Sunday, January 15, 2006

Of Movies and Men

Just recently saw three mainstream movies in a row: all very different in genre, but nevertheless male-oriented movies. Beware, major spoilers ahead!

Thursday Jan 12: ‘HOSTEL’ (Paramount Theatre)

In the presence of a bored Slovakian babe, the whiny, wimpy American traveler drones on about his ex-girlfriend. To my delight, he is consequently subjected to the ultimate torture scene in Eli Roth’s backpacking horror movie.

The victim’s confident and fun-loving buddy, thanks to old-fashioned luck and smarts, manages to escape his grisly fate to become the “hero” of the story.

Roth’s previous film, Cabin Fever, wasn’t terribly good, but I appreciated his dark, pessimistic view of human nature. ‘Hostel’ takes a similar approach where the protagonist, instead of alerting the authorities (he learns the Slovakian police were complicit anyway), takes matters into his own hands. The film can be construed as sanctioning the use of violence against violence, but it also illustrates this situation quite well: when confronted by such merciless and dehumanizing evil, no God or government body can save you. Yes, evil lurks within the darkest recesses of the human soul!

The protagonist, by rescuing a fellow Japanese victim, is endowed with enough humanity needed for viewers to relate to and thus, be surprised by the mad violence that’s to come. Although the vengeful dispatch of those responsible for the suffering and demise of the protagonist’s friends came way too unbelievably easy, it was, however, deeply gratifying to see the bad guys get what was comin’ to them!

Friday Jan 13: ‘BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN’ (CinĂ©ma du Parc)

At heart, a tender love story between two cowboys, who discover how wonderful sex between men can be: there’s no need to shower before screwing and you can indulge in rough, nose-bleeding foreplay amidst a gorgeous mountain backdrop.
Sex with women only result in being saddled with child-rearing responsibilities and father-in-laws who hate your guts. Ah, ‘twas hard being a homo in 1960’s & 70’s mid-western America. One of the better love stories I’ve seen in a long time, Ang Lee is indeed a master of below-the-surface emotion and complex inter-relationships.

Saturday Jan 14: ‘THE WEDDING CRASHERS’ (DVD rental)

Even if you’ve got the most ingenious scheme of getting women, good guys will eventually fall in love and marry the right girl. This movie could’ve been so much better if it was just a comedy about two bachelor buddies and their game, and not wasting screen time on the hackneyed romance between Owen Wilson and Rachel Macadams.

A corny, hand-slapping routine posing as chemistry? Ick, come on. I was much more interested in the developing relationship between Vince Vaughn and Isla Fisher (who plays Macadams sister) as two sexually adventurous wackos falling for each other. Way more spicy and funny, and most importantly, it’s plausible. Do they really expect me to believe that fresh young Rachel Macadams would want to end up with an aging sleazebag who crashed weddings for a hobby, who actually admitted “And I’ve had women, a lot of women”!

It would’ve been much more fun had he ended up with Macadams sassy mom (Jane Seymour) instead. Owen Wilson used to be quite artlessly charming, but his schtick is gettin’ old. And he’s gotta lose the shellacked shag-do soon, cuz that and the caked-on makeup isn’t making him look any younger; it’s only making him look like Rod Stewart, or a 30-something Shawn Cassidy.


Lantzvillager said...

Brokeback Mountain was a really well put together movie that I didn't like at all. Everyone called me a 'phobe because I didn't want to see it and I argued, "I wouldn't want to see it if it was about an inter-racial romance in the deep South either.".

beemused said...

I liked B.M. enough and appreciated the well put togetherness of it, but other than the subject matter, the film lacked a certain distinctiveness. It's just a straight-up conventional narrative. If it was directed by someone other than Ang Lee I probably wouldn't have bothered. Not nearly as good as The Ice Storm, but certainly better than the Hulk!

Clinton said...

Brokeback is one of those movies that almost challenges you to find fault with because of the near unanimous praise... plus I hear the ranchboy sex is irresistable.

Hostel was a decent kick at the can from Eli Roth to go all hardcore on mainstream audiences. A bit too deliberate and tame for my liking.