With the Awards season in full swing, FMR is announcing the best fake movies of 2018. Between now and the Oscar ceremony on February 24th, we’ll be unveiling the Top Ten Fake Movies of 2018 one by one. We’re preempting the Oscars so you know we’re not influenced by what the Academy ultimately decides. Any overlap between the eventual winners and the movies listed here is PURELY COINCIDENTAL. However, the FMR Top Ten list should not be interpreted as a prediction of which movies will win Oscars either. The movies in this Top Ten List just reflect the opinions of FMR and NOTHING ELSE. And so without further adieu, the ninth best fake movie of 2018 is…
9. IF THESE MEMES COULD TALK (dir. Richard Linklater)
If These Memes Could Talk is the latest slice-of-life dramedy from indie director Richard Linklater depicting how we live now. It follows seven struggling twentysomethings as they look down at their phones, check out the latest memes, smile slightly, and then repost those memes after adding in their own commentary. In some scenes of the movie, the characters edit the memes with new text or additional images in order to create an original spin on whatever happens to be going viral.
In the past, Linklater’s signature style as an auteur frequently eschewed traditional narrative in order to focus on precisely observed characters, relationships, and conversations. He takes his cinematic innovations even further in If These Memes Could Talk: there is little to no dialogue in the movie, as the characters mostly just look at their phones instead of talking to one another.
As in his earlier films like Slacker and Dazed and Confused, Linklater cast mostly unknown actors to achieve a more authentic portrait of generation than if he had hired more familiar movie stars. But I wouldn’t be surprised if some of actors featured in If These Memes Could Talk eventually become stars in their own right based on how charismatically they stare at and tap the glowing screens they hold in their hands throughout the entire movie.
Taking a cue from his recent hit Boyhood, Linklater also shows the passage of time effectively as the characters migrate from using Facebook to share memes in the beginning of the movie, switching to Snapchat for a brief period in the middle of the movie, before finally settling on Instagram by the end of the movie. (The nerdier characters also use Reddit and Twitter during certain key scenes.) The change in social media platforms accompanies a subtle change in the characters’ worldview as they become increasingly cynical about the future of the planet, the survival of humanity, and the possibility of anything in life being truly meaningful.
TL;DR – If These Memes Could Talk finds Richard Linklater once again pushing the art of cinema to invigorating new frontiers by showing a talented ensemble cast staring at their phones for about two hours.
What the rest of the critics are saying:
“The rare period piece that depicts our current period, If These Memes Could Talk feels beautifully and painfully present: beautifully because some of these memes are gorgeous, painfully because it’s just two hours of watching people scrolling on their phones.” – Duke Bickham, The Verge
“If These Memes Could Talk is at once a tribute to being online and a cry for help for all those addicted to their phones.” – Ashley Feinberg, Huffington Post
“In cutting against the grain of what we expect in big screen entertainment, Richard Linklater forces us to confront the smallness of our feelings that derive from relating via small screens.” – Anselm Lautaro, The New Inquiry
“These memes are back, baby, and I bet you ever!” – Eric D. Snider, EricDSnider.com
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