Listen Up Philip opens with a bombastic bang. Philip Lewis Friedman (Jason Schwartzman), the belligerent writer at the center of Alex Ross Perry’s third feature film and first cinematic novel, arrives at a Brooklyn bodega to meet his ex-girlfriend, Mona, for lunch. She’s late—insultingly late by Philip’s impossibly high standards—and by the time she’s languorously strolled up to the counter Philip has worked himself into a rage. Nostrils flared, shoulders hunched, those unmistakable caterpillar eyebrows twitching, if Schwartzman’s body language doesn’t convey the extent of Philip’s agitation, the omniscient narrator (voiced by a suitably detached Eric Bogosian) makes it clear that for a man as deeply self-involved as Philip, Mona’s tardiness simply cannot be chalked up to human fallibility. Her inability to arrive on time is symbolic, rather, of the fact that she never supported his literary dreams and is fundamentally wrong about basically everything. Philip doesn’t hesitate to tell her as much, launching into an unfiltered diatribe that leaves him winded. “So you don’t get this gift from me,” he concludes spitefully, referring to the advanced copy of his second novel he’s already inscribed specifically for her. “That line had a lot in it for me” says Jason Schwartzman,… Read full this story
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