Problemista (2023)
July 7, 2024 1:34 PM - Subscribe

Alejandro is an aspiring toy designer from El Salvador, struggling to bring his unusual ideas to life in New York City. As time on his work visa runs out, a job assisting an erratic art-world outcast becomes his only hope to stay in the country and realize his dream.

“[A]n agonizingly vivid depiction of what it’s like to do the kind of job that’s akin to clinging to the back of a rampaging dragon that just might eat you if you get thrown off, to the point where it should come with a trigger warning: If you ever had to serve as an ad hoc IT specialist for a boss who treats technology as a personal affront, this movie may cause traumatic flashbacks.”—Alison Willmore for Vulture

"While Swinton may be better known for her ethereal screen presence, as Elizabeth, she puts the “problem” in “Problemista.” Her character is a sharp-tongued chaos monster, making enemies wherever she goes, rude to people in her life and strangers alike, and ruthless to anyone she isn’t pleased with, earning the nickname hydra for the way she attacks back with more questions and angry criticisms.”—Monica Castillo for RogerEbert.com

Currently streaming on Max in the US.
posted by bcwinters (4 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Sorry, I think my quotes got inadvertently smartened and broke my HTML:

Alison Willmore for Vulture
Monica Castillo for RogerEbert.com

(I was going do an extended riff where I yelled in all caps about needing tech support to fix this but honestly I am too traumatized from the FileMaker Pro gags in this movie, that wound is still RAW)

((This movie was funny and a little sad, Julio Torres is a singular talent, Tilda Swinton is a singular talent, James Scully was good in this as well as in Oh Mary, Meg Stalter was good in this as well as on Hacks, Spike Einbinder didn't have much to do but was good on Los Espookys, I will almost certainly watch Insta stories from their Pines share and listen to any of them guest on Las Culturistas))
posted by bcwinters at 1:52 PM on July 7


I just came to say that it's true, FileMaker Pro is the Cadillac of archival database software, and Sheets could work, but it's just so flat and non-manipulatable.

Other than that, I loved this movie and Julio and Tilda~.
posted by Stanczyk at 1:26 PM on July 9


Speaking as a straight guy with several empty Gatorade bottles in his bedroom, I highly recommend you watch Julio Torres clips on YouTube and then watch this movie.
posted by AlSweigart at 6:29 PM on July 9


I loved this film so much - and yeah, if you haven't watched Los Espookys yet (on HBO) which was co-written by Torres (and he is in the ensemble cast) it inhabits a similar space of blending the surreal with very down to earth observations of human behavior.

I have also had bosses similar to the character - some that I ended up with through answering random Craigslist ads in NYC in the late aughts - so that aspect of the film particularly delighted me. Especially the restaurant scene - gave me flashbacks to when a job interview was held in a restaurant and the boss I was trying to impress was abusive to the waitstaff– that scene really conveys how when you're young and broke in NYC you often find yourself compromising your ethics (and I didn't even have the stress of not being a citizen).
posted by coffeecat at 8:49 AM on July 10


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