Everything Everywhere All At Once is an Overwhelming Experience
August 2, 2022 4:51 PM   Subscribe

Everything Everywhere All At Once is an Overwhelming Experience [27m] is an analysis of the film that really digs deep and, for me, brought out a lot that I hadn't realized about the film. Quality film essay, worth a watch (it uses scenes from the film to illustrate its points).

Contains some blurred scenes from the film to keep YouTube from taking the video down, but is entirely coherent even with that. If you haven't seen the film yet, what is stopping you? Fanfare.
posted by hippybear (72 comments total) 49 users marked this as a favorite
 
Not only is Everything Everywhere All At Once the best movie I have ever seen, it is also the best movie I will ever see.
posted by AlSweigart at 4:54 PM on August 2 [18 favorites]


Also a great video to watch: Everything Everywhere Needs Waymond Wang by Pop Culture Detective.
posted by AlSweigart at 4:56 PM on August 2 [6 favorites]


Honestly, what's stopping me from watching the movie (other than "laziness about going to a theater or paying an extra $20 to see it," which I admit are also somewhat factors) is that I strongly suspect I'm not smart enough to comprehend it. It sounds cool, I'm just...not all that smart.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:00 PM on August 2 [2 favorites]


I saw it and it is smart but it helps you along and is fun. Totally not a “homework” movie.
posted by kerf at 5:03 PM on August 2 [19 favorites]


You are smart enough to watch this movie. It's extremely approachable for being as dense as it is. It's so much fun. Also surprisingly emotional. It's a journey but in the best way!

I expected to like it but I didn't expect to like it as much as I did and in the ways that I did. Really, give Michelle Yeoh all the awards and then make up more awards to give her. I always knew she was amazing but basically, her amazingness has no limit.
posted by edencosmic at 5:05 PM on August 2 [14 favorites]


Also, previously on the blue.
posted by AlSweigart at 5:07 PM on August 2


an earnest question...if one does not 'get' the vibe or find the first 15-20 minutes engaging, does it change? Is it a matter of sticking with it? I heard so many people that I trust rave about it but by the time I saw it for whatever reason I could not see the reason for the accolades, and I feel like I am a reasonably discerning consumer of content.
posted by docpops at 5:16 PM on August 2 [2 favorites]


I'd say the first 15-20 minutes are sort of setting up concepts for the universe it takes place in, but that the story really goes much deeper on emotional and family stuff than you expect from the opening and ends up being a surprisingly touching exploration of things that are important in life that extends far beyond the concept of the film.
posted by hippybear at 5:22 PM on August 2 [17 favorites]


Does it change? It changes so much. All of the changes. It is all over the place and I love it.
posted by phooky at 5:24 PM on August 2 [8 favorites]


It's a really good movie, and you should just watch it; you do not need to be interested in the same thing film nerds are interested in to enjoy this film. My wife and I have different tolerances for philosophy in films, and we both enjoyed it heartily. I have never seen a movie with such emotional breadth, from true absurdity, hilarity to high drama and love. There is absolutely High Film Nerdery going on, but not at the detraction of it being a good film.

Knowing a bit more about Ke Huy Quan's story, and specifically the anecdotes about the first fanny pack fight scene from this interview, made that scene absolutely delicious to me, but knowing what is in the interview is absolutely not required.

Docpops, I would say that it is a smidge slow until you reach the first fanny pack fight scene. I would make the argument that the slower, mellow, boring-ass start is completely by design and supports the story in a very specific way.
posted by furnace.heart at 5:28 PM on August 2 [7 favorites]


Jen dear, it has butt plug jokes in it. And hot dog fingers. It is definitely not a hi-brow movie. It moves fast and there is a lot going on but I hardly ever felt lost and I have a lingering suspicion that it made me a better person.
posted by aquanaut at 5:28 PM on August 2 [22 favorites]


best movie.... see it.
posted by wmo at 5:35 PM on August 2


I am obsessed with "Everything Everywhere All at Once". I've watched it five times now with more to come. I evangelize it to all of my friends. (I'm sure I'm very annoying about it.) But I always warn people: The first act starts slow and you'll be like, "What's the big deal?", then the second act is weird as fuck and you'll be like, "Why do people like this?", but the third act pulls it all together in ways you would not expect and if you stuck around for the entire thing, you come away going, "Whoa, I love this."

Also, I haven't watched a bad YouTube video about the film. They're all great.
posted by jdroth at 5:38 PM on August 2 [11 favorites]


Just starting to watch this now (I’ve seen the movie) but wondering if this merits a spoiler alert?

Edit: ok that’s covered at exactly 1:00.
posted by sjswitzer at 5:42 PM on August 2


It's literally an analysis of the film. How does one analyze a film if one doesn't talk about the film in detail? I'm assuming everyone is a thinking adult who can figure that out. Perhaps that's wrong of me.
posted by hippybear at 5:44 PM on August 2 [12 favorites]


The plot is chaotic. The movie is, after all, simultaneously a multiverse-scifi movie, martial arts superhero movie, a movie about marital strife and family strife and generational strife, about nihilism and hope, suicide, conflict (violence and non), and striving for connection All At Once.

But repeat viewings will show that the plot and themes are entirely coherent. The theme asks is life worth living despite the inevitable failure and heartbreak, is it shrewd (rather than naive) to try to resolve conflict without violence, is lending trust in others who don't necessarily trust you worth it? And the movie answers yes, yes, yes.

Even the multiverse concept makes "sense". Without going into spoilers: The phone app shows the different universes have a sort of geometry to them: some universes are near yours (the one where you go home to redo your taxes) and others are far, far away (the one where humans evolved with hot dog fingers). By doing silly, random, statistically improbable things, you deviate the course of your universe a bit and the bluetooth gizmos can then "slingshot" you to a further universe where you can access your alternate self's skills and memories. Evelyn is able to do so much because her life has been nothing but failures and disappointment: every time something good happened, it happened in a universe that branched off (but is nearby) her own. So "loser" Evelyn is able to access many, many different "successful" versions of herself with different skills because she's been constantly close to "success" but always just missing it.

(Sure, you can poke holes into this concept of the multiverse, but it's-just-a-show-I-should-really-just-relax.)

It's not a pretentious movie that is random for the sake of being random. It aims high with its themes, but absolutely nails them. Mention any part of the movie and I can explain why it fits perfectly within it.

Also, it has butt plug kung fu.
posted by AlSweigart at 5:45 PM on August 2 [13 favorites]


Sorry to say I didn't like it at all. I felt like they took all the jokes way too far, when the characters became rocks and cartoon characters it became impossible for me to care about them at all anymore. And the Literally Everything Bagel was one of the dumbest movie gags I've seen in a while. Maybe I'm just not in the demographic for this, I prefer classic cinema!
posted by crazy_yeti at 5:56 PM on August 2 [7 favorites]


Sorry you didn't like it, crazy_yeti. Obviously you're crazy, you've indicated this voluntarily.

I do watch Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon way too often, if that is any comfort to you.

(In another universe you LOVE this movie!)
posted by hippybear at 6:01 PM on August 2 [14 favorites]


And the Literally Everything Bagel was one of the dumbest movie gags I've seen in a while.

Literally Everything Bagel as a perfect inverse of the googly eyes was one of the most clever movie gags I’ve ever seen. Takes all kinds!
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 6:06 PM on August 2 [15 favorites]


One of the funniest things about EEAAO (and even the acronym is kind of funny!) is that it came out just before Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which, despite having "multiverse" in its title, seems to just dip its toe in some of the concepts that EEAAO revels in.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:12 PM on August 2 [12 favorites]


the everything bagel vs the googly eyes.

-Bagel (yin): life is mostly dull and bad, joy is fleeting and meaningless
-Googly Eyes (yang): life is mostly good and worthwhile, suffering is transient and fixable
posted by subdee at 6:18 PM on August 2 [25 favorites]


The Everything Bagel is an incredibly smart part of the movie: it is a goofy gag (it's a bagel with literally everything on it) but also a metaphor for suicide (a topic about as unfunny as it gets.)

The Everything Bagel is also, as the video points out, the color-inverse (it is black with a white center) of the googly eyes (white with a black center) that Waymond puts on things around the house and laundromat. Waymond's not-naive philosophy of hope in the face of nihilism and the inevitable pains that life brings is the inverse of the Everything Bagel: that life is pointless and painful and only suicide can free you from it.

Meanwhile, it is also a clever nod to the ying-yang symbol: it states that even this optimism is not without it's own dark part.

Circle symbols are in almost every shot of the movie: the opening scene is of a shot of the circular mirror, Evelyn does her taxes and the only moving part of the set is a circular oscillating fan, all the washing machines in the laundromat have circular windows (Joy is staring into one in her first shot in the movie, reminiscent of her staring into the Everything Bagel and contemplating suicide before being interrupted by Becky which is her analog of the caring-husband Waymond), Evelyn scoops noodles out of a circular pot and into a circular bowl (no shot is wasted in this movie), the (circular) umbrella Waymond holds up in front of the security camera in the elevator, the light-up floor indicators in the elevators are circles, the circular buttons on Evelyn's jacket while she sits at the IRS desk, the circular mirror she looks at before her first verse-jump, the circle the IRS auditor draws on the receipt (a direct reference to the Everything Bagel), the circular cookies that Waymond gives the auditor (and the later reference by Evelyn's kung fu mentor saying "even this cookie can be kung fu"), the chapstick that Waymond eats is in a circular tube, the circular sewer manhole cover that features prominently when "successful businessman" Waymond talks to movie star Evelyn, and on and on and on and on.

The "characters became rocks" are circular boulders rolling down a hill is a direct reference to the Myth of Sisyphus and the existentialism themes of the movie.

This is a movie that rewards looking deeply at it. Even the name on the butt plug-shaped Auditor of the Month award the bald security guard shoves up his ass for superpowers is "James Wyatt", which is also the name of the Writers' and Producers' Assistant in the credits, a hilarious in-joke for the production staff.

Even the "dumb movie gags" are not dumb at all and smarter than the Marvel-cinematic-universe drek that passes for "good movies" these days, if you take even a moment to look a bit closer.
posted by AlSweigart at 6:36 PM on August 2 [22 favorites]


This is probably the one movie in a long, long, long time that I seriously, sincerely want to see. But, there’s just no way in multiple hells you can get me into a theater yet. Maybe not ever. I hate this timeline.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:37 PM on August 2 [9 favorites]


But, there’s just no way in multiple hells you can get me into a theater yet.

I sooooo want to see this in a theater, and I guess it's in theaters as a second release right now, but I'm not going to a theater.

But if you'd be wiling to pay to see it in a theater, why not buy the movie from the service of your choice, give the movie some money directly through your purchase (as you would a movie ticket purchase), and then have it to watch over and over? That's what I did. $20, same as in town.
posted by hippybear at 6:39 PM on August 2 [8 favorites]


It should be noted that it is available to rent on a number of digital video purveyors sites.

We did not see it in a theatre and still enjoyed it. It’s one of the best movies I’ve seen in like a decade. Watching it at home did nothing to hinder my enjoyment of the film. In fact, I watched it wearing my skivvies, which is frowned upon in (well, most, I suppose) theaters.

Do it Thorzdad. This is the timeline you have: dooooo it
posted by furnace.heart at 6:47 PM on August 2 [11 favorites]


I’m unapologetically in camp “peer pressure every mefite into seeing this movie.”

Like, you’ve totally paid more money to see worse movies than this one, I assure you.
posted by furnace.heart at 6:57 PM on August 2 [10 favorites]


I got on AppleTV and I’m quite happy with it. It might be better in a theater, or even overwhelming in IMAX, but I will never go to a theater again. I’m one of those people who gets very emotional if it’s a good movie and, brother, that one is amazing. So, if it ain’t streaming, it don’t exist.

I love Michelle Yeoh and James Hong, but the complete surprise was Ke Huy Quan as Waymond. I hope we see a lot more of him; perhaps he can be the next James Hong.
posted by JustSayNoDawg at 7:01 PM on August 2 [5 favorites]


I loved the movie but I would say that if you haven't seen it, lower your expectations for that very reason.

Maybe I'm just not in the demographic for this, I prefer classic cinema!

I'm big on classics too! On the other hand, my sister who isn't so big on classics didn't like EEAAO that much. It's really a personal thing.
posted by storybored at 7:23 PM on August 2


an earnest question...if one does not 'get' the vibe or find the first 15-20 minutes engaging, does it change? Is it a matter of sticking with it?

The first two times I saw this movie—I've seen this movie arguably too many times—I felt like the end of the movie was poorly-timed, for all I was ecstatic about the first 80% of it. The early action sequences were enjoyable as hell, but the towards-the-end-ones felt strangely-paced, heavy-handed, and not really functional as the "grand climax" I felt they were going for.

The third time I saw it, I realized I'd been watching the movie all wrong. Everything Everywhere All At Once isn't an action movie, or a time-travel sci-fi movie at that. It's a family drama, full-stop. And the subversive thing it does isn't "layer a family drama onto an action flick," it's "use an action flick to find ways of articulating a family drama."

At the start of the movie, "infinite universes" feels like an escape. Anything you wish your life had been... well, somewhere out there, it is! Anything you wish you can do... congratulations, you can do it! But then comes the rug pull: if every variation is real, then how does any variation matter? How can you care about your life when it's so arbitrary?

But then there's another rug pull. It futzes with nihilism as its big bad—"nothing is important, who cares"—but then makes the case that a lot of seeming nihilism is actually the pain of neglect. The question isn't: how can you bring yourself care about anything? It's: if anything is possible, how can you be okay with how shit things are? And beneath that, the question is: well, why do we let things be shit? Why are we so okay with being shit to one another?

Which leads to the final turn, wherein "infinite universes" doesn't mean escape—it means perspective. It means getting a chance to see people anew, and catching glimpses of them that you wouldn't notice here. And "action" becomes, in a sense, putting aside what you tell yourself people are saying, and making room for them to actually say it.

(I tried to keep this description as spoiler-free as possible. I think the only thing this spoils is that EEAAO is a family drama, and that its plot points follow family-drama beats rather than action-movie beats.)

As far as "vibes" go, I feel like a lot of the early chaos is set up specifically so that the slower, more emotional moments hit harder. There are a lot of somber and tender and even naturalistic moments of acting later on, and each pivot moves a little bit further away from "zany universe" towards "real-world struggles." It's not all cartoony and hyperkinetic.

And Ke Huy Quan deserves all the fucking awards. Holy shit at his character, and at his performance. (Every actor is fantastic in this, but he gets to be the most deconstructed, and hits the most varied beats. And he nails every last one.)
posted by Tom Hanks Cannot Be Trusted at 7:31 PM on August 2 [41 favorites]


I liked it well enough, some things felt gimmicky and I felt like visually I had just watched an extended version of their Turn Down for What music video.

But yeah, solid movie and I can definitely see it picking up some awards, especially some technical ones!

Best movie I’ve seen this year? Not for me but I’ll take an original, very watchable, entertaining decent movie like this over the 45th movie of the MCU phase 9 or whatever we’re in now.
posted by bxvr at 7:35 PM on August 2 [2 favorites]


I definitely felt like this was the best movie I was going to see all year, and then watched RRR and now I'm honestly torn.

I would like to see the Marvel Cinematic Universe borrow liberally from both movies, though, pretty please.
posted by Tom Hanks Cannot Be Trusted at 7:46 PM on August 2 [1 favorite]


This was a film I didn't finish. I found the physical humour to be overplayed and juvenile, which was a surprise given the quality of the lead and the reasonably complex premise. The disjoint tones put me right off. (I also think I was suffering a little from multiverse burnout, as I didn't finish the latest Dr Strange either.)
posted by krisjohn at 7:51 PM on August 2 [4 favorites]


RRR is complicated for reasons that are outside my culture but I've read a bit about them. I will say, it's the singularly most spectacular thing I've seen for a long time, and the action sequences are so ridiculous and fun it gets elevated to another level.

I think EEAAO affected me more personally. I can't tell you which movie made me feel more wonder and glee because they both did that in entirely different ways. I feel wonder and glee are missing from a lot of movies these days, so this is a recommendation for RRR also. Here's ~20 minutes from NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour that gets into the cultural stuff in the movie a bit.
posted by hippybear at 7:58 PM on August 2 [4 favorites]


Like, you’ve totally paid more money to see worse movies than this one, I assure you.

Without a doubt. At least I stayed until the end, which is more than I can say for some movies!
posted by crazy_yeti at 8:57 PM on August 2


I strongly suspect I'm not smart enough to comprehend it.

It’s not Inception or Tenet where there is some clever plot you have to follow. Instead it’s more like poetry, where scenes are written to evoke emotion rather than make strict logical sense.

And like all good poetry people are going to be arguing over what it all means for years. But that’s precisely because there isn’t a single correct way to understand the film. You can watch it and enjoy it and maybe it will connect with you and maybe not but whatever it ends up meaning to you will be the correct answer.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:10 PM on August 2 [3 favorites]


if one does not 'get' the vibe or find the first 15-20 minutes engaging, does it change? Is it a matter of sticking with it?

It changes in some ways and doubles down in others. If you have an hour to kill then finishing it would be a reasonable investment.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:22 PM on August 2


I found EEAAO overwhelming, to be sure. Too loud and too long. IMO the best films clock in at about 90 minutes but 2.5 hours seems like the default now. I know it was a long sit 'cause I saw it at the cinema, the first and so far only film seen 'live' since Parasite, just before the Covid (and that was a much better movie).
posted by Rash at 9:25 PM on August 2 [2 favorites]


EEAAO is not limited to theaters! Let me repeat:

This film is available to stream! No in person viewing required! Please enjoy

It is a family drama expressed as various film genres, with a sort of silly cartoon logic at times. But it's so very sweet. And, no one in it is perfect! These are not mass-market family characters who are perfectly relatable, scenes which hit every note exactly. There's a lot of beautiful creative imperfection going on. I finally got to show it to my bf who has wisely been avoiding theaters, and we loved it.
posted by panhopticon at 9:54 PM on August 2 [5 favorites]


It’s also available on DVD! I checked it out at my local library.
posted by Four-Eyed Girl at 9:58 PM on August 2 [6 favorites]


I found the physical humour to be overplayed and juvenile, which was a surprise given the quality of the lead and the reasonably complex premise.

As somebody who thoroughly loved the movie I agree with this nonetheless being jarring and I am curious if this is a common trope for martial arts films (which I am broadly unfamiliar with). I remember the same disjunction between a serious premise and slapstick physical humour in Kung Fu Hustle back in 2004 which puzzled me then as well.
posted by solarion at 10:05 PM on August 2


The thing with Kung Fu Hustle is that the reference is more to do with Buster Keaton and while he inspired Jackie Chan in terms of combining physical comedy and action, for KFH, and Chow Sing Chi's ouvre in general, which is known as mo lei tau (lit. 'make no sense') (pre-mainland expansion imo; I find his post-China output suffer from no longer living fully in his HK cultural sensibility), it combined with the Marx brothers in just leaning into fourth wall breaking fully silly stuff, which I understand the West really kept segregated at its own genre. Asian comedic stuff pre-dates Ally MacBeal (I guess??) in combining serious drama, 'smile through the tears' philosophy, and just really the most random things. You can see how much the Daniels consumed East Asian cinema and telly stuff, because EEAAO very much internalises that cultural framework.
posted by cendawanita at 11:16 PM on August 2 [8 favorites]


...like all good poetry people are going to be arguing over what it all means for years.
I'd prefer people use it to articulate feelings they can't yet sing about or break into dance moves to convey ... like all good poetry.

We don't have an image board but imagine...
[Darmok gif with caption "two boulders roll down a cliff-face together"]
[other Darmok gif "and the ex-lover turns to the movie star and says 'I'd be happy living above a laundrette and doing tax returns with you'."]
[Darmok gif series intensifies]
posted by k3ninho at 11:49 PM on August 2 [2 favorites]


generally a great movie, with amazing ideas and stunning performances from all the cast but the zany multiverse fight stuff got a bit overcooked and repetitive about 2/3 of the way in for a while.
posted by zog at 3:37 AM on August 3 [1 favorite]


Since hippybear mentioned RRR, and as someone who went on opening weekend and started the fanfare thread...

Let me go on fanfare and start a post on Let The Bullets Fly. Let the record stand I'm no China movie hater (just meh on Chow's output these days). That movie can go toe to toe with RRR and it's already 12 years old. And you guys can add that into that category of East Asian movies that shifts tones and genres in one film, to just contextualize the aesthetic EEAAO dipped its toe in.
posted by cendawanita at 4:32 AM on August 3 [1 favorite]


Something I've noticed about this movie is that it hits much, much harder if you have a family. If you've got kids, that very first shot of karaoke in the mirror is a sledgehammer.
posted by phooky at 4:53 AM on August 3 [5 favorites]


I love this movie so much that my hot dog fingers arrive tomorrow.
posted by honeybee413 at 5:42 AM on August 3 [9 favorites]


The thing with Kung Fu Hustle is that the reference is more to do with Buster Keaton and while he inspired Jackie Chan in terms of combining physical comedy and action, for KFH, and Chow Sing Chi's ouvre in general, which is known as mo lei tau (lit. 'make no sense')

(cendawanita's 100% on the money, but for westerners you may be more familiar with his other name, stephen chow; KFH is possibly his biggest crossover hit, but chow also made Shaolin Soccer and God of Cookery which get some play. You see *some* flashes of his old HK sensibilities in the direction of Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons, available on prime and youtube)
posted by i used to be someone else at 5:44 AM on August 3 [2 favorites]


I saw it with the Mrs. and we liked it so much that we took our kid. She enjoyed it, but felt it was a bit on the nose. We'll probably buy it on blu-ray for Christmas.
posted by Spike Glee at 6:43 AM on August 3


(BTW, I was a bit confused at the references to RRR; I looked it up, and am a bit gobsmacked that, at a budget of US$69 million, it is the most expensive Indian film ever.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:00 AM on August 3 [1 favorite]


-Bagel (yin): life is mostly dull and bad, joy is fleeting and meaningless
-Googly Eyes (yang): life is mostly good and worthwhile, suffering is transient and fixable


i don't disagree that the bagel represented yin and the eyes represented yang, but i quibble in the takeaway that yin means "bad" vs. yang means "good"?

yin, or the bagel, tends to represent "negative", "absence", "shadow", "water", "femininity" and in the film a focus on the meaninglessness in vast existence, on the transience of any particular moment; yang, the googly eyes, "positive", "presence", "light", "fire", "masculinity", but in the film, a focus on existence in that vast meaninglessness, on the moment regardless of how transient it is.

with typical representations of yin and yang, like in the taeguk, they're halves of a whole, not whole circles in themselves--implicitly saying that you can't have one without the other, that they're complementary. to move even further away from that binarism, many even include a smaller circle of the opposite color in the halves.

the thing with this framework, and part of the charm of using the fully circular representations, in the film, is that the idea of being fully yin or fully yang is one of imbalance, of disorder. if something or someone has too much yang, "he" will burn out; if someone has too much yin, "she" will drown.

[mild spoilers ahead]

which is how one can read the movie, in a way, as a battle for evelyn: both prime waymond and alpha waymond might be a little too much yang (prime likely would have trouble running the laundromat; alpha saw the conflict with jobu tupaki as a fight and was ready to drop prime evelyn so quickly for someone "better"), while joy and jobu are too much yin (joy's alienation and sorrow over familial tension (and, in what is likely a bit of unexamined and unintentional overlap, her lesbianism could be read by some as too much yin), jobu's nihilism and appetite for destruction)... with those characters as poles, it makes sense to have their symbols be circles, no?

indeed, it's waymond (yang) who initiates the whole thing. he's the one who introduces us and evelyn to the multiverse. he's the one who points out to evelyn how everything feels unbalanced, uneven, frayed but could be great and fixed again. he's the one who initiates the divorce papers... and from the dialogue, alpha waymond has burned out so many evelyns before. it's jobu (yin) who reacts. she's the one who was pushed to break, she's the one who points out that everything, everywhere, has already been done and greatness has come and gone. she's the one who just wants things to end with her mother... and from the dialogue, jobu has drowned in her grief.

at the beginning of the film, evelyn finds herself rejecting yang, the eyes, because of her focus on the taxes, the zero, the yin, is so overwhelming; it's only at the climax of it all that evelyn integrates the two strands into a cohesive whole. it's why at the film's end, she lets go of that zero: instead of slamming it down on one pile or another, she just... drops it. she's happier, feels balanced, even as she listens but doesn't, and experiences everything at once.
posted by i used to be someone else at 7:51 AM on August 3 [9 favorites]


not that i've spent too much time chewing over this, a movie about a disappointed queer asian american woman feeling unmoored and adrift with a complicated relationship with her immigrant asian mother, who herself has trauma surrounding her parents and a lifetime of regrets and disappointments, can't relate at all; not that the "choosing love" in some form or another seems to crop up a surprising amount of times within said diasporic community art. probably reading too much into it, tbh.

also, i used taeguk above but that's the korean term (along with um instead of yin) so the more common term would be taiji, which escaped my brain at the time.
posted by i used to be someone else at 8:00 AM on August 3 [5 favorites]


I loved this movie so much I wanted to see it again immediately, preferably in IMAX if I could have found it there, but I think it may have broken my husband's brain (ditto RRR - I'm slowly realizing he's not an "independent movies" kind of guy). So I haven't seen it again because I don't enjoy going to the movies alone and I'm not ready to watch it on a small screen. But as long as it's still in theaters I'm hoping I can find a friend to come with me. I'd love to take my kid, but I think he's too young to be introduced to the concept (let alone the reality) of giant dildos or butt plugs. Tbh the body-humor aspect of the Daniels work has always struck me as less funny and more off-putting, but I was never a Three Stooges fan either, so.

Meanwhile, I can't believe we've made it this far into the thread an no one's mentioned the costumes. I want every single thing Jobu Tupaki wears. Some of them felt like the costume designer piled an entire Beyoncé video (including backup dancers) into one outfit. Love.
posted by Mchelly at 8:22 AM on August 3 [3 favorites]


I want every single thing Jobu Tupaki wears.

from what i recall, every single version of jobu's makeup/look incorporates tears in some fashion or another.
posted by i used to be someone else at 8:25 AM on August 3 [5 favorites]


The opening of EEAAO reminded me of the opening of Poltergeist. Nothing much happens for what feels like a very long time, and this is an entirely deliberate way of making it clear that these are normal people with normal lives in a normal world who are not expecting what's about to happen to them, and setting up backstory and building relationships that will become important later. Also, it is a much better film than Poltergeist.
posted by Hogshead at 9:34 AM on August 3 [6 favorites]


crazy_yeti: when the characters became rocks... it became impossible for me to care about them at all anymore

When the characters became rocks I sobbed like a child. Those scenes will haunt me forever. I have never in my life wanted a tattoo -- never gave it a second thought. Still don't, but I can tell you now that if I were ever to get one, it would be those two rocks.
posted by tzikeh at 11:20 AM on August 3 [13 favorites]


from what i recall, every single version of jobu's makeup/look incorporates tears in some fashion or another.


Do you mean tears or tears?
posted by Grangousier at 11:54 AM on August 3


I really want a high-quality bagel/googly-eye yin/yang graphic.

I recommended it to many of my friends, but specifically not to my husband. It's not everyone's jam
posted by DebetEsse at 12:30 PM on August 3


I want to affirm for everyone holding their tongues that it is valid to laugh at the rock scenes.
posted by polytope subirb enby-of-piano-dice at 12:32 PM on August 3 [6 favorites]


(Which is not to say we didn't cry elsewhere in the film)
posted by polytope subirb enby-of-piano-dice at 12:33 PM on August 3


You can get a free high-res image of the laughing rocks from A24 if you're willing to sign up for their emails.
posted by indexy at 12:43 PM on August 3 [2 favorites]


I think the movie (and most of the “there’s all these other dimensions” genre) heavily and literally subscribes to the very western cultural paradigm of life being almost like game. We are these AGENTS or PLAYERS and our choices lead to outcomes like we are all walking ourselves through a personal, cosmic choose your own adventure book. There’s this pervading sense that there is a strategy that leads to winning and losing scenarios.

I think that looking at life that way in a to literal sense is toxic and damaging — it put me off the movie. I get that people think thematically it is very sophisticated and mature but for me it just honestly seemed like a much more well crafted and well packaged version of our cultures toxic, reeking ideological garbage.
posted by Res0ndf7 at 5:37 PM on August 3


We are these AGENTS or PLAYERS and our choices lead to outcomes like we are all walking ourselves through a personal, cosmic choose your own adventure book

That sounds a lot like agency to me? I’d be interested to hear what you think the preferable alternative view should be.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 7:36 PM on August 3


There is the theory that all our actions are determined by chemistry flowing in our brains in ways we have no control over and even things we think are decisions are determined by the chemical flow. That would effectively eliminate the multiverse concept entirely.

(Also, if the multiverse is true, does it extend to every living thing? Are there universes where a fly lands 1 inch over to the right on a thing from another choice? Where a fungus chooses one day to fruit instead of a different one? This is all very human-centric in a lot of ways.)
posted by hippybear at 7:44 PM on August 3


Yeah @a box, It's an interesting question, I think there's a a type of narrative where the characters are also the product of forces out of their control, the past an/or their environment. I think that a mature narrative interplays this with personal agency, as oppose to only glorifying the role agency like this movie did.
posted by Res0ndf7 at 8:42 PM on August 3 [2 favorites]


Also, if the multiverse is true, does it extend to every living thing? Are there universes where a fly lands 1 inch over to the right on a thing from another choice?

In the scientific theory of multiple universes "choice" just means that an event — any event — that is randomly decided will play out in all possible ways. While you were reading that last sentence trillions upon trillions of "choices" were made as molecules interacted. If we do come up with a way to interact with multiple universes, trying to sort through them to find meaningful changes is going to be a major hassle.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:10 PM on August 3


So, this is the Gödel, Escher, Bach of the new generation?
posted by acb at 5:10 AM on August 4


Gödel, Escher, Butt Plug, more like.
posted by Tom Hanks Cannot Be Trusted at 5:20 AM on August 4 [1 favorite]


It's only incidentally a butt plug.

I just realised the film is saying "You can take your awards for Employee of the Month and you can stick them up your ass!" and thereby gain mighty martial arts skills.

(I'm sure other people have said it before. I only just realised it, though.)
posted by Grangousier at 7:17 AM on August 4 [5 favorites]


If it hadn't been for the Gay Pirates I would have watched this movie repeatedly by now.

It's a great time for popular culture, is what I'm saying.
posted by allthinky at 11:09 AM on August 4


I noticed when watching the youtube video that there is a little raccoon figurine next to the stove in the Wongs' home. One thing I really enjoyed even on the first watch was how many of the silly things were not just throwaway gags. They turned out to be foreshadowing of important developments, or at least Chekhov's butt-plugs.

When I recommend this movie, I tell people about the fanny-pack fight scene and just hope that they will enjoy the rest as it comes. I was trying to think of what kind of people are likely to enjoy this movie (overlap with musical theater, maybe, given the absurdities of both?) but think I am with furnace.heart re: recommending that everyone see it.
posted by mersen at 5:41 PM on August 4


I've been recommending it to my atheist friends who have been struggling to stay themselves in the face of Covid and rising fascism. Because that's at least part of why I love it.

Another friend loved it because any story about an Asian family figuring out their relationship is relatable for her.
posted by harriet vane at 7:43 PM on August 4 [1 favorite]


This was the very best movie about a tax audit I have ever seen. I guess you could say it was about balancing your accounts through n-entry bookkeeping. Also it made me cry a lot.
posted by dis_integration at 7:32 AM on August 6 [2 favorites]


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