Eagle vs. Shark

Apparently this was one of my tests for marriage material and I didn’t even know it.  Jay introduced me to it without any real warning or lead-in, and I remember enjoying it but none of the specifics.  We’ve been on a bit of a Taika Waititi binge with What We Do in the Shadows and Boy, so this seemed like a very good time to rewatch Eagle vs. Shark.

This movie confirms that Jemaine Clement, who I knew from Flight of the Conchords before seeing this the first time, is either a terrific actor or a terrible human being.  Jarrod, his character, is just an awful person who brings nothing to the table at all.  So while this is supposed to be a love story, the love is entirely one-sided.  Lily, the loving half of this on-again, off-again couple, is probably as much of an outcast as Jarrod (both are extremely awkward), but Lily is sweet to all those around her while Jarrod is bitter and unlikable from start to finish.  As Jay pointed out last night, is it really a happy ending if these two end up together?  Lily could do so much better!

If you can get over that, and I can get over pretty much any plot hole if I am being entertained, there is a lot to like here.  This movie is memorably quirky and has quite a few hilarious moments, including the death of a seagull and some fantastic animal costumes (including an eagle and a shark)!

Overall, this is an enjoyable movie about a pair of social misfits, and there are some great moments here, but since Napoleon Dynamite did this material first it takes away the originality and uniqueness that might otherwise have been this movie’s calling card.  Still, it’s worth checking out.  I’d say watch them both and let me know which one you prefer!


12 thoughts on “Eagle vs. Shark

  1. Jay

    I love this movie, unapologetically. I like to laugh at the absurd, and this movie sure strings together an awful lot of absurdity.
    You’re right -Jarrod is not redeemable. Lily’s worst crime is that she’s a wallflower while Jarrid is downright nasty. I like how the movie (and Jarrod) keep picking the wrong path. Every time there’s a fork in the plot, we go the unexpected route. Jarrod never becomes a better person, not even with the love of a good woman. The director has made this a deliberate choice – in the end, when Jarrod meets Lily at the bus “station” and hands her the flowers she’s delighted that they’re lilies, and he has no idea what they are or why that would have been good. He hasn’t changed. He’ll never change. So we hope, as she gets on the bus, that her newfound confidence will be enough to shed the loser Jarrod and go on to bigger and better things.

    Meanwhile, I really love the relationship between brother and sister. They’re both just incorrigeably sweet people and I feel like I could watch another movie just with those two in it.


    1. seanathant Post author

      It is very fun to watch, there are a lot of little details thrown in here that made me smile. I can’t even remember most of them but just little things like Jarrod wearing the family track suit to the showdown with his nemesis.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. seanathant Post author

        I think for me, Napoleon Dynamite and this movie are on a similar level but I’d give the edge to Eagle vs. Shark on a straight up comparison. This movie has more developed and well rounded characters than Napoleon Dynamite does and I particularly like that aspect of it.


  2. Brittani

    Nice review! I’m glad you liked it, I remember hating it when I watched it, but I can barely remember anything about it now other than it reminded me a lot of Napoleon Dynamite, like you pointed out.


    1. gibsonluc

      It’s funny you say that. I also hated Napoleon Dynamite, thought it was one of the worst movies ever made along with Nacho Libre (Sorry Jack) but Eagle vs Shark was so funny! Maybe it’s Jemaine Clement’s brilliance or the cast or maybe both. Either way, if you end up giving it another try, let us know what you think, I’d be curious to see if you changed your mind.


  3. Jay

    Yeah, sorry Sean, I was talking to Luc about Napoleon Dynamite. I was pretty sure he disliked it but still somehow enjoyed this one. And I agree that they have a similar vibe so I think it’s curious.
    Of course, I can’t help but agree that Jemaine Clement is pretty great. We were lucky enough to see Flight of the Conchords in Chicago and it was so fun and translated so well into a live show, they nearly eclipsed Dave Chapelle for me.
    I know you like ND, although I am just realizing now how long it’s been since I saw that movie. Man.


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