch a movie? Probably not. But that’s OK. There’s lots of people I don’t want to see a movie about. Most Jennifer Garner movies come to mind, just as an example. And if the movie isn’t going to be about someone who is fun to spend time with, which we have just acknowledged is totally fair and reasonable, then it should be about something else.

So what is this movie about then? Are we supposed to hate Greenberg? I don’t think we are. I do, but I don’t think that’s what the movie is asking from me. Do we pity him? Eh. Pity what? He’s selfish and rude and toxic. The movie alludes to him having gone into a mental hospital after a suicide attempt, which is certainly a tiny corner of the human experience that is worth exploring, but at the end of the exploration are we really supposed to wish that he had succeeded?

The real problem isn’t so much that Greenberg’s character is miserable and not fun to watch. It is that all of the other characters seem to operate in unrealistic, unmotivated ways that encourage Greenberg’s behavior so that we can carry on with this character study of this horrible character. Stop it, you guys! Greta Gerwig is actually really great as a well-meaning, open-hearted 25-year-old girl living in Los Angeles and at a bit of a loss with what to do with her life. Her performance has a real genuine openness to it! That is a thing you say about acting, right? But while she is good AS her character, her character doesn’t actually make any sense. Like, I can totally believe that a 25-year-old might stumble into a relationship with a 40-year-old. That happens enough. And I can even believe that a 25-year-old might stumble into a BAD relationship with a 40-year-old. But in every other way, Greta Gerwig seems thoughtful and confident and like a person who would not be endlessly manipulated by a monster, nor would she constantly be allowing him to crawl back into her bad after he needlessly screamed at and insulted her in her own home. At one point, at his birthday dinner, when Rhys Ifans asks the waitstaff to bring over a piece of cake with a candle and sing the birthday song to him, Ben Stiller has a public and embarrassing freak out in the restaurant and screams “SIT ON MY DICK YOU ASSHOLE!” to his best friend, and not only does Greta Gerwig drive him home after this, but she laughs about it. Huh? What is even remotely funny about it? It’s awful. And a real RED FLAG. (Later she will tell him that she is impressed by him. UH, WHAT? Please believe me if you have not seen this movie already that there is nothing even the tiniest bit impressive about him.) Although perhaps the most incredible is when Greenberg offers to drive her to get an abortion (the baby is not his) even though she already gotten one of her good, non-asshole friends to drive her to the clinic, and Greenberg doesn’t have a car or a driver’s license anyway, but she cancels the ride with her friend and goes in the back of Rhys Ifans car where they blast classic rock? No. No she doesn’t. She goes with her friend. What? (P.S. after the abortion, Greenberg puts a cheeseburger on her hospital bed and then abandons her there to go do cocaine with James Franco’s brother.)

Similarly, his friend, played by Rhys Ifans, allows him to read a long, rambling, CRAZY PERSON letter to Mayor Bloomberg about how they should put more cops out on New York City street corners to help reduce the number of car honks in its entirety without ever once telling him to shut the fuck up. Unlikely! (Also unlikely: Rhys Ifans character is a recovering alcoholic drug addict, and Greenberg offers him a drink or some drugs every single time that he sees him and not once does this seem like an issue to either of them.)

Not that the people who don’t put up with Greenberg’s bullshit are any better. Every time his brother calls from Vietnam it is just to berate Ben Stiller with an impatient screaming tirade about what a horrible, untrustworthy fuck up he is. It is almost as if no one is actually paying attention to anyone else in this movie, and they are all reading their lines from completely different scripts. Now, one might make the argument that life is messy and complicated and sometimes people behave in surprising or inexplicable ways and I would agree. They do. All the time. But this is not life, this is a make believe movie. None of it is real anyway, so you have to do the best you can without losing the audience. (Much less without making them super miserable and want those two hours back.)

This is clearly not the Worst Movie of All Time. Like I said, Greta Gerwig is very good at acting in it. But it’s certainly a painful combination of Yelling, Despicable Selfishness, and Pretension. You start to pity the people in Greenberg’s life, but you don’t pity them nearly as much as you pity yourself. At least they are make believe and can stop existing after the movie ends. You have to live with the fact that you watched it for the rest of your days. Still, it is always nice to get whatever you can out of an experience, a fact that Greenberg could stand to learn (since he learns absolutely nothing in this movie) and so here, for the ladies, are some images of Dave Franco making James Franco faces:

Don’t thank me, thank Noah Baumbach. It’s always nice to be recognized, and he could probably use some cheering up!

Comments (130)
  1. So what is this movie about then? Are we supposed to hate Greenberg? I don’t think we are. I do, but I don’t think that’s what the movie is asking from me. Do we pity him? Eh. Pity what? He’s selfish and rude and toxic. The movie alludes to him having gone into a mental hospital after a suicide attempt, which is certainly a tiny corner of the human experience that is worth exploring, but at the end of the exploration are we really supposed to wish that he had succeeded?

    Yep. My main problem with this film was I kept thinking, “So what?” So what about this guy? Why do I care about him? Why do I want to see how his life is at this moment or how it turns out? I couldn’t figure out what made him worth watching.

    The soundtrack is awesome, though. Right Gabe? Give the film that much. James Murphy! The Sonics!

  2. Is there a WMOAT next week?

    • “Although The Hunt may take a break, the Worst Movie of All Time, whichever it may be, has an undying resilience we can only dream to possess.” Matthew 3:96

  3. (…after the abortion, Greenberg puts a cheeseburger on her hospital bed and then abandons her there to go do cocaine with James Franco’s brother.)

    Poor girl must fuck like dogshit.

    • I signed in just to upvote this. I wish I could give it all the upvotes (is that still a thing to say here?)

    • Why am I seeing no one (including the author of this AUTHORITATIVE and DESERVED takedown) talking about the the random cunnilingus scene? It’s one of the least normal and human things ever put to film. “Hi, I’m your date,mind if I chew on your vagina for a few seconds before we go?” “Yes, that sounds horrible and awkward and I’ll make sad faces while you do it, and then we’ll go to dinner!”

  4. I will say this about Greenberg: they did a good job making me worry about the dog.

    • And the pool! Oh my god, the pool!

    • My friends and I watched this last year and decided the movie was totally and entirely about a very brave, very handsome dog’s battle with cancer.

      I actually forgot the rest of the movie because it sucks that much, which pains me as Kicking and Screaming was my favorite.

  5. “Most Jennifer Garner movies come to mind, just as an example.”

    I would like to nominate 13 Going on 30. Thank you.

    • The first thing my mind did when Jennifer Garner was mentioned was think “what would make 13 Going On 30 NOT the worst movie of all time?”

      So… seconded?

      • Daredevil could make 13 Going On 30 not the worst of all time, but honestly, they are both so far down on the scale that, for all intents and purposes, they are equally The Worst.

        • I would love nothing more then to nominate Daredevil, because it is SERIOUSLY one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen in my life. Unfortunately, super hero movies cannot be nominated. (them’s the rules)

    • May I suggest “The Invention of Lying,” staring Ricky Gervais and Jennifer Garner? Woof, now this is a bad movie. It was on HBO and it has two very funny people in it (Louie C.K. being the other), so I thought, “sure, I’ll waste my time with this.” There are entertaining parts, I guess. But the story doesn’t really go anywhere and it resolves itself very, very easily.

      • “ATHEISM!!!!!!!!!! I’M AN ATHEIST!!!!!!!!!!! [bangs the shit out of a big annoying drum that says 'No God' on it] I DON’T BELIEVE IN GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” — Ricky Gervais, always

      • I was just disappointed. so diserpointed.

      • Yes! I hated how he loved Jennifer Garner sooooo much and she was just such a superficial, worthless a-hole who couldn’t get past his looks. It really made HIM the superficial one for still liking her (because of her looks) when she had NO other redeeming qualities.

      • They just barely did this over at AV Club for “My Year of Flops.” You should check it out.

        • Just read it. It reminded me that the movie really is pretty compelling for a while. Problem is it just gives up halfway up the narrative arc. I wonder if Gervais understands this and the studio bullied him for a happier conclusion. What this movie NEEDED was the moment where Gervais’s character reveals the truth to everyone, that he’s a liar and that there is no Man in the Sky. That’s the third act of the movie. But instead we get a love story plot that has no bearing on the larger story being told (and Jennifer Garner sucks).

          This would be like Pleasantville ending just as Toby McGuire and Reese Witherspoon are starting to enjoy their surroundings. Hey, everything’s great here, isn’t sis? Sure is! The End. C’mon, Ricky Gervais. Do better.

          ps. Greenburg is an unbearable movie.

    • i thought 13 going on 30 was a children’s movie, which would eliminate it from contention.

  6. I could be mistaken, but I remember there being some great episodes of Curb last season. They were overly cartoonish, perhaps, but still very funny. And this season’s “Palestinian Chicken” episode was a work of immeasurable genius. A++++++ forever.

    (p.s. Greenberg is the BEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME! Okay, no it’s not, I just wanted to counterbalance all that negativity up there.)

  7. I liked last season of Curb! That was the Seinfeld reunion, right? Unless they snuck another one in there.

    (I have no opinion on this movie. Haven’t seen it. Probably won’t. So this is all I have to be upset about.)

    • I want to see the seinfeld reunion. which season and which episode is that?

      • It’s in the season before this one. It takes place over several episodes as an arc (of the covenant – just kidding, it’s really great actually).

        • The whole season is “Let’s make a Seinfeld reuinion episode, as an excuse to get Cheryl back”, with the last episode actually having clips of “the show” as part of it. The fact that Larry is still living with one of the Black’s and Michael Richards is in the season leads to an inevitable, but hilarious, end of episode punchline.

  8. This movie is like an underwhelming dessert. It’s not bad, per se, but it’s definitely not good. You finish it, but you’re like “Why did I finish that?” You’re kind of filled with self-loathing afterwards, even though it doesn’t seem like a big deal. Maybe you’re filled with loathing because you spent two hours/ate a whole cake and weren’t invested. You just finished it because you started. Maybe you’re upset because you feel invested only because of that time spent, even thought you didn’t like it. I vote we dub these movies “Dave Franco Pie”

    • Ralph’s makes a strawberry pie that you should never eat. It edges past underwhelming, into “tastes like cough syrup.”

      I actually enjoy the taste of cough syrup — it tastes like getting better! But not when it’s shaped like a pie. Weird, right?

      Relevance of this comment: 100.

  9. First of all, they are vacationing in Vietnam, get it right.

    Second of all, this is a great movie.

  10. i thought this was a decent movie, based solely on Greta Gerwig. She looks a looooooooottttt like my ex-gf/love of my life, so naturally I’m madly in love with her. Oh yeah, and, like Gabe said, she actually is a very good actress.

  11. Nomination: ‘Away We Go’ directed by Sam Mendes (more like Away We NO, imo)

    • You’re killing me. Why didn’t you like it?

      • “You taste different” or whatever is grounds enough.

      • I assumed I’d hate it, avoided it more than other bad movies and eventually caught it on an HBO Lonely Girl’s Special Saturday Night For Wine, Crying and Knowing You Will Die AloneTM… and it *totally* hit me on a level I didn’t expect. Hate to say, but I’ve actually shared it with friends (though also usually bc we had the PMS and otherwise the SADS). But for all the twee and the oh-so-precious bullshit, Allison Janney and Jim Gaffigan were amazing. And those Montreal scenes killed me, maybe because I had some friends who had been there within weeks (bad-situation, not the city) of my viewing. Plus Maya Rudolph is just great and can save any moment.

        • I totally love that movie. It may annoy people with its twee-ness, and. . .I have no defense against that. I can just say that it hit me in a good place and I love it with all my heart.

    • Seconded! Away We Go is pretty much Sam Mendes running with the infamous American Beauty plastic bag scene for the length of the entire film. OMG the ending barf!

      • Yes. I hate this movie. The last line makes me want to kill Jim from the Office and Maya Rudolph. Any movie that could inspire murderous feelings for people that likable is truly a piece of shit.

    • Agreed! I really hated Away We Go! But I also really liked Greenberg! “Movies, you are tearing me apart!” -Tommy Wise-no.

  12. The best way to think about Greenberg is as a tragic take on Portlandia’s ‘dream of the 90s.’ Greenberg embodies all of the now quaint-seeming anti corporateness of pre record industry implosion indieness. When his band was still together they could have never imagined a world in which underground musicians make a large amount of money by selling songs to brands or a top 20 chart in which Arcade Fire outshone R&B megastars. The slacker was a product, in part, of the economic boom years of the 90s. To see such a character marooned in post 9/11 America, as Gabe points out, is extremely sad and pathetic. I think the real reason this film didn’t work (though I like Baumbach’s sharp writing, even when it sort of fails) is because his best work centers on family dynamics. There are little here to work with.

    ONE MAJOR ISSUE: Why on earth did Baumbach have to externalize Greenberg’s immature stiltedness and emotional immobility by showing he could not swim or drive? That’s like terrible film student 101 nonsense. Argh!

  13. My favorite part is when he’s angry at mild (at best) inconveniences all the time no matter what.

  14. Do mind the motion picture you critique old bean: Chris Messina’s character is opening a hotel in Vietnam (I imagine that to be the source of income that pays for the opulence. I quibble more with the aversion American film makers have with depictions of poor folks. Gerwig’s adrift and in an apartment, Stiller’s worse off. Regular folks. That simply won’t do:Let’s write in a millionaire, and his wife! and make them go away for the entire picture); the teenagers are twenty or so and one of them is Greenberg’s niece. Rhys Ifans’ character is a phlegmatic, shambling fellow who doesn’t want to give his friend stick for his faults and who doesn’t feel particularly close to his old band mate. We see that Greenberg’s self-centered irascibility is in fact an issue with him when the Welshman unloads on the American for not knowing the nickname of his son. One feels the character played by Mr. Ifans was waiting for Greenberg to go away for another couple of decades rather than confront a former friend about a series of slights and defects.
    Next week: The Kids Are All Right and the Leads Are All Straight (I know actors play things called characters who are actually not themselves. But please, book us some lesbians Lisa! And the firing of the gardener. And the fling with Ruffalo. Josie Grossey!)

    • Thank you eddietheeagle. The firing of the gardener! That movie rambled on with everyone else’s ‘problems’ and at the end, I was still going, ‘but the gardener’….Still, no WMOAT.

  15. I nominate Redline for the Worst Movie of All Time.

    It meets all the requirements for The Hunt, and it is so incredibly bad. My favorite part of the movie was when the guy sitting in front of me stood up and yelled at the middle school kids behind me to stop throwing their change at people in the theater.

  16. This review kind of made me want to watch this movie, provided it is short. Is it short? I would watch the hell out of a 40-minute version of this movie. I might even make it a double feature with that one about how Sofia Coppola takes elevators with famous people and to her they are normal people, sort of. If that one is also short.

  17. I kinda thought that I liked this movie right after I saw it, and then later on decided that I didn’t, really, which I seem to do a lot.

    It’s sort of “good” in the way a lot of mumblecore films are–it bears the mark of an auteur, it exhibits a mode of dialogue counter to the standard Hollywood style, and Baumbach is clearly a talented writer, especially in terms of revealing outlook/character through naturalistic conversation. That’s sort of the problem, though–it’s pretty good on a moment-to-moment basis but entirely absurd as a whole for a lot of the reasons Gabe talked about. It basically felt like an exercise in making an unlikable but believable character, and, while successful, just sort of spun there for a while. I read an interview with Charlie Kaufman a little while back where he said that he either likes to write or likes to read (I forgot, I am not a robot) stories where there’s no solution, no didactic little conclusion or moral imperative, and while I agree with that, Greenberg felt like that proclivity taken to an unfortunate extreme; not only was there no answer, but it’s never entirely clear what we were supposed to think the question was.

    also, I’m gay

    • Huh. Interesting. What made me think this movie might be interesting was that maybe it would be an answer to the question, “That artist who stuck to his integrity and never sold out, where’s he 10 years later? Is he sad that he’s poor, or is the satisfaction of integrity enough for him?”

      And the answer here is maybe, “First of all, he’s miserable, and second of all he’s so miserable that it’s almost impossible to see his failure as a choice, like seriously, he was DOOMED to never succeed and opting for ‘integrity’ was just the self-serving trigger he happened to pull on his personal doom machine, but whatever, it was always gonna be some trigger or other with him.”

      Is it possible to imagine him selling out 10 years ago and being kind of happy now? SOMEBODY STOP ME, I MIGHT SEE THIS MOVIE.

  18. I’ll defend this movie. I saw it when I was unemployed and horribly depressed. I felt like a failure on the verge of becoming an irredeemable asshole. I think if I had continued down that road, I might have become a lot like Greenberg: a guy with a lot of potential who got some bad breaks, failed, eventually gave up, and spent the rest of his life taking it out on everyone else.

    Is that a good person to become? No. I’m glad I did not become that person, and it doesn’t really make me happy to watch Ben Stiller pretend to be that person either. On the other hand, that fear is there. Greenberg is a relatable character because, as shitty as he is, it seems like not a huge stretch to believe I could end up like that after enough miserable failure.

    At the same time, Greenberg maintains a small speck of the decent person he probably once was. It comes through a few times in the movie, briefly, and then more forcefully [spoiler] in the final voicemail he leaves Greta Gerwig. Her response, “This is you” is meant to signal her recognition of the good part of him, the part that is possibly still worth trying to get to know.

    That said, I agree that it is pretty unrealistic that anyone as seemingly awesome as her character would put up with enough of Greenberg’s shit to get to the point where you might recognize the small redemptive part of his soul. And even if she DID get that far, it’s debatable whether even that part of him is worth the effort.

    But ultimately, the movie is a reminder to people going through hard times and letting those hard times turn them into piles of shit, that there might still be something worth loving at the bottom of that pile of shit. I think that is a useful reminder, even if it comes through a pretty flawed set-up.

    • ‘“This is you” is meant to signal her recognition of the good part of him, the part that is possibly still worth trying to get to know.’

      Not, it’s not. She’s just skipping through a couple of other messages people left, finds his, says “This is you”, and the film ends just as she’s started listening to it.

    • I’m 25 years old and pretty awesome and I’ve dated guys that sound worse than Greenberg. It happens.

    • Thank you for mentioning the film’s last line! I thought the same thing, and I thought that scene was really good.

      Also, this movie is a lot better the second time (when you have HBO and the same things show all week you end up watching things like Greenberg multiple times sometimes). Yeah he’s a miserable person, but wasn’t the scene where he unnecessarily goes off on Greta Gerwig’s character after she tells him a story at her apartment kindddddd of hilarious? “YOU NEVER HAVE ANYTHING GOOD TO DRINK!”

      Also Greta Gerwig is unbelievably cute in this movie.

  19. This may or may not be relevant. At the screening of Greenberg I went to, my friends and I talked to a group of older (elderly) patrons, who very much disliked the movie and expressed their inability to understand the motivations of the characters. They were very, very old. I’m just saying.

    • Would you estimate that they were, on average, at least a handful of centuries old? To be more specific, did it seem like people were addressing each them by the name of the main one?

  20. Yikes. The Squid and the Whale is one of my favorite all time movies, but after Margot at the Wedding I felt the need to break up with Noah Baumbach. Definitely won’t be watching this one.

    • Margot at the Wedding was complete shit. This wasn’t complete shit. It might have partly been my low expectations going in, but I quite enjoyed it. Not everything is as inexplicable as Gabe makes out, and it’s actually quite funny in places. Ben Stiller’s character is basically an asshole, yes, and if you don’t like movies about horrible people then skip it. But Rhys Ifans’ and Greta Gerwig’s actions make enough sense within the movie.

      “Greta Gerwig seems thoughtful and confident” – no, she doesn’t. In the first 5 minutes alone it it’s revealed her “bosses” are three weeks late on paying her, she refuses cash from one of them but then needs to borrow money from her friend later that night, and then she goes home with a guy she only barely wants to sleep with. She’s the complete opposite of confident and assertive.

  21. Can we nominate a Wes Anderson movie? Preferably “The Life Aquatic.”

    I fucking love that movie, but I’d like to see it deconstructed. Are we allowed to nominate films we love or is that against the rules?

    • I am almost (nearly 100%) certain that it is not called the Hunt for the Most Reviewed Movie of All Time. But I like the enthusiasm! The Life Aquatic is too much of a good’n to be a wmoat’n.

    • If we do a Wes Anderson movie can we do The Darjeeling Limited? Because what the fuck was that entire movie.

  22. I really don’t like noah baumbach at all. The squid and the whale was awful and I couldn’t make it through Margot at the Wedding.

    Now, I am a huge Wes Anderson fan. I think the biggest difference between Wes and Noah is that somehow you end up liking Anderson’s character. Both guys make white people movies filled with rich assholes, but Baumbach’s have no redeeming qulaities whereas Anderson’s at least change a little?

    I’m just trying to understand why I like one and not the other.

    • “The Royal Tennenbaums” was sorta a flashpoint in my filmgoing adolescence. All my bright and interesting friends loved it and I could not understand why! The characters were like brick walls, I could not enter into them even a little.

      The widescale fondness for Gwyneth Paltrow’s character especially stung; it was my first glimpse of the idea that sometimes guys fall in love with girls even though you suspect there is no THERE there. Like love is just the pursuit of status signifiers?

      So I guess I am saying the Tennenbaums is a really good introduction to those confused feelings of loneliness as a function of ones lack of correct posturing.

  23. “Never fall in love with a filmmaker who films bad marriages. It always ends bad!”

  24. I tried to watch Dinner for Schmucks last night (required a lot of fast-forwarding), and now I am nominating it. Just like that. BAM!

    • Invalid! Evidence: “Louis Pasteur turned cheese into medicine.”

      Yes, it’s a stupid movie, but there’s some really good stupid in there.

    • agreed. it was so painfully unfunny at times i felt really sad for steve carell. because he is really good at playing moderately-happy-in-spite-of-being-generally-so-lost-in-this-world-type of characters! but instead of getting that point across the movie just emphasized how utterly lost ANY actor would be in Dinner for Schmucks, or something.

    • It was bad, but it was bad in such a boring way. I feel like Gabe would just post “meh” and move on to the next one.

  25. There is an astounding deleted scene in which Greenberg calls his closest friends and family, asks what they really feel about him, tape records the conversations, sees they think he’s an asshole, and changes, for the better. It had to be cut, sadly. Some asshole had used the idea already.

  26. LCD soundsystem is this movie’s WOMAT sheild. Makes it physically impossible to be the W. Well played, Baumbach. Well played.

  27. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  28. “You guys, I’m worried about Noah Baumbach! Like, kind of for real! I know that you cannot know THAT much about someone’s life just by their work, but if Noah Baumbach’s work is even slightly representational of the world he lives in, then he lives in a terrible world where everyone is a real fucking asshole!”

    Gabe – this is great. This is exactly how I felt about the movie. I was annoyed, and angry at it, and just hated it a little bit. But most of all I was sad that there were people out there who thought this character was normal or likable or even enviable, in some indie chic way.

    Also I will echo oh’s comment above – wtf was with the oral sex scene? That was one of the most awful, embarrassing, ickiest sex scenes I’ve ever seen in a film. I know it was supposed to be that way. But UGH.

  29. not a single mention of mark duplass! i even ctrl+f’ed the comments (is what she robo-said?). i love mark duplass and he was nice in this. there, now somebody said it.

  30. Hilarious stuff and right on the money, as always. A nomination: “The Family Stone”

  31. I renominate Book of Eli, for its pretentious and portentous straining after allegory.
    Also, Radio Flyer, starring the hobbit.
    Also, The Hobbit.

  32. One of my biggest problems with this movie: They treat the abortion like it’s a tonsillectomy. Now, I know different people have different opinions about abortion but surely any real person would at least debate going through with it. Not in Greenberg. “Oh, y’know, just having an operation. It’s no big deal. I wouldn’t worry about it.”

    I finally got excited when he was going to Australia. Maybe then something interesting would happen: the plane would crash (very likely), he’d get to have a threesome with those girls (less likely), but just mainly I wouldn’t have to see him any more. And then he stops the cab and runs to Greta’s house like it’s a f***ing Matthew McConaughey romance or something.

    I re-nominate The Romantics, starring Katie Holmes, Worst Actress of All Time Malin Akerman, Anna Paquin, Josh Duhamel, and Elijah Wood as the perverted little brother who somehow is the most sympathetic character in the whole thing.

  33. My friend has a theory that Greenberg is a sequel to Reality Bites, except with Stiller as Ethan Hawke’s character. That being said, is Reality Bites a candidate for Worst Movie Ever?

  34. I gave up on Noah Baumbach on Margot at the Wedding. But it’s always entertaining to read your reviews. Thanks for taking another for the team.

    I nominate Morning Glory. I would love to hear how you rip that a new one. It is just so… SILLY. And not in a fun way!

  35. Is this how you do this?

    I want to nominate “All the Real Girls”

    everyone i know liked that movie… and i watched it last night. It just seemed like a big long trailer for whatever the actual movie would end up being.

    i know its when all the boys fell in love with Zooey Dassschhheaanenelll (SP?)….. but, so, even though she was hot, i couldn’t wait for the movie to end… then it ended and I was so mad about how it ended… but happy that it did.

  36. I want to nominate Die Another Day. Not only the worst Bond movie but easily one of the most horrific pieces of shit ever

  37. I’d like to nominate Death Becomes Her. Insanely creepy and strange movie with Meryl Streep, Bruce Willis, and Goldie Hawn that apparently won an Academy Award? Which is strange, because it is the worst movie of all time.

  38. I would like to nominate two movies that I love, but freely admit are probably terrible:

    Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

    Please don’t be done, Gabe! I just found the Hunt this past week and it is amazingly funny. And now I know exactly what movies to never, ever watch, ever.

  39. Also – sorry, me again – Red Riding Hood and Jennifer’s Body. Assuming you can sit through Megan Fox’s “performance” in the latter.

  40. Factory Girl very, very much deserves a shot at the crown.

  41. When is the next round of movies? I need it! Hurry up!

  42. Can we get some more of these STAT

  43. I nominate Gus Van Sant’s Restless. It plays like a parody of the quirky indie dramedy that rips off an early prototype of the genre, Harold and Maude, through a Garden State-grade wannabe Wes Anderson filter. Hackery that rings utterly false from substituting moth-eaten cliches for any earned sentiment, drama, and realism. It should be retitled Not Another Indie Dramedy.

  44. everybody be cool, im just posting a link here to make sure it will work in the real discussion http://imgur.com/PjAYf

  45. imgur.com/PjAYf

  46. HA Greenberg, your movie so dumb, I used to test posting pictures of my dog in a Santa Hat, now who’s a millennial take on the Peter Pan Complex!

  47. Ha, so basically the argument comes down to this movies doesn’t follow the convention of a likeable lead and it makes it a bad movie? Such a lame argument. ‘Greenberg’ admittedly wasn’t a blow away winner on first viewing, but this movie lends itself to multiple viewings like you, or nearly anybody posting here would believe. This is such an underrated movie.

    I’m also incredibly bored with these criticisms of Baumbach tackling the ‘white’ movie or a certain wealth class.

    Ugh, seriously, this list is so entertaining and interesting, but there are so many better directors to attack on the pseudo Indie level of American filmmaking. Baumbach has vision, focus and a unique interest in writing and directing. Not every movie will be or should be ‘Squid’ or ‘K&S’. I wouldn’t argue those are his two most accessible, and perhaps best. Both this film and ‘Margot at the Wedding’, earlier slagged, are both really interesting looks into the psyche of terrible ppl. And if you allow them, if you can adjust yourself, are both terribly funny.

  48. This is absolutely the worst movie I have ever watched all the way through. It is totally pointless and there is very little characterization in the protagonist Greenberg. You have to care a little for the main character, otherwise the entire experience is just a waste of time. I kept waiting for some redeeming quality, and none filtered through the mirage of poorly connected sequence of events. At one point I was ready to just turn it off and go to bed, but when I hit pause, I noticed there were only 4 more minutes left to this poor excuse for a film. Did I miss the symbolism? Was this a poor attempt at satire? Was the entire film supposed to be irony of situation? I can see why people asked for their money back after viewing this hyperbole in a movie theater. This movie is more disappointing than Ishtar, and everyone knows that piece of cinematic genius (verbal irony here) was a major turd.

  49. One of Baumbach’s best movies to date, albeit his resume is short (topped by, obviously, The Squid and the Whale). But the viewer’s POV is seen through the eyes of the lead character (literally in some scenes), Michael Greenberg, and what we see is extraordinary. The film is uncompromising, and fans of Stiller’s late works (Night at the Museum, Meet the Parents, The Watch–all of which seem far more qualified as a “Worst of all Time” selection) will likely feel confused or disappointed by the film, and maybe even anger for its posing as a “Ben Stiller” movie (which it never claims to do. It’s a Noah Baumbach film).

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post, reply to, or rate a comment.