The Whale trailer already has us on the brink of an ocean of tears; Zac Efron gets more ripped than he was in Baywatch for a wrestling picture; what a Yankee Doodle movie is. Plus: Why everything sounds so bad. All in today’s Movie News Rundown.
But First: Happy (?) election day. Look, we’ve had a great run. Whatever happens today, at least a few people are happy with recent voting, because they’re the winners at the Austin Film Festival. Here are their names.
On The Menu: Please welcome our newest contributor, Celia Mattison, who wrote this terrific piece about Mark Mylod’s The Menu and what she calls Yankee Doodle movies. A Yankee Doodle movie, she explains, is “a movie about America directed by an established, international director that interrogates American culture and class as fantasy.” The Menu stars Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Fiennes and Nicholas Hoult.
Zac Efron, Shredded: We know that the ubiquity of internet hyperbole has steeled you against clicking on promises that a given actor has gone and gotten himself “shredded” for a role, but trust me on this one: Zac Efron has gotten absolutely shredded for The Iron Claw, a new film about the Von Erich wrestling dynasty. It’s directed by Sean Durkin, whose 2011 film Martha Marcy May Marlene remains for me the gold-standard of cult-escape movies, and unleashed Elizabeth Olsen into the cinematic world. Durkin also wrote and directed the quite good 2020 slow-broiler The Nest, and spoke to us about the process of writing it here.
More Monsters: After the success of Monster — Dahmer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, Netflix has ordered two more anthology seasons of the Monster series highlighting horrible people throughout recent history. (Good luck finding someone worse than Jeffrey Dahmer.) The announcement included a weird reference to expanding the Monster universe, aka the real world.
Are There Awards for SEO-Friendly Show Titles? Because Monster — Dahmer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story would definitely win, right? They’ve really covered all the exits. I mean bases.
Everything Everywhere Sounds Terrible, All at Once: The AV Club has a terrific piece on all the reasons that so much dialogue is barely audible lately. Among the problems are incompatible streaming services and devices. As an old person who listens to everything too loud, I assumed it was just me, but no: The AV Club cites a recent study that found that 50 percent of TV viewers use subtitles, and that Gen Z uses them the most. Maybe we all need to take a break from making and releasing things until this is resolved.
The Whale Trailer: Here’s Brendan Fraser in a probably career-defining, Best Actor-winning performance in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale.
Main image: Brendan Fraser in The Whale, which is obvious but we’re saying it anyway for SEO.