Let Me Explain Why Bushwick is Low Budget Mayhem Brilliance
Bushwick is a very realistic think piece about where the United States will find ourselves if we continue to diverge and we don't find common ground as humans and as Americans
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Let Me Explain Why Bushwick is Low Budget Mayhem Brilliance

THinc. and fellow THINC.ers (just coined that particular phrase and I’m thinking it needs to be on a T-Shirt, pronto! Hahah. Something lame like, what? THINC.ers UNITE! Or maybe I’m A THINC.er, Are You? Ok ok, I’ll stop now) alike know how I roll. Spend 100 minutes cookie cuttering your way through a rehash of every movie we have ever seen? I am not interested. Even if you spend 300 million making your rehash exciting. No thanks. But if you take a cool idea, your iPhone, a couple friends and make something we’ve never seen before? I’m there. In a heartbeat.

There are plenty of recent examples that show just how right I am. 6 Days, What Happened to Monday?, The Wall, Phoenix Forgotten, I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore, want me to stop? Ok, I’ll keep going, you twisted my arm, Shimmer Lake, Lady Macbeth, Realive, Free Fire, Belko Experiment, Personal Shopper, and on and on I could go. Just be different. It may not make millions at the box office, but you will definitely will do well here!

Which brings us to Bushwick. I think I heard about its existence 6 months ago? And have had it on my list to check out when it finally arrived. And let me tell you, I wasn’t disappointed.

Bushwick is a simple idea. War, for some unknown reason, unexpectedly breaks out in the belly of New York city. It’s sudden. And completely unexpected. Who is it? Why war? And better yet? Why New York? All great questions. Bushwick won’t win any awards from the Deep Thinker’s Institute (Is that a thing? If it is, my apologies to the esteemed institute) for giving us a deep moral framework to work from here. But it does ask some very good, basic questions, while figuring out how to keep us on the edge of our seats for 90 minutes straight, start to finish.

 

 

A High Level Look at Bushwick’s Plot

If you haven’t seen this movie yet, HERE BE DRAGONS, ok? The rest of this post will be spoiler material. Go find it, and watch it, then come back.

The story is simple enough, Lucy (Brittany Snow) and Jose are getting off the subway to go and visit Lucy’s family for the first time. They are in love. And it’s oh so sweet. Until, 30 seconds into the movie, gun fire rips through the movie and Jose steps out from the underground (no, wait, that’s what it’s called in London… what do New Yorkers call… ah, sub way. My bad.) only to have his head basically blown off. (I do have to say that Lucy mourns so little for Jose, that I wonder if she really liked him at all! Seriously, this is my one major gripe with this entire movie… sure, lot’s going on. Sure, she needs to survive. But she never mentions him again. Boom, gone. Literally – the boom part I mean.)

And just like that, Lucy is in frantic completely feral survival mode.

One of the things I was really surprised at as the movie rolled? It seemed like the entirety of the movie was shot by one camera in one enormous long take like the movie Victoria, which is another amazing movie if you haven’t seen it yet. But then I started noticing what the editor was doing. Every now and again the camera would sweep to the ground and then back up again, or pan to a wall and then back out again, and that was where they were hiding their cuts. So in that way, the movie was shot just like Birdman. The apparent single-shot-ness of it gives the movie immediacy/intensity/urgency all the while ratcheting up the feel that you are right there with Lucy as she is running down the street while people die all around her.

Not to mention the fact that someone just took over a section of the city in New York to make a war zone? How did this happen?!?!

Soon, Lucy runs into a basement two get away from two men that capture her. They definitely mean her ill. When, out of nowhere, the owner of the house comes through and kills both the guys. Viewing audience, meet Stupe, played by Dave Bautista… all throughout the movie as I watched, I kept thinking he looked familiar but I just couldn’t place him. Ah, yes, I remember now… Guardians of the Galaxy. He is also apparently in Blade Runner 2049. Which looks out of control. ANYWAY. STAY ON TARGET DANGIT. And now, poor Stupe, and ex-marine, can’t shake Lucy now. No good deed goes unpunished after all.

And from here on out the fun never stops. The two run down city streets, climb through abandoned war torn buildings, fight their way up Lucy’s high school to the roof. It’s one frenetic scene after another. A few of the plot points we cover as they are trying to stay alive is that they aren’t sure what is going on. They guess that maybe it’s a widespread war across sections of the United States. Maybe there is a DMZ where they can get to safety. And then they capture a young man from the insurrectionist group that is causing all this chaos. And apparently, like a plot line straight out of The Handmaid’s Tale, Texas is seceding from the United States.  Not only that? But a number of southern states are joining them in their fight. Trust me, I’ll talk more about this in a minute.

Lucy and Stupe visit Lucy’s grandmother, who has just died from a heart attack. And then they head over to Lucy’s drugged out sister’s flat a few blocks over. And a few minutes later, the trio are caught by the mother of a few gang members. Here’s the problem, they need to get word to a priest at a church (who apparently has a ton of people but no guns) a couple blocks over that they have guns to donate to the cause. But, they decide to hold onto Lucy’s sister until they all meet up together at the laundromat nearby. Obviously, the level of crazy ramps up a few notches between here in there. That priest they were looking for? Commits suicide in front of Lucy. And Stupe? Well, he makes it to the laundromat only to be shot by a scared woman in the bathroom.

As the movie barrels its way to the end nightfall is upon us and Lucy and her sister get tantalizingly close to the DMZ. The fighting gets harried and full of close quarter chaos. But ultimately the movie ends with the two of them getting shot down just in sight of their safety…

The Prime Mover of Bushwick

Apparently, Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion got the idea for the movie Bushwick when former governor Rick Perry made an off handed comment about Texas seceding from the United States. Intrigued, I went and found one of the quotes specifically:

Shannon: Some have associated you with the idea of secession or sovereignty for your state. …

Perry: I think there’s a lot of different scenarios. Texas is a unique place. When we came in the union in 1845, one of the issues was that we would be able to leave if we decided to do that. You know, my hope is that America and Washington in particular pays attention. We’ve got a great union. There is absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what may come out of that? But Texas is a very unique place and we’re a pretty independent lot to boot.

This was in 2009. 8 years ago. Right? So that would be at the beginning of the Obama presidency. And, now, here we are at the beginning of the Trump presidency (or nearer to the end, who knows. Woah, meaning he might be impeached… don’t read too much into that comment! Seemed a little dodgy upon rereading it.) and we have riots in Charlottesville. Racial tensions have enflamed and exploded over the last couple months. And now we have this movie Bushwick asking an intellectually curious thought question. What would happen if?

Bushwick Controversy

Most people reviewing Bushwick are giving it grief for it’s lack of mental fortitude. But I would beg to differ. And just hear me out for a minute. Sure, it is basically non-stop action from beginning to end. And sure the amount of dialogue in this movie could barely fit in a thimble. Think for a moment though about what we do get delivered to us in Bushwick.

Lucy wakes up in a free country. And within a couple of hours her fiancé is dead and she is running for her life. We know that this chaos inflicted on her life is caused by secessionists intent on separating from the United States. In the one conversation that we get between us and them we hear how these secessionists have decided that Brooklyn is an easy target especially since guns are illegal there. Stupe ends the conversation with something to the effect… what a waste, and then knocks him out.

Now think about today and where things stand from a political viewpoint. Not the individual planks of each side’s platform or specifics. But rather from an inability to converse or find common ground. Personally, I believe that guns in someone’s house makes their house intrinsically more dangerous to walk into. Regardless of their argument that it protects them from intruders, or whatever. If you believe that, we disagree. But could you and I discuss it in a sane and rational way and come to a middle ground? Ten years ago? Definitely. Today, I highly doubt it. (Please don’t take issue with my specific example, my point remains.)

But why? Lauren sent me a fantastic link just the other day talking about how individuals are less and less likely to interact with news that is in opposition to their viewpoint. This is especially true for those that prefer misinformation. Or “fake news”. Not only that, but when their preferred view is debunked, it entrenches them even more in that viewpoint… they don’t actually receive the new information and adjust their view accordingly. And in this one quick conversation between Stupe and this nameless secessionist we see this being played out, but this time over life and death stakes.

All that to say, we joke about how terrible the other side is. We joke about what an idiot the other side is. But realistically, we are all humans. We are all living together on this big blue ball hanging in the sky. We are ultimately all the same regardless of color, socio-economic status, education. We are all the same. And we really do need to find a way to listen to each other and even if we don’t agree, we need to find a way to get along.

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12 Responses

  1. T.J.

    Great website but why are you so hard on Trump? As a professing Christian, you would never actually vote Democrat, or suggest others vote Democrat, would you?

    By the way, as a Biblical Christian, I don’t vote at all. I owe 100% of my allegiance to God alone and I already have a Commander in-Chief and his name isn’t Obama, Trump, Clinton or any other name, other than Jesus.

    Reply
  2. Taylor Holmes

    Wait, what? What about Trump says Christian to you? Or says that Christians should support him? What has he done for the widow, the orphan, the impoverished? The downtrodden? How has Trump made the world a better place for minorities, immigrants, and the displaced. How has his presidency pushed an agenda of honesty, or moral conduct, and truthful living?

    Sorry, but I’d literally vote for your dog, or that vase over there before I vote for Trump. Not sure why evangelicals have swallowed what the RNC and the Trump presidency has sold them. I see Trump on par with Assad, and Putin in the moral continuum of things.

    It’s interesting that you should ask that though. I’d like to hear more about your thoughts on why Christians should be backing him?

    Reply
  3. Ned

    I watched Bushwick because of its high rating on this site. The movie will make anyone uncomfortable if you’re a sane, intelligent person living in this country who strongly desires an end to racism.

    This film may give racists of any skin color more wrong ideas. I disagree this film is of any notable substance in any of the categories listed above: screenplay, acting, cinematography, etc. Overall, it deserves a low rating because it’s a movie of stereotypes—over simplified conceptions—from beginning to its appropriate, nihilistic ending of conventionally written, acted characters.

    The female lead, Lucy, is an obnoxiously dense, strident femme fatale. There’s really no likeable characters in the film except for one who’s almost named stupid—“Stupe”—played by Dave Bautista (Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy). He’s still Drax sans the makeup but wearing urban winter clothing and not running from evil aliens on a distant planet but dodging bullets and bombs on the mean streets of a multicultural city’s burg.

    This article coincides with evangelical beliefs pervading government in these times and the premise of which this movie was made:

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/karl-giberson-phd/the-biblical-roots-of-racism_b_7649390.html

    There’s an abundance of venues to choose viewing movies, shows like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO, etc., however, not many are of value. The movie Bushwick does no favor toward ending racism except to focus on a twisted reality which might happen if ignorant beliefs, often grounded in religion, prevail.

    Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      That’s like saying that Handmaid’s Tale is sexist. Well, yah. Of course it is. Sure, of course these guys in this movie are racist. And look what happened, and the horrors caused as a result. This critique of the movie makes little to no sense to me. Seems myopic in the extreme.

      Oh, oh, and by the way, here’s a random article espousing that Christians are racists too while we are at it. Unbelievable.

      Lauren De Listen, Ned… whomever. Maybe you should get your movie recommendations from somewhere else. Please. Thanks.

      Reply
  4. Ned

    Taylor, you say don’t “review” movies. Perhaps it’d be a good idea to discontinue the star and Thinc light bulb ratings posted next to the titles.

    Bushwick, and only one other movie which you rated highly, I’ve posted disagreement. Many more films I’ve watched, based on ratings from your site, are worthy of discussion and I’ve thanked you for your creation of a platform in which to participate, share perceptions about movies.

    Taylor, okay, I’ll go back to checking out various other movie rating sites instead of only relying on your ratings. You, my surly-toned friend at the moment, do indeed offer the bestest site of all to discuss movies which confound viewers. Plus, you write excellent, entertaining preludes regarding those WTF perplexing films.

    Sorry to disagree concerning Bushwick. I greatly appreciate your allowing posting of my truthful opinion and shared article—it was never intended to get you riled; only to inform.

    Reply
  5. Shelby

    A movie that makes you uncomfortable isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Hating the characters isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You are allowed to disagree with anything Taylor says, of course, as we all have different perspectives and interpretations.

    You wrote, “The movie Bushwick does no favor toward ending racism except to focus on a twisted reality which might happen if ignorant beliefs, often grounded in religion, prevail.”

    For me, this was something I enjoyed. To show the negative effect of something, let’s show how fucked up it can get if we don’t get our act together. Racist people aren’t going to be convinced to not be racist (see how they reacted to American History X) so our focus shouldn’t be on convincing those people. Instead, let’s show regular well-intentioned people that we need to work harder.

    Reply
  6. Ned

    Exactly what aspect of the movie Bushwick “let’s show regular people that we need to work together”? No such scene whatsoever. It’s fucked up to claim something about a movie that doesn’t exist.

    After Taylor’s advisement to “…get your movie recommendations from somewhere else…” there are many more reviews which perceived the movie’s premise the same way. Taylor’s synopsis and ratings is the only “thumbs up” positive “review” found on any search about this movie.

    Shelby, I’ve made comments like you in defense of Taylor and he immediately let me know, under no circumstances, to ever do so again. Your defense of a movie for Taylor’s sake is so brown-nosed all I can say is: kiss my ass.

    Reply
  7. Taylor Holmes

    Good lord.
    Sorry everyone, to taking umbrage at the wide umbrella cast over evangelicals and their Biblically based racism.

    I really really don’t mind people disagreeing with my opinion about movies. Actually? Truth be told? I position some of my arguments in order to garner disagreements and discussions. Which, Ned, is why I laughed when you said I was the only one that liked this movie. hahahah. 70% of the movies I bring to this site, I am the only one that likes them. This? This, is a badge I wear proudly. For example the movie I’m bringing next, the 12th man? No one is going to tout that movie as a “good” movie.

    And yes, I agree with Shelby, she makes my point better than I did. To see the logic played out is to see an argument against the thing. I really can’t think of a better, more hard hitting example of this than Handmaid’s. That is some of the most horrifying, and ruthless television I’ve ever witnessed. And yet, it is an amazing morality play, and lesson in what it is that certain logic trees are espousing.

    I am sorry everyone for taking Ned’s initial comment personally. I shouldn’t have. I’m not backing away from this movie. I absolutely adored it. The cinematography and the way in witch such a low budget film was able to make do and make such a big movie regardless? Yeah, I loved it. But it’s ok that you didn’t Ned. That’s perfectly fine.

    Anyway, sorry again. I’m gonna head that way —-> hopefully we’ll meet again in another movie post hallway on more amenable terms.

    Taylor

    Reply
  8. Taylor Holmes

    Nope,
    Not letting you crack on other visitors to the site. Not happening. Please roll your virtriol elsewhere. If you’d like to be civil, fine. But no. Not allowing that comment to stand.

    Taylor

    Reply
  9. Ned

    Taylor, no vitriol whatsoever—it’s called passion, truth devoid of b.s. But it is your site and you have the obvious power to edit from the public things said which may be of value to many people who do not share your opinions or beliefs or those of your “favorites” who often add their commentary as well as perform back up you allow.

    You didn’t allow my post because I shared a lot more opinion about you than the ONE other person commenting who agrees with you. I don’t “crack on other visitors”—with the exception of one who began to follow after giving this person a now regretted thumbs up on the book-sized commentary they’d posted on a movie.

    Bushwick deserved no “review” on a site you define as a place people come to discuss perplexing movies; movies which confound; movies which makes viewers “thinc” after the movie’s puzzling completion.

    Bushwick is not a movie which confounds or makes you question its meaning. There’s absolutely nothing profound about this Grade B movie.

    But you elevated it, Taylor, give it a “high rating” even though you profess you don’t “review” movies. But you do by giving them ratings which I allowed to persuade me in the decision to choose a movie to view over others.

    Not many of the movies you’ve given clever and entertaining prelude type discussion actually are open-ended or confound viewers nor deserve ratings above three stars or Thinc lightbulbs.

    Even the post modern kinds of dark cinematic art movies you prefer cannot qualify for discussion in the way they proceed in storytelling and whose endings are clear.

    I stand firm the Bushwick movie does not help in any way whatsoever to help stop racism in this country. A commercial for a certain candy defined I’m a joke because the ad-writers think a Scottish-Japanese person like me exists. Add to that, I grew up in a Hispanic neighborhood so I am also Latina in heart. Add another layer, each family member married people of other cultures (which actually broadens a healthier gene pool—and the children are beautiful, too). I have nieces and nephews who are of disparate, warring tribes: Jewish, Islamic, Catholic, Buddhist—even Mormon. Yeah, that’s the America of now—not the one to make “great again” which promotes marrying within the same clan, same religion, same culture.

    As I’d suggested in the post you will not allow, watch comedy done by intellectual people of color to get a better understanding of racism. Laugh and learn by watching two of my favorites both premiering on Netflix right now: Hari Kondabolu “Warn Your Relatives” also Ali Wong “Hard Knock Wife” My most passionate belief: I really believe humor is going to save the world.

    Movies like Bushwick promote the most shallow things about cultural divide in a cheapo inartistic, simplistic way. Yawn at such movies and move on.

    Reply
  10. Ned

    Your advisement sounds in my head like how a controlling boss talks to their employees making them feel low and suffer to get back to work.

    You are the first and only person in my whole life I requested to kiss my —-. What’s funny is you read it with a negative tone in your head. It was said in jest. Maybe you need to do some inward reflection and realize you’re as crazy as me and everybody else in this world. We’re all nitwits fooled by our skewed perceptions.

    BTW, the comedy skits listed on previous comment above are for adults only. “The Moms” once told me, “There’s always truth in kidding”…the skits offer some raw topics which may make viewers uncomfortable but are hilariously, humanly true.

    I apologize for my request said in jest, Shelby. It’s tough to discern joking on forums. Becoming conscious of one’s mood, countenance, inner voice while reading people’s commentary is tough, if not impossible, to do. My mistake for not placing “haha” after every sentence or goofy emojis then you’d “get it”.

    Hope you don’t mind if I mosey on instead of “moving on”. I don’t know, but I think your tone to “move on” was read in my mind as a bit churlish haha! Moseying along now haha!

    Reply

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