Double Feature Review: Sean Baker’s Tangerine (2015) and The Florida Project (2017)

Tangerine (2015)

Screened at The Frida Cinema • 2nd Viewing

Los Angeles to me is a bittersweet place that really gives no f**ks, and the amount of f**ks given in this movie accurately represents this “lovely” city of angels. From its shocking subculture dives into the transgender, police, and transportation communities, filmed only on an iPhone 5 — inudatedly auto-lit and all — with DIY bike trackers to rouse out the loony ride, and amplified *literally* by actors who thrash each other around with either their mitts or sassy slurs, I’d consider Tangerine to be one of the greatest comedies of the 2010s. It may be a bit unorthodoxly anxious and even sometimes covertly hopeless with its depiction of how trivial virtue is to the people that mark this holy land’s soil in a Mike Nichols The Graduate (1967) sort of way, but never enough to say, “hey, what happens here will never and should never work out in the end” cause look, at least it currently is working out, it’s just kind of tough s**t to handle for notably lower-classers, spotlighting themselves in the loudest areas where they’ve succumb to the constant shoegazing (no, I will not apologize for using that word) of noise that has simply become the streamline frequencies of everyday life to them. This is LA, baby. Donut Time.

Verdict: B+

“Tangerine” is now available to stream on Kanopy.

The Florida Project (2017)

Screened at The Frida Cinema • 2nd Viewing

There’s a dominating innocence to The Florida Project despite it being set in a mildly dangerous world for children, yet all of it feels so passively wholesome from that engagement of being in this childish mindset of our lead characters. It may feel wrong at times to indulge in immaturity — and adult immaturity for that matter — or praise the simple glimpses of youthful behavior, but instinctively you can’t help but smile and chuckle throughout most of it despite what’s going on behind the scenes; life’s alarming technicalities seem to be background noise to splendor but nonetheless always catching up to us infrequently. Some people have criticized this tropical-street film for it’s rude, vulgar, and self-entitled characters, but the truth is Sean Baker just doesn’t want to be disingenuous in hard-boiling a depiction on the type of people you sometimes find in lower-class, single-parent family holds; that’s life! Amidst the irresponsibility seen at hand, we as an audience are still free enough to celebrate in those moments of oblivion from our adolescent subjects, but at the end of the hour we can see there are both blessings and hitches with setting a childhood experience in a lifestyle of legal, ethical, and parental complication. The movie slowly escalates four-year-old Moonee into tougher and tougher positions of trying to maintain neglect where her duties to face reality are continuously pressured as she gives her own best efforts to preserve innocent fantasies.

Verdict: B

“The Florida Project” is now available to stream on Netflix.

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