Looking Back at 2010s Films: Sorry to Bother You (2018)

19 Oct

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By Tanner Smith

Continuing my series of Looking Back at 2010s Films…so I’m more than halfway through Boots Riley’s satirical social-commentary “Sorry To Bother You,” and I think I know where it’s going to go…MAN WAS I WAY OFF!!!

I mean…WOW! I am so sorry I ever considered calling “Sorry To Bother You” “predictable.” Even as it makes its solid and thought-provoking arguments about racial issues, this film becomes totally freaking crazy! I have to give credit to writer-director Boots Riley for taking risks.

And no, I’m not going to give it away here, because that would not be cool.

Now I need to be honest…I’m not quite on the “love” train with people who sang the high praises of “Sorry To Bother You.” As much as I admire the film, “liking” it is another thing. Some of the running jokes don’t really do much for me and moments that are supposed to provocative instead feel forced. But there are still many big laughs, an effective social satire, and like I said, some insanely creative (and just straight-up INSANE) twists that I can’t help but admire. I mean…they went there. (And besides, other people love it, so I figured I should talk about it.)

The film stars Lakeith Stanfield (who keeps showing up in recent films even when I don’t expect him to) as Cassius “Cash” Green (get it? “cash is green”?), who wants to move up in the business world. He gets a job at a large telemarketing firm and isn’t very good at making sales…until a veteran (played by Danny Glover) advises him to use his “white voice” when making a sales pitch. And so, he does (with David Cross dubbing as his “white voice”), and thus, he becomes successful and gets a major promotion, joining the higher-ups in the firm and scoring highly illegal multi-million-dollar deals. He’s having such a great time that he can’t tell he’s headed somewhere he doesn’t know he doesn’t want to be…

Yes, it sounds predictable, and I bet you think you know where it’s going…but you’re wrong.

I mean, obviously, it’s a given that Cash will see the error of his ways and focus on what’s truly important, like his girlfriend Detroit (Tessa Thompson) and the labor movement led by Squeeze (Steven Yeun). You don’t have to be a genius to figure that one out…but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about Armie Hammer as the super-rich, smug, racist, totally full-of-himself billionaire that…well, I already said I wouldn’t give it away, so I’ll just stop here.

“Sorry To Bother You” is the kind of film where you have to show it to a close friend just to see what they think of it because it IS that crazy and you just have to wonder what other people make of it!

Seriously, Stanfield’s character in “Get Out” has seen some crazy sh**, but I think THIS would be too much for him!

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