Drive Away Dolls | Third Space
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Drive Away Dolls

Short Take Review on Ethan Coen's solo venture
Thu 22 Feb 2024

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Short Take review: A short review of a film with potential discussion points

Short Take: The phrase comes from the film industry, originally, and it means a short bit of recording or “something that only takes a short time,” especially if a longer version may be done later.

⭐️ ⭐️ (out of 5)

Summary: Ethan Coen (Hail Caesar!) has recently ventured out independently in moviemaking, despite developing an illustrious career with his brother Joel. As Academy Award winners, this brotherly duo have developed a unique style and voice within the cinematic community. Yet, as a solo venture, the younger of the brothers gets back to his quirky comedic roots reminiscent of Raising Arizona, except this one goes down a different paths is indulges in the genre of queer cinema. Set in 1999, two friends decide to go on a road trip to Tallahassee, Florida, as a means of escape and discovery. Jamie (Margaret Qualley) is a free-spirit who has no problem sleeping with various women on any given night and sees it as her mission while on their trip to loosen up her friend, Marian (Geraldine Viswanathan). Yet, unbeknownst to the travelling buddies, their ‘drive-away’ vehicle has a special package hidden with the spare tyre that was meant to be in the hands of a trio of criminals. As the two women do all they can to discover what it means to be lesbians, the thugs are working find them, apprehend the package, and return it to their boss.

Review: Drive Away Dolls feels less like the creative capital of the Coen Brothers and more like one of the bottom-tier options delivered by the Farrelly Brothers. Does anyone remember Movie 43? Granted, there were some funnier elements, especially the brilliant performance of Bill Camp as Curlie. Yet, the comedy was overshadowed by the need to highlight the lifestyle of these two women. Reminiscent of the college road trips of the 70s and 80s that now deemed offensive on all levels within our culture. Coen does all that he can to dive back into this sexually explicit humour, except now the jokes of sex toys, drunken sexual escapades and homosexuality are deemed appropriate within his chosen genre. Same story, different sexual identity. Also, the marketing would convey that Pedro Pascal, Matt Damon and other stars are part of this storyline. Yet, this is merely a bait-and-switch tactic to get mainstream audiences into the cinema for a less-than-funny option for a niche market that is raunchier than most of the films it emulates from a bygone era. An exercise that has multiple cringe-worthy elements for every poorly timed laugh. At the end of the film, there is hope that this little escapade would show that Ethan and Joel are better together and that they need to get back to making innovative films once again.

Reel Dialogue: Where to find your moral centre

In amongst the humour and the action, Drive Away Dolls opens the door to discussing morality. This plot line has no moral centre because many things that provide laughs would generally be fodder for jokes written on bathroom walls. Sex, porn, homosexuality, genitalia, and faith are all open targets for humour and each smashes through the boundaries of good taste.

Cinematic experiences like this will force people to determine their stand on cultural issues in this world where everyone has an opinion about every moral topic. It has become critical to figure out how to answer the philosophical question of where to place our moral beliefs. One consideration should be to study the example and the words of Jesus. He is not merely a moral teacher, but a life changer. Considering his life and death will start a journey of determining how to define morality, mortality and life.

How do you start? Pick up one of the accounts of his life and see how God answers this multi-layered query with one man.

Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” 1 Corinthians 15:33

If you would like to discuss these topics and others, reach out to us at Third Space. We would love to chat with you about this and more.

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