I’ve decided that since I watch just as many movies (with a sometimes whopping 2 per weekend!) as the time I spend in front of the television (or in front of the computer, watching sometimes-legal streaming video), that I will start writing about film as well. The titular heading of the site, (I was scraping for a way to use the word titular, because it always reminds me of that Upright Citizens Brigade sketch – “I’m just so tired of all these Star Wars…”) leaves the site ambiguous enough to cover all forms of media and pop culture anyway.
So I will start my newly appointed category by referencing not one but TWO possible, could-be, future cult films. It’s a little soon to tell, as both movies have only been released in the last month, but they both have the criteria to either become forever shitfests, or to be embraced by the select, indy movie crowd. The two MOVIES: Adventureland and Observe and Report.
I was looking forward to Adventureland for weeks before seeing it. The mix of SNL players Bill Hader and Kristin Wig with the addition of Martin Starr (nearly reprising his role in Freaks and Geeks) and other assorted familiar faces, made for not only an alluring supporting cast, but my interest was intensified by the 80’s summertime, customer service genre. I was fucking in!
The film actually surprised me. (you are only an artistic, visionary cinema master when referring to FILMS) Though there was a cast of virtual comedians, and the movie had several laugh-out-loud moments, the movie was much more of a drama than I originally expected. The writer/director Greg Mottola, known for his outrageous comedies (Superbad, Undeclared and even some episodes of Arrested Development) recognizes that the majority of his career has been spent working with teenagers, and admits that his youth must have been a part of his life that holds some indefinable significance. He proves this aptly in Adventureland which was based on his own experiences working at an amusement park of the same name. Jesse Eisenberg plays a college grad who expected to travel to Europe as a grad gift. When his dad is laid off from his job, he has to deal with the economic downturn of the 80’s and get a shitty job making minimum wage and dealing with shitty visitors at the park. This very closely mirrors a situation I myself may very easily be in come…say….another month. I also have it on pretty high authority that if you’ve ever worked at an amusement park for the summer, that the movie was about as accurate as it could get. That being said the soundtrack was also amazing to an 80’s buff like myself, and I’d give it 4 ½ Martin Starr’s.
As for Observe and Report, here’s one that came completely out of left field. When I first saw the trailer for this one, I was like, “WHAT IS SETH ROGEN DOING?” Not only did it appear to be a ripoff of the already unsuccessful Paul Blart: Mall Cop, but it just didn’t look funny. Eventually, I did come around, if only for my timid love for Seth Rogen. I’m not saying he can do no wrong: Fanboys anyone? But, I tried to instill some faith in him. It was getting decent early reviews, and every review stated that it’s NOT WHAT YOU WOULD EXPECT. I’d have to completely agree. It’s being most popularly compared to Taxi Driver but the director himself, Jody Hill, says it feels a bit more like Scorsese’s lesser known The King of Comedy.
There were most definitely a lot of laugh-out-loud points in the movie, but upon further inspection, the laughs were more often out of uneasiness than random hilarity. Seth Rogen’s character is a sick dude with bi-polar disorder who is trying to win the hot girl (Anna Faris, who incidentally is a major bitch in this) and catch the chubby flasher who’s attacking women at the mall. His delusions of being a police officer someday are actually sad to watch, but are definitely made worth it by Ray Liotta’s character, which he plays with his trademark insane intensity. There were a lot of, “HOLY SHIT did that JUST happen??” moments in this movie, and I’d say it’s worth seeing for that factor alone. Only time will tell how this movie holds up in the future, but I’m fairly confident it will turn into an underground cult favorite along with Jody Hill’s HBO series, Eastbound and Down. If you can handle the lack of redeeming characters, then you'll like it. I give the movie 3 out of 5 Danny McBride’s.