Sundance 2023: Fairyland, Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie, Magazine Dreams | Festivals and Awards

Of course, the beating heart of “Still” is Fox himself, who reads some of his books as narration and answers Guggenheim’s questions. He was revealing, open, and never pitied. There’s a shot early in the film where Fox falls on a sidewalk and I wish for a second it wasn’t there. I didn’t want to see one of my childhood movie heroes in that condition and thought maybe it should be cut. And then Fox sealed the scene with a brilliant one-liner that generated many laughs from the crowd. He was always an entertainer, even when he was struggling. And her willingness to share that struggle and push through it is a powerful thing of beauty, as is the relationship of Tracy Pollan which really elevates the final act of this film.

Fox said in the Q&A afterward that he was amazed at how lucky he was to have such a wonderful family, and it was one of the most heartwarming descriptions of support I’ve seen in a doc in a long time. Hearing Fox explain how much his wife and children mean to him is so beautiful. There is something funny about a star who became famous in a movie called “Family Ties” who discovers that family is the most important thing to him in the end.

While I’m hoping that audiences will embrace “Still,” there’s a noticeable pullback from the crowd that watched the brutal premiere. “Magazine Dreams,” a drama that is quite “Taxi Driver,” little “Pumping Iron,” and many mega-talented ones Jonathan Majors. The star of “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” and “Creed III” gives his all and then some in this film, fearlessly throwing himself into a role that demands more than most actors can give. It is a terrifying journey into the mind of a man who shapes his body with rage even as he destroys his soul. It’s a big ask to spend more than two hours with a mentally unstable person who feels like almost every scene could end in an act of violence, but Elijah Bynum produced a movie designed to push viewers into a place of toxicity that made them uncomfortable. It definitely does that and then some.

Majors plays Killian Maddox, a bodybuilder who dreams of being on magazine covers like his idol. When he’s not writing “Stan”-esque letters to the king of bodybuilding, he’s babysitting his grandfather or making requests at a local cashier (Haley Bennett). He spends almost all his free time working on his body, which includes not only weightlifting but a regular steroid regimen that leaves his health confused on the brink of a fatal diagnosis. He couldn’t mutilate his body to remove the tumors left by the steroid in his liver because the scarring would ruin his career. And then there’s Killian’s anger. When she feels cheated by life, she rapes, leading to a series of violent, disturbing exchanges as the film threatens to turn into serious tragedy.

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