The Beta Test (2021)
January 5, 2023 6:28 AM - Subscribe

An engaged Hollywood agent receives a mysterious letter for an anonymous sexual encounter and becomes ensnared in a sinister world of lying, infidelity, and digital data.

Jim Cummings yet again writes, directs, and stars in this thriller. Similar to the Wolf of Snow Hollow, Cummings' character is yet again struggling with sobriety and psychological stability as he attempts to figure out the threat menacing himself and his community.
posted by miss-lapin (2 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
"We're gonna reboot Caddyshack with dogs."

There are so many diverse elements to this movie. There's the satire of the film industry-far more cutting than Thank You for Smoking or The Player. There's the drama of Hines (Cummings' character) devolving as he become obsessed with finding out who is behind the purple invites.

There's also the relationship drama-this is the weakest point of the film. It's the least believable that the wedding is days away. The place cards are really the only hint that it's happening very soon and not in a few months, which is what I thought. Hines is self obsessed but we don't see fiance doing things in the background or contacting him about all the other things that have to happen. Has he bought a tux? Got it fitted? What about a bachelor party? Sure his fiance can handle a lot of it but certainly not all of it particularly for the type of wedding that Hines would want, which would involve impressing clients. If dude is willing to buy a 10k wedding to impress clients, he's certainly willing to use his wedding to do so.

Warning-there be spoilers here

And then there's the end. Having the mastermind of the huge conspiracy just be a dipshit in a hoodie living in a basement is brilliant. Of course it's some yutz who wants a billion dollars so he can drink champagne while wallowing in a dank basement. That is beautiful.

But I don't at all buy that Hines' fiance actually can love him. I mean, as I said, he was barely a person to begin with and becomes much less so as the film goes on. So what is there for her to love? I just don't see it.

Having said that the look he gives her when she says "I forgive you" is amazing. I could see how he just can't understand it and it's believable. His shock and disbelief mirrored by own. I can believe that she can forgive him. I can't believe that she actually loves him, and I honestly wondered why she didn't dump his ass in the mountains. What is she getting form this dude? I honestly don't know. She feels more like a device than a person. And to give her the film's ending message-that trying to break people apart is not new just the methods change and part of the job of being in love is to resist those attempts-didn't entirely work for me.
posted by miss-lapin at 6:49 AM on January 5

In an interesting move, the writers and director made a full film commentary available on youtube. so you can sync it up to the movie (available on Hulu and to rent on various services) while hearing the commentary. It's clear they were very aware of the cinematic history of the conspiracy thriller and used that knowledge skillfully.

I'll be honest, I watched the opening sequence with commentary and it's a pain in the ass to pull off. I would definitely prefer to just buy the movie with a commentary track.
posted by miss-lapin at 8:46 AM on January 5

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