Jump to content

Funny Ha Ha


Recommended Posts

Did anyone else catch this marvelous movie? It's only gotten very limited release in the 4 years since it was made, but now it seems to be starting to reach a broader audience. I read a review in the Washington Post, and decided on a whim to check it out, and I was blown away. So fresh and accurate, and the acting was pitch-perfect.

I was lucky enough to see Mutual Appreciation right afterwards, which is director Andrew Bujalski's second film. It was, if anything, even better. More mature (both in terms of content and execution), better paced, and just as funny. Don't get me wrong, though, they're not comedies, at least IMHO. They're just mercilessly accurate portrayals of post-college life. I personally found watching them intensely therapeutic . . . "Wow, I'm really not the only one who's got these idiosyncratic issues and petty dramas to deal with. They're the norm, not the exception."

I could barely think of what to ask Bujalski, but of his brief comments two stood out. One, he reiterated his belief that no matter how "true" films might seem, we bring our own truth into and out of the theater. (Neither Funny Ha Ha nor Mutual Appreciation goes to any lengths at all to assign overarching meaning to the events portrayed. I guess that's the audience's job.) Secondly, I asked him to name outside influences on his (in particular writing) style, and he seemed to say that everything "outside of your traditional 3-part narrative" qualified . . . which basically means he's not in any particular movement's debt. With my limited experience of verite cinema, I certainly haven't seen anything like these two.

That's just how eye roll.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Funny Ha Ha is absolutely marvelous--definitely one of my year's top ten, so I'm quite jealous you were able to see Mutual Appreciation. I had hoped it would play at TIFF, but it didn't. Did Bujalski give any indication about a distributor yet?

I agree that FHH is an uncommonly astute observation of post-college life that is refreshingly intimate with multidimensional, complex characters who receive much more prominence in the film than any silly narrative construct. Bujalski obviously cares deeply about his characters, and in these days of hip irony, that can't be more countercultural or lovely.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Doug C wrote

:Did Bujalski give any indication about a distributor yet?

Nope, not that I caught. Then again, he didn't have much time, and he was answering questions between the two films, so naturally our questions focused more on FHH than MA. I do know that he appealed to us to tell all our friends . . . I did what I could, I reviewed them for the school paper.

Edited by GreetingsEarthling

That's just how eye roll.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Greetings: Is this film at AFI Silver?

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 10 months later...

So, um, I just, you know, saw Funny Ha Ha, and...you know, it's, um, I don't know, unnerving, I guess, to, well, to see a fictional film where people, you know, they speak like people actually speak, with, um...um...pauses, I guess, and not clearly defined thoughts, and...um, I guess what I'm saying is most movie characters talk like people write, and there's very few...I don't know, maybe no films I've seen where people talk almost exactly like real people talk, or at least like people who are...well, most people who aren't super-articulate, and they backtrack in, they backtrack in sentences, and they repeat themselves, and it's...I mean, it's perfectly natural when you're hearing it, and I'm just amazed that Funny Ha Ha is able to...I guess it's just amazing how natural the characters in the film are, I guess. I don't want to...I'm just trying to be honest here, but I think this is probably...you know, I've, um, seen a lot of ultra-low-budget films, and, um, some are...I really like Metropolitan and In the Company of Men, but, um...and I'm trying to honest, but I really think that of all the really low-budget movies I've seen, I, um, you know, I think Funny Ha Ha might actually be my favorite.

Dale

Metalfoot on Emmanuel Shall Come to Thee's Noel: "...this album is...monotony...bland, tripy fare..."

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

So, I used to have a movie review blog, to which I posted four reviews before it petered out. Eventually, I deleted it out of sheer embarrassment. But, apparently, not before the website for Mutual Appreciation (Bujalski's next movie) picked up my review and quoted a brief blurb under my real name, David Smedberg. I'm honored - I think.

The only real problem I have with it is that I named my blog "Cinema Veritas", and then, some months later, the World Magazine blog inexplicably chose the same name, so that now anyone who tried to look up my review on Google would probably end up looking in vain there.

That's just how eye roll.

Link to post
Share on other sites

So, um, I just, you know, saw Funny Ha Ha, and...you know, it's, um, I don't know, unnerving, I guess, to, well, to see a fictional film where people, you know, they speak like people actually speak, with, um...um...pauses, I guess, and not clearly defined thoughts, and...um, I guess what I'm saying is most movie characters talk like people write, and there's very few...I don't know, maybe no films I've seen where people talk almost exactly like real people talk, or at least like people who are...well, most people who aren't super-articulate, and they backtrack in, they backtrack in sentences, and they repeat themselves, and it's...I mean, it's perfectly natural when you're hearing it, and I'm just amazed that Funny Ha Ha is able to...I guess it's just amazing how natural the characters in the film are, I guess. I don't want to...I'm just trying to be honest here, but I think this is probably...you know, I've, um, seen a lot of ultra-low-budget films, and, um, some are...I really like Metropolitan and In the Company of Men, but, um...and I'm trying to honest, but I really think that of all the really low-budget movies I've seen, I, um, you know, I think Funny Ha Ha might actually be my favorite.

Dale

Do your friends really talk that way? Do most recent college graduates?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd say probably two-thirds of people talk that way, or at least closer to that way than the highly pristine spoken language we generally get from movies. Seriously. Look at a verbatim transcript of any off-the-cuff conversation. Heck, look at a transcript of the Nixon tapes; none of the people in that room are remotely unintelligent, yet they're backing over themselves, restarting, forgetting names, inserting little "ah"s and "um"s, etc. It's far, far closer to the language in "Funny Ha Ha" (which, admittedly, is slightly heightened from natural) then the language in any fictional film in the past five years, and Nixon & Co. are not an anomaly in that regard..

Dale

Metalfoot on Emmanuel Shall Come to Thee's Noel: "...this album is...monotony...bland, tripy fare..."

Link to post
Share on other sites
...but the film seemed to be entirely stocked with characters unable to articulate cogently even the most mundane or obvious of their thoughts or feelings.
...which is one of the things I liked about the film, actually; it's more dramatically interesting than people having a perfect handle on their feelings.

Dale, defending the inarticulate

Edited by M. Dale Prins

Metalfoot on Emmanuel Shall Come to Thee's Noel: "...this album is...monotony...bland, tripy fare..."

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd say probably two-thirds of people talk that way, or at least closer to that way than the highly pristine spoken language we generally get from movies. Seriously. Look at a verbatim transcript of any off-the-cuff conversation. Heck, look at a transcript of the Nixon tapes; none of the people in that room are remotely unintelligent, yet they're backing over themselves, restarting, forgetting names, inserting little "ah"s and "um"s, etc. It's far, far closer to the language in "Funny Ha Ha" (which, admittedly, is slightly heightened from natural) then the language in any fictional film in the past five years, and Nixon & Co. are not an anomaly in that regard..

Dale

Sure, people stutter, hesitate, use filler sounds and what not, and normal conversation is hardly structured in any formal pre-determined sense, but if I had to listen to people constantly saying "you know," "like," and "I mean," I'd be pulling my hair out. Maybe it's a generational thing, but I'd want to scream, "Put your thoughts together before opening your mouth."

My film watching buddy and I often leave the theater and say nothing to each other for a good ten minutes. We are well on the road back home before we start talking about what we've just seen. Does this seem odd?

I glanced at the Nixon link. Listening to other's conversations is usually going to be a bit confusing as the people talking often reference shared knowledge and experiences that the listener may not be privy to. And when they switch quickly from unfamiliar topic to unfamiliar topic, the difficulty in following becomes more pronounced. But it seems to me their conversation moves forward and has substantial content, at least for them.

Is my OCD showing? :blink:

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it's worth noting that the Nixon tapes are sort of a good analogy for what's going on in Funny Ha Ha, since the scenes we're seeing are not a cross-section of the protagonist's life, but are by-and-large the moments when she might be under great pressure, such as uncomfortable moments with a potential mate or with an old friend you lost touch with. Such moments make an articulate person into a blithering idiot.

That's just how eye roll.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 10 months later...

I recently launched a thread on Control Room after searching in vain for a dedicated thread. Darrel then directed me to the earlier dedicated thread. So I'm wondering: Do we have a separate Mutual Appreciation thread? I'd like to read more about what A&Fers thought of it before posting my own thoughts, having seen it a couple of nights ago. I searched on some terms but turned up no dedicated MA thread so far.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...