Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)

  • Gist: Diverse murky characters with diverse conflicting agendas converge on a has-been hotspot hotel near Reno in the early ’70’s. Twists, shots, satirical laughs, and stabs of sympathy ensue.
  • Cast: The kind of movie actors seem to love being in. Anchored by Jeff Bridges, who’s great as always, and a soulful turn from Cynthia Erivo, but Hemsworth got the plum part: two scenes of strutting and big talk, shirt optional.
  • Score: Michael Giacchino pours in some of the best tunes of the era.
  • Script: What has two thumbs both suavely raised for this script? Me. It’s me.
  • Violence: Violent like a group walk through a minefield: not constant, but…take your heart medicine ahead of time.
  • Visuals: Slick filming in a tight set.
  • Buckshot pellets: 60
  • Long knives: 2
  • Amazing old cars: Just 1, sadly
  • Whisky-bottles-to-the-head: Just 1, sadly
  • Bugs: 24
  • One-way mirrors: Way too many!
  • California hippie cultists: Way too many!

Conclusion: See it if you like the less-weird Tarantino movies, actors having fun at work, or music from 1969. Avoid if you are triggered by sleazy hotels, sudden violence, southerners, or hippies.

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