I Care A Lot

People HATE this movie!

It’s got a confounding score on RottenTomatoes. It has 80% on the Tomatometer, the average of critics’ reviews, in this case 192, and a 37% audience score, with in excess of 1000 ratings. That’s enough data to be definitive.

Sometimes foreign shows have a lack of data. So you don’t know whether to trust RottenTomatoes. And oftentimes, the lowbrow public can’t handle a foreign show, so the critics’ ratings might be high and the hoi polloi’s low. But for a mainstream movie?

And that’s exactly what “I Care a Lot” is. A Hollywood production, made for opening weekend and hopefully longer. Almost high concept, and not purely authentic. A slice of life, but no one’s life who you know. It’s a caper, it’s an adventure, it’s a ride.

But now we no longer have to go to the cinema to see it!

Yes, I never would have paid to see “I Care a Lot,” because unless it’s truly legendary, I no longer trek to the theatre, it’s a bad experience, in toto. The movie plays at a specific time, always inconvenient, you’ve got to get there, you’ve got to endure the trailers…and the audience.

As for films needing to be seen on the big screen…

A couple of months back we got one of those LG OLED TVs. I thought it was completely unnecessary, we’ve got a top of the line Samsung from way back in 2007, LCD, which they no longer make anymore, I was wowed by the picture until…

We set the up LG.

It cost $2600. Felice blanched. I thought it was ridiculous.

But then I read an article that said if you just wait, the sets go down in price as the year progresses. There are new sets introduced in January at CES and…

The price went down to $2100. Still too much. But then just after Halloween Felice got the itch, she needed to get it. Me? I have trouble pulling the lever on almost any purchase, and as I said above, I thought it was completely unnecessary, I could not imagine a television better than the old trusty Samsung. We have a later Samsung model, an LED, top of the line, and the picture is nowhere close to the original 2007 one.

So I went online to buy the TV, and just that day the price declined to $1800! So then the question became who to buy it from. I believe in Amazon. But Felice was all uptight about removal, a service Amazon does not provide. Turns out Best Buy delivery is free, and if you pay just a bit more, they’ll detach and remove. But if you want the new one installed, you had to wait in excess of a month. So we bought it from Best Buy and I booked an installer from Thumbtack I’d used before. I swear by Thumbtack. Costs are cheaper and the people are so afraid of getting a bad rating they over-deliver.

And I’m glad we booked the installation, the mounting was easy, but the key was the installer tuned the set, since he installs these on a regular basis, he’s got the settings down. Which is good, because the thing came with no manual. As for all the built-in features, the apps, Alexa… I’ve learned they’re unnecessary. Because as the TV ages the apps on it are not updated, because streaming services write for new devices. Best to get a Roku. Which updates itself automatically. Which is better than the TV itself, which usually features an unbelievably slow chip.

So the guy set up the TV and my jaw dropped. I had no idea that a picture could be this good. I come from the school where unless the TV is broken, you continue to use it, the one in my office is a Panasonic from 2009. But it turns out I am wrong, the upgrade is worth it.

And if we were going to spend this much money, I had to be sure, was this set the best available? Everybody says so. Yes, the LG CX series. They just updated it, but the upgrades are superfluous. You want a 65″ set. A 75″ is a huge step up in price, basically a grand. As for anything smaller? Believe me, you want the 65″.

And sure, it’s 4k, but almost nothing is in that format. But the DETAIL! I could see the hairs on Rosamund Pike’s face.

Rosamund Pike. I never got it. She didn’t fit the image I had in my mind in “Gone Girl.” But here she is utterly amazing. Award-worthy. Which is one of the reasons I finally decided to watch this movie. I had it in the back of my mind, but since she won the Golden Globe… I know the Globes are ersatz and I hate to admit it swayed me but I was a bit reluctant to watch because everybody I knew who saw it HATED IT, just like on RottenTomatoes!

And Felice wanted me to turn it off after seven minutes. She saw where it was going and she didn’t want to go any further down this road.

But I was digging it.

Because of the production values. Because it was a MOVIE!

I prefer streaming series, there’s more character development. Also, all movies made for television are substandard, they’re made on a budget to fill a programming slot. They’re commerce, not art. They’re almost an insult, a time-suck.

But not “I Care a Lot.”

The money was spent. I felt just like I would at the theatre, only I was at home, starting at 8:25 PM. Do you know any movie that starts at 8:25 in a theatre? I’d been planning to fire it up at 8:05, but then my older sister called. And she said she hated it too. But I wanted to dive in anyway.

So it starts off with this rap about winners and losers. That is, what does it take to win?

That seems to be why the critics liked the film, for the social commentary.

As for the public? They had problems with the ending. I did not. Actually, I could pretty much see where it was going very early on. I was satisfied with the conclusion…

But really, it’s about the ride. Rosamund Pike is just so BAD!

Maybe you know some winners. Some billionaires. Some CEOs.

They did not get there by accident, don’t listen to a word they say, it’s all b.s., if they really told you what it took to make it to the top you’d be horrified! My father reinforced this to me again and again, he said SCHNOOKS GET SHAT ON! It’s a rough world out there, and if you’re not fighting to get ahead…

I can’t do that.

First, you’ve got to be good with people, you have to know how to smile and manipulate them. Business friends, that’s just what they are. It’s mutual masturbation to hopefully get where you want to go. If there was no money involved, no career advancement, you probably would never hang out with these people.

And then there are the winners.

First and foremost, you must play to win. You cannot be conciliatory, you’ve got to go for the jugular. But true winners know not to be aggressive and in your face all all the time. Most are charming, cunning, you think you’re set and then they knife you in the back.

Oh, don’t tell me I’m jaded and inaccurate. It’s like Jack Nicholson in that old movie, YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!

And the twist starts with Dean, the lawyer. Leverage. Intimidation. Do you get scared, or do you want to stand up to the man? And the man doesn’t have to raise his voice, he can get his message across quite quietly.

As for women? Pike nails this again and again. How men have tried to intimidate her and have threatened her ad infinitum, but when push comes to shove…

Yes, there’s a feminist angle here too. And a lesbian relationship. So for those that say Hollywood is out of touch, behind the times, not in “I Care a Lot,” maybe not on Netflix.

So, at first you’re dazzled by the production values, the cinematography. And just when you think you’ve got the plot nailed, it switches. And then becomes a cat and mouse game. And towards the end it gets kind of ridiculous. Which is why on an absolute scale this movie is just a solid B. But in a sea of mediocrity, a solid B is worth your while. As for grade inflation? Those at the top know grades are irrelevant. They don’t care about degrees or pedigrees, that’s how the inadequate puff up. It’s what you deliver, what you’ve got. You don’t have to shine it up, either it radiates on its own or it does not, either it’s worth something or it is not.

So you can watch “I Care a Lot” as a conventional movie, and be pissed it doesn’t work out the way you want it too.

Or you can watch it as social commentary. And it does this quite well, without constantly banging you over the head.

Or, you can just strap yourself in and go on the ride. A ride without the corners cut off, like so much in today’s world, afraid of offending somebody they smooth off the edges and make it safe and ultimately unwatchable. But the truth is Rosamund Pike has got an edge inside so sharp it can cut through almost anything. But she covers it with a smile, with platitudes, and she gets her way. You know how this is, you sit around with your friends complaining about the person from your group who made it and left you behind. They’re now jive. They’re different. No, they were always this way, they just wanted it more than you, THEY NEEDED IT!

Rosamund Pike needs it. Money is everything to her. And for most people it is. Of course, intellectuals will watch the movie and ask WHAT DOES ROSAMUND PLAN TO DO WITH ALL THAT MONEY? You know people want to win the lottery, but then what? You can only buy so many houses and cars, there are twenty four hours in a day, how are you going to fill them? Drinking and drugging and…that gets old really quickly. No, you want to work, for the camaraderie, for the social interaction. Then again, who do you want to play with? Those at the top never play the lottery, they know the odds are against them, it’s a rigged game. No, they create the game, or bend the rules of the one they’re involved in. They need better odds. And the triumph is almost as rewarding as the cash. As for the cash? The successful want it for power more than for what it can buy. And respect from their peers. Who know they’re someone to pay attention to, because they know what it takes to make it that far, to get that rich.

So, about two-thirds of the way through this flick I couldn’t wait to recommend it. But when it drove to its conclusion, I was wavering. Now?

I don’t need to hear that you watched it and didn’t like it. Like I said above, MOST PEOPLE ARE WITH YOU!

But if you used to live to go to the movies, for the experience, to be led along by a sleek production, that’s what “I Care a Lot” delivers. If you saw it on the big screen you’d enjoy it, or hate it, just as much, you’d never say it was a TV movie, you’d never say it was cheap.

So it’s almost nostalgia, for those who remember movies in the days before they were all fantasies, with special effects and superheroes.

But in this case, it’s just a click away, on the flat screen, for you to watch.

“I Care a Lot” is not empty calories. It may not be wagyu, but it’s definitely not Burger King. It’s more akin to filet mignon. It delivers.

Maybe you’ll like it. I CERTAINLY DID!


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