What a pleasure it was to return to the movies Thursday night, which also coincided with the two week anniversary of my second vaccination, which means I was — at long last — maskless.
Thankfully, because I wouldn’t have attended otherwise, masks are optional at our local multiplex — which was, I am happy to say, jammed with people… A very rare occasion on a pre-pandemic Thursday night, so I wasn’t expecting to walk into a pretty serious line of people eager to see A Quiet Place Part II (which I saw first; my review is here) and that theater was packed.
For the record, about half of us were maskless while the other half — mostly young people (which makes no sense) — were still masked up.
The night’s overall vibe was still pandemic-ey. There are all new faces behind the ticket and concession counter and they’re woefully short-staffed. There are still no movie posters outside and only about half the concessions were available for sale. Still, it was good to be back.
After Quiet Place Part II I jumped into the theater across the hall to catch the 8:40 p.m. screening of Nobody (yes, I bought a ticket), and it took only a half a second before it all returned in a rush: Oh, yeah, this is why I love the movies.
All hail screenwriter Derek Kolstad, the creator of the fantastic John Wick franchise… He’s done it again with Nobody, an exhilarating, unpretentious, bone-crunching piece of mayhem complete with a secret world and perfect protagonist.
Bob Odenkirk is beyond outstanding as our Walter Mitty, a milquetoast of a man serving a life sentence in generic suburbia where his wife, kids, in-laws (who he has the misfortune of working for), and even the garbage men treat him like he’s invisible. A clumsy home invasion changes everything, and not in the way you expect.
Odenkirk’s Hutch Mansell is not John Wick. What drives him is something entirely different, and one of the movie’s primary pleasures (which I won’t spoil) comes from how this unspools.
There are plenty of other pleasures, including a brutally entertaining fight on a city bus, a plot that never slows down (every one of the movie’s 92 minutes has a reason to exist), and a terrific soundtrack filled with a number of admittedly hokey standards that burst to new life under the pandemonium.
Odenkirk, a man of limitless talents, effortlessly takes us from “Better Call Saul” to “Don’t dial 9-1-1,” and I need really do need a t-shirt that says “Give me the goddamn kitty bracelet, motherfucker!”
Like John Wick, Nobody is everything you want in an action movie… A universal theme — this one about regaining your sense of self and your masculinity and virility by doing what you’re supposed to do: protect your family — mixed with some wish-fulfillment, exciting action scenes choreographed by a director (Ilya Naishuller) who wants you to know exactly what’s going on, a sense of humor, and a glorious lack of pretension.
Best of all, Hutch is no superman. While he can handle himself, he also takes some serious beatings. The sense of peril is real and things only improve when RZA and a hilarious, 83-year-old Christopher Lloyd show up to lend a much-needed hand.
Nobody is pure badass, pure entertainment, I can’t wait to see it again, I can’t wait for my wife to see it, and bring on the sequel.
Honestly, who would have ever believed Larry Sanders’ oily agent would turn into a legitimate action hero?