Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

This is kinda-sorta a review, but also kinda-sorta not, so I’m posting Dave’s Corner editorial-style.

I recently saw Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and, while I enjoyed the movie, I think it has some flaws that left me wondering at all the lavish praise being heaped up on it.

First off, let me state that I’m no movie reviewer. In actuality I’m no book reviewer either. There are critics and reviewers and then there’s folks like me, who are egotistical enough to think they know what they like and are observant enough to notice discrepancies and inconsistencies, even if they aren’t smart enough to notice all the hidden meaning and allegory. No, I’ve never taken any classes on film making, or writing either for that matter… well, except for that one class on short stories about a hundred years ago.


Spoilers follow, so if you haven’t seen Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and plan to, best stop here.


Francis McDormand does a great job, although I found the idea of such a blue-collar, lower income person being as old as she was with kids the age they were rather unlikely. Also unlikely was the level of self-awareness and introspection she displayed. Not to put down lower income individuals, but I’ve known some, and they generally aren’t the most thoughtful people. Stereotyping, I know. Mea culpa. There are probably well-read, culturally aware, deep-thinking, late middle-age, determined to the point of obsession, minimum-wage retail workers out there, but I guess I’ve yet to run into them.

But McDermond’s acting was (and is) always on point, so I was able to get over that.

So tell me again why three billboards on a deserted stretch of road, billboards that haven’t been rented out in decades, cost $5,000 a month? I must have missed that.

When will Hollywood get over the grandfather-aged father with the 25 years-younger wife? That’s Woody Harrelson’s sheriff character. The late 50s father with the hot young wife (with a British accent no less) and two small children under the age of ten. Well, that’s real Hollywood I guess. Just ask John Stamos. Or Jeff Goldblum. Or Mick Jagger. Or Ronnie Wood. Or Billy Joel. Hmmm, maybe it’s more of a rock star thing. Anyway, it would be nice for the men to be age appropriate in movies.

And speaking of hot young women, how did McDormand’s abusive and ghoulish looking ex-husband attract the attention of the beautiful 19 year old? Maybe she was a friend of their daughter’s that he’d been grooming throughout her adolescence. Creepy.

Then’s there’s McDormand’s verbal exchange with her daughter (in a flashback). Sure, coincidences happen, but that was a little too much for me to swallow.

Why was that weird drifter guy in town anyway? What was his interest in McDermond’s character, specifically his interest in tormenting her? We aren’t given any motivation, and as such it seems tacked on. As Church Lady would have said, “how conveeeeeenient”.

Sam Rockwell did a great job, although I found his newfound empathy unlikely. And I guess in Ebbing you can get away with beating a guy up and tossing him out a window for no reason and not get in any sort of legal trouble.

So that’s where I am with it. Good acting all around, but just like a boat floats on all liquids, good acting rises to the top, whether you throw it into water or something less savory.

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