“Mud” – Nathan’s Movie Challenge, Week 30
“There are fierce powers at work in the world, boys. Good, evil, poor luck, best luck. As men, we’ve got to take advantage where we can.”
On one hand, Mud scratches the itch of my fondness for coming-of-age stories. The two young boy leads remind me a whole lot of the boys from Stand By Me – one of my all-time favorite coming-of-age films. The performances from Ty Sheridan and Jacob Lofland are realistic and deliver just the right amount of attitude that young teenage kids have.
On the other hand, Mud is kind of hampered by relatively lackluster leads in Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, and Michael Shannon – all of which have delivered much better work in other films.
This could be a product of the typical method of making adult characters less capable or entirely reliant on the children characters in order to make the narrative work, but I found myself not really caring about any of the adults in the movie, or what happened to them.
It doesn’t help that the relationships are strained for nearly every combination of characters, making it overall a tough tale to slough through. Maybe that’s the point, but it doesn’t aid my enjoyment of the movie.
It’s at its best when it’s dealing with emotional confrontations, and at its weakest as it tries to endear onto you its contrived plan and tragic romance layers. I imagine it will end up somewhere in the middle of the chart.
Mud was at the time of this review at #555 on my Flickchart list of shame (ranked #1008 among the best films of all time). Here’s how it entered my chart:
Mud vs. Sunshine
I like the visuals of Sunshine, but it has a terrible ending. Danny Boyle can sometimes really miss the mark.
Mud vs. The Great Dictator
What caught me off guard most about The Great Dictator was how emotionally rich it was for being a slapstick comedy. A truly excellent genre-bending comedy from an all-time great comedian.
Mud vs. 1408
1408 is the last great Stephen King cinematic adaptation to hit theaters. Mud won’t stick with me.
Mud vs. Spawn
Spawn got a bad rap and came out at least a decade before its time. If any superhero movie deserves a remake more than any other, this would be it.
Mud vs. Shame
Shame is really, really dour, but it’s also really, really enrapturing. You can’t help but get caught up in Fassbender and the environments he inhabits.
Mud vs. Top Gun
Yes, Top Gun is a ridiculous movie. It doesn’t change the fact that Tom Cruise flying fighter jets into the danger zone is still kind of awesome.
Mud vs. The Adventures of Tintin
Mud will win for sure. Tintin was a huge disappointment.
Mud vs. Rush Hour
Mud is more interesting overall than the east meets west buddy cop formula.
Mud vs. Firestarter
Mud, only because it’s been forever since I’ve seen Firestarter, and I’m not really sure how well it holds up anymore.
Mud vs. Predators
Whew, Predators was a real stinker. Super weird cast. Non-existent plot. Boring.
Mud vs. Joy
A lot of folks seem to enjoy hating on David O. Russell, but I’ve enjoyed all three of his JLaw vehicles quite a bit.
Mud is now ranked #738 out of 1520 movies on my Best Movies of All-Time chart.
Next up is Zorro, the Gay Blade, Flash Gordon, and Returner. In the meantime, check out the other films I’ve ranked during the challenge.