I Don’t Know How Many More Ways to Say It: I Want Weird Movies

Most movie studios are too scared to just do the bizarre shit that constantly makes them money.

Eric Ravenscraft

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Everyone should watch Sorry to Bother You. Not because everyone will like it — in fact, there’s a certain subset of people who will actively hate it — but because it’s a weird, experimental movie and you’ll walk away wanting to unionize your workplace.

But when I say I want weird movies, I’m not even talking about that kind of movie.

Sure, I want more movies like Sorry to Bother You, but I know that there’s not always going to be a huge audience for a movie where [REDACTED] gets [REDACTED] into a [REDACTED] with a huge [REDACTED] and proceeds to [REDACTED]. I wish there was a bigger audience for stuff like that because it’s great.

Still, I’d settle for something just a little bit weirder than we get.

Take Venom 2: Let There Be Carnage. A movie whose title was written by an SEO algorithm, because Sony thinks you have a tiny pea brain and need to be spoon-fed basic facts like “That character you like will be in this movie.” (Sony also thinks you’re a drooling, feed-scrolling moron who needs five second trailers at the start of your trailers, or else you won’t do an algorithm good enough for their metrics.)

Sorry, got a bit off topic. Anyway. Sony’s latest foray into making Spider-Man cash without Spider-Man is a sequel to the movie we’re all pretending was a stroke of cult genius: 2018’s Venom. The movie was panned by critics when it first came out, and no it’s not because critics are all elitist jerks who hate good movies. It’s because the movie is kinda bad!

Venom has good moments, sure. The scene where Eddie Brock climbs into a lobster tank is trying so hard to be absurd that it kinda succeeds by accident. And the moment where Eddie makes out with Venom in his ex-girlfriend’s body is the kind of “Is this really happening?!” stuff that makes the entire movie worth it. But these moments are still a movie that drags for an hour and thinks “like a turd in the wind” is a good line to end a movie on.

The problem isn’t that Venom lacks good ideas, it’s that it has no confidence in them. The movie could go all-in on the weirdness, lean into harder than it does, but it never feels like the training wheels come off. It was good enough to earn over $850M, but…

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Eric Ravenscraft

Eric Ravenscraft is a freelance writer from Atlanta covering tech, media, and geek culture for Medium, The New York Times, and more.