Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski, 2018)

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ianthemovie
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Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski, 2018)

#1 Post by ianthemovie » Fri Nov 09, 2018 12:55 pm

Has anyone seen Andrew Bujalski's Support the Girls? I found it to be fairly enjoyable, and was especially impressed with Regina Hall's performance, but I unfortunately missed the last twenty or thirty minutes of the movie
SpoilerShow
(everything after Lisa quits her job and walks out of the restaurant)
and would appreciate someone being able to synopsize the ending.

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Re: The Films of 2018

#2 Post by HinkyDinkyTruesmith » Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:04 pm

ianthemovie wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 12:55 pm
Has anyone seen Andrew Bujalski's Support the Girls? I found it to be fairly enjoyable, and was especially impressed with Regina Hall's performance, but I unfortunately missed the last twenty or thirty minutes of the movie
SpoilerShow
(everything after Lisa quits her job and walks out of the restaurant)
and would appreciate someone being able to synopsize the ending.
SpoilerShow
Here's my best attempt, ha––after Lisa quits, the rest of the employees attempt to man the fort, as it were, for the big fight (I believe it's a boxing fight that's on TV). However, one of the girls decides to undermine the boss, and cuts the cable line again, right in the middle of the fight. In an attempt to control the patrons of the restaurant, who are incensed by the lack of working TVs, the girls try and act flirty, standing up on the bartop and being cheeky. However, at one point, one of the new hires, who sees that it's not working, exposes her nipple, which results in the restaurant being shut down by one of the cops. Meanwhile, Lisa goes hope and gives her niece (?) the money she was raising for her, but when her disrespectful boyfriend comes back, she changes her mind and takes the money back, resulting in a rather upsetting fight with them. Skip ahead, Lisa and all the other girls are now applying for jobs at ManCave (I believe that's what the coorporate Hooters-esque location was called?), Lisa for a manager position, and the rest for waitressing gigs. It ends with them, all thoroughly disheartened, going up on the roof, where they drink and scream away at the inevitable disappointment and oppressiveness of modern patriarchal capitalist life.
I loved this film, and it's currently vying for my top film of 2018. It's the best written film I've seen in a long time––not necessarily line by line, but in terms of establishing character motivation and plot. It's rather classical in its structure, taking place largely over the course of one day, and being very much in media res. The characters are always in motion, always doing, always interacting. Support the Girls is quite a far throw from Funny Ha Ha in that way, and while they both have a tender yet critical eye on tragicomic situations, this is definitely Bujalski doing much more traditional narrative work, on very untraditional leads. I thought everyone was incredible.

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Re: The Films of 2018

#3 Post by ianthemovie » Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:07 pm

Thank you! I did enjoy the movie so I will have to catch the rest of it another time.

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Re: Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski, 2018)

#4 Post by mfunk9786 » Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:31 pm

I am excited to see this as I had just absolutely no way in to Computer Chess (was one of my rare "did not finish, did not rate" film viewing experiences, was like watching something in Greek without subtitles) but this sounds like it retains the director's sensibility in a more accessible milieu

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Re: Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski, 2018)

#5 Post by knives » Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:37 pm

Have you seen his other films? Results was a great push of his aesthetic toward the commercial realm with probably Smulders' best performance.

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Re: Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski, 2018)

#6 Post by mfunk9786 » Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:40 pm

For some reason I thought this was his 2nd film, wow. Computer Chess was the only one that was ever on my radar. So no, no I haven't. Perhaps I'll start there.

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Re: Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski, 2018)

#7 Post by ianthemovie » Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:44 pm

Support the Girls is definitely more accessible (or "relatable," to use my students' favorite word) than Computer Chess, which I found to be droll but a little bit willfully alienating because the characters and situations were so extreme. It also helps that Support the Girls is drawing on very familiar genres (workplace comedy, "day in the life" movie as was pointed out above, etc.).

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Re: Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski, 2018)

#8 Post by HinkyDinkyTruesmith » Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:46 pm

I also did not care at all for Computer Chess. I saw Support the Girls after Funny Ha Ha, and have to say that the former is far more accessible than the latter without giving up the humanity or the intelligence –– just the use of immense amounts of awkwardness and dead-space. It appealed to me, frankly, more as a theatre artist and lover than as a film artist and lover, but it certainly isn't stagey.

For anyone interested, Funny Ha Ha is on Prime, and it and Beeswax are on Fandor.

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Re: Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski, 2018)

#9 Post by ianthemovie » Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:48 pm

And mfunk, there's also Mutual Appreciation from 2006, which like it or not is regarded as one of the key "mumblecore" films. It's probably the closest of Bujalski's movies to Funny Ha Ha whereas everything after that has experimented in going in slightly different directions.

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Re: Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski, 2018)

#10 Post by domino harvey » Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:49 pm

Mutual Appreciation is one of the few actually good Mumblecore films (on a short list with In Search of a Midnight Kiss and not much else)-- if these kind of movies were all this good, they wouldn't be a fair punchline

EDIT: I can't believe I forgot Alex Ross Perry's the Color Wheel-- that is the top of the short list!

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Re: Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski, 2018)

#11 Post by Keyrek » Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:07 pm

HinkyDinkyTruesmith wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:04 pm
SpoilerShow
Here's my best attempt, ha––after Lisa quits, the rest of the employees attempt to man the fort, as it were, for the big fight (I believe it's a boxing fight that's on TV). However, one of the girls decides to undermine the boss, and cuts the cable line again, right in the middle of the fight. In an attempt to control the patrons of the restaurant, who are incensed by the lack of working TVs, the girls try and act flirty, standing up on the bartop and being cheeky. However, at one point, one of the new hires, who sees that it's not working, exposes her nipple, which results in the restaurant being shut down by one of the cops. Meanwhile, Lisa goes hope and gives her niece (?) the money she was raising for her, but when her disrespectful boyfriend comes back, she changes her mind and takes the money back, resulting in a rather upsetting fight with them. Skip ahead, Lisa and all the other girls are now applying for jobs at ManCave (I believe that's what the coorporate Hooters-esque location was called?), Lisa for a manager position, and the rest for waitressing gigs. It ends with them, all thoroughly disheartened, going up on the roof, where they drink and scream away at the inevitable disappointment and oppressiveness of modern patriarchal capitalist life.
I loved this film, and it's currently vying for my top film of 2018. It's the best written film I've seen in a long time––not necessarily line by line, but in terms of establishing character motivation and plot. It's rather classical in its structure, taking place largely over the course of one day, and being very much in media res. The characters are always in motion, always doing, always interacting. Support the Girls is quite a far throw from Funny Ha Ha in that way, and while they both have a tender yet critical eye on tragicomic situations, this is definitely Bujalski doing much more traditional narrative work, on very untraditional leads. I thought everyone was incredible.
SpoilerShow
Also of note is that the car wash (macguffin?) money Lisa took back, that was raised for the waitress that ran over her boyfriend, ultimately ends up in the Double Whammies safe when she orders Arturo (the cook she fired earlier) to sneak it back in. End credits are worth sitting through as well, with a fairly poignant dedication.
Anyway, I wholeheartedly agree with everything Truesmith says, this manages to be a 2018 American epic without feeling as such, if you catch my drift.
ianthemovie wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:44 pm
Support the Girls is definitely more accessible (or "relatable," to use my students' favorite word) than Computer Chess, which I found to be droll but a little bit willfully alienating because the characters and situations were so extreme. It also helps that Support the Girls is drawing on very familiar genres (workplace comedy, "day in the life" movie as was pointed out above, etc.).
Bujalski consciously made Computer Chess as obscure and alienating as possible, which is why he was surprised that Results, his attempt at making the most accessible movie he could conceive of, was received as equally strange by the general populace.

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Re: Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski, 2018)

#12 Post by knives » Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:10 pm

I'll agree on Mutual Appreciation which might still be his best one. It helps that Bujalski has some aesthetic concern as highlighted by his films all being in celluloid until Computer Chess. He also has a smart sense of structure that survives the improve process so many of these films are defeated by. Beeswax is a lot of fun as well with a nice package by Cinema Guild.

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Re: Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski, 2018)

#13 Post by ianthemovie » Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:26 pm

knives wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:10 pm
It helps that Bujalski has some aesthetic concern as highlighted by his films all being in celluloid until Computer Chess.
And Computer Chess was shot on vintage video cameras from the period the film is set (early 80s I believe), which was itself a bold and interesting choice.

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Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski, 2018)

#14 Post by MichaelB » Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:54 pm

I loved Computer Chess, which is the only one of his films that I’ve seen. But I remember that whole early 1980s computing scene pretty vividly (my dad was a bit of a visionary in that he foresaw the way things were going and urged all his kids - especially me, as the oldest - to become computer-literate a few years before it became de rigueur), so I suspect it offered me quite a few entry points that wouldn’t have been apparent to many.

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Re: Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski, 2018)

#15 Post by Kirkinson » Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:25 pm

ianthemovie wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:26 pm
knives wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:10 pm
It helps that Bujalski has some aesthetic concern as highlighted by his films all being in celluloid until Computer Chess.
And Computer Chess was shot on vintage video cameras from the period the film is set (early 80s I believe), which was itself a bold and interesting choice.
The cameras he shot Computer Chess with were from the late 60s — outdated even for the era! I haven't seen the movie (I still plan to) so I'm not sure if there's a narrative justification for that (like a cable access or community college production unit that might have conceivably never had the budget to update their gear, or something like that) but it is an intriguing choice nonetheless! When I worked in the film & video department at my community college I loved digging into the closet and seeing what interesting things I could do with the oldest, jankiest equipment I found there.

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Re: Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski, 2018)

#16 Post by ianthemovie » Fri Nov 09, 2018 4:06 pm

Kirkinson wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:25 pm
The cameras he shot Computer Chess with were from the late 60s — outdated even for the era! I haven't seen the movie (I still plan to) so I'm not sure if there's a narrative justification for that (like a cable access or community college production unit that might have conceivably never had the budget to update their gear, or something like that) but it is an intriguing choice nonetheless! When I worked in the film & video department at my community college I loved digging into the closet and seeing what interesting things I could do with the oldest, jankiest equipment I found there.
Oh right, I forgot it was even older equipment. I feel like it's all of a piece with the spirit of the film since it's suffused with so much affection for analog technologies.

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Re: Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski, 2018)

#17 Post by Murdoch » Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:04 pm

knives wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:10 pm
I'll agree on Mutual Appreciation which might still be his best one. It helps that Bujalski has some aesthetic concern as highlighted by his films all being in celluloid until Computer Chess. He also has a smart sense of structure that survives the improve process so many of these films are defeated by. Beeswax is a lot of fun as well with a nice package by Cinema Guild.
I'll co-sign on Beeswax, a very enjoyable slice-of-life comedy that I still recall fondly some eight years after seeing it

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Re: Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski, 2018)

#18 Post by DeParis » Sat Nov 10, 2018 5:52 pm

I saw Support the Girls a few months ago and had more mixed feelings. It starts out strong and the ensemble cast is very good but I felt it whiffed a bit on the ending. The climactic scene at the bar in particular felt too narratively pat for a film that up until that point had been a fairly naturalistic and slice-of-life.

On the other hand, I loved Computer Chess, though I can understand people finding it a bit dry. It gave me strong Christopher Guest vibes a la Best in Show and Waiting for Guffman, though with an extra dose of surrealism. Like those Christopher Guest films, I think it benefits from having a clear overarching narrative framework (the chess competition) that helps ground and connect the various silly improv threads. Anyway, despite my quibbles with Support the Girls, both Bujalski films that I’ve seen show that he has a talent for developing interesting characters and I look forward to checking out his earlier mumblecore films.

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Re: Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski, 2018)

#19 Post by Aunt Peg » Sun Nov 11, 2018 9:23 am

I saw Support the Girls back in June and was very disappointed with it. I've enjoyed all of Andrew Bujalski's films which I've always found natural and free flowing. This felt mostly rather false, even surprisingly Regina Hall - though playing the lead in a half-baked work is hard. The only actor that manages to rise about the staid material is Haley Lu Richardson, lots of spunk and sass. One of the major disappointments of the year for me.

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Re: Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski, 2018)

#20 Post by Foam » Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:02 pm

I also really wanted to like this. For me Bujalski is either a hit worthy of multiple viewings (Mutual Appreciation, Computer Chess) or a shrug of the shoulder miss (everything else, including this). Regina Hall and Haley Lu Richardson certainly breathe a felt sense of life into characters that should have been more developed in writing, and Shayna McHayle deserves some credit for a believable performance as well. But never once during this did I do the thing I do many times during a good Bujalski movie, which is sit back and think "what a well-observed moment." And without that effect this just feels like a run-of-the-mill, conventional, passable indie.

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Re: Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski, 2018)

#21 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:21 pm

This was a another really great film in a year full of them, and it has stuck with me for the couple of days since I saw it so I thought I'd quickly weigh in here to indicate that while the stakes might seem low, the ending was incredibly profound and was able to confirm for me the thesis that had been hinted at but not completely congealed until those final moments. These are working class women who have been drafted into a no-win system of dehumanization and commodification that society has no answer for unless, like Regina Hall's character or Brooklyn Decker's, they're able to find a shred of upward momentum by compartmentalizing and attempting to ignore their own very real emotional scars from being within this hamster wheel. This is a particularly depressing example of that sort of thing, but it is a crisis in the labor class that was highlighted here more effectively (and of course realistically) than in, say, Sorry to Bother You. I also admire Bujalski's mastery of tone, as this could have veered off the tracks into an exploitative film very easily, or one that relied on gross-out or T&A humor in order to hold the audience's interest, but he's much more interested in lingering on Hall's eyes than on her employees' bodies, but not in a way that feels too much like it's trying to overcompensate or turn the other way from the realities of this employment situation.

In a year full of great performances, Hall's is on a very short list of my favorites, if not the best I've seen all year. No one save perhaps Ethan Hawke managed to utterly anchor a small story with a massive dose of unspoken pain and angst like this, it was really something to see. Count me in as someone who will be making his way through this filmmaker's back catalog, and looking forward to what's to come from Hall as well.

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Re: Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski, 2018)

#22 Post by Finch » Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:28 pm

Support the Girls was one of the most purely enjoyable films of last year for me, and it earns extra brownie points for James LeGros. I haven't seen any other Bujawski but after this film I'm keen to seek out more of his work.

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Re: Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski, 2018)

#23 Post by Persona » Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:19 pm

DeParis wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 5:52 pm
I saw Support the Girls a few months ago and had more mixed feelings. It starts out strong and the ensemble cast is very good but I felt it whiffed a bit on the ending. The climactic scene at the bar in particular felt too narratively pat for a film that up until that point had been a fairly naturalistic and slice-of-life.
I fall closest to this take, I think. I mean, this film was kind of the definition of "eh, pretty good" for me. The three leads are good; all of the film's pathos and dramatic heavy lifting fall on Hall and she carries it well, including a couple stand-out moments (the scene with the money--wow). It's a humorous film but not one that made me laugh much. It's nice to have a film focus on a more unusual context with marginalized characters and have a non-judgmental authenticity to it. It's like a naturalistic Coyote Ugly or something. But there are a few moments that ring false, which stick out more in a film like this one that's trying so hard to be observational and truthful, and the very end of the film is probably the most inane short-hand for catharsis that Bujalski could have fallen upon (though I do appreciate how it was shot and edited).

Anyways, yeah, pretty good.

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Re: Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski, 2018)

#24 Post by knives » Tue Jun 18, 2019 6:17 pm

This was amazing, but to ensure that I don't repeat the love that everyone else has expressed (though Mfunk touched on this some) I just want to gush over this film's sense of location and milieu. It wouldn't be unfair to say that Bujalski's typical characters are part of a working petite bourgeoisie where the risks of work aren't significant. This is the major shift with this film where work is a life or death situation and small sacrifices have to been made to attain small pleasures. That in itself is a leap with Shayna McHayle's character being an underrated and wonderful explosion of that thought. What really impresses me more though is the subtle way Bujalski moves from a distinctly northern coastal presence to this south-midwest dirt on the road type of thing. Not just the odd mix of accents, but the type of houses and streets you see. The way we have a mini-mall formated in a fashion you don't really see in the more intense cities like Boston or LA. The geography plays out for subtle differences in the psychology of the characters.

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Re: Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski, 2018)

#25 Post by swo17 » Tue Jun 18, 2019 7:45 pm

knives wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 6:17 pm
Shayna McHayle's character being an underrated and wonderful explosion of that thought
You might check out her music if you liked her here

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