Sorry to Bother You (2018)
July 8, 2018 7:23 AM - Subscribe

In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, telemarketer Cassius Green discovers a magical key to professional success, propelling him into a macabre universe.

Boots Riley’s new comedy is like a modern-day Brazil with elements of magical realism, class politics, and sharp social critique. Stars Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Armie Hammer, and Omari Hardwick with David Cross providing “white voice”.


Chicago Tribune: Satirizing black identity and corporate ethics, ruthlessly

Wired: A Dizzying Satire That Hungers For Truth
posted by migurski (78 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
For those unfamiliar, Boots is also the voice behind awesome radical leftist Oakland hiphop group The Coup. Here's their 2012 album of the same title. Can't wait to see this film.
posted by Existential Dread at 3:29 PM on July 8, 2018 [3 favorites]

I saw this last night and really enjoyed it. I wish I had some insightful commentary to add, but I don’t know what to say that hasn’t been said better in the reviews.
posted by bradf at 3:36 PM on July 8, 2018

A small detail that struck me was the anarchy sign tattooed on Cassuis’s boss’s neck. He was clearly characterized as a Gen-X punk who’d transitioned into telemarketing management out of necessity at first, and was now defending the company’s interests. So much astonishing depth on precarious bullshit jobs in this movie.

It was also a pleasure to see Oakland’s Uptown, Longfellow, and Hoover/Foster neighborhoods so well-represented here.
posted by migurski at 6:07 PM on July 8, 2018 [22 favorites]

Awww i live in longfellow. Gotta see this!
posted by supermedusa at 6:57 PM on July 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

Definitely fun and sharp. Editing was somewhat hit-or miss, occasionally tight and effective and occasionally not. One thing that was especially interesting was how spaces expanded into other spaces in surprising ways, starting from the very first scene. This idea that there's something just on the other side of a door, or wall, or neighborhood, whether physical or experiential or social... it's very Oakland to me.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:24 PM on July 8, 2018 [12 favorites]

(not sure there was so much Longfellow tbh)
posted by oneirodynia at 9:25 PM on July 8, 2018

I was mistaken about that, thought they were filming above MacArthur but the sign store was actually at 28th.
posted by migurski at 9:28 PM on July 8, 2018

I was extremely stoned watching it last night. Given I only smoke like, once every year or two, I was altered enough that I can't super meaningfully assess it. I'm wondering now the next day if it was brilliant or dumb?

But Boots' loving, devotional, on-location pictures of Oakland, in all its weirdness and dirtiness and wonderfulness was a complete delight. So perfect in that regard. And I'm so happy that Boots got to make this movie and let his weird fantastic radicalism out to the world.

The gender politics were pretty weak, it didn't even pass the Bechtel test and Tessa Thompson was like a manic pixie dream girl but with less screen time, I thought, but still, Tessa Thompson's screen presence was absolutely wonderful, and she did get her own trajectory, and got to be a sexually free individual, which was refreshing.
posted by latkes at 4:02 PM on July 12, 2018 [12 favorites]

I loved this movie! Agreed that the editing was the weak point -- there were a few questionable decisions and I caught some minor errors. But these rough edges can be forgiven for a first time director, especially one working on a film as radical as this. The rough edges kind of give it character.

Boots Riley is an open communist, and I was wondering to what degree this film would function as leftist agitprop. I was pleased to see that it meets the audience where they're at -- it presents its ideas in a way that anyone can appreciate. It gives a strong, funny critique of late capitalism, and much of its conflict revolves around workers forming a union. The film is about the importance of organizing, the different faces we have to put on to navigate work (especially where race enters the picture), and the ways that resistance gets and does not get co-opted by the system.

DO NOT READ ANY SPOILERS OF THIS MOVIE because the way it goes off the rails is startlingly effective and you do not want to have that moment ruined for you.

It is absolutely mind boggling to me that this movie got a wide release. I remember seeing The Coup posting about it on their facebook page during production and I assumed it would be a tiny, obscure indie release. I am so excited that something this radical can hit theaters everywhere. I think I remember Marx mentioning at some point that the capitalists would happily sell us the tools to dismantle capitalism.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 8:24 PM on July 12, 2018 [20 favorites]

This is cool: costume designer Dierdre Govan sourced the costumes locally to give it a real, Oakland feel.
posted by latkes at 8:13 AM on July 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

That was maybe the most profoundly weird movie I have ever seen at a multiplex. I've seen weirder, of course, at midnight movies, specialty cinemas, festivals, etc. But at the multiplex? Weirdest ever.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:18 PM on July 13, 2018 [7 favorites]

I think I saw a trailer for this, like, 2 months ago, maybe, but I went into this knowing absolutely nothing except that it was supposed to be good. That was a pretty great fun theater experience.
posted by graventy at 2:20 PM on July 15, 2018 [5 favorites]

This was amazing, and I really hope it does well enough this weekend to get a wider release next weekend. I want A LOT of people to see it--particularly a lot of people who wouldn't normally make their way to an indie cinema or a big-city multiplex to see it. I agree that it does a good job of making the radical message accessible. I was slightly worried at some hints of Idiocracy-ness, but I think those help with that (and for those of who may be reading this before seeing it, don't worry, it's 100% nothing like Idiocracy).

I saw it at the Alamo Drafthouse here, and they showed a few of The Coup's music videos beforehand. I spend every last second before I had to put my phone away buying and downloading their albums.

There was a LOT of subtle weirdness mixed in among the not-so-subtle weirdness. Some of it never gets addressed,but it's mostly fine that it hangs there and remains a mystery or allows the viewer to draw their own conclusions. I did quickly figure out on my own why the head of Worry-Free appeared to be wearing a skirt or other unbirfurcated garment the whole time even though he was otherwise a hypermasculine character. But... that was Detroit's White Artist voice in the video voiceover, right? Was that intentional? Was it supposed to be addressed? Or are we to completely disassociate her White Voice from who she is and not connect that voice in the video to her? At first I thought it might have been an early art gig for her, and maybe it's what led her to do the Left Eye stuff, but she seemed genuinely surprised at the reveal, so.
posted by rhiannonstone at 3:17 PM on July 15, 2018 [3 favorites]

I did quickly figure out on my own why the head of Worry-Free appeared to be wearing a skirt or other unbirfurcated garment the whole time even though he was otherwise a hypermasculine character.

OK, I'll bite. Why?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:37 AM on July 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'm still processing my reaction to this film. In the theater, I used a fair bit of mental energy lamenting how much trouble I was in with my spouse for selling her on seeing a social satire and having it actually turn out to be a social satire/loony sci-fi tinged cult movie headfuck. She's going to get to pick the next movie several times in a row now. Several.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:44 AM on July 16, 2018 [3 favorites]

I did quickly figure out on my own why the head of Worry-Free appeared to be wearing a skirt or other unbirfurcated garment the whole time even though he was otherwise a hypermasculine character.

OK, I'll bite. Why?

Wait, are you saying that Armie Hammer gave himself a horse dick that would not fit in normal pants?
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:55 AM on July 16, 2018 [4 favorites]

That was my immediate assumption, yes. I just don't think he'd be able to resist the opportunity to enhance himself. An interview with the costume designer I read in my flurry of movie-related reading last night (and can't find right now, sorry!) implies it's not that, but instead it's just him being egotistical and possibly messianic, but... my headcanon will remain horse cock.
posted by rhiannonstone at 9:38 AM on July 16, 2018 [7 favorites]

instead it's just him being egotistical and possibly messianic

The Venn diagram of "egotistical and possibly messianic" and "would genetically engineer himself a horse cock" is a circle.
posted by Etrigan at 10:26 AM on July 16, 2018 [22 favorites]

I knew nothing about the filmmaker going into this, so I spent the first half afraid it was going to turn into some kind of weird alt-alt-right critique of universal basic income. I'm still not sure it isn't, but by the end it reverts back to a fairly conventional pro-unionization film. Kinda wish it had not veered into the corny sci-fi territory that it did, but just stuck with the social satire.
posted by spudsilo at 1:46 PM on July 16, 2018

I knew nothing about the filmmaker going into this, so I spent the first half afraid it was going to turn into some kind of weird alt-alt-right critique of universal basic income.

Yeah, I really don't think that was the film's intended critique. I read it as a satire of the way that large corporations have tended to demand more and more from their employees while providing less and less compensation, justifying it by jangling fancy keychains in their faces. Like a big tech company putting a ball pit in your office and giving you free snacks while paying you peanuts and expecting you to stay late every night.

I don't think the film addressed UBI, but I would guess that a communist like Boots Riley would be skeptical of it because it would be a reform that would soften capitalism enough to prop it up and keep it from collapsing, while failing to address the fundamentally exploitative nature of capitalism.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 1:55 PM on July 16, 2018 [5 favorites]

I saw Worry-Free as a representation of how private corporations are taking on responsibilities that government no longer has the will to perform, like Starbucks subsidizing its employees' college educations, or Domino's Pizza filling in pot holes. It's not hard to see this sort of thing evolving into a situation where people live their lives entirely in corporate communities that feature many of the services of a functioning state or local government, but are basically just the company store writ large. People becoming citizens of a system not beholden to taxpayers or voters, but to outside shareholders. It would be very much like slavery, or a kind of serfdom.
posted by Strange Interlude at 2:10 PM on July 16, 2018 [7 favorites]

Worry Free is both a metaphor and a horrifyingly believable thing. They could start up tomorrow and nobody would blink an eyelid.
posted by Artw at 4:44 PM on July 16, 2018 [14 favorites]

(No it’s not UBI, it’s the libertarian-acceptable version of slavery, which is not far off the pseudo-sharecroping shit people get forced into when real jobs go away, but if Musk or whoever figure out how to go one step further with that they totally will.)
posted by Artw at 4:49 PM on July 16, 2018 [9 favorites]

I loved this with all my heart. Detroit's earrings for president 2020!

The acting was amazing across the board, including the VO; I do agree with the critiques that the sound/syncing editing was a weak point. It was needlessly distracting from the excellent dialogue. Seeing W Kamau Bell and Kate Berlant was a fun surprise.

For a minute partway through the movie, in my head I was comparing Consilience (from Atwood's "The Heart Goes Last") with Worry Free. I never heard much about "THGL" when it came out, so I'm not sure if it made enough of a cultural blip to have been an intentional parallel, or whether it was just a coincidence.

The day after watching it, the three scenes/images that stand out to me the most are the Michel "Dongry" (haaaaaa) claymation sequence, the "RAP! RAP! RAP!" bit, and the final two scenes. Painful, painful laughter. Owww.

I could go on and on but I will close by saying the music was killer and I will be recommending this movie to everyone I know.
posted by seemoorglass at 12:24 PM on July 17, 2018 [7 favorites]

Oh and to add to graventy's "That was a pretty great fun theater experience" -- this was probably the most fun I've ever had sharing a movie with a live audience. There was lots of reacting and commentary and it was EXCELLENT.

If you are on the fence about seeing this movie in the theater, definitely go for it - for me I can't imagine it will have the same impact in a home theater setting.
posted by seemoorglass at 12:28 PM on July 17, 2018 [8 favorites]

I listened to the first half hour or so of the Black Men Can't Jump In Hollywood review of StBY. It's a podcast hosted by three African American comedians talking about black representation in Hollywood, using current and classic films as examples for discussion. They're basically positive on the film, but had some observations about white audience reactions to certain bits (e.g. Cash's job interview, the rapping scene, etc.) that I thought were interesting in terms of how people might parse those moments.

I saw the movie in a mostly empty morning matinee with a vaguely diverse crowd of college kids and a couple of slightly older folks, and I didn't get the sense that anybody there was laughing at the wrong times for wrong reasons, like what happened to Dave Chappelle after his show got popular with white stoners. But having said that, I do wonder if some of the finer points of satire end up lost on some of the folks who might be ostensibly in its target audience.
posted by Strange Interlude at 2:00 PM on July 17, 2018 [4 favorites]

For a minute partway through the movie, in my head I was comparing Consilience (from Atwood's "The Heart Goes Last") with Worry Free. I never heard much about "THGL" when it came out, so I'm not sure if it made enough of a cultural blip to have been an intentional parallel, or whether it was just a coincidence.

I saw it today and I immediately thought of THGL while I was watching the Worry Free bits. The prison-like cells/dorm units sealed it for me as having been inspired by Atwood's book.

The theater I was in went fairly quiet during the rap sequence. I imagine most of the audience (mostly White suburbanites) knew where that scene was going.
posted by fuse theorem at 8:45 PM on July 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

We saw it this weekend in an Oakland theater with an Oakland audience, which I think is possibly the best way to see this film. Everyone was there for it, laughing and gasping and groaning at appropriate times. (And OMIGOD is this movie rooted in Oakland. It felt sooo good to watch. I was playing a personal game of "how quickly can I identify where each scene was filmed?" Also, if I win the lottery I'm getting that apartment in the Cathedral Building overlooking Latham Square.)

Given the audience, the responses to the interview scene and the rap scene were much more "errrrrfffffff" and sucked-in breaths and "…ennh heh heh" than straight-out laughing. We did laugh a lot, but it felt like a nuanced laughter.

(At the point when Detroit and Squeeze kiss, one audience member exclaimed "I knew it!" and the rest of us just cracked up.)

FWIW, I interpreted Hammer's character wearing that garment as being cultural appropriation ("Dude, I visited [India/Indonesia/another country he and his friends would consider 'exotic'] and came back with this awesome [sarong/lungi/similar garment], it's so comfortable and looks awesome") not that he'd personally engaged with the transformation chemicals/drugs.

Anyone else think he was lying through his teeth about the process being reversible?
posted by Lexica at 9:32 PM on July 17, 2018 [17 favorites]

re: Oakland locations:

@Sorry2BotherYou lol we actually have this graphic handy

Lexica- years ago we tagged along with some friends who were having a realtor show them the flats in the Cathedral building- they were all vacant at the time since they had basically been developed during the downturn. The one in the film was being offered for less than 700,000 at the time(!) My favorite was the very top one though, which had a roof deck on the top of the building.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:46 PM on July 17, 2018 [5 favorites]

I was concerned that Hammer's pants (wait a second... Nevermind) along with a couple other scenes (Stanfield's first reaction when the equisapian is calling for help, seemingly from a bathroom stall), were aiming for some low-key homophobic laughs. I'm not trying to make a big thing of it but they both seemed pretty much like opportunities to chuckle at the potential of queerness. My guess is these are not things that Boots put a ton of conscious thought into? Also, as I mentioned, my judgement was very altered watching it, so I may be wrong.
posted by latkes at 6:51 AM on July 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

My take on the pants was they were signifying namaste-bro, in the vein of Bentinho Massaro or any of these other appropriating power hungry dudes that think because they do yoga they can do no evil.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:14 AM on July 18, 2018 [13 favorites]

... but yeah, maybe "Hammer Pants" was too good an (Oakland) joke to pass up.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:17 AM on July 18, 2018 [4 favorites]

"Walking around Oakland with Boots is probably the closest thing I can imagine to walking around Vatican City with the Pope." a short interview with Armie Hammer I found while unsuccessfully looking for pants intel.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:25 AM on July 18, 2018 [3 favorites]

That's funny. I see him around a lot and he's always low key warm and nice. My kid used to go to school with one of his kids so I'd see him at pickup time. He was quiet but would always say hi back to people.

He just got signed to write a TV show. Stay gold, Boots!
posted by latkes at 10:22 AM on July 18, 2018 [7 favorites]

Anyone else think he was lying through his teeth about the process being reversible?

Absolutely 100% no question. He was totally full of bullshit horseshit about that proposal from the moment he pulled out the horse plate. I wouldn't count on the $100M either.

That led me to wonder if Squeeze was also a plant. It didn't seem like it, in the end, but that would have been interesting.
posted by jeoc at 6:43 PM on July 18, 2018 [3 favorites]

All of the above, and I loved all of the Tune Yards in the background music... So much Oakland awesomeness!
posted by kaibutsu at 11:40 PM on July 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

I just saw it today with a friend. It was a really interesting movie, but I'm still not sure that I loved it. Will have to sit with it a bit first, I think. I did like it a LOT, though.

I thought all of the set design and costuming was great, and Detroit's earrings stole the show every time she was on screen. Honestly, the movie made me want to visit Oakland - one of those places you hear about all the time, but have no reason to go to.

Our theater was basically empty, so I didn't get the community view of it. But as we were walking out, I overheard two girls talking: "I knew it was going to be weird, but not THAT weird." Like someone said, the fact that this is playing at the local AMC theater is pretty amazing.

FWIW, I also took the AH clothing to be an appropriated thing - "look how cool I am for not wearing pants, I learned it in X."
posted by gemmy at 9:26 PM on July 21, 2018 [2 favorites]

I think Detroit is more than a manic pixie dream girl. At the art show, it's revealed that despite her talk, she's dealing with the same pressures he is and making similar compromises. I think she's a stand in for a certain type of activist archetype, just like Squeeze, just like the "anarchist" manager.
posted by tofu_crouton at 10:53 AM on July 22, 2018 [13 favorites]

Boots Riley explains the Michel Gondry reference.

Michel Gondry: “So let me understand this. The richest man in the world he can have anyone make this film and he chooses me, right?”
posted by tofu_crouton at 10:55 AM on July 22, 2018 [3 favorites]

Just saw it and Ireally liked it. Thought it was a convincing Marxist take on society. Convinced me how powerless we are to change it, but that perhaps local labor organizing is one of the more eff ective things we can do.

It also caught me how entry level labor in the "service/retail/sales" sector is often doing the in-person exploitation of the most vulnerable people on behalf of the property owning classes.

Boots Riley on power, organizing and who really runs the country. (Hint: It's not Trump)
posted by Golden Eternity at 5:52 PM on July 23, 2018 [5 favorites]

Ok so Thompson and Riley briefly respond to the MPDG thing in this GQ profile. It's too short to really get much from but Boots says she's not that.

Honestly, I've seen it twice now. I really like it, and I very much admire and appreciate Boots Riley. As I've obsessively listened and read interviews since this came out, I've gained even more admiration for him. He's drawing on a really deep and broad range of influences and analysis, and his commitment to radical change is very real and material, not just theoretical.

Having said that, the gender stuff in this movie really irks me. There are two female speaking parts (vs like eight male), both female characters want to fuck the male lead. I really hope that as Riley continues his film work, and apparently he has a deal for a TV show and a feature, he takes a look at representation and women in his work.
posted by latkes at 10:10 PM on July 23, 2018 [13 favorites]

posted by The Whelk at 3:47 PM on July 24, 2018 [8 favorites]

A detail possibly only me noticed, the normally hazel eyed Hammer is wearing blue contacts.

Plus I got to explain what Salting The Workplace is (going into ununionized workforce’s with the intent to unionize them)
posted by The Whelk at 4:05 PM on July 24, 2018 [3 favorites]

Sound/syncing editing was a weak point, for sure, but way more distracting was that the VOs were all studio recordings. Would it have killed them to record the VOs on location?
posted by Pig Tail Orchestra at 5:16 AM on July 25, 2018

The obviously-dubbed quality of "white voice" is an intentional aesthetic feature, not a bug. It's meant to be just as jarring/surreal/wrong to the characters as it is to the viewer. Riley talks about it in his interview with Elvis Mitchell on The Treatment.
posted by Strange Interlude at 5:29 AM on July 25, 2018 [19 favorites]

Songs like "I love Boosters!" and Boots' respect for (and creative partnership with) Pam the Funkstress make me think he's ok with women.

And I did think it was interesting to sort of speculate on the subplot of the "Have a Cola and a smile, bitch!" woman's viral fame and how far she took it.
posted by TwoStride at 5:06 PM on July 25, 2018

really enjoyed this movie for it surreal style, somewhat like Michel Gondry films, and social issues.
very funny moments in unexpected times with unexpected reactions of the characters was great.
posted by metafus at 8:21 AM on July 26, 2018

The ENTIRE soda can hit viral hit bit on how anything revolutionary or genuine gets instantly co-opted and sold back to you was genius and it’s just one of the major background notes (the use of soda as a metaphor in general, cause it’s the opposite of water)
posted by The Whelk at 9:27 AM on July 26, 2018 [16 favorites]

On twitter or someplace a while back we where talking about how many movies and narrative hinge on getting video or proof of some monsterous evil being done or covered up and this leads to everyone riding uo and rejecting the system ....and how this is happening in real life now and having proof, on video! Doesn’t seem to do ...anything. So I love that that was addressed directly.

Or how Detroit is talking to him about her art show and the basis of capitalism and America being stolen African labor and he literally can’t focus or listen to her cause his job has made him so tired and stressed out.

I also love the ...score? It was stripped down and tense and jarring.

I had the vague notion 30 minutes in I should’ve brought flyers on unionizing to pass out at the door after.
posted by The Whelk at 10:36 AM on July 26, 2018 [10 favorites]

From a tech industry friend who wishes to remain anynoumous “I’ve been to every single party in this movie, the art show, the union organizing meeting, the freakish young rich guy orgy, this is all accurate and real. this movie isn’t an exaggeration or surreal it’s whats actually happening because our entire culture is rotting from within.”
posted by The Whelk at 10:08 AM on July 27, 2018 [18 favorites]

For a movie set in an "alternative realioty" it's a hell of a lot more grounded in reality than, say, your average rom-com or coming of age movie, which paint a picture of society that's now idealized to the point of being unrecognizable.

Really it only deviates on:

a) Indentured servitude, which Amazon would never go for because of the implication of responsibility.
b) horseman drugs
posted by Artw at 10:12 AM on July 27, 2018 [10 favorites]

Stuck wondering about Omari Harwick's character (guy with the eye patch- over his LEFT EYE). He clearly has some insider role. He took Cash's phone from him before Cash discovered the equisapiens, therefore he's the one who sent the expose video to Detroit. What was up with all that?
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 7:06 AM on July 30, 2018 [5 favorites]

You could probably ask Boots directly, he’s active in twitter, but I took it like the manager with the anarchist tattoo, someone who had been radical but then absorbed into the system cause again, he’s literally missing his left eye (his name is bleeped out, which is fun)
posted by The Whelk at 9:00 AM on July 30, 2018 [2 favorites]

I just got home from seeing this in a near-empty theater (4 total patrons) on a Tuesday afternoon. I knew almost nothing about the film prior to viewing-and-I think that was the best choice! I went in expecting a pretty straight forward socio-political satire......and it was SO MUCH MORE. I nearly lost it at the equisapiens. I love when things take a turn for the truly weird. I loved this movie and will be recommending it to so many people.

I want to know more about Mr. _____. Why is his name bleeped out? Was this a creative choice from the beginning or did they have to change things after the fact? Also, I want to know more about his connection to the "left eye" group, given his left-eye patch.
posted by JennyJupiter at 5:33 PM on July 31, 2018 [4 favorites]

Did the cola throwing metaphor remind anyone else of the Kendal Jenner for Pepsi ad? Please add another dislike for the video if you choose to cringe at it again.
posted by Become A Silhouette at 5:27 PM on August 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

Some thoughts:

Workplaces like WorryFree already exist, suck (typo, but I’m keeping it) as Foxconn, the largest employer in China, where workers live in onsite dorms. Some other people have already talked about Atwood and this movie reminds me a lot of Handmaid’s Tale in that much in it has already happened or isn’t too far off from happening.

The coke can to the head bit: I took that as a commentary on how our culture exploits viral news witnesses, who are almost always black, and turns them into memes, like Antoine Dodson of “hide yo kids” fame.

I did not notice Mr. Blank’s eye patch was on his left eye, or that Detroit’s British voice was the same as the video narration, so thanks for pointing those out. Gonna have a think on what they could mean. I also didn’t notice that Mr. Blank took Cash’s phone before his meeting with Steve.

I can not believe I managed to avoid spoilers for this film. I didn’t even know there were spoilers to be avoided. I saw it with a Latina friend (I’m white) in a half empty theater with a good mix of people and no one laughed inappropriately but there was definitely some commentary and groans through some of the film’s more awkward parts, like the rap scene.

I’m glad I went in thinking it was just a movie about code switching and capitalism. I’m super glad I saw it in the theater and got to have that WTF moment. My husband (who is a huge fan of both Brazil AND Bojack Horseman) has been in Europe for a month and I can’t wait to take him to see it totally unprepared. I think multiple viewings are warranted.
posted by Brittanie at 11:11 PM on August 3, 2018 [4 favorites]

Did the cola throwing metaphor remind anyone else of the Kendal Jenner for Pepsi ad

That was my first thought! they used the shame shot and I had forgotten about it and how pissed everyone was that it was co-copying BLM protests until it appeared on screen.
posted by The Whelk at 12:17 AM on August 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Short article about Merrill Garbus from Tune-Yards and Mitsuko Alexandra Yabe scoring the film.

You take each scene as it comes and it’s about what energy you need to bring. I’m a giant fan of Tune-Yards, and the energy that Merrill and Mitsuko both brought to the film, their perspective, was one that was really needed. Mitsuko knows her shit. Her references and her training, she doesn’t speak under her breath. She says what needs to be said. Merrill’s vocalizations, her way of being onstage, it tells you a lot about her creative ways.

Because the movie is so crazy in many ways, it’s probably going to take people a few weeks to start talking about the music. It definitely is a big part of why the movie works. I hired the best people for the job and they happened to be women. – Boots Riley, as told to Dom G. Jones.

posted by oneirodynia at 2:52 PM on August 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Boots talks to The Dig Podcast about the movie, his communist roots, worker organizing and more
posted by The Whelk at 3:28 PM on August 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Apparently Riley was inspired by someone specific for Detroit's character and I couldn't help but think of Meeks Baker, a local Bay Area artist and activist who does similar laser cut jewelry. Not saying that it's them, but that was the first person I thought of, when I saw those earrings.
posted by gryftir at 2:58 AM on August 30, 2018

Boots on twitter asked if there will be a sequel

“The sequel will be done via participatory immersive theater in which every living human being plays a role.”
posted by The Whelk at 8:42 PM on September 2, 2018 [25 favorites]

They finally showed this in the UK at the London Film Festival. It goes on general release in December I think.

I thought it was amazing, can't wait to see it again in a few months.
posted by knapah at 3:03 PM on October 12, 2018 [3 favorites]

Finally caught up with this and loved it. Somehow from the previews I thought it was some kind of Office Space workplace comedy, not a Verhoeven-esque science fiction satire on capitalism.
posted by octothorpe at 10:47 AM on January 21, 2019 [4 favorites]

Expanding on the Verhoeven comment, I kept thinking of Robocop watching this. From the crass over-the-top TV shows and fake commercials to the giant company with a secret plan for the city. In the '80s the image of capitalism was the big conglomerate in a high-rise headquarters and now it's a zen dude-bro who shills his book on Oprah.
posted by octothorpe at 4:11 PM on January 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

I think he said he was influenced by RoboCop
posted by latkes at 9:04 AM on January 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

The most realistic part was when WorryFree's horrific plan is exposed; the stock goes up and the CEO is hailed as a genius by politicians.
posted by benzenedream at 3:28 PM on February 2, 2019 [9 favorites]

I love going into movies with no expectations other than my internet friends loved them. I rented this recently and my initial response was "WTF did I just watch!?!" LOL

I took the Hammer No-Pants thing as zen-dude-bro. I also am still wondering what is up with Mr. No-Name's lack of a name. Detroits earrings were great, but I loved her t-shirts even more! "The future is female ejaculation" had me chuckling.

I loved that Cassius Green's name is literally "cash is green".

I also thought Squeeze was a plant.

It was so disconcerting to me when Cassius was sitting there, just outside the quasi orgy, with his head bleeding and nobody cared. Nobody gave a damn. And then Mr. No-Name sent him down for the horse cock snort. Just absolutely no care for him as a human being. ANGER.

That rap scene ... especially with recent videos of white comedians saying the N word to be "edgy" ... "Entertain us, Black dude. We don't care that you are injured or that you have different skills than our stereotypical exceptions. Entertain us as we expect."

And that group of football players. Just ... playing football. Always. Forever. Everywhere.
posted by jillithd at 12:50 PM on February 5, 2019 [5 favorites]

Well, this one was different. It's part painfully apt sociopolitical satire, and part Handmaid's Tale-style sci-fi dystopia on crack.
posted by orange swan at 7:21 PM on April 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Finally got around to this (it's on Hulu). Loved it through and through. Described it to a friend as a heady mix of Bamboozled, They Live, and Brazil.
posted by duffell at 7:35 PM on May 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

whoa. amazing.
posted by lalochezia at 7:23 PM on June 9, 2019

When the Independent Spirit award-winning movie, “Sorry to Bother You,” played in the Salt Lake Film Society, the front-of-house staff learned by observing the characters — low-wage call center workers — and they mobilized.
posted by The Whelk at 9:37 PM on June 10, 2019 [10 favorites]

I finally saw this on dvd (it had a limited release on the UK so I unfortunately missed it at the cinema).

It's mostly genius. I am going to wait a few months then watch it again with Dir commentary.
posted by Faintdreams at 3:04 AM on August 21, 2019 [3 favorites]

Brilliant movie...may have ruined horses for me.
posted by CatastropheWaitress at 6:39 AM on November 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

I saw this last night -- friends organized a movie night and picked this one. I had zero context, had never heard of it at all. I was bowled over. It was hilarious, sharp, and unexpected in so many delightful, horrifying ways. I knew I was really going to enjoy the ride as soon as I saw the main character do his first sales call -- the visual of him getting dropped into the life of whoever was on the other end was just *chef's kiss*. Such a deliriously creative way to illustrate how off-putting the whole experience is.
posted by eirias at 8:48 AM on August 5

Thoroughly recommend checking out I’m A Virgo as a follow up.
posted by Artw at 8:51 AM on August 5 [3 favorites]

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