hopscotchee: tye sheridan score: 70.5 rating: pg-13 time: 130 minutes
call us dumb-dumbs, but we forgot that this movie was done by jeff nichols. why?? we have no-clue. this isn't the first jeff film that has had the honor to join our hopscotch. previously, in batch one, we watched and loved midnight special. in batch two, we did the same with take shelter. mainly, watching them for our fav, murderous mickey shay, we knew mud was going to be our 'fix' for batch three. also a recommended watch by our mom, we were excited for this baby-tye-sheridan adventure. especially, after previewing the trailer and seeing the "EVERY SINGLE THING YOU TOLD ME WAS A LIE" moment. like, hashtag emoesh. however, for some random reason, when we sat down to hit play, the fact that this was, yet again, another jeff nichols film was lost!?!?
because of this, we weren't fully aware of what we were going to be excepting. don't get us wrong, we don't believe that you must know where the story is going 100% of the time. there's a reason that rollercoaster movies are successful the way they are - let only a treat to watch. with mud we were waiting for that 'point'. for the moment in the movie, where things just suddenly 'click'. but it wasn't there. truthfully, if you were to ask us 20 minutes left in the story, we would've said that mud was a "so-so show" that "lacked a point". this is where we bring back the fact that we forgot this was a jeff nichols film. does he know how to pace a movie or what?? being the great director that he is, the entire film flopped on its back in the last 20 minutes left and had us on the edge of our green couch. if props were going out for this (which they are), we would applaud the writing and directing. the breadcrumbs were placed out precisely and the tie-back was super clever. all the little nuances of the film came back together with full force and launched this film to the next level.
speaking about applause, let's give it to the cast. sure, it's cliché to talk about the cast, since most of the public already acknowledges them, but we would be lying if we said we weren't impressed. in particular, we want to shine light on the two young boys, tye sheridan and jacob lofland. of course, mickey shay did a great job for the minutes he was in the film. he definitely did surprise us when he (spoiler) came out of the house shirtless?!?! "HELLO, MICKEY!!" and his portrayal as the caring, adult uncle for neckbone was so sweetly genuine that you couldn't help but sneak a smile in. but we want to shine the spotlight on the two that carried this film. notably, their youth provides the 'coming-of-age aspect' to the film's plot, which the majority of its audience can relate to, however, stepping back to understand that their youth wasn't just a characteristic, and it was an actual fact is something different. in other words, most of the time, people watch young actors in a film and see them for what they bring to the story, while, in actuality, they are still that 4, 10, 13 year old leading an entire project. think about when you were that age. sure, the opportunity may be fun for them, but the responsibility is tremendous. both tye and jacob not only did such a great job as ellis and neckbone, really bringing an authentic dynamical relationship to the screen, but they stepped up and held this film together just like all its other big-name actors. ultimately, mud may have come out in 2013, and we are definitely late to the acclaim, but these boys deserve claps for their commitment. 👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏
on an downside, the choice of music felt off. it wasn't so much that it was a personal distaste (which, if it was, we wouldn't take points off for a bias - scout's honor), it was the back and forth behavior from score music to soundtrack music. on one hand, the songs that were chosen seemed fitting enough for the atmosphere of arkansas, but the juxtaposition between the twangy, soft-ish rock of the music and the instrumental, emotional build-up of the score was jolting. if it was one or the other, maybe the music would have felt more at ease. yet the frequency of david wingo's original score with the brief interruption of some musical guests took away from the continuity of mud's overall sentiment. as a result, the audience is jarred away from the plot to notice the not-so-subtle switch-ups in musical transitions. it wasn't necessarily the worst thing to hear, but it unfortunately did take away some from the movie.
altogether, we were not excepting what we saw in mud. we are still a little shocked about mud telling neckbone that his name was a good handle. like, was the reclusive, hidden, falsely fit matthew mcconaughey really on top of this insta in 2013?? seems a bit speculative. all in all, we note to all readers that, if you are going into a jeff nichols film, don't forget about it. okay??
-- thanks, tye xo