I’m not a big fan of hunting and never will be. I guess I’m qualified to dislike this movie, then. Really though, the reason I can’t say I totally liked the movie isn’t because it’s about hunting, good stories can be told through horrible stuff… I wasn’t a fan because it’s based on nothing more than Josh Brolin to tell a story. I appreciated some of its quirks and the fact that the tone was deliberately a big mess, but I don’t see it as meeting the viewer’s expectations. Aside from the fact that Brolin is the lead, nothing else binds you to the character, there’s no emotional bond, and the only bond there is is very predictable. The dynamic between the character of Brolin and his annoying son is so utterly obvious that I can’t even call this “lazy writing.” This was “sleeping writing.” I recently found myself reviewing movies that often seemed like missed opportunities, add this one to the list. The performers and stage could have been working towards a completely different goal, the end product could have been an independent sensation. In the end, we are looking at a very light comedy that only gives you a small amount of excitement and/or fun. Without Brolin and McBride, it would have been a half star movie. I don’t know, I’m thinking about it, and I don’t think it’s a movie that deserves to be ripped apart, but it didn’t really make me feel that much watching it, so… Everything had the potential to work, but it was half-hearted. Or maybe not, maybe that was the movie Jody Hill wanted to make, a silly part of life that doesn’t really go home after all the goods are turned over. Comedy elements are present, but were never fully embraced, because it seems that Hill was more interested in this unusual character study than a dramatic/comic development of the story. Perhaps a heavier hand in dosing the comedy bits might have helped. Even when the dramatic parts are dosed out, really. Hell, imagine if the kid died during the hunt, it would have been a huge punch in the stomach for the audience that was on the light ride, it might have elevated a mostly anonymous image to something people wouldn’t do. They have forgotten, as always.
Obviously they had different intentions, the Netflix production just wants to get you to the place of pushing the thumbnail and sticking with it, so these movies need to stay on a much more conventional route, sadly, even though it all “does weird stuff” . “stuff” seems to have worked the same way in the past. I hope that Netflix, a place of ideas and creativity, does not take too many steps to become a normal movie studio, where instead of shaping the tastes of the audiences, they fall into the pattern of predicting the tastes of the audiences and giving them the things simple ones they (supposedly) want. I found some narrative similarities to I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore, in how the story unfolded in an unconventional, character-focused way, placing absolutely bizarre (sometimes unrealistic) dynamics between the characters (McBride showing photos of his girlfriend being gangbanged by guys to Brolin’s son, who is only twelve years old). While IDFAHITWA (I thought using the acronym would have made my life easier, but it didn’t) struck the perfect balance between weird, sad and funny, delivering a great climax; The Legacy Of A Whitetail Deer Hunter (Dude, what’s up with these titles, by the way) really didn’t. It’s too rough around the edges to become anything concrete, even the ending (where things get a bit more intense) feels too light and not rewarding enough. I wasn’t bored, again, 100% by Brolin, but I never got excited either, and that’s not a good thing, for sure. Visually, they worked enough to make a classic setting feel a bit more lively, putting the characters in some situations worthy of a light Bear Grylls episode, even environmentally, and that was great. He also doesn’t take a stand on the “raise your son to hunt” situation, at least it would have been nice to see a little moral dilemma. There is a very small part, but it remains unresolved and unexplored, like most of the film.