Falling Down

I hated the movie Falling Down when I saw it, and I hate it to this day.

Notwithstanding, the “I want breakfast” scene comes to mind:


I’d forgotten how well that movie pegs the entitled white male. More relevant today than ever really.


Yeah, that is the source of my complaint, although I would say “entitled, long-suffering, vengeance-needing white male who blames a cruel and heartless society for his self-righteous insanity.”

Christ, what an asshole’s movie.


I’ll just say this. Same director as Batman Forever. I’m sure in Joel Schumacher’s mind Falling Down is catharsis. The unintended message probably escapes him.


Eh, D-FENS is explicitly a bad guy in Falling Down. He starts off kinda sympathetic, in the “wouldn’t it be cathartic to really let loose one day?” way, but as the movie goes on, and his spirals further into violence, and we start to learn about his background, it becomes clear that he’s not just a good guy who had one bad day.


Don’t get me wrong. I like the movie.


It was prescient in its own way. At the time a lot of white males saw D-FENS as the movie’s hero because he went after targets that frustrated “average Joes” (e.g. stupid adherence to corporate policies like in the scene you posted). Of course, in the end the character was what we’d now call an MRA whose “avenging vigilante” act served only his own sense of thwarted entitlement. The Robert Duvall detective character tells him what a spoiled crybaby he really is:

Sadly, the real difference between then and now is that where D-FENS was horrified when the neo-Nazi said they were the same the current crop of MRAs and incels and their ilk join the rest of the alt-right in twisted solidarity.


Every time I get stuck in traffic I think about that movie. Reminds me that road rage can get out of hand very quickly.

Take a breath. Get home and make a burger. Season as needed.


But Robert Duvall was great, right?


I think it’s an excellent film and widely misunderstood. And I also think it is OK to hate it or at least what it represents.

By misunderstood I think people expect it to be a black comedy or a power fantasy. There is a sense of schadenfreude in the film as the main character compounds each poor decision and breaks further from reality. And the film tries to tell us that we’re only one bad day away from a breakdown of civil behavior, which I don’t really agree with but that seems to be the message.

I think Treed Murray is another film in the same sort of genre of bad choices and the fragility of civil behavior. But it’s less ambiguous and easier to understand than Falling Down.


Whenever art tries to tell me this, I make a point to steer clear of meeting the artist.


I had no idea whatever about Falling Down when my friends said “We’re going to a movie, wanna go?”

On the other hand, I expected Boogie Nights to be a light-hearted comedy (because Burt Reynolds, of course). Hoo boy, was I wrong about that! I can’t even watch this clip.


Robert Duvall is always great. Just thinking about him makes me yearn to watch Lonesome Dove again:


Aren’t they all?

I really don’t think that’s what the movie is trying to tell the audience, given the scenes in the surplus store, at his mother’s house, and the clip I provided above. It’s about the simmering anger of an individual white straight male with a thwarted and delusional sense of entitlement finally boiling over into a rampage that cuts a swath through civil society (which, to be fair, isn’t all that civil – arseholes abound in that movie).

I can understand why in 1993 audiences could see it as the black comedy or power fantasy you describe, and not only because the filmmakers wanted to have things both ways (social commentary and blockbuster! Michael Douglas is the leading man we cheer for, but also the villain! etc.). It’s also because back then at the End of History and the beginning of the dotcom boom D-FENS could be waved away as an aberration, just a guy whose history could be ignored by looking at the results of “one bad day”. Now he’s all around us, blowing up civil society, not just for one bad day but for 532 of them (and counting).

[thanks for splitting it off, @orenwolf]


Falling down, I thought, was a great movie precisely because it starts off appearing to be about rebellion against modern society, until you realize that the main character has, in fact, already fallen out with said society and been living in some sort of auto-robo-dreamworld pretending everything was fine, when it clearly was not. Good for what it was.

Obscure movie reference win! Not only was that an awesome movie and shot close to my house, but David Hewlett was the perfect actor for the main role. :slight_smile:


Yup. That’s why I think it’s more relevant than ever. I can totally see why both good and bad people both like and hate it, maybe even at the same time. But it’s the sort of movie that why people love or hate it says volumes about their worldview and character.

Personally, I think it’s a pretty well made movie with strong performances all around, both literally and metaphorically captures the atmosphere of LA at the time, and is open to interpretation. While Schumacher has Prendergast check D-FENS at the end, I’m less certain he and the writers didn’t somewhat sympathize with Foster. It comes at the end of a long string of glorified violence and having Foster commit suicide by cop, while probably the best ending dramatically, is a fairly transparent appeal to sympathize with him even though he’s deranged. So again, I completely get hating it and I completely get liking it.


Just watched Ant-Man and the Wasp. The good news is that D-FENS finally gets a bit of a redemption arc.


Hank Pym?

Even though my b~day is tomorrow, I refuse to spend any money on another Marvel movie before Into the Spiderverse comes out; that’s how irritated I still am about IW.


As long you leave before the mid-credits sequence happens you can still pretend Infinity War never happened.