Thursday, January 3, 2019

Movie Review: "The Land of Steady Habits" (2018)

Director: Nicole Holofcener
Year: 2018
Rating: TV-MA
Running Time: 1 hour, 38 minutes

A miserable man who is seemingly going through a midlife crisis quits his job and gets divorced so he can be happy, but finds out that he's still miserable.

The Land of Steady Habits 2018 movie
"You're supposed to be happy now, Anders, that's why we got divorced." (Image Source)
"The Land of Steady Habits" should probably be re-titled to "The Ongoing Self-Made Problems of Rich White People." This film is written and directed by Nicole Holofcener, who is known for her others features "Enough Said" and "Friends With Money." It is based on the book of the same name by Ted Thompson. The story focuses on Anders Harris (Ben Mendelsohn), a recently divorced man who quit his high paying job in the finance industry because he was unhappy and felt stifled in life. Now single and retired, Anders spends his day shopping for decorations for his new condo and sleeping with random women but is ultimately still miserable. His son Preston (Thomas Mann) is a struggling former addict who despite having a degree from Northwestern University and no debt can't actually keep a steady job because he is a perpetual fuck-up. Anders also struggles to come to terms with the fact his ex-wife Helene (Edie Falco) has moved on with her life and is living with her new lover since that's typically what people do when their husbands drop everything and leave them for seemingly no reason. LIFE, RIGHT???
The Land of Steady Habits 2018 movie
"Are you in my bed making fun of my book? You're mean!" (Image Source)
"The Land of Steady Habits" features a cast with some terrific actors like Edie Falco, Elizabeth Marvel, Bill Camp, and of course, Ben Mendelsohn. Hell, we've even liked Charlie Tahan, Thomas Mann, and Connie Britton elsewhere. Even these top-notch players cannot save this sniveling, pretentious, grumble-puss of a movie. This is a slow-moving depression piece filled with unlikable characters who are asking us to feel sorry for them when they haven't earned an ounce of empathy, sympathy or forgiveness. It's the type of film most critics will gobble up because it is an independent character sketch about "real life problems" and "carefully crafted drama," except most of the time, the phrase "real life problems" is code for "excessive first world rich white people problems." Some have gone as far as calling this odious melodrama "humorous." It's even listed on IMDb as a comedy/drama, but there is not one funny thing about it. It's not even charming. None of the characters are likable because they are all miserable assholes who take their privileged station in life for granted, and then constantly blame other people for their own miserable failures. It's movies like this that make people say "Hollywood is out of touch with the plight of real people," and when you've got characters who saunter about their bleak, desolate lives bleating about their pathetic, meager existences like self-loathing sad-sacks despite having every conceivable opportunity at their fingertips, can you blame them?? Beyond the disconnected and unrelatable nature of the story, it is told in the most mundane way possible. It is a complete slog to get through, and we found ourselves sitting in front of the television like depressed slumped lumps just wanting and waiting for it to be over. None of the actors are to blame for this. In fact, as we mentioned above, we really like most of the performers involved in this film, and we think they do a great job with what they are given. At least we know all of them are capable of being dejected wretches! 
The Land of Steady Habits 2018 movie
"This place is not neutral, it's depressing." (Image Source)
We've said this time and time again: movies don't have to be full of happiness, sunshine, and farting rainbow glitter cats, but it is extremely challenging to get us to care about a man who his unhappy and thinks it's because of the situation life has dealt him when really it's his own goddamn fault because he's an insufferable, petty piece of shit who seems to treat others like garbage and drags those around him down with him. "The Land of Steady Habits" thrives in the negative, so unless you want to be depressed all week, don't waste precious moments of your existence on this spiteful film.

My Rating: 2.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 3/10
IMDB's Rating: ~6.2/10
RT Rating: ~85%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!

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