By Marc S. Sanders
From February 2017:
A number of years ago I read Roger Ebert’s review of a Kevin Spacey film called The Life Of David Gale, only after seeing the film myself. Reading his viewpoint assured me that perhaps I do recognize good and bad filmmaking with the absence of influence. Like me, he hated the film because of its contrivances and the complete 180 on Spacey’s character. He said it angered him so much that he wanted to throw his popcorn at the screen. Years later, I feel the same way, for nearly identical reasons after seeing this 2017 Best Picture nominee. I hate Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
I HATED THIS MOVIE. Hated it so much that I’m pissed over how much I hated it. This film is worthy of Best Picture, Actors and Screenplay nominations???? There was nothing better than this dreck???? Not Baby Driver, or Wonder Woman? Not All The Money In The World? Blade Runner 2049?
This film contains great talent trying way too hard to elevate the stupidity of the unjustified actions of their characters so much that suspension of disbelief isn’t just thrown out the window (like one hapless character who earns no justice), it’s burned, beaten, raped, shot, burned again, thrown off a building and drowned.
Consider midway thru the film, Sam Rockwell’s nominated performance as a vile, heinously racist backwoods lawman. He reads a letter and is magically transformed into a do gooder Boy Scout. There’s no way in hell I’d ever believe this. No one should. This guy is the entire KKK in one embodiment. By the time this bastard gets to this “epiphany” he had already committed the most sickening and atrociously violent actions fathomed, and in great detail. Yet magically a letter from a friend and an arson scene that burns him suddenly transform him. Just like that. Uh uh. Too convenient. Too manufactured. Too insulting to a movie going audience.
This film is full of other ridiculous contrivances that are simply too long and spoilery to describe here. (I’d love to spoil the film to salvage anyone from seeing this crap.)
Frances McDormand’s character is also despicably written. Here’s a character entitled to the anger she has after losing a daughter to rape and murder, worthy of attention due to the stubborn intellect she conveys during the act one exposition, yet as the film progresses, she becomes incredibly stupid and downright unlikable. What a thoughtless jerk she is. Nothing to cheer for. Nothing to love to hate. Nothing to laugh at. Nothing to cry over. Nothing. She’s just an asshole who conveniently gets away with her actions, yet everyone knows she’s the culprit.
In a film like this the bad cops are uncaring racists. The good ones are the clueless keystone cops who conveniently can’t see the forest through the trees. I don’t like it, and more importantly I don’t believe it. Unacceptable!!!
What a stupidly shitty movie that has been executed here in exchange for arguably the most interesting idea of all the 9 Best Picture nominees. I salute the idea of the film. It’s the execution that’s deplorable.
The only redemption that can come from this garbage now is if this film does not win one single Oscar. Sadly, I think I’ll be wrong. Congratulations Sam Rockwell, you stole a trophy from three much more entitled actors (Christopher Plummer, Richard Jenkins and I hear Willem Defoe.) Woody Harrelson’s performance in this pic is also up for grabs….for what? He coughs up blood quite well. I have no clue, otherwise.
Don’t believe the hype. Three Billboards… only has a great title, a great concept on paper and a great cast list. Beneath all that is carbon monoxide. Don’t breathe it in. You’ll only feel sick after watching it.
This will likely remain as one of the ten most despised movies I’ve ever seen.