Mainstream; Grade: B
Mainstream is about a bar tender named Frankie (Maya Hawke), whom is wanting to become something of herself as far as a YouTube star sensation. Frankie on a random day, gets acquainted by a weirdo in a chicken suit named Link (Andrew Garfield). Link is just an average nobody, however does impress others by his weird personality but more so by his wise thinking in terms of reality, modern day society, and especially against smartphones/social media. As Frankie records Link wilding out in public, her video actually gets a ton of views and viewers genuinely like Link. Link encourages Frankie to quit her job and to do more with her life, as Frankie decides she’s going to try and make Link an online sensation. Link being the star of the videos, with the help of Frankie and also the help of Frankie’s co-worker/friend Jake (Nat Wolff) whom is doing the story board and the writing material, soon Link aka No One Special will rock the world!
The Cinematography was.... Interesting. There are some weird stylistic choices that did compliment with this films weird tone, sometimes it works and sometimes it’s a bit off putting. Off putting for an example that one mere image, as Frankie gets unclothed for Link... It was a tad weird. For some reason: When Frankie pukes out emoji’s... I kind of liked it, it’s so weird however for a substitute for vomit, at least it made me less queasy. The Score t’was cool, was enjoying the music in this film.
The cast... I thought was solid all around. Andrew Garfield playing No One Special aka Link was honestly one of my favorite parts of this entire film, I loved his over the top bonkers performance so much, he was certainly highly entertaining indeed in the best way. Rarely any actor would be able to play a role like this and be actually enjoyable, than being absurdly annoying, but Garfield really lives up for this kind of energy as I enjoyed it a lot. The character of Link perhaps is one of my main issues with this entire film however. Don’t get me wrong: Link is a fun character, however there are quite a few flaws within this character that stand out like a sore thumb. For an example: This film tries to develop his real identity, as Link is not who he says he is, but it just comes and goes, without being fully established to where as the audience we question why was it brought up at all?! I would’ve rather kept his details of his real identity to himself, than just have it popped up randomly and not actually giving us the full details of who he really is, it’s merely pointless if you ask me if you’re just going to make it come out and about randomly.
Since Ingrid Goes West: We’ve been seeing more films showcasing the toxicity and unhealthy obsessive nature with social media and smart phones. Mainstream pretty much showcases the toxicity of those similar topics, however explores the hypocritical nature and pandering to the majority just to be liked. I’m surprised that Mainstream is being received poorly, because I thought this one was actually... Good? I don’t know man: This one worked for me.
Mainstream is throughly entertaining, as though people may have problems with the story in terms of beating them over the head, with the whole “Social Media is terrible and we’re too obsessed with our phones”, however I thought it delivers quite a few striking moments, delivering a meaningful message. When it comes to most YouTube stars and even those famous off social media in general: They are just straight up Sheep and extremely hypocritical. The scene where Link sits with actual YouTube stars, calling them out on their ways was actually kind of powerful, as none of them really have much of a say what’s right and wrong, knowing the fact they do anything for clout and the approval of others. Link maybe no saint, but at least he was one that was actually true to himself, even when he got big he still wanted to expose all the self center garbage we’ve accepted on what looks good or beautiful in the public eye. He wanted young individuals to experience life and to have self confidence in themselves, rathe than wasting their lives away staring on a screen or filtering their looks.
Then you got the finale which was honestly powerful. I won’t spoil anything: But Link in this moment during his rant was right... We never seem to look ourselves in the mirror, rather than just blame the YouTube star. Sure Link was rightfully in the wrong in that situation, however Link is right: The viewers are in the wrong. They go on YouTube and social media sights, as they tear each other down, call terrible names, and harass others. But when tragedy strikes, they tend to point the finger the other way, when truth of the matter they played a part in it as well. I think in years to come this film will be appreciated more as a cult following, I mean it’s so entertaining and even meaningful as well.
Overall, Mainstream t’was a solid film. I recommend checking this one out. -Mitch Smietana