Self Reliance (2023)
January 21, 2024 5:58 PM - Subscribe

When a man is offered a million dollars to play a game in which hunters try to kill him, he thinks he has found the perfect loophole: they can only attack when he's alone. His only problem is that none of his friends or family believe the game is real.
posted by General Malaise (6 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
What if Jake Johnson made The Game (1997) but it was way more fun. Streaming in the US on Hulu. Absolutely delightful flick.
posted by General Malaise at 6:01 PM on January 21 [2 favorites]

I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. A Lonely Island flick with a bit of that A24 tint. Absurd, sweet, grungy. A Biff Wiff starring role, even!
posted by chainlinkspiral at 6:35 PM on January 21 [3 favorites]

I loved this because it just made the weird choice when it could. I find Jake Johnson infinitely charming and while he tried to make himself look unattractive, it didn't work for me. Knowing somewhat of his story, there are elements of this that are absolutely personal but I don't think you need to know that for it to work.

This feels a bit like "I just wanted to hang out with these people" and I don't hate that at all, but it also works here. Johnson brought people together he wanted to work with to make a good movie and he did.

I did feel like Anna Kendrick -- who I like -- wasn't as effective as she could be here. She was fine! But I feel like she was in a slightly different movie. Also, maybe that was some of the point.

This is shaggy and imperfect but it was meant to be. I loved it.

(I'm still upset we were cheated out of a second season of Stumptown. Stupid pandemic. Johnson didn't direct Ride the Eagle but it's great! I like that he's basically at the point where he has the level of money and fame where he just does what's interesting to him. I admire that.)
posted by edencosmic at 6:47 PM on January 21 [7 favorites]

Oh man. I was not expecting from the plot description that viewers would call this an "absolutely delightful flick"! :) Maybe I'll give it a try! I do enjoy Jake Johnson a lot.
posted by obfuscation at 9:36 AM on January 22

We enjoyed this! It is definitely on the shaggy side of things (you never quite feel like he's actually in danger?), but there are a few truly inspired bits that had us convulsing with laughter. Will we watch it again? I don't know. Are we happy we watched it? Yes!

I like that he's basically at the point where he has the level of money and fame where he just does what's interesting to him.

Johnson did an interview with Polygon where he said, basically, he made the movie he wanted to see and if anyone else likes it that's a bonus. And honestly we'd have a lot more interesting stuff out there if more people took that approach!
posted by thecaddy at 11:25 AM on January 22 [3 favorites]

Ha, I’m glad someone posted this because I wanted to discuss the loophole within the loophole! SPOILERS in case you haven’t watched it yet.

When Jake Johnson learns that one of the rules is that the Hunters will not attack unless he’s alone, to ensure no non-participants are harmed, he thinks he’s found a loophole. Then Anna Kendrick contacts him claiming to be another participant. Jake puts Biff Wiff on vacation and Jake and Anna spend all their time together, safe because neither is alone.

BUT!! The “not alone” loophole arises out of not hurting non-participants! If two participants were alone in a room, a Hunter could barge in and kill them both, no problem! That’s why I thought Argyle from Stranger Things warned him he was in danger.

That’s also how I figured out Anna was not a real participant, though I was suspecting her of being a very sneaky Hunter.

In the end, Anna not being a participant justified why Jake was never attacked when she was around. But the movie never acknowledged the loophole loophole that I describe—so did the writers even realize it was there?

Anyway, great movie, lots of fun, loved all the cast—especially Emily Hampshire, who seemed to be genuinely cracking up during filming. I think I also saw Biff breaking in the scene where he first meets Jake’s family? I bet this was a fun shoot.
posted by ejs at 11:35 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]

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