Unfortunately, it’s not an expose, but Sofia Coppola’s new film, On the Rocks, is emitting steady Woody Allen vibes. On the Rocks finds Rashida Jones playing a self-doubting New Yorker sinking into relationship despair who goes on an odyssey through Manhattan accompanied by a quirky sidekick; in this case, it’s Bill Murray playing Jones’s playboy father. The film even self-describes as a “love letter to New York” in the press materials, which is how most Woody Allen movies are described. Granted, I would much rather watch literally ANYTHING made by Sofia Coppola, like I would willingly watch Somewhere, a film I do not enjoy, on a 24 hour loop than sit through even five minutes of Allen’s last three interchangeable movies.
Rocks is a reunion for Coppola and Murray, marking the first time they’ve worked on a feature film together since Lost in Translation almost 20 years ago (they did previously collaborate on the Netflix special, A Very Murray Christmas). And with Rashida Jones, it’s also the first time Coppola has cast a Black woman in a lead role. (I still can’t get over how many people only just learned that Jones is biracial thanks to Kenya Barris’s Netflix show, #blackAF, earlier this year.) With Marlon Wayans also in the main cast, Rocks is now and by a huge margin the most diverse movie Coppola has ever made. Noteworthy!
On the Rocks is due out in October, and I’m sure it will get some kind of patchwork theatrical release before heading to its permanent home on Apple TV+. This is Apple TV+’s feature film hope for awards season and given how f-cking weird this year in movies is, I will not be surprised to see it in the mix come next spring. Distributor A24 is known for their taste-making, which sometimes results in awards attention—most recently for Uncut Gems—and they have Apple money to play with, so they could just buy the factory that makes Oscar statues, if they wanted to. Plus, Bill Murray has hit the stage of his career where if he exerts himself even a little, he’ll get considered for sure, and Rashida Jones is overdue for serious consideration. All jokes aside, Murray and Jones is an enticing comedy duo, and even if On the Rocks takes a navel-gazing turn, as Coppola films are prone to do, I’m here for watching those two bounce off each other for a couple hours.