My movie premiere tally is up to 4! Yup, got to see Bad Times at the El Royale at the Chinese Theatre. It’s funny because a week before I’d just been saying to myself that I wanted to see a premiere there. And the week before that, I’d said that this was one of the upcoming movies I was most looking forward to. Dreams do come true.
Written and directed by Drew Goddard (the guy that did Cabin in the Woods and The Martian, two very highly ranked movies in my top 100), the El Royale is a hotel straddling the state line between California and Nevada. Time was when it was one of the hottest hangouts in either state, but now it’s a run down hide out for shady types. And the cast invovles Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, and Chris Hemsworth. All but Hemsworth were present at the premiere.
I was actually sitting along the aisle they entered for the intro. I wanted to attempt to fist bump them (at least Bridges and Hamm) as they walked down, but they were each escorting their costars down the stairs. Totally cool, maybe on their way back up, when they’d be more likely to look directly up at me. Except the lights dimmed the second they finished the intro, and they had a costar’s hand in one hand, and a lit up cell phone in the other. Ah well. As a bonus tho, I did spot Joss Whedon in the crowd behind me. I kinda freaked out a bit.
Back to the movie. Think Tarantino by way of Joss Whedon. So now you know I loved it. The story was dark and gritty (I think I use those adjectives too much in my write ups, may need to consider retirement) and the mystery was in tense. It played out in pieces, following each character, discovering their motivations for staying at this seedy sanctuary. But like an episode of Lost, right as you’d start to uncover the mystery, we’d jump to the next story, which would suddenly have you equally enthralled. Woeven throughout tho was this biting (and often macabre) humor. Drew, didja write this movie just for me?
The cast was incredible. It’s my fave Bridges performance in a while, and I loved seeing Hemsworth break bad. However, the true MVP, hands down no question was Cynthia Erivo. Her story was the most compelling, and her desperation was felt in every frame. That alone would be enough to win the movie, but on top of that, she got to show off her singing. This is where I point out that she’s a Tony Award winning actress for The Color Purple musical on broadway a few years back. Hard not to see why.
This was the type of dark movie that I love, and I especially love that they’re getting better and better. Goddard’s quickly climbing up the ranks of my favorites list.
Bad Times at the El Royale – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/