Entertainment Blu-ray Review
If you were to ask me what I consider one of the most pompous, loathsome, and boring movies of my time, I’d probably say THE COMEDY. I absolutely hated it and nearly everything about it. I never fall asleep during a movie and I caught myself in the midst of a power nap only to wake myself up. I do regret not just letting myself fall into a well-written dream. Not even my admiration for Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim could save this pretentious train wreck.
So much to my surprise, the same groups of guys, Heidecker, along with writer and director Rick Alverson, have gotten the greenlight for another movie. I popped in ENTERTAINMENT and got ready to hate every single frame of it, but something odd happened. I found myself entertained. THE COMEDY tried to find meaning and humor in perpetual misery and loneliness. It failed. Maybe ENTERTAINMENT is Alverson’s way of finally accomplishing that goal.
ENTERTAINMENT follows an unnamed comic played by Gregg Turkington, who some people may know as Neil Hamburger. In ENTERTAINMENT, Turkington works with his Hamburger stand-up comic persona, of someone who seems to have nervously wiped their hair, telling offensive and bad jokes with utter disdain for the audience. When he’s not on stage in ENTERTAINMENT, he’s quietly wandering around abandoned fields in the Mojave Desert and blankly watching people who are far more interested in talking to him than he is in conversing with them.
Along for the dive bar tour is another comedian, a mime, played by the young Tye Sheridan. Off-stage he’s a lot more different as he seems ready to nail every performance and relishes in the desert road trip. It could be a statement on how time has hammered away at Turkington’s character, but that would be the clear and obvious theme. Turkington’s character spends his downtime calling a daughter that won’t return his messages and letting the misery he encompasses on stage take ahold of him when he steps off the stage.
At times, ENTERTAINMENT can be a rough watch as it seemingly meanders from one run-down bar to the next. But there’s this underlying feeling of dread, further heightened by a soundtrack dropped straight from a horror movie. It’s hard to tell if Turkington’s character is one Wal-Mart gun purchase away from going on a shooting spree or turning the barrel of the gun on himself in the loneliness of his motel room. In that anticipation alone, ENTERTAINMENT finds a lot of valuable and well deserving dread.
There are a lot of different, surreal scenes, to unpackage and talk about, that is if you can convince someone to watch such a peculiar indie flick. Turkington’s character, without any reason, watches a woman give birth in a gas station bathroom and ends up being the viewer to a half-naked, drunk, yelling match with strangers. It doesn’t help that he never opens up about his emotions or even shows the slightest hint about what is causing the dour mood he’s trapped in.
Obviously ENTERTAINMENT is supposed to be anti-entertainment, but the same could have easily been said about THE COMEDY as an anti-comedy. So what is it that Alverson is trying to tell us as Alverson stares into the distance, with a drab look, ignoring the feelings, thoughts and words of others? What is it that Alverson represents? Maybe it’s not Alverson that’s broken, but the people who populate our entertainment industry who are filled with hopes and dreams. They move inaudibly from one place to another, never finding their own happiness, slowly letting their bitterness embody their well-being.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2:39:1) Alverson captures the loneliness of the desert and this blu-ray allows the sun washed visuals to come through clearly.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) I mentioned that wonderfully foreboding soundtrack and it comes through magnificently on this blu-ray.
Deleted/Extended Scenes (16:42): There are 10 scenes altogether. It makes you wonder why certain scenes were deleted and others were left in, especially when you feel like they may or may not anything. They may add value or take away what little value there is. These scenes, within their own confines, are something to ponder.