Listen Up Philip: A pretentious film about pretentious people.
I have watched a lot of films in my lifetime and there have been several that I would label as pretentious. Films like The Wait, Tree of Life, and Cosmopolis all come to mind, but Listen Up Philip is without a doubt the most pretentious film that I have ever seen. I can’t even try to sugarcoat that fact that I HATED this movie. I HATED these characters. I HATED the direction. I HATED the story. I HATED everything about this film! After about 5 minutes in, I honestly began to look around the theater with great hope that something was going to happen in this film other than Philip blabbing on about himself for the next 108 minutes, but it never does.
Listen Up Philip is so incredibly dull and uninteresting. The film fluctuates back and forth between narration and Philip talking to various other characters that serve no real purpose in this film, other than someone that Philip can talk to about himself. The saddest thing of all is that the actors in this film that include Jason Schwartzman, Elisabeth Moss, Krysten Ritter, Jonathan Pryce, and Jess Weixler are normally terrific actors. They have been in various films and television shows that have proved them to be worthy of being called an actor or actress. Why they are apart of something like this that has no story to tell or purpose is truly beyond me. This film is like watching and listening to someone tell you how great they are for an hour and 48 minutes. It is emotionally draining, dull, and absolutely lifeless. All this film does is make you hate yourself for sitting there watching something that is wasting your time while nothingness unfolds.
When Alex Ross Perry introduced the film, he made mention that the film was depressing and would not leave much hope for humanity. Something about Perry’s statement made me excited because I expected to see a film that was going to be this devastating life story which would leave me feeling depressed because of how brutally honest and powerful it was. Instead, I wanted to stab pencils into my ears so I wouldn’t have to listen to anymore of the pretentious chatter that was occurring on-screen. I don’t know anything about Alex Ross Perry as a writer and director other than this film, but after seeing this film, unless he plans on doing like an action film or a comedy, I doubt I will ever watch another one of his films.
The honest truth is that Listen Up Philip can be summed up in a 10 minute short film rather than a 108 minute film. These next few sentences are a complete overview of everything important that happened in the film. Philip is a author that thinks he is better than everyone he meets. He only talks to and becomes involved with others as a way to talk about himself. One day, he meets famous author named Ike Zimmerman, who also thinks that he is better than everyone else as well. The two authors become the best of friends. They ultimately are left to live a life of solitude besides everyone around them has abandoned them since they were never able to focus on anything else other than themselves. There you go, I spoiled the movie. You are very welcome. I just did you a huge favor by saving you 108 minutes of your life that you can use to do something more productive like watch cat videos on YouTube or begin to ponder why humans have 10 fingers and toes.
In conclusion, all I have left to say is fuck this film and the pretentious drivel that it is spewing to its audience. I hated this film with a passion and never felt like 108 minutes of my life were this wasted in my life. I have seen films like Movie 43 and the Underground Comedy Movie which are awful movies but at least something was happening on-screen. This film is seriously just random shots of people talking in different settings. It is complete and utter garbage that will only make you despise art house cinema, which is a huge shame because there are so many great art house films that go unnoticed, yet films like this get to premiere at a prestigious festival like Sundance. Oh well, enough ranting, just remember to avoid Listen Up Philip like the plague or herpes.
MovieManMenzel final rating for Listen Up Philip is a 1 out of 10.