Friday, July 15, 2005
Movies I Have No Intention Of Seeing, #9
starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson
directed by David Dobkin (Clay Pigeons, Shanghai Knights)
Despite most people's endemic level of natural, healthy self-loathing, I think most of us think of ourselves as basically good, strong people. It's hard to coax out sometimes, but you usually see it during bitch-sessions when we're gossiping and talking shit about other people. The dynamic has to be right--a small number of people who trust each other to keep shit to themselves--but for the most part, I think good long talks between friends where the subject matter is everybody-else-sucks-except-for-us are as necessary and reflexive as breathing.
And sometimes you just can't help yourself. I mean, just look at Other People: they're stupid, they're weak, they lack self-control, they whine all the time about the lamest stuff, they're creepy, they're clingy, they always hang around when you want them to go away, they're boring, they dress poorly, they're getting fat, they're slutty, they talk too much, they never stand up for themselves, they lie, they give dirty looks, they had sex with Other Other People's girlfriends and they always have some stupid excuse when you need help moving.
Yeah, Other People. They used to be cool, but they've really let themselves go.
Then of course there's Us. We're the opposite of all that. We are kind and decent. We speak at the proper volume and never accidentally spit on people. We bathe, we have recognizably decent table manners, we wear flattering clothes. And if it had been Us who that waiter had been rude to that one time, we wouldn't have just sat there and taken it like Other People did, oh no, we would have totally gone off because we don't take no shit from service-industry people. Yeah sure, it might have cause a scene, but strong, self-possessed people like Us don't give a shit what Other People think.
Of course once this conversation circle is broken, the spell of mutual self-delusion is broken and whammo, we're back to our regular selves, the people who sometimes don't have time to brush their hair and would rather eat a sandwich made of shit and axle grease than cause a scene in public.
From time to time the everyday humiliations that come with being a living person serve to underscore and remind us of our own Other Peopleness.
Take me, for example. I had decided I wouldn't do Movies I Have No Intention Of Seeing for a while, maybe ever. I usually do it on Fridays, which according to Sitemeter, is the slowest day of the week (not counting Saturdays when I don't post) here in the Bucket. The feature actually takes a slight (and please understand that I mean slight) amount of work to put together for minimal reward. So, badass that I am, I decided "You know what, fuck those people. If they don't want to read it, I'll throw up another post on Fridays about 70s television and Brad Pitt's dick, just like every other fucking day. Goddamn ingrates."
Sadly, it only took one person--one person--to say they wanted it back for me to collapse completely. Yes! Yes yes yes, I'll put it back, anything you want! Please, just don't leeeeaaave meeeee!
It's pathetic really. I'm disgusted with myself. But here we are.
I have cable. Over this past week I've seen Starsky & Hutch and Anchorman: the Legend of Ron Burgundy. Next month I get to see Dodgeball. In the midst of all this, this new movie, Wedding Crashers is released.
It seems that comedies don't get made anymore without the participation of one or more (frequently all) the members of this floating troupe of players that includes Ben Stiller, Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson (and on the side, Luke Wilson, Paul Rudd and Steve Carell). It's lucky for me that I, for the most part, like all these guys and think they're funny. For anyone who has a particularly strong negative reaction to any of them (and I know people who hate hate hate Will Ferrell), you're SOL if you want to see a comedy. Unless you want to wait for the next Mike Myers thing...
I like Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson just fine, so that's not a stumbling block.
Another issue is hype. I'm already on the record saying I love me some hype. There's nothing I love more than being beat over the head with the sledgehammer of media saturation. For some reason I find it quite empowering to know that studios are spending hundreds of millions of dollars in order to get the attention of just me, Consumer With Disposable Income. Of course the joke's on them because unless they're going to send over their teenage daughters to babysit for me, I'm not going to their movies. But that doesn't mean I can't enjoy the process.
What bugs me about the hype process sometimes is the approach that has been taken with Wedding Crashers. They've decided to market this movie as a "sleeper hit" before it's even been released. There's nothing more irritating to me than trying to artificially generate underground buzz. How can a movie be a "sleeper" if it's on the cover of Entertainment Weekly the week before it comes out?
What offends me about this is that they are no longer spending their advertising budget to appeal to me directly. Now they're trying to appeal to someone I know so that they can then tell me how I should see their stupid movie. It's a national-media-driven word of mouth campaign which, I'm sorry, I find personally offensive.
The reviews for the movie are generally positive. Most of them extoll the virtues of "screen chemistry" between Vaughn and Wilson; the critic's blurb in the ad for the movie is from Time magazine (not bad) and compares them to Newman and Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid which is kind of stupid, but whatever.
Despite my irritation with the marketing, I am nothing if not a slave to what Other People tell me to do. Between critics and advertisers then I should be chomping at the bit to run out and see this movie-I-have-no-intention-of-seeing.
Plus: Jane Seymour naked. She's 54 years old, but damn...
All that considered:
Two (out of 3) on the Hot Babysitter Scale