Sunday Morning Coming Down

Regular readers may remember that last year, prompted by a visit to my local multiplex to see T2: Trainspotting I vowed to go to the cinema more often, and signed up for one of those membership cards, where you pay a set amount every month (£17.70, in my case), and you get unlimited visits along with discounts on the massively over-priced munchies they sell in the foyer.

In December, I got an email from the cinema in question. The subject of the email was well intended: to show me how much money I’d saved by subscribing to the Unlimited scheme. Unfortunately, the email revealed that I had “saved” -£135.00. Yes, minus.

Probably because I only went five times all year. I think I may have just stumbled across the reason why I’m not a millionaire yet.

So, New Year’s Resolution time: to go to the cinema more frequently, and with Oscars season upon us, there’s arguably no better time to go.

At the time of writing, I’ve been twice, once to see that latest Star Wars movie (which I figured would be best seen on the big screen), and also to see Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

On arrival, I went to get myself some popcorn, but the tills were down, so there followed an awkward conversation with the girl serving behind the counter.

Her: What film are you going to see?

Me: The one with the odd name. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Her: (after staring at me for what seemed an eternity, like I’d just spoken in an impenetrable foreign language). Oh.

Me: Yeh. The reviews have been really good, and I really like the three main actors in it.

Her: Oh a lot of people have been coming out and saying how good that is.

Luckily, the tills pinged back into life before I had chance to challenge this. I don’t know about you, but when I’ve come out of the cinema having just seen a truly great film, I’ve never felt the urge to rush over to the popcorn stand and tell a disinterested teenager how wonderful the movie was.

Anyway, the three main actors in Three Billboards… are Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson.

You’ll know McDormand from a lot of Coen Brothers movies, but primarily, I’d think, Fargo, but she’s been nominated for Best Supporting Actress three times before, for Mississippi Burning, Almost Famous, and North Country. She is reliably brilliant in every role I’ve seen her play. Rockwell you will recognise from Frost/Nixon, Duncan “Son of Bowie” Jones’ Moon, and he was Zaphod Beeblebrox in the movie version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Harrelson surely needs no introduction by now, but many of you will have first encountered him in 80s sitcom Cheers, and if not there then in Natural Born Killers, or maybe the Hunger Games franchise, or Zombieland (which if you haven’t seen, is just terrific), or more recently in War for the Planet of the Apes.

All three have received Oscar nominations, as has the movie, and I can tell you that all are fully justified (although I haven’t seen the other nominated movies…yet).

Here’s the basic premise: frustrated with the local police’s failure to bring her daughter’s murder to justice, Mildred Hayes (McDormand) takes matters into her own hands, by renting the titular Three Billboards and using them to bring the murder investigation back into the limelight. No spoilers, obviously, but needless to say doing so sets in motion a train of events which are at times shocking and at others blackly comic.

I can’t recommend this film enough, if I’m honest, it’s just great.

But why am I blethering on about movies on a Sunday morning when all you want to hear is some Country music? Well, because part way through the film, a song came on the soundtrack which I wasn’t familiar with, but the voice was unmistakable.

And here it is, the wonderful Townes Van Zandt from his 1987 At My Window album:

MI0001907378Townes Van Zandt – Buckskin Stallion Blues

More soon.

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13 thoughts on “Sunday Morning Coming Down”

  1. A great film as you say Jez.
    All three principal actors were outstanding Frances McDormand.
    When the Townes song came on Mrs CC gently nudged me and whispered “who’s that”
    “That’s Townes Van Zandt” I replied “I’ve got it”
    Turns out I haven’t as it isn’t on any of the seven Townes artists on the shelves.
    I didn’t know who was singing the second version and had to wait to the credits to find out. Turns out it was Amy Annelle who I had never heard of but who has plenty of albums out there. Further exploration required

  2. I’m off to see it tomorrow night – My 4th cinema visit this month so I would have got value for money if I’d had your monthly membership. You have fallen foul of the “curse of the gym membership” where after a great start the visits diminish to such an extent that each session costs around £90!

    Always trust your judgement on movie picks so now looking forward to it even more, if enjoy is indeed the right word to use. Frances McD always excellent and like you remember her best from Coen Bros movies like Fargo. Now that I know about this song’s inclusion I will be looking out for it!

      1. Great writing which is always the most important element for me – We are spending all our free time blogging when we should be coming up with great ideas for movies! How about a script about a group of diverse people who all meet up via their music blogs – very Kay Mellor-esque!

      2. Just back from the movie – Quite a story and full of black comedy/quirky characters as you suggested. Turns out we went to the subtitled showing, but in some ways better as you didn’t miss any of the dialogue and when the music came along we got the artist’s name and the lyrics up on screen so certainly couldn’t have missed your song choice. Frances McD I see is up for an Oscar for that one and well deserved.

        Really enjoyed it but won’t say any more in case of spoiling it for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet.

  3. Looking forward to this one. Unfortunately it’ll be a while before I catch it, as I’ll have to wait for the DVD release – we’re a long way from the nearest cinema.

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