Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More
That 2019 Movie Called Serenity About a Fish Named Justice – a Spoiler Rich vlog

That 2019 Movie Called Serenity About a Fish Named Justice – a Spoiler Rich vlog


So I just got back from the Matthew
McConaughey movie Serenity. Serenity 2019 I need to see normal movies again
because my sense of things has been completely, completely and utterly broken
and and decalibrated. I want to say people should see this movie. If you see
it without spoilers cool. If you see it with spoilers cool. This is one of those
movies where like I didn’t see a trailer for it. I don’t know how they marketed
this, like what they tried to market it as and I really do want to go check that
out just because I am deeply curious about how they, what they try to sell
this movie as. But based on the poster, the poster is accurate for one of the
three movies that make up this movie. Kinda. Yeah. Alright so this is kind of, a
lot of people were telling me to go see this because it’s like they were using
Book of Henry as a benchmark and I don’t fault them for that. Book of Henry is
actually a pretty decent benchmark for you know like okay what is this thing
like. It’s probably the most recent fair comparison, though I would I would argue
Life Itself, but Life Itself actually wound up having less of an impact than
people were expecting. But we’re getting a lot of these these days. How are all
of these getting green lit? Like Book of Henry, Life Itself,
Serenity; so yeah I can see why people are using Book of Henry as as their
benchmark, as their reference point for this but the movie that this actually
reminded me of the most was The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio. And I don’t
really blame people I don’t I don’t fault people for not having you know
that reference right or right at the tip of their brain because you know that
that movie’s kind of… I don’t want to say that its forgotten but it’s
definitely, it has not endured and not a lot of people really strongly remember
it and new people aren’t seeing it but it shares a lot of similarities and if
you want to remain on support I mean this is the thing this is the thing is
the moment that we’re comparing it’s like well it’s kind of like it reminds
me of the beach it’s like book of Henry I felt the same as I did during life
itself like these are already tells you know it’s just just by like referencing
these it’s kind of given a bit of the game away so yeah we’re just gonna we’re
just gonna go whole hog from now and and just just get into it so this is three
different movies kinda smashed into the same movie Radio Flyer
another solid comparison Wow Wow I need to do something other than just compare
this to other movies that make you go what was that I’m a little bit reluctant
to recommend it unlike book of Henry book of Henry was one of those ones like
I got out of it and immediately it’s like no everybody go see book of Henry
everybody see book of Henry right now because book of Henry is like beginning
to end just just a a wild wild trip and this is not that this does
not have the same density of absurdity as book of Henry which is why I would
say it’s a little bit more like life itself life itself was one that had like
a ton of absurdity at the beginning a little bit at the end but for the most
part like and a lot of the ending absurdity is you sitting there going
like looking at your watch being like there’s three minutes left water that
where is this going where where as book of Henry is just
like this barrage few things will ever quite rise to rise to that again so this
is not that and the – okay so the first movie which kind of pairs well with the
second movie so the first movie that makes this up is is a big fish movie
it’s it’s a it’s a fishing gotta catch the giant fish movie man versus nature
Moby Dick you know yeah the fish is gonna be the fish is gonna be a metaphor
cool the second movie is a noir Double
Indemnity kill my husband for me kind of movie and you know a a Bigfoot a big
fish movie and a kill my husband movie sure you can you can pair those together
I guess that’s fine and then the third movie is elephant or we need to talk
about kevin or Jerry or the beach no the be okay so the beach comparison
is because video games play a prominent side textual elements and just like the
beach they don’t work well really oh there’s also dark city the matrix The
Truman Show there’s there so there’s a lot going on here but there’s also not a
lot going on this is part of the problem this is actually this is actually a lot
of the problem alright the the unfortunate thing is
that a lot of this movie is just kind of dull it’s it’s not incompetently made
it’s not you know what the fork is going on
middling or middling got a catch a big fish movie and and because it doesn’t I
can’t I can’t talk about the problems without just first talking about the
ending okay so the movie has two component parts to
it the real world and the video game the movie largest says the movie largely
takes place in a video game of nebulous origin or I shouldn’t say nebulous
origin a kid has made a video game as a path of escapism to deal with his
abusive stepfather okay most of the movie takes place in that video game
this doesn’t really hold up very well I I don’t I I don’t think the writer who
is also the director I don’t think he understands video games very well there
there’s like sidelong references to sort of like programmatic elements and rules
and you know the kind of like really surface level trappings of like okay
somebody who understands that like programs or programs and games are
programs and and understands a little bit of the surface level trappings of a
videogame but does not actually like play video games or understand how video
games work or anything like that because once you start going through this and
like combing apart for like the actual sort of use of the video game layer
metaphor it really falls apart because it’s super unclear like what’s actually
going on so I’m I’m just going to have to approach this on the movies own terms
and I need water so the kid has created a video game version of a place called
Plymouth island that he and his father visited when he was a kid and the video
game version is basically an open world fishing game with a bunch of side
minigames that you can do as well but there doesn’t seem to actually be a
player Matthew McConaughey plays dill and dill is in the computer game and is
a programmed version of the kids dad who died in Iraq right okay okay wait wait a
thing I haven’t even mentioned yet all right so as part of the misdirection in
the noir part of the film is that Anne Hathaway’s character is talked
– Matthew McConaughey’s character about their son who is still back in Miami
living with abusive stepdad and as a result of the abuse has like withdrawn
into himself and spends all his time playing computer games and so this
element of the misdirection is set up as that the the flashes to the kid playing
his video games are assumed to be in the same space and timeline as Matthew
McConaughey but twists its back up to the beginning now dill is trying to
catch a big tuna named justice and he’s slowly losing his mind and it’s an
obsession Moby Dick blah all that then then a femme fatale from his past life
walks into the bar and it switches into a noir they used to be an item very very
new our standard they used to be an item she wants him to make her husband
disappear because he’s an abusive he’s an abusive piece of crap and she’ll
pay him 10 million dollars to take him out on his fishing boat and just make
him disappear you know you go out go out into the middle of the ocean get him
good and drunk and then you catch a fish and then oh no he slips overboard and
sharks eat him after that set up it then just kinda spins its wheels for a while
until we get to the big reveal now there’s things peppered leading up to
the reveal so like dill can talk to his son just sort of like there’s a bunch of
magical realism sort of injected a bunch of you know there’s like a mystical
layer that just kind of keeps coming back and there’s a few shots that are
are very artificial and are deliberately deliberately aping like the camera
angles and styles of video games the ability for the camera to you know like
pivot around around the player character and and stuff like that you know they’re
they do foreshadow okay most of the movie ends up being foreshadowing
because the story really is super simple once you get past the like weird
trappings not much happens once the conflict is set up nothing
really super changes even after the big reveal and that’s actually part of the
problem and what makes it really confusing is that the information you’re
not it doesn’t actually change anything and you’re you’re not you’re not sure
what’s supposed to be accomplished by Dyl realizing he’s part of a video game
and it he doesn’t he doesn’t rebelled against it or I guess he sort of does
briefly for a little bit but not really it’s mostly just it’s a pat out at the
time this is not a very long movie it’s definitely patting itself out in a bunch
of places just to kind of like get to time there’s a bunch of really
repetitive scenes with Anne Hathaway where she just shows up and is like you
got to do it he’s like I’m not gonna do it got to do it I’m not gonna do it you
got to do it I’m not gonna do it you gotta do it okay I guess I’ll do it and
and then the moment he decides he’s gonna do it then it’s just a bunch of
other characters and this ends up being the like bulk of the con
flicked in like a big chunk of the movie is just the other characters who are
also themselves part of the videogame because they’re all part of the video
game just being like you can’t do it you got to catch the fish instead you don’t
kill that man so like they he goes out one day and they catch a shark and he
doesn’t kill them and you know this isn’t entirely incompetent lead unlike
there are moments you know it’s like hey attention and release and decent acting
it’s just it’s kind of pointless and not moving very fast and the the the twists
along the way while it’s in the war mode like they’re not very powerful they
don’t really change anything they mostly just stall for time and then the actual
core conflict of the kid versus his stepfather is foreshadow 2-ton but it’s
just for shadowed in the same way over and over and over again with these
references to the knife and it’s like so with with these shots of a knife which
is the same so you’re seeing the kid play with the knife toy with the knife
and you’re seeing dill also have a same copy of the knife and and then at the
climax they go out into the boat so margot robbie abusive husband dill and a
character that almost comes out of nowhere as a last minute foil but this
character kind of comes out of nowhere as a last-minute foil but he was
foreshadowed earlier so it it kind of it’s like oh you know that it that yeah
god okay so they get onto the they’re out on the boat they know
they’re a video game or at least dill knows he’s a video game or as part of a
video game or as maybe the player avatar in a video game I don’t know but he is
the only one of them that knows the Creator
oh yeah there’s an entire so the scene with neo and the architect in the Matrix
Reloaded there’s basically a scene like that sort of on the beach with this
mousy looking dude in a suit who represents the rules and that’s the
characters role like he constantly refers to us I’m the rules oh right no
the conversation they have this whole conversation about it’s like nobody
knows the maker I know who the maker is Matthew McConaughey mumbles 7/10 of his
lines I need more water they hook justice they hook the tuna named justice
then they they they give it to the asshole and hook them in and then like
go and he goes flying overboard and then the kid in the real world so the shot is
monitor POV like it’s even doing that thing you know where they they overlay
text so let’s you know so if I’m if I’m dead center and I am typing at my
keyboard and then there’s just there’s just text going up the screen so like
you’re seeing you’re seeing what’s on screen accepted backwards it’s doing
that shot so it’s doing that shot he stops gets up takes the knife walks out
the door and then comes back in with a blood-covered knife and then it cuts back to the boat
and everybody’s on the boat all happy cuz the assholes dead and then the
camera pulls back into game footage and then back from the monitor and you hear
newsreel over top telling you like the real-world consequences of what just
happened okay so it’s like oh the kid got super
lost in his imagination in this game and there’s lots of like panning over you
know his his notebooks and stuff like that and you know it’s montage and
there’s a really really bad D aged photo of Matthew McConaughey dressed as a
troop and then here’s where for me it actually just went come so the very very
very very very very very very end so the kid is in this very institutional
looking room and he’s just staring dead into the camera
he’s just spiking the lens and you know not blinking and the the news people are
still saying that it’s like the kid hasn’t talked to anyone since the event
and then it goes back into it goes back to Plymouth Island and Matthew
McConaughey stand next to it like he’s walking into a payphone the pay phone
rings he picks it up the to have a conversation say hey dad is that you
yeah it’s me okay hey dad I’m changing the game so that we
can be together special effects sequence were a whole
bunch of things kind of just like a bunch of polygons fly around and things
kind of start deconstructing and then they just reconstruct and then kid
runs down the pier to the boat named serenity and leg jumps into his dad’s
our jumps into Matthew McConaughey’s I was into deals arms and say yeah
and movies over okay so Matthew McConaughey in the real world is dead so
there’s two readings of this final shot one is that the trauma of abuse and then
murdering his stepfather has basically destroyed this kid forever and now he’s
just he’s just sunk eternally into his mind and he now just lives in the
fantasy world that he is invented inside himself or two he’s now dead as well and
has killed himself those are those are the two readings
that are implied by the ending of the movie part of the problem is that
nothing about the videogame layer actually matters at all it is the movie
Baker Dill’s journey is the movie but at the very end you’re just told that Baker
dil isn’t real and so and here’s this other thing that you’re supposed to care
about more and it just it doesn’t it ends up landing in a very strange
intermediate place and also there’s like illusions and implications that this is
actually like the afterlife that oh man I I really need to see it again to start
like decoding that take take it as you will I will say though I will go back to a
caveat like this I will say that this movie is probably actually more
interesting to talk about than actually watch it’s a it’s really interesting to
talk about but it is kind of dull on the most part like it’s not it’s not that bonkers
most of the time and a lot of the time it’s just kind of a like okay but
forgettable you know genre drama with the occasional
weird stylistic flourish so so just in a lot of ways it kind of seems like there
was this you know noir script that just didn’t it wasn’t long enough and someone
decided to beef it up by adding this twist and it got made this is one of the
strangest movies that I’ve seen in I legit I legitimately for a large part of
this alright I guess this is the unfortunate thing there’s a plus and
minus here I did not know where this movie was going which is usually a sign
of these like bonkers films it turned it turns out that in the end I couldn’t
really tell where it was going because it wasn’t really going anywhere it
really is a very very simple story once it’s disconnected from its ridiculous
conceits it is worth sitting through absolutely everything else in this movie
purely to be witness to the end of this movie even if you know it’s coming it it
does not it does not do justice to the experience of sitting
through it and and knowing the twist is coming is just there’s a texture to the
delivery of all of this that that cannot be adequately communicated by a mere
review or vlog or or the the recitation of a stranger you you need to sit
through it – really appreciate just how weird and delirious the ending is this is another
movie where it’s like okay so this one is actually you know metaphor dense
except it just like states all of its metaphors very literally like characters
literally just explain what the metaphors stand for even the really
blunt ones like of the tuna named justice like a character just like it’s
basically just explained like says like yes the the tuna that the tunas name is
justice and you are getting justice as you are being killed by the tuna named
justice this is justice it’s a tuna named justice do you get it the tuna is
named justice and the tuna is killing you and it’s name is justice you are
being killed by justice justice is killing you now you are dead at the
hands of justice or well the fins of justice the mighty fins of Justice it’s
that kind of movie so it’s it’s worth it for just seeing how like all of these
like all of these parts try to fit together and and just just don’t but
almost do but don’t but they almost do but they don’t but but almost but no but
maybe but almost but they don’t but they kinda do anyway that was a ride
serenity twenty nineteen twenty nineteen is already off to just wild year wild
year for anything can happen who knows what’s coming next
I’ve got I’ve got no idea movies can actually surprise me again

100 comments on “That 2019 Movie Called Serenity About a Fish Named Justice – a Spoiler Rich vlog

  1. You don't like Life Itself? 🙁 Could you explain further the reason why it wasn't your thing? I get that the constant shift in perspective could bother some, but there are some aspects of the movie that really work.

  2. Every time I hear or read somebody talking about this movie, it sounds like they're struggling to explain a weird dream that they had.

  3. On the marketing- it was originally set for an October release and marketed as sort of a darker awards candidate, but they completely swallowed the marketing once it was shifted to January. I'm guessing this was after test audiences got a look at it

  4. I went to watch the trailer for this before watching this video, and HOLY CRAP! It's marketed as like, a late 80's/early 90's thriller. AND THIS IS WHAT THE MOVIE ACTUALLY IS?!

  5. I feel like "pulp noir fishing simulator" is a video game idea with legs though, particularly if you get Jon St. John or somebody to provide grizzled narration. "I force the hook through the worm, its tough flesh yielding to the cold steel. The worm is dead, but it doesn't know it. It twists and it wriggles. It honestly thinks it can still get off the hook and everything will be okay. It doesn't even know about the fish yet. That's all of us – we know we're on the hook, but we spend so much time trying to twist off that we never see the fish – OUR fish – until it's too late."

  6. Mathew probably mumbles his words because he can't believe he's doing this movie because he'd only just read today script. "well this is what I sign'ed up for, now I have to finish it"

  7. PLEASE get to the point.
    I get it, this is more off the cuff compared to the scripted content and more rambly by nature, but man was it tedious to watch

  8. I think they're getting green lit because of Hollywood (and big name stars) trying to respond to criticism of "death of cinema" and "no new ideas" and "soulless blockbuster factories", so they want to allow stuff that's fresh and original and experimental…except without mining or promoting new cultural viewpoints, so they keep coming up with "deep thoughts from sheltered white guys".

  9. Are you ok? You talk to slowly in this vlog that I had to check and make sure the video wasn't accidentally set to .75x speed.

  10. This is so upsetting because honestly that plot sounds like a really good black mirror episode that could have been a great film….like this could have been genius

  11. "things kind of start deconstructing"
    So are you saying this is a deconstruction of the genre?
    Edit: new band name idea: "The Mighty Fins of Justice"

  12. I think its more similar to "identity"..and I dont think there is really a video game..its all in his head ..we see what goes inside his mind

  13. Hadn't seen it but was curious what you what you had to say as I love the channel… Got to about 12 minutes and couldn't believe this was an actual movie, so I have to see it now! Far too many questions… Will return when I've seen it!

  14. I don't know if it's the rum or the cold or the movie but I cannot follow what the heck you are talking about. 10/10 would be confused again.

  15. I hear you and I trust your judgment but still after hearing the review a tiny part of my brain still wants to watch this mess just out of morbid curiosity I guess?

  16. I saw this movie completely by accident. I don’t recall even seeing a trailer before entering the theater. I wanted to see Green Book but was 30 minutes late. I thought I’d hop into The Favorite but I couldn’t find the theater. I thought this movie was Aquaman based on the first couple images…and it was so much worse

  17. Its an original origin story for the comic character Arcade. The son is Arcade. I dunno. .. how to make that movie make sense or better. ??

  18. I actually think the obvious metaphors work, because it makes sense for them to be obvious. It's a video game made by a 15 year old. That sounds like something a teenager would write. Obvious and tinged with edgelord. Like a Linkin Park song.

  19. We walked out of that movie just feeling like "what"? There were 5 people in the theater, three in addition to my wife and I. The other people said "the only truth is they stole our money" as they walked out. Once the end comes and things fall into place, you got to wonder why the hell we saw so much sex and naked butt, a little weird considering what is happening. Also, they ruined it when they said "the Pompano Beach area of Miami" – that just makes no sense. Pompano Beach and Miami are two independent cities, so one can't be a part of another. And they're not even in the same county. Just, what the hell.

  20. This sounds like a weird hybrid of Star Ocean 3 and Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. But like…one that takes the worst aspects of both of them.

  21. I would like to give you money, but Drip only takes credit card and I'm a weird European with only debit cards and PayPal. Do you have any other way I could financially support your channel?

  22. Have you seen the movie Velvet Buzzsaw on Netflix?? I would be really interested to know what you thought of it, I left intrigued and mostly confused

  23. Could you do one of these about Cold Pursuit? It feels like it deserves one of these videos, because it's one of those special blends of "what the hell am I watching? I enjoy it, but I also hate it? Why is this pacing so weird? Why did this random thing happen? Etc…"

  24. I went into this movie already knowing there was a twist, but even if I didn't, I still would have figured it out almost immediately. The "foreshadowing" is more like beating you over the head with a fish named "METAPHOR".

  25. I don't think I've ever been more baffled by a movie trailer in my life. By the end of it, I wasn't even sure it was a real movie. It was like a surreal horror-movie-recut of a fishing-themed comedy movie.

  26. You could probably name a whole trope after "a fish named justice". In fact, if I get the chance, that's exactly what I'm going to do

  27. Every time I hear 'Book of Henry,' I think it's 'Book of Revelation' because until I googled it just now, I legit couldn't remember the name of that movie but kept thinking it was 'Book of Henry.'

    The two are not remotely similar.

  28. Sounds like they were trying for a Pan's Labyrinth type fusion of fantasy and reality. But poorly, and with far less understanding of video games than Del Toro has of fairy tales.

  29. I think it would have been better if the abusive step father was his actual father, suffering from untreated mental illness after the war. Then the argument that violence is sometimes necessary would at least have a little more nuance than killing a guy who is super evil.

  30. Thank you, Very Loud & Incredibly Close for enabling an environment that allows unpleasant child films like these to happen.

  31. "Life itself" certainly is quite a movie by itself. I liked the trailer so I went to see it at a film festival. I usually try not to avoid bad movies, but man, that I rarely hated a movie that much. the beginning is so wtf, but then it becomes such a boring cheesefest that doesn't address any of the interesting aspects it kinda touches!

  32. I love Big Fish, it's one of my favorite movies. This doesn't sound like they managed a good fishing metaphor… Which is actually pretty hard to screw up, come to think of it.

  33. The trailer does a great job of making this look like a really boilerplate thriller where Anne Hathaway wants a dude to kill another dude and there's an island that's got some secrets or something. Nothing about the kid or videogames or any of the weirdness Dan described.

  34. "A big fish movie" So the protagonist's dad is dying and his life is revealed through a larger than life retelling of it?

    edit: Oh awesome, more media that presents the idea that video games are dangerous because kids can't tell the difference between a game and reality. Fucking yay 😐

  35. I saw a version of this with a "Q&A" at the end and the director definitely doesn’t understand video games past that thing my sons so immersed in and you can tell McConaughey knows it’s bad so keeps talking about fishing and how it helped the economy of the small island it was on justifying it’s existence

  36. I feel like an early draft of this had the kid recreate his dad in a detailed simulation, but a later rewrite changed it to a "videogame" because somebody was worrried about audience comprehension.

  37. Wouldn't it have made more sense that when Dill hooked the tuna named "Justice" the kid called CPS instead of killing his step dad? Since Dill was always so reluctant to kill him during the movie? It could've been kinda touching, but what the fuck do I know. The writer/director must've been high.

  38. The Beach comparison made this really click for me. Both films are the same level of pseudo-pretentious nonsense.

  39. Is no one going to talk about how he has a Senran Kagura box just casually sitting in the background?

  40. okay but where is Jenny's video on this??? Did Jenny plan to do one then decide not too or is Dan just a tease??

  41. A third interpretation, especially with all the bad computer nonsense you've described, is that the kid built a simulation of himself/uploaded his mind into the game. Yes, that has lots of holes, but this movie sounds like it has more holes than material.

  42. I try to look up the basic plot for these when I watch these videos and the google summary for this one omits the fish entirely. It also omits any reference to video games but if that's the twist I get why. It makes it sound pretty boring besides the murder plot. Google just doesnt know how to market smh.

  43. I can confirm that Serenity is spoiler proof, because the story is so insane you won't believe it's real, then you watch it and realize "holy shit, they weren't lying."

  44. I got all excited because I read the title really quickly and thought oh good, he’s going to talk about Serenity!! Wrong Serenity. ☹️

  45. What do you call movies like this? Book of Henry, Serenity, Life Itself? I feel like Pay It Forward and House of D also fit in this vague category of movies? I find it really difficult to identify what they share with one another, aside from their general plot absurdity.

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