SYTYCR Round 1.4: The Jolly Holly-day VS. The Movie Mugwump (THE MIST)

by Nick Jobe · July 10, 2012 · So You Think You Can Review · 8 Comments
(If you have no idea what this is, please click here and here.)

I was kind of surprised to see much fewer votes this time around, especially for a more well-known, classic film. But it was still a decent turnout. Your Accomplice in the Wood Chipper moves on to the next round. As for this next battle… there are some special circumstances. The Movie Mugwump, for health reasons, had to pull out of the competition. I was unable to get a replacement in the short amount of time I had. Because of this, The Jolly Holly-day will move on to the next round automatically.

However, I am going to take this time to still post the review Jolly sent me for The Mist. I also want to take this time to let y’all know that you should definitely comment and critique the reviews more in the comments! I’ve received some messages since the start of the tournament letting me know some expected more actual comments/critiques on the reviews. And if doing such a thing interests you, it doesn’t even have to be lengthy. Even a sentence or two would work. I’m sure all of you, like them, would appreciate knowing what you are doing right and/or wrong. So doing the same for the contestants might help to craft their skill and give out even stronger reviews in the future! Reality talent shows, like So You Think You Can Dance? have judges to critique contestant skill–so all of you could consider yourselves both judge and audience! Also, I’m definitely not saying it’s a requirement in the voting process. But if you have some thoughts and have the time to share, please feel free to do so!

Anywho, I’m going to go ahead and post the sole review here. There will obviously be no voting for this, but it’s just to share and possibly comment on. Also, the next battle will begin tomorrow, not in two days, since this isn’t a battle itself.

Below is the updated bracket. Click to make it bigger.

The Mist Review
By The Jolly Holly-day

Hello fellow Lammys! I’m Ms. Jolly Holly-day here to present you with sunshine and happiness in the form of a movie review! No matter what the movie is I strive to present a happy, fun-time for people of all film styles! Enjoy!

When I told my family I was watching Frank Darabont’s adaptation of The Mist, their responses ranged from “that sucked” all the way to “WHO ON GOD’S GREEN EARTH GAVE YOU THAT GARBAGE!?” Because I’m a loyal LAMB I refused to divulge names. Either way, I’d never seen The Mist and because of comments like these, I’d avoided it; chalking it up to one of the numerous Stephen King adaptations that never came together. Well thank goodness I finally got told to watch this because I’ve been missing out. Oddly enough the divergent viewpoints on this particular film can be seen in the movie itself. The Mist is an utterly bleak presentation of humanity at its lowest, and Frank Darabont presents a tight and horrific film that I’d not only proclaim as the best Stephen King adaptation, but probably one of the best movies of the last decade!
To give a bit of plot, The Mist tells the tale of David Drayton (Thomas Jane) and a group of survivors holed up in a grocery store after a mysterious mist descends upon a small town. Inside the mist is all manner of horrific creatures bent on maiming and feasting on the inhabitants. As David and a small number in the store try to escape, the rest of the store is bound up in the religious fervor espoused by Mrs. Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden) who threatens to sacrifice those who don’t believe.
While watching The Mist I kept thinking back to our current times and finding this film oddly prophetic. Characters like Mrs. Carmody aren’t too far removed from the talk- radio and other personalities of the day keen on blaming “sinners” for the way the world is. We never know much about the mist itself, aside from a hearsay statement given by one of the military men under duress, and that’s all that’s needed to whip up people into frenzy. The film shows what happens when good people face insurmountable odds and how “if you scare people badly enough they’ll turn to whoever offers a solution.” There are so many elements in this film that can be seen within our own society that at certain points in the movie I became genuinely frightened; not at the creatures but at the nature of the people.
For the most part the creature effects are pretty bland. All the creatures (ranging from mutated squid, spiders, and dragonflies) look fake and have the color of a California Raisin but that doesn’t stop Darabont from presenting an old fashioned monster movie. From the moment Dan Miller (Jeffrey DeMunn) runs through the street shouting “there’s something in the mist” you can expect a lot of blood and grue and boy does Darabont present that. It’s a party for gore hounds from spurting blood, stabbings to intestines and various other bodily parts ending up on the outside. While the creatures are a bit lacking, the makeup effects are great. When characters are stung or otherwise attacked, by the creatures you truly believe they’re suffering. Particular stand-outs include when sweet check-out girl Sally (Alexa Davalos) is stung and her entire face swells up, and when a Military Police officer is used as a human incubator for spiders and literally explodes with them! As a monster movie it succeeds but where I really think it works is in the presentation of humanity.
Post-apocalyptic films are nothing new (and considering at least three actors in this movie are on Darabont’s show The Walking Dead, you should know exactly where this plot will go) but Darabont and crew don’t shy away from presenting humanity for what it truly is: a group of scared people looking for someone with all the answers. As mentioned above you have David and Mrs. Carmody. Mrs. Carmody is just a barrel of laughs! Seriously, I laughed every single time she opened her mouth. She’s such a stupid, annoying character you’re waiting for her to get plugged in the end (or hit by a can of peas! Thanks old lady!). Marcia Gay Harden has definitely fallen down the rabbit hole into overacting land in recent years and here it’s encouraged! She screams, she quotes Scripture (and enjoys threatening people and using the word “bitch” at the same time). She’s the character you love to hate and rightfully so. The other actors are all various levels of good but the true stand-out is Thomas Jane as our hero. He’s a man trying to keep his family together and when he can’t do that, what’s the point of him as a person? You see the heartbreak, anger, and frustration all presented through his eyes.
I don’t want to spoil the end but regardless of whether you know it or not (and hated it or not) it’s beautiful. It’s filmed in such stark contrast, literally placing the characters in the middle of the carnage and asking them to find hope, some light lingering at the end of the tunnel. In the films final moments the question becomes “How long do you hope for salvation?” Darabont doesn’t condemn nor endorse a particular religious view; his ending simply asks that you have faith in yourself if anything. As the camera pans around the remaining characters the audience is left to see them as they all confront death. We don’t know what’s going through their minds nor are we supposed to. The thoughts of a person before their death is meant to be theirs alone. Again, I didn’t find the ending bleak, simply stating that one must find some way to hold on. That people aren’t as bad as we’ve seen in the first hour of the film and we must believe in the goodness of the rest of the world because without that, there’s truly no hope.
The Mist is a film that looks harshly at the state of humanity and the existential crises we face in a chaotic situation. The fact that Darabont and crew employ monsters conveys to the audience that no matter what situations we’re facing now in our politics…it can always be worse. We haven’t seen humanity at its worst because we haven’t been in a situation from which there appears to be no escape. I was thoroughly engrossed in all two hours of this film and felt visceral reactions to certain scenes. I can understand how this movie is so divisive but to consider it garbage (as my family claimed) is doing a disservice to one of the finest monster films I’ve seen, and one of the best psychological horror films I’ve witnessed. Go see The Mist; you’ll be glad you did!
Like it, love it, no matter which way. I hope you enjoy the review of Ms. Jolly Holly-day!